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From the Field: Fences and Deer-Damage Management: A Review of Designs and Efficacy

Authors

  • KURT C. VerCAUTEREN,

    1. United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service/Wildlife Services/National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, CO 80521-2154, USA
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    • E-mail: kurt.c.vercauteren@aphis.usda.gov

    • Kurt C. VerCauteren (center) is the Chronic Wasting Disease Project Leader for the Wildlife Disease Research Program of the National Wildlife Research Center. He received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Kurt is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and has been on the board of the Wildlife Damage Management Working Group, served as Secretary of the Colorado Chapter of the Wildlife Society, and as President and Secretary of the Nebraska Chapter. His current research involves devising means to reduce transmission and to manage Chronic Wasting Disease and Bovine Tuberculosis in wild and captive cervids.

  • MICHAEL J. LAVELLE,

    1. United States Department of Agriculture/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service/Wildlife Services/National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, CO 80521-2154, USA
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    • Michael J. Lavelle (left) is a Biological Technician for the Wildlife Disease Research Program of the National Wildlife Research Center. He received his B.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research focuses on interactions of cervids and associated risk of disease transmission.

  • SCOTT HYGNSTROM

    1. School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 60583-0819, USA
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    • Scott E. Hygnstrom (right) is a professor in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln specializing in wildlife damage management. He received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Scott is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and is a past-chair of the Wildlife Damage Management Working Group.


Abstract

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) may cause more damage than any other species of wildlife. These damages include crop loss, automobile and aviation collisions, disease transmission, environmental degradation, and destruction of ornamental plantings. One practical method of controlling deer damage is the use of exclusionary fences. The relatively high cost of labor and materials required to build effective fences has limited most applications to the protection of orchards, vegetable farms, other high-value resources, and mitigation of human health and safety risks. Improvements in fence technology resulting in less expensive, yet effective fences have expanded the use of fences to manage damage caused by deer. Fences typically installed to manage white-tailed deer damage include wire or plastic mesh, electrified high-tensile steel wire, and electrified polytape or polyrope fence. We reviewed the scientific literature on fencing to determine which fence designs would be the most effective for excluding deer in a variety of situations.

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