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How high does a deer fence need to be?

 
gardener & author
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Location: Manitoba, Canada
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I used to live at a place that had a lot of deer. There was a pasture with a single strand of electric fence attached to an old wooden pasture fence that was maybe 4 or 5 feet tall. The pasture was a deer feeder.

At this same place I tried growing my first garden. I think the fence was over 6 feet tall. The deer still got in. It was only after we extended it up to 8 feet that the deer left it alone.

Ever since then, everyone I have talked to here has agreed that in order to keep deer out, you need an 8 foot fence.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I was talking to someone from somewhere else who was saying that they need a 15 foot fence in their area. This seemed like a lot to me so I wanted to see what others' experience has been.

Side note: I think an important thing to consider is to ensure that there is enough delicious food outside of the fence that animals rarely want to try to get through it.
 
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If you have a persistent deer problem, I'd say you would need at least an 8' fence. A motivated deer can jump even that, so a 12'+ fence is not out of the question.

Two tricks that might help keep the fence to a more manageable height:

1) run a secondary simple wire fence outside the main fence (maybe 5-6' offset and 3-4' high), this buffer should dissuade the deer from attempting the jump.

2) or add some kind of visual block to the fence. Allegedly, deer won't jump over something if they can't see the other side.






 
pollinator
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I'm using two short fences - the inner one five feet tall, the outer one between three and four feet tall.  Fences are about four feet apart.  So far it is working great.  
 
master steward
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I have two fences, 5' high and 5' apart that are working so far for my food forest.  7.5' high deer fencing has worked in the garden for 4 years. 7.5' high deer fencing (heavy duty plastic 1" mesh) doesn't work well enough for my apple orchard in September.  It's weakened from deer crawling under it for the first year, getting scared and smashing their way out.

Generally I'd say a single 8' fence or two 4-5' fences is just fine for whitetails.

A shorter fence will work if there are lots of spikey things or weird objects inside that the deer wouldn't want to risk landing on.  So if your garden is 20' square with raised beds, trellises, scarecrows, etc, a deer probably wouldn't jump a 6' fence to get in.
 
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I had a 4 ft tall fence around my garden for a short time that I think the deer jumped for fun.

I added a simple strand of thin white twine rope 3 ft above the top, to give it an appearance of a height of 7 ft total, and I haven't had a deer jump it since.
 
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It only needs to be tall enough to keep the cougar on the other side of the fence from getting out.  Most deer find that they can't get over it.
 
pollinator
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I had an idea where where a conventional 4-5’ fence would be enhanced by strapping bamboo poles to it to achieve a visual barrier that the deer would not want to try to jump. Add in a secondary fence 5’ away from the “tall” fence I think would discourage the wayward deer. A similar effort would be taller poles with wire strung between them with visual cues such as rags tied to it as a similar visual deterrent.
 
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Installing a barrier around our proposed two acre canning garden in the middle of ungulate country in two months. Open Range Cows being the most destructive followed by elk then mule deer and pronghorn, we will be using a double fence spaced four feet apart.

The outer fence will be five feet tall barbed wire and robust enough to take the physical 'pressure' from cattle and elk, both known to lean on fences. Elk are high jumpers with mule deer taking on about half the height of elk. Pronghorn 'do not' jump opting to go under.

The inner fence being set four feet back is a visual barrier set at eight feet high. The top two wires will be close together and different colors: one galvanized the other bare steel (rust). Elk and deer will not jump the double fence.

Now the rabbits and woodrats will need one inch chicken wire three feet high a fixed to the outer fence to keep them out. Guinea Hens will be established roaming free, free to hop in and out of the garden enclosure.
 
pollinator
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Location: Saskatchewan
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Two strand of electric does the trick for me. The top strand is nose height for the adults. The bottom strand is nose height for the fawns.

Both strands have flagging tape every 6-8 feet so that the deer come up and sniff the fence. They get a jolt and leave it alone. This works because there is lots of food outside the garden for them. The fence is enough of a deterant that they don't bother to jump it. When we did not have the bottom strand the fawns would walk under the top strand without seeing it. The does would then jump the fence because the fawn was on the other side. There is also no other electric fences nearby that they have developed the habit of jumping.
 
Posts: 58
Location: Central Pa
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PA state requirements for raising deer is 8' this is to ensure that farm deer do not get out into the native population, I helped on a deer farm that raised 250" buck for breeding and the owner had 10' because he didn't want to lose a 9k deer and he swears as long as they are fed and have no reason to want out they wont try but like a goat if they are hungry and want out they would try to jump 8'. I have seen a deer from a standing still jump right over a 5' cattle fence like it was nothing no running start just like he was jumping over a small log.
 
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