Deer Articles of Interest

Blacktail Deer on the Decline

If you are a gardener fighting black tail deer, this is good news for you.

"Blacktail deer populations hanging on, but there's reason for concern"

Friday, October 9, 2009 12:16 AM PDT By Allen Thomas

The Columbian

Blacktail deer populations in Southwest Washington are not in crisis, far from it. There are an estimated 70,000 deer, enough animals to sustain hunting seasons lasting several weeks and the killing of about 4,000 bucks in Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Cowlitz, Lewis and Wahkiakum counties.

But blacktails locally are not thriving, either. Far from it. Slowly, the population is declining.

Consider the following:

• Residential and recreational homes are nibbling away at deer habitat. Take a drive up the North Fork of the Lewis River and look at all the development in a key wintering area.

“There’s increasing urbanization in the Stella unit and the western portions of Coweeman, Yale and Battle Ground units,’’ said Eric Holman, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist. “It’s resulting in a loss of quality deer habitat, an increase in human-deer interactions and loss of hunting opportunity.’’

• Logging used to be good for deer.

Now, after logging, herbicides are used to kill the competing vegetation and the forest plantations are re-seeded heavily.

“The broadleaf shrubs, trees and forbs eliminated by these efforts are the very plants that comprise the blacktail deer diet,’’ Holman said.

By the time the densely stocked conifer seedlings reach age 12 very little light reaches the ground, further reducing forage for deer.

The trees get cut at about age 40, before there’s been much chance for openings in the forest to occur, assuring that an understory of shrubs, i.e., deer food, never gets a chance to grow.

Add in a network of logging roads, which deer avoid if the routes are traveled much.

“These impacts are detrimental to deer,’’ Holman said. “They are not typical of the young forests following natural disturbances (like a forest fire or volcanic eruption).’’

• Hairloss syndrome appears to have added to the woes deer already face."

Read the entire article at The Daily News Online

This article by Jay Romano reminds us that it is spring and we need to be preparing for the deer to become more active as our plants come out of dormancy and as their spring babies are born. deer giving another deer a leg up over a fence From: The New York Times

How to Keep Bambi Away
Published: May 1, 2005
Over the next few weeks, some cute but nevertheless unwelcome visitors are expected to start showing up in gardens and backyards all over suburbia. What's a homeowner to do?

"Fawns should start hitting the ground by the second week in May," said Anthony DeNicola, president of White Buffalo Inc., a not-for-profit wildlife research organization in Moodus, Conn. "That means that the deer population will peak by the end of the month."

Mr. DeNicola said that although suburban sprawl has deprived deer of much of their natural habitat, the scarcity of natural predators - and strict regulations on hunting - have resulted in a steady increase in the number of deer in suburbia. "In some areas of Westchester County, there are now 80 to 100 deer per square mile," Mr. DeNicola said.

Paul D. Curtis, extension wildlife specialist at the Cornell University Cooperative Extension in Ithaca, said that as deer lose their natural habitat, they look in suburban gardens for nourishment. Usually, Mr. Curtis said, a deer will consume from 4 to 10 pounds of forage a day. "This may seem like a small amount," he said, "but when taken as buds, leaves, tender shoots and flower parts, the impact on garden plants can be devastating." As a result, suburban homeowners often find themselves in a seemingly constant battle against foraging deer.

Lance E. Gegner, an agricultural specialist at the National Center for Appropriate Technology, an agricultural organization in Fayetteville, Ark., said that several methods can be used to try to prevent deer from devouring a suburban garden.

"The best thing to use is a fence," Mr. Gegner said, noting that while a four- or six-foot-high fence might work if deer have other sources of food, a fence has to be about eight feet high to keep a desperate deer away. Since most suburban homeowners are not likely to put a fence around their entire property, many opt for repellents and scare devices.

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This article is very informative about the latestest in deer tick reduction research.  A lot of your tax dollars are being spent to develop deer tick control programs, so it is important to view the research.

From The New York Times

Shelter and Fire Islands Try Device to Kill Ticks

Published: March 16, 2008

SHELTER ISLAND has used deer hunts to try to control its tick problem. Pesticides have been sprayed there and on Fire Island, where disease-carrying ticks are also persistent.

Now, dozens of deer-baiting devices called four-posters are being installed in both areas as part of a $1.2 million tick-removal effort.

After some brief tests last fall, this is the first full-time run on Long Island for four-posters — feeder stations that resemble four-poster beds and lure deer with corn. Rollers soaked with the pesticide permethrin rub the animals’ necks as they eat the corn, in hopes of killing ticks.

Studies by the United States Department of Agriculture have concluded that four-posters helped decrease tick populations by 90 percent or more. Entomologists said it would take two to three years to notice a difference in tick populations.

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From The US Government Research:

Deer Collar Could Help Harness Lyme Ticks An automatic device that puts a pesticide-impregnated collar around a white-tailed deer’s neck may help reduce Lyme disease in the northeast and help control cattle fever ticks along the Texas-Mexico border.

Pesticide collars are commonly used for controlling ticks and other parasites on domestic animals. But, until now, collaring wildlife has meant trapping or tranquilizing the deer. The new collaring unit, patented by Agricultural Research Service scientists, lures deer to a specially designed feeder filled with corn. To eat, the animal must place its neck near the collaring mechanism, which releases a self-adjusting, flexible collar, similar to flea collars worn by cats and dogs.

ARS researchers based in Kerrville, Texas, have used the collars on captive deer behind fences at the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife's Kerr Wildlife Management Area in Hunt, Texas. They have not seen any ticks attached and successfully feeding on the neck and head of collared deer. Without collars, these deer typically have hundreds to thousands of ticks feeding on them.

The collars were impregnated with amitraz, a pesticide approved for livestock that also kills ticks on the deer’s hair and skin. The pesticide currently is not approved for use on deer, but--if labeled for this use--would be safe to use during the hunting season from October through December. That's when most adult blacklegged ticks--the culprits behind Lyme disease--feed on deer.

Lyme disease is the most prevalent tickborne human disease in the United States. About 90 percent of the cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention occur in Northeastern states.

ARS and Wildlife Management Technologies of Noank, Conn., have signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to develop a commercial prototype collaring unit and evaluate its effectiveness in a variety of situations.

The scientists have developed an electronic device to prevent double-collaring. And they are working to design the collars to biodegrade or fall off once the insecticide breaks down.

Next Generation Deer Repellent
Notice from the USDA

Objective:  The USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) is currently looking for an industrial partner to help develop and commercialize a new deer repellent.      

Overview:  Damage to agriculture, horticulture, home gardens, and landscaping from deer has been long recognized as a substantial economic problem.  The presence of deer in these settings may result in plant loss or reduction of future plant value from deformity or decreased crop yield.  Researchers at the USDA-APHIS, NWRC are developing the next generation of unpalatable proteins from animal-by-products.  The research is expected to yield repellents that are inexpensive, long lasting and effective.  

The ideal partner will have expertise in manufacturing and marketing deer repellents, and the ability to contribute both intellectually and financially to the project.

Understanding the Behaviors Deer

Understanding deer is very important if you are going to control them. The more we know about how they think the better. This is from an experienced hunter.

Some people believe that the deer can understand the danger of bullets, but that is not so always, as the deer are unaware of the danger of the bullet of the guns. But, any unusual noise is a danger signal, but most of the hunters do not believe that the deer can connect the sound of a gunshot with injury and death.

In my deer experienced, I have seen many deer of different kinds young and old. Sometime my trails lead me to many places and spend my time in the woods. I accompanied many hunters and many accompanied in the hunt as well.

That deer must have had similar experiences during his life, for the hunting method that I used is a more or less standard procedure. He must have had the experience of running from one danger only to run into another and yet, in this case, he was apparently unconcerned with anything other than the hunter who was on his trail. This action leads me to believe that deer do not expect danger at all times and that they make no plans for such encounters, but deal with each emergency as it develops. I do not believe that the old buck connected me with the danger, which he expected to follow his track, but considered me to be an entirely new danger. In any case, if deer have the power to reason intelligently, that old buck should never have allowed himself to get into any such predicament.

Many hunters think that deer are afraid of gun- fire, giving them credit for knowing that bullets come from guns and that these bullets can kill. This knowledge is far beyond a deer's capability. I have seen one deer killed while another deer, not knowing just where the danger was located, stood around uncertain of what to do. I have seen a group of deer mill around bewildered while hunters shot eighteen futile bullets at them from a distance. I have undershot a deer, the bullet striking the ground beyond the deer, and the animal ran directly towards me, away from the place where the bullet struck. I fired five shots at a deer, which was crossing a field, and as soon as the deer had entered the woods, another deer crossed the field at the same place. I missed two shots at him and when he reached the edge of the field he stopped and looked back, as if to see what all of the noise was about. After a few experiences of this sort, it is hard to convince me that deer have much fear of gunfire. Of course, any unusual noise is a danger signal, but I do not believe that they connect the sound of a gunshot with injury and death. In fact, I doubt if deer have any conception of death.

When we hunt in the vicinity of a game reserve and the deer run into the reserve for safety, we are apt to assume that they know that they will be safe in the protected area. This may or may not be the case. It is probable that, in many cases, the reserve is the logical place for the deer to go and when they arrive there and find that the hunter does not follow them, they bed down for the day. I followed a large buck for six miles directly to a game reserve. A few days later I followed another from the same section of woods and he traveled in an entirely different direction for nearly the same distance and then took refuge in a large swamp. In both cases I am sure that the deer were unattached bucks in strange territory and that, when started, not having a doe to depend on for safety, they headed for their home range. Did their decisions result from careful thinking or did they act on instinct? I doubt if deer have any conception of death. We are apt to assume that they know that they will be safe in the protected area. This I have experienced several times.

Sometimes a hunter can lose the deer during the trailing, if the deer can considered him to be an entirely new danger. It is important for the hunter to know how to shadow himself from the deer when he trail the deer.

By: Mitch Johnson

From the blog:

Homemade Deer Repellent - Your Different Decision For A Admirable Pest Control DoubtAugust 21st, 2009

A lot of us falsely say that December provides amelioration from deer control. They have a tendency to ignore the gravity of a homemade deer repellent. Accepted, a big deal of your garden is dormant. Evergreens that retain their greenness are not what deer would in most of the cases choose to digest. They incline for flavorless tasting vegetation, not the pungent flavor of evergreens. All dislike of smelling goes out the window when starvation acts. You need to pay attention that homemade repellent for deer can also work. By mid of the cold season, the deer have the same mindset as the Donner party. Now they will consume anything as long as it won’t harm them. Deer can notice your sweet bushes from three hundred meters away. The stench of available nutrition is carried to them on the breeze.

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