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How high do I need my deer fence to be?

Mendo. County, CA(Zone 8b)

We live in a little mountain valley in Northern California. We share the valley with some cute little deer; I've heard them called black tail deer, but I don't know if that is their official name. We have a family or two that come around and nibble on the grass, and have always enjoyed watching them eat and play. This is all about to change, bcause we are planning a vegetable garden and a front yard orchard.

I consulted with a landscaper and he said we'd need to put up deer fencing. He recommended a brand of tough black plastic fence. But when we figured out how much it will cost with cables and heavy duty posts and the specialized equipment it takes to construct it, it would be just a little more expensive to put up metal deer and orchard fencing. (The "good brand" sold here is called Red Brand, the top wire is red.) The fencing comes in rolls and is six feet tall. I see the deer happily jump over the five foot fencing without hardly trying, so it is obvious we'll need to run at least a couple of extra strands of barbed wire above the fence.

I'm wondering, *how high is high enough?*

Also,the fellow we were consulting with didn't think we needed to do anything about raising the fence any higher than it already is in the front (4 feet) because of the fairly steep drainage ditch and the very narrow area next to the fence itself; he thought they'd find it too difficult to execute a sideways jump. I have never seen them even sniff around there (and there are roses) so he may be correct.

Can you share your deer fencing success stories and your failures? Advice? How high DOES deer fencing need to be?


Sue, RI(Zone 6a)

We have 5 foot cattle fence and two strands of barbed wire. The deer sail right over it! Then we tried putting up additional strands of barbed wire so it was about 7 feet tall altogether. However we left too much space between the strands and they were jumping inbetween the strands! They left hair behind but they still kept coming!! Last year I put up a 8 foot fence(solid fence no barbed wire) around a small garden and they didn't go over it. Good luck!

Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'm thinking of putting a deer fence around a small planting area. I searched on Google and most of the sites I found show 8' deer netting/fencing.

Casa Grande, AZ(Zone 9b)

if you put barbed wire on the tops of these fences, you are apt to come out some morning with a young doe caught and bleeding badly.approach her with caution or she will kick your teeth out. I know this for a fact, I was raised in the Black Hills of South Dakota. thousands of white tail deer.

I wouldn't feel comfortable topping any fence with barbed wire. My neighbor has a fence to keep deer in and her fence is 12' high. My thoughts are that anyone who is in a position to install a barrier fence should buy one that is at least 10' but maybe only 8' might work if it is one of those invisible fences. There's a member here named Kevin_5 who is lucky enough to have such a fence and it is quite appealing because you really have to look hard to see it. He has posted photos of his deer barrier is threads. I don't know where those threads are any longer but his photos are impressive to say the least. You might want to contact him privately for his thoughts on this subject or maybe send him a link to this thread. I don't think he gets over here much but he could probably post his photos over here.

Mendo. County, CA(Zone 8b)

Thanks all!

Equilibrium, I found the thread you mentioned: "Keeping deer away from gardens with chimes???" .

I'm going to do some more research before I decide, but everything you've said has helped. I appreciate it!

Ah, you found it! Good detective work. You might really want to contact that member I mentioned.

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

To be totally safe, I think 8' is ok. I have seen them jump sideways though. One night I was coming home and saw some in the driveway, and something came over me (rage, I think!) and I started to chase them in the car with my highbeams on and honking the horn and I saw them go sideways over a 6' fence effortlessly. Maybe it was adrenaline on their part!! lol I have also chased them, in the car through my front lawn.....

I've chased them on foot but never in a car.

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

Well, I was in the car at the I have chased them on foot too-which may or may not be crazier...esp if they don't run!

The question I have for you isssssssssssss....

What's the deductible on your car insurance?

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

lol whatever it is-its worth it! If I ever bag one of them, I think I will just leave the deer on the front of the car like those little Mercedes things-I will display it proudly!

But, what if it is hanging half way through your windshield? Do you just sort of push the body parts out of the way so you can still drive your van?

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

You know...thats a good question, and obviously it needs to be addressed. Maybe I need to get the windshield fixed ( I hate to be cold-although I guess I could sort of wrap the deer around me when the wind chill gets to be too low-sort of like a boa) and then reattach the deer to the front as a warning to the other deer. Or a premptive move-like putting plywood on the front to protect the windshield when I hit him....maybe cut holes in the wood so I can see driving down the road-and to cut down the wind resistence so I save gas....

Nothing like stimulating a little neural cell activity.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

"grilled venison, anyone?"

Yum yum!

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Tiger, look at this picture. How can you be mad at this little cutie guy?
I am sure this is the one that grew up to eat all my lillies.

Thumbnail by cpartschick
(Terri ) South Bosto, VA(Zone 7a)


eew!, I can see the ticks in its ears. Sorry not cute!
I have large herds of deer roaming around my farm but they have never bothered my veggie garden. I have a 4 foot black net fence and 8 feet hgh posts that the net is hooked to. I run regular wire above the fence between the posts, at 3 levels right to the top and then tie strips of white cotton cloth to it at 4 foot intervals.

Also, in the begnning of the season, I spray the cloth with deer off once or twice. My theory is that in the beginning of spring they are looking for tender greens so if they come past my garden, they won't smell anything appealing. That keeps them from coming back. also have a husband who regularly gets up between 1am and 6am and he turns on the yard lights which startles them. I don't know why he does this but I'm not going to say anythiing to discourage him!

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

We have a similar problem in this area of Texas. Last year they ate nearly everything that I planted.

We now use an electric fence that is a thin wire stretched around the property. It is only about 20 inches above the ground and can easily be stepped over by people, and can be temporarily slid down to ground level, so that I can roll my wheelbarrow over it. It is hooked up to the timer that controls our outdoor lights up next to the house, and only comes on after dark - that is mostly when the deer come out to feed.

My DH has touched the wire when it is on, and says it feels like the small shock that you get from walking across a wool rug and touching a door knob. Nothing dangerous; just enough to scare them away.

This is NOT the same kind that is designed for control of cattle. Those use much higher voltage and current levels that could be dangerous to people and deer.

The deer have not shown any interest in jumping over it, and have stayed away for several months now. They graze everything within a foot of the other side of the wire, but have not touched anything on this side of it. I talked to a guy that has gardened in this area for over 20 years, and he says that eventually, the deer get conditioned to avoid the wires, and they won't need to be electrified.

The entire thing cost just a little over a hundred dollars, including the adjustable level stakes, wire, and power supply. They make a solar powered unit that costs a little more, but does not need to be plugged into a regular outlet. It took my husband about 30 minutes to install it around our front yard (a couple of hundred feet ). Here in Texas, they are sold in Tractor Supply stores. You may be able to find them in feed stores as well.

Let me know if you need to see some pictures of the set-up.


Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

I already posted this, somewhere....maybe the deer ate it. ha
Anyway, we have been trying to plant things that the deer do not eat. So when we saw some beech trees growing in the woods not far from the house, we transplanted one small one by the house. The next day I heard a yell. DH was looking at a stick. The deer had eatten it all up. It was safe, just 100 yards away. Too funny. The other beech tree babies are still there and ok.
Seems like they always find a way. Things are safe for a while, then they figure it out. I still think they are a most beautiful animal. But they taste good too. (lilly fed are the best) I get my revenge in the fall of the year.

Dripping Springs, TX(Zone 8b)

8' min if they are a bad problem. I have a 5 foot fence with electric strands both on top and all up and down the fence when they are hungry they will eat anything within 6 inches of the wire. when they jump they are no longer grounded and the fence will not shock them.
I also use a motion activated rainbird type sprinkler,a dog,scarecrow,and various deer repellants plus I set a shorter fence about 4 feet from the taller fence on the inside they dont seem to want to jump 2 fences. even with all this they still get in when they are very hungry. I wish I had just built a taller fence. I counted 25 deer the other evening I have never seen so many. The only time they are gone is during deer season.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

You have that right. The day before season started I saw a small buck in the woods not far from the house. I stopped and he stopped. I walked slowly towards him and he started walking towards me. I started to get worried a little when he was about 10 feet from me, then he ran off. That guy was too brave. I am sure someone got him during season.
I also have been through all the deer prevenitive, I have just as much luck now doing nothing. I swear the stuff (fences etc) attracts them. I found when my lillies are in full bud that if I pick them and make an arrangement I get to see them bloom. I need lillies to bloom in Nov for a food plot.

Bambi is a swear word around here, that's for sure.

Why do you need lilies to bloom in November for a food plot?

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Because it seems to be their favorite food. If I had lillies out there, I would fill all my tags in record time...with bona fide lilly eatters.
I joke about putting a bunch of fake lillies in the center of my food plot and shooting only the deer that try to eat it. Golly I get cranky about it.
The daylillies come up nicely and they eat mainly the flowers just before they bloom, but the lillies on the single stalk, they eat the plant down to the ground after a few inches high. DH had a customer bring him a truck load of lillies that she cleaned out of her garden and I planted them all over. The next year as they came up the deer mowed them all down. This was a few years ago, they cannot stand this abuse and never came up again. This year, I found 1 growing. I got a small 5 foot fence just around the lilly. Then I found a cluster of 3 more growing. I fenced that one too. It looks hideous, and the deer probably will pry off the fences, but at least I tried.

Ahh, gotcha now. Sometimes I am slow.

I use vet wrap (comes in assorted colors from primary to pastel to neon for horse legs) to wrap around the bases of some trees. I use Miracle tubes on many young trees and shrubs, other tubes around other trees, and we've begun using chicken wire attached to stakes around other plantings. My entire property looks like a graveyard for jumbo crayola crayons, tree tubes, and tree shelters and Bambi destroys anything, and I do mean everything, that isn't protected.

Before anyone askes, I have a Homeowner's Association that disallows fencing of any kind other than that which is necessary for horses and even then only one brand of fence is approved to ensure uniformity.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

My home cannot be seen from the road. My neighbors are all together though and have netting draped, fences, etc all over the place. I like your crayola yard, sounds great!

You're just jealous your place isn't an eyesore too! Fortunately, you can't see much of my property from the road either other than a portion of the second story and the roof of my house.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Oh, I am just jelous your eyesore is prettier. I just noticed that I cannot even see the lilly plants through all the is the use?

At least you have live plants under the netting. I forgot to put up netting for one entire area of Sarracenia last year and the English house sparrows literally began descending upon my plants and tore them apart for the insects contained in the pitchers. I'm looking at them this spring and my losses are high. Those birds shredded my plants and rendered many pitchers incapable of catching prey.

My eyesore isn't prettier... it's just more colorful in areas. Particularly my hobby orchard. That's where I ran out of ideas to protect my trees and began looking at the bins of horse leg wrap in a new light. My fruit bark hasn't been stripped since I did that so I was happy. My husband was aghast, he's the one who is into curb appeal on a house that you can't see from the curb. He suggested that if this was the way I was going to go that at the very least I could start ordering leg wrap all in one color like forest green or tan. I guess he did'nt particularly care for the neons, primaries, or pastels dotting the landscape like sore thumbs. I have begun to replace most of it but there are still a few crayons out and about.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

That is great! I could use some of your ideas here. I used to have lots of plants. I kind of gave up. There are trade offs. Wildlife or flowers.

Adrian, MO(Zone 6a)

I would think the privacy fence would work and probably wouldn't have to be as high.
I would think they wouldn't jump what they couldn't see behind. or maybe a chain link with those strips through the wires. I think the key being is that if they can't see what's on the other side they won't jump it.

Dripping Springs, TX(Zone 8b)

the only flowers I am allowed is sea holly,brugmansia,somniferum poppy,(I used to have california poppies but 1 deer took a liking to them)4 oclocks,painted fern,blue bonnets,banana trees ,some canna but they nibble on them, columbines,purple coneflower and a few zinnias they nibble on some of these plants but I save the seeds from the ones they dont like it seems to produce a more deer resistant plant over time..It has been a very learning experience ltrying to landscape with all deer pruf more lillys,amarylis,marigolds,hibiscus,tulips etc etc ect

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

That is what I tried too, the deer keep changing what they eat. I tried natural wildflowers from in the woods and they see it in a new place and eat that too. It is quite a battle. I think the privacy fence is a good idea, although if it is something that smells yummy, they may find a way to get it. I don't think they would jump into what they can not see though.

New Milford, PA(Zone 5b)

Has anyone had any experience with the black vinyl netting which is sold as deer fencing? Does it work? I have about 36 peach trees or so which I want to put in. Normally I put a welded wire 6 foot fence around each tree and that works just fine. Since there are 36 of them, I thought maybe I'd fence the whole area instead of individually doing the trees. I have seen advertisement for 7 foot vinyl deer fencing but they are none too inexpensive. I would like to hear from folks who might have already used this product.

Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

Had some of this and hooked it around some poles around a tree. Worked for a little while, then they pawed at it and got caught in it and pulled it away enough to eat my tree.

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