By Mark Huelsing

Every once in a while you stumble upon the perfect hunting spot – the terrain is textbook, the sign is evident, and the area is in close proximity to food, water, or cover – or in my case, all three.  I hit the jackpot.

The abandoned farm field gave way to a steep, over-grown ravine, at the head of which was one of the only year-round water sources in the area.  Progressing from the field, past the water, the tops of the steep ridges that encased the hollow temporarily dropped in elevation, creating a perfect pair of saddles to funnel deer in and out of the nasty bedding thicket.

I identified several access points that the deer used to access the water source and cleared a spot to begin a mineral site.  I hung my camera and left the area, doing my best to cope with the anticipation of my return visit, which would hopefully yield at least a few-hundred good photos.

The wait to return and retrieve the photos was torturous.  Finally, after a dozen or so days, I cracked.

I returned to the spot and was surprised to see very little sign of activity.  I quickly swapped the memory cards and made a stealthy exit of the area.  Returning home, I downloaded the photos and began to scan the images – squirrel, blue bird, coyote, raven, coyote, coyote…

I continued to scan through the images and became increasingly alarmed at the frequency of coyote activity, and thus, the lack of deer on camera.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of coyote hunting I think of bitter cold, blustery winter days, falling snow, and thick winter pelts; but there is no better time to hunt coyotes, in terms of benefiting and protecting your local deer population, than right now.

Whitetail fawns have been arriving for weeks now, and we all know that they are particularly vulnerable to predation.  The number of fawns per adult doe that survive from birth to the fall is known as the fawn recruitment rate.  According to the QDMA’s 2012 Whitetail Report, “the average fawn recruitment rate declined significantly from 2000 to 2005 and again from 2005 to 2010. On average it took two does to recruit three fawns in 2010.”

That, my friends, is alarming.

US Forest research completed in Georgia has shown that 37% of the fawn population had been killed by coyotes in the study area, and possibly up to 80% is some zones.  The researcher concluded that,

“The effects of coyote predation on recruitment should be considered when setting harvest goals, regardless of whether local deer population size is currently above or below desired levels, because coyotes can substantially reduce fawn recruitment.” 

I don’t know about you, but I am not going to wait for the fall to start hunting.  I have some ‘yotes on my hit list and now is the time to get after them!

Does your state allow coyote hunting during the summer?

– Mark Huelsing is a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting and the outdoors.  If he is not bowhunting, then he is planning towards it, training for it, and writing about it at SoleAdventure.com