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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comparison of Electrified Mats and Cattle Guards to Control White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Access through Fences


White-tailed deer pose economic and safety concerns for agricultural and transportation industries that may be addressed by reducing their access to areas of concern. Here, we review research findings relative to the efficacy of an electric mat and cattle guard as means to reduce deer access to protected areas. Intrusions of deer across a prototype electronic mat were reduced an average of 95% from pretreatment levels. Deer intrusions across a simulated cattle guard were reduced by at least 88% from pretreatment levels. Comparisons of other cattle guard studies show that when flat material is used instead of rounded for cross members, deer cross the guard. Initial expense for electric mats is lower than for cattle guards, but electric mats will require higher maintenance input than guards. When used as part of an integrated deer control program, properly constructed and maintained electric mats or cattle guards can reduce deer intrusions into areas of concern.

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