Urban Deer

Mule deer belong to the family of Cervids (true deer) deerand are ruminants, those animals with four chambered stomachs. Deer generally weigh 125-200 pounds with the larger males (bucks) reaching 250 pounds. Mule deer breed in the fall months. Anywhere from one to four fawns are born in late spring after a gestation period of roughly 200 days.

Bucks have antlers which are shed every spring. The antlers are re-grown in time for the next autumn mating season (animals with horns retain them through life). While new antlers form, they are covered with a fine-haired skin known as velvet. When fully formed the velvet hardens and is scraped off to reveal new antlers.

Deer Dangers

Because deer are prey for predators, their flight response is very strong. They choose to flee when approached by humans or dogs. Mule deer easily panic. They sometimes injure themselves by becoming entangled on fences, or crash through windows in an attempt to escape.

During the fall male deer (bucks) comcompanion animale to breed with females (does), a time known as ‘rut’, and can be aggressive to people and companion animals. Deer can cause severe injury by striking out with their hooves or using their antlers to charge intruders.
Collisions between deer and vehicles are very common. These collisions can cause considerable damage to vehicles and seriously injure occupants. The deer are often killed by the impact or are critically injured. Mule deer often bound onto the road without warning and/or stand mesmerized by oncoming lights. Pay close attention while driving through hillside communities.

Finding a Fawn

If you come across a fawn leave it alone. Resist the urge to ‘help’ it. Fawns often die from the stress of handling by well-intentioned people who are unaware of the rearing methods of deer. Females leave their young in places they consider safe. The doe may disappear for many hours to forage and rest, but may stay away much longer if humans or dogs are in the area. If you are unsure a fawn needs assistance contact your local animal care and control facility.

Landscape Damage

The most common complaint about deer is landscape damage due to their voracious feeding habits. Deer damage can be reduced with careful planning . Although there is no sure-fire cure, creativity and persistence can lead to success.

Tips for yard protection :

Take action at the first sign of trouble.
Avoid plants that attract deer. There are plants deer find unpalatable, and will usually leave alone. For a list of those plants consult your local nursery or visit your Cooperative Extension website.
Exclusion fencing is usually too costly or impractical. Consider protecting small sections of yard or individual plants with chicken wire, netting, tree protectors or wire cages.
Sudden loud noises and barking dogs intimidate deer. Motion sensor devices connected to lights and sprinklers can be effective over the short term.
Repellants deter browsing by odor or taste. There are many commercial products that work well. Be sure to follow package instructions for best results. Repellants need to be re-applied every few weeks or after a rain shower.
Try home remedies such as cayenne pepper, bone meal and blood meal sprinkled around plants. Hang ammonia soaked rags on fences where deer tend to congregate. String noise-makers, such as cans, around areas deer frequent. Hang aluminum tape strips from trees and plants. Try hanging bars of deodorant soap on susceptible plants. Another home remedy involves spraying plants with a mixture of eggs and skim milk left out for two to three days.

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