Motion-Activated Non-Fence for Deer & Other Critters

by Catherine Haug

During the discussion about deer fencing at our Root Cellars, Greenhouses & Gardens slideshow in June, Keith mentioned his “non-fence” system, and agreed to forward information on his system for our website.  What follows is from the text of his email:

Contech motion-activated Scarecrow sprinklerFrom Keith Blaylock:

Commercial System

You can find the commercial motion-activated sprinkler on Amazon, made by Contech Electronics. More info about the product on Contech Electronics website. (Photo from Amazon).

  • Uses 2 – 3 cups water per deterrence
  • Each covers 1200 square feet
  • 9 v battery lasts up to 6 months
  • can be set for small vs large animals

Keith’s System

I made the system in my yard as follows:

  • Motion detector light from Costco.
  • 24 v transformer and one sprinkler valve from Lowes.
  • One plastic box for housing (water tight).
  • Three Rainbird sprinkler heads and pvc pipe with fittings.
  • One used electric cord to power the system.

[Cat’s note: of course, you can probably find the same equipment at Sliters, if you prefer to shop local]

Position the sensor so that it faces outward (away from what you want to protect), and so that nothing is blocking the sensor.  His motion sensor also has a sensitivity setting for large or small animals,depending on what you’re trying to keep out.

Keith’s Conclusions

My system went OK but in retrospect I think I would just buy the Scarecrows from Amazon (in fact I just ordered one today).  I am replacing the cheaper ($7) Rainbird sprinkler with the all brass version ($17) because the cheaper one is, well, cheap and doesn’t work very good.  Running the electric cord to the box across the yard is not good if you mow your lawn.  By the way, the Scarecrow runs off of a 9 v battery so no electric cords.

The other night I was looking out when the system went on and the deer ran out into the field and stopped, then it sauntered off.”

Keith believes the Scarecrow sensor will pick up movement within 25 feet, and will read an arc of 270 degrees (3/4 of a circle).

Keith’s Cost Comparison:

My system cost about $87.00 and I have three sprinklers covering my garden.

The Contech scarecrows run $58.49 each (on Amazon), or $175.47 for three sprinklers.

I think I’ll try two Contech scarecrows for my yard.  I haven’t had any deer yet this summer, but I know I will in the fall when they come for apples and pears. I’ll put them at opposite ends of my garden & orchard.  I may need 3 or 4 sensors, since my area is 100 feet long, but I’ll start with 2; one in my raised bed garden, and one by my apple tree and raspberry bed.

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