My deer rant


I use cattle panel or field fence and also put a nylon cord around 7’. I just put an 8’ T-post in the corners, it doesn’t take much tension to keep the cord relatively straight.


Hi Sub,

I am in Eastern PA. I put the fence up around Halloween or the last mow. Take it back down usually in the first week in May. The tape height is about 30" and gets sprayed around every 3 to 4 weeks. Especially if there is snow cover. Supposedly, that is browsing or nose height for the average deer. When I remove it in May, I do have to do one more spray to get myself into June or they will attempt to browse it one more time that 1st week of June or until Memorial Day. It seems like for whatever reason, they have better food elsewhere. I am growing a variety of plums, peaches, apples and a couple pears. Blueberries/Raspberries. From a harvest persepective, I wouldn’t consider myself very successful yet, but I have been able to avoid deer damage for 3 consecutive years. Bowzer is now 5 years old. He hasn’t slowed down yet or figured out that he can’t catch one. Good luck. It was either, give up, a bonifide deer fence, or this. So far, it has worked. I do hunt, but my couple tags can’t put a dent in the local herds.


I was contemplating something today as I was driving. I wonder if deer would jump something that they cannot see over? Anyone with privacy fence have any experience with that? I was thinking that you can get heavy landscape fabric (the woven type) fairly inexpensive at times definitely cheaper than metal fencing and run that around the garden during the time of year you dont want them in there. Might not work well for permanent use around a orchard. Another benefit from the fabric fence would be some wind protection. Wind in our part of the world causes significant injury to gardens and fruit hanging in trees on ocassion.


I mentioned that in one of my previous posts. Deer are very reluctant to jump a fence if they can not see what is on the other side. Danger could be lurking. Although some deer can jump a 10’ chain link fence, you need something at least that high. For a solid privacy fence, 5’ is usually sufficient.

The same exception applies to the privacy fence as applies to the Gallagher-style Efence and that is deer startled and escaping danger. Deer will jump both high and far to escape danger but not to seek food.

Deer could certainly learn to jump a 5’ privacy fence for food if they do so several times to escape danger and realize the other side is safe (and loaded with food). In general, a 5’ privacy fence is effective but expensive relative to a Gallagher-Style E-fence for protecting larger acreage.


Agreed It’s effective if they haven’t eaten in the protected area. Once they’re used to eating in an area protection becomes vastly more difficult. That’s the key many people miss. Protecting after the fact is difficult.


yes. I agree there is more of a chance of failure after the fact. Deer become habituated quickly. That was the point I was trying to make about them jumping the fence when escaping danger and then realizing it is safe on the other side. In some cases fencing that is less than totally exclusionary can actually make things worse. I’ve seen folks put up 5’ wire fencing in areas that have free running dogs. Deer realize they can easily jump the fence but the dogs can’t and they use the fencing to escape the dogs. By using a fence that excludes dogs better than deer, they have made the inside of the fence more favorable to deer.


Knew a farmer here with a bunch of fence jumping cows so he ran two knee high electric fences on the other side of the fence. Fences got broke all the time by deer and cows but they both wound up on the side of the fence he wanted them. In my garden I have a 5 foot fence to keep out deer but when I grow corn I run electric on top for raccoons. It’s very effective! That multi fence method listed above can work even in the most deer infested areas! Get a hot electric fencer if you want to make it work better. It works great as mentioned but the hotter the juice the more they remember. I use the yellow insulators to attach the electric fence to my tposts.


Simple logic always works best. We sometimes over think things.


Had to finally lock up garden every night and bring out the guard dog!


Yeah, subdood, I’m in Hoptown - but with a gun season only 16 days long… even if I took two weeks off from work and hunted all day long, I couldn’t kill enough of the hooved rats to make a dent in the population…
Guess I need to get a crossbow and another black powder rifle…


So much for complacency in the suburbs - one of them munching on my daylilies right in the middle of the day

The cats declined to run it off


Deer is back

I’d like to ask those of you more familiar with the species than I am - is this animal normal?

It’s a young one and completely fearless of humans, even when we approach it pretty closely to try to scare it off, it just ignores us. Other deer I’ve encountered dematerialize before I can get a good look at them.


Someone has been feeding them probably. The fawns will be the first to eat right from your hand. They learn to look for food when you just walk out in your yard. They are wondering where the carrot is that you don’t have in your hand.


Deer adapt to the suburbs pretty well. You didn’t mention just how close it lets you approach. They basically have an algorithm running in their brains that tries to maximize genetic survival. They must survive to procreate and they must procreate for their genetics to survive over time. For most of the year the algorithm is balancing risk and access to food. For a short period in the fall, sex becomes the driving factor that is balanced with risk.

Each deer has a unique personality and the balance point is different. There is sort of a bell shaped curve across the population. As food becomes less available, deer will tolerate greater risk. When food availability is low for an extend period and they are forced to tolerate more human interaction, they reassess the risk posed by humans.

Here is an example. There was a large compound used as a training center by a company in my area. It had a few large buildings centralized and was surrounded by about a thousand acres. It was bounded on one side by a large river and the other by a major highway and by developments on the other sides. Deer were plentiful but no hunting was permitted on the property and there was little in the general area. With no natural predators, there was soon an overpopulation of deer with a distinct browse line in the wooded area.

Before long, deer were hurting so bad for food that they would approach the open areas around the building that were fertilized and landscaped even during daylight hours. They soon learned that runners were not threat. Eventually things got so bad that they would eat ice cream cones and other food out of the hands of folks visiting center. While these deer were wild, people thought they were tame because of their behavior.

The company sold the property to a developer who was concerned about landscape damage and potential liability from the over population of deer. They brought in our bowhunting group of experienced archers working with game department biologists to try to bring to population into manageable levels before development began. Because the area was frequented by hikers, runner, and such we instituted a number of safety rules. One of the rules was that shots could only be taken from a treestand at a downward angle at no more than 20 yards. The idea was ensure an arrow would only travel a few yards beyond a deer before impacting the ground and minimize any wounding.

The first two weeks, we harvest deer like mad. After that we got to see how fast they can adapt to a change in risk. You would walk past a deer feeding at 10 yards and they would just look up at you and go back to feeding, but the minute you climbed into a tree they took off. Harvesting deer became much more challenging. The deer had learned in only two weeks that a human on the ground was not a threat but one in a tree was a threat.

So, it is quite possible as summer sets in and native food sources dry up, the deer is willing to tolerate closer human interaction and it just may have a personality that tolerates a bit more risk.

Be aware, however, that there are some diseases that will cause deer to lose fear of humans. The acute phase of EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease), can cause deer to become lethargic and allow humans to walk up to them and even touch them. They usually die shortly after this phase. If the deer is acting normal otherwise, running if you charge it for example, it is probably not disease related.


A new home was built behind me which is more than half a mile off the road which caused the deer to leave for a couple of years. 5 years later I’m now seeing many deer again. When I first bought the place over 20 years ago deer still ran through here in herds. I now have 4 -8 deer that feed here again. I charge them on a regular basis on foot, by car, tractor, lawn mower or whatever I happen to be using at the time. They have went nocturnal so last night I charged one in the dark to continue to apply pressure to keep them less tame.


I loved your comment on another thread about growing things ‘in Fort Knox’. This is so amazingly right on. It is silly not to take into account every threat. I was planting out some brassicas this last week. I planted them into sunken wire baskets (voles), then sprinkled sand and ash around them (cutworms & slugs), then sprayed w/Spinosad (who knows what all), then covered the bed with aluminet (sun and cabbage moths) and then circled the bed with 1" chicken wire (bunnies). I had that same thought…Fort Knox!


This is the 1st year that deer have eaten my paw paws. They ate all my apples, now they’re working on the muscadines every night. Deer are heartless souless little demons from hell. I finally get the coon and possums under control and then bam…


Are they eating the leaves or the pawpaw fruit?


It would be sad to see something happen to them… :smiling_imp: Are you trained in the art of crossbow? very silent.


They ate the fruit, haven’t had any leaf damage so far.