What do you think when you think ‘Deer’.  Bambi right??  Cute sweet little doe-eyed deer.  And of course you’d be right.  I saw two baby deer on the road just this morning.  Covered in spots, bounding down the road.  AAWWWW, so adorable!

But too soon to grow into the ultimate De-struc-tor!  Seriously.  Here in the country, deer can destroy an entire crop in one night.  When we planted our first acre of olive trees, we of course fenced the space, but within a few days the deer damage was unavoidable.  They would skip one tree, only to nip off every single leaf, EVERY SINGLE LEAF, from the next one.  It is one of the saddest sights to walk down your orchard and see every other tree completely killed and eaten.

I've circled a bitten leaf for you, even though they are hard to miss.  Sniff Sniff
I've circled a bitten leaf for you, even though they are hard to miss. Sniff Sniff

But luckily, if you are diligent, they are easily defeated.  Deer may be insistent, but they aren’t exactly smart.  They can be easily fooled.  Smell is one of their most important senses.  If you strategically place smells they don’t like around your garden, orchard, vineyard, etc. you can keep the deer at bay.  If you live near neighbors, this may not be the best option but, you can pee around in random spots along the border of your homestead, the deer smell lingering human and avoid the area.

The same effect can be achieved by keeping your hair clippings (or go ask your local barber, I’m sure they would be willing to share a bag of hair with you, gross I know but effective).  Wrap a golf ball sized amount in a little cheese cloth, or even an old pair of nylons, and place them every five feet or so around your garden.  The smell will dissipate eventually, so replace them whenever you cut you or your families hair.

If you have a dog, or plan on getting a dog, walk them around your perimeter every day.  Have them do their business around the perimeter (feel free to join them 😉 ).  Not only will this put a ring of predator ferimones around your land, it will become part of your dogs habit, and at night they will protect your space!  (Additional bonus, this keeps Lots of different animals away.)

Of course you can always go with a more basic technique; sprinkle a little blood meal around your beds, a good fertilizer and also scares the deer away (blood equals danger, no surprise there).  Deer Out is a man made deer repellent.  They have a 100% money back guarantee, which is good, but the whole “pleasant peppermint scent” kind of puts me off.  Not sure why.  Maybe because I don’t care what it smells like, I just want it too work.  Another product I found, but haven’t tried, is Deer Away which claims to have no scent, but to be derived from rotten eggs.  I think this one might actually work like it says it does, because I know from personal experience Actual rotten eggs work wonders.  Sure they don’t smell great for a while but one must make sacrifices to be a gardener (or just buy the spray).

So to recap:

• Pee.  Everywhere.

• Walk your dog and have them pee.  Everywhere.

• Save your hair and make little balls and hang them.  Everywhere.

• Sprinkle blood and/or rotten egg.  Everywhere.

Did I forget anything?  Could this whole process sound any nastier?  But you know what, it works!  So suck it up, get your hands dirty, and have a bountiful harvest, deer free.

Buck standing at attention in the morning mist.
Buck standing at attention in the morning mist.