Keeping Deer Out Of The Garden

Jan W. from Virginia writes to ask about deer in her garden. "Other than an electric or tall fence, is there anything I can do to keep deer out of my garden? I’ve heard that mothballs or human hair may work. Do they?"

Dr. Dave Samuel

No, moth balls and human hair won’t work, at least not for long. Of course the best thing is a fence, either electric or one tall enough to keep deer from jumping the fence. The problem with deer eating gardens is that once an individual deer learns to go there, he/she will continue to do so all summer long, and then again next summer, if they are still alive.

I have had good success with a product called “Liquid Fence.” I buy the kind where you take a couple tablespoons and add it to water. I mix it in a gallon milk jug, then put that into a smaller spray bottle. If the sprayer gets clogged, then your mix is too thick. Dilute it with milk, because milk can be a deterrent as well. Then spray your vegetables once a week or so. If it rains, you need to respray. Good luck.

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at 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 over 31 years.

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