We get a lot of questions about whether a cattle guard can be effective at keeping deer from entering a property. The answer is yes, and no.
Most people think of deer as quaint and harmless animals, and they can be. Truth be told, they can also cause a lot of damage to landscaped vegetation, such as your prized flowers and expensive plants. They can also be an irritant to pets as well as a physical danger to people and animals during rutting season.
Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to keep them at bay because they’re so athletic. They’re very able jumpers and can easily leap long distances and clear tall heights.
Cattle Guards for Deer Need to be Imposing
To provide an effective barrier and dissuade them from simply jumping over a cattle guard, an extra distance must be created. Typically two are placed side-by-side to create a 12′ – 16′ distance in the direction of vehicle travel. We’ve found that this distance is usually enough to discourage them from attempting to jump across. At Barn World, we do offer pre-drilled guards so they may be bolted together on-site and easily provide the distance needed.
With deer, you want to make sure the barrier is imposing and daunting enough so they don’t attempt to cross. If it’s a distance they think they might be able to jump and aren’t successful, they may become entangled in the guard. They have more slender hooves and legs than livestock and can slide down between the top rails. This presents a dangerous situation where they can injure themselves during a struggle to get out.
Check your fencing for height
Even with the extended distance of two guards on the ground, you’ll also need to be sure your perimeter fencing is tall enough to keep them from jumping over. They’re incredibly good at jumping vertically as well as horizontally.
Cattle Guards and Horses Don’t Mix
As a quick side note, we do not recommend using cattle guards with horses. A lot of people have used them for years with horses without incident, but the potential risk of injury can be severe. Like deer, they too have a smaller hoof and a slender leg that can slide between the top rails. If that happens, the leg is then exposed to breakage and it can be extremely difficult to get them out. Most horses won’t test the uneven surface of a cattle guard but it’s best not to risk losing your animal, use a gate instead.
If you have any questions about cattle guards, please call (720) 238-2190 or email Barn World at Sales@BarnWorld.com anytime and we’ll be happy to help!