So why have whitetails been getting all the blame for the spread of Lyme disease? Well, deer are another preferred target of ticks, and as whitetail populations boomed in the 1980s and '90s, we transferred--somewhat righteously--the blame for the illness to them. But when researchers took a new look at the spread of Lyme disease, they found it more closely mirrored the steady rise of coyotes than it did deer. In states like Wisconsin, for example, whitetail populations have been steady or declining for the last decade, while coyote numbers continue to rise. Interestingly, incidence of Lyme disease in the Badger State has risen 280 percent from 1997-2007, according to this story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, with 2,376 cases reported just last year. To further solidify the link, researchers found that an area in western New York--home to a healthy red fox population--was devoid of Lyme disease.