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Effectiveness of odour repellents on red deer (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus): a field test


Chemical repellents are promoted as a method to reduce ungulate–vehicle collisions and ungulate browsing damages to agricultural and forestry resources. We tested the effectiveness of two odour repellents (Mota FL and Wolf Urine) on the foraging behaviour and area avoidance of free-ranging roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus). The effects of the repellents were assessed by comparing deer visitation rates to sand arenas before and after application of repellents and visitation rates to control arenas. Neither of the tested products reduced deer visitation rates. Rapid habituation to olfactory stimuli and lack of sensitivity to predator odours may explain the ineffectiveness of the repellents to alter the behaviour of the deer. The results indicate that the tested products have no effects on roe deer and red deer behaviour and suggest that the effectiveness of the chemical area repellents as a measure to reduce deer–vehicle collision risk and browsing damages is questionable.

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We thank J Andersen, U Lorentzen and O Daugaard, Forest and Nature Agency, Blåvandshuk, for access to the study area. JKW was financially supported by the Danish Animal Welfare Society, Kjebi Foundation and Svales Foundation. The authors also thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Morten Elmeros.

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Communicated by H. Kierdorf

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Elmeros, M., Winbladh, J.K., Andersen, P.N. et al. Effectiveness of odour repellents on red deer (Cervus elaphus) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus): a field test. Eur J Wildl Res 57, 1223–1226 (2011).

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  • Cervidae
  • Chemical deterrents
  • Habituation
  • Browsing damage
  • Deer–vehicle collision