Repelling Deer

Repel Through Multiple Aggravation

The bad news is deer often "get used" to deer repellants. So it may be necessary to switch products every few weeks. Also, most deer repellants are not water proof and must be reapplied after it rains.  

All is not lost. Repellents can work if used a certain way. If you want to try to repel deer from your property, we recommend using the strategy to aggravate the deer so much they decide to avoid your property just because it is too much of a hassle.

What you must do is insult the different senses of the deer (smell, taste, touch, sight, and motion.) on a rotating basis over time. You would use a smell repellent for two weeks, then use a taste repellent for two weeks, and then use a hot pepper repellent for two weeks.

We give you information about a number of commercial repellents and have organized them in terms of the various senses of the deer. One problem is that many companies have combined in their product materials to insult two or three senses all in one container. This approach will work for a few weeks, but it limits your chance to keep changing the source of aggravation every two or three weeks. One approach is to use one of the multiple repellents for three weeks, then use a motion or light repellent for three weeks and then go back to the multiple repellent product for three weeks.

Here is an example of an aggravation combination:
First apply a bad taste and bad smell repellent, followed by a hot pepper tongue burning repellent, followed by a motion type repellent, and then back again to the bad taste and bad smell repellent.

Experience by those that have tried this aggravation system find that it takes insulting 3 to 5 of the senses over a period of 6 to 8 weeks and then the deer disappear. Unless of course the deer are starving. In that situation no repellent is going to work for very long.

Important Note - All repellents are used on just those plants that you expect deer to bother. You do not have to spray your whole property.

For information about any of the products described in this section click here


Repel the Deer by Bad Taste

The products advertised as “taste repellents” use various ingredients including rotten eggs, garlic, or a chemical called Bitrex®, one of the most bitter substances known to man.

Be careful to check the label of the taste repellents to determine whether they can be used on vegetables and fruit; some can and some are not to be used on those plants.

Home Remedies That Have Worked For Some People
They may work in concert with alternating some of the commercial repellents every two weeks.

Home Remedy - Bars of deodorant soap come highly recommended as deer repellents, especially from late winter through the growing season. Tie them, wrapper and all to vulnerable trees or nearby fences near vulnerable plants. Their wrappers protect them from the weather and retain the strong scent. Top rated by some commercial orchardists are: Irish Spring, Sweetheart, Lifebuoy, than Dial. 

Home Remedy - Experienced deer fighters also recommend human hair as a deer repellent. Clumps of human hair or even dog hair packed in nylon stockings and hung strategically from trees and fences seem to discourage deer. Human hair is available from your local hair dresser.

Repel the Deer with a Burning Sensation

While similar to a taste repellent, the burning sensation is in fact a different sense of the deer. You can use a taste repellent that simply tastes bad for a couple of weeks and then come on with a repellent that causes a burning sensation and the that is a different form of aggravation. These repellents are usually made from hot peppers.

Home Remedy - A homemade hot sauce repellent spray may be effective. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of Tabasco sauce plus two tablespoons of an anti-transpirant spray product in 1 gallon of water. Spray vulnerable shrubs and plants with this mixture. Be sure to respray after it rains.

Repel the Deer by Bad Smell

There are repellents on the market that make use of rotten egg type smells to cause deer to avoid plants sprayed with those products.

Home Remeday - On the home remedy side, human hair, Irish Spring soap, dung from zoo animals such as tigers, and other smelly materials have been tried with spotty success.

Repel Deer By Lights

This idea from Larry Bradshaw - For deer control we mount a standard motion detector activated security light or garage light 2ft to 3ft off the ground, at the perimeter of the plot, aimed at deer approach pathways. The light goes on when deer approach. They leave. The light goes off. According to Larry this is 100% effective, safe, and cheap. ($20). Unfortunately deer that live in the populated areas are used to light, so this technique is only good for those who live in isolated areas where it it remains pitch black at night. 

Repel the Deer with Touch or Motion

Water Spritzing Repeller For Deer
SCARECROW is a motion-activated water sprinkling device that repels pest animals such as Deer by startling them with an unexpected spritz of water. SCARECROW is highly effective, is environmentally friendly and very humane. It does not hurt the animal. The effect of the sudden noise, movement and spray of water is both startling and immediate – animals quickly flee the area and avoid returning in the future! It will not activate for song-birds.
For a full description of this very effective animal repelling device Click Here

Home Remedy - Rig a 30 pound monofilament fishing line on stakes at about 3-feet off the ground around the area you wish to protect. The deer, usually working at night, cannot see the fishing line and when they bump up against it they get spooked and take off to someone else's yard.

Home Remedy - When you hang a CDROM from a branch of a tree or shrub on a piece of monofilament fishing line, it will swing in the lightest breeze, creating a moving bright flash that will scare away deer during the day. At night this trick does not work very well. This is one technique that will work for two or three weeks and then you need to take down the CD's and wait a few weeks to put them back up.  This technique is also ineffective in populated areas where there are all kinds of flashing yard are in back yards. 

Home Remedy - Strips of aluminum foil may be tied to a fence to temporarily deter deer. Not effective once the deer become accustomed to the fluttering.

Repel the Deer with A Pet Dog

Some arboretums have had success protecting their extensive rose gardens from deer by housing a dog in a shelter in the garden. The entire garden is surrounded by the invisible fence, an electronic system for keeping dogs within the perimeter of a yard. The dog wears a special collar and is harmlessly buzzed when it approaches the electronic fence.
Use a breed that is territorial and likes to chase deer. In this case however, the dog does not go outside the limits of the electronic fence, therefore the area inside the fence is kept free of deer.

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