Discover 10 Smells That Deer Absolutely Hate

A deer sprints across a field
© WildMedia/

Written by Heather Burdo

Updated: July 13, 2023

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The delicate deer may enchant nature lovers, but their voracious appetites spell trouble for gardeners and farmers. These graceful creatures swiftly ravage crops and gardens, wreaking havoc on hard work and budgets. However, their keen noses—so attuned to pleasant aromas—can be deer’s downfall. Potent smells that repel deer may save your garden.

10 smells that deer absolutely hate
Any of these scents can be used as deer repellants.

Let’s investigate the odious smells that deer turn up their nose to and strategies to harness the power of stink to shield your land from these marauders.

Why Do Deer Hate Certain Scents?

irish spring soap

Deer’s acute sense of smell lets them pick up scents they dislike, and using some, such as Irish Spring soap, can deter them from an area.

©Walter Eric Sy/

Deer have an acute sense of smell, which they use to detect predators and food sources. They also use their sense of smell to communicate with other deer. These scents can be natural or synthetic, and they work by masking the scents that attract deer or produce a repulsive odor. Some scents, however, can be overwhelming for deer, causing them to avoid the area altogether.

10 Smells That Deer Hate


Smells that repel deer include mint, human hair, blood meal, and garlic.

©Ginger Livingston Sanders/

1. Mint

You can use mint as a natural repellent to keep deer away from your garden. Deer dislike the scent of mint, which can be overwhelming for them. Planting mint or using mint essential oil can work well. To use the oil, add 10-15 drops of water in a spray bottle and mist the area you want to protect. Use the spray about every three days.

Peppermint, Essential Oil, Label, Alternative Lifestyle, Alternative Therapy

Deer don’t like the smell of mint – a repellant can be made by mixing a mint essential oil with water.


2. Blood Meal

A blood meal is a type of natural fertilizer produced by drying animal blood. It contains high amounts of nitrogen and helps ensure the plants in your garden thrive. Besides, it has a pungent odor that deers find unpleasant, making it a suitable repellent. To utilize its benefits, you can apply it by sprinkling it around your garden or diluting it with water to make a spray. For optimal results, it’s advisable to replace it every few weeks since it is most potent when fresh.

Fertilizing the garden by bio granular fertilizer for better conditions of garden

Blood meal can be sprinkled around your garden to discourage deer from eating your plants.

Image: Simon Kadula, Shutterstock

©Simon Kadula/

3. Garlic

Garlic is another scent that deer hate. The pungent odor of garlic can be overwhelming for deer and can keep them away from your garden. You can plant garlic around your garden or use garlic powder to create a spray. To create a garlic spray, mix two tablespoons of garlic powder with a quart of water and spray it around the area you want to keep the deer away from. Reapply the spray every few days to maintain its effectiveness.

Old age woman hand planting seed garlic in potting soils for family garden

Keep deer out of your garden by planting garlic.


4. Human Hair

Believe it or not, human hair can be used to repel deer. The scent of human hair can mimic the smell of humans, which can be a predator to deer. You can collect hair from your hairbrush or salon and place it in mesh bags around your garden. Alternatively, you can tie strands of hair to stakes around your garden. Make sure to replace the hair every few weeks to maintain its effectiveness.

Rear view young woman worried about Hair loss problem, hormonal disbalance, stress concept. Many hair fall after combing in hair brush in hand. Female untangled her hair with a comb, Health care

You can collect hair from your brush to put around your garden to repel deer.

Image: fongbeerredhot, Shutterstock


5. Irish Spring Soap

Irish Spring soap’s pungent aroma is a powerful deterrent against pesky deer intruders. Grating bars of the soap and infusing the shavings in water creates a compelling deer-repellent spray. A few spritzes of the soapy solution around the perimeter of your garden will envelop the space in a veil of scent through which deer will not pass. Regular reapplication of the spray ensures ongoing sanctuary for your plants by preserving the strong soap scent. This simple yet effective technique leverages the soap’s fragrance to humanely and inexpensively protect your garden’s bounty from destruction by deer.

irish spring soap

For whatever reason, deer really hate the smell of Irish Spring soap.

©Walter Eric Sy/

6. Hot Pepper

Hot pepper is another scent that deer hate. The capsaicin in hot peppers can cause a burning sensation in deer’s mouths and noses, causing them to avoid the area. You can sprinkle hot pepper flakes around your garden or mix them with water to create a spray. To create a spray, mix one quart of water and one tablespoon of hot pepper flakes and spray it around. Reapply every few days.

Dry chili pepper flakes. Crushed red peppers in spoon on the black table.

Hot pepper flakes can be sprinkled or mixed with water to make a spray to repel deer.

Image: Jiri Hera, Shutterstock

©Jiri Hera/

7. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is nature’s deer repellent. With its powerful scent and pungent essential oils, eucalyptus creates a natural barrier against destructive deer. Planting eucalyptus hedges around your garden or creating an easy spray with eucalyptus essential oil are two simple yet effective ways to harness the plant’s potent aroma. The spray—merely eucalyptus oil and water in a bottle—can be applied every few days to refresh the scent and maintain a deer-free space. With eucalyptus, you can protect your garden using the gifts of the earth, not harsh chemicals.


Deer do not like the smell of eucalyptus.

© Denisenko

8. Lavender

Lavender is a fragrant herb that can be used to repel deer. The scent of lavender is overwhelming for deer, and they tend to avoid areas where it is planted. You can plant lavender around your garden or use lavender essential oil to create a spray. To create a spray, mix 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Next, mist the area you want to be deer-free. Make sure to reapply the spray every few days to maintain its effectiveness.

Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia

Plant lavender or make a spray with essential oil and water to keep deer out of your garden.

© Vagnerova

9. Predator Urine

Predator urine is a compelling natural repellent that taps into deer’s instinctual fear of predators. The scent triggers their avoidance of areas that may put them in harm’s way. The urine convinces deer to steer clear of gardens and yards by mimicking the smell of wolves or coyotes. Simply applying drops of urine around the perimeter creates an invisible barrier that deer will not cross. For ongoing protection, regularly re-treat the area with the powerful predator-scented spray. This organic solution outsmarts deer using their innate responses to threats, providing an easy and long-lasting deterrent.

A wild coyote in Yellow Stone National Park

Predator urine can be purchased to scare deer away from your garden.

Image: dgenxart, Shutterstock


10. Fennel

Fennel is a herb that can be used to repel deer effectively. The strong scent of fennel can overwhelm deer, causing them to flee the area. You can plant fennel around your garden or use fennel essential oil to create a spray. To make your own spray, mix 10-15 drops of fennel essential oil with water in a spray bottle to distribute evenly. For effectiveness, spray every three days or so.

fennel isolated

Fennel can be planted or the essential oil can be sprayed to repel deer.


What are Deer Most Afraid of?

As prey animals, deers are alert to avoid danger, including predators.


Deer are prey animals, so they are naturally cautious and alert to avoid danger. While there is no single thing that all deer are most afraid of, certain things can trigger fear or alarm in these animals. Here are a few examples:


Deer are most afraid of predators, such as wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions. These animals directly threaten deer and can cause them to flee or freeze in fear.

Sudden movements or loud noises

Deer have excellent hearing and are easily startled by sudden movements or loud noises. This is why hunters and wildlife watchers often use stealth and camouflage to avoid deer detection.

Strange or unfamiliar scents

Deer have a keen sense of smell and are sensitive to unfamiliar scents. This is why certain smells, such as predator urine or human hair, can deter deer.

Bright lights

Deer are also sensitive to bright lights, which can disorient them and make them more vulnerable to predators. This is why drivers are often warned to use caution when driving at night in areas where deer are common.

While each deer is an individual and may have unique fears and preferences, these are some of the most common things that can cause anxiety in these animals. By understanding what deer are most afraid of, people can better protect these animals and avoid unintentionally causing them harm or distress.

Why Would Someone Want to Repel Deer?

Deer Repellents

You may use smells that deers hate to repel them from your garden or keep them away from the roads.


There are several reasons why someone might want to repel deer. Here are a few common reasons:

Protecting Gardens and Crops

Deer are notorious for eating garden plants and crops, which can be a frustrating and expensive problem for gardeners and farmers. By using scents or other methods to repel deer, people can protect their plants and crops from being eaten by utilizing scents or other strategic methods.

Preventing Collisions

Deer, unfortunately, are a common cause of car accidents, especially in rural areas. People can help prevent dangerous collisions with these animals by repelling deer from roadsides and highways. More than 2 million deer collisions happen in the United States each year.

Preventing Property Damage

Deer can also cause damage to property by rubbing their antlers against trees, shrubs, and other objects. By repelling deer from these areas, people can help prevent property damage.

Preventing Disease

Deer can carry ticks and other disease-carrying pests, which can concern people who spend time outdoors. People can help reduce the risk of tick bites and other health issues by using smells that deer absolutely hate in specific areas.

While many people enjoy seeing deer and appreciate their beauty, there are several practical reasons why someone might want to repel them. Using scents or other methods to repel deer, people can protect their property, prevent accidents, and reduce disease risk.

A Deer tick, a parasitic biting insect on background of human epidermis.

Deer carry ticks that can jump on you and your pets.

© Kubeš


Deer are a beautiful and essential part of the natural environment. However, they can also cause damage to property or spread dangerous diseases. It’s vital to understand what deer are most afraid of and how to repel them using scents or other methods if necessary. By doing so, people can protect their gardens and crops, prevent dangerous collisions, and reduce disease risk. Ultimately, this will help ensure that deer populations remain healthy and safe for generations.

Summary of 10 Smells That Deer Absolutely Hate

SmellHow to Use It
1MintPlant it in your garden or make a spray repellant with essential oil
2Blood MealSprinkle this natural fertilizer around your garden
3GarlicPlant in your garden or make a spray repellant with garlic powder and water
4 Human HairClean out your hairbrush and scatter your hair where you want to repel deer
5Irish Spring SoapGrate the soap and mix the shavings with water to make a spray repellant
6Hot PepperMix hot pepper flakes with water to make a spray repellant
7EucalyptusPlant in your garden or make a spray with essential oil
8LavenderPlant in your garden or make a spray with essential oil
9Predator UrineBuy at a hardware or livestock supply store and sprinkle or spray to scare deer away
10FennelPlant in your garden or make a spray with essential oil

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About the Author

Heather Burdo is a digital marketing enthusiast who has written content for countless industries over the last decade. However, content related to animals, nature, and health has her heart. When she's not working her magic with content, she enjoys being with family, going for walks, camping, and gardening. Self-development is non-negotiable for her.

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