Date of this Version
We evaluated the ability of three repellents [human hair, Big Game Repellent (BGR), and a mixture of blood meal and peppercorns] to reduce deer damage on young apple trees in two Connecticut orchards. Most of the deer damage consisted of winter browsing on dormant apple buds. Little browsing occurred on leaves or buds during the growing season and only a few cases of pre-rut rubbing of trees were observed. In one orchard, buds were browsed during the winter on 52% of the untreated control trees, 45% of the trees sprayed with BGR, and 40% of the trees containing a hair ball. By winter's end, the severity of deer browsing (number of buds browsed per tree) was significantly less on trees with hair balls (0.5) than on control trees (1.1), but there was no significant difference between control trees and BGR-treated trees (0.8). In two fields at another apple orchard, deer browsed 83% and 89% of the control trees, 61% of the trees containing a hair ball and 55% of the trees with a bag of blood meal and peppercorns. The differences between the control and the treated trees were statistically significant. The number of browsed buds per tree was also significantly higher on control trees (2.9) than on trees with hair balls (1.1) or trees with bags containing a mixture of blood meal and peppercorns (1.2).