Where have the fawns gone?
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by Ann Telope

(from Issue 2; fall 1995)

It was June 1995 as I made my way through the farmer's field in attempt to reduce the resident population of woodchucks. You see, I love being out there - afield, a place to relax and be at one with nature. So, there I was setting up for some nice long distance shooting, when all at once they appeared, six whitetail deer. My simmons 10x50 focus free binoculars quickly pointed out that four deer were bucks. After twenty minutes, two other deer appeared from the hedgrow and they turned out to be does. "Where are the fawns?" I pondered. That evening was quite indicative of my other spring scouting excursions. That is, I saw plenty of does with no fawns in tow. And then the incident occured...

I was hunting woodchucks as I normally did, seeking shade as the sun worked it's way to the horizon. A motion caught my eye. It was a doe with a fawn. The pair were making their way across the field when another motion grabbed my attention. It was a male coyote who was "cat walking" towards a potential meal. I watched him make his approach until he was nearly twenty yards from the deer. Viewing the fawn as a potential trophy and possessing a general distain for coyotes, I decided it would be best if I interupted the "ways of nature" and sent a 55 gr. Nosler from my Winchester .223 into the coyote's chest. The deer bounded off and the coyote lumped over motionless. That was one coyote who would dine on venison no more!

One study showed that 35% of all fawn deaths are caused by coyotes. This percentage should increase as the number of coyotes increases, as they are. I can not varify that the low number of fawns I observed was strictly due to predation by coyotes, but as this incident proves, deer are definately a preferred item on the coyote's menu.

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