Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

October 2000


It was hypothesized white-tailed deer {Odocoileus virginianus) could be readily conditioned to 2 commonly used deterrents, Deer-Away® Big Game Repellent (BGR) and blood meal (BM). Plots were randomly assigned BGR, BM and control. Free-ranging deer were initially conditioned to forage for corn at each 49m2 bare earth plots delivered at 0500 hr and 1600 hr by programmable sling-type feeders. Hoof prints were counted within a 3.7m2 sample area of each plot to quantify activity. Following preconditioning, data were collected during 5, 5-day periods. Application of BGR and BM to their respective bare earth plots occurred during periods 2,4 and 5. Initial exposure decreased the number of hoof-prints for BGR (P = 0.011) and BM (P = 0.033) compared to the control. Subsequent exposure to BGR during periods 4 and 5 did not differ from the control (P > 0.227). Prints counted following exposure to BM were similar to the control in period 4 {P = 0.267), but lower (P = 0.045) in period 5. Within each treatment group, prints counted were lower during period 2 compared to periods 1, 3, 4 and 5 for both BGR (P =0.001) and BM (P = 0.018). No differences (P > 0.05) were found among periods 1,3,4 and 5 within each treatment. Results support the hypothesis that white-tailed deer can readily be conditioned to these two commonly used deterrents.