Installation Instructions: Deer Fences on 1 Line of Posts
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For printer-friendly instructions designed to produce a taller (4-foot) fence, use this PDF:
Instructions For Installing A One-Row Baited Deer Fence
For Creating a Baited Electric Deer Fence on a Single Line of Posts
Height: 3 Feet
These pages provide the following:
- A list of items needed to set up the fences described
- Step-by-step installation instructions
- Maintenance tips
- Electric Fence Charger A 1-joule charger able to maintain over 2.5 kv on the fence with a 500 ohm weed burden.
- Steel U-posts - 4 feet tall: 1 per corner, 1 per end, 2 per gate
- Fiberglass posts – 4 feet tall, 3/8-inch diameter: Enough so that no posts are separated by more than 30 feet
- Insulators - corner knob style: (no. of corners + no. of ends) x no. of wires on the fence = Number needed
- Insulators - U-post gate style: No. of gates x no. of wires on the fence x 2 = Number needed
- Insulators - clip-on style for 3/8 inch diameter fiberglass posts: No. of fiberglass posts x no. of wires on the fence = Number needed
- Wire - 16 ga. aluminum electric fence wire or electric fence polywire: Length of fence x no. of wires on fence = Length needed
- Insulated Hookup Wire: (1) if AC charger: distance from AC outlet to the fence, and/or (2) if there is more than 1 gate or if the fence is otherwise interrupted, then: the width of each gate to be crossed + 8 feet = Length Needed
- Wire to Wire Connectors: Split-bolt clamp style: (1 to connect charger to fence) + (2 x no. of gates x no. of wires) + (1 per time you need to join two pieces of wire) = Number needed
- Polywire Tensioners (only if using polywire): 1 tensioner per every hundred feet of polywire on your fence
- Scent Caps: 1 for every 20 feet of fence
- Apple Scent: 1.25 oz bottle for short fence, or 4 oz. bottle for long fence
- Gate Handles: No. of gates x no. of wires on fence = Number needed
- Ground Rod: Use a 2-foot rod if whole fence will be within 300 feet of the rod, otherwise use a 6-foot rod and clamp
- Warning Signs: Use one of these at all places where people might be surprised by the fence
- Fence Tester: You need at least a 5-lite tester; and for a precise reading you need a digital tester
- Gardening gloves
- Wire Cutters
- Twist Ties or Nails
Installing the Fence:
- Clear the path over which the fence will run.
- Use a hammer to set all the steel U-posts a foot into the ground at the fence corners and at both sides of any gate opening.
- Attach clip-on insulators to each fiberglass line post at each height where you want a wire to run. Do this when the temperature is above 40º F in order not to risk cracking the insulators. Or, if you must install in the cold, bring the insulators over to each post in a bowl of warm water.
- Insert your fiberglass posts so that there is no more than 30 feet between any two of them. If you need to pound a fiberglass post in with a hammer, put a small board between the hammer and the top of the post to avoid marring the post top.
- Attach U-post gate insulators to your gate U-posts at all places on each post where you want a wire to cross the gate, using the cotter pins provided with the insulators.
- Attach your corner knob insulators to the U-posts at the corners: Cut off a foot-long length of wire and run it through one of the corner insulator’s channels (with the U-post in the middle) and twist the wire around itself on the other side. The insulator goes on the inside of the corner. The actual active fence wire will later run through the second channel (the one not being used to attach to the U-Post) to make a corner. Repeat this action on each of your corner posts at every place on the post where you want a fence wire to make a corner.
Corner knob attachment is confusing. Please watch our video on insulators for a demonstration.
- Start stringing your fence wire: Start at the right side of a gate post, running the wire all around the insulator. If it is metal wire, twist the end of the wire around the outgoing wire tightly several times in order to fix it firmly on the insulator. If it is polywire, secure the end of the wire to the outgoing wire with a split-bolt clamp close to the insulator. Proceed to run the wire all around the fence, hanging it from each clip-on fiberglass post insulator. Pull the wire reasonably tight manually as you go.
- Attaching wire to the corner insulators: When you reach your corners, detach the corner knob from the post by untwisting the ends of the attachment wire. Then detach the attachment wire from the corner knob by untwisting the middle portion of the attachment wire a turn or two. Next, insert your fence wire (whether metal wire or polywire) into the inner channel on the corner knob, replace the corner knob in the loop of attachment wire, twist the middle part of the attachment wire around a couple of times to secure the corner knob, and reattach the wire to its former position on the post by twisting the attachment wire’s two ends together. Repeat this each time you come to a corner.
- Terminating the wire at the gates: When you reach a gate, run the metal wire or polywire around the insulator several times to secure it without touching the insulator’s metal base. DO NOT cut the wire at this point. Instead, figure out how much wire is needed to span the gate opening and cut the wire at that point.
- Attaching the wire to the gate handles: Thread the end of the wire through the hole at the back of a gate handle, arranging things so that the gate handle can hook onto the non-metal part of the appropriate gate insulator to make a snug fit. If you are using metal wire, twist the wire several times around itself at the back of the gate handle to secure the wire to the gate handle. If you are using polywire, connect the two polywires at the back of the gate handle with a split-bolt clamp to secure the polywire to the gate handle. Remove any excess wire at the back of the gate handle with wire cutters.
- Finish stringing the wire: Begin a new run of wire on the far side of this gate (the side where the gate handle hooks in). Continue to string your wire around the fence until you reach the place on the fence where you started, and terminate the wire.
- Deal with wire sag: Straighten the areas where the fence wire is running lower than you want it to. If using metal wire, tighten and raise it by taking an extra turn or two around a nearby fiberglass post (fiberglass is an insulator) or by twisting one of the wire’s clip-on insulators around the post a few times. If you are using polywire, apply a polywire tensioner at this point to create the desired tightness. Make sure that your fence wire does not come close to the metal base of any gate post insulator at any point.
- Attach and bait the scent caps: attach the caps to the fence wire at intervals no greater than 20 feet by wrapping both ends of each scent cap’s aluminum wire around the fence wire running closest to 3 feet high. Point the open end of the scent cap downward, so as to protect the deer lure and cotton ball from exposure to the rain. To bait the caps, turn them upward, and place a few drops of scented deer lure on the cotton ball within the cap and face them downward again. This action needs to be repeated every 10 to 14 days.
- Post the warning signs: This should be done on or near the fence, giving special attention to places where people are likely to be surprised by the fence.
- Place the ground rod: This is best done in a place where the soil is generally moist during the seasons when the fence will be working, is close to the fence, and that is also reasonably close to the electric fence charger. This spot should also be at least 50 feet away from the grounding system associated with your home’s electric service.
- Hammering in the ground rod: Pound the rod (thread end up if you are installing the 2-footer) into the ground until only about 4 inches protrude. If you are installing the 2-footer, place a board between the hammer and the top of the rod to avoid damaging the threads. If you are installing the 6-footer, slip its clamp over the top of it after it has been pounded into the ground, undoing the clamp’s tightening screws a bit if necessary.
- Going under gates or gaps in your fence: Should there be a place where a building or wall interrupts your fence, or should you have more than one gate, you will need to use insulated undergate and hookup wire and split-bolt clamps to connect all sections of your fence. To connect two sections of your fence across a gate opening with hookup wire, cut a length of hookup wire nine feet wider than your gate opening. Carefully strip an inch of insulation off each end with a sharp knife. Attach one end to the fence wire at one side of your gate with a split-bolt clamp. Now take the hookup wire across the gate opening, burying it a few inches underground to keep it away from feet and lawnmowers. Bring the hookup wire up on the other side of the gate and attach its bare end to the fence wire with a split-bolt clamp. If vehicles will be coming through the gate it’s a good idea to put the hookup wire through a pipe to protect the insulation against cracking and also a good idea to put some holes in the bottom of the pipe to ensure drainage.
DO NOT replace the hookup wire with regular insulated wire designed to carry house current, because the charger’s output, though harmless, has too high a voltage to be contained by house current wire, and so this substitution will prevent your fence from working.
- Spreading the charge (if you have multiple wires on the fence): In each place where you spanned a gap/gate in the fence, you must spread the charge back out to all of your fence wires using split bolt clamps and small pieces of wire (either insulated or bare wire is OK for this purpose)
Charger/Energizer Installation and Trouble-shooting:
- Remove the fence charger/energizer from its package: upon opening, read the installation instructions; including the safety provisions. Never by-pass the charger, and never use an extension cord carrying house current outdoors in connection with this kit–because house current is dangerous and can create life-threatening situations. Note that charger instructions are commonly written for cattle fences extending many miles in dry conditions. They often recommend installing multiple 8-foot ground rods. Unless you are operating in the desert or tundra, you don’t need so much grounding.
- Place your charger/energizer:
- If your charger is AC-powered, plug it into an AC outlet near the fence, arranging things so that you have enough insulated hookup wire to reach from the charger to the fence. If your charger is being placed outdoors: Prolong the charger’s life by providing some protection from the weather (rain and snow). This can be done with wooden housing or with something as simple as the bottom of a 1 gallon plastic milk bottle, with a small vent cut in it. If the charger is being placed indoors Provide a small hole through a wall or woodwork that is large enough to admit the insulated hookup wire. Do not pass the insulated hookup wire through a door or window opening, as this is likely to cause bending or other stress that could break the insulation.
- If your charger is battery-powered, get either D-cell batteries or a deep cycle battery of the appropriate voltage; these batteries (in contrast to car batteries) can be drawn down fully before being recharged. Locate the charger near the fence and connect it to your battery. Prolong the charger’s life by providing some protection from the weather (rain and snow). This can be done with wooden housing or with something as simple as the bottom of a 1 gallon plastic milk bottle, with a small vent cut in it.
- If your charger is solar-powered, orient it so that its solar panel catches maximum sun and place the charger near the fence. Allow it some time to charge before testing it.
- Test the charger/energizer: Plug in or turn on the charger/energizer; many have lights, meters, or clicking noises when activated. Use your fence tester to touch both the positive and negative terminals simultaneously, and the tester should activate. If it does not activate, you may have a problem with your battery/outlet/charger. Run control tests to see if you have a defective battery/outlet. If still unresponsive, the problem is likely with the charger, and you should call the charger’s maker.
- Connect the positive (+) terminal to the fence wire: Unplug or turn off the charger. If you are using insulated hookup wire, strip 2 inches of insulation from it. Attach the wire to your charger’s POSITIVE (+) terminal. Run that wire out to the fence. Attach the other end of the connection wire to the fence wire with a split-bolt clamp. If you are using insulated wire, put it an inch or so underground to keep it safe from feet and lawnmowers. Or else, if heavy traffic passes over the hookup wire at any point, put the wire through a well-drained underground pipe to protect it.
- Connect the negative (-) terminal to the ground rod: Take a connection wire (either bare or insulated) that is long enough to reach from the top of the ground rod to the NEGATIVE (-) terminal on your electric fence charger. If you have our two-foot ground rod, thread the two nuts onto the ground rod. Open a space between the two nuts, loop the wire around the ground rod in this space, and tighten the nuts so that the wire cannot move. If you have a 6-foot rod, tighten the clamp on the top of the rod with the two screws and unscrew the top screw until the hole below it is fully open. Slip the wire into the attachment hole and then tighten the top screw until the wire cannot move. Then attach the other end of the connection wire to the electric fence charger’s NEGATIVE (-) terminal.
Make sure that NOTHING attached to the charger’s positive (+) terminal–including the charged fence wire–has been connected directly or indirectly to the charger’s negative terminal. The positively charged system (positive terminal, hookup wire, polywire) must be kept entirely separate from the negative system (negative terminal, ground wire, ground rod, moisture in the ground). That’s because the target animal will get a shock when it provides a bridge between the two systems. If the systems are already hitched together, or if weeds leaning on the fence provide a better bridge between the two systems than the animal does, then the target animal will not get a shock.
- Test your fence: Take your fence tester and check the fence wire at various points along the fence line to be sure you have at least 2 kilovolts on the line. Do this by inserting the tester’s needle (at the end of the cord) into moist ground and then touching the metal tip at the top of the tester to the charged wire. The tester should register at least 2 kilovolts. If it doesn’t, even though the charger’s light is flashing, check all the connections on the fence to ensure that a good flow of charge is being maintained across all these connections. Once the tester is registering at least 2 kilovolts along the whole fence line, your fence is operating in a manner suited to repelling deer.