So you’re wondering what types of fencing are best to keep out deer? That’s no surprise. The web is full of choices, some rational and some really bizarre. Taking the bizarre ones first, there are at least two species of odd deer fences with strong academic credentials that really work. I’m referring specifically to fences cantilevered outward at about 45 degrees and to pairs of fences separated by a few feet.
Please note that in this post we are dealing only with barrier deer fences rather than electric fences. That’s because the fairly strong electric fences needed to repel deer are not well suited to yard or garden settings, tending also to be unreliable and to require high maintenance.
Angled Deer Fences and Those with Two Parallel Rows of Fencing
There’s no reason to doubt that two different types of barrier fencing — cantilevered and doubled deer fence types — really work. In that case, why don’t we make them, and why shouldn’t you get them? The answer is really clear. Besides being high-maintenance (in the case of an angled fence) they are expensive. Supporting a fence cantilevered outward costs money, and so does building two short fences instead of one tall one. And in fact their money costs are so high (not astronomical but high) compared to vertical single fences as to make them uneconomic to pursue. So the rest of this page and our website deal with more or less normal fences
That reduces the available types of deer fence variations quite a lot. Specifically, it reduces them mainly to height variations and to variations in the kinds of fencing, posts, support wires, and bottom gear employed.
Different Types of Fencing and Fencing Materials
Starting with fencing materials, four main kinds are used today to fence out deer. These four are polypropylene, metal hexagrid, fixed knot, and welded wire fencing.
Polypropylene Deer Fencing
Black polypropylene with a mesh size of about 1.75 x 2 inches was the first really popular type of deer fencing. We are not referring to the weaker kinds of poly fencing sold cheaply — some like “Deer Block” being so weak that deer could literally walk through them. Rather, we are referring to poly deer fencing with a minimum breaking strength of at least 165 pounds per linear foot. this fencing was strong, hardly visible, affordable, and easy to install; and it came to have real popular appeal.
However, even this strong polypylene deer fencing had problems. Not only could charging deer break it, but so could does bashing it repeatedly with their noses — something they sometimes did when their established paths were interdicted. And so could woodchucks (ground hogs) and rabbits, which would chew small holes in it, holes that deer would later find and enlarge to penetrate the fence.
Metal Hex Deer Fencing
In response, the maker of this product came out with stronger and stronger poly fencing. This stronger fencing reduced the charging and bashing problems but did little to counter the woodchucks and rabbits. So deer fence installers developed an important deer fence supplement. this supplement, called a “rodent barrier,” consisted of a two or three-foot swath of metal hexagrid fencing (small-mesh chicken-wire galvanized and coated with black pvc), that could be added to the bottom portion of the fence.
That solved the small animal problem and also led to other things. One day a trouble-shooter for a major deer fence installer noticed something odd. He noticed that the polypropylene-metal hex combo was hardly more visible than the metal hex alone. So he decided to create a different type of fencing — a full-height metal hexagrid deer fence dispensing with the polypropylene altogether.
In our opinion, of the various different types of fencing, metal hexagrid fencing is the best deer fencing available today. Besides having low visibility it is much stronger than polypropylene deer fencing and lasts about twice as long. So it essentially ends both the small animal and the deer bashing issues. It is more expensive than polypropylene fencing. But since one needs to buy fence posts and other gear and also to install the fence, the substitution of metal hexagrid fencing for polypropylene is cost-effective.
Fixed Knot Fencing
Of course, as anyone browsing the web can see, these are not the only deer fence types around. Another type, “solid lock” or “fixed knot” fencing. has large openings (3 x 12 inches up to 7 x 12 inches) and employs heavy 12.5-gauge wire joined by odd wire knots (see photo) at the crossing points. This type of deer fencing appears affordable but has serious problems. Much more visible than the others, it evolved in cattle country, which is very flat, and was designed to go long distances without being stopped by gates, corners, grade changes, or other impediments. So it handles grade changes poorly. And if installed as intended (under tension) it must be heavily braced at corners, ends, gates, and grade changes with large and expensive braces. It can be installed without tension, but this makes it floppy. All of which tends to make its use for deer fencing in areas outside of flatlands (cattle country) problematic.
welded wire deer fencing.
Kinds of Deer Fence Bottoms
Many deer fences get finished at the bottom in ways that are problematic–either with high-tensile wire or with taut monofilament line. Such bottom wires or lines work fine where the ground is flat or rising; but where there’s a little dip they pass right over the dip, creating a space beneath the fence. And the deer, not wanting to go over the fence but under it, tend to nose along the bottom of the fence–sometimes finding that these bottom openings are relatively easy to exploit.