As many people are all too aware, we share our site with muntjac deer who have been voraciously chomping their way through prize produce.
Various proposals and suggestions have been made about how to stop damage from the deer and the Committee has been liaising with the Oxford Urban Wildlife Group to see what can be done. This is important both for the welfare of the deer population (who are getting very inbred), as well as to prevent the damage they cause.
A cull was planned for April 2021, but Oxford City Council refused to grant a licence on safety grounds, due to the urban setting.
Another possible measure is additional fencing. However, as muntjac deer have tusks they are able to burrow under fences, or simply jump over them, which makes it prohibitively expensive for us to erect effective deer-proof fencing.
In the meantime, here are some ideas to try as deer deterrents: a strong plastic trellis laid over vegetables may offer a physical barrier; planting strongly scented herbs such as lavender around edges of plots may offer a scent barrier; spraying strong odours (e.g. rotten eggs, garlic, chilli, vinegar) around plants; hanging reflective objects nearby (e.g. old CDs and foil food trays); offering alternative food sources (e.g. bread); lastly, commercial deer deterrents are available.
The Committee will continue to work with local ecologists to find solutions for this, however, it is a problem across Oxfordshire and one that many places are grappling with. Arguably, the biggest menace we currently face is not from the deer, but from an onslaught of slugs!