Dealing with Deer

dealing with deer

Do deer drive you insane? It seems like they are a huge problem in so many areas of the country and I get a lot of questions about how to keep them out of the garden. While visiting a friend late last summer, I saw how she is dealing with deer — easily and successfully. And you need to know about it!

dealing with deer, deer fenceMy friend is Beth Mort and she owns Snapdragon Flower Farm. Beth sells her beautiful bouquets at local farmers’ markets and also has a “Bouquet CSA” where folks can subscribe to receive her bouquets at regular intervals throughout the season.

Beth lives in south Spokane County, in a very rural and open area that has plenty of deer. She obviously needed to come up with way to keep them from eating her flowers. Fortunately, she had visited CasaCano Farms and found that solution. She credits her friend (and CasaCano employee) Ben Alexander with helping her set it up.

As you can see by my photos (remember that you can always click on a photo to view a much larger image), there are two sets of fences but they are low and pretty simple so it doesn’t make her garden look like a stockade. Both fences are electrified but can be turned off when needed.

Before I continue, I should explain something useful that I learned about deer a few years ago. They can jump high or they can jump wide; but they can’t jump high AND wide at the same time. So this set-up seems to work on this principle.

dealing with deer, deer fenceThe two fences are spaced 30″ apart. The outer fence has electrified polytape (a ribbon-like material that contains metal to conduct electricity) set at a height of 20″ and the inner fence is electrified with two wires at heights of 16″ and 36″. You can see a diagram of this on the DeerBuilder website. You will definitely want to visit this link because it shows materials, costs and step-by-step instructions.

I believe that when deer see these two sets of fences, they are scared to try and jump over them for fear they’ll get caught up in them. (hey, whatever it takes, right?)

Beth’s set-up includes a solar charger which charges all day and runs all night. So she didn’t have to worry about running power out to her flower fields.

Here’s what Beth had to say about this set-up:

“My fence seemed to work great (last year). I did leave it off at night a couple times in August, and for sure a deer or two got in.” She was worried the deer now knew they could easily get in, but read on:

“It seemed like once it was back on they didn’t bother it. I basically had it on any time that I was not there, or outside, and always at night. But while there working, I just turned it off and then I could walk over it any time because it was short enough. I am worried all over again this year — even though it was really successful…. But Casa Cano has used this method for a very long time with their veggie fields so it really is real!”

I hope this method will give you some ideas for ways to keep the deer out of your garden. And kudos to Beth for sharing this with all of us!