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Thursday, August 9 • 11:20am - 11:40am
Management 5 Track: Localized Management For Reducing Agricultural Damage Caused By White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) In Minnesota

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AUTHORS: Gino J. D’angelo, Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia; Veronique St. Louis, Ryan G. Tebo – Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

ABSTRACT: Minimizing damage caused by white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is an important consideration for managing deer populations throughout the range of the species. Damage caused by white-tailed deer can be severe in the United States with >$100 million lost annually by agricultural producers [1]. Previous research demonstrated that intensified population reduction of deer in a small geographic area, also known as localized management, effectively reduced the abundance of deer to maintain lowered deer densities over time [2]. In theory, damage to resources targeted for protection should be reduced because fewer deer are available to cause damage. However, studies of the effectiveness of localized management for reducing damage on specific properties in agricultural settings are lacking. Results from previous studies have demonstrated only through anecdotal evidence that population reduction of deer can reduce damage to agriculture [3,4,5]. We conducted this study to assess the effectiveness of localized management of deer to reduce damage to agricultural crops in southeast Minnesota, USA. Our objectives were to evaluate the effectiveness of localized management for reducing fine-scale deer abundance and to examine whether damage caused by deer to agricultural crops was reduced on properties where deer densities were lowered. During 2014-2016, we used baited infrared camera surveys to estimate deer abundance on focal properties. We evaluated yields of corn in fenced and unfenced plots to estimate the impacts of browsing by deer. Corn yield loss was seemingly low on most properties, and there was no difference in corn damage between properties where localized management was utilized versus normal sport-hunting. Corn damage could not be explained solely by deer abundance at the property level. However, extra deer harvest opportunities were utilized when requested by landowners. Deer management was >2 times as intensive on properties where localized management was used versus normal sport-hunting. Deer on adjacent properties likely filled any voids created by localized management. Increased deer harvest pressure on properties with localized management may have prevented corn damage from being worse had additional deer not been harvested. The results of this study will provide a basis for improving the framework for future application of localized management in agricultural regions.

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Thursday August 9, 2018 11:20am - 11:40am
Assembly Hall A

Attendees (3)