Date of this Version
Preventive Veterinary Medicine 121 (2015) 159–164
Disease and damage from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) continually threaten the livelihood of agricultural producers and the economy in the United States, as well as challenge state and federal wildlife managers. Threats can be partially addressed by excluding free-ranging deer from livestock-related resources. Throughout the year, use of stored livestock feed by deer in northern Lower Michigan (MI), USA fluctuates, though their presence is relatively consistent. Since 2008, use of livestock areas and resources by deer has been reduced through intensive efforts by livestock producers in cooperation with state and federal agencies. These efforts focused on excluding deer from stored cattle feed in areas where deer were abundant. We monitored deer activity from Jan 2012 to June 2013 on 6 cattle farms in northern MI using GPS collars to evaluate behavioral effects of excluding deer from stored feed. We characterized areas deer occupied before and after installing 2361m of fences and gates to exclude deer from stored cattle feed. Following fence installation, 9 deer previously accessing stored feed shifted to patterns of habitat use similar to 5 deer that did not use stored feed. However, continued attempts to regain access to stored feed were made at low frequencies, emphasizing the need to maintain the integrity of fences and keep gates closed for damage prevention and biosecurity.