As promised, more on keeping the deer from driving you to a garden composed entirely of barberries and gravel:

* Smelly rope trick: Instead of ( or in addition to ) spraying, you can soak cotton clothesline in odor based repellent and run it as deer nose level fencing around your perennial beds. Easiest installation is through eye hooks screwed into wooden posts, but if you use cup hooks for the running length and thumb-latches at the ends, it’s easy to remove the string and resoak it from time to time.

* A loose dog (confined by an invisible fence) works very well – assuming you choose a dog that doesn’t do more damage than the deer do. But it only works in good weather because it only works when the dog is out there. And of course high maintenance does not even begin to describe it. This is really just a suggestion to consider springing for the fence if you already HAVE a dog.

* Wireless fence: described and sold at This is a set of posts that attract deer, then deliver a painful shock that teaches them to stay away. Same principle as a baited electric fence and – according to the manufacturer – just as effective without all that wire.

* Hunting. If you don’t like the idea of guns on the property, consider putting out the word that bow-hunters would be welcome. Unlike the deer, whose population numbers are exploding, hunters are an endangered species. Average age is somewhere around 50, but they are still around

* Community action: Deer lovers in some communities have instituted sterilization programs. And who knows? King Canute did not have notable success at the ocean’s edge, but maybe he didn’t throw enough money at the project. You can read about one effort in this direction – and see pictures of doctors operating on the deer – here.

* Permanent Fencing ( in the end that’s where you always wind up), is well if dauntingly described by ATTRA,  which also goes over a great deal else.

Note: In fairness, it should be said that Canute knew he would fail, he was just trying to prove his human limitations to a bunch of sycophants.

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