Does Shooting Coyotes Affect Deer Populations?

Does Shooting Coyotes Affect Deer Populations?

For many, even when it’s deer season it’s always predator season. Therefore, we gladly thump every coyote that walks past our deer hunting blind in the name of predator control. However, many of you may be wondering, “Does Shooting Coyotes Affect Deer Populations?” We will answer this question and offer tips on predator control.

Does Shooting Coyotes Affect Deer Populations?

What you do in the deer woods in December will have little impact on coyote numbers or fawn predation next spring. In fact, shooting the occasional coyote just might do more harm than good.

Numerous studies show that the alpha female is extremely good at defending her territory and keeping out coyotes away. If you kill her, other coyotes will move in and fight over the territory. As a result, you may end up with more coyotes than you had to begin with.

Besides, coyotes are very good at remaining unseen. This is particularly true in the east where thick woods and dense undergrowth provide excellent cover. While you may see a few every deer season, you are likely just seeing a small fraction of what’s out there.

Shooting all of the coyotes you see still won’t put a dent in their numbers, at least not over the long-term. Coyotes also have the innate ability to compensate for lower populations by producing larger litters. Other furbearers can do the same thing. Therefore, shooting a bunch this year and they will most likely just have more babies in the spring. This means you will have just as many, if not more, in the coming seasons.

Predator Control Tips

Start Early

If you are intent on decreasing coyote numbers to boost deer or small game numbers on your land, forget plugging the random predator during deer season. Focus, instead, on the fawning season. Remove coyotes from the landscaping in April or May. This way there will be less time for other coyotes to move in. The majority of coyote control efforts in sheep country, for example, take place right before or during the lambing season, for good reason. That’s when it helps reduce livestock loss the most.

You’ll just need to prepare to put plenty of effort into it. To have an impact on coyote numbers, you’ll need to kill upwards of 70 percent of the population. While very few of us have any idea how many coyotes are out there, the good news is that populations are probably not as high as you think. Whether there is one coyote per square mile or 10, this will still require a lot of effort for the slightest benefit.

Consider Trapping

If you’re still wanting to undertake some method of control, focus on trapping. While hunting is fun and a skilled hunter can rack up some impressive numbers, it can’t produce the numbers of coyotes that a trap line can. Traps work 24 hours a day and a good trapper can set dozens in a day.

Make sure it is legal to trap or hunt outside of established hunting or trapping seasons. Coyotes don’t have protection in most states. Therefore, they can be called all year, but other furbearers have established closes seasons. You cannot legally shoot raccoons, bobcats and many other predators in the spring.


This is just the basics on “Does Shooting Coyotes Affect Deer Populations?” For more information on our customized hunting blind options or to order your customized hunting blinds, contact us with the link below!

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