Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

September 1985


A survey of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) damage was conducted among growers (N = 2,236) of fruit, Christmas tree and nursery crops in Ohio; over 81% responded. Damage was reported by 43.1% of Christmas tree growers, 4l.3% of orchardists and 32.5% of nurserymen. Most commonly reported by orchardists as damaged were apples (Malus spp.)s by Christmas tree growers were white pines (Pinus strobus), and by nurserymen were maples (Acer spp.)o Young plants ( = 7.5 years) were more commonly damaged than older plants of all species. Seasonal damage was most common in spring and summer for orchard species, and fall and winter for Christmas tree and nursery species. Mean percent of crop damaged ranged from 9.5% in spruces (Picea spp.) to 48.8% in cherries (Pinus spp.)< Average reported losses/ha were $204 by orchardists, $219 by Christmas tree growers and $268 by nurserymen. Positive relationships were demonstrated between damage levels and two deer density indices; buck harvest/km2 and mean maximum deer sighted were significantly (P < O.OOOl) correlated with damage (R2 = 0.571). Regression equations using these indices should be useful in predicting damage. As percentage of cultivated crops bordering production areas increased, the chance of damage occurring decreased (P = 0.06). Growers with damage had significantly (P < 0.05) more woods ( = 49.7%) bordering crop areas than did growers without damage ( = 39.3%). The most popular means of damage control was sport hunting, Significantly more (P < 0.05) growers that had damage permitted hunting (70.6%) than growers without damage (41.6%), Other control techniques used by growers included repellents (16.5%), special deer harvest permits (3-10%), deer deterrent fencing (5.8%), and scare devices (4.5%). Human hair, tankage and Hinder were the most commonly used repellents, and 65 to 92% of respondents using repellents thought repellents offered some to complete protection.