Probably a gardening question but...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by katydidagain, Jun 20, 2004.

  1. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    Is there any place left where you can grow crops without deer devastating your hard work? I have a failed dried flower biz in my past and am still very bitter; 99% of the stuff they aren't supposed to eat, they did. They had 20 acres but, despite netting, electric fencing and hair (ha!) they had their fill in my 1/4 acre. (No, they don't eat strong herbs but the rest? Treats!) I'd willingly share 25% or maybe 40% but they want it ALL! I don't consider that balance.

    This is probably the only board I could honestly state that I'd strangle Bambi if physically possible. (Hope so... :) ) I can't imagine raising animals for food much less slaughtering them (gosh, you folks amaze me--kudos to you!) but deer? Jerky, burgers, steaks--okay, I'll refrain.

    So where aren't those rats living or is a gun the only control? Must I invite the DH I'm discarding to my new home for pest riddance? Why must it be a choice between 2 evils? :waa:

    katy
     
  2. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    sauteed in butter, along with your herbs venison is excellent.
     

  3. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Why invite DH just for deer control...take a firearms course and take care of the problem yourself. Or get to know a neighbor or two, there is always someone who'll do it for you especially in return for some meat.

    PQ
     
  4. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    There are chemicals available that make plants extremely bitter to deer and rabbits.

    You spray it on a few outer rows of plants and let them munch away. The plants are so disgustingly bitter that they don't continue eating and won't return. They hopefully won't get into the inner rows of plants that are normal.

    Contact your local fish and game department and request for animal control for the deer. They might send a hunter out to keep the problem in check. They may issue you a permit to do so. Once again of course you would be at the mercy of firearms. You might be supplying a nursing home with venison or some families that need the meat.
     
  5. heelpin

    heelpin Well-Known Member

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    Katy, I've tried all the so called remedies except Lion dung and none of them worked but I have found something that works for me.

    I have a black and white Panda bear about three feet tall with large eyes and ears that stick up. I put a white T-shirt on him and hung him up on a steel rod about two feet off the ground. I take him down every morning and put him up late in the evening. I don't know if this works because the deer see me moving around in the daytime with a white T-shirt and think its me or because I have run at them a few time with the bear waving in the air, they are scared to death of it. I forgot to put it up one evening and the next morning I saw the deer edging closer and closer to the garden, this was a good time to scare the daylights out of them with it, they took off to parts unknown and I haven't seen them since. Andy (Panda bear) has become part of the family, I have great affection for him.
    Note: When its raining I put a raincoat on him or he gets very heavy.
     
  6. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Katy,

    Deer can definately be a problem. Our home is in (that is correct, in- not adjacent to) the Cleveland Metro Parks where there are some amazing deer densities.

    A couple of things that we have done:

    1) Our garden area is enclosed with 6 foot woven wire fence. It's not a large area, maybe 40x40 and we haven't had any problems with deer jumping the fence. We have some aluminum platters hanging on the fence that make noise and motion. We also use PVC hoops over the raised garden beds and cover with plastic sheeting in the early spring and in the fall.

    2) Our fruit trees are planted just at the end of our dogs (Taz) tether. This keeps the deer away but when the fruit is about right we need to leave him out there at night to keep the coons from going after the fruit.

    Down at the farm we are planting standard sized fruit trees. After watching the deers behavior in the abandoned apple orchard next to our house, they really don't bother trying to reach up to get the apples. They just wait for some to drop.

    The deer don't seem to be much of a problem for our blackberries and rasberries.


    Mike
     
  7. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Deer can jump very high from a standstill. So electrify your smaller fence if you can.

    Consider a 'moat' around the garden area. This can be simply one fence a few feet inside another. Some people use this area to run their dogs or poultry. Make it 2-3 feet deep. The deer are reluctant to jump the depth of the fencing.

    Our best success is two dogs. At any given time, even at night, one dog is loose and working. They chase deer to the perimeter. Our 15 foot fence was no match for deer running downhill--they got a running start! We have no fence now. But the dogs work wonders.

    In WV you can get a special landowner permit that allows you to shoot deer (even out of season) for crop or landscape destruction. Small fee, but allows you to monitor your land. I don't do it because I don't find deer meat tasty. Tell me, when is Angus season? ;)
     
  8. charles

    charles Well-Known Member

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    This is why so many good authors come from Mississippi, they've got so much good material to work with! :)
     
  9. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Now, my garden is double-fenced, with a chicken moat between, but my daddy swears by his 'deer fix'.

    He took 6 foot fence, and laid it down ( yep, laid down) around his huge garden, set up on concrete block. He let the weeds grow through it. He says the deer don't walk through it, 'cause they can't see what's catching at their legs, and they don't jump for the same reason. It's scary to have something grabbing at your legs. I don't know for sure if it works, but I've eaten good out of Daddy's garden!

    Meg
     
  10. Tracy Rimmer

    Tracy Rimmer CF, Classroom & Books Mod Supporter

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    I'm still giggling over the Andy the Panda thing....imagine, deer with Panda complexes ("...it was horrible, HORRIBLE, I tell you!" :haha: :haha: )

    I like the fence inside a fence idea -- then you've got your chicken run all laid out -- probably take care of the slug problem at the same time.... I think I'm going to have to go have a talk with DH....

    Tracy
     
  11. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    From the locations of posters, it appears a small island is my only safe gardening zone. Hmmmm....homesteading in the Virgin Islands?

    Great answers; don't stop!

    My electric fence was 8' tall with 5 strands and they still got in; thrilled with a challenge, they even left my mom's unfenced tulips alone that season. I'd heard of a modified horizontal fence but spent my bucks for the year on shock value. That was my second year of frustration; I gave up. (Not relocating yet so I'm definitely going to plant figs at her place to see if they really leave them alone--she's got a herd of 25 to 30 so it's a valid test.)

    Unfortunately, I don't want a dog. Did you read the part about discarding...? :haha: It's been a while but I used to shoot pistols. Tried a deer rifle once while leaning against a jeep and left a dent. Didn't expect such a kickback. Even if I overcame that my stigmaticism would make distance hunting dangerous. Yes, a sharpshooting neighbor would be handy. Couldn't be done at my original space; too residential and too many Bambi lovers nearby. (Confession: DH did eliminate one on the sly.)

    I'll check into the chemical barrier idea; soap and other natural sprays don't work for me so I'm skeptical but willing to try anything once.

    Heelpin, do you think a big pastel green bunny would work? I have one I was planning to discard; he'd look fine dressed up.

    katy
     
  12. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Human urine (preferably male, and a few hours after a meaty meal) sprinkled onto fenceposts around the periphery of you plot can "mark" your territory and helps repel both coyotes and deer. Rapply once per week or after a any rain, whichever is first
     
  13. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    George, I didn't mention trying that--being ladylike I guess. My second season no male family member at my "farm" was allowed to use the indoor facilities for the simple stuff. Must be something in their genes; despite 5 men marking the area the deer still prevailed.

    katy
     
  14. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Katy--we tried that here as well. Even used a large piece of old concrete block to pee on to hold the odor. Didn't work for us.

    I read once that deer can jump as high as 10 feet from a standstill. Imagine them running....
     
  15. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    For what its worth, we haven't had a deer problem while all of our neighbors have. The difference? We have Highland cattle that can move around three sides of the garden. Mama, baby and futuresteak. The fourth side of the garden is open. Now if we could only keep the rabbits and our peafowl out!
     
  16. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    I covered one of my raised bed SFG racks with chicken wire hoops to keep critters out. I also can use the wire to anchor dropcloth plastic as a cold frame when required in early and late season and it can also be used to tie crops up inside the 5 ft tall hoop.
     
  17. I highly recommend getting a dog who will live outside in a doghouse and chaining it so it can run right up to the edge of your garden. Ours stays tied up from evening til morning at the garden (which is when the deer are active) and runs with us during the day. We have not had a deer or woodchuck problem since we started doing this. Just the doggie smell alone I believe keeps them away. It works for us!
     
  18. diane greene

    diane greene Well-Known Member

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    Ok we have a plant nursery so I know this problem well.

    Do you know you have to bait the electric fence so they touch it? It is a psychological barrier not a physical one. We have used a product called "Deer Pops" that are metal, hang off the fence and smell like apple. The deer put their nose on it and get zapped - they run off quick and teach their fawns to stay away. Our fence is only three strands and four feet high. You do have to be very good about baiting it or it will not work.

    I am in NY and we have permits to take deer out of season because we are an agricultural business. We do not do the shooting ourselves, but rather have a couple of neighbors who are good hunters and like the meat. If we see deer on our property we call the marksmen and let them know they are welcome to the Bambi burgers (my partner and I do not eat meat, but have no problem with hunting or raising one's own). MD probably has a similar program for farmers and gowers - call you local Ag.Extension.

    The other best solutions suggested are the dog and a 7' high metal tension wire.

    Things like hair and urine do not work. Deer are really not afraid of humans - they associate us with food.

    The other thing to remember is deer breed based on food supply. They are more likely to have twins when food is abundant. Make sure no one in your area is feeding them. We have city weekenders that think feeding them is a good way to keep them eating your garden -NOT!
     
  19. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    diane,
    Thanks for your advice! I'd read an obscure reference about spreading peanut butter as a trap/enticement but it sounded silly; I'll be researching Deer Pops for my next venture--deer love apples!

    Obviously I did it all wrong including placing pieces of that official yellow/black lettered "crime scene do not cross or whatever it says" tape on the wires thinking the flapping would drive them off. Duh, deer don't read.

    Yes a permit could be issued but the cost is astronomical here--redtape and hiring a killer. DH was Army sharpshooter and I trust him to take a rat or pigeon out accurately (surreptitiously) on our city property but only archers might be allowed in the area my current available 3 acres are and he wouldn't qualify.

    BTW, if you know, is it true deer don't bother figs? Hope, hope...

    katy *who faced down a buck at 20 paces--he didn't blink an eye and I didn't budge--interesting 20 minute stalemate--can't remember who moved first!*