Deer Prevention in our yard

Asked January 22, 2013, 2:25 PM EST

What's the best prevention method to keep deer from eating the grass and flowers in our back yard here in Florence, OR? I've heard fishing line is a good deterrent. If so, how is it used. Our back yard already has a 4' wired fence around it.

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

Deer can be difficult for gardeners. I've read a number of times and have had gardeners tell me about using monofilament fishing line as a deterrent. One suggestion is to simply string it around the vegetation you want to protect and that when deer push against it, it irritates them because they can't see what's there and will back off. I tested it in my Medford yard which has moderate deer pressure and it worked for about three days, at which point they walked through it.

A Washington state wildlife publication suggests the following: "An inexpensive and subtle deer barrier can be made from 100-pound test monofilament fishing line tied to sturdy, 5-foot tall stakes, or attached to a structure. At a 12-inch spacing, fishing line works best to protect small enclosures, such as surrounding several rose bushes." You can read the entire publication at http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/deer.html.

My experience is that the only long-term solution to medium to heavy deer feeding pressure is a good fence, 7-8 feet tall. And be particularly careful that there aren't any openings, and that you keep the gate closed. The fence needs to come tightly to the ground as well; deer are adept at scooting under fences. You can also use a double fence, which migh work for you since you already have a 4 foot fence. The idea is to put two fences relatively close to each other (about 3 feet apart) because deer apparently don't like to jump into closed spaces.

A good publication from OSU Extension on deer management around homes is EC 1557 The Wildlife Garden: Reduce Deer Damage in Your Yard at http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/19669/ec1557.pdf.