The Ecology of Fear:  The presence of a predator keeps prey moving and prevents them from concentrating to browse vegetation.  This effect can be reproduced with herding dogs in areas such as the suburbs where introduction of a predator may create safety concerns.  This effect is often not achieved by hunting since human predators typically focus their hunts into short time spans determined by hunting seasons, deer and elk quickly understand the pattern and disperse only during the hunting season. 
Wolves influence elk movements: behavior shapes a trophic cascade in Yellowstone National Park D Fortin, HL Beyer, MS Boyce, DW Smith, T Duchesne… - Ecology, 2005 - Eco Soc America
... Our study clarifies the behavioral mechanisms involved in the trophic cascade of Yellowstone's wolf–elk–aspen system: elk respond to wolves on their winter range by a shift in habitat selection, which leads to local reductions in the use of aspen by elk...

Wyoming's War on Wolves May 10, 2017 JSTOR Daily
... Multiple scientists have also challenged ideas about wolves’ positive impact on Wyoming ecosystems. In a 2009 study, the ecologists Scott Creel and David Christianson contend that elk’s reduced consumption of willow trees “was more strongly affected by snow conditions than by the presence of wolves.” The scientists Matthew Kauffman, Jedediah Brodie, and Erik Jules also refute the notion that wolves played a central role in helping Yellowstone aspen trees to recover in their 2010 article. That study also concludes that “aspen are not currently recovering ...


JS Mao, MS Boyce, DW Smith, FJ Singer… - Journal of Wildlife …, 2005 - BioOne
... Elk appear to select habitats that allow them to avoid wolves during summer, but they may rely on other behavioral antipredator strategies, such as grouping, in winter. This study provides evidence that wolves can alter seasonal elk distribution and habitat selection, and demonstrates how the return of wolves to Yellowstone restores important ecosystem processes...

... When the moose harvest was increased, the moose population declined substantially in the treatment area (by 70%) but not the reference area, suggesting that the policy had the desired effect and was not caused by a broader climatic process. Wolf numbers subsequently declined in the treatment area, with wolf dispersal rates 2.5× greater, meaning that dispersal was the likely mechanism behind the wolf numerical response, though reduced recruitment and starvation was also documented in the treatment area. Caribou adult survival increased from 0.78 to 0.88 in the treatment area, but declined in the reference...

... Once introduced in 1995 and 1996, the wolf population grew rapidly. At the time, the elk population was declining from an all-time high and provided a large supply of prey to fuel wolf reproduction; the population increased at close to the maximum rate ever recorded [1]. As the wolf numbers increased, the elk numbers decreased, but at a rate that was more parsimoniously explained by a prolonged drought and levels of human harvest, the decline in abundance far exceeding that which could be accounted for purely in terms of elk consumed by wolves [2],[3]. Significant evidence does suggest that the elk had changed their feeding habits in the presence of wolves, avoiding areas where they could readily be ambushed [3]–[8]. This allowed vegetation in riparian areas to recover; photographs taken at a variety of locations showed considerable recovery of aspen in areas where it had become overgrazed in the years when elk were abundant [1],[9].... [the presence of wolves, not the result of wolf predation, changed the landscape]

Wolf recovery impact debated in state, valley January 2, 2015 Colorado, Aspen Daily News
... Jonathan Lowsky, wildlife ecologist and principal of Basalt-based Colorado Wildlife Science, said ... “The elk would just hang out like cows and eat every willow sucker that came up ... Now that wolves are back, the area is robust. It completely changed the habitat. Songbirds, beavers, otter, and fish have all tremendously benefitted because the elk can’t just sit there and chow down... ”

Gun deer season 2014 begins, wolf impact November 22, 2014 Wisconsin,  The Northwoods River News 
... "Impacts of predators on white-tailed deer population growth and recruitment in Wisconsin," by Christopher Jacques, Bureau of Science Services, and Timothy Van Deelen, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The report concluded that, "Wolf effects, measured as the physical presence of a wolf pack territory in [deer management units], had no discernible impact on population growth rates or recruitment of deer in Wisconsin." ...

A Pimenov, TC Kelly, A Korobeinikov… - Theoretical Population …, 2015
... There is evidence that multiple stable equilibrium states are possible in real-life ecological systems. ... we consider a simple predator-prey model, which is a straightforward extension of the classic Lotka-Volterra predator-prey model... A simple conceptual two-dimensional predator-prey model ... exhibits two stable co-existing equilibrium states with basins of attraction separated by a separatrix of a saddle point...

Don’t blame wolves for problems humans create March 29, 2015 Minnesota, Duluth News Tribune
... Wolves are being blamed for the decline in deer ... Each wolf eats approximately 20 deer a year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In Wisconsin there are approximately 630 wolves. Hunters killed 200,000 deer in the two-week gun season. That doesn’t include other seasons or bow season. Then add 40,000 deer killed by cars. Do the math...

... To determine the causes of deer mortality, he conducted research and found that wolves accounted for less than 5 percent of adult deer deaths in a given year.  Furthermore, his research suggested wolves are “opportunistic predators,” typically only preying on juveniles or weak individuals.  The presence of wolves on the landscape does have an ecological impact. Van Deelen said deer eat less vegetation in areas where there are more wolves, and deer eat more vegetation in areas with fewer wolves...

Effects of predation risk and group dynamics on white-tailed deer foraging behavior in a longleaf pine savanna MJ Cherry, LM Conner, RJ Warren - Behavioral Ecology, 2015
... We investigated the effects of predation risk on white-tailed deer foraging behavior by manipulating predator distributions through exclusion ... Predator exclusion resulted in a 5% increase in the time females spent feeding during the summer, concurrent with fawning; and 13.4% increase in the time males spent feeding during winter, while in postrut condition. Males were more vigilant than females and demonstrated a stronger response to predator exclusion...

Hearing the howl of the wolves May 26, 2015 Wisconsin, Post-Crescen Media 
... researchers documented that in the 1996-1997 winter, 125,894 deer were harvested by rifle and bow hunters, a staggering 70,000 deer were estimated to die by harsh winter conditions, an estimated 10,000 deer died as a result of motor vehicles, leaving only an estimated 2,250 to 2,700 deer consumed by wolves...

... these super-sized coyotes are only about two-thirds coyote. About 10 percent of their genes belong to domestic dogs and a quarter comes from wolves, with which they hybridized as they moved east north of the Great Lakes ... all the better to kill white-tailed deer, which were making a comeback as forests began to regrow...

Scale-Dependent Effects of Coyote-Predation Risk on Patterns of White-Tailed Deer Browsing along Linear Forest Edges JLB Pierce, SA Dalinsky, AA Chenaille, LM Lolya… - Northeastern Naturalist, New York, 2015
... Predation can influence patterns of browse through decreasing White-tailed Deer abundance and influencing patterns of habitat selection... We did not observe a change in White-tailed Deer browsing at the landscape scale in response to variation in the risk of Coyote predation, or a mitigating role of escape cover. However, we did detect a tendency for White-tailed Deer to shift browsing from the forest edge to interior along transects with more Coyotes. Our study indicates that Coyotes in the focal area were likely influencing patterns of browsing primarily through behaviorally mediated indirect effects...

Effect of Coyotes, Mississippi Study, 2012
     When we compared predator abundance to fawn recruitment at all the properties we studied, we found that predator abundance was not related to fawn recruitment at a regional scale. We did observe instances where high predator abundance
corresponded to low fawn recruitment estimates; however, we found just as many locations with high fawn recruitment and high predator abundance.

Coyote Kill January 5, 2015 New Mexico, Las Cruces Sun-News
... When I was a child, hunters killed off the coyote population in New Mexico and the deer started starving because the usual prey of the coyotes eat what deer eat. Without coyotes to control the rodents like jack rabbits, they ate everything in site. It is a delicate balance here....

Minn. cattlemen angered by court ruling restoring wolf protection January 26, 2015 Minnesota, AG Week
... critics point to a recent Washington State University study, which found that killing wolves to protect livestock leads to more cattle deaths, not fewer, at least initially. “It just disrupts the pack and leads to more problems for farmers,” ... The average wolf will take 18 to 20 adult-sized deer per year ...

Wolf predation on wild ungulates: how slope and habitat cover influence the localization of kill sites  E Torretta, L Caviglia, M Serafini, A Meriggi - Current Zoology, 2017
... Prey are more vulnerable to predators under certain conditions and predators are capable of selecting for these conditions. Wolves achieved this by selecting particular habitats in which to kill their prey: they preferred steep, open habitats far from human presence, where wild ungulates are more easily detectable and chasable...
... the presence of large carnivores creates a ‘landscape of fear’ necessary to keep their prey, like deer, coyotes and raccoons, from eating everything in sight ... experimentally demonstrated, for the first time, the fear of large carnivores is powerful enough to have effects all the way down the food chain ... the team played the threatening sounds of large carnivores (or non-threatening sounds) from speakers along extensive lengths of shoreline ...


Of wolves, deer, maples and wildflowers June 16, 2016 Michigan, Great Lakes Echo
... With the resurgence of wolves in the region, smart deer are learning to keep away from areas with many of the predators, meaning that wildflowers and young maples there have a better chance of survival, according to a recent study by scientists from the University of Notre Dame and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR)...

Natural and experimental tests of trophic cascades: gray wolves and white-tailed deer in a Great Lakes forest DG Flagel, GE Belovsky, DE Beyer Jr - Oecologia, 2015 Wisconsin
... The results of the exclosure experiments revealed that the negative impacts of deer on sapling growth and forb species richness became negligible in high wolf use areas. We conclude that wolves are likely generating trophic cascades which benefit maples and rare forbs through trait-mediated effects on deer herbivory, not through direct predation kills.

This video project transports students to eastern Washington to help Dr. Aaron Wirsing (University of Washington) and his team study how the return of wolves will influence the behavior of their prey as well as the ecosystem. - June 8, 2016


Effects of wildlife management in national parks on its populations - Where to go?Dominik Dachs, Research in Protected Areas, 2013  
... "The “landscape of fear” is widely ignored as a key natural process in our ecosystems. Without anti-predation behavior, ungulate species are kept in a system that is far from being natural. For protecting the natural processes in national parks without predators, the question is not if population control is maintained, but rather how it is done (CROMSIGT et al. 2013). Regular hunting is a very poor substitute for imitating the “landscape of fear” normally created by large carnivores (PROFFITT et al. 2009) and contains great risks to the objectives of the national parks. Human hunters can select by unnatural behavioral criteria (MILNER et al. 2007) or have negative genetic effects (COLTMAN et al. 2003).

... Expected predator–prey dynamics were altered in this highly urban system. Though we predicted deer would avoid coyotes on the landscape based on an “ecology of fear” framework, deer and coyote occupancy showed a strong positive association. We suggest that a scarcity of quality habitat in urban areas may cause the species to co-occupy habitat despite potential fawn predation...

Coyotes Vs. Deer: The Predation Effect January 1, 2015 Grand View Outdoors
... There have been a number of studies done where many coyotes were removed from a large area over a long period of time. In some of those studies, the response after one year showed a jump in deer numbers, but over time, deer numbers stabilized at original levels. The majority of studies looking at adult deer predation by coyotes show that coyotes simply don’t appreciably affect deer numbers...

Do We Need Wolves? March 10, 2015 In These Times
... For thousands of years the wolf covered more North American territory than any other mammal ... an estimated 250,000 lived in what’s now the United States... George Monbiot, author of Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human Life, has observed, “the wolves, small in number, transformed not just the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park … but also its physical geography.” He maintains that by keeping herds of mule deer and elk on the move, wolves reversed over-grazing along the park’s rivers, allowing new growth along the banks... By keeping herds on the move and selecting the weakest prey, for example, wolves can cull the sickest members of a deer population while leaving the healthiest most likely to reproduce...

Project studies deer mortality rates July 24, 2015 Michigan, Daily Press
... "In the low-snowfall zone...we had annual fawn survival range from 35 percent to 59 percent," ... "The adult does were actually avoiding the core areas that wolves use," ... However, coyotes in the area were avoiding these locations, as well.  "Coyotes were an important predator of fawns in phase one," ...

Predator Prey Relationship

Pa. Game Commission continues to study predation on deer herd January 5, 2015 Pennsylvania, Olean Times Herald
... The Game Commission studied the effects of fawn predation back in 2001. The study found about half of all fawns born each spring survived to see the fall hunting seasons. Predators including coyotes, bears, bobcats and fishers were responsible for killing about 22 percent of the fawns that died. ... large-scale predator control repeatedly has been found not to work ...

     Predators can exert powerful influence on their prey, independent of direct killing, by inducing antipredator responses. Coyotes (Canis latrans) have recently achieved abundances capable of influencing white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) population demography in the southeastern USA, but the effects of antipredator responses have not been reported ... his work provided evidence that coyotes can influence white-tailed deer space use and vigilance while foraging, and documented a negative relationship between coyote abundance and body mass of adult female deer during an 11-year period...

Coyote Kill January 5, 2015 New Mexico, Las Cruces Sun-News
... When I was a child, hunters killed off the coyote population in New Mexico and the deer started starving because the usual prey of the coyotes eat what deer eat. Without coyotes to control the rodents like jack rabbits, they ate everything in site. It is a delicate balance here....

Coyote/wolf hybrid spotted at Savannah River March 27, 2014 South Carolina, Greenville News
... The coyote/wolf hybrid that scares deer hunters throughout South Carolina has been found at the Savannah River Site by U.S. Forestry Service ... we took its DNA and a picture. We were stunned when the results came back with Canadian grey wolf in the animal’s background...

33 Fascinating Findings from Deer Research May 22, 2014 Virginia, QDMA
... 84% – The percentage of the total population of coyotes identified by DNA markers from thousands of scats collected in Virginia that only appeared once in the collection. Dana Morin of Virginia Polytechnic and State University said this supports other evidence that coyote populations in Virginia include a high percentage of widely traveling individuals and experience high turnover rates – both of which suggest that shooting coyotes does little to control populations...

Assessment of coyote‐wolf‐dog admixture using ancestry‐informative diagnostic SNPs J Monzón, R Kays, DE Dykhuizen - Molecular Ecology, 2013
.. Hybridization between coyotes and wolves may have introduced adaptive alleles into the coyote gene pool that facilitated an expansion in their geographic range and dietary niche. Furthermore, hybridization between coyotes and domestic dogs may facilitate adaptation to human-dominated environments. We genotyped 63 ancestry-informative single nucleotide polymorphisms in 427 canids in order to examine the prevalence, spatial distribution, and ecology of admixture in eastern coyotes...Ohio coyotes, previously thought to be free of admixture, are also highly admixed with wolves and dogs. Coyotes in areas of high deer density are genetically more wolf-like, suggesting that natural selection for wolf-like traits may result in local adaptation at a fine geographic scale...

Coyotes hunting mule deer like a pack of wolves


... “Deer are by far the most common prey,” ... second-most common prey is moose, which account for about 22 to 28 percent of the animals killed by wolves...  about .3 kills per pack per day during the summer grazing season ...  equals one kill every 3.3 days, or about 110 kills per year ... “To put this into perspective, roughly 350 deer are killed on the highway in the Methow Valley every year,”

... constructed four small, fenced exclosures that were tall enough to exclude coyotes, foxes, and bobcats, but short enough for deer to jump (approximately 4 feet tall ...  fawn recruitment was almost double inside the fences. These findings suggest that providing small areas where does can give birth without risk of predation will increase recruitment...