The rise in Coyote population over the past few decades has brought with it a number of problems that affect small game, specifically the issue of whitetail fawn recruitment. Fortunately, there are a number of steps one can take in order to increase fawn survival rates.
“One thing many people don’t realize is that the fawning season also lines up when many coyote pups are born,” Delano writes. “Fawns are not only a favorite meal for coyotes, but they are also eating more this time of year in order to feed a litter of pups. Although trapping seasons vary on a state-to-state basis, the most effective time to remove coyotes through trapping is immediately before the peak in fawning activity for that piece of property. Removing 70% of coyotes at the peak of fawning season can dramatically increase fawn recruitment rates. Recent studies have shown where recruitment rates were increased 150-215% on land where the majority of coyotes were removed at peak fawning time.”
Keeping your buck to doe ratio in check is critical, Delano says in the press release. If you manage your land to have a 1:1 ratio of buck to does, fawn drop will occur within a two-week period. This makes it more difficult for predators to negatively impact the recruitment rate, due to the fact that all the fawns hit the ground at roughly the same time. If your ratio becomes unbalanced, the time frame of the fawn drop is spread out, which will adversely affect the recruitment rate as coyotes have a better chance of killing your fawn.
Another method of improving fawn recruitment rates is to create effective fawn cover and a good fawn rearing habitat.
“Fawns need tall, thick, grassy cover ideally to hide in until they reach the age to start following their mother,” Delano writes.
To create adequate fawn cover, Delano advises that you use a chainsaw to execute a hinge-cut on a section of timber. This way, an area that was covered by a canopy of leaves can now grow grass and plants. In other words, it not only serves as cover for the whitetail, but it’s also a great food source.
Meanwhile, a positive fawn rearing habitat can be achieved by using heavy equipment to get rid of “unused pastures or low quality timber,” according to the press release. Ideally, you’ll want tall, thick grasses like Switch Grass, Indian Grass, and Big Bluestem to be planted in 2-5 acre blocks on your property. The fawns will be well protected and coyotes won’t be able to hunt them down.
To read the full press release, click here.
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