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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Daniel E. Hubbard


south dakota, corn seed, treatment, ring-necked pheasant, planted corn


In recent years South Dakota’s ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) population has increased and, along with it, complaints from agricultural producers regarding pheasant depredation on newly planted and emerging corn have increased. Heisterberg (1984) estimated that $49 million is lost to pheasant depredation annually in the United States. Pheasants will consume the kernels of freshly planted and emerging corn plants until the plant reaches the three-leaf stage or the plant is approximately 10.2 cm tall, but may continue until the corn reaches a height of 15.2 to 25.4 cm (Hendrickson and Tellier 1943). The compound 9,10-anthraquinone is a nontoxic, naturally occurring post-ingestional irritant that produces a conditioned taste aversion when the bird experiences illness after consuming the treated kernel and associates the illness with the food (Avery 2003). AvitecTM is a 95% anthraquinone repellent that has been approved for emergency use in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan as a seed corn treatment where sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) have been damaging corn fields by eating the corn seeds shortly after planting. In 2006, a 2-year study was initiated to determine if AvitecTM is an effective pheasant repellent on germinating corn seeds. Wildlife food plantings ranging from 0.4 to 1.6-ha on both SDGFP Game Production Areas (GPA) and on private land enrolled in CRP or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) easements that had been replanted at least once as a result of corn loss to depredation in 2005 and/or 2006 were selected. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design where replications of treatments were randomly assigned within blocks. In 2006, mean pheasant depredation in fields treated with AvitecTM was 23.9 ± 10.04; mean pheasant depredation in control fields was 40.8 ± 10.04. In 2007, mean pheasant depredation in fields treated with AvitecTM was 5.7± 3.8; mean pheasant depredation in non-treated fields was 8.0 ± 3.8; and mean pheasant depredation in fields treated with AvitecTM plus hydrolyzed casein and hydrolyzed collagen in an attempt to reduce both pheasant and thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) depredation was 4.9 ± 3.8. There was no consumption of AvitecTM treated corn seed in caged feeding trials when no other feed was available or when non-treated corn seed was available. Consumption of non-treated corn seed when no other feed was available was 37.4 g ± 4.5; consumption of non-treated corn seed when treated seed was available was 37.2 g ± 4.3. AvitecTM showed significant repellency in caged feeding trials and decreased depredation in field trials. The experimental hydrolyzed casein and collagen may not be effective rodent repellents. Therefore, using anthraquinone based products may be beneficial in areas where pheasants are the primary cause of damage.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ring-necked pheasant -- Food -- South Dakota
Corn -- Protection -- South Dakota
Corn -- Losses -- South Dakota -- Prevention
Corn -- Seeds -- Predators of


Includes bibliographical references (page 49-53)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2009 Emily A. Hodne-Fischer. All rights reserved.