Date of this Version
Food plots are a vital element for the survival of game bird species such as bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) on Fort Riley Military Installation in Kansas. However, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) tend to eat the sorghum when it starts to ripen in September and continue feeding on it through November and December, often leaving no food for the quail during the winter. We conducted pen and field trails to determine if repellents were an effective and feasible method to protect grain sorghum food plots from deer damage. Two-choice pen trials with both deer and game bird species were used to determine preference and avoidance of milo treated with Liquid Fence® and Plantskydd™. Individual food plots on Fort Riley were used to test both repellents’ effectiveness in protecting a 6-row perimeter around established food plots. When given a choice both bobwhite quails and pheasants avoided Plantskydd (P < 0.001). Both repellents were avoided versus the control in the pen trials for white-tailed deer (P ≤ 0.0001); however, we found no difference in seed head damaged between field control plots and plots treated with Liquid Fence or those with Plantskydd (F7,23 = 0.88, P = 0.54). Although milo treated in the pens deterred white-tailed deer, we feel the use of repellents for treating food plots may be cost prohibitive and less effective than other deterrents such as netting fences.