Deer Predators

Links below to research and news about these major predators of deer. Population and other information for each state (use drop down menu above "By State") is near the bottom of the right column.

Coyotes Mountain Lions Wolves Pythons

Bears "Black Bear populations have been on the increase for over 20 years. Population estimates range from 850,000 to one million. Black bears are the most specialized of deer predators, and they focus mostly on fawns. Remember, a black bear can smell about 400 times as well as a blood hound. The frequently used “fact” that fawns do not have scent is totally false! I personally have watched bears go into a search pattern in large food plots, picking up the scent of hidden fawns and quickly killing them." - Dr. James C. Kroll, Deadly Deer Predators - North American Whitetail. September 10, 2021

“Predators don’t control prey,” Kroll said. “The prey control the predators.” Dr. James. C Kroll

Other predators that can sometimes kill deer include bobcats and lynx.

Multi-predator Systems


White‐tailed deer exploit temporal refuge from multi‐predator and human risks on roads - Ecology and Evolution, 2022

... . Deer nursery groups (i.e., ≥1 fawn present) were more diurnal than adult deer without fawns, causing fawns to have 24–38% less overlap with carnivores and 39% greater overlap with humans. Supporting our hypothesis, deer nursery groups appeared to optimize diel activity to minimize combined mortality risk. Temporal refuge for fawns was likely the result of carnivores avoiding humans, simplifying diel risk of five species into a trade-off between diurnal humans and nocturnal carnivores. Functional redundancy among multiple predators with shared behaviors may partially explain why white-tailed deer fawn predation rates are often similar among single- and multi-predator systems ...