Design & DIY

The buck stops here


Sure, they’re lovely, but when deer start snacking on your cottage raspberry patch, you’re apt to wonder how berry-fed venison tastes. Instead, Mark Kreger decided on a more inventive approach: separating Bambi from the berries with a deer-proof dome. “I’ve had this PolyPipe lying around since I bought the cottage, and I thought I could do something with it,” the Kearney-area cottager says. Fed up with the marauders, Kreger measured a 13-foot-diameter circle around the berry patch and pounded six 2′ lengths of scrap PVC pipe into the ground to act as the pegs for the dome. Then he formed three arches by shoving the ends of three 22′-long pieces of 1!/2″ polypropylene pipe onto the PVC stakes. Using plastic-covered wire, Kreger tied the pipes together at the apex of the dome, and then draped commercial deer netting over the frame and secured it with more wire. By doubling over the netting where the two ends meet, Kreger made a flap-like entrance to the dome, wired to a six-foot 1×1. The berry patch has been a deer-free zone since the dome went up last July, and Kreger’s wife, Emmi Duffy, is hoping her horticultural efforts will begin to pay off. “She planted the raspberries three years ago, but they haven’t really got going because the deer keep eating off the tender shoots,” Kreger says. “Now we’re hoping that the plants can get established, and we can finally enjoy some berries.”