Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Red lasers are ineffective for dispersing deer at night

Published source details

VerCauteren K.C., Hygnstrom S.E., Pipas M.J., Fioranelli P.B., Werner S.J. & Blackwell B.F. (2003) Red lasers are ineffective for dispersing deer at night. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 31, 247-252


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use light/lasers to deter crop damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001 in arable fields on two adjacent wildlife refuges straddling Nebraska and Iowa, USA (VerCauteren et al. 2003) found that red lasers did not disperse white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus from fields at night. No differences were found in flight response between two different lasers (deer fled in 2–3% of encounters) or between these lasers and the control without lasers (3% fled). Thirty-two crop fields were randomly assigned one of two lasers, shone from a vehicle, or as the control (vehicle without laser). The two red lasers were the Desman® (633 nm, 5 mW, 12 mm beam) and Dissuader™ (650 nm, 68 mW, variable beam). Deer behaviour was monitored using night-vision binoculars on eight consecutive nights in July 2001 (total 177 deer encounters). Deer were initially located with a spotlight. Lasers were used for 2 minutes/deer, first on adjacent vegetation, then in a zig-zag manner, then on the body.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha & Rebecca K. Smith )