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View Full Version : If you start shooting coyotes on some land, will the rabbit population increase?


FirstFreedom
January 5, 2006, 09:39 AM
Because the squirrels are abundant, but the rabbits are pretty sparse. There lot's of coyotes; just wondering if I have a reason to shoot them...

zeisloft
January 5, 2006, 10:23 AM
For the most part...yes, for a while. When you remove the alfa predator, the prey will generally experience a population growth, sometimes a boom. However, over time (often many years) the prey will hit the carrying capacity of the land and will decline before stabilizing. Generally what happens is it will go in waves of growth coyote populations high- rabbit populations low...coyotes die off or move off...rabbit population grows...coyotes return rabbit population dwindels...and on and on
~z

FirstFreedom
January 5, 2006, 10:46 AM
OK, thanks. Mind you, I've never actually SEEN a coyote on that land in question, but I've heard barking & howling them hundreds of times. They're more elusive than even the deer. Could try calling them, though. I just find it odd how few rabbits I see. Maybe 1 per every 3 days walking around in the woods. Makes me think the coyotes are thriving a tad too much. I do see a couple dozen or so squirrels per day, and about 4 armadillos per day at least. My dad used to call them 'hard-shell possums'. :)

Tom Matiska
January 5, 2006, 01:15 PM
Coyotes are fairly stealthy. What is easy to see is the droppings(dog size, with hair). Around here we seem to be having less small critters, and more droppings with hair. Thinking of getting smart on coyote calling myself.

Capt Charlie
January 5, 2006, 01:47 PM
For the most part...yes, for a while. When you remove the alfa predator, the prey will generally experience a population growth, sometimes a boom. However, over time (often many years) the prey will hit the carrying capacity of the land and will decline before stabilizing. Generally what happens is it will go in waves of growth coyote populations high- rabbit populations low...coyotes die off or move off...rabbit population grows...coyotes return rabbit population dwindels...and on and on
Not only that, but as the rabbit population increases, other predators like Red Tail or Harris Hawks will adapt and take up the slack. Their populations will then increase and they'll fill the niche left by the missing coyotes. Pretty neat system, overall.

Polydorus
January 5, 2006, 02:17 PM
A number of years ago I read that the Hudson Bay Fur records indicated there was an approximate seven year cycle between rabbit and fox populations. When the fox population peaked the rabbit population was at it lowest point and vice versa. Ah the balance of nature! :)

zeisloft
January 5, 2006, 02:55 PM
Yes, from what I have seen, read, learned in school, etc about a 5-7 year cycle is correct. And yes, a host of other predators will move in to fill the niche when the alpha is removed or lessened. I do not believe it would be realistic to expect to remove ALL the coyotes from the area, statistically, you have to remove something like 75-80% of the breeding population for 7-10 years. I hunt em alot, ALOT, but not that much. I have spoken to ranchers and a host of trappers and none have been able to "remove" the presence of established coyotes from an area, however some have brought populations to a managable level.
~z

Art Eatman
January 5, 2006, 05:02 PM
Feral cats can be a problem, but if there are numerous coyotes, they'll kill cats as well as other prey...

In quail country, foxes, feral cats and raccoons are the main problem.

Art

zeisloft
January 5, 2006, 05:08 PM
Art, dont forget about roadrunners.
~z

lil_bro
January 6, 2006, 01:36 AM
I just find it odd how few rabbits I see. Maybe 1 per every 3 days walking around in the woods. Makes me think the coyotes are thriving a tad too much. I do see a couple dozen or so squirrels per day, and about 4 armadillos per day at least....

That is exactly how it is where I live.

But the main problem(s) that I have is the coyotes and the darn stray dogs from what I have seen is that their are more stray dogs than coyotes.

Ohio Annie
January 6, 2006, 11:46 AM
That depends on the raptor population.

Foxman
January 6, 2006, 12:03 PM
Rabbits come and go a bit due to weather too, if it is cold and wet through most of the breeding season a lot of the kits die. Some places just don't seem to be right for them, they like dry climate and lots of open grassland. Just look at Australia and New Zealand to see what happens when the conditions are right.

Art Eatman
January 6, 2006, 01:14 PM
Yeah, roadrunners think baby quail are tasty...

Art

rapier144
January 6, 2006, 06:40 PM
My father bought 37 acres that was over grown with briars. I started to bushhog the land to clean it up and i never saw so many rabbits in my life. There was hundreds of rabbits running all over the place. I had a hard time not hitting them. Once i cleared about half of it the population dropped till only a few dozen were left. It had to be raptors getting at them because we always had a healthy population of coyotes running around if they wanted them they could have gotten to them. But when i removed the over head cover for the rabbits thats when they disappreared for the most part. I thought i left enough cover but guess i didn't

shureshot0471
January 6, 2006, 08:27 PM
Yes if you are wanting more rabbits start killing the yotes and kazam mopre rabbits:D :D :D

youp
January 6, 2006, 09:12 PM
So take it to the next step, the wolves are joy killing the deer in the winter yards.

Art Eatman
January 6, 2006, 11:52 PM
Back when I still lived on the old family ranch outside of Austintatious, I'd drag a shredder around the psture during the winter, mulching the dead Johnson grass and weeds. Improve the land. ("I was raised in Central Texas, on a rock farm.")

I'd look back, and hawks would be around in the trees, and the occasional fox would be checking out the stubble. Mostly, they were grabbing field mice, but they'd get the occasional cottontail.

Art

impact
January 7, 2006, 01:16 AM
This kinda reminds me of my first deer lease. I had some rabbits on the lease and thought it would be good to feed all year round to incresse the rabbit population. (rabbits like corn) Then hunt rabbit after deer season.

That next fall at the beginning of bow season I never did see a single rabbit? This kinda stumped me! Till later on I noticed a fox at feeder and a BIG owl at a nother. they were hanging out near the feeder waiting for Mr Rabbit. In the act of trying to build the rabbit population I destroyed it. Funny how nature works sometimes. When you think you know. You don't. But I'm learning:)

Art Eatman
January 7, 2006, 09:52 AM
impact, that sort of feeding works only if the grain is well-scattered. If you use a clock-feeder which spins the grain out in a big circle, set the feeder pretty much inside a brushy spot and under a tree, if possible. Out in the open is a Bad Thing.

(Foxes like corn. They'll eat the cracked corn from beneath my bird feeder, and then later come up on my porch and leave evidence that foxes don't digest corn. :) )

Art