This is a great read about how everything is intermingled in the world of predator control.
According to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFWD), additional predator “control” strategies (such as a bounty system or management method other than hunting and trapping) wouldn’t benefit wild turkeys.
In their current Big Game Management Plan 2010-2020 draft, the VFWD suggests that: “Predator/prey relationships are extremely dynamic and complex. These relationships involve a variety of factors which defy a simple, quick fix. Wild turkeys are prey to a long list of predators including coyotes, bobcats, foxes, fisher, weasels, skunks, opossum, raccoons, snakes, hawks, owls, domestic dogs, and humans. In the case of implementing ‘coyote control,’ for example, assuming that this could be effective, removal of coyotes would only reduce competition among the remaining host of predators that would continue to prey on turkeys.”
In other words, coyotes help control the list of other turkey predators.
“Coyotes, in fact, prey upon weasels, opossums, raccoons, foxes and rarely skunks,” the VFWD suggests. “All of these species are effective predators of nests, chicks, and nesting turkey hens. For this reason, it is possible that removal of coyotes could allow the populations of these other predators to increase resulting in more, not less, turkey predation and an overall decrease in a turkey population. Complex species relationships are common in nature.”
Could the wild turkey and coyote have more in common than we think?
“Many of the qualities that hunters admire so much about these birds, such as their incredible eyesight,ability to detect movement and wariness, are products of the turkey’s long evolutionary history that they share with their predators,” the current VFWD management plan draft suggests. “As wild turkey populations increase, the potential role of this species as a significant source of prey for other Vermont animals may now be greater than ever before.”
Predator hunting is encouraged however. There’s no closed season on Vermont coyotes, and a fall trapping season as well.