Deer are amazing athletes. I have heard that deer can clear an fence as high as 11 feet tall! Most farmers’ fences are just 4-6 feet tall. which means easy jumping. If you have ever watched a deer leap over a fence, you will be amazed.
A healthy deer can jump an 8-foot fence with ease. Even a 2-month-old fawn can clear a 4-foot fence or obstacle. If you are trying to fence deer out, good luck. Deer have a knack for finding a way through, over, or under fences. The highest recorded deer jump over a fence is 15 feet! Most landowners set their fences at 6 feet, but deer routinely jump over 6-, 8-, and 12-foot-tall fences, especially when motivated.
Normally deer will first exploit going through or under a fence. Bucks, however, have huge antlers which limit how they can avoid getting tangled or stuck. Big, racked deer tend to jump over. Once they find a spot where they can jump, this becomes a routine.
Most deer will jump fences that they can’t see through. They are generally searching for food. If they can see food, they become more determined. They are also good at finding breaks in a fence. They seek out spots where trees have fallen and broken a fence, areas that have a void under a ditch or depression, and where topography can help them jump.
Deer can run up to 40 mph, so a running start can be helpful. To jump, deer rely on their huge back legs. They tend to crouch and position themselves to allow these strong legs to vault/launch them across the fence. Once they begin the initial push, momentum will carry them over.
If they miscalculate or have a handicap, the deer can become injured or entangled in the fence. Bucks can castrate themselves. Antlers can twist and become tangled. Hair can be scraped off or the skin can be cut. Later infections can make these wounds fatal.
When a big buck jumps a fence, it is like an Olympian making a high jump or pole vault. It looks so smooth and simple.
Here are some pictures that show how easy a deer can clear a fence.
Don’t fence me in!