The Potomac Highlands Watershed School 

"Oh Deer!" 2007 Environmental Forum

Points of View with Thoughtful Questions - Farmers

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Grant County Farmer's Association


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hunter, forester, the forest, homeowner, insurance company, Others 

Potomac Highlanders                                     Hampshire High School


                                                                                                                                  8:50:00 AM

  We are the farmers of the great mountain state.  We are trying to find a solution to keeping

the deer away from our crops.  The loss that we take from the deer eating and destroying our

crops is costing too much.  One solution that we found is a deer repellent called “Deer Out.”     “Deer Out” is an all natural deer repellent that you spray

on your crops.  This repellent does not harm the environment at all and is safe for our crops. 

The cheapest cost for us is to buy a 55 gallon drum of concentrate of “Deer Out.”  This 55

gallon drum of deer repellent costs $3995, but is more cost efficient than fencing to keep

deer out.  The 55 gallon drum will cover 55 acres of crops on your farm.  This product will last

up to 3 months or possibly even longer. So depending on the acreage of your farm, they have

different amounts of this product that you buy.            We, the farmers, would like our government

to help with the cost of this product.  We are asking for your help because the average farmer

cannot afford the cost of this product.  It would help greatly if you would pay for at least 50

percent of this product and the farmer who has requested this product would pay for the rest

of the cost.

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  From:    We Speak For the Trees - forester - NHHS

                                                                                            11/7/2007            8:25:00 AM

     If you cannot get funding for this product, what other methods will you use to solve your

      deer problem?

From:      Happy Houses - homeowner - NHHS

                                                                                            11/7/2007            9:03:00 AM

     I think that your idea of repellent is great but there are many alternatives that could

     help you make money than spend it.  You could have hunters pay to hunt on your land so

     that way you are earning money and saving your crops.  I do have a question about the

     repellent though.  Does the repellent only affect the deer and is it proven that the

     product will not damage other wildlife?



HHSFutureFarmers                                        Hampshire High School


                                                                                                                                 10:35:00 AM

I think as a farmer  the deer are  destroying more crops than we are producing, so there for

the crops that we are loosing, and the money we put in the crops are wasted. So therefore I

think that they should kill more deer so my cattle has less of a chance of getting Chronic

Wasting Disease.  

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Farmer John                                                  Hampshire High School


                                                                                                                                   2:00:00 PM

     As a farmer, I think that most deer in my area should be killed. They should be killed because

 it is costly to farming in general and the farmer will be putting in more then I get out of my

crops.  If I'm producing crops, most of it will be gone because it's eaten by the deer.  As far as

 tree growing goes, they eat buds and the bucks use the base and branches to trim their horns

which ruins the tree and dies eventually.       Deer, overall, are so costly to famrers because

they are losing profit from free roaming deer grazing at farmers costs.  This is why I propose

that most of the deer should be killed.  As farmers, you wold have to purchase extra fences,

ammunition, and other supplies to prevent deer crossing on your property.     In recent studies,

 it shows that deer have costed farmers over 100 million dollars combined in 13 states.  Also,

farmers have estimated over 67,855 hours in attempt to control and save their crops due to

deer.       In conclusion, if we don't do something soon then crops will continue to depreciate,

farmers will lose money, and precious time.

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I see where you are coming from but not all farmers have that much money for fences and ammo so where do you suggest they get the funding to help pay for the fences and other accesories? Also what do you do it the deer are able to jump the fence and still get into the fields?  J.S.

       Response    Farmer John - Farmer - HHS

                                                                                       11/2/2007        8:05:00 AM

             Deer can't jump fences over 7 feet or what they can't see over.  Federal or state

              funding will help out. Bullets aren't that expensive and people around our area

             are hunters anyway so it's part of farming as well.  You can write off your

             bullets that you've used on your taxes as expenses on the farm.


 From:    Happy Houses - homeowner - NHHS

                                                                                            11/7/2007            9:04:00 AM

     Did you put into consideration that you will be wasting more time and more money by

     researching ways to decline the amount of deer in your area, do you think that killing the

      deer will be the best way to save farmland when you are wasting more time and

     ammunition.  Could you come up with another dumb cause to justify all this killing and

     violence?  Killing some deer would be ok but the way you talk is complete genocide of the

      species and that is just dumb. The state could fund other ways to repel deer from crops!


  From:    HHS FutureFarmers - Farmer - HHS

                                                                                            11/7/2007            9:59:00 AM

     I agree that a deer can not jump over a fence that they can not see over. I think that all

     the deer should be killed, because the deer are totally destroying the crops we produced,

     so there for the deer should be killed or someway to get them from eating our crops. We

     should poison our crops that we farmers produce so the deer might stop eating our good


  From:   Happy Houses - homeowner - NHHS                                            Ask

                                                                                          11/13/2007            9:06:00 AM

     You have a good point but what if the poison is toxic to us then we cant eat it but still

     good point.




Farmers Milleevets Buffalo Gap HS


                                                                                                                            6:55:00 AM

As farmers we need low deer population to prevent agricultural destruction.    When crops have

 been destroyed a damage permit may be issued to the land owner.  A damage permit will allow

people on the damaged property to kill more deer.  This is an effective method as the deer

population will only decrease in one area.  However the down fall is damage permits do cost 50

dollars.  For this reason some farmers who need these permits may not buy them.  Also hunting

these deer cost money for guns and ammunition.  Again this is another price farmers must pay. 

More support could be possible if there was more funding available to take the financial

burden off the farmers.  Through this process the deer population will drop, therefore a

careful eye must study the falling numbers to prevent extinction.

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I understand your point, but my question is where do you plan to get that funding from and how do you plan to obtain it?  J.S.

       Response    Farmers Milleevets - Farmer - BGHS

                                                                                       11/2/2007        7:42:00 AM

             Currently farmers can apply for funding from local and state governments, as

             well as local organizations.  If these opportunities were given more publicity

             more farmers could obtain this funding.



Don't Fence Me In Rappahannock High School


                                                                                                                            6:53:00 AM

      Throughout the country deer have had a major impact on farmers by eating and destroying

crops. Different mechanisms have been established to get ride of deer, but none of them have

stopped the over abundance of the deer population. Deer population has risen rapidly in the

past ten years; therefore, the deer impact on crops has risen. The crop prices have increased

so much that corn prices increased form $1.85 to $2.04.  Farmers need to unite in the situation

 and solve problems together. Either by assembling more hunters on farmland or creating a

fenced in wildlife deer perverse, which would have plentiful amounts of food the deer issue,

would be solved.           Deer are browsers, which are animals that nibble on buds and shoots of

newly formed growth. By rolling or trampling, deer are the cause of damage to crops and trees

in their habitats. The deer’s urine also kills some crops and plants because it is toxic. Deer

have caused such an impact to their environment (i.e. forests) that the forests will not return to

 their natural state in our lifetime. The crops most targeted by deer are corn, wheat, alfalfa,

flowers, grasses, mushrooms, soybeans, and rye. At a time where food is limited, crops are a

major source for the deer. Deer have cost farmers about $900 million dollars in crop damage

in one year in the United States.           If this problem doesn’t stop farmers will raise prices,

because of the large damage of their crops. One way that a farmer can stops the population is

allowing hunters to hunt on their property. Hunters should decrease the deer population causing

 crops production toe more successful. Another way for farmers can stop crops abuse is

fencing in their crops, which would make the crops unable to be trampled of eaten upon. The

major problem with fencing is the huge cost of the fence. For 650 pieces of 6 feet by 330

feet would cost a farmer about $140,000.  The cost is expensive, but it would have a positive

impact on the farmers, which would benefit their livelihood.      Farmers and landowners have

bought “Crop Damage Stamps” allowing hunters to hunt not during deer season. This will help

bring the deer population down even when hunting season is not in season. To make more

farmers participate would be to form committees to come up with a uniform way of bringing

the deer population down and increasing crop production. Another beneficial way to get more

farmers to participate in decreasing the deer population is to have a protection of deer

habitat. It is obvious the deer are looking for a large food supply, and it would help the farmers

 and the deer in the end.


http://www.gamecallsnew/huntingtips/deerfood.htm http://us-dc1-



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From the Moderator

Quite a few farmers talked about using fence, and the high cost of the fence.  You say that "it would have a positive impact on the farmers, which would benefit their livelihood."  But would it?  Most farmers I know don't make much, if any money.  If they have to pay out a lot more money to protect their crops, they may go out of business.  Should consumers be asked to cover these costs?




J.S. Buffalo Gap HS


                                                                                                                            8:33:00 AM

I believe that if we make the hunting season longer, and take out the bag limit for a few months

 that way could make the deer population decrease by a fairly large amount and this should not

cost a great amount of money if it is done the right way. I think that deer are over populated

and should be killed off. As a farmer the deer population is a little excessive and they are

eating the crops that we grow. They eat our crops and that makes the farmer make less money.

Thus farmers making less money cannot plant as much the following year, then year after year

they produce less crops until the produce nothing at all. With the farmers not producing as

much year after year we will have less food. Thus farmers will sell their farms. then farming

will cease to exist


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  From:    Potomac Highlanders - Farmer - HHS

                                                                                            11/2/2007            6:54:00 AM

     When the hunting season is longer yes you are going to kill more deer but there are some

      consiquences.  When people kill deer they usually go for the biggest buck they can find.

       Thus when they kill that deer they are killing the deer that has the most dominent genes.

       If we kill more deer with dominent genes that are bigger and stronger than the less

     dominent buck that is weak.  The does will mate with the buck with less dominent buck

     giving the young weaker genes and will not be able to survive in the environment as well.

      What do you do when the deer cannot survive the the predators?


  From:    Farmers Milleevets - Farmer - BGHS

                                                                                            11/2/2007            7:44:00 AM

     How does your plan prevent the extreme decrease of the deer population to the point of


       Response    J.S. - Farmer - BGHS

                                                                                       11/7/2007        7:42:00 AM

             I never meant to say increase the the bag limit all season only for a month or

             two.  I meant that we should kill more does that anything else because if we have

             300 does one year the next year we will have about 6-900 does the folloing

             years because no body want to kill does they all want trophie bucks.  That answer

              your questions



  From:    Business - Other Stakeholder - HHS

                                                                                            11/7/2007            8:26:00 AM

     If you made the hunting season longer and took out the bag limit then people would hunt

     too much and then there wouldn't be enough deer, we don't need to get rid of healthy

     deer, we just need to get rid of the sick ones.

       Response    J.S. - Farmer - BGHS

                                                                                       11/14/2007      8:25:00 AM

             Yes but who would want to eat the sick dear they would mostly leave them lay and

             not retrieve them. what do you plan do do about that, have deer lying all over the

             woods or get a crew to pick up all the deer lyijng around? like anyone would want

              to do that....




Girls Just Wanna Have Farms Rappahannock High School


                                                                                                                             9:13:00 AM

As farmers we think the deer population needs to be controlled. The deer go after all different

kinds of crops including corn, grapes, and trees. They are not picky about what they eat. They

do a lot of damage to our crops when rutting and feeding. While the deer population increases,

the reported agricultural damage increases also.           Deer are causing more damage to our crops

than any other vertebrate species. This costs us farmers an estimated $100 million each year.

Even vineyards are not safe from deer. Deer can eat up to 40 lbs of grapes in one day. If the

deer population is uncontrolled, think of the damage a large herd could do! Farmers can get a

special permit to be able to shoot deer, or any animal caught damaging crops, any time of the

year, but if deer were controlled, it would be less of a problem for farmers.    Deer can affect

tree farmers, by chewing bark and rubbing their antlers. Deer can kill trees and damage tree

farmer’s economic standing. Densities of more than 40 deer per square mile are often

observed in regions of hardwood forests mixed with agricultural lands and greater than 100

deer per square mile may occupy suburban areas with woodland cover deer population. Our

region has perfect conditions for an overpopulation of deer, so we need to be careful. The

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fishing needs to know the farmers point of view.

Hunting should be encouraged, to bring down the deer population so that the farmers

production are not decreasing. Deer Population Possesses Problems for Motorists, Farmers. 

18 January 2005. The Decatur Daily. 30 October

2007<            /050118/deer.shtml>The Assessment

 of Negative Economic Impacts From Deer in the Northeastern United States.  February 2005.

 30 October 2007      b5.shtml>Impact of Deer on

Agriculture.  March 2005 30 October 2007


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From the Moderator

You did a very good job laying out the problems deer cause for farmers, including the economic costs.  A few people have suggested that introducing predators that used to be in the region (like wolves and cougars) would be effective - and I agree with that.  But most farmers object to  predators because they can kill livestock.  However, if the economic costs of abundant deer to farming are so high, is it possible that predators would cause less economic damage than the deer?


Farmers R US Rappahannock High School


                                                                                                                           10:04:00 AM

Deer and Farmers have always been public enemies. You might ask who’s at fault in this

confusion. Could it be the farmers for not knowing the boundaries of deer habitat? Some say it

 might be the deer’s fault for invading human territory. All we know is that this problem will be

a never-ending process.Deer are herbivores, which draw them seductively to farmer’s crops.

Deer’s feed on corn, wheat, barley and other mast-type feeding material. This dilemma causes

farmers to develop an aggressive attitude. Deer hunting programs have been created to

diminish deer damage among farms. But think about it, if a deer doesn’t have appealing crops to

 feed on they will resort to there vegetarian ways. They will seek after tree bark, leaflets, and

other forest resources to make them satisfied and cause damage to the forests. Many farmers

get irritated when deer come on their land and eat their crops. Farmers spend valuable time

growing crops for them-selves and to feed others. It is a pain in the pocketbook when farmers

have taken their time to grow crops just to have them eaten by deer and other wildlife. There

are precautions that the farmers can take to avert the deer from consuming their crops.

Fencing about ten to twelve feet high will slow down deer movement into the farmlands, but this

 is extremely expensive. So how much money will it take to bring peace among deer and


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bread basket Rappahannock High School


                                                                                                                            12:16:00 PM

Although a beautiful animal to water, the whitetail deer poses many problems to farmers in the

state of Virginia. When the acorn crop in the hardwood forest is low, or other food sources are

 not really suitable, deer find their way to the cash crop of farmers. Since deer must have

sufficient nutrients to survive, they eat enough to supplement themselves, and their young if

they are pregnant. Farmers do not wish to have to feed the state’s deer population. A herd of

deer can wipe out on entire bean field in its beginning stages. Deer are herbivores, meaning

they eat only plants and love farmer’s work. Beans, corn and other favorites such as oak trees,

suffer greatly from the population of deer. “One source stated that the damage caused by deer

was over a half million dollars (”. Farmers have to one of two options: take the

damage as a loss or take action to prevent this.  A humane way to go about this problem is to

fence the crops in with at least an eight-foot tall fence. The only problem is that that becomes

costly, about $80 a section of fence. A cost effective alternative to fencing is spraying a

deer repellant. Simple household products such as hot red pepper around the edge of the field

work wonders. Another very good method of repelling deer is human hair. Hunting is also a

great option.

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From the Moderator

I'm interested in the use of deer repellants you described.  Has this been effective on a large scale, or just on small plots of land like home gardens? 



Funky Farmers with Tricked-out Tractors Clear Spring


                                                                                                                           10:59:00 AM

Deer are a nuisance and a threat to crop production for the local farmer. 92% of our state’s

farmers have suffered damage to their corn and soybean crops. They come into the field late

at night and eat farmer’s crops.  As far as the farmers are concerned they might as well eat the

 money right out of their wallet.  “We lose money out of deer feeding on our crops every year”

said Fiona Lebuff, a local farmer who's crops have been recently damaged by the plethora of

deer this season. "I'm afraid that we may not have enough time or money to get our crops back

up and running in time for the harvesting season. If not we won't be making much money this

year."  The cost of deer damage in agriculture can range upward from $38 million. And for

farmers who sometimes can barely scrape by due to the increasing cost of production, this sum

isn’t easy to come by.  Some temporary solutions that have been put in place were effective

for a while, but not any more.  Those costly fences farmers put up, only to have them easily

jumped by the deer. Even our hunting season isn’t enough to reduce the deer population. And

farmers have said enough is enough.  They want a permanent solution to the problem, but don’t

have the money to fund any expensive management projects.  Farmers blame the hunters for

eliminating the natural predators of the deer, and letting the deer population for running

rampant.  They also are upset with the government for not funding more complex and effective

 management programs.  New solutions such as a prolonged hunting season, or crop damage

tags* (which are free to the farmer’s request and eligibility) could lessen the effect that the

deer have on the farmer’s crop. But these new solutions may cost the farmer a portion of his

crop, or crop insurance fees. Any of these new solutions will directly benefit the farmer

because it will reduce crop damage and increase the farmer’s profit. Farming is not the most

lucrative career out there, so all the farmers who are having a hard time paying the bills will be

 yelling, “Bring on the lean, mean, green!” *To check your crop damage tag eligibility in your

Maryland county check out .

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  From:    Happy Houses - homeowner - NHHS

                                                                                            11/7/2007            9:04:00 AM

     I understand that it is difficult for farmers to afford putting up fences.  Why can’t the

     state fund fencing for farmland?  Maybe, another alternative would be trying to lessen

     the price of repellent because it isn’t very affordable.

  From:   Girls Just Wanna Have Farms - Farmer - RHS                            Ask

                                                                                          11/15/2007           10:12:00 AM

     When you say that farmers are upset with the hunters for eliminating deer's natural

     predators, what predators are you talking about specifically? Also, aren't the farmers

     usually the ones that eliminate predators because of the danger to thier livestock?? In

     the Northern Neck, up until recently, deer have had no natural predators for the past 70

     years. In the last few years, coyotes and bobcats were reintroduced to our areas, but as

     of yet, are still not killing many deer.




Farming The Future North Harford High School


                                                                                                                            7:27:00 AM

As farmers we believe we are very important because our crops feed the commonwealth.  The

deer are costing the commonwealth $75 million every year. Since there are few predators to

deer, there are too many deer and not enough food for them.  Therefore, they eat our crops. 

The deer are also bedding down in our crops.  A solution we have is we could hire hunters to

hunt the deer on our property but that would also cost us more money.  We are also having

problems getting permits to shoot the deer all year long.  To keep the deer away from our crops

we could plant rhodendendrons, which are toxic to deer. We could plant a row of clover

outlining our fields so the deer would eat them instead of our crops.  In conclusion, if the deer

population is not controlled, the future generation of farming may be in danger.

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  From:    Potomac Highlanders - Farmer - HHS

                                                                                            11/7/2007            8:23:00 AM

     So are you asking for help to support the hunting on the farm land with cash aid's.Or

     just plant the row of clovers, and if so why would the deer just eat the row of clovers

     and not go stright for the good crops?

  From:   We Speak For the Trees - forester - NHHS                              Ask

                                                                                            11/9/2007            7:25:00 AM

     If you are saying that deer have few natural predators, does that mean that you would be

      okay with the idea of reintroducing predators to the area so that they can decrease the

     deer population in a more heathier way than hunters ever could?  Most hunters go after

     the big bucks while predators go after the weak sickly deer therefore leaving the big

     bucks to strengthen the herd. 




Grant County Farmer's Association Petersburg High School


                                                                                                                             8:18:00 AM

We took the position of farmer in the Deer Forum Project. We have chosen this position

because we feel that the deer population needs to be controlled but we don’t agree with making

deer season all year long because we also believe that you can enjoy the deer. Although we

feel that the deer population is not grossly overpopulated, it has affected our crops and land.

We have spent a large amount of money due to the deer population. We have also had to buy

extra produce every year because of the deer getting into our gardens. West Virginia's deer

herd has not reached the biological carrying capacity, yet.  There are still hayfields, suburban

ornamentals, flowers and landscaping grass and plants, as well as, recent cutover forests to

support a larger deer herd (1).If we were to make hunting legal all year round, we think that

some hunters would only kill for fun and a lot of the meat would be wasted. There also would be

a decline in the deer population causing some families to have less food year round because

many people rely heavily on the meat from hunting these deer. While we want the deer

population to decrease, we just can’t agree with prolonging deer season.

(1) William Grafton

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  From:    Farming The Future - farmer - NHHS

                                                                                            11/7/2007            8:34:00 AM

     You feel that the deer population should decrease but you don't want to increase the

     deer hunting season.  Have you thought of another way to help to maintain the deer

     population?  Or do you think that there really isn't that big of a problem?




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