Deer Control…gone to the dogs.
Montgomery County Maryland is a terrific location for a tree farm. Great soil, climate, rainfall and close to our primary markets. Unfortunately, the deer also think it is a great location. Ruppert Nurseries is located within Montgomery Counties Agricultural Reserve. 93,000 acres set aside in 1980 to be preserved as farmland. Because of this, the deer habitat and food sources are plentiful. Deer are responsible for millions of dollars in damage to crops and property, including the high quality trees growing here at Ruppert Nurseries.
You can ask any sheep herder if a border collie can be a useful and safe manager of the flighty ungulates. In the same manner well trained herding dogs can instill fear into the minds of the herd, our dogs keep the deer moving on our farm. With the deer having to constantly be on the move, the opportunity for them to browse for long periods of time in one spot is severely reduced, ultimately distributing their impact over the entire farm as opposed to that one particular spot.
Our Deer Control Dogs
One of the best defenses in our battle to protect our trees is The Ruppert Four-Member Canine Force. Harley, Captain, Hazel and Star patrol about 50 acres of the 600 acre Ruppert Nursery farm. They work in pairs and have their territory defined by an Invisible Fence system which utilizes radio waves to communicate with each dog’s collar to tell them when they are at the limits of their territory. The dogs have automatic feeder and water stations so they eat and drink whenever they want and as much as they want. Although all the dogs are trim and fit, they consume a tremendous amount of food compared to the average stay at home dog because our dogs are so much more active.
All four dogs are very friendly and enjoy the constant companionship of all of the Ruppert employees. However…. THEY DON’T LIKE DEER! Always on patrol, they quickly and constantly mark the limits of the area and the deer know to stay away. Deer damage in the “Dog Areas” has been reduced by 90%. And although there are expenses associated with the dogs such as veterinary care, food, Invisible Fence equipment and repairs and some manpower, they mostly go about their business every day with little maintenance. The primary requirement is to be “loved up” a bit when you visit their area.
Written By Kelly Lewis