Critter Control: Deer

The most common variety seen in the U.S. is the white-tailed deer, which are tan to light brown in color with a big, bushy white tail. They have long, slender legs with two-toed hooves.


As most hunters know, deer are most active in the early morning or late evening. Though they are shy by nature, when hunger calls, they'll go anywhere in search of food.

Good Points

They're cute (thanks to Walt Disney), non-aggressive, and docile for the most part. During the annual hunting seasons, millions of dollars are pumped into rural economies by hunters in search of a family room trophy.

Bad Points

Their damage costs farmers and gardeners millions of dollars each year. Also, deer carry the Lyme tick which causes Lyme disease. And for some unknown reason, they like to leap in front of your car at the last minute as you're cruisin' down the road.

Favorite Foods

Generally, everything in sight. If its green—deer will eat it, including fruits, flowers, vegetables, trees, shrubs and evergreens. They can digest over 600 different species of plants. Acorns and carrots are among their favorites.


Deer damage trees and crops by feeding on leaves, shoots, buds and bark. As they feed, they pull or twist the vegetation, leaving ragged or twisted twigs, stubs and patches of bark. Males also cause damage as they rub their antlers on the trunk and branches during rutting season.



There are several commercial applications available on the market including Liquid Fence®, or the Electronic Deer Repellent. These repellents work on the deer's keen sense of taste or smell, so you have to check and/or renew the applications after every rainfall.


Deer are nervous animals, so try any or all of the following:

  • Get a big dog and give him/her the run of the yard. (But remember, dogs can provide a whole new list of problems!)
  • Feed them something that is more attractive than your plants—like corn and/or carrots.
  • Fence in your garden area with easy-to-install 7 ft. high Deer Net
  • Deer don't go where they can't see, so plant a perimeter of fast growing, thorny bushes like holly or barberry around your garden.
  • Dust your tender young trees with blood meal.
  • Protect your trees with wire mesh fencing or tree guards.
  • Plant narcissus bulbs; deer just don't like them.

For More Controls, Click On: Critter Controls