White-tailed Deer shoulder check


Top level predators like coyotes and wolves are considered some of the greatest hunters in the world. Cunning, stealth and the ability to stalk prey are all characteristics shared by the Canis genus.

In our region, the ever ubiquitous eastern coyote or ‘brush wolf’ as some call them, have adapted nicely to living off the fat of the land. Small mammals, scavenging and white-tail deer compose much of their diet. Whether hunting solitary or in packs, where there are deer, the eastern coyote will not be far behind.

Sometimes even closer than you (& the deer) realize!

In the above photo, you can see a doe walking in the tall grass behind my deer feeder. I have two does hanging around the back these days – one a yearling the other one an older female.



Here in this pic you can see the other doe approaching the feeder (from the right) while the first deer strolls across in the background.



A minute later, the two does can be seen facing each other in a stance which appears to do with proper eating etiquette. When deer feed together, hierarchy usually takes over and the older more dominant animal will usually eat first. It looks to me as though the older doe is explaining that fact to the younger one. (Ears held back are a give-away)


Anyhow, I hadn’t even noticed at first that while the deer were distracted, something was watching them from behind. I tried zooming-in and back tracking through the images I had gathered from that evening to figure out what it was.


Something was behind them and it wasn’t another deer! You can see a pair of eyes at the top-middle of the image.


In this photo taken a couple of seconds later, you can see one doe glance over her shoulder to another set of eye peering at them from out in the field.



In this next image the deer have disappeared and the strange visitor suddenly makes an appearance from the left.



A coyote had been stalking the two deer and got to within 50 feet, by my calculation, before the deer had even realized. The coyote hangs out at the feeder for a moment before taking off himself.



It just goes to prove that whitetails literally need eyes in the back of their head to stay one step ahead of theses pesky coyotes. In this case, the two deer were evidently distracted allowing a predator to close-in to within 50 feet of them before they saw it.


Footnote: The two deer showed-up a couple of days later alive and well, after an up-close-and-personal visit from their woodland nemesis!


Interesting what you’ll find on your trail cam images sometimes….




Here are some neat photos Rick took of a deer standing its ground with a coyote:

Here are a few stills grabbed off the video of the coyote stalking the deer and the deer then stalking the coyote. The video is 13 minutes long.

 The first shot shows the coyote walking bye a forkhorn. The second shows the coyote stalking the bedded buck with a second shot showing the coyote under the red arrow. The third shows the coyote closer to the bedded buck Notice the buck is aware of the coyote. The last shot shows two bucks stalking the bedded coyote. 














53 thoughts on “White-tailed Deer shoulder check”

  1. Jeff just a side note.. the yote will eat more fruit and vegetables than meat.. basically he will eat anything that is palatable… i have seen poop in the woods that was completely orange they ate so many pumpkins that the guy had baited with there poop was solid orange (i took a stick and did a CSI on it )

    1. I hear ya Chess, but wouldn’t that fall under the ‘scavenge’ category…or does scavenge imply only dead animals?

      Mr. Research assistant, I smell an assignment!


      1. Ok, so there ya go actually did my own research this time. As I thought, seems scavenging is not limited to animal matter.

        Dictionary definition of scavenger: “An animal that feeds on carrion, dead plant material, or refuse.”

        So I guess old pumpkins will fall under the ‘refuse’ category…


  2. and they say teachers are on strike….. ever child should come to this blog for there daily lessons when the teachers take there day off….. a coyote is considered a scavenger or opportunistic predator

    1. Chessy, I think there are some lessons here the kids might not yet be ready for..hehe

      You call coyotes ‘opportunistic predators’. I guess this was one opportunity they almost took advantage of!


  3. Jeff, you are slightly yote paranoid maybe? I am with Chessy here about meat consumption. You are putting food out that attracts ‘meat bearing’ animals, and if I am a meat eater I go where there is steak. When you put food out for the deer you will surely attract opportunists like coons, porcupines, squirrels, crows, jays, and most definately yotes. Coyotes will eat anything the guys put out for deer feed around here because it’s an easy meal for them and they take full advantage. I believe coyotes do most of their deer munching in winter and probably a lot of it when the conditions favour them. Especially with deep snow that forms a crust they can run on but the deer can’t.
    Chessy, maybe you can collect and and sell that pumpkin like they do with coffee beans! Nothing better than a sliver of pumpkin pie with a cup of elephant crap coffee.

    1. Yeah Johan, I’ve been acused of being black bear paranoid as well…and I know what you’re saying..

      None the less, it was neat actually getting photos of the yote out there watching the deer.

      Mmmmm, pumpkin pie.


  4. both you guys are “sick” lol “pumpkin pie and coffee” don’t be fooled by my post. Yotes will eat everything including deer. I watch them push deer all over the orchard and once one cuts it self from either banging up against the 7 foot high fence or cuts it self on the crusty deep snow. once that happens it is a quick meal for them they just keep push and pushing it till it cant walk anymore they take turns pushing it ..

    1. That’s right chessy, pushing them seems to be the big tactic they use. Saw it firsthand last winter with that story of the buck at my place with the bad leg!

      They ran that poor bugger till he could run no more…at one point his leg was actually just about healed till they caught up with him and ran him into a snowbank, his final resting place..


  5. I have a video of a coyote stalking a nice mature buck bedded in a field. The buck watch the coyote come close enough to put on a charge. All the buck did was stand and face the coyote. The coyote backed down.

    Several minutes later the coyote bedded in the field. The deer then turned the tables on the coyote as a least a half dozen deer stalked the coyote surrounding the coyote. He slinked away with tail tucked between his legs.

    The video is from a distance and quite long, 7-8 minutes in total.

    1. OK Rick, if you filmed this yourself you should be in National Geographic….or Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom or something..

      I would like to see said vid, so please feel free to post a link or something.


  6. I have no doubt that coyotes kill deer, I just think they need the advantage of winter snow and ice to be really effective.
    I have a friend that does wildlife management, nuisance trapping etc, and he took part in a wolf study north somewhere following radio collared timber wolves. At first they couldn’t understand why the animals were seldom traveling together until they figured out what was really going on. They found that these pairs would tag team chase a single moose or other prey. One rested, while the other kept that animal moving constantly then they would switch until they ran the prey into exhaustion. What he said was even more interesting is that same pair used that technique over and over once they realized it meant dinner. Cool! Now that’s a job I should be doing.

    1. johan, was that wolf study in Northern ON, or somewhere else up north? Yes, that’s a job I wouldn’t mind either…went to school long enough for it, but I digress.

      It is interesting, though, how the Canid hunting techniques have changed/evolved over the years. The old ‘pack strategy’ seems to be gone by the wayside while a simple run to exhaustion trick is the way to go.

      Guess they figured out how to do whatever works.


  7. I love this Blog it is the only time i hear … “Thats Right chessy” i watch allot of yote activity where i hunt as i am NOT allowed to shoot them Why because they keep the deer moving .

    1. Hey Chessy, perhaps we should start a ‘Mutual Admiration Club’..it’ll be a support group for guys just like us..hehe


  8. Word from the trap line is that there’s a yote carcass on the ice near one of our bait sights. Apparently a moose kicked the shite out of it….I’m back up there on Friday morning so I’ll examine closer and get pics.

    1. Now trapper, I really want to hear the rest of that story!!

      Man, imagine getting a moose hoof in the head?


  9. Jeff, don’t know much more than that, I only see him the odd time now but we always end up talking about his adventures so some of it comes from memory. The tag teaming was where the conversation migrated as it veered off the coyote population conversation. Interesting stuff and when a guy that deals with wildlife every day is amazed then it’s pretty cool stuff.

  10. Jeff my video is hardly National Geographic quality. I sent you a few stills off the 13 minute video. Probably not good enough to publish but if you want to, go ahead and share them.

    1. Thanks Rick, I’m working at getting those images put-up at the top of this page! Man, you sir are a man in the right place at the rigth time..at least when this yote-deer showdown was on!


      1. Check out the photo series Rick sent me..I just posted it above at end of my Blog Post!


  11. hey whatever happened to the “great coyote cull contest ” is it still in existence or have the “anti’s” put a stop to it ? on a side note , there is a study going on right now in the marlborough forest where deer have been collared with gps to track their movements and the effects of hunters ,winters etc… does anyone have any inside info ? be interesting to see some results …

    1. You know Matt, that study in Marlborough forest is abnormally low-key…I actually hadn’t even heard of it until Chessy dug-up some info and sent it to me one day awhile back…

      One would think any sort of ‘positive exposure’ for a study of this nature would be a good thing? Not to toot my own horn, but really, I am the only member of the Media in this region who covers conservation and hunting on a regular basis.

      Why wouldn’t someone involved in said project, at least, send me some details on it..a press-release, notice update…anything. A token email from the project leader would have sufficed.

      I’m not bitter because I honestly do have enough to write about, just thought it was strange that no one had even brought this initiative to my attention.

      To be honest, I don’t even know who sanctioned said project…man, I’m starting to sound like a lawyer now.

      Anyhoo, it does sound like a good thing don’t get me wrong, just wish I knew more about it is all..then I could share it everyone else.


  12. come on JEFF share with us.. better coming from you in legible and readable format than coming from me lol

  13. Jeff last year we shot a tagged deer that had lost its gps collar ,we were able to get in touch with the university student that was in charge of the study , he came to the house did a quick measure of the deer to see how much it had grown since it was tagged , but other than that i havent heard too much about it .

    1. Hey Matt, thanks to Chessy I do know a little about this project. The student actually goes to Chess’s school – Trent University in Peterborough. From what we can tell, however, the project is run by the Ontario gov’t with the leader researcher and techs being gov’t employees. The student you met was doctoral candidate Keith Munro gathering data for a reserach paper.

      More to come…I have a couple of links with more imformation on it.


  14. Just back in from the trap line. Had a closer look at the yote scene…By the time I got there all the moose tracks were wiped clean by the rain. But the yote lay on thin ice in the middle of a beaver pond. Upon closer examination with binos it’s hind legs were spread in opposite direction with it’s belly flat on the ice. Unable to recover the carcass in order to do an autopsy but I’m guessing maybe a kick to the hind quarter broke a hip ? Sorry no pics, didn’t have a camera with a large enough zoom on hand.

  15. You get 20 free complimentary looks at articles… i have 6 computers in the house so that makes for 120 looks at you outdoor column unless the change that

  16. i have a company called acanac for my high speed. … NO NO bandwidth 🙂 and a good wire less modem where i use to work they would throw them out and i would dig them out… each child has a laptop (not high end) wife and i lap tops.. and my pride and joy my I MAC

  17. With winter conditions upon us, ice fishing enthusiasts are reminded to be careful out there.

    As we prepare for another year of winter fishing, monitoring current ice conditions should be at the top of your list.

    Remember that ice does not freeze at a uniform thickness across most lakes and rivers. This is especially evident at the start of the winter season when near-shore ice is usually thicker and safer than ice further out.

    Anglers should check ice thickness regularly with a spud or auger as they move out to their fishing spot.

    Ice which has formed over flowing water, springs, pressure cracks, old ice holes or around the mouths of rivers and streams will be weaker than surrounding ice.

    A good rule of thumb is that clear blue ice is the strongest, while white or opaque-coloured ice is usually weaker.

    Keep it safe

    Travelling on frozen lakes or rivers with snowmobiles or ATVs can be particularly dangerous and added precautions should be taken. At least eight inches of clear blue ice is required for snowmobiles and ATVs, while at least 12 inches is required for most other vehicles. Although not predicted to be as much an issue this winter, remember that heavy snow insulates the ice below and slows down the freezing process. Anglers should check with hut operators before venturing out and let others know where you’re planning to fish and when you plan to return.

    Backyard deer feeding

    Winter deer feeding is a controversial issue in many parts of the country. When carried out properly, supplemental feeding is not only a great pastime, but can be of benefit as snow depth increases. Once you begin distributing feed in early winter, it is imperative to continue throughout the winter as the animal’s digestive system will adapt to the supplemented diet. Game management agencies discourage backyard feeding because most people are not familiar enough with white-tailed deer dietary requirements. Simply increasing access to the deer’s natural winter forage is the easiest and often best way to help. Creating trails with a snowmobile, ATV or even snowshoes is a great way to give white-tails better access to winter browse and allows you to spend more time in the Great Outdoors.

    Quebec deer harvest

    As predicted, Quebec has enjoyed a year of white-tailed deer recovery reflected in their 2012 harvest data. With 50,282 animals taken in continental Quebec this fall, hunters have witnessed substantial increases in almost every region. Judging by deer reports this fall, combined with my own observations from two separate regions, there is little doubt things are on the rebound. White-tail harvest numbers in the Outaouais are up nearly 20% over last year, while statistics for the Laurentians indicate similar growth. It is nice to see how things have turned around in the Quebec deer woods like it has here in Eastern Ontario.

  18. First ice is always the best fishing so our rule is the fat guy goes first and when the spud touches water in one whack, stop there. If it holds him we got’er made. In first ice conditions it’s always wise to leave the minnow bucket beside your buddy’s hole, unless of course your buddy IS the fat guy too; after all, minnows are expensive now.

    1. johan, that sounds like the ‘running shoes’ rule when travalling with friends in bear country..hehe


  19. Hey Jeff,

    I was out to the farm Thursday, and had a good look around. Every set of deer tracks I saw were matched with a set of following coyote tracks. They’re obviously on the lookout for an available meal. With todays heavy snow the deer’ll be in the heavy cedars and hemlocks hunkered down. I fear for their safety. All the scat I looked at contained small mammal hair, mice, voles and the like. Not much else.

    The trail cam showed this BIG coyote following deer tracks. I’d have called it a brush wolf myself, but that term doesn’t seem to be popular any more. He looks like a wolf with a coyotes head, and hungry eyes.


    1. Hey Maple, that was close..I had to rescue your comment from the dreaded spam folder. Just so you know, next time you comment with a link included, give me the heads-up on it, cause they get sent to spam automatically.

      Besides, Im getting nearly 1000 spam comments on the Blog every day now…uggghh


      1. Don’t worry Maple, we still call them brush wolves! Back in my college days, they(MNR) would differentiate coyotes from wolves by ear length and nose width. Wolves were said to have shorter ears and nose pads wider than 1″ across.

        With the eastern coyotes we have nowadays, you can’t even use that rule and many of them have short ears and wide noses.

        I believe; however, that true timber wolves run with their tails straight out behind them, while a coyote/hybrid/brushwolf still runs with tail down.

        Either way that is one big predator as are many of them around here!!


  20. Jeff, it’s very similar, on those trips in bear country the fat guy always carries the food pack, he has no chance of running so why not take one for the team. Depending on the year, any one of us can qualify for the pack!
    Ice conditions have been responsible for us finding walleye hot spots because we just couldn’t go any further. I kid you not, we walked over a spot for years to fish the drop off, and shoal areas but one time early in the season we didn’t have near enough ice to get out there and and since we had driven for an hour we just fished in 5 feet of water. (That was one spud whack, it’s a heavy spud, and then we didn’t move from our holes much cause the ice would sag) I bet we pulled 45 walleye out of that area over 4 or 5 trips before January one year. I caught at least 20 out of the same hole. Needless to say we never walk past that spot now. I fished on an inch or less of ice last year but I was only 15 feet off shore with a rope tied to a tree laying on the ice. While I was fishing a dude buzzed along the far shore on a sled, I thought I was a moron but at least I was doing something useful; fishing.

    1. Hold on Iggs, how do you know she didn’t inspect the duck’s cloaca first? Could be an immature male mallard…

      Rick, any thoughts?


  21. Merry christmas and a happy new year. happy holidays to others… time to be with family whether at home or on vacation 🙂

  22. It is a female that looks like it is a hybrid black/mallard. The bill and head is like a black but the white border of the speculum is mallard. All male mallards should be in adult plumage by now.

    And what is with the male mallards not having curled tail feathers. Trophy adult male mallards are those with four curls instead of three.

  23. Thank you Iggy and Merry Christmas to you and your family. My best wishes to the Outdoors Guy and everyone on the blog. I want you all to know how much I have enjoyed your stories and your insights on the blog this year.

  24. Nomally I’m the world’s worst Scrooge at this time of year but I suppose I can check that for a moment and wish Jeff, and all the supporters of The Outdoors Guy blog a Merry Christmas and all the best in the new year.


    1. Tks Trapper, but I dont think you’re a Scrooge at all..best of luck out on the trapline over Christmas…may Santa bless you with some fine fur-bearers!

      Thanks also to everyone who reads and contributes to the Outdoors Guy Blog…without you guys it would be pretty darn boring around here.

      I have some great topics lined-up for right after Christmas..and if you folks would like to discuss anything in particular which hasnt been brought up yet, please drop me a line. As we all know, winter can be a little dreary so chatting about those sports we know and love can help pass the time.

      Thanks again to all and may everyone enjoy a safe and happy Christmas wherever you are!

      One of my most memorable Christmas days was rowing down Beaven creek in my canoe back home checking my muskrat and mink traps. With all the snow and ice along the creek, it was a magical time I’ll never forget. Let us never forgot those magical moments of youth…especially when spent in the Great Outdoors!

      Merry Christmas!


  25. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family Jeff and all of you
    on the blog .Good luck in 2013


  26. That is cool. I had it happen last year – she (red coyote) was bedded in a tree top and as I rounded it looking for deer, she stood up and slinked away with some brush between her and I. Good stuff to get that close and see them get out of their bed. I saw her one other time about 100 yards out a few weeks later.

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