Usually we discuss about how to attract Kentucky whitetails just to within range of your favorite rifle, but I thought we’d talk about failures and successes with trying to keep deer away. Let’s define what we want to keep deer away from. In my area, it’s my mother’s hastes right next to her front porch. They eat these large leafy plants right down to the red lava rock. This is a home on 80 acres with 3 other homes within 200 yards on the same property. It’s a paved driveway, etc. She has at least one dog that roams the property during the day, so how is it deer still come to her front door and devour such a non-intentional food plot?
Let’s start out with the regular solutions to deter whitetail:
1) Human hair – People do this with mixed results. I think it’s safe to say that if deer get use to the human scent of hair, then it will be a less effective deterrence. Use it sparingly and make sure to take all the bags of human hair down after the growing season is over. Some Kentucky outfitters use this method, but not many.
2) Paper Bags tied to strings – This is a nice little deterrent that has a little bit of an impact, but not much. The thing to remember is if you practice a bunch of these things that are 6% effective, add up all those % points and what do you have? You have something that will help keep deer out more than if you didn’t do anything at all. Nothing is going to stop the deer other than a 10 foot fence. If you're selling Kentucky whitetail hunts, this method is prefered because it can easily be removed.
3) Malorganite – This is a human waste by-product fertilizer. Before you get grossed out, no company is going to be able to mass produce something in this country unless it’s safe to use for its intended purposes. Studies have shown it will deter deer from open food plots an extra few weeks. After that time, then the effectiveness goes away.
4) Fencing – 6 foot fence isn’t going to stop deer at all! Again, it may have a little bit of an impact. Maybe every other night a doe or buck won’t feel like making the jump. It might stop the fawns from getting in which in turn might stop the doe from going in or staying very long.
5) Deer Off Spray – This spray is effective, but expensive. As long as you keep reapplying it every week, you’ll keep the deer away. Now, if it rains, you need to reaply it or else the deer could wipe out your plants within a night or two.
If you want to keep deer out of your property and away from your cherished plants, then you need use multiple techniques to deter deer. The only way you’re going to completely keep these whitetails out of your gardens is to not offer them “cover” or favorable habitat. If you live out in the country around farms and wooded land, then you are in “their” territory.