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Individual study: A frightening device for deterring white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus use of cattle feeders in Montmorency County, Michigan, USA

Published source details

Seward N.W., Phillips G.E. Duquette J.F. & Vercauteren K.C. (2007) A frightening device for deterring deer use of cattle feeders. Journal of Wildlife Management, 71, 271-276

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Use negative stimuli to deter consumption of livestock feed by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 2005 of captive deer on a farm in Michigan, USA (Seward et al. 2007) found that a deer-resistant cattle feeder device reduced white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus presence at feeders for the first five of six weeks. Fewer deer were recorded on camera traps within 1 m of feeders with active devices (0–0.2 deer/activation) than of feeders without devices (0.7–1.9 deer/activation) during the first five treatment weeks. There was no significant difference during the sixth week (active device: 0.4 deer/activation; no device: 1.2 deer/activation). During four weeks before device activation, deer number recorded on camera traps were similar between feeders with (2.3–2.9 deer/activation) and without (2.1–2.7 deer/activation) devices. Three feeders each were protected and unprotected by devices. Devices entailed a 3.4-m horizontal bar with a 1.6-m arm hanging on chains at each end, down to 45 cm above the ground. The rig rotated on a central pivot for 45 s, when an animal entered an infra-red-surveillance zone. Hanging arms struck animals within 1 m of feeders, startling, but not hurting, them. Monitoring, using camera traps, spanned 10 February to 10 March 2005 (devices inactive) and 13 May to 23 June 2005 (devices active).

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)