Urban White Tail Buck Deer, Urban City White Tail Buck Deer in Rut. Found on client property inside Owasso, Oklahoma city limits.

Whitetail Deer & Crop Depredations

Deer are probably the most widely distributed and best-recognized large mammals in North America. The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is found throughout much of North America. The mule deer (O. hemionus) is primarily a western species restricted to buttes, draws, and stream bottoms with sufficient forage. The black-tailed deer (O.h. columbianus) is a subspecies of the mule deer. Both white-tailed and mule deer are very important game animals. In 1974 about 2 million white-tailed deer were harvested by over 8 million hunters. The trend in both harvest and hunter numbers has been generally upward since then. The positive economic value of deer through license fees, meat, and hunter expenditures for equipment, food, and transportation can be measured in hundreds of millions of dollars. Hesselton and Hesselton (1982) estimated the value of each deer harvested in the United States to be $1,250. With the additional aesthetic value of deer to landowners and vacationers, importance of deer as a wildlife resource cannot be disputed. Despite their economic and aesthetic values, deer also have a variety of negative economic impacts—they damage crops and personal property, and harbor diseases common to humans and livestock. Unlike moles, rats, and other species implicated in damage, deer cannot be casually eliminated when in conflict with humans. But neither can landowners be expected to bear the entire burden of support for this valuable public resource. These factors often make deer damage control a difficult social and political problem as well as a biological and logistical one. Control methods are built around effective deer herd management. Thus the various state wildlife agencies are often indirectly or directly involved through subsidy of control techniques, direct damage compensation payments, or technical advice.

Damage and Damage Identification

Deer damage a wide variety of row crops, forage crops, vegetables, fruit trees, nursery stock, and ornamental, as well as stacked hay. In addition to the immediate loss of the crop being damaged, there is often residual damage in the form of future yield reduction of fruit trees or forage crops such as alfalfa. Ornamental trees or nursery stock may be permanently disfigured by deer browsing. Under high densities deer may severely impact native plant communities and impair regeneration of some forest tree species. Besides vegetative damage, deer vehicle collisions pose a serious risk to motorists, and deer have been implicated in the distribution and transmission of Lyme disease. Damage identification is not difficult. Because both mule deer and white tailed deer lack upper incisors, deer often leave a jagged or torn surface on twigs or stems that they browse. Rabbits and
rodents, however, leave a clean-cut surface. In addition, deer tracks are very distinctive. The height of damage from the ground (up to 6 feet [1.8 m]) often rules out any mammal other than deer. Deer often are observed “in the act” of causing damage.

Legal Status

Deer are protected year-round in all states and provinces, with the exception of legal harvest during appropriate big-game hunting seasons. In cases of severe or persistent damage, some states may issue farmers special permits to shoot deer at times other than the legal hunting seasons. Regulations vary on the necessary permits and on 2 1/2″ D-29 disposal of dead animals. The
popularity of deer as game animals and the need to curb poaching have led to the development of severe penalties for illegal possession. No lethal deer control can be initiated before consulting your local state wildlife agency. By law, some states provide technical assistance or direct compensation for deer damage. This is discussed under the section on the economics of damage and control.

Safety & Diseases

* Deer have been implicated in carrying ticks that cause Lyme disease. If nothing else, this should convince everyone of the need to protect themselves as ticks can be quite small and difficult to feel and see!

* Deer cause millions of dollars of damage to motor vehicles every year, including human deaths.
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* Rabies: although rare, deer have been known to contract the disease. One was found in Stamford, CT in the Summer of 2005. Source–Connecticut Wildlife Sept/Oct. 2006. p. 17.

**We work hand in hand with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in order to legally serve your Deer / Crop Depredation Control Needs.

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Oklahoma Wildlife Control® Limited Liability Company 1-855-787-WILD (9453)