Fish and Game work with Y Knot Winery to reduce crop loss due to deer

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 8:41 PM MDT
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GLENNS FERRY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — A herd of deer have been visiting the Y Knot Winery nightly and eating the grapes off the trees.

“They start coming in about dark thirty, traveling across the golf course and heading straight in, they are pretty regular,” said Theresa McCallum, the owner of the winery.

Around this time last year, McCullum began to notice many of her crops weren’t producing the amount of grapes they usually would.

“As the grapes get really sweet and really yummy, the deer decide, they are really good to eat, and they will nibble on the clusters, but as they are doing that, they will pull the clusters completely off the plant, half of it lands on the ground, but once it gets all sandy, they don’t like to eat them then, they only eat them off the plant,” said McCallum.

Last year, Y Knot Winery lost a significant amount of money in production from these deer and the Fish and Game compensated them for damages to grapes.

“It’s important because for instance we grow primarily limburger grape, and it is not a common grape, it’s our most sought after wine at the winery, and so by losing those grapes, we aren’t able to replace them,” said McCallum.

The Fish and Game is now working to trap and translocate this herd of urban deer to a new location, so the depredation can stop.

“We are also conducting some limited sharpshooting, in an effort to try to change deer behavior, to date four deer have been lethally removed, they were processed and then donated to Idaho Hunters Feeding the Hungry,” said Mike McDonald, the regional wildlife biologist for the Fish and Game.

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