Battling Bambi | Dealing with Deer Damage in Your Yard

Dealing with deer in your yard? Here are 4 common things that work (and don’t) when trying to prevent deer damage.

By C.L. Fornari

Nov 30 2016


Battling Bambi | Dealing with Deer Damage in Your Yard

Photo Credit : Pixabay
Battling Bambi | Dealing with Deer Damage in Your Yard
Battling Bambi | Dealing with Deer Damage in Your Yard
Photo Credit : Pixabay
The first time we see a deer walking through the backyard, most of us love the sight. “Oooh,” we think, “Bambi!” Once that lovely creature starts to chow down on the foundation plantings or the newly planted shrubbery, however, we’re less entranced. “Hmmm,” we say, “Maybe not Bambi…maybe venison.” As people expand into formerly wild areas it has been increasingly common for home landscapers to battle deer. Many turn to lists of plants that “deer won’t eat,” only to discover that the animals in their region seem to prefer many of the species on those listings. Anyone living in deer country discovers that a plant that these animals have ignored for years suddenly becomes a preferred menu item, while the ones often referred to as “deer candy” continue to be grazed. When listing methods for banishing Bambi it’s important to remember that not every strategy works for every critter. What was effective last season might not work this winter, and what succeeded for your friend in another area might not be successful for you. Additionally, every season is different. During winters when there is an especially deep snow cover these animals may need to roam into settled areas that they normally stay away from. Some years there is a reduced production of wild food sources such as acorns, and so deer are forced to look in your yard and garden in order to survive. That said, here are the things that work and don’t work when trying to prevent deer damage.


Since deer are vegans, the most effective repellants are based on eggs, milk or blood. Those that are hot pepper or garlic based are not as effectual. Some repellants must be reapplied every four to six weeks, so read the instructions when using a purchased product. You can make your own by mixing a beaten egg with one cup of milk and a half-gallon of water. Strain this through a dishtowel before putting it in a pump sprayer so that the egg solids don’t clog the holes.

Physical Barriers

If you have a burlap screen in front of a shrub, or a wire cage around small fruit trees, Bambi won’t be able to get to the plants. These shouldn’t be too far from the plants you’re protecting, however, or the deer will jump over them.

Wireless Deer Fence

As long as there isn’t a deep snow cover, Wireless Deer Fence keeps deer from coming back to graze off favorite plants. This product was developed by a veterinarian in Indiana and is effective because Bambi has a “flight response.” Learn more about it here:

Smelly Things

Don’t count on smelly things such as soap or mothballs to keep Bambi at bay. The soap only works temporarily and the mothballs are toxic. Have you encountered deer damage in your yard? Let us know what worked for you!