Effective deer protection requires a complete deer exclosure, in other words the "deer fence" must completely enclose the area you wish to protect. Whether "deer fencing" is to be installed around the entire property or you're just making a garden fence, the fence line must be cleared. Start by walking the perimeter and eyeballing where you would like the fence to go. Next clear your fence line, meaning prune back branches and remove brush and other debris as appropriate. A good working rule of thumb is to give yourself a five foot wide clean perimeter. Trying to install "deer fence" through a narrower space will inevitable lead to frustration as the "deer fencing" continually snags on branches during the installation process. Pay particular attention to the lay of the land along the perimeter. Remember, given half a chance, deer will crawl under the fence so gullies, wash outs, dips and so on should be reasonable leveled off at this time. You don't have to go crazy, the fence will be pinned to the ground at a later step. Just make sure you'll be able to get a good attachment to the earth without gaps under the "deer fencing". I'll say it again, if deer breach your deer protection system it will be from crawling under the deer fencing or walking through an open gate that someone forgot to close. It will not be from jumping over the fence. Proper preparation now prevents a problem later.
The next step is to clearly delineate the location for each deer fence post. Stakes or flags may be used, whatever you have on hand. Start with one of the corners and mark the position for the post. Continue the process around the entire perimeter until you return to the starting point. Please keep in mind that "deer fencing" will only turn at a post. Post spacing is as follows: freedom fence post (angle steel post) approximately 12 feet apart, Ultra Deer Fence Post with Sleeve can be installed about 15' apart and trees 16' to 20' apart. By opting to run Nylon Tension Cable along the top of your fence you can stretch these distances a bit farther. Ultra deer fence post with sleeve can be stretch as far as 18 feet and trees can be as much as 25 feet between each tree.
At this point you should be able to see your deer protection taking shape. The deer fence post placements have all been clearly marked and you have a clean line of sight along each side of the deer exclosure.
Freedom Fence Post can either be dug or pounded into position. Because these posts are made from such a hard steel, often they can be driven right through the rock with either a sledge hammer or with a post driver or post pounder. Stand on something safe and stable like the bed of a pickup truck and pound the deer fence post into position at the marked locations. The Ultra Deer Fence post with sleeves are designed for the sleeve to be driven into the earth and then the post will simply slip into the sleeve. Use a digging bar to create a pilot hole for the sleeve. Insert sleeve into the pilot hole and place the driving cap on top of the sleeve and begin driving the sleeve. The driving cap has been designed to protect the sleeve from the blows of the sledge. Please realize that the sleeve will not go through rock. If you hit a rock you will either have to pull up and start again in another spot or dig a hole. As far as post placement goes there is a lot of flexibility here. You are not married to exact post placement distances, moving a foot or a foot and a half one way or another from the original position that is completely acceptable. When the sleeve is one third to half way into the ground, stop and slip the post into the sleeve. Check for plumb with a level and adjust as necessary. Continue driving the sleeve, if the sleeve begins to wander, stop and check for plumb by inserting the post into the sleeve and using a level. Lean into the post and sleeve as necessary to correct its course and continue driving the sleeve until it's reasonably close to ground level. Once the sleeve is in position, install the cap or plug in the top of your post and slip other end of the post into the sleeve. Get the level back out and check for plumb. If it's out of plumb, lean on the post and don't be afraid to put some weight into it. Bend and push the post into true. Lock the post and sleeve into position by using number 10 galvanized nails to act as shims between the post and sleeve. Just tap the nails in place with a hammer.
Please be aware: Deer Protection requires strong and durable fence posts that are well anchored into the ground. Deer will push and bang on your fence and posts. If your soil structure does not allow for the deer fence posts to stay firmly in position than dig a bigger hole and set the post in concrete.
Installing “deer fencing” is much easier with two people; one person to hold the roll of deer fence and the other to secure the fence to posts and trees. Take a close look at the roll of “deer fencing”. The smooth side on the 7 ½’ high fence is the upside, the cut edge is the bottom side. (Please note for shorter sizes both edges are cut.) Begin in a corner by attaching the “deer fencing” to the post with a couple of zip ties, do not tighten all the way, yet, adjustments will likely be needed. While maintaining the roll of “deer fencing” in the vertical position, unroll a few feet at a time as you walk toward and beyond the next post. Secure the fence to the second post with one or two zip ties, the fence should be on the outside of the post wherever possible. Repeat the process of walking and unrolling the deer fencing and go several feet beyond the third post. Lean the roll of deer fencing on its side or against something so both of you have 2 free hands and go back to the first post. Effective deer protection requires the polypropylene fence to finish at 7 feet high with approximately 6” flared out away from your exclosure. Make adjustments to achieve the correct deer fence height by sliding the fence up and down the post. If necessary cut off the zip ties and start anew. Standing on the bottom of the deer fence will help create the necessary L shaped flare along the ground. Working from the top of the first post down secure the deer fencing with zip ties. The average post will require 5 or 6 ties. By the way, this job is way easier with the tie puller cutter, we highly recommend this tool. Now pull and stretch the deer fencing toward the second post and secure top down with zip ties. The deer fence should finish at 7 feet high and be snug but never drum tight. You do want to have some “give” to help absorb impact from deer. Repeat this process around the entire perimeter.
Reality is that ground is rarely level, often going up and down and side to side. To make your deer protection look as attractive as possible a few tricks of the trade may be required. For instance, the deer fence may be pleated to gather the excess and sags. If you do this at a post or tree, no one will notice. If changes in elevation are more abrupt, cut the fence from the bottom up or the top down, at the post and again pleat and reattach. If the change in elevation is more extreme, completely cut off the fence and begin anew; remember all changes in direction and height must occur at the point of attachment, in other words at a tree or fence post. When you do cut off and start again, a couple of triangles worth of material will become waste.
Polypropylene deer fencing attaches very well to mature trees. You may zig-zag as needed and ultimately your deer protection zone will look very natural. When cabling the fence use large U nails as a channel for the cable to pass through at each tree. Simply hammer the U nail into the tree at about the 7’ high mark. Attach the deer fence to trees by hanging the deer fence on nails, use #10 galvanized nails. Hammer a nail approximately half way into the tree at about the 7 foot high mark; drive in a second nail, again half way as close to ground level as possible. Add 2 or 3 more nails in between again leaving 1" or more of the nail exposed. Just as described earlier, walk the fence from tree to tree or post to tree, unrolling the fence as you go but instead of securing with zip ties just hang the fence on the nails. Do not bend the nails, just hang the fence on them. Where ever possible the fence should be on the outside of the tree. Continue walking and rolling out the fence for at least 2 more posts or trees, lean or lay down the roll of fence down and go back and make adjustments. Adjustments are made by lifting the fence, one square at a time, one way or the other over the nail. Slack in the deer fencing can be gathered by pleating the poly fence at the nails. After all adjustment have been made stake the fence down with ground stakes (see next section). Next, bend the nails slightly, no more than 45 degrees, but just enough to hold the fence in place. The goal here is to allow the fence to slide out with the growth of the tree. If you smash the nail all the way over into the tree, sooner or later the tree will end up becoming one with the deer fence.
Once the fence is installed and snug, make sure the bottom “flare” of the deer fence is making contact with the ground. Fasten the fence flare to the ground using Ground Stakes. The rough rule of thumb is you will need to stake every 5’ or so. Try to visualize the deer pushing their heads under the fence. Make sure you have secured all likely points of entry. Once this is completed, tie a small piece of streamer (about 6” long or so) to the middle of the deer fence, about 3’to 4’ up from the ground. One streamer should be placed on each fence sections roughly half way between your posts. These streamers flap in the breeze helping to alert the deer to the presence of the fence. It takes about 3 months for the local deer herd to learn that the new ”deer fence" is there. Soon the deer will develop a new deer trail that goes around your deer protection.
Accessory #1: Add toughness to your deer protection with chew protection barrier for extra deer defense.
(Complete this Step after Step #4 in the fence installation process and before Step #5)
Deer can’t chew this fence. They don’t have the right sort of teeth, but rodents do. The riddle is sometimes rodents will gnaw on and damage this fence and other times they won’t. The fact is ground hogs, rabbits and other rodents can chew through virtually anything except steel. To prevent chewing critters from damaging your deer protection and opening up holes that deer can crawl through we recommend adding chew protection barrier along the bottom of your fence. In most cases, either a 2’ high or a 3’ high hem of chew protection barrier will stop all chewing damage and keep rabbits, ground hogs and other rodents out of your deer protection zone as well. Working on the OUTSIDE of your deer fence exclosure, start at a corner post and unroll the chew protection barrier past the second post. Similarly to “deer fence”, flare out 3 to 6” of the chew barrier along the ground. Standing on the chew barrier makes bending it easier. Attach the barrier to the posts with zip ties and also either zip tie or hog ring the top edge of the chew protection barrier to the deer fencing taking care to maintain the 3 to 6” flared along the ground. In other words, if you are installing 2’ high chew protection you will end up attaching to the deer fence at approximately 18 to 21” off the ground. Now install the ground stakes as depicted in Step #5. Be sure that the chew protection barrier is well attached to the ground.
Accessory #2: Add strength to your Deer Protection with Nylon Tension Cable.
(Complete this Step after Step #4 in the fence installation process and before Step #5)
Nylon Tension Cable is a great way to increase the strength of your “deer fencing”. This stuff is incredible strong, provides another point of attachment between the post and the cable will protect the “deer fencing” from falling limbs by adding some bounce that will help deflect falling branches. The principle is pretty simple, install one line of cable along the top of the deer protection, approximately 7 feet off the ground with another middle, about 3’ off the ground. (This is the highest impact zone.) The cable should be installed one side at a time, in straight line runs with a maximum of about 250 feet per run. Any longer than this the cable becomes too cumbersome to handle, if your sides are longer than 250 feet just break it up into manageable sections.
First, make sure that all non-tree, end post or corner post are brace. Keep in mind you’re about to apply tension to these post with the cable. An unbraced post will either bend or launch, visualize medieval warfare, as soon as the tension is applied. Each section of cable will require 3 gripples. Look closely at the gripple. There are two sets of holes on each gripple, the wider hole is the in, the narrower is the out. Inside this device is a small ceramic ratcheting gear that will only move in one direction. The gripple will not let go unless the release is depressed. This is the very small hole on one end. To release insert a narrow metal probe into the hole. Begin cabling with one of the end or corner posts, insert the cable through the wider hole in the gripple and slide the gripple on to the cable until you have a tail of cable 2 or 3 long. Wrap this tail of cable completely (360 degrees) around the post and then return to the gripple back through the other set of holes, again enter through the wide side. Think of the gripple as the slip knot of the hang man’s noose. Adjust and tighten, taken care to achieve the required 7 foot deer fence height; the cable should now be holding fast to the post. With the spool of cable in hand, walk to the end of the run, unrolling the cable as you go and repeat the same procedure at that end post. Take note, you are not trying to pull the length of cable tight at his point; leave yourself plenty of slack. For the moment let everything hang loosely. Next, walk to the approximate center point between these two end posts and cut the cable in half. This will become your tensioning point. Use a third gripple to link these two pieces of cable back together, thread each of the two pieces of cable through the two sets of holes, one of the cut cables through one set of holes and the other cable through the other set of holes. Grab hold of each tail of cable with plyers or channel locks and pull in opposite directions to tighten. When tight, this cable will act as a “curtain rod” allowing the “deer fence” to be “hung” on the cable with either zip ties or hog rings. Make sure the cable is maintaining the 7 foot deer fence height goal. Check all post to insure the cable is at approximately 7’ and secure with a pair of zip ties over the cable and around the post in a figure 8 sort of approach. Repeat this procedure for all the other straight line runs for the deer exclosure. One last point, a straight line run is just that, if on a given side of the deer protection exclosure there is a lot of up and downs in the terrain and twist and bends then install the cable in shorter runs.
Accessory # 3 Stabilize your deer protection with a deer fence corner brace system.
(How to install a corner Brace)
Increase the stability of your deer protection zone with corner braces. When cabling this is a must. The idea is very simple. The corner brace kit comes with 2 brace post that are 1 3/8” x 8’ long, 2 bands, 2 cups and nuts and bolts. The cup has as the name implies a cup shape side which will receive the end of the 8’ brace post, the other side is an elongated metal flange with a bolt hole through the middle. Attach the flange side of the cup, to the band with a nut and bolt. Screw together loosely and slip over the corner post and slide down to 6’or so off the ground. One cup and band will fit within one direction of the fence, the other cup and band will fit within the other direction of the fence. For a rectangular exclosure the two brace pieces should now be 90 degrees to each other. Now tighten the nut and bolt, making them stay firmly in position. Slip the brace post into the cup and attempt to push the corner post out opposite to the direction that the cable and fence will be pulling on that post and heel the other end of the brace post into the ground. Repeat the same procedure for the other side. In the end the cable and the deer fence will be applying pressure on the corner post pulling it toward the center of the exclosure. The corner brace will be applying pressure on the corner post exactly opposite of these forces. The net result, when done properly thecorner post will stand straight.
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