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deterring deer

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deterring deer

Postby smojo » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:06 am

I've seen evidence in my wood that deer have been in - elder shoots and bark nibbled. I have a small area that has very little ground cover where pheasants were previously reared. I suspect it's not recovering because deer are eating any new growth. Yesterday confirmed it. I found some clear deer tracks in some mud and now, on leaving the woods, there was what looked like a roe deer in the middle of the field adjoining the woods.

So the question is - how can you deter deer without resorting to fencing (too expensive) or shooting them. In fact are there any deterrants?

May sound a little perverse but I heard they don't like the smell of humans so I have taken to peeing on the elder bushes whenever I need one in the hope that they might move on but I think that's not going to do it. I will obviously put tree guards around any new planted saplings but I'm mainly concerned about the browsing of emerging ground cover so what can be done about that?
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Re: deterring deer

Postby Whatisheatnow » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:47 am

Not sure if it would suit your situation but the only method that was successful for me and which I discovered by accident was to walk through the wood frequently with a largish dog on the loose, preferably a retired greyhound or similar. The dog(s) would chase the deer occasionally without the remotest hope of catching it but it was enough to keep the deer well away. May be sailing a bit close to the wind legally re "hunting with hounds" and some may have objections but it worked.
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Re: deterring deer

Postby oldclaypaws » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:24 am

There are times when difficult personal decisions are required to be taken for the greater good of the environment. Deer grazing causes significant damage to woodlands and virtually all Nature bodies including the woodland trust and RSPB accept there is an overwhelming case for humane control. Note, control, not deterrence. If you deter them without control, you just end up moving them off for a short time before even more come back. The only predator they have is us, and as we've switched to buying farmed meat from supermarkets rather than sourcing it naturally, deer numbers have soared and the population is far too high.

They are beautiful creatures, but the damage they cause threatens the long term future of your woodland and all the creatures that live in it. Once you accept the case for culling (you don't have to do it yourself, there are plenty of willing skilled volunteers), there is the bonus that venison is delicious and healthy meat which is excellent for the table. Even if you are a veggy (yes?), there are friends who'll gratefully rehome bambi in the freezer. You have to remember there are tens of thousands of animals killed every day after short unnatural lives in farms, a few deer who've lived happy natural lives by comparison isn't such a moral dilemma. Its them or your trees.

I've a friend coming in this winter to humanely despatch a couple, he's very experienced and skilled and knows the right animals to take.

Its for the greater good of the wood and the correct sensible thing to do to maintain a natural balance, its not murder.
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Re: deterring deer

Postby Dexter's Shed » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:34 am

I think It's disgusting all this talk about harming poor Bambi, if you want meat, buy it from the supermarket were it's made and no animal has to die to feed you.
I personally would start advertising "deer spotting days" and charge £40 a pop, there's enough mad people out there, to actually make some money :lol:
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Re: deterring deer

Postby oldclaypaws » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:00 am

The most dodgy deer are obviously those cheap imported Chinese Deer, namely Munjac, as bought by Dexter on Ebay. I only allow my shoots to be nibbled by high quality tradition European Deer, namely Roe. The reliability, nibbling capacity and general build quality of your Roe is vastly superior to that of your Chinese Imports.
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Re: deterring deer

Postby smojo » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:06 pm

Ha ha - nice one guys. Seriously though, the topic isn't about the rights or wrongs of killing them, it's about how to deter them if that's not an option. The chances of me being in my woods, armed (and capable) to shoot and a deer strolling in would be pretty impossible. To invite someone in to hunt them would require permission from all the other woodland owners in that forest and that would be pretty difficult too. So hence my interest in how to keep them out of my plot.

I do have access to a retired greyhound but I'm not there often enough to use it.
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Re: deterring deer

Postby Dexter's Shed » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:12 pm

smojo wrote: To invite someone in to hunt them would require permission from all the other woodland owners in that forest


err, no it wouldn't
a shooter with an open fac cert could be given permission to shoot just your plot, using an elevated high chair so that shots were downwards into the ground, shots would not be leaving your boundaries, all perfectly legal and above board
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Re: deterring deer

Postby smojo » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:17 pm

a shooter with an open fac cert could be given permission to shoot just your plot, using an elevated high chair so that shots were downwards into the ground, shots would not be leaving your boundaries, all perfectly legal and above board


Maybe but how long would he need to sit there waiting for the deer to stray into my plot and stay there long enough to be shot at? Not sure I'd be happy with the resulting bloodshed on my soil either. Bad vibes man 8-)
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Re: deterring deer

Postby oldclaypaws » Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:30 pm

Not sure I'd be happy with the resulting bloodshed on my soil either. Bad vibes man 8-)


You'd better tell the songbirds to stop eating snails alive, the birds of prey to stop eating the songbirds, the ticks to stop chewing the deer, the ladybirds to stop eating the aphids, the fungi to stop digesting nematodes, the owls to stop eating mice, the foxes to stop eating the rabbits, the magpies and squirrels to stop eating bird chicks, the bird chicks to stop eating worms,........

Like it or not there are a tens of thousands incidences of 'bloodshed' going on in any outdoor area every day, we just get sensitive about the visible bits. The whole countryside is a slaughterhouse, animals don't have our ethics and will eat and kill anything they can digest without a second thought.
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Re: deterring deer

Postby outeredge » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:09 pm

To answer your question smojo, my local SmallWoods guy says human hair will keep them away - swears by it. Not tried it myself but need to as they are destroying all my hazel and sweet chestnut coppice. I'm sure a local hairdressers will oblige?
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