Biologists Preparing For Possible Increase in Deer Nuisance Complaints

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MONTICELLO – Wild animals, particularly deer, forced from flooded land have moved to neighboring croplands, and may impact farmers’ summer crops.

Although some ridges in the flooded region are above water, the land left can only support so many animals. Small woodlots and farms near flooded land offer good shelter and abundant food, which has caused many animals to make a temporary move.

“We have received some complaints, primarily in fields near the Mississippi River Levee in Chicot and Desha counties,” said Brad Miller, AGFC deer program coordinator. “We are anticipating more calls because of the amount of deer that have been displaced by the floods. We want to be proactive about the problem.”

Miller believes the flood will have lasting effects throughout summer. “Once the water recedes, there will still be a short time before plants begin to sprout again. It may take a while before deer move back to their former home ranges.”

Until then, biologists are working with farmers to protect their crops and the deer herd. Eastern Arkansas landowners can contact the Wildlife Division’s regional supervisor in their area for help. The supervisor will issue non-lethal deterrents such as scare pistols and firecracker rope to farmers as needed. Biologists recommend neighboring farmers work together to drive deer from the property. If scare tactics are ineffective, a shoot-to-kill permit will be issued.

Miller said that scare devices have been greatly appreciated. Most farmers don’t want to kill the deer now because they hunt them and lease their lands to hunters during fall.

AGFC Assistant Deer Program Coordinator Cory Gray said the key to scare tactics’ success is spooking deer away from property as soon as possible. Farmers need to report potential problems immediately before they become a nuisance.

“Deer are creatures of habit,” said Gray. “If they are chased from the property before they can find the food, they will move on. If they get established, it becomes very difficult to scare them away.”

Feral hogs may have been pushed to the same farmlands, and can cause crop damage as well. Landowners are encouraged to harvest feral hogs on their property in addition to the other techniques. Killing hogs will reduce this nuisance species and create additional disturbance to scare deer and other wildlife away from their property.

The AGFC asks that nuisance hogs and deer killed be turned in to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry to make use of the meat.

For harassment devices and assessments for depredation permits farmers may contact the regional wildlife supervisor in the AGFC regional office nearest to their property:

  • Robert Zachary,  Jonesboro Regional Office (877) 972-5438
  • Mike Coker, Brinkley Regional Office (877) 734-4581
  • Roger Milligan,  Monticello Regional Office (877) 367-3559