My deer rant

Lost several grafts and around 50 seedling apple trees ( 10 to 12 inches tall) along with many root stocks being browsed (but will recover ok ) last night in my raised growing beds to deer. These beds are part of my yard so right by the house . I did get some temporary fencing up in the heat today but also know once a deer focuses on something the only real solution is removal of that deer. Exclusion is only temporary . That leads me to the other part of my rant. The main culprit ( there are two) is a small buck and there is a group/cult of trophy deer hunters in our state that have succeeded in making that deer illegal to kill in our area once deer season rolls around as they believe it is not big enough to be a trophy. This puts me in a bad spot as even if I get damage or disease permits now ( yes we have bovine TB in our deer herd ) this trophy regulation will apply to them also. We had an insane winter three winters back and very few deer survived in the area around my property and so I let my guard down … till now. Still not sure how to go about removing the main offender and staying legal…


Deer will move if they believe they are being hunted. Some tiger poop from the zoo will get them running!


Deer are tough. They bed down in our neighbor’s yard right under our windows, and they browsed off a lot of my Gala, Golden Delicious, a foundling graft that had just started producing, and flowers.

I suggest you get a decent sized dog that’s happy sleeping outside. But if that’s not possible consider motion activated sprinklers- they do some good.

I’ve played with the idea of hooking a boom box to our security light, so that some noise would happen whenever our security light came on. Haven’t done it yet but I might still- have to consider the neighbors, and what kind of noise to set it up to. I wonder whether they’d be disturbed by ultra high frequency stuff.

I use “invisible” netting around the veggies and that seems to work- it’s dark green and disappears in daylight often and at night surely. So they encounter a resistance that they can’t explain and mosey on elsewhere, I guess.

Good luck!



Deer are persistent when they get a taste. I had a doe that came into my yard here last summer. I do live in a rural area, but deer are typically pretty skittish as hunting is a common activity. I had good luck with dryer fabric sheets clothes pinned to strategic areas and I turned on a radio on in the overnight hours.


Right now I have the same problem. Deer have decided they love my garden as well as my orchard. Right now I am just learning to live with it since they are not completely destroying everything. Next year I will have to put up an electric fence around the garden and orchard. There are several deer that come in. I am also planning on planting a area in my pasture away from my garden for the deer to hopefully keep them away from my garden.

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Don’t even get me started on deer!!!..the reason I haven’t posted much lately, and haven’t posted any pics is because deer basically ruined my backyard orchard

I’m to the point where I almost don’t want to do it anymore


I’m sorry to hear that chartman. I am about to head outside to lay down more pigs blood (Plantskydd) since it rained yesterday and wore most of it off. I use that on top of Crontech motion detector sprinklers plus grow-tubes protecting the most exposed young grafts. Even with this I have had several new grafts get munched this year.

They had the better of me for a few years, and a couple times I left like giving up. Now nearly all the fruiting is above their reach and its a little more sane, but still frustrating. We have big herds here and no legal way to cull them, its very frustrating.

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What sucks is I have been watching the track of the main problem deer for the last two or three weeks and knew it was going to get bold enough to start on my raised beds right by the house. Like everyone else with so many things to get done the fencing didn’t get done. Although the fencing in a situation like this is only going to be a temporary solution.
I feel your frustration. Several members have posted some effective measures outside of removing the deer. Fencing around each tree is very effective . Just make sure it is tall enough to protect the whole tree. The motion detector suggestions can be effective for an indeterminate time as deer do get used to whatever they activate. Also they have to be placed to detect the deer when they come into the area.

My father hooked a fire alarm up to a motion detector for his garden many years ago and it worked until the deer could be removed. I live several hundred yards away from where it was and it would wake me up in the middle of the night when it was triggered!

Never seen things like dryer sheets work or work for very long but the radio is good idea until they got used to it.

I think the motion detector sprinklers are a good idea as not only is there the noise of them coming on but also the spray hitting the deer at the same time

The problem here is going to be the removal of the offending deer in timely manner when the trophy hunters have gotten laws passed to make a small buck like this one illegal to kill until it grows a bigger set of antlers. There is a couple of exploitable loop holes in the regs and I do plan on doing my best to use them in this case if possible. Also plan on doing some general population control come fall ( or sooner if really needed) to keep the overall numbers down.


Geez, Steve, what happened? I was feasting vicariously on your Flavor Supremes! :disappointed:


You probably won’t have to worry about those small bucks for long. In order to distribute genetics, young bucks are forced from their home area by their mothers at about 18 months.

The best exclusion I’ve found is a Gallagher-style e-fence. They are a 3-dimensional fence that exploit a deer’s vision system weaknesses. I fenced an acre of soybeans one year in the middle of a pipeline. I planted a total of 5 acres that year. Deer kept all the beans not fenced naked all summer long. The beans inside the Gallagher-style e-fence canopied and were 6’ tall by the end of the summer.

It is the most effective thing I’ve found short of high fencing. Depending on your tolerance for esthetics a 5’ privacy fence will also work. While deer can easily jump a 5’ fence, they generally don’t because they can’t see if there is danger on the other side. Chain link (or any fence they can see through) needs to be a minimum of 10’ to really keep deer out.

One more fairly effective solution is an outside dog. In an environment where esthetics are important, you can use an invisible fence to keep the dog in the area. Deer quickly learn the limits of the dog and stay just out of reach.


I hate deer in the garden, but I don’t mind them on the table at supper time.


The FS’s and a very few others make it all worthwhile…I will still keep going, I won’t quit, I don’t know how to… I just remind myself of that that song…Highwayman by the Highwaymen. …I’ll be back again and again and again…


I’ve had one through my orchard and my only and new Pink Lady apple tree in my yard was chewed on. I’ve put down deer scram which my dogs seem to like to eat. And also sprayed some smelly deer repellent on the trees. I also have the dogs go the bathroom around the orchard hoping the deer will flee from that. Luckily I’ve fenced in my veg garden and apple trees in there.

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The no limit on doe tags really knocked our herd down. I used to have lots of deer pressure, like 12 to 20 at a time coming through, but mainly the family of six or so living in the yard. Even with deer fencing they still got in once and a while. They even walked onto my deck and then down 16 rises of steps to get in my orchard. You should hear them when they get scared and run back up! I have a rant of my own. Raccoons!!! They ate all my cherries last night. They broke some branches and knocked off lots of leaves and spurs! I only had about a hundred cherries on my Bing. They were still yellow with red blush. I have about fifty on my Rainier. I’ll probably lose those too. I just got nets in the mail, but I don’t think nets will stop coons. I might not be able to grow cherries here. They broke one of my grafts too!


I have had 100% success exculding deer by running double line of electric wire 32" high 5’ apart.


Does the buck sometimes cross the road?

If you are not using a complete exclusion fence/wire, its helps to understand their routines. They like to keep a regular nightly pattern of movement and even if you up the ante a bit they will keep it up. For this reason, when I put out the pigs blood I put a lot on the property edges and in a bit from the edges - basically I want to re-train them before the blood wears off that my yard is not the most fun place for snacks and its time to pick a new route. Once you train them out of your yard, they will get into a rut of visiting someone else’s yard – you passed the buck :wink:

When I put down the Plantskydd I mix it dense, not sure the exact amount but something like 3-4x the water compared to the size of the powder pile (I use the powder stuff, no stink from leftovers). Then I flick it on the leaves at deer level using a big paint brush. It makes these really dense dots of blood that will last through many rains. Spaying a thin coat will last not long at all. Generally the leaves I hit are permanently covered, its the new leaves that grow after that which are the ones the deer may get.

So if you are not fencing but are using some other repulsion method, the blood is a great supplement to your treatment - when the deer train “in” to your yard a single thorough treatment will re-train them “out”. Until the next re-re-training when your trees have grown a fresh batch of leaves…

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Yes, and that road has taken care of many problem deer over the years !


I know it can be impractical when you have a lot of trees but liquid fence will work. Tony told me about it