Bigger Herds in the future ?


Active Member
Just for your information-- at the last round of RAC meetings the Deer Plan was ammended so that the number of cougar tags within a deer unit will be determined by the "adult survival" rate. So, specificaly in those areas where the DWR has radio collared deer, they will try to determine how much of the of the deer mortality is because of cougar predation and will adjust cougar tags. Season lengths will be established based on total number of harvested cougars or until a certain number of female cougars are killed. The DWR is truly trying to find out if predation is one one of the leading causes of low deer numbers. They also have bought into the idea that perhaps when deer herd numbers are depressed for any reason (i.e. bad winters, fire etc)that predators may be the major factor in keeping any herd number growth supressed. In other words-- the deer herds are not able to out produce the predator kill.
Saw a report on Kennecott property that a male cougar that had been radio collared and then tracked was killing an adult elk (mostly males) every 5 days. They went out and physically checked an area (via GPS cordinates) that the cougar stayed in for 4-5 days which indicated a kill. I believe they tracked him approximately for one year.
It will be interesting to find out if predators are the main cause of deer numbers not being able to rebound once they get to a depressed number. It isn't that cougars are killing more deer than they used to, but maybe it is because they are preying on a deer population that has become so depressed it needs to have additional predator removal done until the deer population can increase and be able to bear the increase predation by cougars.
Back in the 50's and 60's when 1080 poison was being used there were some harsh winters that really knocked the deer numbers down, but then there would be a huge increase in deer numbers over the next few years. There is a good possibility that the increase was possible because the predator numbers were extremely low then. In the past 3 decades since the ban of 1080 we have not seen that big peaks and valleys in deer numbers. Just maybe it is because of predators-- coyotes included, that we don't get the recovery in deer numbers we used to.


Very Active Member
Todd Black wrote a piece on the secondary predation of elk sustaining predators when mule deer numbers drop. It is a great read. You should PM him (Blanding_boy) and get it from him.

This is a topic that really is where mule deer population control comes into play. It is unfortunate that the management process is manipulated by whims and breeze because the last Mule Deer Management Plan which was put in place attempted to address these issues. We are seeing the fruits of that work come into play, which will in fact actually help herds. (hopefully)

Thanks for the insight.



Anything mentioned about coyotes? They are a big problem on fawn survival.


Amen on coyote fawn predation. Don't forget 5-6000 head if elk then and what is it now 60,000ish. Also more people driving like a bat out of hell. More paved roads. As far as yip dogs introduce parvovirus in fawning areas just as effective as 1080 and only affects canines from what I've read. Any responsible pet owner or houndsman would be vaccinated against it. JMO. Good read nebo thanks for the info.


Active Member
Coyotes will certainly be figured in the predation stats on deer. It is just good to see that there is at least a program in place to see if lower predator populations will allow the deer herds to grow and eventually able to out produce predator take. It will take a few years, but I applaude the effort that the DWR is making to find out.


Very Active Member
LAST EDITED ON Sep-07-11 AT 01:46PM (MST)[p]Is this the one you were referring too Mike?

There certainly is more and more that we don't understand or have even figured out how to successfully model predation. Espically give our bulging elk herds and our diminishing deer herds. I'm convinced much of it has to do with how Wildlife Services (government trappers) dealt with predation 30 plus years ago. I think we also have to admit that our habitat (what we had, what successional stage it was in and how fragmented it was) has much to do with decreasing deer herds as well but certainly predation is likely a factor maybe even a significant factor in many areas of the west.

Todd Black

Visit our YouTube page


That's great news.

The more I run trail cams the more I'm FLOORED bt how many predators there are. Lions, bears, and coyotes.


Very Active Member
Prism, dont mention bears no body wants to believe that Bear impact the deer herd, they only eat berries and grass.


Active Member
Bears do have an impact on fawns and elk calves. Had a guy at a RAC meeting tell me when he was out bow hunting a few years ago. He was watching a doe and some spotted fawns playing on a hillside across from him. He saw a bear coming up from the bottom of the hill, the doe stomped and the fawns hit the ground, she ran off, the bear paid no attention to her and just kept working the hillside back and forth until it found one of the fawns, which it killed and began to eat. They may not have near the impact of a coyote or cougar, but they do have an impact. They do take a piece of the deer population which only leaves less for us and for the growth potential of deer herds.


Long Time Member
Just wait until those wolves start hittin ya. You won't have to worry about the yotes. The wolves keep the yote populations in check. ;)

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos
Top Bottom