It’s not like we didn’t know there were deer in the area. On our very first visit to the property we spied a young deer ambling through the brush down by the creek. Jed and I were both charmed. After we bought the property we continued to to be delighted whenever we spotted deer or even just deer tracks. We should have thought more carefully about the implications of seeing tracks in the snow that went from one side of our ‘soon-to-be-a- vineyard’ to the other. But we didn’t want to think about the day when seeing a deer was something to get excited about – but in a bad way.
Yep, that day has come.
Our Bambi is likely a young buck traveling on his own; ma has a couple of new fawns and can’t be bothered with him anymore. Our new grapevines are a lovely salad bar, one that he has snacked on every few days. As vines that had escaped his nightly munching grew taller, the difference between chewed vines and unchewed vines became more apparent. As with the Japanese beetles, our initial tepid response turned quickly into Bambi wars. The skirmish has gone something like this.
- Put up strip of bad smelling deer tape along the creek side of the vineyard. (Rotten eggs and mint combo.)
- Extend the deer tape to the whole perimeter of the vineyard.
- Add a second band of deer tape.
- Put up wire for electrical fence. (Thanks Karen and Mark for helping out with this project!)
- Stick peanut butter inside tin foil strips here and there to make sure Bambi got his nose zapped.
- Put up a flood light to scare Bambi up in the middle of the night.
- Visit the hair salon for hair clippings which were sprinkled at the base of the fence. (Sure – take all the hair you want!)
- Stick bars of Irish Spring soap into suet holders and put around the perimeter. (Thanks to Jackie Alcorn for that suggestion.)
- Add another strip of electrical wire and another strip of smelly deer tape.
- Park the tractor and/or the truck between the vineyard and the creek every night.
We think we might be winning the Bambi war. At any rate, we haven’t had any vines munched on for over a month, and we haven’t seen any tracks inside the vineyard. The deer-bit vines are recovering, and though they aren’t as far along as some of the other vines, which are now over 7 feet long in some cases, at least they are healthy and flowing over the top of the grow tubes. Jed has declared us the MDL – Merlot Defense League.
We didn’t even have to kill Bambi, and we can still enjoy the young fawns that come into the back meadow to graze shyly.
Did I mention that we have wild turkeys in our woods, and that they too, like grapes?