General Information

Deer Populations Are Declining

mule deer

There is an estimated 25 – 30 million deer in the United States and while you may be most familiar with the white-tailed deer, there is a species called mule deer that are prominent in Western states like Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, and Montana.

Recently, biologists have discovered that deer populations in Colorado and across the West have been steadily declining. There’s no one cause of this decline, but most wildlife biologists have attributed it to things like energy development, chronic wasting disease, predators like coyotes and mountain lions, and harsh winters.

“Mule deer are an indicator species. If mule deer herds are in poor health, it probably means the land itself is in poor condition and that a lot of other species are at risk,” National Wildlife Federation public lands policy director Kate Zimmerman said in an article by the Denver Post.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife data has discovered that the statewide population is down by 36%, from 614,000 in 2005 to 391,000 in 2013. Across the West, the population has decreased by about 10%. While the numbers may be going down, deer aren’t in danger of facing extinction. Still, there are things we can do to help.

According to an article by Rapid City Journal, game warden Bill Eastman, said, “The deer numbers are down, but they are not dangerously down. Butte County [California] does have a lower population than what we are used to.”

In an article by Fox News, Jeffrey Schinkten, president of Whitetails Unlimited, believes the white-tailed deer may be a factor. Since they’re growing in population, they may be pushing the mule deer further west.

“In the East, there’s some places where they’ve just totally exploded,” Schinkten said. “They’re a hearty animal and they’ve really adapted.”

Zimmerman says we can act better when it comes to the activities we allow in deer habitats, such as oil and gas development. We can also decrease fire suppression, which leads to overly thick forests. The state of Colorado has already taken steps to help by reducing the number of deer hunting licenses given out.

Homemade Bird Repellents

bird spray

While many birds are beautifully colored and fun to watch, they can also be menaces when it comes to your property. They can destroy flowers, fruits, and berries in your garden, roost on your windows or rafters, or nest in inconvenient spots. There are many natural ways to deter birds from your home and garden – our deer fencing experts have listed some that can be easily made or bought:

Sprays

There are many simple homemade sprays you can make to spray on both your plants and around areas where birds are found:

Mix crushed red pepper, apple cider vinegar, and water.

Mix crushed cloves with water.

Mix chili peppers with water, then ferment in the sun for a week and add white or red vinegar.

Mix cayenne pepper with water.

Holographic Tape

Hang strips of holographic tape (or shiny things like cassette tape or tinsel) from tree branches and on bushes. The bright reflection of it will make birds think it’s fire and they’ll stay away.

Steel Spikes

If you have a problem with birds on your roof or gutters, install strips of steel spikes – the spikes make it too sharp for birds to land on the area.

Ultrasonic Frequencies

Ultrasonic devices are good for birds and other pests like rabbits, raccoons, rats, squirrels, and more. They emit a high-pitched frequency that scares away pests but can’t be heard by human ears.

Gels

Bird gels are used on window sills, rafters, ledges, and other places where birds tend to hang out. Simply spread some gel on the area and when a bird lands, it won’t like the consistency and probably won’t return.

Scarecrows

One of the oldest tricks, scarecrows will often scare birds away from the area. Make your own by dressing pillows or bales of hay with old clothing to make them look like a person.

Fake Animals

Inflatable or plastic animals like owls, snakes, cats, and other animals can be strategically placed in your yard in order to scare birds away. Make your own or find one that’s high-quality.

Noisemakers

Birds don’t like noise, so create something that will scare them – hang a string of aluminum cans, wind chimes, or a string aluminum pie plates together. Get creative!

What to Know About Chronic Wasting Disease

chronic wasting disease

About Chronic Wasting Disease

First identified in the 1960s at a Colorado research facility, Chronic wasting disease is an illness affects animals like white-tailed deer, elk, moose, and mule deer. It is considered a fatal disease that, if contracted, will attack the brain and spinal cord of the animal. Though the exact cause isn’t known, CWD is considered to be a prion disease – which means once a protein is altered (called a prion), other normal proteins will change and lead to the destruction of the brain via holes.

Signs/Symptoms

While CWD can’t be transmitted to humans, it’s still advised that you stay away from any deer that may have it. In the early stages of CWD, deer don’t always show signs of having it. As the disease progresses, signs of weight loss and behavioral changes can be seen. After that, deer may drool excessively, stumble, tremble, urinate excessively, over-drink, be extremely nervous or (just the opposite) be unafraid of humans.

How It Spreads

CWD is spread between deer, elk, and moose via urine, feces, or even saliva. You’ll usually find more deer are affected in areas with large deer populations or feeding areas, where saliva is present. Despite the common assumption that a female affected with CWD would pass the disease onto her baby, this doesn’t seem to be the case, and CWD has remained in the deer family since it was identified.

Where It’s Present

Right now, CWD has been found in 18 U.S. states, though more prevalent in some than others. Western states like Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming have been documented with more cases of CWD than the other 13 states (Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia).

How to Isolate It

The Maryland state website suggests that if you’re a hunter, some precautionary measures should be taken when handling, field-dressing, and home processing venison:

  • Avoid shooting or handling a deer that appears sick.
  • Wear latex or rubber gloves when field-dressing or butchering deer.
  • Remove all internal organs.
  • Bone the deer (remove the meat from the bones and spinal column).
  • Do not use household knives or utensils.
  • Avoid cutting through bones or the spinal column (backbone).
  • Never eat a deer’s brain, eyeballs, spinal cord, spleen, or lymph nodes.
  • If you saw off antlers or through a bone, or if you sever the spinal column with a knife, be sure to disinfect these tools prior to using them for the butchering or removal of meat.
  • Remove all fat, membranes and connective tissue from the meat. Note that normal field-dressing and trimming of fat from meat will remove lymph nodes.
  • Always wash hands and instruments thoroughly after dressing and processing game meat.
  • Use a 50/50 solution of household chlorine bleach and water to disinfect tools and work surfaces.
  • Wipe down counters and let them dry; soak knives for one hour.

If you’re not a hunter and you see a deer that looks infected, contact your local Department of Natural Resources. Maryland’s can be reached at 1-(877) 620-8367 (ext. 8540).

Preparing for Tick Season

lyme disease

Spring is in full swing, which means all of the bugs are starting to come out – including ticks. While many ticks are simply interested in a blood meal and don’t cause much harm, there are deer ticks that carry Lyme disease – which can be dangerous. It’s important to take precautions when you’re outside and protect yourself from any type of tick. Here are ways to do it:

1. Invest in bug spray, particularly a type that has a high level of DEET (an oil that is extremely effective at keeping bugs away). Apply it to exposed skin (just be careful around your face) and reapply as necessary.

2. Wear long clothing – this includes long sleeves and long pants. If it’s hot out, try clothing made from lighter materials, like linen or cotton.

3. Wear a hat. Many times, people find ticks on their necks, where they can’t see them. By wearing a hat, you can prevent ticks from crawling down your head and latching on to your skin.

4. Avoid wooded or bushy areas. Ticks can usually be found on the ends of tall grasses and branches, and once you brush up against them, they’ll latch onto you.

5. Thoroughly check yourself for ticks – grab a mirror and inspect yourself after you come inside and before you shower. Pay attention – ticks are small.

6. If you find a tick on you, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove it. Grasp it firmly as close to your skin as possible and pull upwards.

7. After you remove the tick, check for rashes every day for a few weeks. If you find one, head to the doctor’s office – it could be a sign of Lyme disease.

8. Keep in mind that ticks can be brought into your home by outdoor pets – treat your cats and dogs with flea and tick medication and do a thorough search each time they come in the house.

Lyme disease-carrying deer ticks are also often found on deer, so if you live in an area populated with deer, it’s important to be extra-cautious. By installing a high-quality deer fence, you can keep deer out of your hard and better protect you and your family from Lyme disease.

The Longest Deer Migration

mule deer

*Adapted from an article by The Salt Lake Tribune

Back in the winter of 2011, biologist Hall Sawyer chose 40 mule deer in the Laramie, Wyoming area and put tracking collars on them. Within the next few years, he expected them to not wander far and to find them relatively close to the Red Desert where he tagged them. What he discovered, however, was quite the opposite:

In the spring of 2012, half of the deer decided to travel north. Once they reached 40 miles and ended up at the edge of the Wind River Range, they continued on and moved more than 60 miles. As the snow melted, they grazed on new grass and continued north until they reached Fremont Lake. Some of the deer swam across the lake and by late July, they could be found at the Hoback Basin and in the nearby mountains (50 miles from Fremont Lake).

While most of the deer stayed in the Hoback area, some traveled about 20 miles more to the Snake River Range. Sawyer tracked the mule deer the entire way and by the time he collected the collars from the deer in 2013, he discovered that they had migrated about 150 miles from the Red Desert to the Hoback Basin – the longest deer migration ever recorded in the lower 48 United States.

In addition to deer, Sawyer and his team have also studied the migrations of moose, bighorn sheep, and elk in western Wyoming.

Watch the video here.

Take Your Garden to New Heights with Trellises & Arbors

Trellises and arbors make aesthetically pleasing and functional additions to any garden. The benefits of growing with a garden structure include…

  • Flowers and vegetables grow upwards and save space
  • Crops grown on structures are easier to harvest and stay cleaner
  • Disease is minimized when plants receive better air circulation

Choosing Plants that Climb

Flowers and vegetables that like to climb will grow beautifully on a trellis or arbor. The trick is to choose your plants and then choose the structure that can best support them. Some plants that grow well on garden structures include:

  • Peas
  • Pole Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Trumpet Vines
  • Wisteria
  • Morning Glories
  • Roses
  • Clematis
  • Cantaloups
  • Squash
  • Honeysuckle Vines
  • Climbing Hydrangeas
  • Baby Pumpkins
  • Jasmine
  • Ivy

We’re a Garden Watchdog Top 5 Company for 2010!

Were a Garden Watchdog Top 5 company for 2010!

We’re a Garden Watchdog Top 5 company for 2010!

Great news! As many of you may know, each company in the Garden Watchdog is categorized by their specialty. The highest rated companies in each category is then awarded with an annual “Top 5″ award, and our company has been awarded a Top 5 designation this year!

Specializing in: “Animal Repellents (Fencing And Chemical Barriers)” and “Plants: Deer Resistant.”

Happy New Year!

The staff at DeerBusters wishes you a prosperous and fruitful New Year!!

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