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Living with Wildlife in Manitoba

White-tailed Deer

Homemade Deer Repellents

You may wish to consider a homemade remedy to help keep white-tailed deer from your gardens and shrubs.

You can use an area repellent soap sachet using a strongly scented (eg. Irish Spring) bar soap.  Place soap shavings in a sachet and hang in the area frequented by deer.

You can also make this area repellent spray for use on shrubs, and plants not destined for the dinner table:

  • 4 gallons water
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap
  • ½ cup milk

Mix this in a five-gallon pail with the lid on, but not sealed. Allow to brew for a day or two, pour into a sprayer or watering can and spray plants in the area you wish to protect.

You can use a contact repellent by making a water-based solution that uses hot sauce and dish detergent.  Season the deer's favorite vegetables and shrubs with a homemade hot sauce by mixing:

  • 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent
  • 1 ounce of hot sauce
  • 1 quart of water

Place in a water can; sprinkle this on the vegetation the deer has sampled and any others that are likely to attract attention.  The detergent will help the hot sauce stick to the leaves. 

These homemade contact repellents are environmentally friendly and do not harm the deer.  However, you should discontinue applications on vegetables two weeks prior to consumption and wash vegetables thoroughly to remove any residual detergent.