Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

October 1987


White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) use of soybean fields in Virginia was observed during the 1983 and 1984 growing seasons. Total deer observed and deer seen per observer-hour were both greater in 1983 (199 and 2.1, respectively) than in 1984 (122 and 1.8, respectively). The number of deer seen per observer-hour was related to crop phenology; it was highest during the early vegetative stages and decreased when the soybean plants entered reproductive growth stages. Most (90%) deer were sighted within 50 m of edge cover. In both years, the number of adult does seen was about 3 times the number of adult bucks. We propose that the findings on patterns of deer use of soybean fields be applied in simple population monitoring and in developing crop protection programs.