Do Coyotes Limit Deer Populations?

When it comes to predators, in this case coyotes (Canis latrans), a common question that comes up is, “Do they reduce deer populations?” Well, we certainly know that coyotes eat deer, but how do they affect their numbers on the whole? It turns out that the answer isn’t necessarily as straight-forward as you might think.

Researchers have found that, on a small scale, when coyotes are removed from the equation, sometimes deer numbers increased, and other times there was no change at all. However, other researchers were curious about the impacts that coyotes were having on a much larger scale.

Out east, a study was conducted that evaluated the impacts coyotes were having on deer as they arrived in and colonized different states. Interestingly, the researchers found that, despite the growing coyote population, there was “no indication that they are bringing down deer numbers.” In fact, one of the researchers stated that, “reducing coyote numbers to increase deer won’t help, and it could create further problems if their social structure is interrupted.”

What do you think are some of the implications of this study and how do you think it might apply to coyotes and deer in Nevada?

Denise Peterson

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