DEER FENCE APPLICATIONS FOR GARDENS, HOMES, FARMS, AND VINEYARDS
How Can a Small Summer Garden Be Protected against Deer?
One good way is to train the deer to stay out before the plants are up. You can do this by erecting a simple one-wire baited fence in early spring. Power it with a 1 or 2 joule fence charger. Bait the fence with scent caps or with aluminum foil cups containing peanut butter, and renew the scent or peanut butter every 10 to 14 days.
This sort of fence can sometimes fail where the deer pressure is intense, where grounding conditions are poor, where the growing vegetables put out attractive scents themselves, or where one deer penetrates the barrier and finds good food inside. However, it is the first thing one should try, because in a large share of cases it succeeds.
Can Several Summer Garden Fences Be Linked Together?
Yes, and it's very cheap. You only need one fence charger. Surround each of the gardens with a baited deer fence as described above. Then connect the fences with electric fence hookup wire buried an inch or two in the soil. Presto! You have one fence with one charger serving several gardens.
This can be done various ways—essentially by using any or all of the methods described below in "How Should Evergreen Trees and Shrubs Be Protected against Deer?"
One good way is to imagine you are going to make a simple summer deer fence more robust, so it can deal with greater deer pressure, the urges aroused by winter hunger, and the insulating power of snow, ice, and frozen ground.
You have various options. One is to create a so-called "3D" fence by putting another line of posts 3 feet behind the fence and mounting electric fence wires on these posts at heights of about 21 and 48 inches. The three-dimensional effect thus created increases the deer's tendency to explore and reduces their willingness to jump. Theorists say that deer have trouble dealing with three-dimensional structures. Their eyes are on the sides of their heads to emphasize peripheral vision and make them better able to detect predators. But that means their binocular vision is poor. Hence, their 3D perception is weak, and they tend to be wary of unfamiliar 3D structures. Whether or not this is the full reason, results to date strongly indicate that adding a second line of posts strung with charged wires markedly improves an electric fence's ability to keep out deer.
How Can Orchards, Vineyards, and Other Croplands Be Protected by an Electric Fence?
Farmers sometimes use 3D or even single-wire fences to keep out deer. The danger, of course, is that the fence will work only until the apples, grapes, or other attractive crops are ripe, at which point the increased incentive will cause the deer to leap over or uproot the fence. If that happens, it may be too late to effectively reinforce the fence, and so the crop loss may be heavy. For this reason, most growers with large areas to protect prefer to use barrier deer fences -- either metal hexagrid fences standing alone or polypropylene fences reinforced with a 1 or 2 wire electric fence mounted of short fiberglass posts about 3 feet outside the barrier fence.