Kits to Keep Deer Out: Introduction
You came here because you’re rightly asking, “Why get a deer fence kit?” Well, while we’re at it, why get any kit? Clearly, the world is full of them: first aid kits, asbestos test kits, gardening kits, Happy Hour cocktail kits, tooth whitening kits, weekend survival kits, kits for making metal sheds, the list is endless. Back about a century ago the Ford Motor Company even devised a kit for making a small truck that was light enough to be “picked up” with a horse and wagon and taken to the owner’s place for assembly – hence the origin of the term “pickup truck”.
In essence we get kits because they provide a good way of dealing with things desired but unfamiliar. That means kits should be designed by experts. They should come with a good set of operating or assembly instructions. They should cost about the same as their parts bought separately. And they should offer the buyer a wide range of choices answering most needs.
Fences to keep deer out qualify for kits because they’re a bit strange. At heart they’re simple, not so complex as metal sheds or pickup trucks. But they do involve unfamiliar parts, and those parts must be assembled right. So deer fence kits should be designed by people who know their way around deer fences. They should come with full installation instructions. They should be affordable. And they should give the buyer a wide range of choice—including a good choice of accessories including things like gates, corner and end braces, top support wires, and extra posts for snow and other tough conditions.
Despite the three tongue-in-cheek images that follow, McGregor Fence takes its kits seriously. Those who design our kits have been involved with deer fences for over 20 years. Each kit comes with detailed written instructions–supplemented by our videos, the best in the business, that show the complete installation process. We make our kits affordable, with the lowest prices available anywhere. And we vary our kits enough to give customers a wide range of choice—not a bizarre range of choice but one that covers most common needs in terms of length, height, type of fencing, and accessories.
This matter of choice merits a closer look. Regarding length, in contrast to China’s Great Wall, deer fences are rather short. Accordingly, our kits come in lengths of 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 feet. Deer fences shorter than 100 feet tend to cost a lot per foot, because the fencing does not come in shorter rolls, and because the per foot shipping cost of posts and fencing rises as length falls. At the other end, fences that keep deer out can certainly get longer than 500 feet, but these are large undertakings that typically merit a chat with one of our experts and a free custom quote. In any case, since most deer fences are shorter than 500 feet, lengths of 100 to 500 feet cover most common deer fence needs.
Regarding height, you don’t need a prison fence to keep deer out. Most of our kits come in heights of 7, 7.5, and 8 feet. Experience has shown that deer will occasionally jump a 6-foot fence, so such fences should only be used if local ordinances bar higher fences. And while a small percentage of white-tailed deer in a panic (inspired by mountain lions, dogs, or an angry homeowner) can leap a 7-foot fence, experience has shown that none will do so just to get a meal. Therefore, the most cost-effective deer fence height is 7 feet. We offer 7.5 and 8-foot kits to provide peace of mind and because these heights are popular. But they are also more expensive. So it’s worth noting that under virtually all circumstances the ideal fence height for excluding deer is 7 feet.
Kinds of Fencing
That brings us to types of fencing that keep deer out. We don’t offer cactus fencing, but we do offer polypropylene, metal hexagrid, and welded wire fencing in our kits. Polypropylene, with its short life and high maintenance, seems a bit quaint today. A charging deer can smash it; a doe, finding her path blocked, can pound at it with her nose until it breaks; and rabbits or woodchucks (ground hogs) can gnaw small holes in the bottom, holes that exploring deer can force their heads into and enlarge to penetrate the fence. The first two events are rare, but the last is so common that anyone with rabbits or woodchucks within range of a planned poly fence should get our 2-foot metal hexagrid “bottom barrier” accessory to deter the rabbits and woodchucks. Beyond that, despite a lot of hype to the contrary, most poly fences only last 10+ years, versus 20+ years for metal hex and welded wire fences.
We offer 3 grades of polypropylene in our deer exclusion kits, mostly because the makers of this material have tried to make it stronger and stronger over the years to compete with metal fencing. Despite the many poly grades, however, we feel that anyone who can afford to buy a kit with metal fencing is better off with that.
Of the metal products, we tend to favor metal hex. Made of 20-gauge galvanized wire woven into 1-inch hexagons and coated with black pvc, it’s less visible and longer lasting than polypropylene. It’s also easy to install, handles grade changes well, and costs less than the more visible welded wire.
The welded wire fencing in our kits consists of 14-gauge galvanized steel wire in a square or rectangular mesh coated with black pvc. It’s more visible than metal hex, costs more, and handles uneven ground poorly. However, it’s also very strong. So, if you have a truly tough job–keeping out elk, keeping deer out in droves, or blocking a highly visible deer path—welded wire is the best choice.
Well then, what about posts? The posts in all our kits to keep deer out are round galvanized steel posts coated with black pvc that fade into the background, look well in a suburban or estate setting, and have an expected life of 20+ years. Typically, posts in the 7-foot kits come with caps but no drive sleeves, while those in the 7.5 and 8-foot kits come with caps and drive sleeves.
Drive sleeves make the posts somewhat easier to install, but that’s not true if the soil has lots of roots or rocks. Hence, if roots or rocks are plentiful, it’s best to get posts without drive sleeves and to install them with a digging bar and manual post driver.
Besides fencing and posts, most deer fence kits (including all the McGregor kits) come with zip-lock ties (for attaching the fencing to the posts), ground stakes (for securing the fencing to the ground), and small white warning flags (to help the deer see the fence at night). In addition, the McGregor kits have one or two features most others lack. All our kits include brace bands that provide an anchor point at the top of each post which prevents the fencing from sliding down the post. And most provide a width of fencing 6 inches greater than the finished height of the fence, which permits 6 inches of fencing to be folded outward (toward the deer), reinforcing the security of the fence at the bottom.
Deer Fence Kit Accessories
This brings us to accessories (gates, braces, support wires, extra posts, and tools). These are sometimes included in the kit, sometimes sold separately, and sometimes offered (like ours) on the same page as the kit. We offer one tool (the manual post driver used to install posts without sleeves) with each of our 7-foot kits that keep deer out. We also offer extra posts (for dealing with tough conditions, including heavy deer pressure and snow loading) with all kits; a bottom (rabbit and woodchuck) barrier with each poly kit; a top support wire with all but the welded wire kits; corner and end braces with all kits; and gates with all kits.
Braces and Gates
The braces and gates need some explaining. The braces offered by some vendors are large posts with side supports. These are quite expensive. The braces we offer use earth anchors arranged so that no cables hang outside the fence line. These are both affordable and cost-effective. We offer them with all our deer exclusion kits and recommend them for most fences over a hundred feet long.
Our gates are kits themselves. That is, they come disassembled. They provide nearly all the items needed–including side support posts, elbows and pipes for the gate door, fasteners, turnbuckles, hinges, latches, and good pictorial assembly instructions. Allow an hour or so for assembly, a bit more if you are putting the support posts in cement footings.
The only component not provided in these gate kits is fencing for the gate door. That’s because we don’t know which type of fencing you plan to use, and we want the fencing on the gate door to match. Therefore, we ask you to cut the door fencing from the rest of your fencing and to attach it to the gate door with fasteners provided in the kit.
These gates aren’t cheap, but they cost a lot less than any elegant custom gate built by a professional. They match the round black steel posts in your fence. And they offer the same advantage as other kits—having been carefully designed by experts and therefore not having to be cobbled together on the fly from scratch.
Getting back to our fence kits, as you can see these kits for keeping deer out are not complex—nothing like Ford’s pickup truck. They simply offer the advantage of having been thought out ahead of time. They may not be so complete as Ford’s kit—because you may need one or more accessories, and what you choose in that regard is up to you. But without your having to get a custom quote, or, alternatively, without having to use our parts list and muddle through, these kits offer a clear path to finding the right deer fence and getting what you need.
Jonathan Leonard, Manager
McGregor Fence Co. LLC