The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Outsmarting deer

Locations of deer deterrents in our garden.The trick to keeping deer out of the garden with our deer deterrent is understanding deer behavior.  Deer follow the same paths day after day from one known food source to another.  Chances are that if your garden has been nibbled, deer have one to several well worn paths through the perimeter.  A deer deterrent should go smack dab in the middle of each path.

Finding deer paths is pretty easy.  Head out after a rain to look for the heart-shaped hoof prints in soft soil, and follow them backward to where they breached your garden.  If the ground is too hard for tracking, keep an eye out for freshly nibbled leaves and use those to track the deer's path through the garden.

If your garden is large, the deer may try to bypass the first deterrent and make a new path.  That's why I recommend that you keep a close eye on your garden for the first couple of weeks after you put your deterrent(s) up.  If you see a new path forming, immediately build a new deer deterrent.  It's much easier to keep deer out of the garden before they consider it their main food source.  As you can see in the aerial photo above, it doesn't take many deterrents to protect even a large space --- we have six devices to cover about two acres.

This post is part of our Homemade Deer Deterrent lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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