Deer Fencing Question

I am in the process of raising my garden/orchard fence. It is 5’ of horse wire fencing (2x4" grid) with a couple of wires of electric on top of that. It is actually fairly good, as long as the deer have plenty to eat outside the fence. But as I discovered last year, come late Aug or Sept their food is largely gone and my garden and orchard is about the only food that they can find.

Right now, the deer are getting interested but have not yet been willing to brave the electric fence, but I expect that to change fairly soon (we have only gotten 1/4" of rain in the last 10 weeks).

So I am in progress of extending the electric wires above the woven wire horse fencing. Right now there both T-posts and wooden posts holding things up. The T-posts are easy to extend, just hammer on some extenders and you get another 2 or 3’; that was easy and plenty of insulators to fit them. The wooden posts are a bit more problematic. These are mostly 6-8" diameter treated wood posts, in the corners and every 30’ along straight runs. Most need to be extended about 2’.

The question I have is what is the best way of extending the wood posts. The guys at the farm store though I should just use 1/2" steel rods, drilled into the top of the wood posts. That is fairly easy, would look OK, and plenty of insulators to fit the rod. Only problem with this I can think of is will the 1/2" rod be strong enough not to bend when the deer try to jump through? An alternative would be to use a section of treated 2x4, bolted to the side of the posts. Probably stronger, but more trouble to install, and not that attractive. I am curious if anyone has given either of these a try, or knows of other alternatives?

The other question I have is what is the best hot/ground wire configuration to make sure the deer get a shock. I have been thinking that alternating hot and ground (horse fence below is grounded) would ensure the best chance. What do folks think?

I have actually seen the deer go thru this fence some. They do NOT jump over the top wire that I have seen. Rather they jump in the gap between the horse fence and the first hot wire. They should have been getting a shock, but perhaps they are quick enough that they avoid the 1 sec charge cycle. So I am lowering the existing wires as I add more on top. Again, I think this will help but I can’t say for sure. If anyone has any experience with this, please let me know.

The other “fix” I have considered is getting some barbed or razor wire and putting it mid gap in the spots where the deer go thru. I suspect that will slow them down some, but possibly lead to a messy outcome.

1/2" rod is pretty stout, and could be neatly done. But the holes you drill for it will be and entry point for water and rot, so I’d want to treat the holes. Also will be more attractive if the holes are actually straight into the top of the posts, as opposed to angled a little ways to one side or another.

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We had deer jump through wires we’d put up above a woven wire fence. Our solution was to put 3ft chicken wire up there. That solved the problem. Our electric wires are lower down. You might run a hot wire down at nose level and put a bit of pb on some alum foil on the fence . This might add some encouragement to stay away from the fence.

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I have heard about using Al foil and peanut butter on the electric wire to “train” the deer. Maybe I should give that a try…

It’s my understanding that the shock is really only effective on the sensitive parts of the deer - so getting them to put their nose or tongue on the peanut butter gives them quite a startling shock! I bet if I licked an electric fence, I’d never come back either!


You probably don’t need to go up as much as out. Look up Gallagher-style eFence. It is a 3-dimensonal fence that plays on a deer’s senses. It has an inner and outer electric fences. You already have something sufficient as an inner fence with a single wire at the top.

You can use inexpensive step-in posts for the outer fence. It is a single line of turbo-tape. Check the spec for the height off the ground but I think it is about 30". The spacing from the inner fence is important. The outer fence needs to be 3’ from the inner fence. Twist the turbotape between posts. This causes it to flutter in the wind and become a visual cue. The peanut butter trick also works well for training. They associate the shock with the fluttering tape. Deer can jump over a pretty high obstacle but won’t generally jump over something high and wide. They will see to some degree the wire on top of your inner fence but from 3’ away with the thin wire, they won’t see it well. Judging depth is difficult with eyes positioned to the side. Deer can physically jump a Gallagher-style Efence but generally don’t unless they are chased. If you start from scratch, all you need for the inner fence is 2 strands of turbowire at the proper height.



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Lots of small commercial vegetable growers around me get good results using two electric fences like you describe. They are about 3 feet apart and they train the deer with peanut butter or apple scent. The combination of the existing fence with the additional step in posts with turbo tape sounds great. The more powerful the charger the better. 1 joule or more will light the deer up!

In 5 years only 1 deer has penetrated my 8 foot high tensile electric fence. That deer hit the fence hard enough to break several of the insulators from the post. All of my wires are hot and under tension with springs and jacks. After multiple problems with less expensive solutions and lots of money in trees, I made the investment in this fence.