Ungulate Damage Prevention & Compensation

The Fish and Wildlife Division of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, through the Ungulate Damage Prevention Program, offers producers advice and assistance to prevent ungulates from spoiling stored feed and unharvested crops.

The Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC), through the Wildlife Damage Compensation for Excreta Contaminated Crops, Stacked Hay, and Stored Silage programs, provides financial compensation to producers who have consulted Fish and Wildlife, and followed the advice given by the officer.

Qualifying for Compensation

Deer, elk, antelope and moose are often attracted to agricultural fields and livestock feed yards. This is especially common in winters with extended periods of cold weather, heavy snowfall or crusty snow cover, when natural sources of vegetation are more difficult to find. Ungulates are messy eaters, however, and soil or destroy three to four times the forage that they consume.

Agricultural producers who have taken steps to minimize ungulate damage but still suffer losses on stacked hay, stored silage or unharvested crops, can qualify for assistance and compensation.

To qualify for these programs, producers do not need to have Production Insurance. There are no premiums or administrative costs, aside from a $25.00 assessment fee for each section of land (or portion thereof) on which the damage has occurred.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ungulate Damage Prevention & Compensation Programs

For Stacked or Stored Hay or Greenfeed That Has Been Damaged by Ungulates

When is a producer eligible for compensation?

An agricultural producer is eligible for compensation

  • when hay has been stacked and stored at sites that can be regularly monitored by the producer
  • when a producer has allowed access to hunting
  • when a producer has complied with recommendations made by the Fish and Wildlife officer

Who do you call to file a claim?

You must first contact a Fish and Wildlife officer, then the AFSC, who will arrange for an adjuster to visit. Be sure to contact Fish and Wildlife as soon as you’ve noticed the damage.

What will the Fish and Wildlife officer do?

A Fish and Wildlife officer will visit the site. The officer will assess how wildlife may be accessing the property and make recommendations to prevent ungulate damage from reoccurring.

It is important to follow the recommendations of the Fish and Wildlife officers, as future compensation (total lifetime claims) will be dependent on having done so. Producers who have not followed the recommendations will receive only 50% of the claim amount on the second claim, and, on the third and consecutive claims, will receive no compensation at all.

The Fish and Wildlife officer may also assist the producer by providing materials for intercept feeding or by lending

  • fencing (permanent wire and/or temporary fencing called stackwrap)
  • scaring devices
  • repellents

What does the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) adjuster do?

The AFSC adjuster must also visit the site to determine the extent and financial value of the damage. In order to submit the claim for payment, the AFSC adjuster must include reports from both Fish and Wildlife and the AFSC.

How can you prevent ungulate damage to stacked or stored hay?

  • Before winter, move bales from the field to a feed yard or protected storage area.
  • Use fencing or place posts before freeze-up to prepare permanent stack-yard sites.
  • Use straw bales stacked two tiers high as a protective barrier for feed stores.
  • Stackwrap can be more effective and easier to put up if bales are stacked two tiers high. Straight sides also keep deer and elk from climbing the stacks.
  • Clean up spilled grain, loose hay and other food sources which may attract ungulates.
  • Chase away ungulates as soon as they first appear (be cautious however, as they could become aggressive).
  • Scarecrows in clothes with a human scent, as well as loud radios, may be effective in keeping away ungulates that are not already conditioned to humans or dependent on the food source.
  • Store grain only in protective storage bins.
  • Allow access for hunting.
For silage in pits or tubes that have ‘spot loss’ damage by ungulates

When is a producer eligible for compensation?

An agricultural producer is eligible for compensation

  • when silage has been stored at a site that is regularly monitored by the producer
  • when a producer has allowed access to hunting
  • when a producer has complied with recommendations made by the Fish and Wildlife officer

What crops are eligible?

The following crops are eligible for compensation:

  • All crops that are stored as silage in silage pits and tubes that can be insured under a Production Insurance program
  • Any other crops that the AFSC, in its discretion, may determine as being eligible for compensation

What is not covered by the compensation program?

The compensation program does not cover:

  • spoilage that has occurred as a result of punctures in the material used to wrap or seal silage
  • the cost of fixing holes in wrap due to punctures
  • damage due to excreta contamination

Who do you call to file a claim?

You must first contact a Fish and Wildlife officer, then the AFSC, who will arrange for an adjuster to visit. Be sure to contact Fish and Wildlife as soon as you’ve noticed the damage.

What will the Fish and Wildlife officer do?

A Fish and Wildlife officer will visit the site. The officer will assess how wildlife may be accessing the property and make recommendations to prevent ungulate damage from reoccurring.

It is important to follow the recommendations of the Fish and Wildlife officers, as future compensation (total lifetime claims) will be dependent on having done so. Producers who have not followed the recommendations will receive only 50% of the claim amount on the second claim, and, on the third and consecutive claims, will receive no compensation at all.

What does the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) adjuster do?

The AFSC adjuster must also visit the site to determine the extent and financial value of the damage. In order to submit the claim for payment, the AFSC adjuster must include reports from both Fish and Wildlife and the AFSC.

Unharvested crops that have been destroyed or soiled by ungulates, bears, waterfowl or upland game birds

What crops are covered by the compensation program?

All commercially grown cereal, oilseed, special crops and hay are eligible for compensation.

What crops are not covered by the compensation program?

Crops not covered by the compensation program include:

  • Bales or stacks (these are covered in the Wildlife Damage Compensation on Stacked Hay program)
  • Crops in granaries or bins
  • Crops left exposed to wildlife damage due to management practices
  • Crops seeded on land considered unsuitable for production
  • Crops seeded too late in the season to produce a normal yield
  • Crops that were cut or swathed for grazing
  • Grazing land or native pasture
  • Volunteer crops

Who do you call to file a claim?

Call the nearest AFSC office no less than 24 hours before harvesting. The adjuster will visit the site to determine the extent and the value of the damage.

How can you prevent this from happening again?

Call a Fish and Wildlife officer for more information on wildlife activity in your area, and how to prevent wildlife damage on your property.

Related Information

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation

To find the nearest AFSC office, visit the AFSC website at:

For more information about the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program for unharvested crops, including information on the calculation of losses, visit the AFSC website at:

For more information about the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program for Stored Silage, including information on the calculation of losses, review the document entitled Wildlife Compensation for Silage Stored in Pits and Tubes under the General Insurance Information section at the following page on the AFSC website:

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Learn more about using electric fencing to protect your stored hay, visit the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development website at

Alberta Conservation Association

  • Waterfowl Crop Damage Control Program
    Visit this page on the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA) website to learn more about the Waterfowl Crop Damage Control program, which makes scare cannons available to agricultural producers.

 

Page Information

Updated: Apr 14, 2014