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Deer fencing advice

 
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Hello Permies! We are working on our garden fence for our 2,000 sq feet garden- we have a six foot fence planned/ is this enough?
 
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Location: Far Northern California Coast, Far South Pacific Northwest
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Depends. Is there plenty of other food for the deer nearby? Is it a heavy deer area? Are there other hoofed creatures in your area? Do you plan on having a dog?

If I was starting fresh I'd go 7 or 8 feet but we have elk too. Our guard dogs allow us a lower fence. So far anyways.
 
Samantha Sage
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It’s a deer heavy area. Lots of wild forested land about, no dog but there are some dogs that run free in the area that belong to different neighbors. Problem is that we have already sunk all the T posts and purchased fencing , so our only option would be to try and extend on what we already have going.
 
Melonie Corder
Posts: 101
Location: Far Northern California Coast, Far South Pacific Northwest
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Well, you have two choices. Leave it and take the risk, would it be hard to extend later? Or invest in a t-post puller and extend now. There is no right answer, just whatever works best for you. Personally, that large of a garden I wouldn't risk as that is a lot of work. If extending seems excessive consider adding another layer of security like motion sensing sprinklers or scent deterrent as well?
 
pollinator
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Location: the mountains of western nc
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a fence that they can’t see through helps, as they want to know where they’re jumping to. i’ve seen people make their 6ft fences seem like more by attaching little extensions to each post and runninga line with prayer flags or something similar across the top, too.
 
Samantha Sage
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Ok great! Thank you! We are going to put a privacy barrier on the half that doesn't directly back up to our yard or forest, I would think they would need a running jump to jump eight feet? Prayer flags sound very pretty!
 
gardener
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it seems to really depend- a youtuber i watch has enough deer to stock his freezer but they will not jump the poultry netting fence around his garden. Meanwhile at my mother's house (Del Water Gap) 6 feet was not enough, and they don`t need a running start either-- in that case we ended up making the garden only about a yard and a half wide- they were afraid to jump in because they need more space to land inside.
Try it and see what happens!! Flags and such are a good idea. Also good to see what others in your area are doing, you might get some good ideas.
 
pollinator
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Our property is also heavily wooded land with lots of wildlife, deer and elk, just to name a couple. Our primary raised bed garden has a 6 foot chain link fence, we've never had deer in there. The fencing that we are putting in elsewhere is 7 foot no climb fencing primarily to keep out deer, but also to keep in dogs. I think that the fact that the deer have plenty of food sources not in our gardens helps a lot. Around here, people who try to fence deer out of their whole property struggle more. The deer need to go somewhere, so let them have other options. Just my experience.
 
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I live in an area with a high deer, elk, and moose population. Here, 8 feet is minimum and 10 feet is ideal.

Check out Mike's Wavy Fence for an alternative fencing idea. He says it works great for keeping deer out.
 
steward
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Thanks for the mention Ashley!  I was also going to say that you could just extend your t posts a foot and then run a cheap wire up at 7'.  The deer won't try to jump between the 6' fencing and the 7' wire.  I'd use un-electrified electric fence wire since it's pretty affordable.
 
pollinator
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Another option is a double fence with a gap of 4 ft or so. The fence can then be lower. You can also utilize that gap to run chickens in or something.
 
pollinator
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As others have stated, "it depends".

Is the land flat? You will need higher on the downslope and you can get away with lower on the upslope.

Is there LOTS to eat? If yes, then the pressure would be less, if no, then they will be more determined. Keep in mind seasonal differences.

Is there high snowfall? Higher fences required to account for hieght loss when snow is on the ground.

Is there an outdoor living dog? They tend to be great to deter deer.

Speak with neighbors; chat with folks at the feed store; look around, see where the deer are and what heights keep them at bay.

Generally speaking you need 8 feet, minimum. But, this need only be a visual barrier, not physical. By this I mean an ordinary 4-6 foot fence topped with a few strands of flagged fishing line (to reach the minimum 8 feet) is more than necessary. If there is an existing fence, tacking on simple bamboo poles to extend the height is all that is needed.

If you ONLY need to keep deer out, then simple monofilament "bird netting" is generally more than adequate as the required "visual barrier" to keep deer out of the garden.

If going beyond 6 feet is an issue due to bylaw regs, then go for a double fence with a 3 foot gap between the two; a slanted fence or a "V" topped fence. The extra width eliminates the need for extra height. In general for every foot below eight feet add two feet to the width (minimum of three feet). Again, don't forget to account for slope or snow when calculating height.

Good luck!
 
master steward
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I have seen several deer jump 8' fences which I find a rather amazing fact!

One year we had a sunflower seed food plot about the size you are wanting to protect.  We used an electric tape fence which worked really well.

Other than an electric fence the only thing I can suggest that might work would be the double fence.

I am curious to know what you find that works the best.
 
pollinator
Posts: 181
Location: Zone 3-4 (usually 4) Western South Dakota, central Black Hills
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Anne, what height did you run the e-tape?
 
Anne Miller
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That was several years ago so I am guessing it was between 4 or 5 feet high. We used two strands so maybe the first strand was about 2 ft high.
 
Cindy Skillman
pollinator
Posts: 181
Location: Zone 3-4 (usually 4) Western South Dakota, central Black Hills
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Thanks! I've got lots of (highly visible) equine rope, but my e-fence posts are maybe 4' to the highest bracket. I bought 7' plastic deer fence & T-posts (q 10') for my proposed garden, so maybe if I stretch the rope super tight I could run the top strand on t-post brackets fixed to the top (which would be maybe 6.5 ft). I've got both deer & elk, so maybe three strands... I'll give it a go and see what happens. I wanted steel field fence, but it's not available. Kind of frustrating. 🙄🙄🙄 I guess... this is a lot cheaper and easier to uninstall & alter if it doesn't work well for me.
 
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Location: Zone 5ish, Ontario, CA
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My nana recently shared a technique she used to keep deer away without fencing. She used to have a huge, unfenced garden in Alberta that backed onto a farmer's field. She actually fed and set out salt licks for the deer in her garden in the winter. Come springtime (when she decided they needed to scoot), she'd set up long stakes and plopped 5 gallon buckets onto the tops of the posts, like helmets. They wouldn't fall off but they'd move around in the wind, the movement and sound from which would make the deer would think a person was out there working, so they'd keep away. Apparently this technique also worked well at the veggie plots at a botanical garden (a huge area) where deer were feasting up until they set up the buckets. Could be worth a shot!
 
pollinator
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I ran a 6' fence, extended the posts up two feet and ran 2' of that bright orange plastic snow fence above the 6' fence.  That worked for me.  I bought it in a 4' height and cut it down the middle into 2 2' high pieces, so it was very cheap.
 
Posts: 396
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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Just an idea for a second fence.
Add two extra posts at each corner; three or four feet inside the corner post and run a wire between the new posts. I'd say this needs to be 7 or 8 feet high so you don't tangle in it while working. This wire could also enhance your pole beans allowing the vines to run the length of the wire. Without the vines the new poles could be very thin. Conduit pipe comes in 10 foot lengths and is somewhat inexpensive. If the post is woven thru the fence wire it needn't be in the ground. Thin steel wire or monofilament will work. Somehow they see the thin wire even at night.
 
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Oh deer, I have that problem too.  I have tied a rope about 3ft. from the fence on the inside at about 4ft. high.  It seems to work, they can't quite figure out how they're going to clear that as well as the fence.  I put a hook on it so I can take it down when I'm in there.  I don't see why it would work outside the fence, but would involve more posts.  
 
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