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do it yourself motion activated camera system

I posted last summer how a good trail camera can provide important information in the war against deer... like where they enter your garden from and at what time.

Buying a motion activated trail camera would be the easy way to get started collecting deer data, but not nearly as much fun as building one from scratch. has an excellent step by step guide to hacking a motion sensor to work with a regular digital camera. I know it's a complex approach, but sometimes the road less traveled is where you learn some of the best hacking skills.
motion activated digital deer deterrent
The main reason I wanted to mention this was to provide help for those who might be trying to build a motion activated deer deterrent that makes use of digital coyote sounds.

Posted Wednesday afternoon, January 11th, 2012 Tags: experiments

digital coyote noise deterrent

There are several digital predator gadgets out there that will simulate just about any sound you can imagine so that hunters can lure a choice prey into their view.

The problem is price. Most of the high end units can cost anywhere from 400 to 800 dollars! That's why I'm posting about the device above. It's only 20 dollars plus shipping and has a setting called "coyote serenade".

I know it would take some tinkering, but it seems possible to maybe hack one of those driveway alert systems to trigger the coyote sound when the motion sensor is activated.

Posted late Wednesday morning, December 14th, 2011 Tags: experiments
off the shelf motion detection being deployed as electronic deer deterrent

Youtube user rchopp had some luck recently using the above driveway alert system to keep deer out of his garden.

He simply put the receiver in a ziplock bag and hung it next to the motion detection unit near his garden.

Since our deer pressure is extreme I would consider making a modification that allowed one to switch the alert noise to something more harsh and scary, or better yet make the alert also trigger a mechanical gizmo that would activate and provide motion for a minute or two.

Expect to pay 30 dollars unless you catch it on sale.

Posted Wednesday afternoon, November 16th, 2011 Tags: experiments
protecting plants from deer

One trick to staying happy during a series of deer attacks is to guard the most vulnerable plants with a protective barrier.

We've had good luck this year using green plastic fence material bunched up in a dome like shape and weighed down with either a metal fence post or pieces of rebar.

Posted Wednesday afternoon, September 21st, 2011 Tags: experiments
future pasture plans to keep deer out of garden

We continue to expand our chicken pasture moat perimeter each day we find time to plug away at it.

The green outline represents our future plans.

We've been using 5 feet high regular chicken fence material. It comes in 50 foot rolls and our local independent hardware store sells it for just under 18 dollars per roll.

Posted late Wednesday afternoon, September 14th, 2011 Tags: experiments
deer dance caught on camera with trail camera

These pictures were taken early this morning.

It's clear she got spooked by one mechanical deer deterrent and then another in the opposite direction.

Photographic proof that a mechanical contraption like these deer deterrents can be quite effective at making these deer feel like they crashed the wrong party.

Posted at teatime on Monday, September 5th, 2011 Tags: experiments

trail camera in action in the wee hours of the morning

trail camera image of me
We're still having trouble with a deer sneaking in and eating most of our swiss chard.

The game warden gave us a special kill permit, which prompted us to deploy a trail camera to see if we could get some data on when and where the deer are entering our garden. The plan being to ambush said deer the next time she makes a snack stop this way.

more trail camera funSo far the pictures have mainly been me walking Lucy and my wife getting the SD card, but early this morning we got the above GIF in which you can barley make out deer eyes in the distance. I think we had the camera mounted too high, but it's a start.

Posted Wednesday evening, August 31st, 2011 Tags: experiments
map of property

A long term approach to keeping deer out of the garden is to use more permaculture techniques near the border.

We've had good luck with our chicken pastures operating as a buffer zone to keep the deer out of our back garden and mule garden as can be seen in the map above.

Maybe the chickens give off a smell that signals the deer how all the good stuff must have been taken already?

Posted Wednesday afternoon, August 17th, 2011 Tags: experiments
smelly sprinkler deterrent field notes update
clogged up sprinkler head close up with Nikon Cool Pix L22 red

We're still having trouble with what I think is a trio of two small deer and their mother attacking our garden at night.

The above contraption is what you get when you combine a submersible pump with a sprinkler and a timer and a large trash can filled with water and scented soap. The finished product is what I'm calling the StinkMaster smelly sprinkler experiment, and its purpose is to provide a means as to which an area just outside of the garden can be subjected to repeated sprayings of an unnatural scent.

It's too early to know how effective it might be, but the area it sprayed last night is rather stinky with the smell of Irish Spring.
hole in a can close up for the StinkMaster smelly sprinkler experiment for 2011
My first observation is that soapy water clogs sprinkler heads.

Maybe a liquid fabric softener or concentrated perfume would be a better choice that would stink enough without clogging the sprinkler mechanism? I even tried swapping out the clogged sprinkler with the above hand held shower sprayer. It managed to spray out most of the can last night, but I think the clogged holes put a strain on the pump.

Posted Wednesday evening, August 10th, 2011 Tags: experiments
support arm field report on failure

The last of these original support arms failed on me this week. We lost power and the thing reversed direction and got hung up and burned out. My latest conclusion is that this method of support attached to the shaft is not sustainable enough, and at best you can only expect a 5 to 6 month life span.

I've decided it was too heavy, which put too much pressure on the internal gears.

One lesson learned is to provide for a pivot point so the apparatus will give instead of being forced to the point of burning out. The other lesson is to make it much lighter.

A final note would be the need for the primary clanging station to be able to handle the deterrent in both directions. More on this in a future post.

Posted Tuesday evening, May 17th, 2011 Tags: experiments

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