Technology &
Development Program

July 2001
Comparison of Commercial Deer Repellents
Andy Trent, Project Leader; Dale Nolte and Kimberly Wagner, USDA Animal Plant
Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center
Foraging deer can
shelters) are sociallyacceptable nonlethal Bad taste can also induce avoidance.
does not equate with effectiveness.
Some repellents may contain activeingredients at concentrations belowavoidance thresholds. Others maycontain ingredients that don’t repelthe target species. The Olympia Field How Repellents Work
Delivering Repellents
Station of the USDA Animal and PlantHealth Inspection Service, Wildlife conditioned avoidance, pain, or taste.
applied to the plant (contact delivery).
help predict the efficacy of repellents.
desirable. Systemic delivery is ideal.
odors as indicators of predator activity.
The repellents are contained withinthe plant. They cannot be washed off, nausea or gastrointestinal distress.
of a food if it is associated with illness.
For additional information, contact: Andy Trent, Project Leader, USDA Forest Service, MTDC; Bldg. 1, Fort Missoula; Missoula, MT
59804–7294. Phone: 406–329–3912; Fax: 406–329–3719; Lotus Notes: Andy Trent/WO/USDAFS; E-mail:
Test of Commercial
foods are readily available elsewhere.
rectly to a plant. If the goal is to reduce repellents are most effective whenthey are applied directly to the plants.
Table 1—Product names, sources, active ingredients, and modes of action for repellents evaluated as a means of reducing black-tailed deerdamage to western red cedar seedlings during deer repellent tests from October 1998 to July 1999 at Olympia, WA.
Product and Manufacturer
Active Ingredient
Detour (Sudbury Consumer Products Co., Phoenix, AZ)
Deerbuster’s Coyote Urine Sachet (Trident Enterprises, Frederick, MD)
Wolfin (Pro Cell Bioteknik, Hornefors, Sweden)
Deerbuster’s Deer and Insect Repellent (Trident Enterprises, Frederick, MD)
Deer Away Big Game Repellent Powder (IntAgra, Inc., Minneapolis, MN)
Deer Away Big Game Repellent Spray (IntAgra, Inc., Minneapolis, MN)
Bye Deer (Security Products Co., Phoenix, AZ)
Hinder (Pace International LP, Kirkland, WA)
0.66% ammonium soaps of higher fatty acids Plantskydd (Tree World, Lackawanna, NY)
87% edible animal protein (in concentrate) Hot Sauce (Miller Chemical and Fertilizer Corp., Hanover, PA)
Get Away Deer and Rabbit Repellent (DRR), IntAgra, Inc., Minneapolis, MN)
0.625% capsaicin and related compounds, 0.21% isothiocyanate Ropel (Burlington Scientific Corp., Farmington, NY)
Tree Guard (Nortech Forest Technologies, Inc., St. Paul, MN)
Orange TKO (TKO Industries, Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Deer Stopper (Landscape Plus, Chester, NJ)
3.8% thiram, 0.05% capsaicin, 1.17% egg solids Not Tonight Deer (Not Tonight Deer, Mendocino, CA)
88% dehydrated whole egg solids, 12% Montok pepper (in concentrate) Plant Pro-Tec (Plant Pro-tec, LLC, Palo Cedro, CA)
10% oil of garlic, 3% capsaicin and related compounds Dr. T’s Deer Blocker (Dr. T’s Nature Products, Inc., Pelham, GA)
3.12% putrescent whole eggs, 0.0006% capsaicin, 0.0006% garlic Deerbuster’s Deer Repellent Sachets (Trident Enterprises, Frederick, MD)
N.I.M.B.Y. (DMX Industries, St. Louis, MO)
0.027% capsaicin and capsaicinoid product, 4.3% castor oil 1Conditioned avoidance
Figure 3 shows the results of thewinter test. None of the repellentseliminated deer browsing throughoutthe 18-week test. However, therewere distinct differences among therepellents. In general, topical repel-lants performed better than arearepellents. Fear-inducing repellentsperformed better than the other typesof repellents. Eight of the nine repel-lants considered most effective forthe first 11 weeks emitted sulfurousodors. Repellents containing decaying Figure 1—Penned black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) in one of the five pasturesused during deer repellent tests from October 1998 to July 1999 at Olympia, WA.
3-foot intervals. At planting, seedlingswere about 20 inches high with manylateral branches (figure 2). All seed-lings were planted immediately beforetreatment.
Seedlings were examined for browsedamage at 24 hours, 48 hours, and1 week after planting, and then at 1-week intervals for 18 weeks. Damagewas determined by counting the num-ber of bites taken from each seedling.
No more than 25 bites were recordedbecause seedlings were generallydefoliated by then. Seedlings pulledfrom the ground were considereddestroyed and recorded as having25 bites.
Efficacy of repellents may vary de-pending on several factors, includingavailable resources and seasonalchanges in plant palatability. Redcedar seedlings are generally morepalatable after winter dormancy hasbroken. Therefore, repellents thatworked during the winter were testedagain during the spring when seed- Figure 2—Olympia Field Station personnel planting western red cedar for the deer repellent tests. The 20-inch seedlings were planted at 3-foot intervals in three rows.
Number of bites
Weeks from treatment application
Figure 3—Average number of bites (maximum bites = 25) taken from repellent-treated western red cedar seedlings by black-tailed deer in anoutdoor pen study from October 1998 to March 1999 at Olympia, WA.
Deer Sachets, Deerbuster’s Sachet,and Plantskydd.
nal irritants as active ingredients.
ducted during spring 1999 (figure 4).
odors are generally the most effective.
Number of bites
Weeks from treatment application
Figure 4—Average number of bites taken from repellent-treated western red cedar seedlingsby black-tailed deer in an outdoor pen study conducted from May to July 1999 at Olympia, WA.
Source Material
materials. Damage inflicted on seed-lings during training or subsequent effective for a transitory or migratoryspecies (such as elk moving from the 19th Vertebrate Pest Conference.
delivery systems in deer repellents.
Wildlife Society Bulletin. 29: 322–330.
to predict the efficacy of repellents inthe field by extrapolating from empir- development. In: Proceedings of theVertebrate Pest Conference. 18: 325–329.
About the Authors
Andy Trent is a project engineer at
Dale L. Nolte is the project leader at
Kimberly K. Wagner is a research
and watershed, soil, and air programs.
ment Program in the Department ofFisheries and Wildlife.
Library Card
Additional single copies of this document
For further technical information, contact
Electronic copies of MTDC’s documents
may be ordered from:
Andy Trent at MTDC.
are available on the Forest Service’s
FSWeb Intranet at:
Fax: 406–329–3719E-mail: The Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture an endorsement by the Department of any product or service to for communication of program information (Braille, large print, (USDA), has developed this information for the guidance of its the exclusion of others that may be suitable. The U.S. Department audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) employees, its contractors, and its cooperating Federal and State of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs 720–2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination, agencies, and is not responsible for the interpretation or use of and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten this information by anyone except its own employees. The use of religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or Building, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C.
trade, firm, or corporation names in this document is for the marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all 20250–9410, or call (202) 720–5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is information and convenience of the reader, and does not constitute programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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