Do deer eat hemp?
Do deer eat hemp? For any hemp grower, discovering insights about deer feeding and behavioral habits can help keep them at bay. In this article, we will talk about deer and their relationship with the hemp plant.
Many animals do not like the taste of the hemp plant. The high terpene content in the plants, especially when they are mature, makes your hemp plants unpleasant to them. So, you might wonder – do deer eat hemp?
Deer and Hemp plant
The short answer is – not always. In reality, hemp is not one of the favorite food choices for deer. However, deer are reportedly feasting on hemp plants in recent times, making them a threat to many hemp growers. There are many different reasons why. Firstly, deer are attracted to all kinds of young shoots, especially when freshly fertilized. They don’t mind the awful hemp taste, as long as it’s young and green.
Younger hemp plants also contain lower levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive agent in hemp. As these plants become mature, the THC increases, making them less palatable to deer. However, industrial hemp is a target for deer because hemp growers specifically cultivate them with low levels of THC. These hemp plants also contain high protein, which is another reason deer will be attracted to them.
Protecting hemp plants from deer damage
Your location is also a factor that can attract deer. If you grow your hemp in an open area, you may have fewer deer incidents because deer do not like being exposed while they approach the fields. In contrast, those who grow in rugged, wooded areas may experience more problems. If you are only growing a small patch, you can try to clear the fields around to expose your garden, making it difficult for deer to amble across to it.
Fencing is one of the best ways to keep deer out. However, it needs to be relatively high to be extra effective. Aim for a fence at least 8 to 10 feet high. In truth, the higher, the easier it is to keep deer out of your hemp fields. Barbed wire fencing is also excellent, but you should make sure the horizontal spaces are not so large, and there is no way a deer can go underneath your wire fencing. Make sure your fence is high as well.
Use sound and visual deterrents
Consider installing motion-detector lighting and sprinklers. These will release blasts of light or water, and respectively, once there is movement in the area. Do note that these two methods only work for a while. Deer can adapt quickly to it, rendering it ineffective.
Odor and taste repellents can also help you stop deer from eating your hemp plant. Consider using predator urine from bobcats, foxes, and coyotes. You can also use scented bar soaps, mothballs, rotten eggs, and lots more to keep them out. Nonetheless, repellents only work so well for a while. So, it would be best if you alternated between different repellents to keep them from becoming too familiar with the smell or taste.
Do deer eat hemp? Unlike other animals, deer are beginning to eat tons of hemp plants, but for other reasons than their psychoactive tendencies. If you cultivate hemp, you should implement the methods we have outlined here to keep them out.