I don't know about you, but when I see the tall stalks on my daylilies start to sprout buds, I know the Deer Family can't be far behind! For the past 12 years I have been dreaming about writing a children's book called Meet Me at the Buffet, with Danny Deer and His Extended Family. The "buffet", of course, would be my garden, my neighbors', the folks one street over and pretty much anyone with a garden in this area!
Two years ago, on June 2, I totally admired my bounty of buds thinking that it was safe to spray my deer repellent the next day. When I awoke on June 3, nearly 75 percent of my buds had been snatched off their stalks by a very hungry herd of deer.
I wanted revenge.
Couldn't think of anything, so I just got a deer repellent and sprayed what I had left in my yard. This led to a decent late bloom season but nothing superior by any means. Seems the deer don't really come back for daylilies later in the season. Hint to self: plant some daylilies which bloom late in the season!
Last year, no one in my neighborhood wanted to even talk about the deer. Mainly because they were not present at all. I had the absolute BEST year of daylilies! I did not argue with Mother Nature and I truly enjoyed it!!
Whether the absence of deer was because I sprayed them sporadically or because my dog kept them away or because the Glade Stream was restored, I really did not care!! I was just so pleased!! And, extra benefit: my hosta stayed intact with leaves until frost!! I was overjoyed!
My advice to you at this time of the year: keep your eyes on those sensitive daylily buds, hosta leaves/flower stalks, garden lilies, balloon flowers and all of those other succulent, fleshy plants in your garden. If you are interested in an natural/organic/non-toxic method, there are plenty of options on the market. I use Deer Stopper. Last year I was introduced to PlantSkydd, which is a long lasting powder or spray. You can even craft your own version and can look here for ideas. http://www.deer-departed.com/deer-repellent-recipes.html
If you are more interested in a long-lasting treatment which will last through a rainstorm, you can use Liquid Fence. This stuff absolutely STINKS but it works like a charm, based on reports I have from neighbors' reports.
And, if you would like to experiment, you could get coyote urine and put it in little bottles which are hung from your trees.(I tried this about 10 years ago...not successful for me.) You can get some motion detectors which then spray the deer from a sprinkler (one of my neighbors has this, so, it does really exist). You can get apparatus which put out a screeching sound. There are deer fence options, as long as you can put it over eight feet tall - those grazers can jump.
Good luck - The deer-repelling season has begun. I will update you on my progress as the summer moves along.