Pennsylvania Game News - August 2018 - 43

Jacob Dingel

A recently completed three-year study of predator impacts on Pennsylvania whitetail fawns
documented results nearly identical to a similar, prior study. Survival rates are consistent.
Predators remain the leading cause of fawn mortality, but deer populations are stable or increasing
in all 23 Wildlife Management Units, showing the ability of deer to withstand predator impacts.

Fawn study documents stable survival rates
Predators take their toll, but deer populations are stable or increasing.

Three years of field study, 165 captured
fawns and more than 200,000 trailcamera photos again have demonstrated
that Pennsylvania has good, stable fawn
survival.
The research, which wrapped up in
2017, was started to see if predators -
particularly coyotes - were taking more
fawns than documented in a two-year study
that began in 2000. The Game Commission
and Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and
Wildlife Research Unit at Penn State
(PCFWRU) collaborated to design the
study and conduct fieldwork.
Although the playing field had changed
in the study areas when the second study
AUGUST 2018	

began in 2015 - Pennsylvania had more
predators and deer - the results essentially
were the same, according to Christopher
Rosenberry, who supervises the agency's
Deer and Elk Section.
"There was no evidence that predators
were taking too many of our fawns in any
of our 23 Wildlife Management Units,"
Rosenberry said. "They all have stable or
growing whitetail populations."
"Our field studies have shown
repeatedly that predators are the No. 1
cause of fawn mortality, and more often
than not, black bears are taking the fawns,"
Rosenberry said. "But fawn mortality is
not causing deer-population reductions
43



Pennsylvania Game News - August 2018

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Pennsylvania Game News - August 2018 - Contents
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Pennsylvania Game News - August 2018 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - August 2018 - Cover4
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