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  • Are deer a concern?

    I live on a farm out in the country with about 6 acres cleared (hay fields) and yard and about 30 acres of woods that hosts a sizable herd of deer. I repositioned by trail cameras today in preparation to fill the freezers with venison but even filling all my tags (and my neighbors doing the same) won't really make a dent in the deer population. We all work together to manage the herd for long term health and harvest.

    Not saying opossums, raccoons, skunks, and birds won't be a problem, but I have ideas on fighting that battle. My question right now is whether the deer will be a predatory problem for my figs once I eventually get my orchard set up and producing. So...are deer a problem to worry about?
    Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep

  • #2
    Thus far, they have not bothered my trees when they reside on the driveway in spring and this may be the first year I have fruit to ripen during the shuffle.

    So at this time they are not a problem for me. The herd in my neighborhood is rather well fed anyway.

    Do you have dogs? Are they able to protect the orchard?
    Last edited by COGardener; 08-23-2015, 09:20 PM.
    Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

    “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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    • DBJohnson
      DBJohnson commented
      Editing a comment
      No dogs at this time. Have hesitated getting a dog or livestock because we don't really want to be tied down (we like to spontaneously go for weekend road trips....and livestock pretty much eliminate that as an option).

  • #3
    So far they haven't bothered the fig trees and they have the opportunity every day. They have pruned back the Hardy Kiwis and have even nibbled a small tomato plant that's growing next to the potted fig trees, but have neither nibbled nor damaged the fig leaves. Next year I'll be increasing the height of the fences and adding a new section to keep them out of the expanded Blueberry patch, they love to nibble the Blueberry plants..
    Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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    • DBJohnson
      DBJohnson commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the input. They didn't bother the garden this year...mostly interests in the old apple tree about 80' away.

  • #4
    Yeah the bucks love to rub young trees. I put up fiberglass fence poles around the field temporarily (no electric fence, just poles) to freak them out after a few got mauled last fall and it worked long enough to get the trees protected for winter.
    Last edited by hoosierbanana; 08-23-2015, 10:18 PM.
    .

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    • DBJohnson
      DBJohnson commented
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      Thanks for the input. I rarely see bucks up where I plan to put the orchard...usually just does and following fawns. That being said, will keep it in mind.

  • #5
    A few years ago I put in a nice sized Kadota...positioned it inside a fence corner...maybe 100' from the house....it was fine until came time for felt rubbing.....girdled the tree...I ended up with one small cutting and it is today a 6' tree.

    Then there is this year....I put in a small fig orchard, 24 trees to start, extras from this years bounty of cuttings that made it....thought I'd give it a go...without fencing and see what would happen...they were fine for a month or so...I think it was the third or forth day after I had noticed the trees were getting their roots set and had actually started putting on new tip growth. Then it started, first a small bite out of a single leaf...then a few nibbles around the corners.

    This weekend the local hardware store had a 15% sale on everything in the store....I bought 200' of deer fencing...that's in addition to some fencing I've got around the place...7' plus, going in this next week.

    BTW....some of the small trees are nothing but twigs in the ground right now...they have their root set so I'm halfway sure they'll put up new next year, if not sooner. Most of the damage....done by Kids in the orchard....I'm thinking it may be retribution for my tilling in all their favorite weeds earlier...about 2 days before the damage started....you know how kids can be.....
    Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

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    • DBJohnson
      DBJohnson commented
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      Yeah...kids are great roasted over a charcoal fire. Thanks for the input!

  • #6
    Thanks, guys. This helps me decide to put the orchard closer to the house rather than further away.
    Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep

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    • #7
      I have my fig trees in an area that deer frequent constantly. They never touch the figs. There are so bad, however, with other stuff I have moved the other trees to an upper deck.

      As far as managing any deer herd in VA your plan ought to be "shot as many as possible".

      I moved here from Craig county and the Game Warden would hand out packs of twenty tags anytime he was asked as the deer are destroying our forests and severely affecting song bird habitat, etc.
      Not to mention their role in creating more ticks. I have found that one dog can easily eat several deer as can one person.

      There is a great program that takes deer and gives the meat to the poor.

      The vultures are also in need of food at times. The breeding range of the black vulture comes as far north as Radford Arsonal and the Turkey Vuture breeds throughout the state and they can always use food.

      ETC.
      I can get very creative when it comes to harvesting venison as the darn things are in dander of spreading wasting disease, etc.

      And let's not forget you can't even ride a bike at night anymore as they tend to jump out in front of you no matter how loud the exhaust.

      Kill kill kill !!! But do so responsibly.

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      • #8
        I hear you on the ticks. Rule on our place is that if you leave the yard and walk around the pastures and woods, you must do a tick-check and preferably a shower immediately upon return to the house. Our friends and family now routinely bring an extra set of clothes or use a robe while we launder clothing that went for the walk. As for vultures, we have a sizable group in the area...even had two turkey vulture babies grow up in my hay loft last year. My neighbor has 20 acres of hay field adjacent and gets the local DOT folks to let him know when deer get hit in the area. He gets permission to move the carcasses to his property to help keep the vulture population fed.
        Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep

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        • #9
          http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/jeannette_ferguson/

          Tick control
          Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

          “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

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          • DBJohnson
            DBJohnson commented
            Editing a comment
            Yep! Guineas are on the planning board for next spring along with laying chickens. That articles is probably the best I've read, though. Thanks!

        • #10
          take empty 2 liter bottle with cap on. Cut in half. Discard bottom half. Drill hole threw cap of bottle and fresh bar of Irish spring soap. Run rope with soap attached thru the hole in cap and make knot so no slip threw and tie to tree. Deer hate smell and by having it protected from rain will not drip soap into soil.
          Zone 5 Chicago IL Wish list:
          1) Rest peacfully Amico Bello Buddy 👼🏼.
          2) This weeks ebay auctions.

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          • DBJohnson
            DBJohnson commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you! I'll give that a try on the apple trees up near the house, too.

          • rusty hooks
            rusty hooks commented
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            that's interesting Mike.....I'll give that a try

        • #11
          very nice information. see my post on deer what the hay. I have not put my fig trees in the ground yet. Will do so next year. They have visited my fenced in back yard and eaten the leaves off my new mulberry tree and one of the avocado trees (which put out new leaves, they ate, tree said stuff it and died). I like the irish spring set up. Members here full of great information.

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          • #12
            I had my cuttings sitting next my cabin a while back. The deer found them and gave them a pruning.

            My neighbor has a brown turkey tree about 6' x 7' with a wire fence around it. I told him he could remove the fence since it was a mature tree. It wasn't long before the lower leaves and all the green figs were eatten by deer. The tree now looks like an umberella. That was my bad.

            Deer like goats when hungery will eat just about anything.

            Db, if you have deer, protect your plants rather gamble and be sorry later.
            Jerry, Canyon Lake TX 8b

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            • DBJohnson
              DBJohnson commented
              Editing a comment
              Will do! Thanks! Right now all my fig trees are up close to the house and the deer that come into the yard seem to be more bye rested in the apple trees. I'll thin the population once hunting season opens and will fence the orchard once I start putting trees where they might encounter deer.

          • #13
            I have had problems with the deer especially with smaller plants. The do love to eat the leaves. They've even chomped down a stem. I consider them a problem

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            • DBJohnson
              DBJohnson commented
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              Thanks, Coop!

            • brettjm
              brettjm commented
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              I can confirm. They don't *like* the trees, but they sure sample them. A bit of sampling once or twice a week on a first year tree can be devastating. The jerks ate the top of my Adriatic JH a few days ago, and no others! I thought about poisoning the devils until I remembered it was a federal crime :-/ If it was legal I probably would. I still might have my friends come bowhunt to thin the herd (that way I get a cut of the venison as a bonus!)

          • #14
            Resorted to some dramatic alterations last night....covered all the small trees with empty 15 gallons pots....and

            on the taller trees....attached mousetraps with small plastic spring clamps from harbor freight....if the larger fawns make an attempt on the leaves...hopefully, the traps go off and start the re-training process...deer hate quick motions and loud noises

            ​We'll see how this progresses...till I get the fence and gates completed
            Ross B. Santa Rosa Calif zone 9b, wish list: CdD Blanc, Igo, Palmata, Sucrette, Morroco, Galicia Negra

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            • #15
              I finally got to eat some grapes this year after I extended my electric fencing around them. I tie white plastic grocery bags to the fence wire.Some stationary and some loose that are blown up and down the wires when the wind blows.The pie pans make some tinging noise when the wind blows them against the wires which seems to annoy the deer.

              I had a buck rub, break limbs, and girdle a 2.5" caliper HC one winter.I've had a couple of newly planted small fig trees pulled out of the ground in the Spring when the deer were foraging for new green growth.I haven't had any problems with deer eating the leaves on fig trees in the country where there is plenty of other food to eat.My mother's fig trees near the city has an over population of deer without any predators or hunting and the deer eat some lower leaves off her large 12' fig tree.They eat the green limbs and leaves on the smaller 3-4' fig trees ruining them.
              You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 1 photos.
              Barry
              NE GA ,Zone 7b Low Temperature of 4F in 2015,17F in 2016,17F in 2017,6F in 2018,17F in 2019

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              • DBJohnson
                DBJohnson commented
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                Thanks for the info. Hadn't thought about an electric fence.
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