Lights for deer, rabbits

Jon 6a SE MAFebruary 14, 2014

I just ordered three battery operated outdoor motion detector lights which I will mount strategically at paths used by deer to get on my property. Has anyone tried this and how effective was it? Deer? Rabbits?

...or am I going to be a guinea pig?

Thanks, Jon

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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

It's worth a try especially if you have already purchased the lights. It may startle deer away for a while.

My Mom has patio motion sensor lights on her house. It appears that the deer use the lights to better see the hosta to munch on 10' from the front door :P

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 2:25PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Have you guys heard of venison?

bk

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 2:55PM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

Yes, venison makes great summer sausage ;-)
Only thing is, her city has a problem with hunting in a subdivision...what's up with that??
:-)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 3:37PM
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bernd ny zone5

I would use redundant approaches to save my hostas. I read here that Liquid Fence spray on hosta leaves would help. I saw people fence in those hosta areas with 8 ft tall fences of black plastic nets. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 4:40PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

Dgregory, I had a neighbor (last name Gregory) who, after I hung up Irish Spring soap bars all over, asked what the heck was it I had hanging up. When I told him what it was he said he wondered because the deer were eating it and seemed to enjoy it...are you guys related?

Now that I think about it, deer freeze in headlights, so maybe it is not such a good idea.

This post was edited by jonnyb023 on Fri, Feb 14, 14 at 19:44

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 7:41PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

bk,
I bought a compound bow for myself and a youth bow for my grandson to do some target shooting. I bet I could bag some...there are herds of them around me. They have wreaked havoc on about 50 hosta, rubbed on 4 trees with 2 killed. They feasted on 9 rhododendrons (that they aren't supposed to eat) chewed on every Arborvitae I have (10), killed 4 dwarf arborvitae...how much jail time would I face for plugging a few in my backyard with my new bow.?

Jon

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 9:47PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

I had this brilliant idea. You post "no deer allowed" signs on the edges of your property. When they fail to heed the signs, you get venison!

Of course this is spoken by someone who lives in an area that is 50 miles from the nearest deer.

bk

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:16PM
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zkathy(7a NC)

I'm getting a crossbow for Valentine's. And an anti-depredation permit.
Kathy

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:49PM
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old_dirt(5b)

Guess I'm not the only one with deer and rabbit problems. I've tried several deer deterrents and found the egg based spray and granules to work fairly good. I've also tried the soap bars, human urine, blood meal and a few other "tricks" that don't seem to work very good.

Last year I tried using the granules when the pips first started popping up and then sprayed as soon as a few leaves opened up. I sprayed most all ofl my hostas at least 3 times during the growing season. I had a very minimum of damage last year.

The drawbacks are the cost, the smell that lingers for days after spraying and the white film and blotches on the leaves. It is also a bit of work and I only have a little less than 100 plants, much less than most people here.

I also do bag an occasional deer but ya can't kill them all.

Good luck and let us know what you use and how it works.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 12:02AM
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miketropic

here in ky if your the property owner you can kill them any time for food, which I take full advantage of. you will better deter them with a small dog or some type of noise maker. fill some cans with rocks and tie them together with some fishing line across there path. even hang them from trees..the noise when they trip over it or when the wind blows keeps them back. they don't mind the light but they don't like to be startled

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 3:24AM
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miketropic

here in ky if your the property owner you can kill them any time for food, which I take full advantage of. you will better deter them with a small dog or some type of noise maker. fill some cans with rocks and tie them together with some fishing line across there path. even hang them from trees..the noise when they trip over it or when the wind blows keeps them back. they don't mind the light but they don't like to be startled

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 3:26AM
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squirejohn zone4 VT

I live in a rural area and Liquid Fence works well for me. However if you live in a suburban area with a high density deer population, and limited or no hunting allowed, a fence is probably your only viable option.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:04AM
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Jon 6a SE MA

I have houses all around me, but back up to 50 acres of private land that abuts about another 50 of bird sanctuary and not far from a state forest. If I let my dog loose she would be picked up quickly; can't do that around here anymore; she would love to go after them though. I'll try the lights, but I'm afraid they will quickly get used to them.

Mike, the lines are worth trying, I even have some wind chimes that may help (when its windy anyway)

Old dirt, tough to keep up with spraying with the rain and snow we have been getting, but it works well.

Kathy, you are a woman after my own heart.

John, too many hills, big trees to build a fence. It is just not practical.

bk, you don't know how lucky you are.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 8:08AM
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bernd ny zone5

In one of the Hosta Journals, someone added 3 ft of netting with a filament above that on top of his existing 4 ft chain link fence, for a total of 8 ft. I believe I would do that to my back yard in case deer would appear, have already a 4 ft chain link fence.
A neighbor had seen a deer on a lawn here, so I spray Liquid Fence. Bernd

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 10:20AM
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hostafreak

No deer here,but occasionally rabbits may nibble,but only new tender shoots,and then the hostas grow back out and cover up the damage. I had one last eaten clear to the ground,and it grew completely back up. They only seem to nibble shoots at the edge of the paths,not into the garden areas. I am going to try to make some covers for the ones near the paths,this year,and they don't ever seem to eat fully leafed out hostas. Phil

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 10:21AM
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zkathy(7a NC)

My garden, too, is unfenceable because of the terrain. But someone posted someplace about stringing electric fencing and putting aluminum foil with peanut butter on it in the spring. We use a lot of electric fencing to keep the goats under control. Poly wire electric string is incredibly easy to use and I'm going to put some up through the woods behind the garden. The problem is the deer don't bother coming through the woods anymore, they just come across the field and down the steps my DH uses to get up the hill to his vegetable garden.
Kathy

Here is a link that might be useful: Electric string

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Jon 6a SE MA

Thanks Kathy, that might be just the thing I need. I ordered a catalog and will 'get smart' about what is needed. Glancing at the virtual catalog it looks as if there are some inexpensive battery and plug-in units and the electric string you reference is cheap enough. What about kids? I will check out local codes as well to make sure it is allowed here. There are farms that have heavy duty fencing for bulls very close by (1/2 mile or so, but different town)... who knows if use is restricted to farms??? I don't know, I just have to get a little smarter; but thank you very much.

Jon

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:12PM
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don_in_colorado

Kids don't like the electrified string either, Jon. It should keep them out, too.

Don B.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:38PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

Don,

Oh, I don't want to keep any kids out. They don't eat plants or rub the bark off trees.

Jon

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 8:00PM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

Jon,
What a beautiful pup! If you routinely walk her in the area you are having deer problems, she may leave a scent the deer will shy away from. Deer have an amazing sense of smell, more-so than sight or hearing.

The one problem you are facing, once the deer get the taste of hosta/rodies/and everything else they enjoy munching on, the location becomes imprinted in their memory. So being consistent using spray or other deterrents is important. Then they remember the bad taste instead.

I like the idea of hanging soprano pitched wind chimes. Economically wind powered and kinda serene in your woodland.

Inconsistent light flashes from foil pie pans just might startle them away...to me, it would distract from the looks of your pretty woodland garden.

I think peanut butter would draw them up.

The electric fence might very well be worth looking into. Before investing too heavily, maybe do a test area to see how well it works for you.
:-)
Deb

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 6:04PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i didnt read all the responses...

but i think i read somewhere.. over the years ..... that the trick is to move them constantly ...

they get used to things.. otherwise ...

and i would suggest.. this be only one product in your arsenal ...

ken

ps: i have used 3 posts and fishing line around an oak tree... looks like carp.. and is disturbed every now and then.. but no damage to the tree... when it was small ...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:43AM
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Jon 6a SE MA

Deb, I walk Shasta by the paths the deer come up all the time. With the snow it is easy to see where they have been, Shasta sniffs at their tracks and the next day there are more tracks. I think they are very hungry. There are just not as many hunters as there used to be. Seeing a deer used to be a once every three years event, now I see 10-12 at a time. This winter has been rough and I think many won't survive.

I agree Ken that varying deterrents would help. They probably get very used to the same thing all the time. I do like the electric wire and setting it up in the hardest hit areas shouldn't be too hard to do.

Thanks everyone for the good advice. I appreciate it. In Spring, its WAR!

Jon

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 5:58PM
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mosswitch

I still like using Vicks Vaporub, I saturate strips of rag with it and hang it around, on their favorite munchies and trees. They can't stand the smell of eucalyptus and leave my garden alone. I smear it on the fence posts and on bamboo stakes scattered around the hosta beds, too. Works for me. Didn't have a deer actually come into the yard once all last summer and there is a big herd of them that live in the woods close to us.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 9:09PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

I have never heard of using Vaporub, but it would last through some rain. It is yet another 'weapon' to keep them on edge.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 8:38AM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

I like the suggestion of using Vicks and will try it too. Maybe swipe a bit on surrounding tree trunks for perimeter barrier as well.

Thanks for mentioning it Mosswitch! Like Jon said, "yet another weapon to keep them on edge"

Deb

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Jon 6a SE MA

Vicks on a cotton ball might make it longer lasting???

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:24PM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

Did some google searching to see if the Vicks would hurt trees and found the thread in the link below.

It appears we have already had a conversation about Vicks Vaporub...

My old memory is a slippin' again...guess I'm loosing it worse than I thought!

Here is a link that might be useful: hosta forum link

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 2:12PM
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mosswitch

I just put the Vicks on strips of old tee-shirts, I like to use green or a dark color so you don't notice it, and tie it to tree branches, fence, etc. Got the idea from a daylily grower who was plagued with deer eating her flowers and she put a dab on the buds. No more deer. And I do smear it on tree bark and on the fences, too. Lasts through rain, takes about 3 wks for the scent to wear off and I have to do it again. Sure cheaper than Liquid fence and Repels All. Easier to use too, I think. I just carry a jar with me when I do my garden walks and put a little here and there.

Sandy

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:19PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

The snow has started to melt and there is mass destruction in the back. 10-11 Rhododendron that I don't think will survive. They are supposed to be poison. Maybe there are some dead deer, I hope so but I doubt it.

2 Hinoki, 4 miniature arborvitae, 3 Weeping Blue Alaska Cedars, 3 DeGroots Spires, 1 weeping Cedrus Atlantica (rubbed), my prized Cedrus Deodora and 6 other Arborvitae. .

5 of them in my yard yesterday morning @ 6 AM.

*&^%$#$% *&%$#^^ DEER!!!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

ZKathy sez
I'm getting a crossbow for Valentine's. And an anti-depredation permit.
Kathy

Ummm, Kathy, I read that and thought you were getting an anti-depressant permit.....works for me.....(guffaw guffaw)

what in the heck is an anti-depredation permit? is that like a hold-harmless license?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 3:09PM
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dgregory_so.cntrl.IL_zone6a

Where there are 5 hungry deer, there are sure to be more and they'll be back with their buddies.

No more hesitation, Jon, it's time to wage war! Save what you can before the so-and-so's have a chance to ravish the whole rest of the garden.

Get out the Vicks Vaporub and go to work repelling the deer. Smear it on the tree trunks through out the whole garden, from the back portion up to and all around your house.

Good luck,
Deb

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 4:05PM
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zkathy(7a NC)

Someone told me an anti-depredation permit allows you to legally kill any animal who is harming your crops or livestock, whether or not it is hunting season. I haven't done any research myself on this. I will be acquiring large amounts of Vicks Vaporub, invented right here in North Carolina! And stringing electric string. (The peanut butter is to attract the deers tongue. I saw a goat try to take a bite out of the electrified fence, his ears stood out sideways for 10 minutes. I also saw a 4 year old human touch the fence when it was turned on. Instant giant tears, multiple seconds before the wails. It feels like getting a bad bee sting, will not harm you, but you will have a healthy respect for the string after you touch it.). I don't know when I'll have time for target practice.
Kathy

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 5:06PM
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bernd ny zone5

In case you get bothered by squirrels eating hosta pips and leaves early in spring, simply relocate them. A piece of bread in a medium size Haveaheart trap does it, sometimes 2 each day. We seemed to have had 10. Squirrels have a territory of 2 to 7 acres per Wikipedia, so relocating them out of your wider neighborhood will remove them permanently. They live only 1 year on the average in nature. Squirrels are active also in winter, rabbits are not around now.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 6:12PM
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mosswitch

There were rabbit tracks everywhere here in the last snow we had. Wonder if the Vicks repels them too? It might have to go closer to the ground for them. I think blood meal works with rabbits, too.

Sandy

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:26PM
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Jon 6a SE MA

I have rabbit tracks all over and see them all the time. They might do some damage, but nothing like those deer. Squirrels don't seem to come around as much ever since I got Shasta, but these deer go all over our tracks in the snow. I really think the tough winter is starving them and making it real tough to dissuade them.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:46PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

ZKathy, target practice? Okay, when we see big holes in shredded hosta leaves, we will know you did some target practice! :)

I'll have to try Vicks on the rim of some pots to see if that will stop the squirrels from burying pecans or LOOKING for buried pecans. As an oily substance it would last longer than the hot dried pepper flakes or ground cayenne. The pepper is effective, but it does not last too long in our humid wet climate. Hmm, perhaps mixing some into the VICKS would be good? I'll try it and let you know later this spring.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:02AM
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Jon 6a SE MA

When I can bring myself to do it, I will take some pictures.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 12:28PM
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Jon 6a SE MA


Mountain Laurel- before

After (6)

Once (3) nice DeGroots Spires

Big Rhododendron

(3) Weeping Blue Nootkatensis

Rub on Cedrus Atlantica (weeping)

Another Rhodie
Olga Mezzit (5)

Beautiful Rhodie from cutting (2) eaten

Cedrus Deodara attacked

It was a beautiful tree

Another Cedrus Atlantica rub

(3) motion detector lights and 12 bars of Irish Spring...after the barn door...
The lights kept going on and off last night prompting neighbors to put on their back lights. No new deer droppings this morning. Much more damage not shown, but you get the idea.

Jon

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 4:35PM
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zkathy(7a NC)

Jon, I'm so sorry. Perhaps you could contact someone from the Bowhunters Association in your state and see if they have a culling program.
Kathy

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:26AM
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Jon 6a SE MA

Kathy, I'm hoping some plants will pull through and diligently shuffling between deterrents early this year and keeping on top of it will keep them from imprinting this area as a buffet.

I have to think the record cold and snowfall we are having will cull the herd a lot. Maybe the very cold and snowy weather is why I am seeing so many around here when this has not been the case before.

Jon

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:43AM
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bernd ny zone5

Jon, I am so sorry that you have so much damage. I also have dwarf conifers and rhodos and can feel with you. This is terrible and very expensive damage. In my yard I have no deer damage (yet), but I will continue to spray Liquid Fence. Possibly your next step could be an 8 ft black plastic mesh fence. I wish you luck.
Bernd

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:16AM
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don_in_colorado

Ouch, Jon I'm sorry to see that. It seems like the deer are eating everything in sight, and makes me think you're absolutely correct about the harsh, snowy winter making food especially scarce for them this season. I certainly hope some of these ideas will help your plants out.

Don B.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:02PM
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