Whitetails, Blacktails and
No matter where deer are found
in North America, individual deer survival through
winter depends a lot upon how well the deer
prepares for winter’s “drought” of foods. And
their winter survival tactics are no more evident
than in your gardens and yards right now!
Woodland mast crops -- such as
acorns, sumac peas, beechnuts and locust pods –
that were in abundance just a few short weeks ago
are now growing scarce, hidden beneath matted
leaves and seasonal snowfall. As a result, the
deer have added your ornamental shrubs, trees and
cold-weather vegetable gardens to their wintertime
menu. Your prized plants represent cold-season
cold-cuts that could attract deer from as much as
50 miles away!
Among the most likely congregation areas will be
yards, gardens and agriculture fields on
south-facing slopes where sunshine is abundant.
you have had foraging deer damage your shrubs,
gardens and trees during the warm months of the
year, rest assured deer will return to your
property in the fall months. In most cases,
suburban homeowners are no threat to deer. Deer
often won’t run unless chased. They learn the
limits of controlled dogs, and they even learn the
noises associated with those who feed deer.
Preventing damage by foraging deer is easier than
breaking the pattern of deer foraging after it
starts. Once they adapt to your garden, one
deer expert says, they adopt it.
Perhaps no deer barrier is more
effective than a fence. But deer can easily clear
fences as high as 6 feet. That’s an expensive
fence, no matter the material it’s made of, and
the cost of building that fence is compounded by
the length of the barrier. Imagine building a
fence 6 feet high to encompass a yard 2 acres or
more in size!
do you begin a winter-season plan
to protect your valuable flowers, shrubs, and
trees from foraging deer? Initiate your plan now,
using the strength of a deterrent program that
stops deer from entering your flowerbeds, gardens
and even your yard!
where deer eat.
Deer prefer to feed in open areas near cover.
Clear-cuts, parks and suburban neighborhoods are
the perfect habitat, where rich
mixtures of vegetation produce abundant food and
cover. They’re easily attracted to areas of open
lawns, succulent summer gardens and plentiful
ornamental shrubs where patches of forest cover
stand nearby. Deer frequently feed on
flowers, fruits and vegetables and the buds and
twigs of fruit trees and ornamental shrubs.
Identify the damage.
You can distinguish the damage caused to plants by
feeding deer by the ragged, broken ends of
branches of plants and trees that have been
browsed by deer, which do not have incisor teeth.
Assault their sense of security.
While deer are herd animals, bucks are rarely seen
with does. Does, fawns and yearlings, however,
are very social, congregational, even predictable
animals. Individually, their nose will lead them
to return over and over again to areas where food
is tasty, abundant and safe to forage. Their nose
will also alert deer to nearby danger. Disrupt
their sense of security and you’ve achieved the
primary factor for turning deer away from your
valuable plants, gardens, shrubs and trees.
Deer are creatures
of habit. Once they’ve found a food source,
they’ll return to that food source. And at no
other time of year are deer most likely to return
to yards, gardens and grain fields to feed than
during the winter. That’s why it’s important now
to prevent damage by foraging deer. Breaking that
pattern, once it is established, is one of the
hardest tasks gardeners face. Once deer adapt
to your garden, one deer expert says, they
adopt it. Act now and your chances this winter
are good for protecting your prized trees, shrubs
and gardens from foraging deer.