What Are the Natural Enemies of Deer?

Deer encounter a number of different predators depending on their habitat. Animal diversity in the wilderness exposes deer to a number of predators, including black bears, feral hogs, coyotes, wolves, bobcats and other larger, carnivorous animals. Deer living near humans face danger from hunters during hunting season.

In Southern Canada and several states in the United States, including Michigan, Virginia, South Carolina and Pennsylvania, the most common predators of white-tailed deer are coyotes, followed by bobcats. Coyotes that used to live primarily in the American West have extended their territory ranges and have moved eastward. Since then, coyotes have played a major role in reducing the deer population, as they specifically attack fawns born in spring.

Humans and their dog companions are two of the most adamant enemies of deer. The lack of natural predators to thin the vast red-deer population in most of the United States forces human interventions. Some states control the increasing deer numbers by culling hundreds of thousands of deer each year, while others introduce natural predators, such as wolves and bobcats, into places where deer hunters cannot reach. Increasing the number of culled deer and deer hunters, however, fail to impede the ever-growing deer population.