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Most people with large landscaping investments around here fence their property with 8' deer fence. This can be hidden from view in most cases. In certain situations, however, 8' fencing would detract too much from the view, and I've heard professionals recommend the installation of two parallel 4' fences 4' apart. The outer fence is typically some kind of wire mesh, while the inner one is described as merely two horizontal wires about 2' apart, running from post to post. The theory is not only that the deer can see the horizontal wires and fear that they can't jump across the distance, but that they also will not jump into the narrow space contained between the fences.

I have done some research online on the effectiveness of such a setup, but have been disappointed in how little info I've found.

So, does this setup work, or not? And are there specifications for setting up an effective double fence?

  • In the opposite philosophical direction from a fence they can see, around flowerbeds I have had success with two or three strands of monofilament fishing line (surprise them with something they can't see and do bump into, and they may choose to go elsewhere) No guarantee it (or anything else) will work on your particular deer, but quick, easy, and low visual impact - drop in some 3-4 foot bamboo stakes and string the line. – Ecnerwal Oct 16 '14 at 3:06
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Yes, this works quite well. It's more work to put in, but if as you say it is necessary for aesthetic reasons not to have an 8' fence, go ahead. The specifications you have are good, but I'd like to add that using aluminum wire for the inside is far better than other things, as it never rusts, and is much easier for deer to see even than galvanized steel. It doesn't have to be much guage-wise, but it is important that these lines are highly visible to the deer. Using bright colored wire won't help, as deer are colorblind.

It will also be important to keep vegetation off both fences, for the same reason, and keep the inner lines in good repair, because it it comes down, and the deer get in the habit of jumping in that area, and then you put it back, you're likely to have it taken down by a flying deer (not to mention the effects this can have on the deer).

  • I've had good success in high deer pressure areas with a 4 foot high fence around a small garden - the deer could jump it, but hardly ever did, lending some credence to the idea of not liking the confined space. On the other hand, the darn things can be trained in bad habits - after many years of (very) minimal fencing doing the job they got habituated to jumping into a neighbors garden when he grew sunflowers, and now they jump all the garden fences in the area unless they resemble Fort Knox. – Ecnerwal Oct 16 '14 at 3:03
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    I've read that once one figures it out, the others learn from him. A nuisance hunter we use told us that if the "bad apple" can be removed from the herd quickly enough, the others won't have time to learn the behavior. – That Idiot Oct 16 '14 at 11:37

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