How to Get Rid of Deer Humanely
The most effective way to get rid of deer in your yard is through an integrated approach of repelling, frightening and exclusion. Below, Havahart® offers all of the deer control information you need, including step-by-step instructions teaching you how to get rid of them.
1 Reduce Attractants
Deer enter your yard to forage for food, and because they'll eat most types of landscaping and vegetation, it's impossible to completely eliminate all attractants. However, there are steps you should take to make your yard less inviting than your neighbors'.
- Harvest fruits and vegetables as early as possible to reduce vulnerability, and remove crop remnants immediately after harvest.
- Trim hedges, bushes and trees to scale back available cover.
- Remove bird feeders and birdbaths.
- Cut your grass regularly to deter bedding deer.
TIP: Replace plants with deer-resistant varieties. Deer prefer to forage close to cover, so plant any susceptible plants far away from wooded areas.
2 Analyze Deer Activity
Knowing the location and the scale of your deer problem will help you develop a repelling plan.
Destructive deer activities include:
- browsing shrubs and ornamental trees
- eating fruits, vegetables and flowers
- resting or "bedding" on your lawn
- urinating or defecating on your lawn
- rubbing antlers against tree trunks
The number of deer causing damage will also affect your control plan. The higher the deer pressure in the area, the more time, effort and strategy it will take to alleviate the problem.
3 Choose the Best Deer Repellent
Once you've determined the nature and size of your deer problem, you'll be able to select the best deer control method(s) for you. It's important to note that not all deer respond to the same stimuli, so the more options you employ, the better your chances are at keeping them away.
Commercial deer repellents repel deer with an offensive scent and/or taste. Deer have a heightened sense of smell, so these repellents are often odorless to humans.
- Spray liquid repellents periodically onto plants, flowers and bulbs that you want to stop deer from browsing or eating.
- Spray approved repellents around fruits and vegetables to protect your edibles.
- Sprinkle granular repellents to create a protective barrier around low-lying gardens and flowerbeds.
- Distribute weatherproof deer-repelling stations once per year to deter deer from saplings or ornamentals.
Deer rely heavily on their sense of smell to locate food and to sense danger. Select a repellent that contains a high concentration of putrescent egg or dried blood - two powerful scent deterrents proven to repel deer. For the best defense, and especially for high-pressure areas, a repellent with both scent and taste is required.
For more information, read How to Repel Deer »Shop Repellents »
Electronic repellents are highly effective and versatile repelling devices that can be used to frighten deer out of areas like vegetable gardens, pathways, and flowerbeds.
- Motion-activated sprinklers detect motion and effectively startle approaching deer with sudden bursts of water.
- Fence-free static-shock repellents attract deer with lures then deliver a harmless correction, which sends them away.
Scare tactics are very effective at repelling deer, and after time deer learn to avoid them all together. Electronic repellents can be relocated periodically and/or paired with additional deer control methods for the best deer control.
For more information, read Why Electronics »Shop Electronic Repellent »
Fencing may be the most expensive and least discreet deer control option, but it can be the most effective - especially in high-pressure situations. Since deer are able to jump up to 9 feet high, a traditional fence will not do. Effective fencing options include:
- woven wire fences, at least 8 feet high, with an angled top
- angled wire fences, 5 feet high and 8 feet deep
- high-quality, high-tensile electric fences with multiple wires
Improve the effectiveness of your electric fence by applying either a deer lure or a deer repellent. Learn more under the Expert Tips section of this page.
- Deer have varying personalities, with each reacting differently to certain control methods. Employing multiple deer control products at once will provide the most thorough and effective defense against deer.
- When planning new landscaping, avoid planting vegetation that's high in protein and moisture like beans, peas, lettuces, leafy vegetables, impatiens, roses, pansies and hostas. Try deer-resistant plant varieties to reduce attraction to your yard.
- Deer prefer level terrain and don't like to climb, so by creating different levels of ground in your yard, you can discourage them from entering. Install terraces or porches, add large mounds of mulch, dig ditches, or even stack pallets around your yard to keep deer out.
- Improve the effectiveness of your electric fence by adding either a lure or a repellent. A common tactic is to use peanut butter to lure deer to the fence, encouraging deer to touch the electrified wires with their sensitive noses. On the other hand, studies show that applying an odor-based deer repellent to cloths and tying them along your electric fence is even more effective at keeping deer away.
- As an alternative to deer fencing, you can physically exclude deer from certain plants or trees by wrapping them in plant netting or tubing.
- Deer control tactics are most effective when employed before or at the onset of an invasion (early spring); deer are creatures of habit, and their habits are difficult to break once they're established.