One of the pleasures of living in Fayetteville is the opportunity to view the wildlife that thrives in the wooded hills in and around our City. Deer are particularly abundant in our area, and this can be both good and bad news for City residents. While we may enjoy catching glimpses of wild deer in our forests and parks, we are less enthusiastic about finding them in our back yards, devouring the landscaping.
The City's Animal Services Advisory Board has the following recommendations for an Integrated Pest Management approach to managing deer in your neighborhood. When used together, these methods can help us live alongside deer with minimum conflict.
Do Not Feed Deer
Deer feeding is prohibited by state law except as bait during deer hunting season. Since hunting is currently prohibited in Fayetteville by City ordinance, it is therefore prohibited to feed deer inside city limits.
- Feeding wild deer increases the transmission of diseases like fatal Chronic Wasting Disease.
- Feeding attracts deer (and other wild animals) into your neighborhood, where they can damage landscape plants and gardens.
- Drawing deer into urban areas increases the occurrence of deer/auto collisions, resulting in damage to property or injury.
- Too much high-starch foods like corn or commercial feed can make deer sick or even kill them, as their digestive systems are not used to these foods.
Choose Your Plants Wisely
One way to keep deer from feasting on your garden is to focus on plants that are deer-resistant. Some examples are butterfly bush, holly, purple coneflower, and lavender. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service offers tips for dealing with deer, as well as a list of deer-resistant landscape plants on their website. Keep in mind, however, that if deer are hungry enough, they may dine on even deer-resistant plants.
There are a number of commercially available products that are odor- or taste-based deer repellents. These can be effective, if applied (and reapplied) properly.
Fence them Out
There are a number of different approaches to deer fencing, ranging from low-visibility fencing to single-strand electric fences, to high-tensile slanted fences. The U of A Cooperative Extension offers an article about fending options in their May 31, 2017 issue of Pest Management News (scroll to page 8).
View Animal Services' "Critter Corner" video about living with urban deer
Deer Management Q&A
Who do I call if someone is feeding deer within City limits?
To report illegal deer feeding or baiting, call the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Northwest Regional Office at 479-253-2506.
You can also download the flier at right and print it out to provide this information to neighbors who may not be aware of the dangers of feeding deer.
Who do I call if I find a sick, injured, or dead deer within City limits?
Call Animal Services at 479-444-3456.
Who do I call if I know someone who is shooting deer within City limits and I want to report this person?
Call the Fayetteville Police Department to report illegal discharge of a firearm or weapon at 479-587-3555.
I thought the City was considering an urban hunt or sterilizing deer. What is happening with those programs?
There are multiple methods of deer population management currently being review by both city staff and the Animal Services Advisory Board. This is a work in progress and currently efforts are being made to educate the public on deer population management options and to collect data on the deer population.