How to deter deer

posted on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 in Tips & Safety

Many people enjoy seeing deer around the homestead, but to dedicated gardeners, deer can be a pest. The average deer eats seven pounds of food per day, and gardens can provide a prime (and expensive) buffet.

Deterring deer is not easy - they're adaptable, clever, and agile. Fencing can be effective, as long as mesh fences are eight feet tall or higher. Because deer won't jump over a fence when they can't see what's on the other side, a solid fence can be effective at just five feet tall.

Odor shield. Deer are sensitive to odors, so a wide range of malodorous repellents can be effective, from aromatic sprays to mesh pouches of human hair to cougar droppings (seriously). Of course, those can also repel gardeners, so mint oil or hot pepper sauce may be more people friendly while still serving as deer deterrents.

Most effective can be establishing native species in your garden, which are more likely to have evolved deer defenses like thorns, waxy leaves, or repellent odors of their own.

*As printed in the Homestead publication. Winter 2017 / Volume 16 / Issue 5 / Page 31 / Bits & Pieces

deter deer