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Outwitting Deer: 101 Truly Ingenious Methods and Proven Techniques to Prevent Deer from Devouring Your Garden and Destroying Your Yard Paperback – October 1, 1999
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"A useful, fact-filled book that is also downright fun to read." -- San Francisco Chronicle on Outwitting Critters
"Bill Adler Jr. is my hero. I love this book. Go buy this book." -- Rosie O'Donnell on Outwitting Squirrels
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The book starts out with a very fact filled, yet fun to read, discussion about deer. While the book didn't tell me much new, I felt comfortable that the author knew his subject matter, as what he was relaying I knew to be true. Unfortunately, when the book progressed to a discussion of deer resistant plants it lost credibility.
Providing a list of plants deer rarely eat that will be referenced by people throughout the United States and possibly the world is no trivial matter. Like people, deer in different regions of the world have different taste preferences. As such, I would expect such a list to contain only those plants that deer consistently tend not to eat anywhere. Plants that deer may or may not eat, depending on geography and other variables should be listed separately.
When I first saw how long the author's list of plants that deer rarely eat was, I immediately suspected something was wrong. If deer generally tended to stay away from so many plants, why was deer browsing becoming such a serious national problem? On closer scrutiny, I saw numerous plants that deer absolutely love to eat in much of the United States listed. For example, the author included the following deer delicacies in his list of plants deer rarely eat: tulips (Tulipa spp.), daylilys (Hemerocallis spp.), rose-of-sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), ivy (Hedera spp.) and plantain lily (Hosta sieboldiana).
To make matters worse, the author then cites another reference that recommends homeowners "plant a selection of deer pleasing greens around the perimeter of the garden". The intent here is that the deer will eat the plants they like and leave the rest of the garden alone. Unfortunately, most homeowners with a serious deer browsing problem know that unless you have several acres of land, planting things the deer actually like anywhere near your garden only serves to invite the deer into the garden, where they will promptly eat all but the things they absolutely hate. The author clearly states in his book, "An adult elk can eat up to thirty pounds of food daily, and a moose can eat up to fifty pounds." It is also well known and stated by the author that deer travel and live in herds. If the average homeowner with a serious deer browsing problem followed the author's advice, he or she would have to bring in truck loads of deer pleasing greens to insure the deer didn't mosey on over to the rest of the garden!
Given the growing magnitude of the deer browsing problem in the United States, it is rather disturbing to read such inappropriate advise. In addition to the millions of dollars of crops destroyed by deer each year, millions of homeowners have individually lost hundreds and thousands of dollars of landscaping. Some of these homeowners, in search of sound advise, will buy this book. While no one is perfect, it is irresponsible to sell such ill advised advise to the public.
Adler knows what a tremendous problem the overpopulation of deer has become in America, and he has gone to the best source for helping eradicate the problem in our own homes: REAL PEOPLE. I appreciated that Adler consulted with people who have tried and succeeded (or in some cases failed) to rid their yards and gardens of deer and shares with his readers how they did it.
In Maryland, where I live, we have a serious problem with deer, and I, too, was tired of wasting time and money feeding them with the best of what my garden had to offer. I employed several of Adler's suggestions and found my garden a lot more lush than ever before.
Adler hits his readers with a dose of common sense and compassion. He tells us to talk with our neighbors and try different plants to see if the specific deer in our area like to eat them or not. Deer can be as picky as your average four-year-old at the dinner table. The trick is to plant what those deer in your area will not eat.
Alder's extensive product list as well as contact information made work easy. All I had to do was pick a couple techniques I wanted to use and I was soon outsmarting these creatures.
As Adler says, no one technique will rid your homes of these ever-hungry deer, but with his helpful hints, homemade remedies, and deer-resistant plant list, I think anyone who seriously tries to outwit deer can do so with his book. I recommend buying his book today and reading it before you plant next year's spring garden.
But I was pleasantly surprised. There is a wealth of valuable information in this book, including a lengthy list of deer-resistant plants. I also liked Adler's approach to investigating how deer are invading your garden, and using that information to outthink deer.