What is Deer Fencing?
Deer fencing is a type of fence engineered to exclude or contain deer and or elk. Typical applications include:
- Preventing deer browsing (surrounding bushes for example)
- Surrounding a small area like a garden where deer can travel all the way around
- Creating backyard area (starting at a house, going into a backyard area, then back to the house again)
- Surrounding the complete perimeter of an area (along a complete property line) with large opening size gates to prevent deer from entering
What is deer fence made out of?
Deer fence is usually made out of black polypropylene plastic or black PVC coated galvanized steel.
- Polypropylene plastic deer fence: Small opening size 3/4"-1" to larger 2" opening size carbon black fence mesh is available in different opening sizes and strengths. This mesh is black to inhibit breakdown from UV rays and different types of this mesh will have different longevity outdoors in sunlight; as little as 3 years to as much as 25 years. It can consist of all virgin polypropylene or a small percentage of recycled material. The black color also makes this mesh not very visible. This type of deer fence does not rust with water or salt water exposure. The smaller opening size mesh is usually not very strong and designed to be draped over vegetation as opposed to a physical barrier type of fence. The larger 1 3/4 to 2" opening size can be used as a physical barrier and can range from 400 pounds of breaking strength per square foot up to 1400 pounds of breaking strength per square foot. The higher strength versions of this poly deer fencing can repel any size deer running at any speed. Click here to shop our poly deer fence rolls
- Metal deer fence: Small to large opening size wire fence of various thicknesses and strengths. This wire fence can be welded or woven. Woven wire is bent into shapes by a machine and can be knotted like traditional field fence or twisted like traditional hex type mesh (chicken wire). Metal deer fence can be plain galvanized or galvanized painted black or galvanized then black vinyl coated. Galvanization can be before weaving or welding or after welding or weaving (in galvanized after welding/weaving the welded joints are also covered with zinc for the best rust resistance). Some more common knotted metal deer fence is graduated with smaller opening size 2"x4" wire spacing at the bottom to larger 4" opening size wire spacing at the top. This wire fence and other large opening size wire fence can trap deer that run into the fence causing injury or death. Two inch opening size or smaller wire deer fence is much less likely to harm deer and just as effective. The black vinyl coated versions of this metal deer fence are also not very visible like black polypropylene deer fencing. It is not rust proof like polypropylene but can last from 5 years to 25 years depending on the type of coatings. Metal deer fence is very strong and can range from 800 pounds of breaking strength for the woven wire hex (chicken wire) types to over 2000 pounds of breaking strength per square foot for some of the welded wire types. 1"x1" metal or smaller can also be used as a chew barrier or rodent barrier at the base of a poly deer fence. Click here to shop our metal deer fence rolls
How tall does a deer fence need to be?
A deer fence needs to be 6 to 10 feet tall. This deer fence height depends on different factors such as the length of the deer fence and the amount of deer pressure in the area where the fence is installed.
- 6 feet tall for small areas that deer can walk around (a 25ft by 25ft garden for example) is usually tall enough. Deer are less likely to jump inside a closed space. 6ft is also tall enough to prevent deer from eating shrubs and trees like arborvitae.
- 7 1/2 feet tall for most areas including backyards and perimeter fences (perimeter fences surround an entire property including a gate or deer grate for a driveway entrance).
- 8 feet tall for large areas, areas with established deer paths or areas protecting something that deer are very attracted to (food sources)
- 10 feet tall for customers raising deer (for deer containment)
Note: along with the proper height of a deer fence, you also need to make sure you are using the proper strength deer fencing and the right type of deer fencing. If you install a deer fence that is very visible - deer will be able to judge the height of the fence and then try and jump it. A good example of a bad deer fence is a chain link fence with a top rail. This very visible benchmark is an easy target for deer to try and jump, similar to a pole vaulter trying to reach a top bar in a jump.
Below is an example of a 7 1/2 foot Critterfence 800 poly deer fence (mid strength) paired with a 1"x1" opening chew barrier from about 25 feet away:
How strong does a deer fence need to be?
A deer fence needs to be 450 pounds of breaking strength to 950 pounds of breaking strength or more depending on your application. The strength of a deer fence is determined by taking a one foot by one foot sample of fence material and pulling it on a calibrated machine with clamps that run along the full top of and bottom of the sample until it breaks. The below numbers offer general guidelines:
- For smaller areas or areas blocking off deer from browsing: deer fencing with a minimum strength of 450 pounds of breaking strength per square foot or more is recommended. This includes deer fencing to be draped over shrubs and plants. This material can be broken by hand.
- For areas up to 350 linear feet in length: deer fencing with a minimum strength of 650 pounds of breaking strength per square foot or more is recommended.
- For areas 350 linear feet or longer: deer fencing with a minimum strength of 750 pounds of breaking strength per square foot or more is recommended. Cannot be broken by hand.
- For areas 1000 linear feet or longer: deer fencing with a minimum strength of 950 pounds of breaking strength per square foot or more is recommended. Cannot be broken by hand.
In general, deer fencing with a breaking strength of 950 pounds or more can repel any size deer running at any speed. This usually happens when deer run into a fence by accident; for example, it's less likely a deer will run into a small 25x25 garden than a 2000 linear foot perimeter fence. The bigger the deer fence, the stronger it should be.
What is deer netting?
Deer netting is another term for deer fence typically referring to lightweight polypropylene deer fencing. This lightweight deer netting sometimes has 3/4" x 3/4" opening size and is also marketed as bird netting. This lightweight mesh is best used for draping over plants to protect them from deer browsing and is not suitable for a perimeter deer fence or yard deer fence.
What about wireless or electric deer fence?
- Wireless deer fence is a electronic device designed to be baited with food or an attractant with the intent of shocking deer to scare them away. These devices can be easy to install but less effective than a permanent deer fence.
- Electric deer fence is a fence consisting of electrically charged wires with the intent of shocking deer to scare them away. This type of electric fence can be more expensive than conventional deer fence and more difficult to install & maintain. Wild animals like deer are likely to run into strands of electric deer fence by accident; once the strands are broken the electric fence system is down and needs to be repaired. Electric fence is great for domestic farm animals like goats for example. You can bring a goat up to an electric fence to shock them once and they will never go up to that electric fence again. Wild animals are different; a traditional (not electric) deer fence is recommended for wild animals.
Can deer crawl under a fence?
Deer can definitely without a doubt crawl under a fence! This is a little known fact. Deer can use their noses to pry up the bottom of an unsecured deer fence. They can also lie down and slide under a fence. There are specially made ground stakes to pin a fence bottom to the ground. These stakes are usually made of thick wire steel or rebar steel and shaped like a candy cane. Some have bent kinked shafts making the stakes more difficult to remove once installed. They range in length from 12" long to 18" long and vary in thickness. Deer fence stakes are usually spaced one every three to four feet depending on deer pressure. The longer smooth shaft stakes are recommended for loose sandy soil. The kinked deer fence stakes are used most everywhere else. Click here to shop our deer fence ground stakes
How much is deer fence?
- Deer fence will range in price from under a dollar a foot to $3.50 a foot or more depending on the width and type of deer fence. Rolls of polypropylene deer fence cost less than all metal deer fence.
- Deer fence kits (everything you need including posts, ties, ground stakes etc.) will range in price from $3.50 a foot to $6.50 a foot or more depending on the width and type of deer fencing rolls inside the fence kits. Metal is more expensive because it's heavier and requires more support posts.
Please click here to shop our deer fence products including fence rolls and complete deer fence kits
Also check out our Deerfencing.com, our dedicated deer fence website.