Bird Strike Committee Proceedings


Date of this Version

August 2001


Deer living on airport habitats pose a direct threat to aircraft operations and to public safety. From 1990– 2000, about 520 collisions between civil aircraft and deer were reported in the USA with damage occurring in 86% of the collisions. Removal of individual deer by lethal or non-lethal means can reduce the potential for deer-aircraft collisions; however, such action is often controversial. Various items are marketed to keep deer away from airports, crops or residential areas. Some items have been tested while others have unsubstantiated claims of efficacy. This paper reviews the use of various fence designs, propane cannons, cattle guards, sonic and ultrasonic devices, shooting and predator urines as deer control measures. Deer density and the attractiveness of the area being protected may influence the efficacy of the device or technique being implemented. Well-maintained 3-3.7 m (10-12 foot) high fences are the primary defense against deer on airports. However, costs may prohibit the installation of such fencing at many airports. In addition, fences may be damaged or have practical design restrictions that reduce their effectiveness; thus, other devices or strategies must be employed. Most chemical and noise repellents have had limited effectiveness after about 3 days of use. A combination of devices or techniques may be more effective for reducing the deer problem at an airport.