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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Are Deer Eating Your Profits? Reduce the Losses with OSU Extension Workshop

October 17, 2007

PIKETON, Ohio -- Deer may be quiet, elusive creatures, but the pronounced damage they leave behind eats away millions of dollars a year in profits.

Ohio State University's South Centers at Piketon will offer a deer exclusion workshop on Nov. 2 to educate those in the agricultural, forest and horticultural industries how to best manage deer populations and reduce economic losses from deer damage. The workshop will be held at OSU South Centers at 1864 Shyville Road, Piketon, Ohio.

The workshop will run from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Registration is $30 per person and covers the cost of workshop materials and lunch. Registration deadline is Oct. 29 and is limited to 75 participants.

Annual conservative estimates of deer damage are reported to exceed $2 billion nationwide, including more than $100 million in agricultural crop damage, $750 million in damage to the timber industry, and more than $250 million in damage to home landscape and nursery plantings, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

"I have been on farms this past season where several acres of high-value vegetable crops had been totally eaten and destroyed by deer, which results in some major lost income for the farmer," said Brad Bergefurd, an Ohio State University Extension horticulture specialist.

Bergefurd said the challenge not only lies in keeping one's crops, plants or favorite tree or shrub off a deer's menu, but also rests in controlling Ohio's ever-increasing deer populations. According to the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Ohio's deer herd has grown from an estimated 17,000 deer in 1970 to some 700,000 in 2005.

"In order to control deer in our plantings, one needs to understand the biology of the deer, or what makes the animal tick," said Dave Apsley, an OSU Extension natural resources specialist. "Once we understand deer biology, then we can explore the methods that can be implemented to control them."

During the workshop, specialists in deer biology and control will provide insight on how to protect land from the increasing deer population. Participants will also hear from vendors on what is available on both a small and large scale for deer deterrent and exclusion.

Following lunch, participants will tour research plantings of berries, vegetables and grain crops, as well as Christmas tree farms and forested land at OSU South Centers to view the deer fencing systems being used.

"By having the opportunity to view these different methods of control, landowners can compare the pros and cons of each system and determine which may be best for their particular operation," said Bergefurd.

For more information about the workshop, or to register, call (740) 289-2071, ext. 223, or visit the OSU South Centers Web site at

Candace Pollock
Brad Bergefurd