Floodwaters Drive Deer Onto Agricultural Fields

Floodwaters Drive Deer Onto Agricultural Fields
From Arkansas Game and Fish Commission

LITTLE ROCK - Historically high flooding along the Mississippi River in southeastern Arkansas has driven hungry white-tailed deer from inside levees onto valuable agricultural fields, where they have reduced crops to nubs. "I saw 195 acres of beans gnawed to the ground," said Dick Baxter, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Deer Program coordinator. "They were planted a month ago."


Landowners have used devices such as rope firecrackers and propane cannons to frighten deer from fields before, but since May 1, explosives have been harder to come by. The U.S. Department of Justice now requires a license to use rope firecrackers, but obtaining the license is a lengthy process. The Mississippi River is expected to be high for weeks.

"This is a problem that nobody's dealt with to this magnitude," said Mark Hooks, an AGFC biologist based in Monticello. "One of the challenges for us is people could use rope firecrackers (during flooding) in 2008. It was less of an issue then. We don't have that at our disposal now."

Although landowners can't use rope firecrackers without a license, AGFC personnel are authorized to use the devices if qualified or affected landowners make a request. The firecrackers and cannons produce periodic explosions that surprise and frighten deer. But even after jarring blasts, deer tend to acclimate to loud noises, and that's when depredation permits become necessary. As of May 23, nine depredation permits had been issued by the AGFC in Chicot County and four in Desha County. A single permit has been issued for Arkansas County. Records show that 120 deer had been taken in Chicot County, 17 deer had been taken in Desha County and four deer in Arkansas County - a total of 141.


"There's a perception that a lot of deer are being taken and that's simply not true," Hooks said. "Stress can kill some of these deer when they are driven by floodwaters." Another method used to keep displaced deer from destroying crops is feeding them to draw them away from crops. Corn, which is popular deer feed, is not the right type of feed for deer this time of year, and it can attract unwanted animals such as feral pigs. Even if the right feed is used, "It's hard to lure deer away from young bean plants," Hooks said. "The hard reality is a few deer are going to be killed."

AGFC biologists and wildlife officers will continue to monitor the movement of deer from the ground and from the air.

Photo credit U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service


Recommended for You

News

Game & Fish Magazine Names New Editorial Director

G&F Online Staff - May 23, 2019

Adam Heggenstaller takes over after 14 years with NRA Publications.

Guns

MidwayUSA Pro Series Shooting Mat

G&F Staff

Shooters across the U.S. are using this competition shooting mat.

See More Recommendations

Trending Stories

Records

Top 10 Biggest Pike World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - August 19, 2015

While wildly popular amongst anglers around the world, the IGFA World Record book shows the...

Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

Other Freshwater

3 Deadly Bait Rigs For Stripers

J.B. Kasper - April 21, 2005

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use bait rigs for stripers.

See More Stories

More Stories

Stories

Gear Reviews: New Coyote Hunting Rifles, Shotguns

Game & Fish Online Staff - September 07, 2018

Here's a look at some of coyote hunting rifles and shot gun featured in this summer's Game &...

Stories

Grandpa'™s Gun Tags Giant Buck, Ends Multi-Year Quest

Lynn Burkhead - November 21, 2017

Missouri hunter Tim Phillips is all smiles after using his late grandfather's worn Marlin...

Stories

Coyotes In Suburbia

Stephen D. Carpenteri - November 30, 2016

Once considered a denizen of the Western wilds, the coyote has learned to adapt to human

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×