I thought I had my deer browsing problem solved by using a row cover on my strawberry bed. Out of sight, out of mind; it seemed to be working. I had lush green plants hidden under a white cover, and loads of berries. Unfortunately, our relatively dry Spring turned quite wet and humid. Without proper air circulation to dry out the plants, I suddenly found myself with a bad case of fungus; fruit rotting on the plants. Gritting my teeth, I set about removing all the affected fruit, three gallons worth, then removed the row cover.
Sure enough, it was no more than two days later when I found the deer had torn the netting loose in one corner and started eating the plants. In less than a week, they had nearly stripped the bed, taking a little every night.
However, reinforcements were on the way. Another advantage to getting the bathroom plumbing repaired is that now the outside faucet doesn’t leak anymore, so as soon as the deer started penetrating my defenses, I ordered a Scarecrow®.
This device is a motion activated impact sprinkler. When set off, it’ll emit a four second burst of water, moving rapidly back and forth. It scared the heck out of me and I knew what to expect. I installed it last night, we turned on the water, and went to bed.
This morning, I went out to pick strawberries. I turned off the water, but still got scared when the sprinkler activated with the water left in the hose. The netting on the strawberry bed was intact, so I couldn’t really tell if it had worked, but knew it hadn’t NOT worked. I took a look at the next garden bed and found that something heavy had slammed into the conduit hoop and gave it a lovely S-curve, tearing the row cover in the process. Here was evidence of success. With the evidence at hand I can surmise that the deer casually jumped the fence as usual, near the peach tree, and, no doubt while grazing, made it’s way to the West side of the beds heading for strawberries. Just as it approached, the sprinkler activated (it makes an explosive hissing noise when it starts up) startling the deer, whereupon it jerked away, slamming into the next garden, then running away, back the way it came. I write this with a certain amount of satisfaction, but this is only one successful skirmish in a long battle to gain some kind of equilibrium with my furry neighbors. They serve a role in the environment, and I’m not trying to “get rid of them”, I’m just trying to carve out a little niche of my own. In fact, I did see deer this morning. Two of them were having a drink in the pond, then grazing in the savanna out front. I left them alone.