"How to Budget For A Coyote Control Program On Your Deer Club" from Tim Ivey's blog

  Today, I met with the member of a deer club near Jackson, Ga. who told me that coyotes were decimating his deer herd. The reality is that this is the situation all over our state. Clubs will spend thousands of dollars acquiring land, liability insurance, spending time and money putting in elaborate food plots and even supplemental feed stations all in an effort to increase the health of the deer herd and grow Trophy bucks. Unfortunately, what most clubs do not understand is if you do not have a Predator Control Program to remove coyotes and bobcats on a regular basis, most of this other work is for naught. Research studies all over the country have proved that Coyotes kill between 55-75% of the newborn fawns every year on a club. Bobcats also kill deer but to a lesser extent. So, the bottom line is that most of the money spent in these other areas is winding up as coyote scat on your logging roads.      

    I have never heard a Wildlife Biologist recommend to a club that they hire a Professional Trapper to manage the Predator Population on a Deer Club, so I am going to let you know that this is the most important thing you can do as a club to: 1. Dramatically increase the number of fawns that will survive to maturity and 2. Ensure you have dramatically more bucks to grow to Trophy size. "Understand this fact. Coyotes eat the deer, rabbits and turkeys on your club 365 days a year." By incorporating a Coyote Control Program on your deer club, you are giving each one of these game animals the very best chance at survival and population growth.    

     Perhaps you are saying, but how can we afford to add this program to our club. Well, lets look at several options to provide the funding necessary.I've already explained that this is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do to increase your deer herd. Since your club more than likely has a budget, lets see where we can move money from without adding additional members.   1. For one season, cut the number of food plots planted in half or don't plant any at all. Many times food plots will regenerate with a low bush hogging and fertilizing. 2. If you provide supplemental feeding, suspend that for one season. 3. Re evaluate your liability insurance carrier and shop for a lower rate. 4. Meet with your landowner and see if you can negotiate a lower lease price. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask. 5. See if the landowner will share the cost of the Program with the club. 

    With the money saved from the above suggestions, you now can afford to have a Professional Trapper come in and remove coyotes and bobcats from the property. This may not have to be done every year unless your predator population is high. Once every two years may be sufficient. You can have the Trapper come back on an annual basis and do an assessment at minimal cost. The best part is that you will see immediate results. One study that was done on a 2000 acre club in Alabama where 22 Coyotes and 10 Bobcats were removed, resulted in the increase of the fawn survival rate that year of 256%!! What we are doing as Trappers is pulling a certain number of the predators out of the population and giving the fawns, turkeys and rabbits a "window of opportunity" to survive until maturity. That is why what we do is called Wildlife Management. It is an ongoing process, but if you are serious about QDM, then a Predator Control Program is vital to it's success! Hunters and Trappers must join forces to work together to manage this problem.




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By Tim Ivey
Added May 2 '14


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