Like most hunters, this is the time of year that I get really excited to see velvet antlers. I get just as excited when I see a flock of turkey poults or twin fawns! On these hot summer days seeing the next generation of wildlife, or more importantly – when I don’t see them, my thoughts turn to predators. It’s a good time to consider how beneficial my past trapping/hunting efforts have been and how I can improve on those efforts in the years to come. Are my techniques and timing helping the survival of deer and turkeys as I think they should?
Balancing predator populations can be an important part of any deer or turkey management plan. As it should, the subject has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years (watch episodes 122 & 220) by the hunting and science communities. It is important for hunters and land managers to note that the timing of predator removal is a critical component of predator removal.
Spotted fawns and turkey eggs and poults are most vulnerable to predation. The removal of predators during the spring and summer months is a critical component of predator control.
At first glance this may seem simple; however, the difficult part of the equation is that in many states, trapping season is restricted to fall and winter months. In my home state of Michigan it is only legal to trap coyotes from October 15th to March 1st. In contrast, our neighbors to the south in Ohio have no closed season on coyotes, allowing trap lines to be out through the critical time of the fawning and nesting seasons.
Check your local regulations and see if there are any summer predator seasons. Whether it’s the challenge of predator calling or you setting a Duke trap line, consider putting in a little extra time during those crucial months when the next generation of game species is most vulnerable to predation.
Happy trails (and full trap lines),