byers024Coyotes are cunning predators. At a time when fawns are defenseless, they can decrease your deer herd population, especially when eastern coyotes can weigh as much as 50 lbs.

Calling is one way to eliminate a dog or two from the pack, but these elusive animals are quick to learn and will soon become call shy.

Trapping is the best means to control coyote numbers in the East, especially on timbered tracts, where they move like ghosts among the trees and brush. The Quality Deer Management Association offers a very detailed approach to coyote control. If you’re serious about reducing fawn mortality, read on.

On a crisp, clear November night at deer camp, the conversation around the campfire subsides for a moment as you add another log to the fire. Just as you ease back into your camp chair, the silence is broken by a long mournful howl. Its maker is soon joined by what sounds like a dozen other coyotes, each making their own yips, barks and howls.

This scenario, once unusual or even rare across much of the eastern United States, has now become common. As deer hunters, it’s natural for us to want to do something about it.

Given our current knowledge of coyote predation on deer, when is coyote control justified? The answer depends on where your current management program is in relation to byers017the Four Cornerstones of QDM.

Herd Monitoring

Often, the initial reason we want to remove coyotes from places we hunt is purely the product of a logical chain formed in our mind. We know coyotes kill deer, thus more coyotes kill a greater number of deer, and therefore decreasing the number of coyotes will result in more deer.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.


  1. A couple of coyotes can sound like a dozen. You need to get out in the snow to get a correct count. Here in Bedford County we shoot,trap and hunt with Hounds. There aren’t nearly as many as people think.

  2. leave the coyotes alone….first, if you are deer hunting in the fall and coyotes are killing fawns, then that particular doe had her fawns very late in the we all know, the rut(breeding season) happens in the fall…hunting seasons are typically set to take place towards the end or the rut, or at the end of the rut….second, the coyotes are natures way of keeping the herd healthy…no need to eliminate the coyotes for filling their niche in nature….finally, a coyote has several types of howls and yips….when you hear coyotes, you may be hearing the same coyote which makes it appear that there are more coyotes than you think….dont be fooled….let the coyotes be and let each state NRD set the appropriate kill dates and amounts to keep the deer herd healthy……

    • Coyotes kill fawns regardless of when they were born. Coyotes are native to the western portion of the country are only in the east because they were released here. They are a non-native invasive species that destroy the ruffed grouse, deer, turkey, and rabbit populations. There niche is naturally filled by foxes and bobcats in the east, and coyotes actually cause their populations to dwindle as well since they outcompete them for food.

  3. Leave the coyotes alone….they are a niche hunter that maintains the health of a deer population….if you see a fawn deer in Nov. then the doe is out of cycle….the deer seasons are typically set so the breeding(or rut) is nearly complete or complete…further, does fawn in early spring so the fawns can grow to survive the winter so small does chances of survival are less than a full grown fawn….further, with the many unqualified hunters(both archery and rifle) there are many injured deer that die each year…the coyotes are scavengers and will kill and eat the wounded deer…when coyotes howl, each coyote has more than one howl or yelp….when listening to the coyote packs, it may appear that there are more coyotes than are really there…..let the coyotes fill their niche and a well regulated hunt determined by the DNR or your state is the best way to keep the deer herd healthy…..