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Deer Movement In Autumn

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Beginning in early fall, homeowners will see a change in deer movement. There are a few factors that dictate deer movement, habitat and eating patterns.

For starters, deer activity and habitat is based on the availability of food. They are looking for enough fat to get them through the winter. In the summertime, deer found an abundance of twigs, leaves, berries and other plants to satisfy their cravings; but in fall, natural resources start to diminish. Not just that, but the leaves block the light which makes them feel secure; and as the leaves fall, they become nervous and exposed. This is a problem for whitetails, as deer hunters go in-and-out of woods. While you would think that deer would move further into the woods, they choose the opposite. And, where do they end up but our yards, of course.

hirsch-555463-1920.jpgBecause food is scarce in the autumn, deer will not only change their feeding patterns but also their location. Travel routes depend upon security and which is the path of least resistance. Usually, they will travel longer distances than before for meals and they will change from early morning activity to evening activity to avoid strong (cold) wind gusts throughout the season. Wind chill factors can increase or decrease daytime deer movement based on their comfort levels. After all, deer feel temperatures just the way humans do. Additionally, they will stay put in low-key areas or hills until it's safe to come out. 

"Data from Texas suggests that southern deer are more tolerant of high temperatures, and because they are not subjected to the extreme cold of the north they are probably less tolerant of low temperatures." (Game Animal Identification) 

This is why deer fencing is needed this season. As hunters push out white-tailed deer, they will make themselves at home in the garden to feast on cool-weather crops such as squash, corn, lettuce and apples. They really don't mind at all, as long as they don't become deer meat.