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Deer Fence Planning: The Setting

A deer fence showing the setting

In preparing to plan a fence you need to think about the setting, both the area to be protected (the deer control area) and the actual line along which the planned fence will run. Barrier deer fences commonly protect large properties. That’s mainly because they are quite expensive to install; but they become relatively affordable if one has a large property to enclose, because then the number of square feet protected per foot of fence become relatively large.

To plan a fence you also need to consider how the deer regard the deer control area. Do many deer customarily live there? Does the area have an abundant food supply (especially in winter) that the deer know well? Does it have secluded or protected places where deer could congregate unseen along the fence line, or is all of the property to be fenced used by people or visable from buildings? Each of these factors can influence how eager deer may be to test your deer control barrier.

Finally, in preparing to plan a fence consider the fence line itself. An area covered with dense, woody brush will require clearing along the fence line, raising the cost and difficulty of installation. However, deer fences in the open (where there is no tree cover) may be more visible to deer and are more commonly targeted for assault. Therefore, such fences should be stronger (made of such materials as metal hexagrid, or if made of polypropylene then reinforced with monofilament line). The ideal site for a deer fence, to the extent one is free to choose, is where there are plenty of healthy trees but the undergrowth is limited (see Using Trees as Posts). That makes deer fence installation relatively easy; and, at the same time, the deer will find the dappled shade and overhanging limbs make the fence less visible and a less inviting target.

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