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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Training deer to avoid sites through negative reinforcement. USDA National Wildlife Research Center-Staff Publications, 264

Published source details

Nolte D.L., VerCauteren K.C., Perry K.R. & Adams S.E. (2003) Training deer to avoid sites through negative reinforcement. USDA National Wildlife Research Center-Staff Publications, 264. USDA report.


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

Use ‘shock collars’ to deter crop damage by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study (year not stated) on two pastures in Washington, USA (Nolte et al. 2003) found that using electric shock collars, along with playing loud noise, reduced damage by black-tailed deer Odocoileus hemionus to tree seedlings. As the loud noise and electric shock were part of the same treatment, their relative effects could not be separated. In areas where shock collars were triggered, damage to tree seedlings was lower (0–1 bites) than in areas where shock collars were not triggered (0–25 bites). Three deer, fitted with shock collars, were placed in each of two 1.5-ha pastures. Within each pasture, four 20 × 20-m plots were established. In each plot, 16 red cedar Thuja plicata seedlings were planted at 1-m intervals. When deer entered two of the plots, they received an electric shock and a loud noise was played through a speaker. When they entered the other two plots, they received no shock and no noise was played. Deer activity was measured by counting the number of bites taken from seedlings over a 21-day period.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)

Use loud noises to deter crop damage (e.g. banger sticks, drums, tins, iron sheets) by mammals to reduce human-wildlife conflict Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in two pastures in Washington, USA (Nolte et al. 2003) found that playing loud noise, along with using shock collars, reduced damage by black-tailed deer Odocoileus hemionus to tree seedlings. The loud noise and electric shock were part of the same treatment, so their relative effects could not be separated. In areas where playing of loud noise was triggered, damage to tree seedlings was lower (0–1 bites) than in areas where loud noises were not triggered (0–25 bites). Three deer, fitted with shock collars, were placed in each of two 1.5-ha pastures. Within each pasture, four 20 × 20 m plots were established. In each plot, 16 red cedar Thuja plicata seedlings were planted at 1-m intervals. When deer entered two of the plots, a loud noise was played through a speaker and deer received an electric shock. When they entered the other two plots, no noise was played and they received no shock. Deer activity was measured by counting the number of bites taken from seedlings over a 21-day period.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)