Fawn Numbers Are Down

Eve F. from South Carolina writes to ask about coyotes eating fawns. “I know that coyotes eat fawns. We have found fawn numbers on our property to be down the past few years and assume coyotes are the problem. But we have friends who have managed property 20 miles from us, and their fawn production seems OK. What would explain that?”

Dr. Dave Samuel
Dr. Dave Samuel

Good question Eve, and it could be a number of things. However, there is some new research that shows that does will bed down their fawns very close to shrubs that are 3 to 4 feet tall. The more shrubs the better chance you will find fawns bedded there. My guess is that does select such bed sites for their fawns because of cover from predators such as coyotes. Good shrub cover would also keep the fawns cooler, and that would increase survival. Perhaps your friends property has a higher preponderance of shrub cover, and you might think about doing some habitat management to generate shrub cover. Opening up the canopy will generate more ground cover, and plantings may work as well.

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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