Deer and gardens? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Hi, Before I get overwhelmed by all the gardening mags this winter, I need some help from you guys. Last year we put a 6 ft. electric fence around our garden. My sweetie put the wire 1 foot apart and 1 foot off the ground and electrified it. It looks great and yes, it did shock the you know what out of me...but the deer just laughed and get this, crawled under the lowest wire, jumped over the highest wire, and generally ran through the fence whenever and wherever they pleased. We have three dogs who used to chase the deer, but now think that deer are some strange livestock we keep, so don't bother. Any suggestions before I plant all that good stuff that deer love this year like watermelons and tomatoes? BTW - our neighbor who surrounds us on three sides doesn't hunt on his 400 acres, so the deer are overpopulated here on our 32 acres. We have counted as many as eleven deer in the front yard at one time and they don't even run! Help!

-- Cindy (, December 26, 2000


With 32 acres, you could give permission to local trustworthy hunters who would love the chance to fill their freezers! Check you local hunting laws, and what you might need to do to give crop damage permits . A mature deer can easily clear an 8 foot fence with no thought - keeping them out is tough. Good luck.

-- Judi (, December 26, 2000.

I recall reading in an issue of Countryside (1st semester of 2000 ) that blood meal is good to keep deer out of the garden. Something else that might work, put one of those deer in your freezer and pour the blood around the perimeter ( you could always freeze some for future use during out of hunting season). Nothing like the smell of dead deer to keep the live ones at a distance.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, December 26, 2000.

There is a grarden not far from us that is surrounded by a ten foot chain link fence, with three strands of barb wire on top of that...kinda like you see around prison yards. Their property backs up to Camp Atterbury, a big deer haven. That fence is the only truly deer-proof fence I know. I think I'd be puttin' me some veniison in the freezer! But ten deer...what would you do with THAT much venison??? Lock up your critters, and invite in some trusted hunters.

-- Leann Banta (, December 26, 2000.

I also have 32 acres and the deer are a nussiance. I lease the farm yo a bow hunter that shoots deer,this keeps the guns outand my amimals are mush safer. It also helps to pay the taxes. Human hair from the barber shop spread around the garden might help keep the deer out. Jay central NC

-- jay vance (, December 26, 2000.

I've heard that deer can jump high or a long distance but not both at the same time. Perhaps two normal height fences set a ways apart would work as well as a tall fence. It might be worth a try.

-- Darren in Idaho (, December 26, 2000.

It seems that deer are almost as adaptable as people! What works in one place does not in another; what deer won't touch in one area is gourmet dining in another!

I have read (not tried out) that deer don't like to walk on mesh fence (like 2x4), especially if it is laid over a dip or swale. I guess it feels like it'll tangle them up. If you laid it down out about where they "launch" from, this may thwart them.

-- Joy Froelich (, December 26, 2000.

We had deer in the garden too.We have the only "good garden stuff" for a long ways.We hunt them,but that's not enough to keep them at bay.

What worked for us was rolls of mesh like birdnetting, only in rolls.I got it from Jungs I believe. Got the tallest t-posts they had,7' and put the mesh up ,using a white electric fence string at the top to tie the mesh to and define the fence,so deer would notice it.

Did not fasten it at the bottom,left it to blow in the breeze-this is supposed to be good.Left a gap at the bottom to keep from catching blacksnakes.Yeah, this happened a bunch the first year, we didn't find them in time either,except one-old gramma blacksnake.Cut her out and released her. Even drained from overheating, she was quite a handfull to hold.

At the bottom we ran electric, but this was to keep out the really destructive critters-groundhogs.Killed seven of them.They don't just eat, they stomp the garden to death.

Anyway,it worked good.Only one problem. Electric was run off fencer about 50 yards away and thru a brushy area. Deer funnel. One morning the electric string was pulled off & strung down clear to the pond.A deer had gotten tangled up in it ,and had him an very electryfing experience.

Don't string your electric fence across the deer path.Although it did not happen again.

-- sharon wt (, December 26, 2000.

We have an acre of garden and I use 6' woven wire dog fence with a 2X2" openings, then 2' above that I have 1/2" PVC pipe strung on smooth wire, it is a visual thing, the see the fence a think the eight foot mark is the top, it works for me. this fence is hung on 4 X4 posts @12'(OC) with 2-11' gates for getting the tractor and truck through and 2-4' gates to move smaller equipment through. There is nothing above the gates but the deer do not jump through. One night a couple of years ago I left a gate open all night and in the morning there were the tracks of an Elk in the bean patch but it did not eat anything, do you suppose I had the wrong varity of beans?

-- Hendo (, December 27, 2000.

Is this true? I've heard deer will not jump over a solid fence. They do not like not being able to see where they will land. Sounds like me! How about a dense but living fence or chain link fence as a trellis for climbing beans or grapes or...? Here's to brainstorming. Jerry

-- Jerry (, December 27, 2000.

I want to thank all of you for your help! I wish I had a few good bow hunters around, we used to let a relative of ours come in and get a couple of deer each year, but unfortunately he passed away two years ago. Since then it has been Deer Disneyland here. I get real discouraged trying to have a garden when the deer eat everything up! One thing I did notice this year was the does were having babies later in the summer (we had one doe with twins in early September this year). I am going to try to put some mesh down around the fence (lightweight chicken wire) and see if that discourages them. An old man we bought watermelons from a couple of years ago had his electric fence tied directly into his household 220 line. (Please don't try this at home :>) He said it worked real good and kept deer out of the melons. Guess he didn't have many repeat visitors, deer or otherwise, to his garden.

Thanks a bunch and y'all have a good New Years!

-- Cindy (, December 27, 2000.

I've thought about just putting up the average 4-foot field fence perimeter fencing, and then three or four feet inside that, erecting permanent trellising maybe five or six feet tall for bramble fruits, tomatoes, etc. That would be VISIBLE trellising. I'm thinking that the inner fence doesn't have to BE substantial, it just has to look that way. Deer, supposedly being unable to jump high and broad at the same time, won't go over both fences, so will never test the actual mettle of the inner fence. Conveniently, the inner "fence" will look even more substantial when it actually has lots of plants growing on it.

If anyone has tried anything like this, would you please let me know how it worked? No sense spending the time and money setting up something that doesn't work, but this sure sounds to me like it should.

-- Laura Jensen (, December 27, 2000.

One suggestion I've heard is to put slivers of Irish Spring soap tied to stakes next to the plants. If you've ever smelled that stuff, you can imagine what it would do to a sensitive deer's nose.

We have some yellow ladies slippers orchids in our woods that the deer love to eat the flowers off. When I brush the dog I save the hair and sprinkle some of that on the blossoms, it has been very effective in keeping the deer from chewing them up. They probably don't like the smell of dog or the taste of fur in their mouth. Only problem is that many birds are nesting at the time the orchids bloom, so I have to sprinkle daily, many sparrows and chickadees love the fur for nesting material. If you don't have dogs, check for a dog groomer nearby. I've also heard that human hair works, so check the local barber shops as well.

-- Chelsea (, December 28, 2000.

Woven wire mesh fences 10 feet tall are common here to keep the deer out. They're also common to keep them in ~ where folks are raising them!

-- ~Rogo (, December 29, 2000.

My homestead guru at work told me 2 things for deer in the garden. If using a fence, use 6 ft poles (above ground height) and plant them at a 45 to 60 degree angle aimed out from the garden. Even though the deer could clear it as easy as a vertical or in leaning fence, the wont try as they think it will snag or impale them. The other remedy is from Auburn University, crack 6 eggs in a galllon of water, mix well. Mix the well mixed (milky looking) gallon with 5 gallons of water, cap off container and leave outside. Mix some of this in a sprayer with something to make it "stick" when sprayed around garden (a little squirt of dishwashing detergent has worked for us on insecticides). Spray perimeter and plants they are feeding on. The deer hate the smell of this concoction and its barely noticable to humans.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (, December 29, 2000.

My fence is 8 feet high. The deer can't jump it, altho some ****! did leave the gate open and a deer spent the weekend having it's fill of salad bar. Ours are undeterred by blood meal, human hair, soap, etc., and stomp their feet threateningly at dogs. One thing that has semi-worked is to spray with mixture of 1 gallon water with a little dish soap in it, and two eggs beaten in -- let that 'ripen' a few days in the sun before spraying. Haven't tried it on vegetables, kind of worry about the egg in there for that, but it has worked on shrubs and flowers. Good luck...they're annoying critters.

-- Julie Froelich (, December 31, 2000.

We have a lot of deer here in Wisconsin too and our garden is behind the barn. My husband hooked up a motion detector and a radio wrapped in plastic. I guess the deer don't care for the noise as we haven't had one in our huge garden for a few years. We also use a lot of black plastic for mulch and I don't think they care for that either, although the snakes love to get under it.

-- Ardie Storch (, December 31, 2000.

That last answer made me think -- my brother put in a motion sensor attatched to the garden hose and they said they didn't have the problem with the deer thereafter, altho I'm not sure what happened this fall once the deer started getting really voracious. It would certainly be a cheaper solution than my 8 foot fence was!

-- Julie Froelich (, January 01, 2001.

hi guys and gals,

it was fun to read all these interesting suggestions, so i thought i add a little more spice to it. well i don't have to worry not only about deers but also about bears. luckily so far the latter left the vegies untouched. they only like to sit in the fruit trees like gorillas in the mist and enjoy themselves, starting with the cherries, then later the plums and last the apples and you guessed it, with my favorite fruits trees first and most. what i am doing with them black babies is a story by itself and too long right now, but i can assure you i live in harmony with my blackies and quite a few cubs brought their cubs when they had grown into motherhood while at the same time we keep our distance and respect each other, mainly for the bears good. as pets they would fall easy prey to hunters. the deers luckily only eat what the bears shake down, if the deers could climb....boy oh boy.

ok, back to the red critters, they love radio or live human voices and feel fine as long as these noise generators don't stop. as soon as they stop, deers and bears alike become alert, at least for a moment. so i can assure you motion sensors with radio might work only one night, so do flood lights. after that, deers say thank you very much, i can see now the potatoes much better over there and the strawberries right here. oh and before we leave, lets have a little jig the music is too tempting.

next, i tried a combination of flood lights with the sound of an awful sounding old rusty horn triggered by motion sensors, which covered the whole garden. i set the motion sensor on 30 seconds, so that the floodlights and horn stay also on for thirty seconds. that is enough to make the toughest deer run. naturally, as inquisitive as white tails are, they come back, but every time they come back, they are in for an uggly sounding surprise. and that did the trick, the deers never ever did any damage to my garden. if they ever would do, i have a second weapon, which i want so save for now. i have a very well trained dog, which would push the deers just out of the garden and to the fringe of the bush and then return without hounding them. but he likes a night's sleep as much as i do. i let'm have that, so he is ready when he has to watch for something more important.

cheers, faustos

-- faustos (, March 21, 2001.

Black Hen. It's a fertilizer made by the same company that makes Black Cow. Very simply, it is chicken manure. We spread it around all our "deerly loved" plants and vegetables. The deer don't come near it. Used it for two years and no deer problems at all! Good Luck

-- b (, May 28, 2001.

Hi, Just an update on our deer proofing. So far not one deer has invaded this year. We moved the fence out 40 feet next to an old existing field fence. There are two feet between the two fences now. Also, dh shot over their heads a couple of times in the early spring which scared them away from the garden area. We also got some spray (free trial from our local gardening center) that is called Liquid Fence. This is sprayed on any plant outside the garden that we don't want the deer to eat. So far so good. BTW, Liquid Fence sold by the quart is $10, but after reading what is in it, you can make it at home: eggs 75% and garlic 0.9 and the rest is a sort of inert carrier. It stinks to high heaven, but the deer hate it. Thanks to everyone who sent in replies, my mom and her sister use the slivers of soap around their garden with great success, however, the rabbits ignore the soap and eat the tops off the plants. Deer though, quit going into their garden. Hope everyone has great success with their gardens this year!

-- Cindy (, May 28, 2001.

May not be a solution for you, but in my neck of the woods 10 foot high wire mesh fences are used in areas that have deer.

-- ~Rogo (, May 29, 2001.

Take a look at it describes electric fencing for deer although the aim here is to keep them in not out.

-- john hill (, May 29, 2001.

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