The big buck had made it through another deer season, eluding hunters again. It was late winter with more snow than most years, which made it even more difficult on the old deer.
He was very weary from pursuing does during the rut, and eluding predators, both man and beast over the last four months.
He lay in the heavy thicket and rested, unaware there was a pair of coyotes stalking him. Before he could react, the pair was on him, slashing his throat and ripping at his flesh.
In a few moments the buck was down, and filling the bellies of the coyote pair and their yearling pups.
The buck would provide the coyotes, fox, crows and other predators in the area with meals for several days. A week later, this pair would take down a pregnant doe; consuming her and the unborn fawns that were starting to develop.
Predation on deer can be heavy, especially in the winter months, when coyotes can take the sharp hooved animals due to snow cover and their stressed condition.
The landowner/deer hunter was disgusted and angry when he found the remains of the buck; and later the doe. He’d been chasing the big buck for several years, and enjoyed the challenge each season.
The big doe usually produced and successfully raised two to three fawns each year. The coyote numbers had increased annually on his property.
He knew that if he was going to reduce his deer losses, he would have to reduce the coyote numbers. But what should he do now?