Follow by Email

Friday, July 12, 2013

Deer and Loathing in Semi-Rural Maine

No, I don't loathe deer, not in general. They are fun to watch (at someone else's house or at camp) and delicious to eat. Actually, I prefer deer meat (venison, for those who do not know) to beef.  However, when they defeat my deer fencing, get into my garden, decimate my pea crop and even "prune" my tomato plants -- a veggie they are not especially know to like -- and when I was silly enough to buy land in a semi-rural setting, with not enough space between me and the neighbors that I can have a
"delicious solution" to the problem... well, then, loathing does seem to enter the picture.

In the war of us vs deer, we have finally had to escalate.

I have read it many times: almost anything will keep deer at bay for "a while. " "While" is not an exact measurement of time. My strands of monofilament fishing line worked several years with three strands. Then it didn't. Last year I lost all the peas and had predation all year long.

This year I added several strands of the fishing line and it worked... for a while. Just about the time the pea crop really started coming on, so did the deer. They have barged in, jumped out (while we watched) and generally played havoc.  Time to up the ante.

We had on hand some electric fence wire, left over from a fiasco of a few years back, in which we attempted to help someone we thought was a friend. The story, which will remain untold at the moment, involved 7 large draft horses, not enough fencing materials and a large expenditure on our part and ended with one less "friend" and lots of left over material. The animals are back in PA; the fence posts have been reuused and re used and the wire... well... it's getting re used now.

We decided to put in a double, two-strand electric fence. Two fences, 3' apart. Theory is that the deer won't jump the two and the electric gives them more incentive to stay away. I am also planning to "bait" the outer fence with tabs of aluminum foil coated in peanut butter. I have read that deer cannot resist the peanut butter (who would have guessed! I know it is often used to bait mouse traps, but deer "traps?" ) and the good jolt they get when they taste helps keep them away.

I know our deer has been coming in the south east corner of the east garden (at this point, they have not yet found the beans in the west garden, "protected" only by a single fishing line fence.) The fishing line fence has been damaged there and last night, the electric fence wire -- not yet complete and therefore not charged -- took damage as well.

We have the inside line of posts up and part of the wire deployed and hope to get the balance completed tomorrow.  Reports and pix will follow.