A Bridgewater man says he has the solution to the problem of nuisance deer invading people’s property and devastating their flower beds.
Eric Oickle, a lifelong inventor, calls his device “a million-dollar” idea but he’s not looking to get rich. At the age of 78, he just wants to sell the idea and be clear. He’d like to get $25,000 out of it and is exploring the possibility of American buyers through a contact he has in the U.S.
If he was younger, Oickle said, he’d try to make a go of it himself but it’s less than two years until he turns 80, his knees need surgery, and his wife Mary is not in good health. He wants to pass the torch.
“We have three kids, three grandkids and we helped out all those years with finances for their studies and everything. They all went to university and . . . we did everything we could for them and we’re proud of that.”
He doesn’t want to get into the full technical description of his invention, to prevent unscrupulous people from stealing the technology, but in essence, a homeowner would buy commercial deer-repelling ingredients readily available in any farming supply centre and put them in the device. The canister should be oriented with the bottom of the can facing north to take advantage of the prevailing winds, which are primarily from west to east. It uses a chimney effect to enhance distribution.
The container houses the repellent mix that thewhite-tailed deer find repulsive but does not
affect people because a human’s sense of smell is not nearly as sensitive as that of the woodland mammals.
His invention facilitates the distribution of the repellent mix’s odour without being washed away by weather.
“There’s nothing like this in Canada or the U.S.,” Oickle said in a telephone interview.
The impetus for this invention, as with many of his past ideas, came from identifying a need: Deer were eating the hostas and other plants in his yard.
He had tried available repellents but none of them worked well, so he set about coming up with a solution.
“Basically, the only time I find that it eases up on the effectiveness is in the winter,” Oickle said. “Because these are mounted on the ground. (Although) you
don’t have to mount them on the ground, you could put some ties or something on shrubs and leave them there.”
The design of the vinyl cowling means neither rain nor snow gets to the contents.
“You don’t want the ingredients to get wet. Most of what’s available in the marketplace, you go into Home Hardware — you go into any of thestores that offer repellents — they will have repellents there but the problem with them is this: You have to reapply them after every rainstorm. So, that’s kind of a strong deterrentnot to use it. . . . If you have 25 shrubs orsomething out there, are you going to go out there after every rainstorm
and do that, spray them again?”
Oickle estimates he has about 250 units in his shed. He has sold a number to neighbours who have penned testimonials to their effectiveness. He prices them from $10 to $13 each, depending on the size and the generation of prototype. He estimates he went through about 20 versions but each iteration works well.
If a buyer wants to take everything off his hands for his asking price, he’ll do it.
“I would sell it, all of it, including the things I’ve got here, any of the hardware that I have, supplies, etc.,” Oickle said. “It’ll go, it’s just a matter of the right person seeing it and getting all the information and then making a decision.”
Oickle was director of
counselling and admissions officer at the local community college, as well as a teacher of a wide variety of subjects. He also was a registered education savings plan sales representative for 18 years and a top-seller for at least half that time, he said.
He has been an inventor throughout his life. The first invention he ever made probably had something to do with his lawn, Oickle said. He was always coming up with things to help him with his property maintenance and he gets a kick out of it when he sees similar items in hardware stores now, 30 years after he would have come up with his own version.
-The Chronicle Herald