The only way to keep deer off your entire property is to surround it with 8 foot tall black plastic fencing. Sturdy, unobtrusive black poly-netting deer fencing is very effective for fencing an entire property. It is usually about 8 feet tall. It is fastened to existing trees around the perimeter of the yard or it can be attached to poles. Plastic deer netting is black and is virtually invisible from a distance. Deer netting is reasonably easy to install. One problem with fencing your entire property is the driveway and other access points. Unless the fence is kept closed at these places all the time, deer will enter the yard and you will have fenced them in! There are gates and other devices to deal with this problem.
The bottom three feet of a quality fence will not be plastic, but will be black coated chicken wire that cannot be chewed by rabbits or groundhogs. My friends have a fence that has provided an unexpected bonus because it also keeps out feral cats and a growing number of Canadian geese that are living permanently in their neighborhood.
Professionally installed this fencing is quite expensive, up to $12 a linear foot depending on how many gates you need. If you install it yourself it will run about $4 per foot. Once installed, poly deer fencing will last for decades.
For detailed information go to fencing in Tool Shed
Electric fences are very effective in repelling deer, but they are not very practical for keeping deer out of the entire yard. On the other hand, they are terrific for protecting and area like a vegetable garden or a flower garden.
The best eletric fence products use either batteries or solar power to operate. These relatively inexpensive systems are easy to rig and maintain. It is tough to make an electric fence look pretty.
There fences repel deer but are safe for birds and children. If a pet puts its nose on the fence it will get the same shock experienced by the deer only it will not hurt them. They are likely not to try it again though.
For all the components you need to build an electric fence go to our Yardener's Tool Shed; click here
Baiting An Electric Fence - A deer can easily jump over an electric fence. So they need to be trained to not jump over the fence. Once your fence is in place, a good trick is to set up a training process for the deer by baiting the fence with peanut butter. You want all the deer in your neighborhood to come up and put its nose on the fence. They are immediately trained to avoid that area.
Mount 12 inch strips of aluminum foil along the fence at 18 inch intervals. Load a spoonful of peanut butter on the end of each strip. In about two weeks, all the deer in your neighborhood will have been zapped and will stay away for months.
For more on electric fences go to the Tool Shed
Other Fencing Strategies
Adapting an Existing Fence
Deer can jump high and they can jump wide, but they cannot do both simultaneously. Therefore, an existing chicken wire fence around a flower or vegetable garden can be made more effective by adding a single strand electric fence in front of it. The chicken wire fence should be at least 4 feet high. Set up a single strand of wire 3 feet in front of the chicken wire and 2 1/2 feet off the ground.
This design assumes that a deer will have trouble leaping high enough from a standing position to clear the chicken wire fence if the single strand of electrified wire is in the way. Of course, if the animal touches the single wire in an attempt, all the better. The electric jolt will persuade him to graze elsewhere. This single electric wire design is also effective in front of a permanent stone wall or wooden fence.
You can find on the Internet any number of designs for very elaborate and expensive 8 foot tall wire fences rigged at a special angle and guaranteed to keep out deer. These fences are appropriate in the country for commercial situations, but they do not strike us as a reasonable option for folks in the suburbs or exurbs.
Deer Barriers on the Plants
Fishing Line Fence
Some folks have been very successful keeping deer out of a vulnerable area by rigging 30 pound test monofilament fishing line on stakes at about 2 feet off the ground. Deer usually move around at night, in the dark. They can’t see the fishing line, and thus bump up against it at about chest high which scares the living daylights out of them. Ideally, the fishing line should be strung fairly tightly so it does not give too much when touched by the deer.
Fence Flat On the Ground
Many homeowners are successful protecting shrubs, a small flower or vegetable bed by laying 3 foot wide lengths of chicken wire flat on the ground around the vulnerable plants. Deer do not like to walk on the wire and move on to other areas. The fencing can be rolled up while the family or guests are moving about the yard, then replaced when they leave.
Protect certain plants from deer by covering them with garden fleece during vulnerable periods. This light, white polyspun fabric allows air, light and water through to the plant. Often used to block pest insects and protect plants from light frost, it shields plant foliage from the deer.
Deer are especially destructive of newly planted trees. You can rig a chicken wire fence on stakes set around the young tree and at least four or five feet tall. When the tree reaches four or five feet, it is less likely to be killed by deer. This approach doesn’t add much to the aesthetic value of the home landscape, but the tactic works to protect young trees.