UNH Installs Fencing at Woodman and Kingman Farms to Thwart Deer Damage

UNH Installs Fencing at Woodman and Kingman Farms to Thwart Deer Damage

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Physical fences will soon replace electric fences at UNH’s Woodman and Kingman farms in an effort to protect the teaching and research facilities from deer. The woodland areas at both farms will remain outside the deer fences and the gates will be open to the public weekdays during farm staff work hours. 

“Our farms have suffered increasingly serious damage from deer over the past several years,” said Jon Wraith, dean of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. “They are so determined that the 8,000 volt electric fence around our young orchard trees do not deter them, as one among many examples. The principal use of our farms is for research, teaching and engagement, and we have a responsibility to maintain an environment that makes these possible.” 

Wraith and other university officials have tried alternative management measures, including having state Fish and Game officers help reduce the population, but the deer damage has only increased. 

The current trend in mitigating deer damage is to erect physical fences rather than electric fences.  A private farm within a mile of Kingman Farm recently erected a deer fence, and has seen significantly less damage. UNH is currently installing an eight-foot high woven wire fence between the primary field and woodland borders at Woodman and Kingman farms. 

Wraith noted that many other regional and national agricultural research facilities include fences, gates or other means to restrict access so research and teaching materials are protected from harm, theft and other disruption. All fields represent active experiments with crop growth and yield as critical data, and it is important that no materials be removed.