Deer can be relentless when it comes to making a meal out of your crops. Here are ways to keep these voracious villains from munching on your money.
Hot Tape Electric Fencing
Aside from regular electric wire for smaller farmers that have a few acres or less, a product called hot tape can be enough to deter deer. Hot tape is a broad, colored tape that is embedded with wires. Its color makes it visible to deer, day or night, and it gives an electric jolt on contact.
“Baiting” a regular electric fence can be a very effective move. Since deer are well shielded with a coat of fur, their habit of going under or through an electric fence means they’re most likely to touch the fence with their backs or necks, which allows them to pass through with a less intense shock. Baiting the fence, which can involve strategically-placed smears of tasty treats like peanut butter, will entice the deer to make contact with its nose and tongue—wet, electricity-conducting parts. A more intense shock will give them pause when they encounter your fence in the future.
Sacrifice patches involve the art of distraction. Pick a small patch of land on your property that’s away from your main growing area and plant an enticing meal, like sweet potatoes. Deer that make it past your fencing will be lured away from your main crop to partake of this tasty delight. You can create multiple sacrifice patches, and if anything in the patches survives it can be used to feed animals on your farm.
Plain and simple: scare away deer with an intimidating, noisy dog. Not only can dogs frighten deer and other predators away from your crops, they can also help protect your livestock. Dogs are best for small farm operations, though. Very large acreages may require teams of canines to be dispatched across your property.
The purpose of a repellent is to make a crop taste or smell bad to deer. Repellents must be consistently reapplied, and because they tend to be high-maintenance they’re not often an ideal approach. If you use a repellent after deer have already gotten a taste of your crop, you’re too late. It most likely won’t deter them.
Although traditional fencing can be a little on the expensive side, especially for farms with large acreages, it’s the most effective long-term solution to keep deer away from your crops. Since deer can pretty easily jump fences, they should be at least 8 to 10 feet tall. Although these hungry herbivores can overcome some barriers by leaps and bounds they would much rather go under or through your fence. So a non-electric fence should have a low bottom wire, only about 6 inches off the ground, or be made of mesh.
It’s extremely important that you keep a well-maintained fence and repair any breaches immediately, otherwise once deer get a taste of your crop they will be even more difficult to keep away.
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