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Are wolves the biggest threat?

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Are wolves the biggest threat?

Old 03-28-2011, 06:59 AM
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Default Are wolves the biggest threat?

Here in Wisconsin, there is a lot of debate on how much wolves impact the deer herd. I would think wolves fall way down on the list as far as impacting fawn mortality, etc. I think I read something where coyotes and bears had a much greater impact on the herd-- any thoughts?
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:36 AM
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There's not doubt that wolves are very good at what they do, in terms of being predators. I've been fortunate enought o have some lenghty talks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife guys that do the collaring/tagging in the U.P. and it's pretty fascinating to hear their thoughts on the wolves versus other predators. Bears don't get nearly enough credit for their impact on the fawn crop. Fawns are born the same time bears are leaving their dens, and a bears sense of smell is acute enough to be able to find these fawns, even though they are virtually scent-free after being born. ACcording to them, about 60% of the wolves diet is beaver, especially in spring/summer/fall when the beavers are out and about. They are very slow on land, so the wolves have little trouble catching them. Where the wolves do there most damage (according to these guys) is in the harsh winter months when the deer are yarded up and the snow is deep. The wolves are so much better equipped to run through deep snow, and can therefore track down deer that would normally evade them. They also said that an average pack of 3-4 will average 1 deer per week in the winter, less in the warmer months when there is more easy food around.

As for the coyotes, I know in our area of the UP, since the wolves have become more abundant, we've not seen nor heard from any coyotes.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:38 AM
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Three recent studies in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama show that approximately 70% of the fawns are killed by coyotes.
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Old 03-28-2011, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by timbercruiser View Post
Three recent studies in Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama show that approximately 70% of the fawns are killed by coyotes.
Not surprising...but these are also states with no wolves, and the coyote is likely the top predator.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:04 AM
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A friend of mine just recently participated in a study they're doing up here. He helped to net a doe and they tagged it and implanted it-- he wrote an article about it, which was pretty cool. I'll see if I can get the link. Anyway, the study is supposed to find out what is killing the fawns and is the biggest study of its kind ever done in wisconsin... it will be interesting to see the results.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:55 AM
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Sounds like an interesting study. What will be more interesting to see is if the results show that there needs to be a thinning of predatory animals like wolves/bears. In the northern reaches of WI and U.P. the bear numbers are pretty astounding right now. Over the counter bear tags for a year would likely take care of it, especially if the bear season coincided with archery deer season.
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:51 PM
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We've got some bears around here in central Wisconsin-- there are also wolves and a lot of coyotes. I think the coyotes do a number on the deer. Here's that link I was talking about. He's going to write more when they find out what happens to the fawns carried by the doe he tackled in this article. There is video too. The guy is pretty dedicated, he does a lot of stuff like this just as a volunteer.

http://bit.ly/fUrunb
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Old 03-31-2011, 01:18 PM
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I wouldn't say that wolves are having a hige impact on the deer herd as a whole in Wisconsin.

That's because they are mostly in just the northern part of the state. Up there they have had a noticeable impact on the deer herd size. In the good years (mild winters) the deer herd numbers don't jump like they did fifteen years ago. If the wolf population continues to grow unchecked it won't be long before the impact becomes a major problem.
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Old 04-01-2011, 09:22 AM
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I'm a hunter in Northern Wisconsin, Ashland County. Every year i go out shed hunting in late march/early april and find a dozen carcasses from Wolves, If you ever find wolf crap you will find deer hair in just about every pile, these wolves are taking out the deer herd faster than people think, Just in the past few years i hunt 500 acres by myself and within the 5 years the deer population dropped about 60%. Yes, bears do take care of fawns! But i do think that Wolves ARE the biggest threat, bears are 2nd, then coyotes.
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Old 04-02-2011, 06:50 AM
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On our land we have wolves and coyotes. The local farmers driving around their properties at night see numerous cases of coyotes with fawns in their mouths in the spring. We kill every one we see during gun season. Wolves haven't seemed to bother the herd.

Last fall one of the bowhunters on our land saw a huge cougar going in it when driving by in their car. THAT could hurt the deer herd.

Sfury, take a look at the DNR wolf location chart below. We hunt by Westfield in Marquette county which is in the MIDDLE of the state. They are NOT just up north anymore.

http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/er/mammal...tm#territories

http://www.uwsp.edu/wildlife/carnivo...0Wisconsin.pdf

Last edited by warbirdlover; 04-02-2011 at 07:01 AM.
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