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Keeping deer out of airports

Transport CanadaDave left a comment a couple of weeks ago linking to Transport Canada's Deer Exclusion Devices and Deterrent Techniques.  While we were researching our own deterrent, I read a similar document put out by a U.S. state (can't remember which one) noting the best way to keep deer off airport runways.  It sounds like airports are working hard to find a way to deter deer!

I've excerpted a few of Transport Canada's key findings about deer deterrents since they match our experience:

"The key to success when using frightening methods and repellents is to use them at the first sign of a deer problem."  This has been our experience as well.  Once deer find that tasty strawberry plant, it's going to take a lot more than a gentle clanging to chase them away.  But if you deter the deer before they find your garden's tasty crops, they will keep out.

"The general obstacle to the use of sound for effective animal control is habituation.  Many animals adapt to new sounds and learn to ignore them if they are not associated with real danger....  Shooting has been used to frighten or kill deer in agricultural fields.... In these situations, deer are often killed to reinforce the effectiveness of non-lethal deer scaring devices."  I have to admit that I back up our deer deterrents with a bit of hunting, and I think it helps.

"Gas cannons can be more effective at dispersing deer if the frequency of the explosions is varied and if the cannons are moved every second or third day of use to a different area....  Motion-activated exploders, triggered by passing deer were more effective than exploders that fired at regular intervals.  Thus, the exploders only fired when a deer was close by, which made habituation less likely."  We're not using cannons (boy was someone desperate!), but Mark is working on making our deer deterrents less regular to get the same effect.

Transport Canada notes that ultrasonic noise, reflecting surfaces, and blinking lights don't work.  That's been our experience as well.  They note that odor and taste-based repellents "are only even partially effective at protecting very small areas."

Stay tuned for more gems from Transport Canada later in the week!

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