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NCSU Students Working to Reduce Deer-Related Crop Damage

June 27, 2013 | 10:28 AM

Category: Non-profit groups

Undergraduate students from both the North Carolina State University (NCSCU) Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Agricultural Institute programs are afield this summer with one aim in mind: to reduce crop loss caused by deer.

Enrollment is now open. If farm income is being lost because of deer damage and you would like to receive additional income earned through hunt opportunity, then this program may be for you. Enrollment of farmland is taking place now. Landowners, farmers leasing land, and hunting clubs who hunt on farmland may participate, receiving both $2/acre for hosting a 15-day hunt in 2013 and a hunt kit for long-term deer management and income opportunity. For details about how to sign up call your Cooperative Extension Service Office and ask about Farmers Manage Deer in your county or call Guy and Judy Gardner at 919 552-9449.

North Carolina row crop farmers lose more than $30 million each year because of crop damage caused by deer. Yet the associated economic and recreational benefits are not to be ignored. Each year approximately 250,000 sportsmen/women take more than 2.9 million trips afield in NC in pursuit of deer. In fact, more than $311 million ten-fold that amount lost in crops - are spent on deer-related hunting expenses in NC every year. Two-thirds of that money is used for gas, food, lodging, hunt leases, and supplies monies that contribute to the local tax base of NC rural communities.

Browse exclusion cages are being constructed at test sites to provide a visual gauge of crop loss outside of the exclosure. Normal farming practices will apply to excluded areas, allowing Interns to rule out impact of other environmental factors. Field cameras are being used to provide visual evidence of the number and frequency of deer visiting the field. Students will develop a deer harvest plan at every property enrolled, aimed at reducing crop loss and managing deer populations over the long term.

This valuable project is made possible by North Carolina (NC) Wildlife Federation under "Farmers Manage Deer, "a 2-year program sponsored by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission with additional support from the NC Soybean Producers Association, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Hunters for the Hungry, and the Quality Deer Management Association.

The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services "Hunt NC Farmland" website will invite hunters to harvest antlerless deer on these properties this fall, with hunters keeping the venison that they will use and donating the rest to Hunters for the Hungry, a non-profit organization that will process the meat and return this high quality protein source to those in need. More information about this program can be found at Manage Deer.asp

Guy and Judy Gardner 919 552 9449

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