Clifford E. & Melda C. Snyder Research and Extension Farm
Wildlife Damage: Deer

Education Programs > Wildlife Damage Guide

Wildlife Damage in NJ | Geese | Deer | Other Wildlife

White-Tailed Deer

Deer thrive quite well in close proximity to humans - but that is not necessarily a good thing. The problem is our yards, gardens, and farms provide more food than what would be naturally available. This allows deer populations to grow larger than in natural settings. Deer overabundance is associated with increased risk of contracting tick-borne diseases. Deer are the key to the reproductive success of the tick which transmits Lyme Disease and other tick borne illnesses ( Reference ). Their movement at night, across road ways are a danger. For farms the amount of damage they can do to a field of soybean or pumpkins, can be staggering. Because they are browsers, when deer walk through a field they may take a bite out of every pumpkin, destroying an entire seasons harvest. Deer population management is important for deer health, public safety, and farm viability.

  • Home & Garden Information
  • Commercial Grower Information
Melda Snyder Teaching Garden
  • Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance  - This database represents the collective expertise of nursery landscape professionals, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension personnel and Master Gardeners of Northern New Jersey.
  • The Melda Snyder Teaching Garden - Maintained by NJ Master Gardeners, the teaching garden at Snyder Farm displays a number of plants rated for low preference by deer.
  • Deer Resistant Bed Plant List - The teaching garden plantings vary from year to year. This is a list of plants that have been grown in the teaching garden deer resistant plant beds.

Silver Frost

Artemisia ludoviciana
'Silver Frost'

Catmint

Nepeta sibirica
'Catmint'

Hummelo

Stachys officinalis
'Hummelo'

Deer Resistant Bed Plantings

An Integrated Approach to Preventing Deer Damage

Fencing

Fencing recommendations developed by Rutgers NJAES Snyder Farm Director Dr. John Grande in cooperation with the NJ Department of Ag and DEP, take into consideration initial as well as long term maintenance costs.

Building a High Tensil Fence - Instructional videos for purchase can be found on the Kencove Farm Fence Supplies website.

Deer Fencing Program  - Report to the NJ Department of Agriculture on the effectiveness of the Supplemental Deer Fencing Program. Growers participating in this program reported virtually complete non-lethal deer damage reduction and restoration of revenues per acre. This program developed specifications for the funding of 1.2 million feet of deer exclusion fencing for New Jersey farmers.

Deer Fence Bid Specifications - Bid Specification by Dr. John Grande, now used by USDA NRCS in EQUIP fence cost share programs.

NRCS EQUIP Organic Initiative - Practices elligible for funding include up to $20,000 of Deer Control Fencing.

FS889 - High-Tensile Woven Wire Fences for Reducing Wildlife Damage. Rutgers NJAES Fact Sheet

FS888 - Portable Electric Fencing for Preventing Wildlife Damage. Rutgers NJAES Fact Sheet

Repellents

Repellents are an alternative method of reducing deer damage when regulated hunting or fencing are not desired options. However, their effectiveness is variable, and most require multiple applications.

Types of repellents include: area (eg., human hair balls, Magic Circle - bone tar oil, soap bars, blood meal, feather meal, and meat meal); contact repellents which are sprayed or dusted (eg., Big Game Repellent, Hot Sauce, thiram (tetramethylthiuramdisulfide), Hinder (ammonium soaps of higher fatty acids), and Ro-Pel(0.06596 benzyldiethyl [2,6 Xylyl carbamoyl] ammonium saccharide and 0.35% thymol and solvents); and systemic repellents containing selenium.

Area repellents are labor intensive; contact repellents lose effectiness after rainfall and do not protect new growth; and systemic selenium repellents can be phytotoxic if used above the recommended amount for deterrence. When populations are large and concentrated, and alternative foods are scarce, all types of repellent effectiveness will be reduced or negated.

Deer Repellent Use in Commercial Ag is an in-depth look at deer repellent use on farms. [Maryland Cooperative Extension FS810]

Comparative Analysis of Deer Repellents gives useful information on efficacy. [Hani & Conover, Berryman Institute USU]

FS360 Rutgers Fact Sheet providing a listing of animal repellents with application frequency and manufacturer.

More Resources for Farmers

NJ Farm Bureau -  State Legislative Issues  S-2649 related to deer control.

NJ Dept of Agriculture -  Wildlife Damage Management

USDA APHIS NJ Wildlife Services -  Assistance in resolving wildlife conflicts in NJ

NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife -  Information for Farmers

CT DEP Managing Urban Deer in Connecticut