A Nearly Invisible Fishing Line Deer Fence

A Nearly Invisible Fishing Line Deer Fence

Have you eagerly planted your vegetable garden, spending hours of time and plenty of hard-earned money, only to lose many of your crops to pesky deer?

One of our Abundant Mini Gardens members, Gary Haga, has shared with me how he is successfully keeping deer out of his vegetable garden by using a simple fence made with fishing line! This is a particularly useful concept for gardens in the suburbs or cities where using electric fencing or 8 foot tall deer fencing is simply not practical.

Even though deer could force their way through this fence if they wanted to, the fishing line is almost invisible and they have a hard time seeing it. When they brush up against the fence, they become spooked and avoid the fence, because they can’t tell what touched them.  They also won’t jump a fence that they can’t see.

There are a number of  different ways you can create this type of fence.

Gary strung his fishing line between t-posts spaced 16 feet apart or less. He drove the posts about 18 inches deep into the ground. He spaced the fishing line at 1 foot intervals going up the posts, up to about 5 feet high, and used a 30-pound test mono filament. The posts have knobs spaced at intervals. To maintain the proper spacing, he uses aluminum ties that are used for chain link fences. Cable ties or twine would work also.

Just be sure to NOT hang anything on the fence (like colored flags or aluminum pie pans), as that would help the deer to see where the fence is.

Here are photos of Gary’s fishing line fence:

Gary is using t-posts to support the fishing line around his garden.  Other folks use narrow green garden posts.

Gary is using t-posts to support the fishing line around his garden. Other folks use narrow green garden posts.

A garden gate for a fishing line fence

The gate consists of a small piece of welded wire fabric. It is attached to one of the t-posts with cable ties. The other side is attached to a garden stake which is held closed with a piece of velcro.

Attaching the fishing line

This is how Gary is attaching the fishing lines to the posts.

If you would like to see a different version of a fishing line fence using narrow green garden stakes, check out this PDF report from the West Jersey Rose Society: An Almost Invisible Deer Fence – Easily Removable & Reusable

In addition, here is a YouTube video created by a wildlife control specialist, showing how he uses a fishing line fence to control deer in his own vegetable garden:

So, don’t let the deer destroy all of your hard work! This fence is pretty simple and inexpensive to create. Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you.

  • Jean Clink says:

    Some of the youtubers have, three feet out from the main fence, a lower fence using lightweight posts – ‘step posts(?)’ – about three feet high. They walk into that first, before the regular fence that has three strands, and they have no depth perception so they get really confused. Many people swear by it.

  • Nicola says:

    For cats, try sprinkling a little ground pepper on the flower beds that they use..

  • Pam says:

    I tried this. Line completely around garden, 4 lines evenly spaced, 5 feet tall. It is a small area, hard to jump into over 5 feet. I still see deer prints coming daily. I can’t get into it.myself without opening up a couple of velcro’d lines, but they can. I can’t figure this out!

    I love the invisibility of this solution, but what’s up with this??

    Pam S.

    • Debra says:

      I’ve successfully used this method a few times, but it does seem to work only for a limited time (like many other deer control options). It worked several months one time for me, and for 18 months another time. But, sooner or later, a deer figured it out. Right now, I mostly use it for temporary situations, until I can set up a better, more permanent solution. Sorry it hasn’t worked out for you.

  • John Radford says:

    Note: deer have excellent light at least half the time – it’s called moonlight.

    This clever idea FAILED miserably to protect my one apple sapling.

    I enclosed an apple sapling with 6.5-foot tall fencing, close enough that deer cannot jump over (they’d bee in effect jumping into a “well” of fencing) but far enough away that they could not reach in without stepping inside the enclosure.

    Turned out, my one lone deer (left behind the migration to higher forests and meadows), being very desperate (eating all kinds of natural but very undesirable vegetation elsewhere), managed to step partially through my enclosure so it could place forefeet on the ground and ease it’s head through and then reach up 5+ feet to get at every last leaf!

    In the morning, the fencing was in tact, undamaged and a mystery. The apple, utterly stripped. I got the culprit on video (2AM).

    My problem was I had a plastic chicken wire type fencing around the tree from 2 feet up to 5 feet (works great but did not have enough) and the fishing lines, at 6-8 inch intervals, below and above the impenetrable fencing. The deer first drank up all the water I’d left for birds and my 2 rabbits and then wormed its way into the enclosure (barely) and then eased up to the top of the tree, and stripped it and then eased out, leaving a mystery had I not seen the video. Took it all of 2 minutes to destroy my tree.

    The fishing line kept the animal from totally entering the enclosure but still allowed partial entry and devastation. This is the third attempt at enclosing this plant! I think it may not recover again this year if ever. I may now be about killed.

    Anybody need venison? I’m ready to kill this damned creature. Alas, hunting season is still 2 months away.

    • Jay Arre says:

      I need some of that too

  • Jim says:

    Very nice article and information, I had learned about using fishing line last year and used it successfully. I do have some trouble with smaller animals but not enough to worry about. I just wrote an article about my front yard garden and my deer fencing. Please read it and let me know what you think. https://theoutdoorreport.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/front-yard-garden/

    • Debra says:

      Jim, thanks for sharing your successful experience with your fishing line deer fence. We’re going to be installing this kind of fence in our own front yard this year, as the local deer have finally found us after 5 years.

  • Sandy Polin says:

    Great idea, im not having a problem with deer. How do i keep the cats out of my garden. i have many gardens all over the yard to use my back yard space. Its not like i can do just one tall fence. I have a fenced in back yard, but the cats don’t care, they find a way in. They jump up on the fence and into the yard. It’s a chain link fence. regular height.
    Thank You, Sandy

    • Debra says:

      Hi Sandy! That’s a tough problem. It’s hard to make a good suggestion for garden beds scattered all over. I know some people that successfully use motion sensor water sprinkler systems to keep cats out of their garden, but you would need a lot of them to cover different areas. Other people use bird netting or other screening over their beds to keep the cats out. Sorry I don’t have better suggestions for you!

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