DEER BARRIER REPELLENTS
Barrier Repellents are an effective way of controlling deer
damage. Barrier repellents come in a variety of forms: scare
devices, natural and chemical repellents, and fencing. The
following provides specific information on each of these
categories. Deer repellent failure can occur because deer are
smart and adaptable enough to determine what will not harm them.
In areas of high deer density, repellents may be overcome by
feeding pressure. In order to prevent this, only use repellents on
valuable and deer-preferred plants.
devices, such as flashing lights and noisemakers, are used to
chase deer away from identified areas. They may work for a while
but over time, deer may figure out that there is no reason to
that flash or rotate may startle deer. These lighting
systems are activated by timers or motion detectors.
which is shiny and reflective, can be strung between trees or set
as streamers on poles.
especially if they can be constructed with moving parts
“Scare-eye” balloons filled with helium and tethered above
the ground with monofilament line, can also
A Radio or
recorded distress calls of other animals
continuously may frighten away deer.
that emit highly amplified sound waves that are nearly inaudible
to humans but intolerable to deer.
and tin cans
rattling in the wind may also help deter deer.
Activated Ultrasonic Deer and Animal Repellents
designed to startle deer while not allowing them to become used to
the sound. They emit a high pitch ultrasonic blast, just above the
frequency of human hearing, disturbing deer.
Sonic Deer and
emit high-pitched loud audible sonic blast that act as a deer
repellent and will ward off any intruder.
The Smartcrow Motion-Activated Sprinkler and
Contech Scarecrow Motion Detector Sprinkler are
water sprinklers set to go off by motion detectors or by timers.
These are work well if the schedule is changed often and can’t be
learned by the deer. However, since they require a high-pressure
water supply, they are not useful in sub-freezing temperatures.
The Spray Away Motion Activated Water Repellent
chases deer away from landscape and gardens. They sense the
animal by using heat and movement for efficacy. Spray Away pauses
for 8 seconds after firing, creating randomness, preventing the
animal from becoming accustomed to the repellent.
Natural and COMMERCIAL Repellents
of commercial and homemade barrier repellents can be used to repel
deer. Repellents work either by making plants unpalatable or by
giving off an offensive odor.
effective products do both. With just a bad taste, the deer have
to taste the plant to know that it is there. If a product only has
a repellent smell component, the deer may feed anyway if they are
brands are available at nurseries and hardware stores as well as
by catalog and over the Internet. The commercial repellents
work for a
while before the deer become used to them. The best way to prevent
this from happening is to continually rotate the mode of
defense--keep them guessing with these and the other methods.
Keep in mind that repellents are not appropriate for food
ammonium soaps of fatty acids
refined proteins and fibers from food processing
made from soap particles
Deer No are made with citrus scents
contains bone tar oil
is made from treated sewage
by a paper company to protect tree seedlings from deer, elk, and
moose. It contains inedible egg solids to repel big game before
Deer and Rabbit Repellent
also repels deer from gardens, lawns, trees, shrubs, and
hung from a tree or shrub and ward off deer with its heady,
Deerscram® are other commercially available
and Natural Repellents
There are several "natural" repellents. The effectiveness of
repellents is open for discussion. They include small, fine-mesh
bags of human hair (about two handfuls) and bar soap hung from
branches of trees (such as Irish Spring and Lifeboy). These bags
should be replaced monthly and some deer have been reported to eat
the soap bars. Materials that work in one area or for one person
may not work at all in an area more highly frequented by deer.
The more commercialized repellents include putrefied egg white
solids, ammonium soap, and Thiram that is a bitter fungicide.
You can also make your own spray with 2 tablespoons hot pepper
sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap, 1 teaspoon garlic
powder, and 1 gallon of water.
and Odor Repellents:
premium liquid repellent repels deer by taste and odor. Its
ingredients include putrescent egg garlic and hot pepper.
Deer Off Deer
produces a powerful odor and taste barrier that is offensive to
deer, rabbits and squirrels, but is mild enough not to bother
a weather-resistant formula that provides safe, effective, and
long-lasting protection for bulbs, roots, and foliage.
uses powdered eggs and white pepper to generate a smell and taste
that deer hate. Best of all, it can be used on food crops.
uses essential oil of mustard and extracts of chili in a vegetable
oil base to repel by odor and taste.
a fertilization and deer repellent system, protects both existing
and new growth for up to a full year with a single application and
is designed with the most bittersweet compounds.
is a premixed deer repellant is ideal for annuals, bulbs, and
products containing putrescent egg solids and (hot-tasting)
capsaicin. The products are manufactured through Holly Ridge
Nursery in Rhode Island.
Dr. T's Deer
a dual deterrent system that leaves both an odor and a taste
that deer find offensive. It is made from putrescent eggs,
capsaicin, and garlic.
is a 3 1/4" clip-on dispense clip that emits a garlic odor for up
to 6 to 8 months. Repelling formulation consists of organic
food-grade ingredients; the plastic body photo degrades.
landscape plants and crops is the most effective way to eliminate
deer browsing. A variety of fencing designs have been developed.
The one most suitable to a specific situation will depend on the
size of the area, the topography of the site and the type of
vegetation being protected. The most effective deer repellent is
a very tall fence. Since deer can jump 12 feet high from a
standing position, a fence should be at the very least 8 to 10
feet tall. Adding electric wires or slanting the fence outward
will also help keep the deer from getting to your landscaping.
High-Tensile Woven Wire (HTWW)
Double-row wooden, solid wooden
Single or multiple-strand wire electrical or slanted wire
Invisible Black Mesh Barrier/Fencing
and Benner’s Garden Deer Fencing
attached to posts or stakes to create a quick, temporary fence.
Individual trees, bushes, and groundcover can be successfully
protected with stiff, plastic netting made
of tough, UV-stabilized polypropylene.
The netting is
simply unrolled over groundcover or draped over a bush or tree.
It can be rolled up when not needed and reused for several years.
commercially available brand.
battery-powered charger sends out short, strong bursts of
electricity that shock, yet won't injure potential intruders.
Setting up the fence is easy. You simply pound in the fiberglass
stakes, clip the polywire onto the insulators, and attach the
charger. A baited electric deer fence has been tested and
recommended by major universities with a high degree of
effectiveness. Deer are attracted to bait stations around the deer
fence. When deer lick the bait, they receive a mild and safe
startling shock that will train deer to stay clear of that area.
Electronic Repellent for Deer
technology that attracts deer to posts with a lure scent. Then
it harmlessly repels deer from the yard or garden with an
Tubes of Vexar
netting around individual seedlings are an effective method to
reduce deer damage to small trees. The material degrades in
sunlight and breaks down in three to five years. These tubes can
protect just the growing terminals or can completely enclose small
trees. Tubes placed around the trunks of larger trees will help
prevent trunk damage. Tubes may not, however, protect trunks from
damage when bucks use the trees to scrape the velvet off their
antlers. Fencing may be required.
form a protective cylinder around the terminal leader and bud.
They may help reduce browse damage. Budcaps are rectangular pieces
of material folded lengthwise and stapled around the terminal
you may find helpful:
Proofing Your Yard and Garden,
by Rhonda Massingham Hart, Storey Communications, 1997.
in Deer Country,
by Vincent Drzewucki, Jr., Brick Tower Press, 1998.
Deer, by Bill Adler, Jr.,
Lyons Press, 1999
Neighbors: The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife,
by the Humane Society of the United States, Fulcrum Publishing,