View Full Version : How many deer do coyote kill, and ratio of deer to coyote

August 9, 2006, 10:21 PM
Friend says that he reads that each coyote kills about forty (40) deer each year. I say that that is impossible; if true, there would be no deer left in less than one year, because there's not even that large of a ratio (40 to 1). He says no, there are many many times the number of deer vs. coyotes, them being herbivores vs. predator/carnivore. But when I hear them howling, it sounds like there are 15-25 coyotes just within 1 mile of me. Even if there are 600 deer (15x40) within 1 mile of me, the deer would all be killed in one year, and there's no way there's 600 deer within 1 mile. I'd be surprised if there were 100 deer within 1 mile; probably closer to 20 or 30. I say I'd be surprised if an average coyote killed 1/10th that amount (4) per year (and if so, probably all fawns - the ones that are killed by yotes). What say you? What the typical ratio of deer to coyote?

Here's some links to get started on the subject:


Anthony Terry
August 10, 2006, 01:02 AM
I'd sat that might be a little exxageration. That would mean, if they are 1,000,000 coyotes in the U.S., than they would have killed 40 million deer. That is just a example number, but theres alot of coyotes in america and if each killed 40 deer, I think they would be near extinct also.

August 10, 2006, 02:59 AM
not a chance. if this were true then the state wouldn't have hunters help control the deer population. they also would be on the constant rebuild the deer population effort like they were a condor.

August 10, 2006, 04:12 AM
It would be very difficult to determine since the coyote diet is very varied, they'll eat almost anything. BTW coyotes in the NW weigh twice as much as those in the SW .A 60-70 lb coyote is common in NY. They also hunt differently depending on the prey. Small game they hunt alone , large game like deer they hunt in packs. I've heard that a mountain lion requires a deer about every 10 days .

August 10, 2006, 02:24 PM
maybe your friend meant that coyotes CHASE 40 deer to every one caught. All that I've read and heard on the predator / prey subject is that predators go after the young / sick / injuured animals as they are easier to catch and kill. This leads to more food for the healthy adults and better genetics for the future. Man is the only predator that deliberately goes after the biggest and strongest in the herd. Leaving smaller / weaker animals to reproduce smaller / weaker offspring.

August 10, 2006, 02:38 PM
In some areas, it might be possible for coyotes to kill 40 deer. Notice I said coyotes, not a coyote. Generally, it will take several to kill a deer, therefore the 40 deer/1 coyote becomes 40 deer/10 coyotes or 40 deer/80 coyotes. As stated above, if a predator overhunts its prey, the predator will soon become scarce.

It's also based on a misconception that coyote eat deer exclusively. In studies I've read, over 90% of a coyote's diet is composed of rodents and small animals (rabbits, moles, skunks, shrews, lizards, snakes, etc). About 5% is vegetable matter (berries, fruit, sweet grasses, etc). That leaves about 5% for stuff like deer, cattle, stray cats, Pomeranians . . . Oh, sorry!! :D

Wild Bill Bucks
August 10, 2006, 03:05 PM
Just throwing this in, but I read an article yesterday where the insurance companies pay out about 1 1/2 million claims per year, because of cars hitting deer. If that is true, and deer hunters account for about 10% of the deer killed each year, there has to be a "CRAP BOAT LOAD" of deer out there, for them to eat.

I would think that it would take quite a while for a coyote to eat a deer. Don't know how long it would take a pack to eat one, but I would think that 40 would be a little to high.

August 10, 2006, 07:06 PM
I dont know about coyotes but its not uncommon in N E Wa to find deer skulls that have cougar kill evedence. The snout and front of the skull is crushed where the cougar gets it in its mouth, clamps down and suffocates it. :barf:

August 10, 2006, 11:06 PM
Around here, and in much of the desert southwest, there arn't any deer for coyotes to eat unless they go up in the mountains.
And we have a hell of a lot of coyotes skewing the numbers.

Art Eatman
August 11, 2006, 08:14 AM

The mainstay of coyote diet is field mice. Rabbits and such as well, of course; quail eggs, occasionally.

Only two or three coyotes can sound like many, many more. Don't ask me how/why that is, but that's a fact. Personal observation.

The main target for a coyote on deer is fawns. The success rate isn't all that great, although in some areas it's appreciable. Otherwise, there's some winterkill--but again, not a lot.


August 11, 2006, 01:14 PM
+1 on the fawns. Even the big predators (cats and bears) will look for fawns. One ranger I talked with in NE Oregon said one good way to hunt bears there is to find a herd of elk with some pregnant ones in it. The bears will stick pretty close until the cow drops the calf, then snatch it.

August 11, 2006, 01:34 PM
Also been reading that in addition to fawns, yotes target post-rut bucks, who are skinny & exhausted, especially where the buck to do ratio is low and they're trying to breed every doe that comes along, and there's a lot of does for each buck.

August 20, 2006, 03:58 PM
Coyotes are scavengers no better than a crow or a magpie. The ones around here survive mainly on small rodents, mice, p. dogs, rabbits and on dead cows that farmers drag out back to get rid of.

When a coyote kills a deer that deer is sick, weak, or young. There also has to be more than one yote involved in this process because even a big coyote 70lbs. cant handle a mule deer takedown. The biggest pack of coyotes ive ever seen is three so I think that in this area especially coyotes kill a very negligable number of deer.