UPDATE: Having just finished our second season using this fence, it’s safe to say this is no longer experimental. We’ve watched the deer grazing all around the herb bed, but we haven’t had one single break-in of the four-hooved variety. I’m pleased with how the fishing line has held up as well. I did not need to glue it in place. Now that we know this works, we’ll install the same fencing around our vegetable garden and other large sections of our property.
Now that we’re planting the herb bed, we need a way to keep the deer out of it. My father-in-law (affectionately known as Pa Kettle) is a country farmer from way back, and he’s tried nearly everything to prevent deer from ravaging his garden. Mothballs, garden spray with hot pepper, smelly plants like marigolds; you name it, he tried it. He hung bags of (humanely collected!) human hair on stakes throughout the garden, and did the same with bars of Irish Spring soap.
Each of these methods works for awhile, the deer acclimate to it, and then it’s no longer effective. He currently has an 8′ tall, wire fence around the garden which seems to prevent most break-ins.
Our neighbors paid $500 to have an electric fence installed around their large garden, and we’ve watched the deer leap right over it as gracefully as ballerinas. The little, tick-ridden acrobats.
Because this garden is in our front yard, I need a fence that is reasonably attractive. Or, at least not ugly. I read about a fishing line deer fence and decided to give it a shot. It’s easy to install, low maintenance and a minimal investment.
- T-Posts, or other fence posts – we needed 10 – Cost: $70
- 1 spool of 30 lb. fishing line – Cost: $2
- 1 Sturdy Gate Post – we used rebar
- PVC Pipe – two pieces, cut to 18″, use the correct diameter for your gate post
- O-ring, Rope or another contraption to use for the gate latch
- Shovel or Post Hole Digger
We dug the post holes about 5′ from the edge of the bed. This leaves a wide path to maneuver a wheel barrow or push mower inside the fence. It’s far enough back that if deer manage to poke their nosy, little heads under the fence, they still can’t reach my herbs.
T-Posts are easy to install. The process goes like this: dig, level, fill, move on, dig, level, fill, move on, dig, level, fill, move on. Repeat until you can’t stand to look at another fence post, ever again. Burying the metal flange just below the surface stabilizes the post.
Once the posts are up, it’s time to wrap them with fishing line. Leaving the gate section completely open, I worked my way back and forth, wrapping the perimeter using one continuous piece of line. I might come back and hit the knots and hooks with a little E-6000 if the line doesn’t stay in place, but for now it’s holding.
The gate post is made from a piece of rebar. If this works well, I’ll paint it to match the T-posts. We tied fishing line from the post to the right of the gate and straight over to the rebar. The rebar recesses into the PVC pipe and it holds the gate in place.
To secure the top of the gate, slide an O-ring or loop of rope down over the top of the T-post and rebar post. I didn’t want to put downward pressure on the fishing line, so I looped a hair elastic through a hole in the T-post and attached a carabiner to it. The carabiner slides over the rebar to hold it in place.
When we want to open the gate we simply lift the rebar out of the PVC, walk it over to a second piece of PVC that we sunk into the ground to the right of the gate. This holds it upright until we’re ready to close the gate again.
We’re hopeful that this experiment works and we don’t have to resort to using guard dogs and explosives. (I’m kidding about the explosives. Mostly.) I’ll keep you posted.
To read the post that inspired this project, go here:
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5 thoughts on “An Experimental Deer Fence”
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