Date of this Version
We assessed the efficacy of free-ranging dogs, confined by buried fences and electronic collars, for reducing deer damage to apple trees in three commercial apple orchards in Oswego County, New York State. During 1995 and 1996, we monitored paired dog-protected and control plots in each orchard. Within dog-protected areas, the percentage of damaged buds was lower, and fruit yield was higher in both 1995 and 1996 than for control plots. Gross economic returns were higher from dog-protected than control plots in both 1995 (by 51%) and 1996 (by 184%). After two seasons of growth, trees planted in May 1995 had nearly three times the cross-sectional area, and were 60% taller if they were in dog-protected rather than control plots. Dogs provided increased economic returns for growers at much lower cost than conventional barrier fencing.