Fishing line deer fence

Over the years I’ve lost many plants and pounds of produce from my home garden to hungry white-tailed deer. A two-strand solar-power electric fence did a pretty good job for four years but last year several deer got in and did a number on the tomato, pepper, and Swiss chard. The current was not terribly strong and I was not consistent in using repellents and attractants to increase the fence’s effectiveness.

I decided to build a more permanent fence in 2010 but plans had to be delayed till late summer or fall. So I decided to try monofilament (fishing line) in the interim- something I had read about on some web sites. It’s worked perfectly for the past six weeks, although the idea of counting on four or five strands of fishing line to protect my garden is scary.

The beauty is in the simple and inexpensive design- five 8 ft. steel fence T-posts (my garden has a weird shape) and 300 yards of fishing line. I bought some 8 lb. test line but it’s better to go 15 lb. or higher. I tried to find dark blue or purple line but was unsuccessful. Apparently, deer see colors the same as a color-blind human. They see blue and purple very well. If they see the fishing line they won’t try to go through or over the fence (at least that’s the theory). I have not seen deer approach my fence but people believe monofilament fences work by startling deer. They walk into it because they don’t see it. This causes them to recoil and stay away from it next time (again, a nice theory!)

I drove the fence posts into the ground at the corners of my garden with a post driver. Then I tied the fishing line at one corner about 1-ft. off the ground and pulled very tightly as I approached the next fence post. Then I cut the line and tied it off. It should be taut and bounce back when stretched. I continued to tie the fishing line between sets of two posts. My runs of line are at 1-ft., 2-ft., 3-ft., 4-ft., and 5-ft. I did it this way because the line can be easily broken and it takes a lot longer to replace a run around the entire garden rather than between two corners of the garden. I think it also gives you a more taut fence. (The two wooden posts you see in the photo are actually inside the fence and are holding up raspberry plants. You can’t see the steel T-posts.)

12 Comments on “Fishing line deer fence

  1. Good luck. Deer regularly run through my horse's electric fence. It doesn't deter them. (The shock is enough to deter my horse.)


  2. best hope for you with your fishing line fence against the deers.

    By experience this king of fence doesn't prevent birds to feed on my blueberry plants.


  3. Please update us from time to time, Jon, about how your fishing-line fence works to keep deer out of your garden. I've used several kinds of plastic fencing, but our bambits have always found a way to defeat me. But maybe your single strands of fishing line will make the difference. That would be a great saving in fencing, with 36″ welded wire fencing cost $25 or more per 50 feet.


  4. 15# test is pretty light line. You could use 50# test to make a stronger fence. Regardless, you'll need at least a 7.5 foot fence if your using a single fence or you can use two shorter parallel fences spaced about 2 feet apart.


    • I live out in the country, no through roads and abundant wild life. I have two pesky deer that don’t budge until I am three feet from them. They think I grow everything for them!
      I tried the fishing line deer fence The past two years and it has been successful. Deer come up to it, sniff, and walk away from the delicious leaves and plants inside. This year I will incorporate my raised bed herbal gardens and raspberry plants.


  5. This is so helpful, thank you! I've been dreading shelling out $600 on deer fencing and was desperate for an alternative. How did you make a gate? Or how would you suggest making a gate that has a 6ft opening?


  6. I have two large posts that frame the opening. Mine is only wide enough for a wheelbarrow to get through- about 30-in. wide. It's a simple wood gate covered with chicken wire.


  7. How do you get in and out of the garden area? Are you cutting the line each time?


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