I read recently where the decline of elk in Oregons Blue Mts. is being blamed on the mountain lions and bears. Then talking to a local rancher last week, he blames the loss of deer on lions and coyotes. I'm sure preditors take a share of them but am still inclined to believe that the problems are inbreeding and loss of habitate. Loss of habitat in there are to many and they are eating themselves out of house and home. Here anyway. Just 7 or 8 yrs ago it was nothing to go out and see several hundred deer and antelope anytime you wanted. That doesn't happen anymore in fact I haven't seen but a few antelope all year here.
There are no more lions being taken out now and no less than back then and lions have a very large home range anyway, they are not supposed to be good neighbors even to each other. And we've always had a lot of coyotes here. They simply can't eat that many deer! So I really think that inbreeding and overgrazing on their part due to overpopulation is whats happening. Inbred deer with low food supplies.
We should probally be shooting more does, or should have in years past. Instead, the deer have been managed as a resourse to create revenue for the state. What isn't controlled is the breeding and the food. That would be hard to do but we could control the gender. In the meantime, the coyotes and lions will continue to cull out the weak and injured. What percentage of the fawn crop dies from scours? I don't think we know. Those dead fawns get ate by preditors. Thats a pretty sure thing because we see them chewing on dead animals. Then we give them the credit for killing them; sometimes they probally do.
In those years with high deer numbers we probally should have been killing many more deer than we did rather than trying to preserve most of the does for breeding.