oh deer

Last summer, we had a doe and her twin fawns that lived in the neighbor’s yard while they were on vacation for a month.  During that time the mother taught her fawns to jump chain link fences and travel the neighborhood.  It wasn’t unusual to see them strolling down the sidewalks at any given time of day.

Fast speed to this winter, and the fawns have grown, and the herd has grown to a size ranging between six and seven.

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This family of three were hanging out on the other side of the fence eating off my neighbor’s apple tree.

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This is the mother and I was only standing about 10 feet away from her when I took this picture.  She was not the least bit afraid or intimidated by me as I took these photos.

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I sent Moby, my dog (a dachshund), out to chase them over the fence.  The fawns went over, but the mother just went round and round the yard, as if to say she wasn’t leaving her territory.  Eventually, Moby gave up on them and everyone coincided peacefully.  That was discouraging.

One would think I live in the country, but I am in the middle of a rather large metropolitan city.  Every year I seem to have a problem with a different critter.  If it’s not raccoons, then it’s possums, or skunks.  Last week, I even saw a fox in my back yard.  That made me glad I don’t keep chickens anymore.  But who could not just love this face?

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Spring has no means arrive here yet in central Ohio and the ground is still barren and bleak.  But soon, bulbs will be sprouting up everywhere, and I want to deter the deer before the tasty plants appear on the scene.  I lay up nights trying to figure out how to keep them out of my yard.  I came up with a few simple solutions, all of which are temporary until I can do something more permanent when the weather warms.  These next pictures are not so pretty.

This is a small spot between my neighbor’s yard where the fence is lower and the privet hedge at this end has not grown up as much.  A quick and ugly fix for now is just to stack my plastic green Adirondack chairs there to keep them from coming and going through here.

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The other place they can easily come over, is the back portion of my yard, where they most like to hang out.  I have a long row of lilacs along the fence that were planted three years ago.  Two of them have barely grown and probably did not survive the winter.  This low spot is their favorite point of access from the neighbor’s yard.  With all the rain we’ve had this winter, and with everything always muddy, they have totally destroyed my yard.  The bright yellow nylon string is not pretty, but it has worked so far.

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This last point of entry is from the front of the house and a little prettier.  I bought an inexpensive black metal arbor that is temporarily tied to the chain link fence .  Once the ground thaws, I will drive the rods into the ground for better support and eventually paint the chain link fence black to match.  You can barely see it, but I hung a black metal chandelier with crystals from the top of the arbor, just in case they had any ideas of trying to jump through the opening.  One side of the arbor has large forsythia bushes growing and the other side has a large oakleaf hydrangea bush.  There is honeysuckle growing in the forsythia bush, so I just wound it around the arbor to give it a new area to stretch.

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Fingers crossed, it’s been a week, and I’ve seen them next door, but so far I haven’t seen them in my yard.

Does anyone know if deer give birth every year?  I’ve googled it, but can’t find a straight answer.  Since they usually have twins or triplets, this herd could be growing again soon.

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7 thoughts on “oh deer

  1. Yes, generally they give birth every year. I was told that if the fence top is uneven, or if the deer looking over are uncertain how/where they will land they will not jump. Old colonial fences were made of trimmed branches of uneven height, varying 1-3 ft above the “fence” height. I haven’t done that on my potager fence, but I think the raised beds and numerous metal arches they see when they look over the fence make them hesitate to jump it. I’ve had very good luck with Plantskydd spray deterrent. Good luck!

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    1. They know where all the low spots are. My established lilacs are over 6′ tall, so I just need a temporary solution for a few years. I don’t want to invest in anything expensive when the lilacs and privets will eventually keep them out. They have trampled all over my raised beds. They don’t seem to be afraid of close quarters of contraptions. But I’m not giving up. I’m waging war against skunks too. My poor dog has been hit one to many times.

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    1. I agree. I realized if I could just block all the places they come over the fence into my yard, then I wouldn’t have to worry about my flowers and tomatoes. Ultimately, my lilac hedge and privet hedge will grow tall enough to keep them out, but in the mean time, I have to come up with a way to block the low places. It’s a constant battle. I don’t feel bad keeping them out since they roam pretty far and wide through the neighborhood and lot of people don’t have gardens or flowers.

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  2. You need to go up a bit higher! A minimum of six feet, but still no guarantee they won’ t get over that. They don’t like an uneven upper edge either, but perhaps you can attach some sort of uprights to your existing fence, and add a couple or three strands of horizontal fencing material, i.e. wire or other, to make your fence tall enough to dissuade the sweet, but pesky, deer. I have heard that hanging little bags of blood meal (nylon stocking material for example) from shrubs and trees, acts as a deterrent as well. Maybe you coild try some around the fence line. Good luck!

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    1. My lilac and privet hedge will eventually get that high. The lilacs that have done well are already well over 6 feet tall. And the privet hedge I planted so I don’t have to see my neighbors. I keep trimming it back so it will fill in, and then I’ll let it go up as high as it wants to grow. Until time helps things grow, I have to find a temporary fix that isn’t too expensive. It ‘s been too cold to go out and work on anything that looks nicer. But for now, I just want them to get the idea. They’ve made a complete mess of my yard and have trampled back and forth through my raised beds. I will win, with some time and money. I’m determined.

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  3. Lilac and privet will look good! Hopefully it warms up soon so things start to grow and we can all get outside again. Just being out and about in your garden again will also help to deter those four legged varmints.

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