My deer rant


The electric fence is the way to go. A low wire for critters and a high one for deer. I will have to do that myself.


Around here we have a “metro” zone when you can bowhunt deer within the city. There are certain things you must do…like be so far from walking trails/houses … I know from hiking (city forest land) there isn’t the deer herd there was a decade ago so it must be doing some good.


The problem with a standard electric fence is that deer learn to jump it unless you make it quite high which requires a lot of strands of wire. The Gallagher-style 3D fence is pretty unique. It consists of a two low fences, an inner fence and an outer fence. The outer fence consists of a single strand of turbo tape. You typically twirl the tape between plastic step-in posts so it flutters in the wind. This provides the visual cue that deer associate with the shock. It is 18" off the ground. The inner fence has two strands of turbo wire, at 10" and 24" respectively. All wires are hot. The inner fence is 3’ from the outer fence.

Deer can easily jump this low fence but the don’t. The only time I’ve seen them jump it is when spooked and running to escape a predator or something like that. Here is how it works. When a deer first encounters a fence, it will usually try to crawl through it rather than jump it. The spacing of the lines pretty much guarantee a deer trying to crawl through will get zapped. When a deer approaches the outer fence and considers jumping it, it can see the white turbo wire of the inner fence but not well. Deer don’t have acute visual depth perception. They can’t judge it well and generally won’t try to jump it. In some areas with high deer densities when protecting very attractive food sources, some folks need to add a third wire on the inner fence but I’ve never had to do that.

Another trick I’ve used is to put a little peanut butter or vanilla extract as a curiosity scent in spots on the outer turbo tape. Deer will smell or lick at this and a zap on the tongue teaches a lesson that sticks for a very long time.


That sounds like a great way to go. I already have a 7’ deer fence up.
The rabbits ground hogs and coons have chewed holes where convenient for them. I was just thinking of running wire on the outside. The deer don’t jump over the fence. Only a few make it over the county parks six foot fence. It’s neat watching them try to jump it on my way to work.


I found a picture of this from Gallagher.


A number of years ago, a wild Whitetail Deer actually managed to jump the incredibly high fence (think 12’ or more) around the Lion enclosure at the Toronto Zoo. Not surprisingly, it did not end well for the deer! At night when the keepers called the lions back into their inside-enclosure area to eat, the big male did not come in. That was when they found him up on the hill, guarding his kill. It took a couple days before he finally relented and came in so that they could clean up the remains.


Did he share with the other lions?


That is exactly what it looks like except the outer fence is turbo tape that is 1/2" wide. Rather than running it flat, you spin it a few times at each step-in post. This helps the wind catch it and makes it flutter a bit. The white tape that flutter is very easy for deer to see and is very effective as a visual cue. The inner fence is turbo wire. It is also white but much smaller diameter. Deer can see something is there but can’t see it well. I also sometime hang a strip of blaze orange flagging tape on the inner fence top turbo wire between each step-in post. That ensures deer know something is there.

I have not found anything as effective per dollar of investment at excluding deer. I have used this to protect young forage soybeans in high deer density areas until they canopy. I then remove the fence because once they are that far along deer pressure can’t keep up with the growth. I used wooden posts on the corners as shown in the picture, but this is not a high tension fence.


Only when he was full! :smiley:


It appears from that story that one solution for reducing/eliminating damage by deer is to keep lions in the orchard. :wink:


It will also reduce damage from the orchardist!




I certainly feel your pain @chartman, I never realized how destructive deer could be until we moved back to my wife’s farm a couple years ago. Every year we’ve had extensive damage to our gardens, and this year they got to some of my newly planted fruit trees.

We even called the game warden last year, because we would see them in our gardens just about every morning, and we wanted to take them out, didn’t even care about the meat, we just wanted them gone. He said we’d have to show proof to them that they were causing damage and then we might be justified in culling them. But then they’d have to come out to get the deer. So, we ended up doing nothing. Very frustrating.

I put up 4 foot circular fencing around my trees, which seems to have prevented any more damage, for now, but the trees are now reaching above the fence, so they’re not completely protected. But I have them far enough out so that they aren’t easily reached.

My remedy for the garden raids this year was to put a 4 foot high tape fence using yellow caution tape strung between tobacco stakes. At first I had a layer of tape at about 1 foot off the ground then another at about 3 to 4 foot.

Well, last week they got thru that and chomped on 4 of our tomato plants. Not too bad, considering we have 70 in the ground. So, I bolstered the fence by adding a third tape layer in between the other two. So far, after a week, no more damage, knock on wood. But, I figure they’ll get thru that or just jump it eventually.

So, I’m considering adding a second perimeter “fence” kind of like @forestandfarm has suggested, but not with electric wire, as that isn’t feasible for us. I was thinking of adding a second fence about 3 feet out from the tape fence made out of fishing line, maybe a line at 1 foot and another at 3 feet. They would not be able to see the fishing line, and it might freak them out if they run into some resistance like that and not be able to see it. Might also put some metal pie pans on the lines to make some racket when the lines are disturbed. Anyone here have an opinion on this setup?

Or, as @MuddyMess_8a suggested, I could just pick me up a lion at the local animal shelter, but don’t think my dog would appreciate it. Or my wife.


I tried fishing line for a year. It worked pretty well for a few months but they eventually got brave and figured out they could jump between the lines (even at 6" vertical spacing between lines I saw them jump through it - would not have believed it had I not seen it). Two fences deep might help. My yard was hard enough to get one fence up so I didn’t try two. I switched to deer fencing after that, its a complete solution if its tall enough (mine was 8’). But in a suburban yard its not the most attractive thing so it got replaced by sprinklers.


Well, an 8’ fence sounds great, but it isn’t economically feasible for us. The 4’ fence I used for the trees was about $70 for 100’, so that wasn’t too bad, but our garden plots are large, and again, the cost could get out of hand.

I actually had bought some 6’ t posts and barbed wire for this task, but it is a real chore pounding those posts into the ground, even with a post driver. Hence, my two deep fishin’ line fence. Guess I’ll use the t posts for staking up my new trees eventually.

Didn’t realize how much I’d be out just to protect my trees and plants, it’s just another thing to deal with on the farm.


I love the big deer during hunting season… but hate them the rest of the time. My wife has a salon so I have tried lots of hair, as well as soap in little bags, mothballs, coffee grounds, blood meal, pie pans, shiny ribbon, deer away spray, and yelling out the window.

Nothing seems to really keep them out, I just keep extra trees in stock to replace them.

I feel your pain! Here’s one coming out of the orchard just bit a go…


Without the electricity, this 3D fence is completely ineffective. Deer just crawl right through. The power keeps them from crawling through and the 3D design deters them from jumping.


I have deer in the back yard, and I tried soap bars, peeing all over the trees, smearing catfish bait on the twigs, even spreading used cat litter…nothing worked for more than a few days.

What finally seemed to work was taking plastic bags from the grocery and tying them to trees/bamboo stakes about every five or so feet in my little nursery area–the bags move and rustle and whirl around at the slightest breeze and having about 8 of them out there, there’s enough random and unfamiliar movement the deer haven’t been back since. The bags went up in February.


So, just how low can they crawl? Are deer good limbo artists? Like I said above, I would put a fishing line perimeter about 3 or 4 feet out from my tape fence. Since they can’t see it, I doubt they’d try to jump it. I’d use maybe 3 levels of fishing line. Do you think barbed wire would be better? I doubt a deer would enjoy trying to crawl through that. I have t posts and about 2000’ of barbed wire if needed.

I’m still amazed I’m talking about elaborate ways to simply keep deer out of my 'mater patch. I just want to concentrate on my veggies and not varmits, but there it is.


Mark, that might be something worth trying, and it’s very inexpensive. I also even “marked my territory” around the garden plot this weekend, just wanted to cover some more bases, as it were. So far, so good.