Deer populations are back on the rise as we enter the cool, crisp months of fall, or as the deer know it, rutting season. As autumn takes another trip around the calendar year, the number of deer that make the trip into your yard will increase along with the cooling of temperatures.
To keep deer from turning your garden into their next vacation spot, try using sounds such as yelling, barking dogs, alarms, radios, bells, and whistles to scare them away when you see them. Most loud noises that are not the usual day-to-day sounds of wildlife chatter will startle deer.
Deer are smart, shy, and a supremely adaptable species. To keep your yard safe from deer as they forage for food to take back to their fawns, you must skillfully target their senses.
Why You Don’t Want Deer In Your Yard
In the forest, deer are friends, but in the garden, deer are foes.
When they’ve foraged all the berries and fruits from their favorite forest spot, they’ll start sniffing around, eventually entering your yard in search of other food sources.
Deer schedule their search for food around the sun, remaining most active at dawn and dusk, which might make it hard to handle their presence manually.
They’ll rummage around your home and garden and eat just about any lush foliage that is green and growing, deeming your garden their dinner table.
Most commonly, you’ll find deer feasting on your flowers, veggies, and evergreens leaving teeth marks, trampled vines, and defoliated plants as a sign of their pesky presence.
These animals will even go after your trees. You can read more about tips and tricks to keep deer away from trees in our in-depth guide!
There are many ways to keep deer out of your yard by deterring them with their senses, such as scent, sight, and sound.
You don’t have to pull out all the bells and whistles to keep the deer from entering your yard, as a simple shout from the back window can startle the deer back into the forest.
Although the bells and whistles will still work, keeping them away is the hard part.
If food is scarce and they’ve laid eyes on your delicate garden veggies, you’ll be seeing them again.
7 Sounds That Easily Scare Deer Away
For years, it’s been studied and noted that deer and humans have a very similar sense of hearing. They can hear what we can… with a slight advantage.
While deer can hear at almost the same frequencies as humans, they are better at determining the cause and direction of each sound they hear.
Their ability to distinguish between natural and unnatural sounds in the woods gives them a leg up; I mean, I’d hope so; they live there.
Not only that, but deer have funnel-shaped ears designed to pinpoint the source and exact direction the sound is coming from.
For us and the deer, it is an advantage. It allows us to use their precision to direct them away from our yards and gardens.
Just to add, deer have a sense of smell far beyond our own and can smell your garden veggies over half a mile away, so if you think your garden is safe… think again.
Using a combination of deterrents that target each of their senses is the best way to keep the deer away long-term. The perfect place to start is by targeting their sense of hearing.
Especially if you’ve already spotted them out your back door.
In that case, you’re in the right place. Below are several sounds that will scare the deer right out of your yard, and many of them can be used right now or while you’re asleep.
Yelling Shocks Deer
Deer are shy creatures.
When they gain the courage to leave the cover of their wooded forest, they become even warier of possible human encounters.
Any human noises such as sneezing, coughing, shouting, yelling, or talking can scare the deer.
With that in mind, simply opening the back door and making your presence known will frighten the deer away—if the creak of the door didn’t spook them first.
So, if you’ve just spotted a deer munching on the produce in your garden, give them a quick shout and they’ll scurry back into the shelter of their safe place: the forest.
It is important to note that yelling alone will not keep the deer away.
While shouting at them will startle deer away, they’ll just simply give your yard some space until they feel it is safe to forage in your garden again.
Deer are shy, but they are highly adaptable.
You might find that in your case, catching the deer red-handed (or red-nosed—oh wait, that’s reindeer) and scaring them away right then is just enough to keep your garden safe.
If it’s not, don’t worry. There are still many other options to scare the deer away from your yard.
Dogs Will Startle Deer
Deer cannot be frightened away long-term by sound alone. You must stimulate two of their senses to frighten them into the woods indefinitely.
Keeping that in mind, an outdoor guard dog is one of the best ways to keep the deer in the trees.
As if the sight and smell of a dog on your property isn’t enough to keep the deer away to begin with, the barks of your canine will stimulate the third sense of any nearby deer, alerting them to keep their noses out of your veggies.
The sound of your dog barking is a deterrent for many home and garden pests including deer, rabbits, and raccoons.
Although perhaps your pup is rocking the indoor lifestyle and your house plans don’t include an outdoor dog—there are other animal noises that alert the deer and keep them from invading.
In a several year long study from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, they experimented with ways to keep deer and other animals out of the railways and found that warning calls from other species effectively kept deer away.
Simply recording and playing warning calls from other animals outdoors can deter the deer from your yard.
In this specific study, they recorded and played the warning calls of roe deer, the howls of wolves, and, of course, the barking of dogs.
The study also found that over the years, the deer did not adapt to the warning calls—meaning that each warning call startled the deer away from the tracks, much like you can scare them away from your garden longterm.
This makes sense for as long as the bark is different each time (not the same pitch) it should still startle the deer!
Alarms frighten Deer
There are a variety of different alarm systems you can use to keep the deer away from your yard.
Outside of the alarming warning calls of animals, a simple security system that alerts with an alarm any motion around your home will scare off the deer.
For dual function and a way to target many deer senses, a Ring Floodlight Cam is the perfect option when looking to install a home security camera and finding a way to keep the deer out of your garden.
When motion is detected, the camera floods your lawn with light and an alarming noise targeting the sight and sound of deer sending them signals to snack elsewhere.
This, of course, only startles them once they’ve stepped hoof onto your lawn, so a simple playback of an ongoing alarm can keep them from entering to begin with.
Now, this may be better for something like your garden or to identify if deer are going after your trees – you can set the system up infront of there to see what’s really going on!
Fireworks Scare Deer
It is no secret that loud noises scare off many scavengers, including deer. I’d imagine you haven’t seen a single deer snacking after sunset on Independence Day.
The loud pops of fireworks scare deer and keep them out of your yard.
That’s just an excuse to celebrate with fireworks every day.
This trick is most certainly not at the top of the list and will only work if you live in rural areas.
If you live in an urban area or have neighbors nearby, those leftover fireworks from the last 4th of July probably aren’t the best option.
But they’ll certainly scare the deer away.
Radios Startle Deer
A more widely known practice to keep the deer out of your yard is by leaving a radio outside. Constant radio chatter is a sound that’ll scare the deer away.
Simply placing the radio on your favorite station or playing back the sounds of radio chatter will deter the deer from entering your yard.
The constant sound of static, human voices, or music from a radio will scare deer and other pests from your garden.
This option allows you to get a good night’s rest and keep your produce safe from the stomachs of other scavengers.
It is important to relocate the radio every few days to ensure the deer are not adapting to the constant chatter of the radio, and don’t forget to change the station now and then too.
Keep the deer on their toes by scouting new stations and locations to place your deer deterrent sounds.
Pull Out All The Bells and Whistles To Scare Deer
And when in doubt, pull out all the bells and whistles and attach them to fence posts nearby to keep the deer away from your yard.
Using sound to keep the deer out of your yard is one of the cheapest senses to target without breaking the bank.
Using wind chimes to deter deer is an easy, cost-effective choice when weighing your deer deterring options.
Since deer are easily startled, the high-pitched chime of your porch décor can scare them away.
If you don’t already have wind chimes for your patio, Upblend Outdoors Wind Chime is an affordable option. This wind chime blends bamboo with aluminum, leaving it light and natural.
When the sun peeks over the horizon and the breeze blows through the chimes, the silver reflects and the chimes sing, targeting the sound and sight of the deer sending them back to the trees.
After a while, the deer will become accustomed to your wind chime. You can relocate your windchimes often by placing them around your porch, garden, or up in a tree.
Placing bells around your home is another quick, easy option to keep the deer away.
Keep your home festive by incorporating bells around your yard during the winter months to startle the deer away from your frost-resistant plants.
The Missouri Department of Conservation found that a quick homemade noise maker made of pie pans or old CDs attached to your fence posts can also startle the deer and keep them out of your yard.
Much like using wind chimes, once the sun and breeze hit the pie pans or CDs, the reflection and noise deter the deer from entering your yard.
Many of these options are easily attainable and affordable, making sound by far the easiest sense to target when startling those sneaky deer.
How To Keep Deer Away Long Term
As previously mentioned, sound alone does not keep the deer out of your yard.
Once they get used to the sound you’ve been using to scare them away, they’ll keep coming back.
It is best to use a combination of tactics by using all (or at least two) of their senses to keep deer out of your yard indefinitely.
If you plan to use sound to keep the deer out of your yard, it is best to change your strategies often.
Deer can easily adapt to your new techniques to deter them, making you work overtime to keep your yard safe.
Don’t get me wrong, using sound is by far the best starting point for keeping the deer away.
Deer know the difference between a human and a squirrel snapping twigs in the forest, so any unnatural sound coming from your yard will make them think twice about snacking on your prized plants.
However, by targeting another sense along with that of sound, you’ll find a sure way of keeping the deer away from your yard long-term.
Utilize The Scents That Deer Hate
Since a deer’s hearing is on par with our own, using their sense of smell to deter them in combination with sound will send them searching for a new yard to snack in.
Deer have an incredible sense of smell, catching whiffs of scents from over half a mile away. For instance, vinegar can mask smells that attract deer and cause them to stay away.
Using this to your advantage is the key to keeping them away long term.
There are several scents that deer can’t stand the smell of, which will leave them foraging in the forests for untouched patches of fruits and berries.
Try using these scents that deer hate, which include marigolds, herbs, and garlic.
By planting marigolds, garlic, lavender, thyme, mint, and many other herbs around your home or in your garden, you will signal the deer saying that there may be nothing tasty in your yard after all.
The scent of other animals, such as predators like wolves and other canine species, also deters deer. Coffee grounds are also effective at deterring deer as they may sense that humans are nearby!
This means that rescuing another pup for your home is one of the most viable options and will protect your plants from more than those pesky deer.
Use Motion To Scare Deer Out Of Your Yard
Another scare tactic to use in combination with sound is to startle deer with their sense of sight.
Deer have a poor sense of sight when compared to our own. They see 20/100, which means a deer must stand 20 feet away from an object to see it clearly from that at which normal human vision could see it from 100 feet away.
This means that deer compensate by watching for motion since they cannot see fine details.
Any minor movement can send a deer flying back into the woods at unprecedented speeds, especially if you throw a loud noise in the mix.
Foil (reflective in sunlight), floodlights or flashlights, and other animal movements can scare deer away. You can also use the Orbit Yard Enforcer, which is a motion activated water sprinkler and will spray medium to large animals with water what it detect them!
Bonus points if you pair any of these above options with loud noises to double your chances at a deer-free yard.
Over And Out!
Remember, the most important fact to deter deer is that they are only frightened away for more than a day when two senses are stimulated at the same time.
This means that sounds and tactics such as barking dogs, wind chimes, fireworks, alarms, and DIY noise makers are the most obvious ways of scaring away deer long term.
That certainly doesn’t mean that yelling at them won’t scare them away, because it will, but they’ll come back around after a while.
To combat the adaptable nature of deer, try not to expose them to a repetitive sound, sight, or scent over a long period.
If you’re looking to keep your plants safe next season, use these sounds in combination with scents and sights to scare the deer away long-term.
If you’d like to learn more, take a peak at our guide on the best natural deer repellents here!
Babińska-Werka, J., Krauze-Gryz, D., Wasilewski, M., & Jasińska, K. (2015). Effectiveness of an acoustic wildlife warning device using natural calls to reduce the risk of train collisions with animals. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 38, 6-14.
Curtis, P. D., & Sullivan, K. L. (2001). White-tailed deer. Wildlife Damage Management Fact Sheet Series. Ithaca, NY, Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Newsom, W. M. (1926). Whitetailed deer. C. Scribner’s sons.
Sandler, H. A., & Wick, B. (2010). Managing Animal Damage.
Seamans, T. W. (2001, August). A review of deer control devices intended for use on airports. In 2001 Bird Strike Committee-USA/Canada, Third Joint Annual Meeting, Calgary, AB (p. 21).
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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