Are Food Plots Effective at Protecting Row Crops? An Analysis of Ecological & Agricultural Impact by Whitetail Deer
The immense damaged caused by Whitetail Deer throughout the United States to various ecosystems, as well as agricultural row crop, has brought to attention the need for more methods of management of the keystone species. Though traditional methods such as hunting are still the primary source of management, new methods such as implementing the use of supplementary food plots to alter feeding patterns could be the next breakthrough in an effort to reduce both ecological and agricultural impact.. Utilizing four test locations of similar environmental and agricultural make-up, two of which supplementary food plots present, the impact caused by Whitetail Deer was recorded periodically throughout the summer and growing season of corn. The data was then compared to see if supplementary food plots could be used a Whitetail Deer impact management method. Results showed that the presence of a supplementary food plot did not significantly affect or alter the amount of damage caused by Whitetail Deer in either forest environments or agricultural fields. However, statistical analysis of the agricultural impact without taking distance into effect as the covariant showed significantly less damage to the agricultural fields located near supplementary food plots. The use of supplementary food plot as a management method to reduce the amount of agricultural impact caused by Whitetail Deer can be seen as an effective. Ultimately, the location of the plot, along with duration of presence and plant species used, will play a role in how effective it the plot is as a management method.
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