Fence Out The Deer

Betty D. from Michigan writes to ask about protecting her garden. "My husband and I are going to fence in our backyard vegetable garden to keep the deer out. My question is, what size fence (not electric) do I need to prevent deer from entering my garden?"

Dr. Dave Samuel

This is a common question among gardeners. Actually there is research that has answers. All deer can jump a 5-foot woven wire fence. Most deer can jump a 6-foot fence and less than half will jump a 7-foot fence. Almost no deer will jump an 8-foot fence. 

If you can’t put up an 8-foot fence, you might put up a smaller fence, then erect a second shorter fence 3-4 feet outside the first fence. This forces deer to not only jump up, but they also must clear both fences and even though they are not high fences, this may well prevent crossing.  Another option is to tilt the top of the fence outward, in essence causing problems for the deer because they cannot jump straight up to clear the fence. 

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of www.sportsmansguide.com‘s content at tkachero@sportsmansguide.com. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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