Deer habits, capabilities weighed in designing special barriers

Updated Jan 6, 2020
DeerBusters fencing can be used to protect a garden or an entire yard. Photo: JVDeerBusters fencing can be used to protect a garden or an entire yard.
Photo: JV

Winter can come with a unique set of challenges for landscapers and their customers, and one of those tasks is keeping hungry deer out of the yard.

While we’ve gone over some of the methods to keep these voracious creatures away, you can’t install plant alternatives in the dead of winter and repellents aren’t effective in below freezing temperatures.

Fencing is often cited as the most effective method, and one particular brand of fencing has several advantages going for it.

deerbusters-logoDeerBusters is a part of Trident Enterprises International and specializes as a distributor of fencing materials designed to keep deer and other animals off property.

The company uses polypropylene fencing that is lightweight and very durable without blocking a homeowner’s view.

“The design allows the fence to blend in and disappear, causing minimal impact on the landscape,” says Martin Havrilla, office manager of DeerBusters. “The black of the fence coupled with the mesh design allows you to look through it.”

Instead of having a solid, monolithic fence that towers over a backyard to discourage deer from making the leap, DeerBusters’ fencing offers a more subtle solution.

The fences also take deer behavior into account. Since they are creatures of habit, the fencing works to change that habit and reroute them with a physical barrier. When the fence is first installed, DeerBusters recommends setting up some white flags on the fence so the deer see a warning signal.

“Sometimes deer can bump into the fence, but they’ll bounce right off,” Havrilla says. “They aren’t injured. Our fences go a long way to mitigate that.”

Havrilla points out that deer can jump tremendous heights if they are in full flight mode, but majority of the time they are meandering. He suggests fences should be 7 ½ feet tall, as it is around 6 feet that a deer’s vertical vision starts to go.

DeerBusters fences are designed so that the material seems to disappear. Photo: David BeckerDeerBusters fences are designed so that the material seems to disappear.
Photo: David Becker

“They come up to the fence, not at a full run, and their vision can’t correctly gauge the height of the fence, making them very hesitant to jump the fence,” Havrilla says. “They’ll try to push their way under, which is reinforced, keep walking the perimeter and then move on to something else, after being completely diverted.”

Read any half-dozen articles on deer fencing and you’re sure to come across the method of using an electric fence and peanut butter to shock the deer and train them to stay away.

Havrilla notes that this works for certain scenarios, but it is certainly not the best idea for those who want to protect plants and flowers because it lures deer to the area you’re trying to defend in the first place.

DeerBusters offers a wide variety of polypropylene fences with varying strength, as well as metal fences with PVC coating.

One particularly strong fencing material the company offers is the steel hex web, which is made to prevent rodents from chewing holes in the material. It also works well for areas with heavy deer pressure.

“A lot of our guys who grow plants for resell use steel hex,” Havrilla says. “The hexagonal design also helps reduce visibility even more.”

Landscaping companies like Ross Watergardens in Portland, Oregon, already use DeerBusters products to protect customers’ landscapes and gardens.

“We deal a ton with landscapers,” Havrilla says. “When they’re setting up high-end residential areas, they’ll set up fencing protection from the deer. We’re trying to get the word out to put the fence up first and then do the landscaping, usually around the entire property.”

For those who have larger problems than deer – namely elk – DeerBusters has also has fencing product designed to keep them away as well.

DeerBusters fences have UV stabilizers to increase their longevity and can last from 15 to 30 years.

For more information about DeerBusters and its products, check out the website here.

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