Coyotes in the east: are they impacting deer?
Many hunters and landowners in the eastern United States have expressed concern in recent years about the number of coyotes they are seeing and whether coyotes might be affecting deer and other wildlife. Coyotes have long been known to be effective predators of fawns and other small animals in the West, but eastern biologists have generally not considered coyotes a management problem. However, recent research indicates that predation by coyotes may be more of a concern than previously thought. Much of this work has been conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS), a 300 square mile, forested area in western South Carolina where concerns over the possible effects of coyotes on deer prompted the research. The first step was to study the coyotes themselves—their population size, their movements and habitat use, survival and mortality, and food habits. This work later led to more direct assessments of their impact on the deer population.