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JennyC
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Location: NW Georgia

I have deer in my garden...

...but they aren't eating anything I've planted (yet, at least). The garden patch is fenced, about two acres, of which I'm using 240 square feet (six 10x4 beds). The rest is blackberry thicket and tall weeds (looks like a wheat or hay, prob. reseeding year after year). The deer are bedding down in the tall grass. I imagine it's a doe with young to hide, and there's just so much out there for them to eat that the garden hasn't been an issue. If I ever decide to use that whole space, I'll need to raise the fence higher along one side. But it just goes to show we can get along with the wildlife; it's just easier when there's enough for everyone. I hope I can maintain the same sunny attitude if they do move in on the planted part.
Jenny C

opabinia51
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Be careful with the deer, they will eat your entire garden if you are not careful. You need a fence that is 6 to 8 feet tall to keep them out. I've read that the sunflower (perennial sunflower) Helianthus Maximallini (the maximllian sunflower) makes a hedge that the deer won't cross but, with deer things are hit and miss and the best bet is a fence.

You can also plant an area that you don't mind them eating but, a fence is what will save your edibles.
Feed the soil, not the plants.

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JennyC
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Opabinia, I do have a fence, though it's only about five feet high. I don't think it's going to be practical to raise it higher this year, though, and I don't know how I'll go about raising my gate (a traditional cattle gap with chain-link laid over). Raising the whole thing, we're talking about maybe 700 feet of fencing; prohibitively expensive. Even just fencing the beds would surely cost more than the value of the veggies I'm growing, and I do intend to extend the area yearly, so that would be a problem.

The deer have been sleeping there for a couple of weeks, with no damage so far. This is all pastureland and woods, so maybe they'll get enough to eat elsewhere, or in the parts of the garden I'm not cultivating.

Hmm. How do deer react to electric? I might be able to extend the electric we have around the yard for the dogs to the vegetable beds themselves, and that's a much more economical option.

I'm assuming what I have is deer. The bedding areas look just like the spot where deer used to bed down in my irises at our old house. I know that was deer because I spooked them out a couple of times. It's a depression too big for anything but deer or coyotes (in fact, the deer may be hiding from the coyotes), and I hope the coyotes won't get that close to the house.
Jenny C

koonaone
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Location: Lillooet - HighBar - Cariboo, BC - Bioregions of Corrdilera

I deal with deer a lot and you should be thankful they aren't Moose. Take my word on that.

7 foot fence might not be high enough especialy if they are white tails.

Deer don't like different things so change things a lot.

Dead cd disks suspended from a long thin string so they turn in the breeze work well. At night leave a small light on in a window or somewhere. so the cd's have something to reflect. The reflection is usualy a quick flash out of the corner of the eye that even I find startling. Move their positions whenever you think of it.

Extend the heighth of your fence to 8 feet with some white thrift store yarn, the thicker the better, strung from wands stapled to your fenceposts. They will assume it's barbwire and not worth the risk.

Deer are flighty about their feet just like horses, and are reluctant to step on suspect things like say chicken wire wrinkled on the ground, or sheet plastic. Try that one with someone elses horse sometime for fun.

I use a lot of Remay, that white, see through material used for starting plants under, and so on. I find it works for cabbage moths 100% and deer even better. My chickens can roam my garden as well when I have it covered in Remay. I can't remeber the exact cost but it's a world class bargain equal to 1/2" poly hose. Can't be beat.

I take it all down when I'm not protecting plants and feed them cabbage leaves from my bedroom window. That way I know the fat ones personaly.

douglas

Before you build a better mousetrap, make sure you've got some mice

koonaone
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Addendum:

If you could stage a Deer event to mark the changing character of the place firmly in the participants minds it would be efficacious.

Walk out quietly at 2am and empty a clip or two from your handgun, that should do it. Then in the morning re-arrange the visuals. Maybe apologise to the neighbours.

douglas

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JennyC
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Location: NW Georgia

Douglas,

I'd been contemplating the Deer Event scenario already, but there's still no garden damage and I think they've stopped coming. We've staged a few Coyote Events when we hear the pack passing in the fields, and that may have scared off the deer (it's been less efficacious with the coyotes, though they do choose the fields over the yard).

I'll try the yarn; thanks for the idea. I have plenty of trees for stringing it, no need for stapled wands in most places. I'm pretty sure I know where the holes are -- there are only a few spots where even a deer could get close enough to jump the fence -- we're that overgrown with brambles, etc. If I visually heighten the fence at those points (and at my gate), I think I'd lose the problem.

I suppose I'm glad I don't have moose, though if I did, I could just charge admission to see 'em and buy my food at the store! :)
Jenny C

koonaone
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Location: Lillooet - HighBar - Cariboo, BC - Bioregions of Corrdilera

Jenny

Coyotes like to eat cats and theres not much to be done about that except keep them around the house. But dogs are different. Coyotes absolutely get a chip on their shoulder over a yappy dog thats allowed to mouth off all the time, particularly at night. If they get a chance they will shut those dogs up, permanently. It's just something to keep in mind. If a wolf howls once, the coyotes have the sense to make themselves scarce as long as it takes. They expect lesser beings to be equally sensible. If they are not, they take it personal.

Unless you have pets, or small livestock to protect I would encourage coyotes to poke around the garden and snag the odd mouse, or rabbit for me. They are a far worse danger to vegies and fruittree saplings etc.

Anyway, good luck with the deer, and try the CD's. They will hoover all your brocolli just before you do.

douglas

it is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society. Krishnamurti

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JennyC
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Douglas,

Oh, I know about coyotes and cats. That's one of the very good reasons our cats are indoor only. Both our dogs are bigger than coyotes, and certainly couldn't be described as "yappy." We also keep them in the yard with a low-level electric fence which I don't think the coyotes would like, either. I do worry about the dogs; hence the occasional loud signaling Coyote Event. It would take a pack to take down our dogs, though, and they'd also have to contend with people with guns once the noise started.

But this is farm country, active. Encouraging coyotes would not be popular with the neighbors. Also, they're not native in Georgia. On the other hand, they're about the only big predator species around now.
Jenny C

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