While sippin' my second cuppa this morning my wife started hollering for
me to come to the kitchen . She points out the window and it takes me a
second to realize there's a whitetail doe munching on my lettuce ! Time to
start taking steps I guess ... and then we start discussing the damage I
thought insects were doing to our new fruit trees ... yup , the forest rats
have been at them too . I mean , it's not like there's a shortage of
succulent new growth for the buggers to eat ! The woods here are just
bustin' out all kinds of green , why oh why do they have to eat the stuff I
grow for me ??
So this afternoon I'll be using 8 of my new 5' tall tomato cages to try to
keep the deer from eating my trees . Hope it works , because they're skinny
this time of year and not very good eatin' .
They can sometimes reach about 6 feet off the ground. As everything
greens up, they may neglect your trees but come back when they fruit.
I call them rats with hooves to differentiate from the tree rats i.e.
Young trees need to be fenced. In the fall, bucks can tear them up
polishing their antlers. I've seen them destroy trees up to maybe 6
inches in diameter. Park near here wanted to reforest an area and just
wrapped the trunks. They lost about half the trees.
I've had good results against white tails with Natural Fence -- a
spray based on rotten eggs. It smells nasty going on, and you don't
want the wind to shift on you. Once it dries it is mostly odorless
and keeps the deer eating the neighbor's plants.
That's until we hit drought. They don't care what food smells like
when they are starving.
Drew Lawson | It's not enough to be alive
| when your future's been deferred
Wish I could hunt ours. I could use my crossbow but we are within the
200 yard limit of occupied dwellings and my wife does not want me to.
I'm down to my last months supply of venison from last year gleaned from
hunting on public land. Very frustrating to go hunting in the afternoon
and look out a the thermometer on the deck to see what to wear and see a
buck eating my shrubbery right next to the house.
Just this afternoon I looked out and saw a doe with her fawn that could
not have been more than a week old. Deer are cute but royal PITA. In
the fall when my chestnut trees are producing, my back yard is like a
stock yard. Yelling won't chase them and I've taken to throwing fire
I just ordered a gallon of fish emulsion based on the premise that it too
is protein-based <same reason they don't like egg/milk based treatments>
plus it'll feed my plants .
Actually , if that deer this morning had been a buck , it'd probably be in
my freezer by now . But it was a doe , and I won't kill a doe this time of
year , might have a baby out in the woods nearby .
Perhaps they are like goats who are telepathic. A goat will get into your
garden and then pick out of your mind your most prized possession, the plant
that is most valuable and hard to replace. Then they head straight for it
leaving all else alone until the target is destroyed.
by creating a forest meadow you've pretty
much put out the welcome mat.
we've tried all sorts of things and found
that if deer are hungry enough they'll eat
about anything even if it's been sprayed with
all sorts of things. and as for deer proof
plants, if the deer are young enough they'll
sample plants. get enough deer to sample a
plant and it's about as dead as it would be
if it were prime deer feed.
in the end, for the formal veggie gardens
a fence has solved the problem. for the gardens
outside the fenced area, i plant multiple plots
of veggies and hope the critters don't get them
all. usually it has worked well, the outside
plots act as decoy and diversions to keep
critters happy and away from the fenced gardens.
today for example, we had visits by rabbits,
woodchuck, chipmunks, snake and cat and none
of them were in the fenced gardens. most of
the time the woodchuck spent mowing the tops
of some of the alfalfa in the spiral garden
(a green manure patch). the chipmunks ran
around and picked maple tree helecopters out
of the limestone mulch. the bunnies were out
front, i don't know what they did, but probably
ate plantain and clover out of the grass.
the cat came along later, but i don't know if
it hunted or not. i just happened to be
looking at a short round bird through my small
binoculars when it popped up way back at the
fence and i thought at first it was a bobcat
it was so big...
of all the critters the one i'll likely have
to move along with the air rifle is the woodchuck
as it has gnawed some of the garlic off and i
don't want to encourage it for coming up closer
to the house. they do run quite fast. i was out
yesterday and caught it in the same spiral garden
and it ran off. i was thinking that i was very
glad it didn't attack me as it could move pretty
fast and it wasn't a small critter at all.
Well , the only problem with that theory is that we have several hundred
feet of 30-50 foot wide easement for power lines on the land . All kinds of
grass/wildflowers/second growth shrub and small trees .
Good point ...
I'm pretty much locked in to the amount of ground I have cleared , and
there's little room for decoy plantings . It's not like they are short of
food , we've had a wet spring and everything is bustin' out green . LOTS of
new growth for them , which is why I'm surprised they've gotten into the
garden and orchard - especially since our dog has her own door and is in
and out all the time <50 lb Shepherd mix>. I did expect some visits as the
apples and pears ripen , but that won't be until later , and probably not at
all this year .
For sure if I feed these critters all summer they're going to end up in my
freezer ... turnabout , donchaknow .
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