Wildlife Management

Identifying 13-Lined Ground Squirrel Damage to Corn Plantings

Pens identify where seeds have been dug up. Photo courtesy of John Pickle. Thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) damage corn production by digging up newly planted seeds. Plantings are vulnerable until the seed-kernal is completely consumed by the growing plant. Signs that seed removal has been caused by thirteen-lined ground squirrel include:

  • they are present in the area
  • seeds are dug up from one side of the plant (digging around the entire seedling is a sign of birds)
  • plantings removed in geographic proximity to the ground squirrel holes
  • daily temperatures must be above 50 degrees

For information on the control of thirteen-lined ground squirrel damage visit Controlling Ground Squirrels

Identifying Deer Damage to Corn

Deer damage to corn crops can be quite extensive. Not only can deer consume a great deal of food (4.4-6.4 lbs of dry food a day) but they also can (and do) damage corn throughout the growing season.  Deer also damage corn by trampling young plants as they walk through the field.

Corn cob damaged by deerAside from their obvious cloven tracks, corn-hungry deer leave several tell-tale signs of their presence.

  1. Look for rough cuts. Deer tear corn stalks because they lack the upper incisors needed to make a clean scissor-like cut.
  2. Snipped silks. Deer bite off silks during the silking period.
  3. Snipped ears. Deer like to bite off the end of an ear of corn.
  4. Scraped ears. Deer will consume corn on the stalk by using their lower incisors to remove kernals. Often only one side of the ear will be consumed.
  5. Downed stalks. Deer will damage few stalks and when they do, the stalks will tend to lay in the same direction. This behavior is in stark contrast to damage by raccoon.