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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Deer responses to sounds from a vehicle-mounted sound-production system

Published source details

Valitzski S.A., D'Angelo G.J., Gallagher G.R., Osborn D.A., Miller K.V. & Warren R.J. (2009) Deer responses to sounds from a vehicle-mounted sound-production system. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 73, 1072-1076

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Fit vehicles with ultrasonic warning devices Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 2006 at a college campus in Georgia, USA (Valitzski et al. 2009) found that high frequency sounds from moving vehicles did not reduce white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus behaviours that were likely to cause a deer–vehicle collision. At 0.28 kHz, there was a significant increase in the proportion of behaviours likely to cause a collision (13%) compared to a vehicle without treatment (5%). At four other frequencies, there was no significant difference in proportions of negative behavioural responses compared to the vehicle without treatment (1–28 kHz: 6–9%). The proportion of behaviours likely to decrease deer-vehicle collisions did not differ between different high frequencies and no high-frequency sound (0.28 kHz: 33%; 1 kHz: 37%; 8 kHz: 24%; 15 kHz: 33%; 28 kHz: 24%; no high-frequency sound: 35%;). Two road sections (≥ 5 km apart), 280 m and 220 m long, were studied. For each of 319 trials, a deer was observed before and during one of six randomly assigned treatments: 0.28, 1, 8, 15 or 28 kHz or no sound. The high-frequency sounds (within deer hearing range) were played at 70 decibels from front-mounted speakers on the vehicle (48 km/hr). Deer within 10 m of the road or ahead of the vehicle were monitored from an observation platform, from 06:00 to 09:00 h and 19:00 to 22:00 h, in April and June 2006.

(Summarised by Rebecca K. Smith)