Types of Deer Fencing
The types, cost and effectivness of deer fencing can vary widely
While deer are very attractive creatures, and usually benign and peaceful, they can be a big nuisance for rural homeowners who are trying to keep their gardens tidy and productive. For those homeowners finding the best method for keeping deer away from their property is very important.
Due to a decrease in deer that are harvested, and an ability to adapt and thrive in many different environments, deer populations often grow very large - leading to them grazing near human settlements, and invading even suburban areas. Deer tend to be attracted to certain garden and flower plants, ruining the yards and gardens of many people who don't take appropriate precautions.
Deer are very agile and strong, and can easily jump over regular fences. A deer fence needs to be both high and very sturdy, as deer often make a habit out of rubbing against deer fencing (unless electric, obviously) to scratch themselves.
Almost all deer fences are either polypropylene mesh or electric fencing, each with its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, durability, appearance, and maintenance.
1. Electric Fencing
An electric deer fence is a very common option nowadays, due to being relatively cheap to install and maintain. Electric deer fence kits can range in cost from 18 cents per foot to as much as $2.00 per foot just for materials. Generally, the greater number of feet purchased, the lower the cost per foot.
Many electric deer fences are often baited to attract deer when first installed. Bait can include a deer attractant like peanut butter placed every 20 feet or so. The bait may need to be refreshed every 10 days. The deer are attracted to the bait and when reaching to enjoy it, recieve a shock (around 2.5 to 5 kilovolts is used to create a palpable shock) training them to stay away from the enclosed property from then on.
There are two commonly accepted types of electric deer fence installation.
Vertical Deer Fencing
The advantage of a vertical electric deer fence is that it can be installed in areas where a high mesh fence wouldn't be possible, or would detract significantly from the surrounding view. A vertical electric deer fence should be at least five (5) feet tall and in areas prone to greater deer problems, ten (10) feet may be used. Wires are strung at about 10' intervals. Therefore a five foot fence would have approximately 6 strands of wire. Cost of this type of fencing should be in the range of 30 to 50 cents per linear foot.
Slanted Wire Fence
This type of fencing is generally constructed at a 30-degree angle to the ground and because of it's three-dimensional design, takes up much more space than the vertical variety. A slanted electric deer fence is more effective than its vertical counterpart in part because of a deer's poor sense of depth perception and because the layout of the fence creates a more bothersome barrier for the deer to penetrate. Cost for this type of fencing is more expensive running from $1.25 to over $2.00 per linear foot.
Because the deer (and other animals) will quickly learn to stay away from your electric deer fence, there is usually not much maintenance required of the fence structure. Of course, over time the wire will start to corrode or rust and need replacing, but you should get several years' of use between each maintenance period. Electric deer fencing is not recommended if you have children or pets.
2. Polypropylene mesh fencing
Polypropylene mesh deer fences are very popular due to being almost invisible from a distance. This means you can build it high without worrying about creating an eyesore or blocking the view. Unlike other types of wire mesh used in deer fencing, Polypropylene mesh can be easily attached to nearby trees and is very flexible if you need to erect it in a vegetated area. Some recent examples of the cost of mesh fencing include a 7 feet x 100 feet with angle-iron posts fence kit for approximately $250.00 and Polypropylene deer fence kit, 7 feet x 330 feet with angle-iron posts for approximately $600.00. If conditions are harsh, many gardeners will use multiple strategies to keep deer at bay. Fencing combined with an effective repellent can provide the best protection. Utilizing a deer repellent when installing your fence like Shake-Away's Deer Repellent Granules can improve the effectiveness of any barrier you might construct.
Installing Polypropylene mesh deer fences is quite a complicated procedure, as they need to be reinforced so it can withstand the pressures it will be put under. If you have deer frequently grazing near your property, erecting a fence will change their travel patterns – leading them to often challenge the (virtually invisible) fence as they get used to it.
It may be important to note that not all Polypropylene deer fence is created equal. There are different grades of Polypropylene, with some of the lower graded material not standing up well to the consistent wear a deer may apply trying to find a way through or around the barrier. You may wish to ask your supplier about the thickness and strength of any deer fencing before you make a purchase.
3. Combined deer fencing and repellents
There have been many reports of deer actually crawling under an electric deer fence (ignoring the electric shock)not to mention jumping over fences over six feet tall to get to the enclosed vegetation. There are also reports of deer managing to breach mesh fences over time by gnawing at one spot repeatedly. Therefore, the best deer fencing may be a combination of mesh and electric fences – with the electric deer fence forming the first barrier, and the mesh fencing erected behind it.
If conditions are harsh, many gardeners will use multiple strategies to keep deer at bay. Fencing combined with an effective repellent can provide the best protection. Utilizing a deer repellent when installing your fence like Shake-Away's Deer Repellent Packs can improve the effectiveness of any barrier you might construct.