One Upmanship with the Deer

We are deep in a long standing battle with our neighbors the deer. Due to many factors mostly surrounding suburbanization the deer population has exploded, especially in Loudoun County. I liken the battle to the nuclear arms race. My first volley came in 1992 when I planted one crop on this 180 acres, 1000 tomato plants. I harvested exactly ZERO fruit that season. Can you imagine? The plants were big and healthy and I thought all was well until I ventured into the patch to see when the first ripe one would arrive. I found no tomato fruit at all, and lots of deer poop. Thus the battle began.

We started with one strand of electrified wire around that one acre patch. We moved to two strands, then two whole fences 3 feet apart. Then in 1996 we went big time and put up a “permanent” seven strand electric fence around the whole 50 production acres. It was a huge project, costing a fair amount of money and many people hours. That worked for a few years. Then the second fence outside the first. Then 3-4 years ago 7 foot plastic mesh, attached to the ground with 12″ ground staple so they couldn’t get under the fence. And now, this winter I could see that the deer have started to jump over. So, next week, a company from PA will come down and spend 3-4 days installing an 8 foot woven wire fence. It costs $5 per foot and my fence is more than 8000 feet around, so I am only affording to replace 2900 feet at the most high pressure areas = where I can tell they are jumping over. I anticipate doing this 2 more years until the whole fence is replaced. That’s right, $40,000 invested in keeping Bambi out. As you might imagine I enjoy venison quite a bit, mostly out of poetic justice.

So we are quickly trying to dismantle the existing fence so the new one can get installed next week. That means taking down 20,000 feet of wire, 2900 feet of plastic mesh and many half-rotted fence posts. It’s a big job. Here are two pictures of our worst section in terms of the complex of weedy perennials that have taken hold in the fence line.

I got so frustrated with separating the mesh from the pokey weeds that I brought out the skid loader and just smashed it down and ripped it out of the ground. It was very satisfying. But we still had to roll up the good parts of the mesh and fold up the ruined pieces to throw away.

I’ll show you the beautiful new fence when it gets here.

One thought on “One Upmanship with the Deer

  1. Great blog. I have many fond memories of hog-ringing the 7-foot mesh to the fence in ’05. 🙂 Hope you’re feeling great as the season gets underway.

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