Bobcats vs. coyotes; which is worse?

Cross said after a few years of implemented control, the numbers of varmints has declined.

“We haven’t had a lot of fawn fatalities by coyotes because we’ve kept them down,” he said. “We don’t get a whole lot of coyotes now, but that’s what it takes is predator control.”

Texas Agrilife Extension Wildlife Specialist Dr. Dale Rollins said hunters and landowners probably tend to emphasize coyote control because of what they see.

“A coyote is not always a villain,” he said. “People are more worried about coyotes because you hear and see coyotes, and you just don’t see or notice the presence of bobcats, so you could underestimate the number you have.”

Rollins said that from one angle, a bobcat population could be worse than a coyote population.

“The one good thing the coyotes have going for them is they are very opportunistic, and eat a lot of fruits,” he said. “From a lot of standpoints that’s less damaging to a wildlife population than a bobcat, because (bobcats) don’t eat fruit.”

Rollins pointed to a study done on the King Ranch, where 308 bobcats and coyotes were removed from a particular area over a two-year stretch. Within only six months of the experiment ending, the predator numbers returned to their original numbers. During the same two-year stretch, fawn mortality was 67.5% higher on the area of the ranch where predator control was not implemented.

However, experiments done on the effect of coyotes on mature male whitetails showed that coyote removal did not change the number of harvestable bucks available.

“Half the papers suggest coyotes are a major problem, and half don’t,” Rollins said. “The answer for people usually just depends on which side you want to hear.”