posted on by Jackie Bebenroth

The War on Deer

The long and short of it is this: Suburban deer have been annailating our crops and totally outsmarting us for five years. They’ve overcome all levels of defense, no matter how extreme, creative or intensive.

Spice Acres.AKA Deer Salad

We’ve tried virtually everything to keep these pesky, voracious creatures away from our food.

1. Wire fence.

2. Electric fence.

3. Slingshot.

4. Multi-layered electric fence.

5. Let the dogs out. (woof. woof.)

Riley Dude, our vicious deer hunting dog.

Roxy Girl, at the ready to give chase.

6. Piss around the perimeter.

7. Top-line fencing.

8. Deer skull on a stick.

FYI: Deer skulls do not spook deer.*

9. Ribbons hanging from top line fencing.

10. Multi-layered, wire, wood, electric, three-dimensional fencing.

11. Mean eyes on ribbons, blowing in the wind.

We can’t believe this didn’t work.

12. Japenese drums.

13. Paintball gun.

Damn. We missed.

None of this has made a dent in the deer’s ability to chomp down our harvest. In fact, deer have eaten so many of our vegetables, vegetarians might qualify them as edible if we put them on our menu.

After voting to pass the bow legislation in Broadview Heights and sadly being denied, we invested in a 7 foot tall, $2,650 fence from Deerbusters. Yep, that’s We had no choice. Thousands of dollars in produce are at stake.

Take that deer.

So far, the fence has been a success this season. But if we were to find a sneaky deer snacking inside, watch out. We have visions of succulent  venison, wrapped  in bacon, pinned with a clove, smothered in huckleberry sauce with a side of sweet potatoes and broccoli raab.  We’ve been feeding you for so long deer, maybe it’s time you start feeding us.


*The deer skull picture is part of a larger collection of Spice Acres photos by photographer and farmsteader Dan Morgan.


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8 Responses to The War on Deer

  1. Laura says:

    I was cracking up reading this! Good luck with the fence, hope it works. If not, venison does sound tasty.

  2. Melissa says:

    I hear that human hair sprinkled around the perimeter helps. I have not tried it, but a few friends find it to be tried and true. Just in case those deer are able to make the leap. 🙂 Thanks for the laugh, btw.

  3. I have the same problem with the suburban dear in Dayton. I have seen them three feet from my patio door munching on my container tomatoes. If the city would let me I would love to shoot them with my crossbow.

    This year I tried a something called Deer Scram. It’s supposed to smell like dead deer to other deer. It has worked very well so far. It’s kind of expensive so I don’t know how practical it would work on a larger garden.

  4. Jessica says:

    Glad you are enjoying your new fence! Hope it continues to be a success and helps you have a plentiful season!

  5. Ron Young says:

    I have tried several types of spray products that leave my gardens smelling to high heaven. Irish Spring soap on bamboo stakes help. All of them help a bit, but nothing is 100%. My perennials are my primary concern – my vegetables are behind six feet high chainlink fencing which has deterred deer but not groundhogs and racoons which scale the fence. I honestly don’t know how the pioneers survived.

  6. Millie says:

    We tried everything too. This year, one made the ultimate sacrafice. Got hit by a car and had to be shot by the police in the back yard. They dragged it from the back yard to the front so the service dept. could pick it up. For 3 months we didn’t see a deer in the yard. Next door on both sides, yes. Our yard, no. Next year I vote that one takes the fall in May instead of March, that way they are gone during the peak growing season!

  7. Jimmy says:

    Pleasing you should think of smeothing like that

  8. Jay Schabel says:

    I was going to suggest the dear fence at Benner’s garden. We used it for the vineyard at Auburn Twin Oaks. It worked great. A bit of maintenance each year but nothing too bad.

    I may still have some of the repair tools if you need them.