This is why you kill coyotes – Do They Eat Deer?

by Larry Oakley
(Kingston, Ontario)

this is why you kill coyotes
this is why you kill coyotes
this is why you kill coyotes

Do Coyotes Eat Deer?

Yes coyotes eat deer, as you can see in the trail cam pictures above.

The photos attached to an email that I received on December 15, 2011 showing coyote eating deer and may look like a murder to some people. But to me the real crime was the subject line of the email.

It read, “This is why you kill coyotes.”

A sequence of six photos taken from a trail camera were attached to the email showing two coyotes killing a ten point buck between 10:08 pm on August 1, 2011 and 3:28 am on August 2, 2011.

A seventh photo taken at 11:07am the same morning shows two turkey vultures feasting on the remains of the buck left behind by the two coyotes.

In the first few photos red blood stains on the hind quarters of the buck make it obvious that the coyotes have already wounded him Photo 401 – Wounded buck being harassed by coyote.

In the next couple of photos you see that the buck has decided to stop running. He has stopped to fight and make his final stand. He even tries to attack and kick a coyote with the hooves of his front leg Photo 402 – The buck attacks the coyote.

In the final set of photos the buck has given up and lies down from exhaustion. The coyotes begin to eat him alive while he grimaces in pain unable and unwilling to fight back Photo 403 – The coyotes begin to eat the buck alive.

To me the scene is a natural one, as natural as being born, drawing breath, feeling hungry, eating food, wanting death and giving it.

The subject line of the email which I assume came from a hunter reminded me that many in the hunting community are just as intolerant of a coyotes right to kill deer as the non-hunting community is of a hunters right to do the same.

I am disappointed at the intolerance shown by hunters, but not surprised. Over the years, when it comes to a coyote eating deer, I’ve heard many hunters say, “kill them all.”

Coyotes of course have more right to the woods and deer than we do. Killing deer is not a way of life for coyotes like it is for hunters. It’s a matter of life or death. The big buck in the photos was in the prime of life. He was killed in full velvet in mid summer when the woods are lush green and food is plentiful and days are long and nights are warm.

Although the killing sequence on the trail camera lasted almost four and half hours those two coyotes may have run the buck all day. During that time they would not let him rest or eat which meant they also could do neither. The race between the deer and coyotes is a race between fear and hunger. It’s run daily many times in the woods and not just between deer and coyotes.

They ran that deer not just to tire him, but to overcome his instinct to survive by breaking his will to flee or fight.

The great predators of the north woods like the wolverine and wolf and bear and coyote do not kill with their teeth and claws. The do not kill with their strength and endurance. Nor do they kill with their speed and quickness.

They kill with something far more primal and powerful.

They kill with their hunger.

Hunters who shoot coyotes and walk over and kick them and then leave would respect coyotes more if they ran in that race, especially at night in the big woods or during winter in the deep snow. It wouldn’t matter which role they played or when they ran the race. They would be the loser every time.

This sequence of photos is also important for non-hunters to observe and ponder. Many will probably say, “That’s horrible. It upset me. I can’t look anymore.”

Coyotes can’t pay for the deaths of the animals they consume. They can’t go shopping on the meat aisle. They don’t eat every day. They only eat when they kill. No one asks a coyote, ”How would you like your steak done?”

Of all the ways that deer die in the woods, the way this buck died is not the worst. Starving to death takes much longer and means more suffering. Many deer that are hit by speeding cars and trucks crawl away with broken bodies to die long hard deaths without pain killers. For those deer the coyotes often become painkillers. Although coyotes know nothing of mercy, they provide it to many animals in the woods.

Of all the ways that deer die in the woods, the sequence portrayed in these photos is the most honorable.

The coyote has helped make the deer the wild animal it is. They have made it alert and fast. Maybe this is how deer repay coyotes. The buck eventually gave up and laid down for the coyotes, almost as if he was giving them his life, maybe as a gift, to acknowledge their contribution to his ability to survive.

Of all the ways that deer die in the woods, a bullet through the head seems the most merciful. If given the choice between coyotes and a bullet what would you choose?

And how do coyotes die in the woods? Sometimes a deer kicks a coyote in the face and breaks its jaw or a coyote breaks its leg while in pursuit. In either case the coyote starves to death, just like the coyote pups that it can no longer feed back in the den.

Once the killing process begins in the woods there is no intervention. Not god, not fate, not even humans can intervene and help the deer or the coyotes for that matter. Hunger and fear will decide who will tire first. More often than not, the coyotes tire and the deer just walks away.

It’s an extraordinary sequence of photos, not only showing coyote eating deer, but showing the truth about life and death in the woods. It should be a revelation on tolerance for hunters and non-hunters alike.

I forwarded the email to my hunting friends, but I changed the subject line.

It read: This is why you don’t kill coyotes or criticize hunters.

Do coyotes eat deer?

Yes, coyotes eat deer. In the beginning of this article, you can see pictures of a coyote eating deer alive.

RELATED: Researchers Find Burmese Python With Deer Inside In Southwest Florida

Coyotes hunt deer. Coyotes attack deer and coyotes kill deer.

Hunting coyotes is a very specialized type of hunting with calls and special gear, like the Best Hunting Binoculars.

Click here for more great tips on hunting coyotes.

LW Oakley lives in Kingston, Ontario and is the author of Inside The Wild, which is available below from

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Comments for “This is why you kill coyotes”

Feb 04, 2014 I DISAGREE.
by: Eric Paulson First, you say that coyotes have more rights to the woods than us? You may live in a city, but that city was once woods. I don’t live in a city my house is in the woods. My family has lived here since my ancestors homesteaded this land. You clearly don’t understand what happens when animals like coyotes are allowed to breed freely, especially after they have bred with dogs, or wolves. When they breed with dogs they have multiple litters per year instead of one, and with a coywolf they are larger and even more aggressive than an average coyote. What happens is absolutely terrible. They become sick and/or diseased, they breed and have litters of diseased pups. With the increased population they either become malnourished or starve to death. When they become hungry enough they migrate to human populated areas (like what the north side of Chicago is dealing with now) they eat pets, trash, and have even attacked people. Have you ever seen a wild coyote with your own eyes? Ever seen a sick one? Ever had your kids pet snatched away from them? My guess? NO you haven’t. Now you say we can go to the store and buy meat? You ever been to a slaughter house? One after another killed, yet this is tolerable for you but not wild animals? Keeping the predator population in check helps to keep other animal populations at a healthy level. Its a cruel kindness, it might not be good for that particular animal, but for their entire population it is healthy. coyotes have at least one litter per pair having an average of 7 pups. Whitetail deer have at most 2 fawns per doe. The coyote population is at a dangerously high level where I live and has shown thru the whitetail population being much lower. FYI, they aren’t house pets. They are opportunists they will attempt to kill whatever they think they can take down. Now go back to your computer and look all this information up, move your ass to the country, and actually live it before you speak about it. People like you are pathetic saying that were killing them for fun.

Nov 05, 2013 bull shit
by: Anonymous I disagree when you say hunters only hunt for sport my family would have died out a long time ago if it wasn’t for hunting.

Feb 16, 2012 Don’t kill Coyotes because of Deer
by: David Swanson As mentioned in the written piece by LW Oakley, the Title“This is why you kill coyotes” is the wrong reason.
Yes, if you believe in God as I do, then he has a hand in all things, but from a standpoint of a flawed human being I only see 3 reasons on Earth to kill Coyotes… (NOTE: Please excuse me if these reasons have already been discussed as I did not read all the comments prior to writing this. I should have, but I didn’t.)1. The Coyotes are killing Livestock.
2. The Coyotes are threatening the safety of your children. I know Coyotes are NOT in the habit of targeting children, but if you live out in a remote area with children and the Coyotes are starving due to any number of circumstances, it is possible. Maybe not probable, but still possible.
3. And finally, if the Coyotes in your area have been found to carry a deadly virus that can be passed along to humans.Other than these, I just don’t see the moral or ethical reason to kill them just because they ate a beauty that you had your eyes on since last season.Just my 2 cents!
David Swanson

Feb 15, 2012 To Mr. Any
by: Brr. Black In my own un-humble opinion God ” Who-ever that may be to you” only creates , he/she/them -doesnt intervene. Because if he/she/them did, he would have stopped the Jews from killing Jesus or stop child molesters or stop that douche who killed Dimebag Darrell.

Feb 15, 2012 Reaching
by: any I agree with your post almost entirely. One exception…Your God comment. I believe God can intervene for the deer or for the coyote if God chose to. To say that not even “God can intervene” and not capitalizing God tells me that you prob don’t believe in God. That’s your free right but you should be careful not to offend others. My point is that you made your point about the coyotes and the deer and their life in the wild. You didn’t need to go with such an epic statement as to say NOTHING can intervene. Besides, that’s just not true. Even if you don’t believe in God, people intervene in situations like the one on this post all the time. I don’t feel we should, but we do. Anyway, believe it or not, I mostly appreciate and agree with your point of view.

Feb 12, 2012 Love – hate
by: B.R.Yanney Just imagine your-self a coyote you would hunt down and kill what-ever you needed to- to survive. To feed your off-spring. Imagine your starving children and your natural instincts to take care of them, you would do what-ever it takes, wouldn’t you? That being said I hit a buck a little farther back than I would’ve liked ” in archery” one year and decided to let him sit over night. Well I found him the next morning all I had left was the antlers! He was eaten’ by coyotes. We just have to manage there numbers. I know in our area one farmer shot 14 in one night- that to me is too many in one area. But I do think we need some, they deserve the right to survive just like any other of Gods creatures !

Feb 06, 2012 coyote
by: Anonymous i hate those stupid coyotes i had one kill my dog those things need to go. jayson
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3 thoughts on “This is why you kill coyotes – Do They Eat Deer?”

  1. I agree with “me” god did put them in this earth but he also gave us dominion over them and over deer. We all know coyotes are a nuisance and hurt deer populations. I don’t think we should destroy coyotes but we definitely should thin them out A LOT!!

  2. Coyotes are preditors so the kill when hungry an there for they have every right to the dear if everyone would get their dogs fixed then coyotes wouldn’t be breeding with dogs if humans hadn’t killed so many wolves that they are gone from a lot of places in the use the coyotes would have compition for food an there would probably be less coyotes no one should kill coyotes unless there is no other choice

  3. i personaly believe that GOD put them on this earth for a reason and its our duty to maintain not abliterate the packs…… is you were super super hungery and someone gave you a alive animal to eat you would youd kill it or die trying and if not your stupid


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