The only 100% deer barrier is an 8 ft tall
woven wire fence or solid wall. But they are both
expensive and very permanent.
An alternative is electrified fences. They rely
upon a painful shock to persuade deer to neither
jump nor penetrate a fence.
Because they aren’t physical barriers, electric
deer fences rely upon key deer behavior aspects.
Where they choose to feed, rub, walk and breed
are habits learned over time—a habit reinforced
every time they do it safely.
Suddenly fencing a deer herd away from an
area or trail forces the herd to break a habit
(by a fence) is critical if the fence is to succeed.
Once a herd’s pattern is broken, the change in
feeding/walking location is easier to maintain.
feeding sites, trails and rubbing trees.
Electric fences use pain to raise the “cost” (the
degree of risk and effort to use an area) and
persuade deer that it is safer and less frightening
to feed, rub or trail elsewhere. When they are
desperate they may risk the pain—which is why
you can’t keep out starving deer with electric
fencing if the site is their only food source.
make a decision to avoid them.
That’s why it’s important to identify deer trails
entering a new exclusion area and interrupt them
with something physical (e.g. a brush pile) where
the trail approaches the fence. Do this when the
fence is installed.
Why? The trail change makes them tentative.
So they move cautiously.
Why not? Because frightened deer don’t make
normal decisions. As prey animals they are easily
spooked into leaping over or through fences.
And once deer learn that they can jump the fence
without pain, they’re more likely to do so when
not frightened, a habit that’s costly to break.
Why not? The intent is to first change the
herd’s “habits.” So install a new fence around
a small area first. The local deer herd will
encounter it, learn to avoid it and instead feed
or rub in adjacent areas.
Leave it in place for 2 weeks. Then
progressively expand the enclosed area until
100% is protected.
Their world is black, white and shades of gray.
Therefore, barriers that contrast with their view of
the world are the most visible to deer—and likely
to get their attention.
It’s been our experience that electric fences
that fail for deer are usually:
• Installed at the wrong time (after the herd’s
habit is deeply ingrained).
• Managed without an awareness of how a
deer herd interacts with fences.
• What are scent caps? Metal pop bottle caps
attached to the fence that are baited with
scent to attract deer. It’s a Premier invention
that’s been copied by others.
• How do they work? Experience has shown
that scent caps encourage deer to have an
initial painful interaction with a new electric
as easy to apply.)
• How many caps? One every 50 ft in heavy
traffic areas (or 100 ft in low traffic areas).
• Is it hard to rebait scent caps? Baiting
involves turning off the energizer; walking
or riding the fence; twisting the cap upward,
squeezing a few drops of apple scent onto
the cotton inside the cap; and twisting the
cap downward again.