Volunteer Highlight: Steve Charles and the Importance of Our Deer Fence

March 04th, 2022

Our Deer Fence!

As a Certified Organic farm, our deer fence is critical to protecting our fields and vegetables from deer and other wild animals including raccoons, fox, and possums. Without the deer fence, our crops would be an open buffet to wildlife, and the deer would cause great destruction and could spread Lyme disease by carrying infected ticks into Red Wiggler’s fields. Because adult deer can jump as high as 8-feet, the deer fence must be high enough to keep deer from jumping over it.

Deer and Other Wildlife Wanting In

With all the wonderful produce, flowers, and herbs we grow, deer are constantly trying and looking for ways to enter our fields. Here are some pictures of deer trying to get into our fields.

Messy Fence and Reasons to Maintain It

Since the deer fence is critical to the successful production of our vegetables, we must properly maintain our deer fence on a regular basis. Left unchecked, vines and other climbing plants can add extra weight to the fence, which can cause it to sag or break. Furthermore, if the vines are left during winter, snow may accumulate and ice may form on the fence, both of which can add extra weight and can cause damage to the fence. In addition to these environmental hazards, other animals and critters may also cause damage to the fence, and maintenance is required to keep the fence effective against deer. Here are some photos of the deer fence when messy and with overgrown weeds.

Meet Volunteer Steve Charles

Volunteer Steve Charles has helped Red Wiggler maintain our deer fence for about 5 years, and we are so grateful for his dedication and hard work! Our deer fence measures approximately a half a mile long. To give you an idea of how much work goes into maintaining our deer fence, typically, when Steve or a group of 10-12 volunteers work on deer fence maintenance, they can only do approximately 50 linear feet, one side of the fence at a time. Therefore with 2,692 total linear feet, maintaining the deer fence takes over 50 days to complete clearing one side of the entire length of the fence. Double that for both sides of the fence, and that’s a lot of deer fence work!

Here is a photo of Steve and his truck filled with his gear and protective equipment.

And here is a closer view of some of his tools and equipment.

Here are a couple of photos of Steve using his Steiner 4 wheel drive brush mower.

Here, Steve is working on our deer fence.

And here is Steve giving an impromptu lecture to interns about the Allis Chalmers cultivating tractor.

Our Deer Fence After A Lot of Maintenance Work

Here are some photos of our deer fence after a lot of effort to clean it up.

Fence Work by Some of Our Grower Staff and Volunteers

Here are some photos of our Grower Staff and WSSC volunteers working on the fence.


Thank you to everyone who helps Red Wiggler maintain the deer fence!! It's a big undertaking, and we are so grateful for the help from Steve, the WSSC volunteers, Grower Staff, and others for their dedication to helping us maintain the deer fence!!