Of all the complaints I hear about problems in the garden, damage done by feeding deer ranks near the top.

Deer hunter numbers across the state continue to decline. As a result, the overall size of the deer population is getting harder to manage. It’s not just the rural areas that are seeing more deer either. Every year we hear about deer in cities causing so many problems that sometimes they resort to special hunts to thin the herd.

In the meantime, gardeners are trying all kinds of things to minimize deer damage to their gardens. They can all be effective to varying degrees depending on the circumstances. The more common methods include: hanging scented bars of soap; hanging bags of human hair; applying hot pepper sauce or other assorted repellent sprays; motion detector activated devices; and others.

Fencing is really the best way to keep them out, but effective deer fencing can be cost prohibitive and usually doesn’t look all that attractive..

This summer, a friend of mine stumbled across a low-cost alternative to fencing that has kept the deer out of his vegetable garden all season. He used moderately heavy monofilament fishing line to create a barrier around his garden.

When deer approach the line, they stop and seem confused. Apparently, they just don’t know what to make of it. Even the smallest deer could easily snap the line by just walking through it but for some reason they don’t.

This was for a vegetable garden and there were other gardens nearby. It could be the deer just moved on to easier pickings. I’m not sure how well this would work for a single garden alone by itself.

To make a monofilament barrier, just set some fence posts around the perimeter of your garden. Attach the line to the posts stretching it fairly tight so it doesn’t sag. Run four strands of line about a foot apart with the first one a foot above the ground. Of course, you’ll need to have some way of getting in, I’ll let you figure out how you want to build a gate.

Deer are smart in their own way. I’m wondering if  after a season or two the deer will figure out what's going on and ignore the line, but for now it’s working.

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