Support Lines, Stakes, and Flags
Top Support Lines for Deer Fences
Monofilament Line Versus Tie Wire. If you’re planning a polypropylene deer fence less than 500 feet long, one that is not threatened by overhanging branches, you don’t need a top support line. You can get one to make your fence look neater, but you don’t need it. However, if you’re planning a metal hexagrid fence of any length, or a longer poly fence, or a poly fence likely to endure large falling branches, it’s a good idea to install a top support line as well as placing stakes in the ground (see below).
We offer two kinds of support lines: black pvc-coated 13.5 gauge steel tie wire and thick nylon monofilament that comes in 8 and 12-gauge widths. Well then, which is best? Metal tie wire, it turns out, works best on short fences and on fences going around curves. Here’s why: The support line should not go around corners (because of wear caused by movement of the corner posts) or across gate openings. So, if the fence is short, then the length of support line in one “run” along one side of the fence is also short. And if you’re using nylon monofilament, each run requires special terminators and a tensioner, while the steel tie wire does not. This makes it preferable to use tie wire on short fences.
Also, if your fence goes around a long curve, tensioning a long run of monofilament line could cause the line to tilt your posts inward toward the inside of the curve. This won’t happen if you use a lot of short manually tightened runs of tie wire–because the short runs will each go practically straight. So here again tie wire is the best option.
However, if you have a lot of long straight runs on the fence, you can allow a monofilament line to run up to 300 feet before being terminated. In that case manually tightening a lot of short runs of tie wire is less attractive and monofilament line becomes the best choice.
Monofilament Line Terminators and Tensioners: We offer two choices for tensioning (tightening) and terminating monofilament support lines. One is a circular wire tensioner (a daisy wheel) combined with U-bolt cable clamps and a handle tool. The other is gripples, which serve as both terminators and tensioners, applied with a gripple tool. The latter yield the more elegant result. However, on a fence with few runs the U-bolts, daisy wheels, and handle tool are more cost-effective.
Attaching the Line to the Fencing: Regardless of whether you use tie wires or nylon monofilament support lines, you still need to attach the wires or lines to your fencing. This can be done with a hog-ring stapler and staples (expensive because you need to buy the stapler) or with nylon zip-lock ties (inexpensive but time-consuming to apply). In either case you need to apply one staple or zip-tie for every foot of support line. In general, it is best to use our strong 8-inch zip-ties for this job when you don’t need to apply more than about 300. On longer fences the time required to apply the zip ties makes the much faster hog ring stapler cost-effective.
Stakes in the Ground
Putting stakes in the ground along the fence line is essential. Some people like using a taut support line of nylon monofilament along the bottom of the deer fence instead. That works fine so long as the line is running flat or passing over little mounds. But where it passes over little dips it leaves a gap that you need to fill in and tamp down, or else the deer may use it to work their way under the fence.
So long is you fold out 6 inches of your fence at the bottom and stake it down, you will need only one ground stake every 6 feet. In most cases a 1-foot kinked galvanized ground stake will do the job well. However, if your soil is loose (being very sandy, for example) it is better to use the other alternative we offer, this being a more expensive 18-inch length of rebar with a hook.
On the same page as the ground stakes you’ll see our warning flags. Don’t pass these up. We make them more cheaply than you can (in bags of 20 or 50 cut to the right length), and they could save your fence from charging deer in the early stages. We agree the flags are not beautiful (they’re meant to resemble the white-tail deer’s “danger signal”), but within a few months of installation, after the neighborhood deer have become trained to the fence, they can be removed.