Bambi begone! Deal with your deer
Adorable from afar, these chowhounds can become quite a nuisance when they mistake your garden for an all-you-can-eat buffet. Learn how to make your yard less appealing and keep them at bay.
Bambi ain’t nearly so cute when he’s munching your prized roses.
No wonder folks who are tired of the cloven-hoofed chowhounds call them “rats on stilts.”
And if it seems as if you’re shooing more deer than ever away from your flowerbeds these days, you’re not imagining it: “It’s very possible that we may have as many white-tailed deer as when Columbus came … or we could have more,” says Stephen Vantassel, webmaster for the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. (White-tailed deer, one of several species of North American deer, can be found nearly across the contiguous United States.)
That makes for real problems: A West Virginia University survey (PDF file) a few years ago found that deer cost each of the state’s urban homeholders about $62 annually in damage to plants, vehicles and the like. And money isn’t the only concern deer bring; they’ve been implicated in the spread of Lyme disease, and they have been known to contract rabies, although rarely.
Got deer? Here’s what you can do to, ahem, buck that trend and make your lawn and garden look less like a free buffet.
Several kinds of deer repellents can be sprayed on plants and crops. However, repellents don’t spell permanent relief, says Scott Craven, extension wildlife specialist with the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
|Delicious deer dishes|
Why not? One reason is that they wear off or wash off. Also, their effectiveness depends on how hungry the deer are, Vantassel says. “Sometimes people have unfair expectations, and that’s because they forget that even a child that’s starving will eat his broccoli,” Vantassel says.
That said, here’s what the experts recommend:
- Go fatty. Repellents that contain fatty acids, such as Hinder Deer & Rabbit Repellent, seem to work best, Vantassel says. They can be sprayed directly onto fruit trees and vegetable crops, according to the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management.
- Think stinky. Repellents that use putrescent whole-egg solids, such as Deer-Away Big Game Repellent, have been “reported in field studies to be 85% to 100% effective,” the center says. The repellent is registered for use on ornamental and Christmas trees and on fruit trees prior to flowering.
- Make things hot and spicy. Sprays such as Miller’s Hot Sauce that contain capsaicin, the element in peppers that makes them hot, can dissuade deer. Note: It should be used only at certain times on certain plants; you don’t want to bite into a ferociously spicy peach. These types of repellents usually require application of an “adhesive” to help them stick and withstand the elements, such as Wilt-Pruf or Vapor Gard.
- Try this fungicide. The bad-tasting fungicide Thiram is sold in several products, such as Bonide Deer & Rabbit Repellent and Nott Chew-Not. It’s usually used on dormant trees and shrubs (and because it doesn’t last long it’s usually paired up with one of the adhesives, above).
- Lather up. Some studies have shown that dangling store-bought bars of soap can reduce deer damage somewhat. Each bar protects an area of only about one yard around it, however. Drill a hole in the bars and suspend them with a cord. Any cheap soap will do.
- Should you try hair? For ages, dangling bags of human hair has been a folk cure for deer; supposedly the smell scares them off. But it doesn’t consistently repel them, experts say.
You can try dangling bags on outer branches of trees, no more than three feet apart. For larger areas, place them in a perimeter around the area to be guarded. Replace the hair monthly throughout the growing season. But don’t expect them alone to do the trick; use them as just one weapon in your arsenal, experts recommend.
As with anything, make sure you follow directions, and reapply as needed. And don’t expect repellent to keep away every last deer. “When you have 100 deer per square mile, nothing’s going to work,” Vantassel says. “Half of my job is trying to convince the public that there is no magic.”
To all of those who use the overused argument that the human is at fault. Despite still a lot of predators, it is estimated that the overall deer population in the US is more than was before Columbus arrived. What does that mean ? That deer have been multiplying despite us bad humans. One or two deer will save a family 300 to 600 Dollars in meat per year. There is a hunting season and there is nothing wrong with hunting. What pities me though is the wounded animals that ace a painful death because ruthless amateurs have wounded them and they walk around with an arrow stuck in them or a bullet in the haunches. That is despicable. We have abt. 14 - 16 deer passing through every day. They seem to prefer the fat grass and even if they eat rosebuds, they leave enough for the plant not to die.
I will try the spray this Summer and if it does not work, I will just fence my roses in. I don't need to use Coyote urine or Mountain lion urine or wolf urine - they are around anyway. Now - how do I keep the bears away from my blueberries ? A moat ? Self-shooters ?
MY 270 takes them out at over 300 yards away. I love when they come visit my garden (they go very good with my peppers and onions)
Venison a low in cholesterol meat, for those who aren't idiots, and realize they are a good source of protein. With failing legs now, I still have a desire to hunt deer, and do at every possible legal opportunity.
Lenghten the open season, teach your kids, as I did mine that guns, and things like Bows are a permanent solution to a significant problem, and are not like an electronic toy, or movies, where a loss means a new game with the same particioants.
It can be used to instruct kids that guns have a purpose, and their actions are permanent. It teaches respect for life and that the food we often eat used to be alive as well. The artificial morals of many, like the moral philosophy of vegans, and PETA folks, shows just how hypocritical ignorance, like that actually is.
I was wondering why I was seeing so many deer here in a suburban area of So Cal.
Granted that the national forests surround us, but I have never seen so many as I have
this year. I think it is time for the PETA nuts and environmental wackos to get out of the
way and let the adults handle thining of the herds and forests. (lots of fires here-abouts
because of too much underbrush as well.)
OH, YES, deer WILL eat TOMATOES. One day we had 2 ft leafy beauties....next day 6 inch stubs. And this in an area with woods, bushes and hayfields.
**I love and protect nature, BUT WE HUMANS have DESTROYED THE BALANCE for the natural deer population. We removed (AKA paid bounties just to kill off) the natural predators of the deer. So WE must fill that void----become the predators of the deer---to keep things in balance.
The solution to the deer problem is simple: SHOOT them; gut them; then eat them. Deer taste DELICIOUS!!
You leave a pile of deer guts near and area that you don't want deer to congregate and they usually stay away from that area. It just like leaving a human body on the ground tends to keep MOST humans away.
There's nothing the the taste of fresh Bambi and his relatives.
It is so fun to torture "animal pacifists" with a deer head mounted to a wall. I have to call them "animal pacifists" as I am an animal lover. I LOVE to eat animals!! Deer, cows, pigs, chicken, fish, ducks, sheep, rabbits - they ALL taste DELICIOUS!!
Hey Tigerlily01- If you really feel that way about humans, here's what you have to do to prove your sincerety; first, tell your parents what a mistake they made in having you. if you've committed the crime against nature of procreating, explain to your children why you must get rid of the problem, and then take yourself out. You'll be doing you part to reduce the human ovepopulation problem, and reducing the carbon footprint of humans as well.
Not willing to go that far? Then your pompous argument against other people doesn't hold water!
"Think about the carbon footprint just one human leaves... Too bad the solution can't be....have open season on stupid people...problem solved!!!"
You define stupidity so perfectly. You would obviously fight any means of controlling the deer population rather than deal with the problem. Another of your kind is responsible for the sky carp resurgence - the nasty Canadian Goose. We need to control the pest population in a humane way.
And yes I agree, open season on the stupid people. Talk about pests!
1187 Remington does well or any of the other fine rifles I own above 223 caliber, getting ready to go hunting now have a good day folks!