Mesopredators and Quail

McFarmer

Member
I have many pheasant hunting friends that kill coyotes when ever they can thinking they are helping the birds. I've never been convinced.
 

haymaker

Active member
In the hay day of pheasants in my part of South Dakota in the 50s we had no coyotes and we got along fine. I know we are in different times now but I have yet to see a benefit of having coyotes around and as a live stock man I have seen enough death and destruction to turn a mans stomach. And now we have to deal with the proliferation of Mt. Lions and sooner or later wolves.
 

Toad

Active member
I have shared similar sentiments about red tailed hawks benefitting quail because they displace coops and sharpshins, and eat a lot of snakes and rats, but it's always been a hard sell. People don't seem to care much what the data says, they just want to get those evil hawks...

I've spent the last 3 seasons flying red tailed hawks for falconry, and they are not hurting quail populations. I've flushed dozens of quail underneath my RTs, and a healthy, hungry red tail doesn't even view quail as a food item.
 
A small anecdote from our farm seems to match the theory about the damage from mesopredators.

Our closest neighbor had many (20+?) feral barn cats. I would frequently see them on our property and I think our quail/pheasant numbers were far below what they should have been considering our habitat.

We started seeing bobcat signs on the property about 2-1/2 years ago and have had numerous sightings since then. The barn cat population seems to have suffered a significant decline over the same period. In fact, I have not even seen a cat in the neighbor's yard this year.

Our bird population has significantly increased over this same time period. However, there are many other variables - we came out of a drought, etc.

I don't know if the bobcats ate the feral cats to eliminate hunting competition, or if they just found them to be easy prey. Either way, it appears that a family of bobcats eats fewer birds than multiple families of feral house cats.
 

watermen

Member
A small anecdote from our farm seems to match the theory about the damage from mesopredators.

Our closest neighbor had many (20+?) feral barn cats. I would frequently see them on our property and I think our quail/pheasant numbers were far below what they should have been considering our habitat.

We started seeing bobcat signs on the property about 2-1/2 years ago and have had numerous sightings since then. The barn cat population seems to have suffered a significant decline over the same period. In fact, I have not even seen a cat in the neighbor's yard this year.

Our bird population has significantly increased over this same time period. However, there are many other variables - we came out of a drought, etc.

I don't know if the bobcats ate the feral cats to eliminate hunting competition, or if they just found them to be easy prey. Either way, it appears that a family of bobcats eats fewer birds than multiple families of feral house cats.
IDK if bobcats eat or kill feral cats, but they do carry a tick born disease that is deadly to domestic cats. I have bobcats on the home place and the kids one house cat has been replaced several times from the effects of the disease.
 

Toad

Active member
IDK if bobcats eat or kill feral cats, but they do carry a tick born disease that is deadly to domestic cats. I have bobcats on the home place and the kids one house cat has been replaced several times from the effects of the disease.
I was going to mention the same thing. We had a couple strays, (probably dumped), that our kids tamed and claimed. They ultimately died of the bobcat tick disease. It's pretty lethal.

My kids have indoor-only cats now. So hopefully we don't have that problem again.
 
Troy,

Sure you can borrow a few of my bobcats. I know your dogs are very well trained - just send them on over to pick up a few bobcats!
 
Thanks for the replies, I had never heard about deadly tick-borne diseases carried by bobcats.

Are they also a disease vector to humans? I was covered in ticks this spring due to the wet conditions - even with permethrin-soaked clothes.
 
The two most recent Dr Dale on quail podcast cover Quail Predators. Good info from a guy who knows as much about Quail as anyone ever has.
 
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