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Deer Control and Management Information

Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage 1994
Deer Control
Deer Repellents
Safety & Diseases
Univ. Publications
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Various deerScientific Name: Odocoileus virginianus "White-tailed Deer"

Please note: This page is no longer being updated.
Please visit Deer Control


  • Prefer areas containing a mixture of fields and woods.
  • Females usually give birth to twins.
  • Mating occurs in late fall.
  • Deer eat plants, woody plants, and acorns.



  • Tracks--Deer leave two-toed tracks. Deer tracks
  • Sightings
  • Buck rubs
  • Deer browse



Deer Deer skull
Description: Deer lack upper incisor teeth
Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow
deer skull by Dallas Virchow


  • Foraging in plantings.
  • Deer cuttings

    Description: These twig ends looked ragged or broken, rather than cleanly clipped as by rabbits. Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow

Deer cutting. Photo by Dallas Virchow
Buck rubs. Description: Can break tree leader branches and kill or deform young trees. Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow Deer rub. Photo by Dallas Virchow

Reducing Deer Damage to Home Gardens and Landscape Plantings
22 Pages. 8.5x5.5 paperback
Authored by Paul D. Curtis et. al. experts in the management of deer damage.

Get your copy today.

Reducing deer damage to home gardens and plantings


SolutionsPolytape electrified fencing. Photo by Dallas Virchow

Habitat Modification

  • Fencing--excluding deer with high or electrified fences; Description: Polytape electrified fencing for deer. Photo by Dallas Virchow.
    • Fence panels and nettings  can be used to exclude deer, elk and pronghorn from stacked hay. Multiple stacks can be kept in "yards" by similar perimeterNetting to protect hay from deer fencing.
    • 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.
  • Change plantings: choose plants that are lower on a deer's preference list. Visit Deer Resistant Plants



  • Learn about the weaknesses of repellents.
  • Click for details on Deer repellents
  • Predator Urines--Coyote and other predator urines may be sold as deer repellents. Buyer beware. Research with these products is limited. (if you have research please let us know svantassel2@unl.edu
  • Non-Chemical Repellents--frighten deer by pyrotechnics, exploders; or guard dogs.
  • Chemical repellents-- can be helpful in reducing damage. However, they are rarely 100% effective and require reapplication.
  • Dominant Buck Urine: There is no evidence that urine from large, old, bucks will keep bucks away from trees so as to prevent their being scraped or fed upon. Deer are not very territorial. In fact, they are quite social. So spraying deer urine could actually encourage deer, particularly females, to visit your area. Deer repellents by Dallas Virchow

Description: Most common formulations involve whole or putrescent eggs, capsaicin (hot pepper), garlic, nicotine, or ammoniacal soaps. Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow



  • Trapping often used by researchers. Rarely used as a population control method.
  • Clover Trap


Shooting can be a very effective method in controlling deer populations in rural and semi-rural areas.

  • Shooting--shotgun or rifle. 
    • Traditional hunting season or "special season" using volunteers who own proper permits.
    • Sharp shooter-usually paid
  • Bow Hunting--can be particularly useful in more urbanized areas where firearms are inadvisable.

Toxicants--none available

Birth Control

Lonestar tick on fingerResearchers are working on techniques to control deer populations through contraceptive means. They remain expensive and often only applicable in selective areas which are geographically isolated, such as islands and fenced areas.

Safety & Diseases

  • 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 killed by car. Photo by Kevin Clark

  • 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. 



University Publications

Managing Deer Damage in Nebraska--Managing Deer Damage in NebraskaUniv. 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--Alabama Univ.

Controlling Deer in Ornamentals & Gardens--Oklahoma State Univ. PDF

Deer & Rabbit Resistant Plants--Univ. of Arizona PDF

Deer and Agriculture in West Virginia--West Virginia Univ. PDF

Deer Crash Information Clearinghouse

Deer Damage Control Options--Kansas State Univ. PDF

Deer Damage Home Study Course--University of Connecticut 

Deer-Resistant Ornamental Plants--Montana State Univ. 

Electric Fencing to Control Deer & Elk--Montana State Univ.

Fundamentals of Deer Management--University of West Virginia PDF

Hi Tensile Fence Do's and Don'ts--West Virginia Univ. PDF

Identification of Deer Damage--Identification of Deer Damage West Virginia University

Managing White-tailed Deer--Managing White-tailed deer Iowa State University

Minimizing Deer Damage to Residential Plantings 

Preventing and Controlling Deer Damage--Ohio State

Preventing Deer Damage--University of Massachusetts

Protecting Trees from Deer--Protecting Trees from Deer damage.Oregon State Univ.

Resistance of Ornamentals to Deer Damage--Resisance of Ornamentals to Deer Damage University of Maryland

Slant Fence Design Against Deer--Virginia State University

White-tailed Deer Management--University of Kentucky

Winter Bulbs, Pruning & Deer Control--Washington State Univ. 



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