How to Get Rid of Deer

Deer can cause damage to your trees, shrubs, and other plants. Deer like to feed on young or new plant growth, and the well-fertilized and lush growth of gardens and landscaping beds in most developed areas offers them a tempting target. Getting rid of deer is difficult as they quickly adapt to most deterrents, but by using a combination of strategies, you may be able to reduce their visits to your lawn and prevent damage to your landscaping and gardens.


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    Identify signs of deer on your property. You want to determine which pests are causing the damage before you proceed with implementing your strategies to get rid of deer, and it's important to know which areas or plants the deer are targeting so you know where to focus your efforts.
    • Look for plants with jagged, ripped edges on their leaves or scored marks on tree trunks that go down past the bark. Deer rip vegetation off plants with their mouths as they don't have sharp front teeth, and deer will rub their antlers against trees to remove the velvet or to mark their territory.
    • Scan the lawn for deer droppings and footprints. The droppings are bean-sized and shaped, typically around ¾ inch (2cm) long. Deer prints are a distinctive cloven hoof print.
    • Check for deer bedding. These are oval depressions on the ground where a deer has laid down to rest. The depressions are typically 1.75 by 4 feet (0.5m by 1.25m) in size.
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    Plant deer resistant plants and trees around vegetation the deer are targeting. You may be able to deter deer from snacking on their favorite plants if you mask them with less appealing plants and trees.
    • Incorporate plants and shrubs that are poisonous, have hairy or furred leaves, spines, or that are strongly aromatic. Examples of deer resistant flowers include foxgloves, black-eyed susans, carnations, poppies and lavender. Deer also dislike lilac bushes and evergreens.
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    Scare deer away from your property. You can startle deer using flashing lights or loud noises. You will need to change the method you use at least every 3 weeks if not sooner, as deer will quickly adjust to any 1 method.
    • Blow a horn or whistle outside if you see deer in your yard.
    • Hang up old CDs and aluminum foil from trees or shrubs, or on a line hung between posts or stakes. The flashing lights from the CDs and rustling noise of the foil can help deter deer.
    • Use a commercial electronic deer repellent. These are devices that are usually motion controlled which you can set up in your deer problem areas. They either emit loud ultrasonic and sonic noise, flashing light, or a combination of both. There are some motion-controlled sprinklers available as well that douse the deer and other pests with water when they get close to your plants.
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    Make or purchase contact repellents. A contact repellent is usually a liquid that you spray on a targeted plant, shrub or tree. The liquid tastes and/or smells bad to deer, so they stop eating the plant.
    • Mix together an egg spray. Make a mixture that is 20 percent egg and 80 percent water. Pour into a spray bottle, and spray affected vegetation. The smell of decay from the egg deters deer as they associate decay and rotting smells with predators. Apply every 30 days, or after rain.
    • Prepare a spray of diluted hot sauce. Spray it on your plants and trees. The capsicum from the peppers tastes bad and irritates deer, causing them to stop eating the plant.
    • Purchase a commercially prepared product. Check to make sure the product is safe to use for vegetable and fruit bearing plants if you are using it on a garden or fruit trees.
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    Hang bars of soap from trees or stakes. The strong scent may keep deer out of your yard.
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    Take advantage of deer's fear of predators. Deer are likely to steer clear if they suspect a predator is nearby.
    • Scatter human or dog hair on the ground around targeted plants and trees or the perimeter your garden.
    • Get an outside dog or dog decoy. Deer are afraid of dogs.
    • Hang mesh bags filled with human hair clippings, feather meal or blood meal. Place bags 3 feet (.91 m) apart and refill the bags monthly.
    • Buy an area deer repellent made with blood meal or predator urine. Common deer predators include bobcats and coyotes.
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    Remove bird feeders from your yard. Bird feed or corn you place out for other animals will also draw deer to your property.
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    Improve or add fencing. Although not foolproof, a tall, sturdy fence can help prevent deer from entering your property.
    • Make sure the fence is tall enough. Deer can jump 9 feet (2.74 m), so a fence should be at the very least 8 feet (2.44 m) to successfully deter deer. If you don't want a tall fence, try putting in 2 fences that are 4 to 5 feet (1.23 to 1.52 m) high placed about 3 feet (.91 m) apart.
    • Start the fence at least 1 foot (.30 m) underground so deer cannot get through underneath the fence.


  • Favorite deer plants include fruit trees, dogwood, berries, roses and tulips among others. You can check online for full listings of deer favorites and deer repellent plants. Use this information to plan before any future gardening if you have a deer problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Deer resistant plants
  • Horn or whistle
  • Old CDs and aluminum foil
  • Electronic deer repellent
  • Motion-controlled sprinkler
  • Eggs
  • Hot sauce
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Soap bars
  • Mesh Bags
  • Human or dog hair clippings
  • Dog or dog decoy
  • Line for hanging mesh bags
  • Feather or blood meal

Article Info

Categories: Wildlife