by Todd Walker
After the Reset, what’s your plan to keep deer from munching on all your food?
It only takes one cute Bambi to destroy what you had planned to feed your family in the winter.
Dirt Road Girl and I returned from a two-day getaway to find mostly stubs in our raised bed garden. What used to be peppers and okra looked like oversized match sticks pressed into the soil. We aren’t dependent on our garden to get us through to the next growing season – yet. We can ‘always’ run to the store to replace what the deer feasted on.
Our matchstick okra plant.
We still have other food options now.
After an event (collapse), running to the local supermarket won’t be an option to replace what was growing on those match sticks. YOYO - Your Own Your Own.
Let’s forget about having to deal with hungry zombie hoards for now. Zombies don’t eat from gardens, do they? Learning to repel destructive deer is purpose of this article.
An old-timer down the street told me to put up an electric fence with a single strand of wire 27 inches high (solar-powered fences are available). Our electric fence worked last year for our front yard garden. I got lax and didn’t put it back up this year. Now I’m raising match sticks that won’t light a fire! The fence is up now to salvage what’s left.
I know deer can jump higher than 27 inches. Heck, I can jump that high! For some reason, deer don’t, or didn’t last year, breach the fence. Maybe one or two got zapped in the chest and passed the word to go to lower hanging fruit – like my neighbor’s hosta beds. But word spread that the Walker’s have a free smorgasbord this year.
Tough lesson. But not devastating – in these ‘good’ times.
Another tip from guy at our local farmer’s market was to put up a baling twine fence. The orange twine used to bail pine straw worked for him. He strung three or four strands on electrical conduit poles with the top strand about 7 feet high.
The key to success of his deer fence is the top stand. He bent the conduit at the 5 foot mark to angle slightly away from the interior of his garden. It resembles a chain link fence with barbed wire on top at a 30 degree angle. He’s been using this set up on his 1/4 acre garden for years and said it keeps the deer out. Not very expensive, either.
We don’t have larger big game animals like moose and elk to deal with in Georgia. And the above described fence won’t keep smaller critters out. But it may be an inexpensive way to keep the deer from feasting on your plants.
Keep in mind, any determined deer that’s left after a collapse will find a way to eat easy pickings in your garden.
Here are a few other deer deterrents you might want to consider in your plan. There are different categories: scents and plants, gadgets, dogs, and physical barriers. Unless you can afford an 8 foot deer fence, you may want to employ a combination of these strategies described below.
Scents and Plants
Many commercial scents are available. Then there are recipes for homemade scents that supposedly deter deer. I wouldn’t count on scents to deter determined deer. Now is the time to test them. Anyone ever tried rotten egg spray? Here’s a link to the recipe which I found and included below:
- Rotten Egg Spray Recipe In a blender mix eggs and garlic. Add water and blend. Remove to a container with a lid and let sit outside for several days in the sun. Strain mixture with cheesecloth or coffee filter into a spray bottle and enjoy. (Don’t skip the straining part or your mixture will clog in the sprayer)
6 -8 eggs
6 gloves garlic (add more if you like)
5 cups water
2 squirts Elmer’s Glue
2 squirts dish detergent (to help it stick on plants)
Commercial scents can be purchased that contain urine from predators that eat deer (coyote and wolf). Even scenting your garden perimeter with your own pee is an option. Gotta use stealth for exposed front yard gardens like mine. *kidding*
Seriously, collect your pee in private and apply. The drawback for our neighborhood, and possibly yours, is that the members of our deer herd are like neighborhood pets and some folks actually feed them for entertainment purposes – encouraging them to keep coming back for more.
There may come a time when you’ll want to feed (bait) deer to get a close, easy shot. But while rule of law exists, don’t feed the critters!
Other offensive, smelly stuff include: garlic, cat feces, bags of human hair, sewage sludge, and fermented blood. This stuff will even keep zombies and vampires away, so I’m told.
Plants: Raising plants that deer don’t like is another strategy. Again, I’ve seen hungry deer eat stuff that was not on their typical diet. Just like human animals, we’ll eat most anything when we’re hungry enough.
Plants should not be your only line of deer defense. They may help, but are not foolproof. If you go the plant route, cultivate plants with strong smells. Mint, sage, chives, lemon balm, purple cone flower, and bee balm are a few to consider.
My neighbor uses a motion activated sprinkler to keep his flowers and plants intact. They cost about 50 bucks and seem to work. He’s protecting hostas and flowers while the high-pressure water and electricity is still on.
For a grid-down situation, and just for the fun of it, here’s a rat trap rigged with fishing line that, when tripped, strike a percussion cap and alerts you of four-legged intruders. The warning shot could also alert unwanted two-legged animals.
Noise-makers with flashing lights can be purchased or made. Or you can build DiY gadgets. In urban/suburban settings, loud bangs and noises will only get you noticed by angry neighbors at 2:33 in the morning. Some people like to sleep.
Aluminum pie tins attached to string on the perimeter of your garden is another option. This strategy is best employed in rural setting. Here’s a thought. Build a solar-powered, mechanical scarecrow robot with motion detectors – Yea, that’ll work.
Working dogs like the Great Pyrenees are great guardians of the garden, home, and homestead. A dog inside a fenced area will help deter deer and other pesky varmints. Dogs don’t have to be huge and ferocious to be effective on a homestead. Small yappers get the job done for alerting you to garden intruders.
Abby has super hero powers. Her cheerleading shirt is to keep her from licking stitches in her shoulder. She usually wears a Wonder Dog cape.
Combining any of these ploys to protect your survival garden will increase your chances of not becoming a matchstick farmer.
If I had to pick my best option for pre and post-SHTF deer deterrent, I’d choose…
A fence and a dog.
What has worked for you? Drop your ideas in the comment section to help us out!
Keep doing the stuff,
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