Will Deer Eat Industrial Hemp?

Deer enjoy eating most herbs, including industrial hemp, and have reportedly destroyed 96 acres of industrial hemp in Oregon. This is quite a huge monetary loss that could have been prevented if the precautions below were taken into account while farming.

Why Do Deer Love Industrial Hemp?

Deer love eating industrial hemp for several reasons. Strange as it may sound, they enjoy its smell which resembles that of a skunk and is also sweet and/or spicy. Additionally, industrial hemp has a lot of fiber in it and is quite filling. Lastly, industrial hemp is rich in plant protein and provides nutrients that deer need. 

Will Deer Get High After Eating Industrial Hemp?

It is very unlikely that deer will get high after eating industrial hemp. This is because the compound that causes the “marijuana high,” tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is hardly present in industrial hemp. In the U.S., legal industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% THC.

Another reason that deer will not get high from eating industrial hemp is that THC is found in its acidic and inactive form in raw industrial hemp. In this state, it is referred to as THCA, which needs to be activated by heat for it to become active THC.  

That being said, if a deer comes across a sufficient amount of THC they will quickly become intoxicated because they have an endocannabinoid system that is similar to that of humans. 

How To Prevent Deer From Eating Industrial Hemp

As much as deer enjoy eating industrial hemp, they can be easily prevented from destroying these beautiful plants. This can be done through the following means:

1. Create a physical barrier

This is the most straightforward way to address this challenge. While building the fence, ensure that there are no spaces left that can fit even a small deer. Also, remember that deer are good at jumping. They can jump to a height of around 8 feet, so make sure that the fence is at least 10 feet tall just to be on the safe side.

An electric fence may be a better alternative because it will allow you to aim for a height of only 5 feet. The deer will get “shocked” as they approach the electric fence and they will develop a fear for it.

2. Use motion-detecting techniques

You can install motion-detecting lights and sprinklers in the industrial hemp farm. When motion is detected, the lights and/or sprinklers will go on, targeting the incoming threat. In the long run, the deer will hesitate when approaching the farm as a result. This works because of the “scarecrow” principle, and works well with deer in particular because they are timid animals.

3. Use a scent repellent

A cheap way to do this is to sprinkle human or animal urine around the farm, or put it in open jars around the farm’s perimeter. Predator urine from foxes and bobcats can also be bought and sprayed around.