Evaluation of an animal-activated scarecrow and a monofilament fence for reducing deer use of soybean fields

Jeff Beringer, Kurt C. VerCauteren, Joshua J. Millspaugh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    We measured the efficacy of an animal-activated scarecrow (AAS) and a 5-strand monofilament fence (MF) at reducing white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) use of 0.4-ha soybean plots in Missouri, USA. Our study design consisted of 9 soybean plots; 3 served as controls, 3 were surrounded by an MF, and 3 were surrounded by an AAS. Data collected for each protected plot included soybean height and weight taken from within and immediately adjacent to 10 unprotected, equally spaced 1-m2 exclosures. A measure of deer use for each plot was collected with video cameras. A mixed-effects analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that heights of protected and unprotected soybean plants were significantly different for MF plots (F2 = 93.6, P = 0.01) and controls (F2 = 47.6, P = 0.02) but not different for AAS plots (F2 = 2.16, P = 0.272). Soybean plants in AAS plots were heavier than those from MF or control plots (F2 = 10.2, P = 0.01). Plant weight differences in protected and unprotected areas for AAS plots were less than those from MF plots (t6 = 2.55, P = 0.04) or control plots (t6 = 4.46, P = 0.004). Plant weight differences between MF and control plots were marginally significant (t6 = 1.192, P = 0.10). Deer spent less time in AAS plots than MF (t6 = 2.55, P = 0.04) or control plots (t6 = 2.55, P = 0.01). Scarecrow activations increased over time in all 3 AAS plots (all 95% confidence intervals >0), suggesting that deer were habituating to the devices. We suggest that AAS may be useful for short-term deterrence of deer from small areas.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)492-498
    Number of pages7
    JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
    Volume31
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 2003

    Keywords

    • Animal damage
    • Crop depredation
    • Fencing
    • Frightening device
    • Odocoileus virginianus
    • White-tailed deer

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