Control and Management of Deer
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus
Did You Know?
Researchers believe that the United States has more deer today than when
Columbus landed in the New World.
Biology of the Deer
- Prefer areas with a mixture of fields and woods.
- Females usually give birth to twins.
- Mating occurs in late fall.
- Males do not assist in rearing young.
- Deer eat a wide variety of plants, including acorns.
- Tracks--note the two-lobed hoof.
- Sightings--deer are frequently noticable at dusk and dawn.
- Buck rubs--small trees damaged by male deer scraping their antlers.
- Deer browse--torn character (not clean cut) of branches up to 6 ft
Damage Caused by Deer
- Deer can eat 2.5 pounds of food a day during the summer. Because
they tend to bite and walk, bite and walk, they can damage much more
than they actually consume. Just ask any corn farmer.
- Buck rubs--
- Deer-vehicle collisions. According to the Insurance Institute (2008)
1.2 million animal-vehicle collisions occur annually. The vast majority
Solutions to Deer Damage
- Fencing-excluding deer with high or electrified fences; Description: Polytape
electrified fencing for deer. Photo
by Dallas Virchow.
- Change plantings: choose plants that are lower on
the deer's preference list. Visit Deer
- Fence panels to exclude deer from hay.
- Protect tree growth by using Vexar and Tubex tree shelters, which are more expensive,
but also will be much more effective. See our vendors. Additional information can be found in the publications section below.
- Typically used by researchers
- Can be useful in areas where hunting is not allowed
Shooting can be a very effective (both in reduction of numbers and low
cost) method for controlling deer populations.
- Shotgun/Rifle. Traditional hunting season or "special season"
using volunteers who have proper permits. Sharpshooters are typically
- Bow hunting. Particularly useful in more urbanized areas where
firearms are inadavisable.
Toxicants/Fumigants for Deer
None are available.
Fertility Control for Deer
Researchers have developed products to prevent conception in deer.
However, this technique is very expensive and often only applicable in areas
which are geographically isolated, such as islands, or fenced areas.
- Deer have been implicated in carrying ticks that cause Lyme disease. Note the image to the right. It is a lonestar nymph on someone's finger. (Photo by Daniel Gilrein of Cornell University). If nothing else, this image should convince everyone of the need to protect themselves as ticks can be quite small and difficult to feel and see!
- Deer cause millions of dollars of damage to motor vehicles every year, including human deaths. Deer Strike Description: shows deer soon after collision with vehicle Photo Credits: Kevin Clark
- Rabies: although rare, deer have been known to contract the disease. One was found in Stamford, CT in the Summer of 2005. Source--Connecticut Wildlife
Sept/Oct. 2006. p. 17.
These links are comprised of pages dedicated to providing more information on the biology and control of deer. Before initiating any deer control measures be sure to check with appropriate federal and state agencies. Links to those agencies can be found in the navigation bar above.
Managing Deer Damage in Nebraska--Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln
Control of Deer Damage in Tree Plantations--Ohio State Univ.
Control of Deer Damage to Crops (Link Broken as of 9/13/04)
Controlling Deer in Nurseries & Landscapes--Auburn Univ.
Controlling Deer in Ornamentals & Gardens--Oklahoma State Univ. PDF
Deer & Rabbit Resistant Plants--Univ. of Arizona
Deer and Agriculture in West Virginia--West
Virginia Univ. PDF
Deer Crash Information Clearinghouse
Deer Damage Control Options--Kansas State Univ.
Deer Damage Home Study Course--University of
Deer-Resistant Ornamental Plants--Montana State
Electric Fencing to Control Deer & Elk--Montana
Fundamentals of Deer Management--University of
West Virginia PDF
Hi Tensile Fence Do's and Don'ts--West Virginia
Identification of Deer Damage-- West Virginia
Managing White-tailed Deer-- Iowa State
Minimizing Deer Damage to Residential Plantings
Preventing and Controlling Deer Damage--Ohio
Preventing Deer Damage--University of
Protecting Trees from Deer--Oregon
Resistance of Ornamentals to Deer Damage-- University of Maryland
Slant Fence Design Against Deer--Virginia State
White-tailed Deer Management--University of
Winter Bulbs, Pruning & Deer Control--Washington
Intenet Center has run a variety of wildlife damage management workshops,
including one on Deer Damage Management (August, 2009). If you
or your organization would like to have training, please contact us.