deer strategies

cousinfloydFebruary 10, 2013

I just read the following thread:

It was the one titled "Tell me about your best deer scare devices" from this past summer.

I wanted to ask about other ways of dealing with deer, and since I'm not strictly thinking scare devices I thought it better not to resurrect that thread. As for me, I don't have deer trouble closer to the house, and for the trees around the pasture so far I've just been fencing individual trees while they're young and pruning all the lower growth for trees mostly out of the reach of deer, but I was helping a friend prune his newly established orchard yesterday, and I told him I'd research options for his newly planted orchard that has already suffered significant deer damage this winter. So, 3 questions for starters:

(1) What are my options for living deer fences (like the 12' deep thicket of blackberry brambles that Planatus mentioned in the other thread)? I'd like to hear more thoughts and details on that general concept.

(2) Is there anything like the concept of a cattle gate (the kind you drive over) that could be used for deer? This comes more from thinking about Scott's situation. I'm wondering about anything that would lie more or less flat on the ground and could be picked up for mowing. I know people that have run fishing line all over their gardens just to make the deer uncomfortable, but I wonder if something like that could work if used just around a perimeter. Of course, grass growing up through it would complicate things, but in a context like Scott's regular mowing might not be a big deal.

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The 12 deep thicket will work even better if there is a 8 feet wide fence stretched HORIZONTALLY inside it and kept at a height of, say, 1.5-2 feet. The fence should be 2 by 4 inches, so that deer hooves fall in.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:09PM
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I had another off-the-wall thought for a deer scare tactic. Is there anything that functions like one of those machines that "throws" baseballs or tennis balls and is activated by a motion sensor? Surely deer wouldn't get used to having small objects thrown at them/in their general direction, right?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:34PM
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If your climate will let you, and you have the time
Osage orange will produce a beautiful living hedge dense and with wicked thorns...It won't need to be 12' wide

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:38PM
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GreenOrchardMom(Ga Mts 7)

do they really mind thorns when there hungry?
they have tough hides & there are deer trails
all through the wild blackberries near my property.
Those thorns are NASTY!
my garden grown blacks have nothin on the natives
cousinfloyd that I might try & rig up

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:03PM
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I have had great luck with a 3-D fence around my orchard. It's very cost effective. It currently protects 50 trees but I am extending it to protect several hundred. I got the idea from Premier Fencing. It's 99% effective here with heavy deer pressure. T posts hold two strands of electric rope--one at about 50", another at 20". Then there is another strand held by pig-tail posts 3' outside the T posts. It is 30" high. I charge it with a solar charger. Don't skimp on the charger--there are some lousy el-cheapos out there. You may need to bait the ropes at first--I did not. For mowing you move the pig-tail posts temporarily.

Osage would take years to fill in, and then you can't mow near it because of the thorns. To keep it thick you need crews to prune it. We have a lot of remnants of it around here. It's a fine piece of history and landscape, but go with the 3-D.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:36PM
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GreenOrchardMom(Ga Mts 7)

give me an idea of initial co$t for a 50ft fence pls!
my orchard is protected on all other sides.
sounds awesome but maybe outside my budget?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:49PM
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Mom, I didn't realize it was such a short run. May not be cost effective, but here's a ballpark:
Posts $30
Rope 50
Insulators 10
Solar charger 90
Total $180 approx

An AC charger would be less (plugged into an outlet). For 50' you might look at a tall netting fence that could be rolled up temporarily for mowing.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 12:24PM
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We used to use an electric fence to try to keep the deer out of the garden but we would watch them and they seemed to elect one to run through and break the wire. Once the wire was broke the others would follow. We finally just planted enough for outselves and the deer. We now have a 6 foot fence around it and it seems to keep them out since we plant black eyed peas on the outside for them. They seem to be happy with it and don't try to jump the fence.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:25PM
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GreenOrchardMom(Ga Mts 7)

marc5 thanx
can do
will try

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 6:48PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

insteng, thats an interesting story and shows how sometimes deer can come up with some pretty clever strategies. I was surprised that they learned they could jump through my fishline "fence" since the lines were only 6" apart. The only 100% certain barrier is 10' of fence all around - apparently even 8' doesn't work in rare scenarios.

The sprinklers are still working for me, though they are now off for the winter. I took a bit of buck rubbing damage in late fall, nothing too bad.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:05PM
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