Its interesting that deer in the same county aren’t always controlled with the same deer repellents. You’d think that what works five or ten miles from your yard would give you the same effectiveness. I suspect that earlier in the season it is fawns who have yet to learn what is good and what isn’t do a lot of the munching on plants that deer don’t normally eat in your area. Like all kids they’ll try anything once.
Still, lack of food in the wild due to bad weather will always drive deer to eat anything that isn’t poisonous. If its not due to them starving for natural food, this might help you out.
Dryer sheets work pretty well before the fawns are browsing. They’re cheap too. You can tuck them into bushes, weight them down with a rock or brick in flower beds, and tie them on branches and trellises. You can also change the scent after a few weeks, and recharging the smell is a wise idea. Baking in the sun’s heat and a lot of rain or irrigation water will deplete the strength of this deer deterrent. Cheap cologne in a spray bottle would do the trick. Saturate the aging dryer sheet and put it back where you had it.
This could be the perfect tactic for your veggie garden early in the season. Tie the sheets to bamboo stakes, and install them every 4-6 feet around the garden as a barrier. In early July you might have to switch to something more aggressive… like blood.
Not just any blood, mind you. Deer blood in the form of venison that has been in the freezer too long. This has proven to work very well when the deer walk past the man-scent barrier. Put the venison meat is a food storage bag that isn’t closed, and this bag inside a plastic grocery bag. Hang it high so dogs can’t get to it – like 6 feet off the ground on t-posts, or in trees around edge. It can work very nicely as a deer repellent. Your plants might even leaf back out and produce a harvest, though it probably won’t be as big as it would have been before they stripped the plants.
Don’t have any venison? Use some past-its-prime hamburger. That should be pretty easy to come by. Most people throw away meat that went bad in the fridge on a pretty regular basis. What beef is in your freezer that’s gotten old and frost-burned? Basically, this is a free replacement for blood-based deer repellents.
Incidentally, fish or poultry meat isn’t likely to be as effective as beef or pork as a homemade deer repellent. These are too far removed from the mammal’s fear factor, though sheep and goat blood meal or meat might give you good results, because these two are also ‘cloven hoof’ mammals, as are deer and cows.
Sticking to the same group, the ruminants with split hooves would certainly make common sense. Perhaps it’s just the commercial abundance of blood from the pork industry that leads repellent makers to toss it into the mix of their products. Think about it, are you more afraid when you smell pig blood or human? If you want to create fear in any herd, its best done by sticking to dangers presented to their own kind. See what it says about the Ruminantia group of the order Artiodactyla on Wikipedia, and apply some common sense to your fear factor in the garden.