Protection from or Deterrants for Deer?

   / Protection from or Deterrants for Deer? #1  

Diggin It

Super Star Member
Aug 12, 2018
I'm thinking, I'm thinking!
In past years, I lost most everything to deer or other critters. To the point it really wasn't worth planting anything. I may try again next year now that I have a bunch of new fruit trees and need to try to protect them. Plus, I need to try to produce a food crop for other reasons.

I've heard and read a few things, but I'm asking about experiences in what others have tried. Some say a deer won't jump anything it can't see over. They say to plant taller crops like corn or sunflowers. Others say an electric fence wire about nose high will deter them with another a few inches above ground to deter smaller ground animals. Somebody even said to hang bags of human hair clippings since the deer can smell our scent and will avoid it. I don't know if I buy any of those ideas. Traditional fencing is all but useless for raccoons, squirrels and anything else that can climb.

Before I go spending a couple of hundred dollars on a solar charger, t-posts and wire, what others ideas can TBNers suggest?

I was planning on trying a few rows of corn anyways, so I could try to use that as a perimeter around the fruit trees. I also have to mow around the area and between the trees, so I have to allow for that.

Then there are the chemical deterrents found in stores, but they're not cheap and don't last long.
   / Protection from or Deterrants for Deer? #2  
Electric fence will work for sure;cost a little more to start but will last the season and future seasons.Two rows are required with the second(inside) not electrified.
   / Protection from or Deterrants for Deer? #3  
Nothing is 100 percent when it comes to deer, however an 8 ft high fence is the most effective.

You can also do 2 parallel 4 ft fences leaving 5-6 feet between them.

Electric only works if they touch it. Once one jumps over without touching it first, it is all over.

A human waste fertilizer called Milorganite will deter deer for about a month. That is what we use on food plots to let the soybeans get some size before the deer mow them down.
   / Protection from or Deterrants for Deer? #4  
Quit putting in so many food plots and attracting them..................
   / Protection from or Deterrants for Deer? #5  
Planting corn is not going to deter deer, it's going to attract them and they will eat most everything in short order.

First year here I put in a big garden, I looked out one afternoon when the plants were just about to give me enough to put me through the winter and I counted 29 deer in the garden, I have gone to the local farm stand ever since..
   / Protection from or Deterrants for Deer? #6  
I have good luck with 5' page wire fencing around the garden on t posts. They always came though electric, shiny flashy tapes. Now I just have to put it to the ground and keep the wood chuck out. He likes the broccoli. The deer would even eat the potatoes!
   / Protection from or Deterrants for Deer? #7  
I've used a 3 wire electric fence with teflon 4' posts in long runs and 4x4s at corners and ceramic insulators screwed into those for 18 years here. Works fine for keeping hooved rats out (some people call them "deer", no dear to a gardener). Bottom wire is placed at bottom spot on the teflon posts, about 4" up. Middle wire is between bottom and top wire. I use the lightest weight wire, as it's the easiest to work with.

Buy the teflon posts at TSC or Lowes/Home Depot. They have a metal bottom point with a stepping point to allow you to just push them into the ground with one foot.

I use the "15 mile" fence charger powered by a 12v utility battery kept charged with a little 50w solar panel. Battery typically lasts about 3 years. Charger goes for about 6 or 8 years. Solar panel is still good at 18. I just mount a bucket horizontally onto one of the 4x4 posts and slide the battery into the bucket with side holes for the wires, etc.

Every so often, certainly at the beginning, you have to "bait" the electric fence either by smearing peanut butter onto the top wire or by placing strips of Al foil with peanut butter smeared onto it.

I'd also advise getting yourself a kill permit from your game warden and a 410 shotgun with "buck" shot. Take out a few. I'm up to about 35 now. Buzzards will take care of the carcass if you have no outlet for it. We've eliminated their preditors. They're only here for US or the buzzards to eat now. So no other use for them. They're not cute.

Update on this post. I've had to go to a single wire electric outside the 3 wire one about 18 inches. The single wire is about 2 to 3 feet up. Hooved rats don't have very good depth perception. This screws them up. Before going to the 2nd single wire fence, I kept having them get into my rows of raspberries. With the double row, they don't come in, even if the battery runs down below the required 6 volts on the electric fence.

Here's a picture of the nylon rope fence between carriage house and small garden. Have same in wire fencing around the rest of the back yard garden. Have the wire electrified, but I do not think it needs to be based on success in protecting this hooved rat candy here.



  • Hooved rat fence.jpg
    Hooved rat fence.jpg
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   / Protection from or Deterrants for Deer? #8  
Three times the wife bought different plants/shrubs that were supposed to keep deer away. Never worked. Deer around here will come into your garden and taste EVERYTHING ONCE. About half of the stuff - they will spit back out. We never really had that much damage in the garden from deer. Where they did the most destruction - the orchard. Pulling down and breaking limbs to get at the apples.

We always considered ourselves lucky if we got anywhere near half the apples from our trees. The deer - standing up on their hind legs - - the adult coons - sending the babies way out the smallest limbs to get at the apples. But - all in all - we usually got all the apples we needed.
   / Protection from or Deterrants for Deer? #9  
I planted 60 apple trees this year (they are about 4 feet tall). I bought the hotel sized soap bars and hang one on each tree. I strip half the wrapping off each bar and hang it with string. Believe me, I have deer in this apple orchard property, and it has been effective.
With apple trees, you also need to be concerned with voles and mice. For that, I need to find some polyethylene sheets like they make small signs out of. You know, the FOR SALE sign you find for .98. I will get the 24 inch width and cut lengths to enclose the trunk with room to spare, then staple the edges.