In the 1990's New Jersey's agricultural community identified rising losses from crop depredation due to deer as a major problem. Deer damage is a concern of both the agricultural community and the NJDEP Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife (the Division). Yet, incomplete data was available on the extent of farmers' deer-related damage problems.
Rutgers' New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Center for Wildlife Damage Control designed and conducted a 65-question survey of N.J.'s farmers in 1998 to contribute to a better understanding how deer, and current deer management practices, impact agriculture. This comprehensive opinion survey determined farmers' perceptions of deer and identified and quantified how current deer management practices impact their farming. Survey results should lead to improved deer management programs that are more responsive to the needs of farmers seeking solutions to crop damage.
The confidential survey sampled 4,403 New Jersey farm operators on the USDA N.J. Agricultural Statistics Service 'Composite Operator List' whose farm sales were reported greater than $10,000 annually. A 51% response rate (2,142 questionnaires returned) was achieved through multiple mailings and telephone follow-up.
Results are presented as proportions of farmers responding to the survey. No effort has been made to project results presented in this summary to all farmers in N.J. as they may not be representative of farmers whose farm sales are less than $10,000 annually or of farmers who did not respond to the survey questionnaire.
The increased abundance of deer and crop damage in N.J. is the result of complex issues. These include land use, demographics of suburbanization, management of recreational hunting, access to private and public lands, and public policies. Solutions to reduce crop damage from deer must consider wildlife biology and public policy. While field solutions must be customized to each landowner, some recommendations from this study require broader policy changes.
NJAES Center for Wildlife Damage. 908/730-9419
Survey Findings Executive Summary. An expanded summary with maps (Approx. 14 pp.)
Complete Survey Findings. Data, results, charts, tables, analyses, & maps. (Approx. 85 pp.)
Opinion Survey Questionnaire. (65 questions. 14 pp.)
Fact Sheets from Rutgers Cooperative Extension County Offices or 908/730-9419
Who to Call Regarding Wildlife Damage. FS887. (2 pp.)
Portable Electric Fencing for Preventing Wildlife Damage. FS888. (2 pp.)
High-Tensile Woven Wire Fences for Reducing Wildlife Damage. FS889. (4 pp.)
NJDEP Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife. 609/292-2965
Deer Hunting & the Farmer. A Landowner's Guide to Use & Mgt. of Hunters and Hunting Seasons to Control Deer. (7 pp.)
Community-Based Program for the Management of Suburban Deer Populations--Policy and Procedures. (19 pp. or 4 pp. summary: Suburban Deer Mgt. A Realistic Approach.)
N.J. Dept. of Agriculture. 609/292-5532
Deer Fencing Application/Agreement, Supplemental Deer Fence Program. (5 pp.)
N.J. Farm Bureau. 609/393-7163
There's nothing like the taste of "Jersey Fresh." (Brochure)
Who and what is the Center? The Rutgers, NJAES Center for Wildlife Damage Control seeks to reduce conflicts between humans and wildlife. Its outreach activities are located at the Rutgers, NJAES Snyder Research and Extension Farm.
The Center formed an interagency Advisory Group open to professionals interested in reducing conflicts between humans and wildlife. The Advisory Group reviewed and approved this survey. The NJAES wishes to thank representatives from the following organizations for review and/or supporting this survey: N.J. Dept. of Agriculture; NJDEP, Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife; N.J. Farm Bureau; USDA N.J. Agricultural Statistics Service; and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services.
Special thanks to Peter Fritzell, M.S., NJAES Center Research Consultant, for his many hours designing, conducting, and analyzing the survey.
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