For most people, especially in Michigan, deer are a game animal to be hunted for recreation or venison. Most do not think of deer as a nuisance wildlife pest; that is, until some deer get into the yard and start destroying crops, landscaping, orchards and gardens. A hungry herd of deer can be incredibly destructive and aggravating, as anyone who has ever had them in their yard can attest. Deer will sometimes devastate entire neighborhoods by devouring evergreens, hostas and many other forms of ornamental vegetation. High populations of deer can also spread tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease to agricultural animals such as cows and sheep.
Aside from deer-auto collisions, most deer damage comes from herds of deer feeding on vegetation on a homeowner’s property. Deer prefer to eat clover, juniper, hostas, flowers, rye, wheat and alfalfa; however, in a harsh winter or when larger populations have made food supplies scarce, deer will eat just about anything, including crops, bark, ornamental shrubbery and landscaping plants. It is not uncommon for some homeowners to find their entire yard stripped bare in a single season. Besides their feeding, the other most common form of deer damage is due to auto accidents. The USDA estimates that the total loss from deer activity each year is around $1 billion, taking into account auto collisions and damage from feeding. Though there are some types of plants that deer tend to shy away from, if hungry enough, deer will feed on almost anything.
Deer Management Consultation Services
Like water fowl, deer are protected by many regulations that need to be taken into account when attempting to exclude deer from a given area. Creature Control provides professional deer management consultation for municipal, agricultural, corporate and other private entities. Some of the deer management services Creature provides include:
- Population surveys
- Herd research
- Development and execution of conservation plans
- Snow counts (aerial surveys)
- Barrier exclusion (fencing)
- Visual deterrence
- Capture and sterilization
- A complete array of all modern control and conservation techniques and services
Population Control and Relocation
The State of Michigan does not permit the relocation of deer due to the possibility of spreading disease. However, both state and federal authorities promote lethal control of deer. It is the consensus of most wildlife biologists that lethal means is often the only way to deal with the animals when surgical sterilization process is not possible.
In many cases, especially if deer netting is too expensive or whole neighborhoods are involved, the simplest and most effective solution may be to trim the population. In many cases, the DNR allows special permits to be granted for shooting or tranquilizing nuisance deer. Each situation is unique and evaluated on a case by case basis in conjunction with residents, neighborhood associations, local government, Creature Control and the Department of Natural Resources.
Deer management is a very individualized task with no easy solution. If you are having problems with nuisance deer, please contact Creature Control today at 1-800-441-1519 to talk to a wildlife control specialist about the most effective and economical means of controlling deer in your area.