Landowner Reports of Deer Damage in the Arkansas Coastal Plain

We surveyed 611 rural landowners in the Arkansas Coastal Plain in 1987 to detennine perceptions of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) damage to agricultural and forestry crops. Respondents (N = 231) owned an average of 148 ha, with the 2 greatest areas in row crops (98 ha), such as soybeans, cotton, and rice, and forests (38 ha). One-half (50%) of respondents had sustained deer damage, most (52%) of whom described it as minimal. Landowners who estimated financial losses from deer reported an average loss of $1,650: 61% lost <$1,000, and 1% lost >$10,000. Of those with damage, 23% said that damage was unreasonable and 46% had tried control. Respondents most often used scare devices, chemical repellents, and fences, but few respondents (<3%) felt that these devices worked. Most respondents (71%) wanted deer on their land, 15% wanted deer but they worried about damage, and 7% did not want deer. Thirty-nine percent wanted deer populations in their area to remain static, 36% wanted deer numbers to increase, and 24% wanted deer numbers to decrease.

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