5 year old buck +
I use aluminum window screen around the trunk and remove all growth/ limbs to a 3-4 foot level. Some go 5 feet to the first limb.
Fifteen feet of cement reinforcing wire is used to keep the deer out, but rabbits can easily get through the 6 inch openings. The aluminum window screen needs to be kept higher to keep rabbits from girdling the trunk during deep snow winters.
This is primarily what I have gone to as well. I have been running the rewire cages a little tighter at 26 squares plus 1 for the cut which I alternate the protruding wire ends for bending at least 1 back to lock the loop. Which gives me 130in or 10.8 feet or so. If I have a tree I really like I will go that 15 foot or so. Window screen as well. Favorite way is (4) 7 1/2' t posts, 7 1/2' apart in a square with the rewire held up off the ground 1 foot. That is wire and post intensive and expensive. Your 2nd way is the best compromise in cost and material.