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Common household remedies request

Goddamn deer, right across the street, bold as brass. Just one, fortunately! Pests.

In the absence of a potato cannon, black monofilament?

This site says it works (for awhile, but what isn't for awhile?)

This site from the Audobon Society seems to have the best strategy, given that they are actually studying the behavior of deer in a natural habitat:

In the early 1990s [Brad Roeller] was approached by Paul Curtis, an associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, to put into practice research that Curtis and others had done on deer-resistant, popular woody ornamentals. [Roeller] set up a deer browse garden at the [Ecosystem Studies (IES) in Millbrook, New York] facility. ...

He found deer to be very curious by nature—they tasted any new plant. And when they discovered a place they liked, they stayed. From his perch in the oak, Roeller regularly watched four generations of female deer grazing together: great-grandma, grandma, mom, and yearlings, which meant that information about the best foraging areas was always being passed along to the herd’s youngest members. He learned several simple truths: In times of drought, or when acorns (a key deer food) are scarce, all bets are off—“starving and stressed deer will eat almost anything”; the truly deer-resistant plants are few—“you can count them on two hands”; and “the words deer-proof are a farce.”

Roeller has also tested, with varying degrees of success, a battery of commercial deer repellents .... Roeller recommends spraying new plantings with an “odor-based” repellent, such as those that contain dried blood, urine, or eggs. If a deer’s first encounter with a plant is unpleasant, it will be more likely to skip that one on its next tour through the neighborhood.

To keep deer from becoming acclimated to a particular product, Roeller frequently switches the ones he’s using.

Over the years Roeller has evaluated a number of deer-deterring contraptions...

There are preventive measures that play on a deer’s weaker senses, too. A simple tactic, one Roeller plans to experiment with more, is a “poor man’s fence,” which is based on his observation that deer are reluctant to leap over obstacles that have both depth and height. It’s made from two inexpensive and readily available materials: clothesline and fishing filament. Clothesline, strung around the garden at a height of 28 inches, provides the inner barrier. The outer barrier is made with fishing line pulled taut at the same height and set about five feet out from the clothesline. “The separation between the two fences makes deer uncomfortable to jump over both barriers, as they can’t clearly distinguish what they’ll land on,” says Roeller. “The monofilament throws deer for a loop because they can’t see it, but they feel it. I also reinforce this factor with odor-based strips of fabric on the inner fence.” For added insurance, he ties a couple of nylon flags, cut in the shape of a deer’s tail, to the fishing line, simulating the alarm response triggered by the flash of a fellow deer’s white tail.

That appeals to me, because I'm a poor man! (~$1000 for a 300-foot fence? This looks like the best of 'em, but I don't think so!) In fact, I think I might try just the monofilament, for now. Ten bucks should do it, if I can make it to the hardware store (two hour trip via public transportation (Amazon seems to ship in monofilament from Asia, so it take two weeks I don't feel like have.)

Right now, I'm switching my metallic wind-blown ribbon up every night, to train the deer there's menace in motion in the garden, but now that I've seen a deer across the street -- and for the second time, too -- I'm starting to feel a little besieged. Could be over-anxiety, of course.

NOTE Also, from the town planning aspect, does anybody know if smaller lot sizes mean more deer habitat? I would suspect yes, since people tend to plant round the edges of their property.

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quixote's picture
Submitted by quixote on

Well, uh, if this is just too gross for words, feel free to delete this comment. My understanding is that male urine of predators, which includes humans, can be used as a territorial marker deer understand. Cooperative bears being hard to find, you could, after dark to avoid attracting unwelcome municipal attention, go around and mark the perimeter you'd like the deer to avoid. It does have to be male urine. Female urine doesn't have the necessary mine!-all-mine! aromatics.

Then sit back and see if it works. I have this only on hearsay, but it is fairly reliable, backwoodsman hearsay.

Submitted by lambert on

... although, absent evidence like from a gardencam, all I can say is that it was not unsuccessful. The real issues is the volume needed to protect the given area.

But I'll give it another shot!

albrt's picture
Submitted by albrt on

Why are you ruling out the potato cannon? That sounds like fun. If you're worried about hurting the deer perhaps you could experiment with softer or lighter vegetables.

Tomato cannon?

Zucchini cannon?