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Protect those Fawns



Fawns are deer hunters most important resource.

As June rolls around in the south, does are dropping fawns on almost a daily basis. Now more than ever is the time to do all you can to protect those fawns. The work you did in the early post season by preparing good fawning cover is paying off. But the predators are all out and after the fawns.

Recent research by Charles Ruth, Deer and Turkey coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources shows that approximately 80% of fawn mortality is directly attributed to coyotes. What this means is that in many areas, it takes about 2.3 does to get one fawn to survive the first 3 months of its life. That is in direct opposition to the late 1980’s and early 1990’s when every doe was rearing 1.7 fawns each. Hunters and land managers need to take an aggressive approach to removing predators from the food chain.

The best method of removing coyotes is trapping. While trapping season is long gone, in South Carolina and other states, a depredation permit can be obtained free of charge to trap coyotes during this time of year. As Ruth puts it, “trapping is the most effective method of removing coyotes.” Hunting predators is fun, and provided great entertainment, but the hunter is only effective while he is in the woods. The trap is there 24/7, rain or shine. As Ricky Williams, president of the South Carolina Trapping association says; “that trap is very patient.”

If hunters or land managers don’t know how to trap, professional nuisance trappers can be hired to remove coyotes for a fee. Others provide training to hunting clubs and land managers to show them how to trap so they can implement the program onto their property. A list of nuisance trappers is available on most DNR websites and contact information to trainers will be at the end of this post.

Taking every predator you can off of your land increases the recruitment of fawns

Some states across the country and South Carolina in particular just passed a new law allowing for night hunting for coyotes. (Must be from elevated stands of at least 10 feet in height) Center fire rifles are legal as are electronic calls and the use of lights. Registering your property for night hunting must be done prior to beginning to hunt at night. Personally I have not done this, however, studies show that this can be very effective and a great method of removing predators.

As Ruth puts it, every dead coyote is one you never have to worry about feeding on your fawns. June is the perfect month to focus on predators. Coyotes have pups they are trying to feed, fawns are being born and the pressure on them is intense. Recruitment of your deer herd is imperative to keeping a good healthy herd.

Food plots, selective harvest, supplemental feeding are all important elements to managing a deer herd. But if recruitment is low, all of these efforts can be wasted. Protect your herd by monitoring the recruitment rate and removing all threats to your deer whenever you can.


For trapping instruction or training for your club contact:

Pete Rogers at        [email protected]