If you’re an enthusiastic gardener living in a rural area, the best way protect your property from deer encroachment is to erect a deer fence instead of using sight, sound, or taste repellents. Deer fences differ from wire mesh fences in that the mesh is covered with a layer of black plastic to prevent injury and to make the mesh virtually invisible from a few meters away. Although some deer can clear a 2.5 metre fence, they cannot sustain that height over a distance; therefore, an invisible two meter high fence is usually enough the keep the deer population at bay.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Tubular steel deer fence posts (1st alternative)
- Angle iron deer fence posts (2nd alternative)
- 12 cm square treated timber posts (3rd alternative)
- Builder’s twine
- Wooden stakes
- Fluorescent orange spray paint
- Post-hole digger
- Long spirit level
- Quick setting cement mix
- Step ladder or step stool
- 38 mm U nails
- Large zip ties
- Deer fencing
- Wire cutters
- Short step ladder or step stool
- Hog ring staples
- Hog ring plies
- Wire fencing stakes
- Rubber mallet
Set 2.5 metre high fence posts spaced 2.5 metres apart around the perimeter of your property as described in the following steps. Note that you can use tubular steel deer fencing posts equipped with an upper brace band clamp, angle iron deer fencing posts equipped with a top loop or 12 cm square treated timber posts.
Mark the borders of your property with a length of builder’s twine stretched between wooden stakes hammered into the ground. Use an aerosol can of fluorescent orange spray paint to mark out the post positions, then use a post-hole digger to excavate 50 cm deep holes at the designated spots. Use existing straight tree trunks in lieu of posts where applicable.
Insert the first post and ask your assistant to hold it vertical in two directions with aid of a long spirit level.
Pour about two litres of water into the hole and cover the bottom with a 20 cm layer of dry quick setting cement mix designed for setting fence posts. Allow the water to seep through to the surface, then add more water and another layer of cement mix. Repeat until the hole is filled and water seeps through to the surface of the final layer of cement mix.
Double check and adjust the post vertically in two directions until the post stands on its own, and then move on to the next post; the mix will set hard in about 30 minutes.
Attach the top wire to the anchor post by looping the end around the post just below the brace band clamp on the top of the tubular steel post. Secure the end to the wire with two metal cable clamps. If you're using wooden anchor posts, attach the top wire by looping it around the post and securing it to the post on four sides with two 38 mm U nails hammered in securely.
Attach the top wire with large zip ties looped around the brace band clamp on all the remaining tubular steel posts, or through loop on the top of angel iron posts; use a 38 mm U nail hammered into a wooden post in lieu of the zip tie around the brace band clamp or angle iron post top loop. Secure the other end of the top wire to the far anchor post as described in Step 1.
Roll out your deer fencing on the ground at the foot of the fence posts. Cut the fencing to the appropriate length with wire cutters. Allow an overhang of at least 15 cm on each end as a safety measure; you can always trim the ends after hanging the mesh and securing it to the anchor post.
Stand on a short step ladder or step stool. Attach the top of the mesh to the anchor post brace band with a zip tie looped around the bolt securing the brace band clamp.
Attach the top edge of the mesh to the top wire with zip ties secured halfway between the posts; do not attach the mesh to any posts. Leave a little slack when tightening the zip ties to allow the fencing to slide either way when pulling the mesh taut during final fitting.
Secure the fencing to your first anchor post with seven zip ties spaced evenly down the post. Attach the final zip tie at the foot of the post just above the ground. Leave the bottom flap of surplus mesh facing inwards; this will be trimmed off after securing the bottom edge to the ground.
Attach the mesh to the remaining posts as follows: Stretch the top of the mesh between each succeeding post fairly tightly without deforming the mesh by applying too much tension. Use zip ties to attach the top edge around the clamp bolt on the brace band on tubular metal posts, or through the loop on the top of angle iron posts. Attach the top edge to wooden posts with a second 38 mm U nail hammered into the post around the top wire beside the first U nail. Note: Be sure to leave a little slack whether hammering a U nail in or securing the top with zip ties; this will allow the fencing to slide sideways if a deer runs into the mesh without causing a weak spot by pinching the mesh to the post.
Smooth the mesh downwards and keep it straight as you work. Attach the mesh to tubular posts with seven zip ties, use five zip ties on angle iron posts, and five U nails on wooden posts or trees. Remember to leave a little slack and not to hammer the U nails in all the way; in addition, be sure to secure the bottom zip tie or U nail as close to the ground as possible.
Attach the top of the mesh to the top wire with hog rings spaced at 30 cm intervals all along the fence as follows: Use a pair of hog ring plies loaded with hog ring staples and press the plier jaws through the mesh and around the top wire. Once this is done, clamp the plier handles closed; this will secure the mesh to the top wire with loosely fitting hog rings, thereby allowing sideways movement. Note: you can use zip ties in lieu of hog rings, however it takes longer to attach and trim them, and hog rings look neater.
Secure the bottom of the fencing to the ground with sturdy wire fencing stakes spaced apart at two meter intervals as follows: Pull the fencing down firmly without stressing the mesh and forcing the top wire downward. Place the tip of the stake behind the strand touching the ground, with the upper looped end facing inward away from the fence. Hammer the stake all the way into the ground with a rubber mallet, so that the upper loop clamps the bottom strand to the ground. Finally, create a ground flap by trimming off surplus mesh lengthwise, 15 cm away from the fence, with wire cutters.
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