• February 26, 2017

Predator impact on wild game

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Posted: Friday, February 21, 2014 2:00 pm

Of the many ongoing threats against wild game, predators stand as one of the most historical and significant of these concerns.

Although they have been known for the predation of whitetail fawns, yearlings, and smaller adult deer through occasional pack behavior, bobcats may be likened to fox in generally feeding on rabbits and other rodents, as well as certain fruits.

In Central Texas, in addition to small or young livestock, large game like whitetail deer are especially vulnerable as prey to coyotes.

All of the above mentioned predators also often act as scavengers and in packs, but coyotes in the area and beyond have been known to impact wild game in greater numbers than all the others.

All of these predators are known to generally feed far away from any human activity and near their various den sites. They are also known to often drag their prey to an obscured location before feeding.

Bobcats are known to often make attempts to bury or partially cover their prey. Coyotes are known to often leave little more than patches of fur and tiny bone fragments behind after feeding.

That said, there are exceptions to every rule.

Upon a recent jaunt into the wilderness---no more than 450 feet away from my home---I spotted a curious-looking, large, round clearing in the brush, approximately 35 feet in diameter.

The area was littered with the fully intact skeletal remains of one or more young large game animals.

Upon further investigation, I saw scenting impressions---made as predators test the ground in a trail for the scent of their prey---padded tracks, scat that was consistent with that of predators, and areas near close by trees that might serve as den entrances.

This scene was obviously not the work of animals such as vultures, which are solely scavengers.

It was obvious to me that this was the unorthodox work of one or more predators, although pinpointing the exact culprit has so far proved to be inconclusive.

It would be interesting to trade notes with others who have found similar evidence in the wild.

Those involved in controlling and managing these predators likely hold a wealth of information based upon their own personal observations and experiences.

Their work is also valuable in managing and balancing the numbers of wildlife to protect our game animals as natural resources.

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  • Shawn Paul posted at 11:33 am on Sun, Feb 23, 2014.

    Shawn Paul Posts: 34

    Thanks for the comment, Hill51. Yes, that does fit the behavior profile of bobcats, and they can cause serious problems with any kind of livestock. I'm glad you were able to fix the problem.

  • Hill51 posted at 9:12 pm on Sat, Feb 22, 2014.

    Hill51 Posts: 6

    Predator's are also hard on livestock .We had a chicken house cleaned out by a bobcat. You could see where he had drug the chickens to a tree where he stacked them and cover them with leaves and dirt. We set a trap near the pile of chickens and was able to get him when he returned to feed.