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Deer control methods

 
                                    
Posts: 27
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We are trying to figure out what to do about some deer that like to come on our property and are destroying our new fruit trees, as well as the strawberries we have planted. I know a fence would probably be best, but one of the gardens alone is 5000 sq ft, and borders the neighbour's property which is already fenced but it's only a 4 foot fence. So we would not only have to fence the rest, but somehow build up on the neighbour's fence (and I'm pretty sure it's technically his fence so we would need his permission). I have planted some thorny berry bushes around some of the perimeter and am going to plant some Maximilian Sunflower. It sounds like both may work in the long term to at least keep the deer to the perimeters. I'm okay with them being around, I just don't want them destroying my plants. I know a lot of control methods (light, sound, etc) work temporarily, but the deer get conditioned to them and they stop working. I'm wondering though if anyone has used either of the following with any success? One sprays water and I don't know if a deer would continue to sit around munching plants while being continuously sprayed? The other is just sound and light, but comes on based on motion and you can change the stations and how long it stays on, so maybe the deer would be less likely to get conditioned to it? We are fairly rural and there is lots of food around for them now, my hope would be maybe they would just move on and stop even trying so not have a chance to get conditioned but I don't know if that's realistic or not.

http://www.tesco-shopping.com/Deer-Chaser.htm
http://www.tesco-shopping.com/scarecrow.htm

I realize we may just have to suck it up and build a fence, and considering we have over $1000 worth of plants in there it is worth the expense, but I don't really like how they look either.
 
Pat Black
Posts: 123
Location: Northern New Mexico, USA
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Spend your money on fencing. Nothing else works. If you don't like the looks of the fence, plant a hedgerow along the fence to disguise it. Have fun and put your deer deterring plants right along the fence. You'll enjoy watching the deer eat your deterring plants as much as they can get their muzzles through the fence.
 
                            
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I wondered about this for a long time before planting out a bunch of trees this spring. The herd around here is pretty strong. After considering various options, I went with an electric fence, of the 3-wire 3 dimensional sort. I've fenced in about a 1/2-3/4 acre with this. So far, I haven't had any trouble with deer. But it's only been a couple of months and there's lots of food in the area for the deer to get to.
 
Troy Rhodes
Posts: 575
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I had serious deer problems in a young orchard.  I put up a 6' electric fence, which is not that expensive.  Now I have zero deer problems going into my third year.  It helps if you train the deer a bit.

Deer are inquisitive and have an exquisite sense of smell.

When you put your electric fence up, hang some light aluminum strips (like cut up pie plates) every 15 or 20 feet on the wires, and smear them with peanut butter or paint them with apple juice concentrate.

The deer sniff it or lick it and get the poopy shocked out of their very sensitive face/nose/tongue and decide they want nothing to do with this place.

Get a solar fence charger and you don't even need an outlet.  A hundred vendors on ebay will sell you one for 60-110 bucks for the charger with solar panel that will electrify five miles of fence.  Another hundred bucks will get you a bunch of wire and insulators and T-posts at a local farm store.

I used 7' steel T posts, pounded into the ground 1', giving a 6' fence.  Deer could  easily jump it, but they don't.  At least not on my orchard.

It is also possible they can read my mind, and totally understand that if I catch them inside the fence, I will shoot them on sight the first time, no exceptions.


HTH,

troy
 
George Lee
Posts: 539
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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Solar speaks the truth...

Carry a gun, and have a big meat freezer also works. Deer jerky, and stew for the winter months...

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I second the solar charged hot wire.  It is the BEST!  Worth every penny.  Love the idea of the plates with peanut butter.  I am doing that for sure.

We have hot wire around my chickens to protect them from loose dogs, racoons and the like.

I don't know why people think thier dogs should run loose in the country - but I treat the dogs just like I treat the deer.  Only difference is the deer end up in the freezer and the dogs get cleaned up by the raptors.  Circle of life you know.

Get the hot wire.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Posts: 8979
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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We use 5' welded wire which is rusty and blends into the background very nicely.  We have a lot of trees so we don't use posts, just hold up the fence by running a piece of baling wire through a piece of hose and looping it around the tree.
 
                                    
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I have young children and chickens, so I am hesitant about an electric fence. I would think any charge strong enough for a deer could seriously harm a child or chicken, couldn't it? Can I put a regular page wire fence for the bottom 4' or so and then a couple of hot wires above that? Will a solar charger continue to work through the winter? I'm in Canada. We had considered using an electric fence for the chickens but haven't had any problems with predators so far, besides one dog that came on our property but left again right away, didn't seem interested in the chickens thank goodness.

I wish we were allowed to shoot deer on our property here. We have two deep freezes. I agree about dogs too. Our dog is not 100% reliable in her recall, so for now she's stuck on a leash when we're outside, even though we have 1.5 acres she could roam on if she would just listen reliably.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1401
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I grew up getting shocked by electric fences - with a charge strong enough for cattle. (some of us don't learn the first time).  My uncle used to grab the wire behind his back and grab the kids as they went by.  I did learn to stay away from him.  Just make sure that yours is intermitant current.  If it is a steady current take it back - it is dangerous.  But the intermitant is no problem - even my little tiny dog - who is no smarter than I am - keeps having to learn the lesson over again and it has not injured her.

Can't find spell check here so I hope this isn't too bad.
 
Troy Rhodes
Posts: 575
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Any modern electric fence will not damage your child, unless they have a pacemaker or similar hardware.

Finest regards,

troy
 
                          
Posts: 36
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I am in the middle of reading a book called deer proof landscaping (good book!) and the short end of it is the only thing that works is fencing, either single and high or double and not so high.  Deer can either jump high or long.. not both.

ps. I personally witnessed a friend pee on an electric fence by accident when we were teenagers..  didn't look fun but he was fine once the shock wore off.  I have two young children and will be putting one up on our property, no worries at all.  Good for keeping coons out also.
 
Saybian Morgan
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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I just rebuilt my electric fence today, if your in the pacific north west forget about solar, I'm thankfull theres a 90 day return policy. It's fine in the summer but overcast day after overcast day and you'll end up taking the battery out and recharging it. I have deer, cayotes, dogs, racoons, eagles, hawks and bear's. I got sloppy and let the blackberry get the best of my fence last year and once the bear learns it doesn't shock this time he step's through it and drag's it deeper into the blackberry.  It was just 3 days ago I'm sitting at the computer looking up hammer mill's and my muscovy's started screaming, I ran outside in my barefoot to see who's got who's wing pinned down and a bloody bear's got one of my girls cornered. The deer also stepped on it good once it was down, luckily all there was to eat was compost.
    Electric fence's don't hurt, it's all psycological, my dog's only fear the color yellow in long strip's cuzz it magicaly has the ability to startle the piss out of them. I guess that's how i got sloppy and left it off for 8 months, but that brown bear I had to scream out of my yard hadn't herd the good word. Now if he comes back i use excess bird netting to direct there face's upwards towards the 1 wire rather than the 5 I use to run. It worked fine through grass but you can't slash under it well. Now i can let the netting get woven into the earth which make's it less prone to being dug under if a predator is already afraid of the fence.

I dont know where in canada you live, but they have them at farm supply stores like otter co-op, princess auto, pretty much any horse supply shop will have them or be able to get them. But I do stress it's better to get the one that's wired up to the house, the 20 bux per 50ft of insulated wire to get from the house to the fence underground is well worth it. I got tired of being surprised when i'd leaned my butt to far over fiddling along the non boundary fences.
 
Dave Miller
Posts: 409
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
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I have used the cheap bird netting like this, http://www.lowes.com/pd_119610-23132-119610_0__?productId=3102763, it worked for me.  But I was just fencing a small area.  I was careful to get it all the way to the ground, and it has kept out rabbits too.  But our yard has plenty of other good deer and rabbit food so they aren't that motivated to get into my protected area.

I have had rabbits girdle my trees in the winter so that is something else to watch out for.  In the fall the deer will scrape their antlers on small trees, but they seem to leave the big trees alone.
 
                                
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have you read sepp holzer's book?, he has a recipe for daubing on fruit trees to keep the deer off them. I have trouble here too, so am going to follow holzer's tip.
 
Willy Kerlang
Posts: 106
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I live in an area where deer are a MAJOR problem.  Several years ago I discovered a product called Plantskydd, which I cannot recommend highly enough.  I am usually not a brand-loyal kind of guy, but this stuff is the only thing I have found that works for me and I recommend it to everyone.  I lost my entire garden three years in a row, but in the four or so years I have been using this stuff I haven't had a single deer in the garden.  I don't know whether it's officially "organic" or what--but I do know the main ingredient is deer blood.  It stinks to high heaven.  It was formulated in Sweden (which has very tough environmental laws) to protect the evergreen sapling industry from losing their inventory to moose every year.  You simply spray it on the plant, choosing a dry day, and because it's oil based it soaks into the plant tissue and stays (as long as it doesn't rain for a day or two after).  You do not have to apply this stuff more than twice a season, so for a small garden like mine one bottle can last you for years.  If you are going to use it on fruiting plants like tomatoes, don't spray the actual fruit.  I would never use it on something like lettuce.  But it works beautifully on all other kinds of plants, especially young fruit trees. 

Here is a link to the website:  http://www.plantskydd.com/
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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i recommend the string fence. its more of a visual deterrent rather than physical.

in the mean time plant a thorny living fence so eventually you have a thick, living, food producing fence.

ive had a string fence for over a year, the only time the deer get in is when i leave the gate open on accident or on purpose.
 
                                    
Posts: 27
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I just wanted to post to thank you all for the input/advice. I am subscribed to this so do come and read every comment. I am often nursing and/or on an iPod though, so it's not always easy for me to respond. We are going to look into and discuss all of these options and hopefully find smoething that will work both short- and long-term.
 
Pat Black
Posts: 123
Location: Northern New Mexico, USA
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Double low fence doesn't work. The deer jump one low fence, then the next low fence, because they  know they cannot jump both at once. I had one of those fences and took it down the day after I witnessed the double jump action. Two hops and she was in, eating everything.

Thorny hedge rows don't work: the deer have no problem with eating thorns.
 
William Bogle
Posts: 2
Location: Arkansas Ozarks, Newton County
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Dogs have worked the best for me. We just moved into a cabin that I have been building. We live in ozarks and have lots of deer. In fact the location of our land is right in the path the deer use to get to our local spring.  When we were building we would see deer every morning usually right where we were going to put our garden.  We have two australian shepards, once we brought them with us we have only seen deer running away. As soon as the deer get within 50 yards both of our dogs are after them. After they have chased them off a short distance the dogs come back.

We had been told by several people in the area that there was no way we could grow corn or green beans because the deer would destroy them. We have been growing both successfully.
 
Gord Welch
Posts: 64
Location: Oregon
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I second the 3D fencing. It's the cheapest fencing option and it works. Only trouble is that it needs a lot more room than a traditional fence.

As for roaming dogs getting shot and left - why not put them in your freezer, too? They taste great - dog is my favorite red meat.

 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
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If you have domestic cats that use a littler box or know someone that does keep their cats indoors spread the used litter around where you want to repel the deer.  They don't like smelling cats.  I suppose that is instinct.  If there has been lots of hunting pressure in your area then pee in the orchard as often as possible.  That helps too but fencing works best.  You might want to try using urine from cats and humans first.  I know this will sound gross but if you save up human urine and "age" it in glass gallon jugs with the cap on tight and allow it to be heated by the sun for a week or so it will make it incredibly bad smelling "stuff" that has worked for me.  I also agree that a 30-30 and a big freezer works fairly well too.
 
                                  
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I have some cactus growing wild in my yard.  I was considering getting rid of them at first.  But then I figured that I could use them to keep critters out of my stuff. I have to wear heavy boots to walk among cactus. I don't think deer, raccoon, squirrels or whatever critter would too pleased to have to walk on cactus spines to get to the plants they want to munch on.  Just one physical barrier to add to the arsenal...
 
T. Pierce
Posts: 254
Location: Virginia
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gordwelch wrote:
I second the 3D fencing. It's the cheapest fencing option and it works. Only trouble is that it needs a lot more room than a traditional fence.

As for roaming dogs getting shot and left - why not put them in your freezer, too? They taste great - dog is my favorite red meat.




seriously?  you eat dog?  i once worked with a ex-marine that was stationed in the philippines an he said dog was a dish over there.  expensive but not bad tasting. other then him ive never heard of anyone else eating them.
 
                                  
Posts: 45
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Woof Woof! .  A new meaning to the expression "hot dog".  I wonder which dog breed tastes the best?
 
Dave Bennett
Posts: 686
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I had dog meat once in a burrito.  I thought it was tasty.  I didn't know it was dog until after we ate though.  Then my friend was asking his wife if she cooked up all of the dog meat and I thought he was kidding until he showed me the hide.  It was a really large "Heinz 57" breed.  There are lots of mostly older cultures including North American First People  that kept dogs as scavengers to help keep their camps clean and as emergency meat.
 
                                  
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I got my electric fence at Premier1Supplies.  https://www.premier1supplies.com/
 
                                  
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I will try videotape around my garden.  Apparently, it's supposed to spook wild animals.
 
Suzy Bean
pollinator
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Location: Stevensville, MT
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Paul and Toby Hemenway discuss deer control methods in this podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/359-podcast-050-toby-hemenway-animal-problems-to-solutions/
 
                                    
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I've seen standard height fence, say 4' work fine, with an extra 3' of thin bamboo canes attached with 4/5 rows of poly twine threaded between each cane.
This is working well around a 1-2 acre nursery, NB a place with LOTS of tasty shoots. Seems the deer don't figure they can push through the twine and it's high enough not to be jumped.

Pics are poss.

N*
 
                            
Posts: 19
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I met an elderly gentleman that swore by his method to deter deer from his property.  Thankfully, knock on my wooden head, have never had a deer problem but  would try his method if I did.

He regularily peed in a large bucket, in which he also broke a number of raw eggs.  When he deemed the mixture to be sufficiently potent, he sprays it, all along the perimeter of his gardens.

I visited his place on a garden tour where he showed everyone his system.
The smell was so intense, we about keeled over...LOL!

The gent said that he sprays whenever he thinks it's needed.  He said that he sprayed the day before the tour...maybe to make his point!

He had no close neighbours.
 
Dave Bennett
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Feed them well and then fill the freezer.  Canned venison is also very tasty.  Make jerky with the rest.
 
                              
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I have a very low tech way of keeping deer out.  I learned about it at Preston Farms in Newport, RI.  Around their veggie gardens, they put ordinary wire fencing (the green kind that's about 3 feet tall from the big box store) and then around the top of the posts (6 feet high also from the big box store) they run a piece of twine or wire.  The bottom fence keeps rabbits and woodchucks out, the top twine keeps the deer from jumping in.  This has worked for me for the last 3 years and is visually unobtrusive.  Around the interior perimeter of the garden I plant marigolds which apparently smell bad to critters.  All in all, its cheap, effective and with the flowers bordering it, looks pretty as a picture. 
 
                              
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I just learned this very easy and effective method from a northern Minnesota Organic Farmer.  He laid chicken fencing flat on the ground around all of his hoop houses.  It appears that deer do not like to step on the metal.  He swears they just won't cross over that barrier.  Kind of like a cattle crossing...
 
                            
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To keep moose out of the yard/garden I attached 2x3's to the posts of the four foot fence. I strung quarter inch nylon rope in between the 2x3's eight footers of course. Keeps the moose out nicley. Plantskyd also works well but washes off in the rain. Moose after all are deer on steroids.
 
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