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Deer are everywhere, to the delight some of us and to the frustration of others. Where deer are a problem, the most effective and permanent way to protect crops or landscape plants is to install deer-deterrent fencing.

There are many types of fencing that can be effective in keeping deer out of your yard and garden. Check with your local extension or wildlife specialists before investing in a fence to see what local recommendations they have.

Barrier Fences

Where deer have other available forage, quite simple fences can sometimes keep them out of yards and gardens. Designs range from high-tensile strand wiring to standard mesh-woven wire and chain-link. A sturdy 8 foot high fence will keep deer out in most cases.

Electric Fences

Note: Be sure to check your local ordinances regarding electric wire fencing to find out what is permissible in your community. Electric fences can be constructed in a variety of configurations such as a single strand or 5, 7, or 9 wires pitched either horizontally or vertically. They are powered by high-voltage, low amperage chargers that provide timed pulses of short duration. Use a high quality energizer (or charger) that puts out 5000 volts. Check with your fence supplier to make sure that the charger is matched to the fence design and is appropriate for your needs. And don’t forget to put up warning signs. Deer quickly learn to avoid these fenced-in areas. If they’re not properly maintained, however, deer will learn how to get through them.

Inspection and Maintenance

Fences must be regularly inspected and maintained to remain effective. For electric fence, check weekly for broken wire and do a voltage check. Deer constantly test fences and if they get through once, it is much more difficult to recondition them.


Be sure to clear a minimum 10-15 foot buffer on the outside of the fence so deer see it and don’t run through it. On electric fences, vegetation must be kept away from the lower wires or the wire may short out.

Leave Fence On

Leave the electric fence ON at all times to prevent deer from testing the fence when it is off.


For added deterrence, after deer have made initial contact with the fence, you can take strips of cotton and soak them in a commercial odor repellent. Hang the strips at regular intervals and reapply the repellent every month. The odor will help reinforce the negative impact of the electric shock.


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