Predation

Predation can be locally important factor affecting herd density. Predation by mountain lions, coyotes and bobcats can be a serious mortality factor, especially in fawn survival. Studies in mountain lion country, shows as parts of Brewster and Culberson counties, indicate that a mature lion will kill a deer about every 2 weeks if deer are sufficiently abundant. Likewise, studies on fawn survival have shown that predators, especially coyotes, may kill up to 70 percent of the fawns before they are 2 months old.

Intensive predator control efforts can reduce losses, but such efforts are generally expensive and must be repeated periodically. Cost effectiveness can be enhanced by short-term, intensive efforts, especially during late winter. Generally, the cost of predator control programs can be justified only if the deer harvest level can be increased enough to compensate for the additional deer produced; otherwise, overpopulation and range deterioration could result. If you suspect serious predation problems, contact the local office of the Texas Animal Damage Control Service for advice and assistance.