Instructables
Picture of How to Boobytrap your garden for deer.
Gardening can be a real challenge sometimes.  This year is proving to be no exception. As if the grasshopper invasion wasn't bad enough now the deer have shown up and decided that my green tomatoes are the latest best snack. Deer don't usually eat green tomatoes but sometimes you get a nut case that somehow develops a taste for them.  The result can be pretty devastating. They will go through your tomato plants and pull off every tomato that they can find. I have only picked one ripe tomato so far this year and sure enough a tomato eating deer turned up. The evidence is plain, pieces of tomatoes laying around and broken plants and lots of tracks. But this time I came up with a plan. I decided to try booby trapping the plants.
 
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Step 1: Fireworks


Booby traps are also called pull string fireworks. When the strings are pulled it sets off a small bang. Its not as loud as a firecracker but it does make a pretty good pop. In states were fireworks are legal they are sold all over. They are not very dangerous because they have no fuse, do not need lighting and are very low yield. For making noise in the garden they are perfect.
DigDirtCheap5 months ago

This would be worth having the game camera set up to watch the results.

triumphman2 years ago
Really, the rains did not soak the powder inside and they still worked ? Aren't they just like firecrackers, paper, powder and a fuse/trigger thingy? My solution, Venison on the barbie! Works for me!
Vyger (author)  triumphman2 years ago
I sprayed them with a clear coat finish although any spray paint would work. It seals the paper and string so the water doesn't get into them.
After I dug up my potatoes, after the frost, i cleaned up the line left around and the traps still popped. So yes they do survive for quite a while.
jarofol2 years ago
Nice Instructable.

My Grandfather always used Irish Spring Bar soap to keep the animals away from the corn.
grannyjones2 years ago
Mmmmmm, venison and heirloom tomatoes.
a good and natural way is to buy some cayenne powder (bulk ala big lots/sams club) and boil 3/4-1 cup with 3 cups of vinegar and dilute that 1 cup ro a gallon and spray on the plants. keeps allmost anything from eating them but will rinse off when it rains.
ColbyCheese3 years ago
Howdy Vyger,

This is awesome : ), so have the deer gotten used to the fireworks going off? My Mom has plants she's been trying to deer proof for a while. I bet this would work perfectly for protecting her plants as well. : - )

Colby
Vyger (author)  ColbyCheese3 years ago
So far I have had to reset traps 3 times. Only once did they pick a few more tomatoes. And since then I added even more line, including out along the perimeter. The normal pattern for the deer would be to come back every night. That is not happening now. Now its a few days between visits, its like they are testing it. I am trying to figure out which direction they are coming in from, if they are consistent in that, and plan on setting extra lines in those areas. I do know that without this they would have stripped everything by now so that is a positive result so far.
rosec3 years ago
I suspect you really don't wish to harm the deer. But you brought up the fact that several have been hit by cars crossing the road. Would the folks who have the adjacent property allow you to put a salt lick over on their side of the land, over by the water (but not too close to the water)? As far as spending money for a chemical repellent, I remember that you have cats. If you took some used cat litter and a few fecal samples and dropped them in an old sock, knee high or panty hose leg and hang them around the plants, you could have the smell of cats and save some dough. You would always have a fresh supply of cat droppings. Oh, and by the way, do not mix the cat droppings in the dirt around your tomatoes or any other edible plant. I remember something about communicable parasites.
Vyger (author)  rosec3 years ago
The other side of the road is pasture, hay fields and then trees along the river bottom. Also there is a large pasture that is used for calving. They bring the cows in in the spring and hold them there until after they have their calves. So there are plenty of resources, lots of alfalfa and grass and plenty of minerals. The deer stay in the woods during the day and migrate out from there at night. Its not a matter of needing to feed elsewhere, rather its just their nature to wander. So they wander around at night and browse through peoples yards and gardens and then wander back across the road. Also some of the best grass is usually along the road. Because of the run off of the rain its often more lush and greener and since its not grazed by anything its usually thicker. So they eat along the road and then when a car or truck comes along it startles them and they jump out on the road to run to the woods. That's when they get hit.
rosec3 years ago
I almost forgot. Good instructable. I'm going to use it to keep the dogs away from my rosebushes by making a lattice fence out of those fireworks. One or two pops should keep them from hiking their legs!
Jenny_Y8S3 years ago
How will you feel when one of those dear gets caught up in the fishing line you've booby set up for them? Or a bird?

But hey at least you saved a few tomatoes without having to spend any money on a proper method of protecting your crop. So what if an animal or two has to be maimed or killed in the process.
bfarm Jenny_Y8S3 years ago
If you watched your entire yard's landscaping get destroyed or run into one and had the front of your car wrecked you would feel differently. We are being over run by deer in my area and there are no natural predators to keep their numbers in check.

If someone could post a good method of poisoning the vermin, it would be great.
Vyger (author)  bfarm3 years ago
Another thing that happens when the deer population becomes to big is their health goes way down. They have a very ragged appearance. Then disease sets in. Since its the only form of population control without hunting and predation it takes a heavy toll. Its much better to control and manage the population than to have an entire population die off from disease. I some suburban areas they were going to try and implement a form of birth control since hunting isn't such a good thing in peoples back yards. But I have not heard any followup on that. In this area winter kill has a very big impact if they are in bad shape going into the snow and cold. People need to understand that it is for the deers benefit that their numbers be kept down. An area can only support so many animals. If they overpopulate then you have them destroying the natural plant life. Impacting other wildlife and have bad interactions with people.
I can't tell if you're playing devil's advocate or not. I find it hard to believe that someone who cares so much about an animal would know so little about it. An adult deer is mostly muscle and can weigh anywhere between 80 and 300+ lbs. Have you ever felt 12lb test line in your hands? A toddler could break through it. If you used it as clothesline it would snap under the weight of a wet towel.

Nice instructable Vyger.
They would probably taste good with the Tomatoes
Vyger (author)  Jenny_Y8S3 years ago
Its extremely light line. I can break it with my hand. Its to small even for a bird to sit on it. Its more like spider web.
One of the more proper methods of dealing with deer where I live is to shoot them. Four of them have been hit by cars on the highway just next to my property in the last couple of years alone. The best thing for them is to just stay over by the river where they are much better off.
T-Hawke3 years ago
Good instructable. Good idea on using the light line.

Could be a pretty good securtiy system with the right setup.

For those worried about harming "Bambi" we found a solution that seems to work without the bangs.

Go to your local garden supply and purchase a bag of "Malorganite" , its a fertilizer made with cat feces, the deer don't like the smell. The only problem is it has to be regularly renewed, like after a rain or a week or so of time, my wife has said it doesn't take much. You just have to remember to re-dose.

Our Michigan deer seem to respect the smell.

ilpug3 years ago
Go online and buy bobcat urine in a spray can. yes, they sell it. then spray it around your garden.
iceng3 years ago
Neat bang solution.

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