Every fall, thousands of Montanans hunt for deer. Every spring, the tables turn; the deer become the predators, and our vegetables become the prey.

To fortify your garden against pests— particularly the four-legged, hooved variety—there are many preventative measures that can be taken. Most obvious, perhaps, is putting up a fence. But that alone won’t stop deer from getting into your fresh produce. Make sure to harvest your vegetables as soon as they’re ripe, before a hungry deer can beat you to it. A well-maintained landscape will deter deer from bedding down. Trimmed brush and branches will eliminate hiding places that deer gravitate toward.

There are many manmade deterrents available on the market, but if you desire a more natural approach, you can utilize plants that deer find repugnant. Lavender, garlic, and chives have strong odors that deer generally avoid. They also dislike the taste and smell of cinnamon, which you can use to blend homemade deer repellant.

If disgust doesn’t keep the deer away, fear might. Motion detector lights and sprinklers can be enough to startle deer away from your garden. Noise will scare them off as well—one of the many reasons dogs are a man’s best friend!

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