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Attaching the Fencing

Fence Building: Attaching the Fencing

Once the monofilament line or tie wire is up and tight, you’re ready for the next fence building step, that of attaching the deer fencing (see video). Starting about a foot before a corner post of your choice, unroll the polypropylene or metal deer fencing on the ground just outside the fence line until you come to the next corner, end, or gate, or until you reach the end of the fence roll. Put something heavy on the fencing to keep if from rolling back up again, and return to the post where you started.

To begin attaching the fencing to a post, raise one side of the fencing up to the top of the post. If this is a round fence post with a brace band, attach the fencing (at a point about one foot from the end of the roll) to the brace band’s bolt with a zip-lock tie. If it is an angle-iron post, put the zip-tie through the top hole in the angle-iron post. If it is a wood post or tree, nail the deer fencing to a point an inch or so from the top of the post (or to an appropriate point on the tree) with a 2-inch u-nail. If you are using u-nails, hammer each one in about four-fifths of the way, leaving enough room for the fencing to move.

Except in the case of welded wire fence building, where the welded wire should be flush with the ground, arrange things so that there is roughly 6 inches of extra fencing at the bottom of the post or tree that can be folded outward toward the deer. Then use a couple more zip-ties or u-nails for attaching the deer fencing at intermediate points down the post, leaving at least a couple of inches of the fencing extending back before this initial post.

If you are not installing top support (a tie wire or monofilament line), proceed as below but skip the part about the wire or line.

Recall that a top support wire or line is generally used on all metal hexagrid and welded wire deer fences, on polypropylene deer fences over 500 feet long, and on shorter poly fences where falling branches are likely to pose problems. If you are using a top support wire or line, proceed by attaching deer fencing to the top support wire/line loosely with two zip-ties between each pair of posts or trees, placing one tie about a third of the way between each set of posts and the other about two-thirds of the way between them. Once this is done all along the run of monofilament line or tie wire, tighten the line or tie wire until it runs straight (but not so tight as to tilt posts). Then add several more zip-ties or u-nails at the first deer fence post in order to firmly secure the fencing to that post.

Now go to each post in succession, pull the fencing moderately taut (not drum-tight), and apply zip-ties or u-nails to secure the fencing to the posts. Use 5 to 7 zip-ties per post (7 for each round post, 5 for each angle-iron post), 5 u-nails per post (for wood posts or trees). If you are using round posts with brace bands, put the top zip-tie around the top of the fencing (and also around the support line/wire if any) and around the bolt in the brace band rather than around the post. As before, except with welded wire fences, arrange things so that there is 6 inches of extra fencing material at the bottom all along the fence that can be folded outward toward the deer.

Next, attach the deer fencing to the top support line or wire with 8-inch heavy-duty nylon zip-lock ties or hog ring staples, applying one tie or staple every foot for a metal fence and every 18 inches for a polypropylene fence. Doing this with zip-lock ties can be quite time-consuming (a hog-ring stapler is much faster), and the nylon ties (don’t use stainless steel ties because they won’t close completely) will need to be replaced about every 5 years. So if you have a long fence it makes sense to invest in a hog-ring stapler. When you are done, check to ensure that you have enough excess deer fencing on the ground to make a 6-inch bottom fold, and also affirm that the line is not sagging (if it is, tighten it as seems appropriate). You don’t need this bottom fold if installing welded wire fencing, but in that case you need to ensure the fencing is on the ground–and in places where it is not to fill in with soil, fencing, or other material.

If your fence building project uses light poly fencing and you come to that rare corner where going around the corner does not change the grade of the fence line, you can go around this corner without cutting the fencing into two sections if you wish. However, it is best to stop at the corner and attach the fencing as described above to every fence post leading up to this corner. Then figure just where the fence will touch the corner post when finished and make a 6 to 8 inch vertical cut in the bottom of the fencing at this point, so that you can take the fencing around the corner while leaving 6 inches at the bottom to fold out toward the deer. Should you find that going around the corner does change the grade of the fence line significantly, proceed as described in the section “Dealing with Grade Changes”.

Joining the Deer Fence Sections

Sections of polypropylene or welded wire fencing can be joined together with nylon zip-lock ties or hog ring staples. Those using zip-lock ties should use the heavy-duty nylon ties, which have an expected life of about 5 years. (Do not use stainless steel ties for this job, as they will not close tightly enough to securely join the strands of fencing.) Attach zip-lock ties by running them through the fence strands to be joined and then pulling them moderately tight. Attach enough of these ties to firmly join the two sections and also to resist the stresses likely to be encountered from wind, rain, snow, and deer.

Hog ring stapler

Hog-ring staples offer a good alternative to zip-lock ties when your fence is long. They are actually metal staple-like clips that when applied by a hog-ring stapler form a closed circle, like the ring in a hog’s nose. They are a useful fence building tool, good for joining support wires or lines to the fencing, for joining a metal hexagrid skirt to poly fencing, and for joining any two fence sections together.

Happily, if you are putting up a metal hexagrid deer fence you need none of these fasteners to join the sections. That’s because the cut ends of the hexagons (like the cut ends of chicken-wire fencing) point outward. These ends, which may be very sharp and seem wholly dedicated to sticking into one’s fingers, can be put through hexagrids on the deer fence section to which they are being joined and then twisted back and all the way around to form a firm connection. If done enough times along the seam, this produces a strong long-lasting bond joining the two sections.

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