The four critical components of an effective energized fence are:
- a high voltage, low impedance energizer capable of delivering a
minimum of 5000 volts to the fence under all conditions;
- an adequate electrical grounding system;
- proper wire and post spacing; and
- monitoring of the fence power status with a digital voltmeter.
- A high voltage, low impedance energizer delivers a short (0.003 second),
painful, but safe shock to deer. The short pulse will not set fire to plants
contacting the wires, nor injure humans or animals.
- Energizers may be powered by 110-120 volt household current, a 12-volt
battery, or D-cell alkaline batteries.
- Household current (110-120 volt) is the most reliable and maintenance
free power source for most gardeners. Electrical costs are minimal. Deep
cycle marine batteries are recommended for 12-volt energizers. Solar panels
are simply a recharging system for battery powered energizers. Use a 110-volt
energizers for gardens that require year-round protection.
- Install 110-volt energizers in a shed, garage, or other building and
bury insulated underground cable from the energizer to the fence. Protect
your 110-volt energizer with a single outlet surge protector. Hang D-cell
energizers directly from the fence wire.
- Install the energizer and grounding system prior to installing posts
and wire. Energize all fence wires.
- Remember, the shocking power of the fence deters the deer. The fence
is the delivery system; it is not a physical barrier and will not be effective
unless constantly energized (turn the fence off only for maintenance).
- Use a minimum of three, 6-foot galvanized steel grounding rods. Avoid
copper. Additional rods may be necessary in sandy soils. Drive ground rods
so that approximately 3-4 inches remain above the surface to attach the
ground cable from the energizer.
- Place ground rods at least 10 feet apart in the wettest soil available.
Wire and Posts
- Recommended wire spacing for deer from the ground up: 12", 20",
28", 36", and 44".
- Use 8-foot by 4-inch treated wood posts with insulators at the corners.
Place the wide end of wooden posts in the ground. Lean corner posts slightly
away from the pull of the fence. Back fill and tamp wooden posts. You will
need at least 46 inches of the post above ground.
- You may use electroplastic or polywire, seventeen gauge steel wire,
or light gauge twisted steel cable. Polywire with a minimum of nine strands
of stainless steel wire is recommended. Polywire is easier to use than
steel wire. However, it is more costly and not as durable. Use light gauge
steel cable or wire around gardens that require year-round protection.
- Adjust wire tension by hand pulling to remove visible sag, and hold
with knots on the ends. Spring-type gate handles also serve to maintain
tension. Use small tension springs with twisted steel or seventeen gauge
- Use porcelain or heavy duty plastic insulators on wooden corner posts.
- Wooden posts with insulators, fiberglass, or 1/2" Schedule
40 PVC plastic pipe are recommended for line posts. To prevent shorting,
avoid using steel posts with insulators.
- Place line posts no more than 15 feet apart.
- Many gardeners prefer to leave a 4- to 6-foot wide area between the
fence and garden o maneuver wheelbarrows and tillers.
A voltmeter is essential for monitoring the fence power and trouble
shooting. Digital voltmeters are available from energized fence manufacturers.