What can I do to protect my vegetable and decorative gardens from deer? I live in Hampton Bays, Long Island, NY. I hear all sorts of suggestions and for each one there are those who say it does not work. A successful solution would be so appreciated.
Controlling Deer damage
Controlling deer damage to plantings can be a complicated affair depending on your particular preferences. The gold standard solution is simply to construct a fence or encourage population reduction through the regular hunting season. Of course, rampant development and the publicís growing animosity towards hunting is continuing to erode this important and traditional tool.
Unfortunately, those methods arenít often used due to excessive regulations, finances, or unwillingness.
Taste repellents have limited success depending on the amount of deer pressure. The more deer the less likely the repellent will work. Remember, deer will eat something that tastes bad if the alternative is starvation.
Odor, and visual repellentsódonít waste your time. Deer habituate. That includes the so called ultrasonic frightening devices.
Deer Shield is the only audible frightening device I can suggest. It was created by Dr. Scott E. Hygnstrom of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Electrical fencing (and even the Woodstream shock poles can have some success) is effective if legal in your area.
Rather than repeat a lot of information you can get elsewhere, I am going to refer you to links which will give a thorough listing of your options.
is a public guide related to the control of deer damage.
is a page dedicated to summarizing information and links related to deer damage management. http://icwdm.org/handbook/mammals/Deer.asp
is an article by national experts and the information you will be reading is backed up by hard research. I know one of the authors personally, as he is my boss. His name is Dr. Scott Hygnstrom of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Be sure to check with local laws before implementing the techniques.
Let me know if I can be of further assistance as I am also the webmaster of the site I am sending you to.
We are always looking for images (if you can safely take them) of wildlife damage to help us in our educational mission. We prefer high resolution, (3 mg or higher). Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: As with any activity, remember that animal damage control comes with its own risks and problems which can include but are not limited to legalities, health threats, and personal liabilities. Be sure to follow all state laws governing wildlife and make sure you have a thorough understanding on how to resolve the animal damage complaint. My advice is only as good as your understanding of me and my understanding of your situation. If you have any questions be sure to write back.