U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Published by Wildlife Society Bulletin 2003,31(2):578-582.


Deer (Odocoileus spp.) cause an estimated loss of $100 million in United States agricultural production each year (Conover 1997). In 1984 the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection surveyed producers in the state and estimated that white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) damage to all agricultural products exceeded $36 million annually (Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection 1984). Nationwide, for stored crops alone, wildlife reportedly caused $26 million in losses in 1989 (Wywialowski 1994). Despite sometimes biased producer estimates of the value of wildlife-caused losses (Wywialowski 1994), many landowners are willing to accept a certain level of damage for the aesthetics and recreation deer provide. Thus, although agricultural producers’ tolerance of deer is influenced strongly by crop-damage concerns (Brown et al. 1978), they are typically willing to accept damage of ≤10% of the crop’s value (Craven et al. 1992). Sociological and ecological factors, however, complicate crop-damage management decisions (Campa et al. 1997).