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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Deer Damage

Deer feed on grapevine shoot tips in the spring or late fall when little food is available for them. Shoots eaten by deer usually show a ragged or torn edge and injury occurs at 2.5-3 m height.

Management Notes
In order for a fence to exclude deer it must be at least 1.8 m high.
Repellents such as odour and taste repellents are being used in some areas. Odour repellents such as blood meal, moth flakes, soap and human hair have been tried with varying degrees of success. Small nylon mesh bags (cut from old nylons) filled with an egg-sized ball of fresh human hair, obtained from a men’s barbershop, and replaced every 4 to 6 weeks has worked well in orchards. These odour repellent bags are placed in every tree around the perimeter of the orchard or on the side from which the deer approach. The protection gained depends on the thoroughness of the treatment and availability of alternate food sources. If other food sources are scarce, repellents may not have the desired effects.
Hunting is permitted only during prescribed dates allowed by the Ministry of Natural Resources. A landowner is not allowed to kill deer while defending his property. Check with hunting license issuers, your local Municipality, or local Ministry of Natural Resources offices for deer hunting season dates, and how to obtain permits.
Taste repellents and odour repellents such as soaps should be applied before the animals begin feeding. These products produce an objectionable taste or odour which discourages deer from further feeding. Follow all label instructions carefully, as some of these treatments should not be used while edible portions of the crop are present. Some are not registered for use on food. Due to the nature of the products, re-treatment after heavy rainfalls may be necessary.

Deer fence
Click to enlarge.