Stop the Deer Damage
Restoring the environment –Protecting our property—Saving lives

Deer Habits and Damage

      Whitetail deer are present throughout the USA and in almost all areas over populate the carrying capacity of the land according to an Iowa DNR study.  Fawns born in the spring can be ready to breed in the fall, with most year old adult female deer producing twins in the following spring.  DNR officials have stated that deer can jump over an eight ft tall fence.  Deer numbers can increase over 40% every year if few predators are present according to the Iowa DNR.

Deer herd up in the winter time where cover is available, and can destroy large areas of habitat, and private property, when they run out of food they travel in great herds to new areas and destroy more property. In the spring time they spread out over the countryside with more cover being available.  Tracking devices used on deer have shown them to move up to 20 miles in 24 hours.

Iowa DNR study of 1998

The Iowa DNR did a study published in the journal of Iowa academic science in 1998.  They showed that once deer number are more than one deer per 65 acres of deer habitat,  (agriculture land is zero deer) forest health begins to decline.  The number of tree seedlings, species of birds and groundcover of wildflowers begin to decline. The study showed that deer numbers of over 1 deer per 65 acres are destroyers of our natural environment, and private property.  In many areas (state parks) and private property, have 10-20 times this amount on the land. 

The Iowa DNR manages over 485,000 acres of State and Federal land.

New research has now shown that there should now only be one deer per 100 acres of deer habitat to preserve the environment.  If you want wildlife habitat and the most species of wildlife on your property the best thing you can do is to reduce the number of deer on your property to no more than one deer per 100 acres .

Deer will eat anything!  Iowa wildlife extension specialists stated deer will eat over 350 species of plants.  Deer eat browse (leaves, twigs, shoots of woody plants and vines) and forbs (weeds and other broadleaf flowering plants), but one of their favorite is young agricultural crops when in season.  They do eat some grass, but only when it is young, green, and succulent.  They love acorns, fruits, nut crops and berries, and I have seen them break the branches off peach trees to get at the fruit.  Sheep and goats are in the same family of animals as deer and cause severe damage to the environment in many parts of the world.  Deer food shortages can occur especially in the winter months  One Deer can eat 7-10 lbs of food a day according to the Iowa DNR, and that is over 2500 lbs per year per deer, almost as much as a cow eats.

"Sadly, I spend much of my time in ecological disaster zones—forests devastated by too many deer," says Thomas J. Rawinski, a U.S. Forest Service scientist in Durham, N.H. "I truly believe that this has become the single greatest conservation challenge of our time."

                                      Deer feed at night

Deer move to their feeding areas at night and will eat and destroy your property.  They can move over 1 mile in the evening, eat and rub your property, and retreat to there cover area to stay hidden and 'chew their cud ' during the day.  Hunting rules never allow you to remove deer at night when they are the most destructive, we remove deer at night to Stop the Deer Damage.

Winter damage to an arborvitae tree, the tree on the left is what it looked like before the deer ate it .  The landowner sprayed the trees with deer repellant and heard that dryer sheets would keep the deer off the tree, both did not work and on some they even pulled the sheet off to get the green foliageWhen deer are hungry, they will eat anything and deer repellant will not help.

Deer destroy entire X-mas tree farm in a few days--Click Here

Arborvitae eaten during the winter, destroying their windbreak. Imagine what would happen if you had small trees planted in a new windbreak and this happened.  We stop this deer damage and protect our propertyThis happened in two nights.

Damage caused by deer eating the tree tops and sometimes the whole tree, this goes on all year around, eventually killing the plant from starvation.

     Deer eat a variety of plants, and different plant species at different times of the year and can even vary year-to-year depending upon environmental conditions. The following plants are examples of food which are readily eaten by deer when and where they are available.  They prefer to eat at night so it is not unusually to see the damage at daylight.

     Agricultural crops:  When in season the deer favorite food is  produced by farmers such as corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats, wheat. They eat the fruit, branches, bark and leaves off of trees year around, and love grapes and leaves in a vineyard.  They love plants in the home garden.  Even one deer can cause substantial damage to a homeowners property or farmers crop in only one night.


Corn and soybeans eaten by deer

     Browse: Tree leaves, bark and acorns, hackberry, mulberry, sumac, hawthorns, poison ivy, American chestnut, wild cherry and plum, wild grape, honeysuckle, willow, dogwood, elm, blackberry and dewberry, acacias, walnut, including all trees species.  Oak, Hackberry, mulberry, and willow leaves seem to be a favorite. In the winter all deciduous trees and evergreens can be eaten with White Pine and Arborvitae being their favorites.

Above- Oak tree severely browsed by deer, I planted this tree 12 years ago, (it should be 25 ft tall).  There were many rows of these oaks but most have starved to death with the constant eating of the leaves and branches by deer.

Above picture--Oak tree 2' to over 6 ft in 16 months with no deer damage using "Stop the deer damage" program.



Deer Diseases:  Deer are effected by a multitude of diseases, some are fatal to humans and other animals. Bovine Tuberculosis and Encephalitis are prevalent in other states.  Chronic Wasting Disease is in Iowa, Hemorrhagic blue Tongue and EHD has been detected in over 63 counties in Iowa, and has spread to cattle herds.  Lyme disease and Powassan Virus caused by deer ticks is present throughout Iowa and growing with the deer population, and is two very serious diseases.

The presence of Lyme disease and deer ticks indicates significant numbers of deer.  Deer ticks cannot spread Lyme to humans without at least 8-10 deer per square mile.  This has been found to be a consistent number in studies across New England.  New research shows over 500,000 new cases of Lyme disease per year.  The facts show, no deer, no Lyme disease, read the report here: .  My dog got Lyme disease and cost me several hundred dollars to treat it. Know the symptoms of Lyme disease and if you think you or your animals may have it, get tested as this is a very serious disease and can cause long lasting health problems.

Garlic Mustard: Many areas where there is high deer concentrations have the forest floor covered with garlic mustard.  Deer destroy the native forest plants first and then they carry the small garlic seeds in there hoofs to new areas.  Deer do not eat this plant so it has now taken over many of our forested areas where the overpopulations of deer congregate, destroying the native habitat.

Fall Buck Rubs:  In the fall starting as early as August through December, new antlers grow out on the male deer during the summer, and they take these horns and rub them on anything they can, usually trees and shrubs and do substantial damage, killing and damaging trees up to 12 ft tall. One male deer (shown below) can rub from 25-100 trees every fall, destroying them with their antlers, research has shown.




Vehicle crashes: Every year in the US there is over 1 million crashes with deer on the highways.  When figured on an average damage of $3200 per crash this is over 3 billion dollars in damages per year.  It is estimated that every car that has insurance for vehicle damage has to pay an additional $25 per year on their insurance for deer crashes.  It has been shown that if you hit a deer and report it to your insurance company your insurance can go up an average 33% for the next year.  More deer are killed by vehicle crashes than are killed by hunting.

In the US every year about 200 people are killed in motor vehicle crashes with deer, with 10 thousand more injured.  In Iowa, on the average about 7-10 people are killed every year in 10,000 deer crashes, with over 100 injured.  Iowa has shown to have the third highest vehicle to deer crash rate in the US with a 1 in 66 chance of hitting a deer every year, if you live in the country is is probably closer to 1 in 10.  Always report any deer you have hit to law enforcement to be sure it is added to the years total.

  Persons killed and injured and damage to our person and property, caused by deer overpopulations are acceptable to our state representatives, senators , governor and the DNR, they simply do not care. 

In conclusion- $300 Million dollars damage per year in Iowa from deer damage.

What does every deer cost Iowa citizens in medical, property, fences, and vehicle owners in Iowa every year?  Deer in Iowa cost a minimum of $350 each per year on just the crops they eat.  One large male deer can easily do over $10,000. of property damage in a short period of time in the fall. 100,00 larger bucks do over $5000. each per year rubbing and destroying our trees. Then there is the cost of putting up fences which many people do and additional vehicle insurance costs of at least 100 million to the residents of Iowa each year.  Add in Lyme disease to our person and our animals and that adds up to another 25 million.

Iowa has about 500,000 deer and adding up all the totals, is over 300 million dollars of damage every year to Iowa citizens, or over $110.00 per person per year.  The state of Iowa pays landowners nothing to feed/raise their deer, they refuse to prevent destruction of our property, or to remove their deer. Iowa will not spend one dollar to stop the deer damage to your property, they do not care, I do care.  If state government ever did an environmental and financial impact of deer in Iowa they would see that I am correct in the $ amount, and probably even higher.  

Only state government selling deer licenses for $28 each make money on Government Livestock (deer), since they do not have to endure the feeding, damages and costs associated with deer, as the private property/vehicle owners are expected (but not required) to do this.  Iowa hunting, license fees makes less than 30 million dollars each year on deer hunting in Iowa. 

On my property, I look at populations of deer as 200 pound, disease carrying rodents, eating, damaging and destroying my property, and perhaps my life.  They spread Lyme disease to people, our animals, destroy the environment, and my property, and the sooner they are removed the better.  When we have rats destroying our property and spreading diseases we simply kill them.   Why should it be any different with deer when the state refuses to stop the deer damage to our property, put up a fence, or pay for the personal damage caused by their animals?


 "Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask.. Act!,  Action will delineate and define you."
            -Thomas Jefferson





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