A recent study of the stomach contents of 969 hunted, road-killed, and trapped coyotes by a West Virginia University graduate student confirms that the diet of coyotes in West Virginia largely consists of the state’s deer herd.
Science has confirmed what West Virginia’s hunters have long suspected: Coyotes eat a lot of deer.
A 20-month study of coyotes’ dietary habits found that deer remains were found in nearly 60 percent of coyotes’ stomach contents and manure samples.
Geriann Albers, the West Virginia University graduate student who coordinated the research, revealed her findings recently at a meeting of the Northeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. She didn’t mince words.
“Coyotes in West Virginia are primarily consuming deer,” Albers said.
Further analysis showed the percentages of exactly what else the coyotes were eating:
Deer remains showed up in 59.5 percent of the 969 samples examined. Grass and twigs showed up in 39.7 percent, small mammals such as mice and voles in 19.3 percent, fruits and seeds in 18.4 percent, squirrels and chipmunks in 11.4 percent, birds in 4 percent and rabbits in 4 percent. The percentages add up to more than 100 percent because many samples contained more than one category of food items.
This one must have been an urban coyote:
“It must have been a Dumpster diver,” Albers said with a grin. “In its stomach we found the remnants of a Dairy Queen napkin, a Subway sandwich wrapper, a Taco Bell sauce packet and a commercial crab leg.”
The article says that there was no way for them to tell what percentage of the deer found in the coyotes stomachs was from deer that the coyotes killed themselves and what percentage was road-killed deer. I’d say if deer is 60% of their diet, that the coyotes in West Virginia are killing lots of deer.
How do coyotes kill a deer? It’s not very nice. Check out the video below: