Deer are a universal problem around the world. Sure, they are majestic animals, and some Bambi lovers would even call them cute. Yet deer can become major pests in some areas, especially in places where their natural predators are decreasing. There are less mountain lions, wolves, and coyotes in the world almost on a yearly basis, allowing deer populations to expand without check.
Whether you are in an urban or rural area, deer can become highly frustrating. It is possible to get rid of deer entirely, but you can also learn some ways to live in harmony with them, or at least minimize the negative impact they have on you. Follow the suggestions below if you have a deer problem in your life!
1. Don’t feed them.
Giving deer a handout is always a bad idea. Chances are high that those very same deer were doing just fine foraging for their own food before you came along. Feeding deer encourages bad behaviour and eating habits, making it likely that they will be back to cause you trouble before you even realize.
Even if you are not feeding the deer directly, make sure that you are not giving them easy access to any kinds of food. Deer are known to feed on the spilled seeds from a bird feeder, and they might even nudge it aggressively to make the birdfeed spill onto the ground. Consider moving your bird feeder to an area that deer cannot access. If you are scattering food directly on the ground for birds or other animals, you are inviting everyone for lunch, including deer. Stop doing so immediately!
2. Install some fencing.
Do not underestimate the effectiveness of a fence. If your deer problem is caused by deer snacking on plants or trees in your yard, then what better solution is there to get rid of them than by keeping them out altogether?
Because you are dealing with deer, you will need to install a fence that is tall enough to keep deer away. Deer are incredible jumpers and will easily launch themselves over small hurdles. Put up a fence that is between six and ten feet tall to prevent them from getting into your property.
If you don’t like the idea of a massive metal or wooden fence, consider putting up a smaller electric fence instead. You can try putting some peanut butter on the fence to act as bait before you turn it on. Peanut butter will attract them and give them a real shock that should keep them away in the future! If you are installing an electric fence, always make sure that everyone is well aware of what the fence can do. You don’t want your little loved ones getting a nasty shock by accident.
3. Install some tree tubing.
Deer love to eat the bark from certain trees. They also love to rub their antlers against trees to molt their antlers during the fall season. Trees need their bark for protection, and a damaged tree could grow stunted or die entirely. What a nuisance!
Commercial tree protectors are available for sale on today’s market. Another great solution is to make your own tree tubing. Go to your local hardware store and buy some corrugated drainage pipe that is large enough to cover the trunk of the tree. Make sure the piece is tall enough that the deer can’t simply reach over it. Use a utility knife to slit a crease on one side of the pipe, then pop it open and slide it around the tree trunk. Consider buying a fairly wide size if the tree is still quite small so that the tree can grow into the piping.
4. Protect your plants with row covers.
To keep your plants safe, install some row covers on top of them. This is a fairly easy and lightweight solution to your deer problem.
Some row covers are draped onto the plants, and look like a mini greenhouse. Others are suspended overtop of the plants with stakes or hoops. Row covers are a great solution to protect from a variety of animals, including deer. They also help protect your plants from frost damage while giving your plants more moisture to help them survive.
5. Use small cages.
If you only have a few plants that need protecting, and don’t like the idea of covering your entire garden with row covers, consider putting up some small cages instead.
There are many different cages that you can buy or build yourself. Chicken wire is a great solution because it is easy to shape and is not too visually unpleasant in your yard. Whatever cage you try and use, make sure that you bury it far enough into the ground, or use the appropriate stakes to hold the wire down. You don’t want to spend all this time making a cage only to see it get easily pushed out of the way!
6. Use an electronic deer repellent.
Some homeowners are against the idea of putting up visible barriers on their property like fences or cages. If this is you, you are in luck! You can buy an electronic deer repellant machine to keep them away. These devices get rid of deer by sending out certain frequencies that only deer can hear. They will be startled, scared, or simply annoyed. Whichever way, they should stay away!
7. Use a deer repellant spray.
You can also try spraying different substances onto your plants or trees that are offensive to deer. These often come in spray form, but you can also find them in liquid or granules. Keep in mind that this is not a permanent solution and you might need to reapply the sprays several times, depending on the weather outside.
Once these substances are on your plants, they will taste and smell awful to the deer, who will not want to eat them. Deer have a very powerful sense of smell, which they have developed over a long period of time to protect them from their predators. Use their sense of smell against them! Make your plants their enemies as well instead of their tasty late night snack.
8. Use plants that deer hate.
If you don’t want to spray deer repellent into your garden, you could work a natural direction and simply try planting herbs and vegetables that deer find offensive. Some options you should try are bishop’s weed, yarrow, dragon’s head, and buckthorn. Foxglove is said to be an especially effective natural deer repellant.
You can plant these herbs and vegetables directly into your garden, or you can plant them on the perimeter of your property to form a natural fence. This fence is not guaranteed to work, but why not give it a try!
Deer are beautiful creatures, but chances are high that if you are reading this article, you would rather enjoy that beauty from a distance. The amount of damage a deer or a herd of deer can do to your garden or property is astonishing. You don’t need to kill the deer, but if it is deer season and you have the proper hunting tags, that can be a solid last resort idea! Venison burgers are delicious after all. If hunting Bambi isn’t for you, then try some of the other suggestions mentioned above, and you should get rid of your deer problem before you know it. Good luck!