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Deer Movement In Winter

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Deer Movement and Habitat Remains Changes As the Days Become Progressively Colder.

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, and even autumn, deer found an abundance of twigs, leaves, berries and other plants to satisfy their cravings; but in winter season, natural resources are largely diminished. As if losing food resources wasn't hard enough for deer herds, they are also finding trouble hiding from deer hunters. Since the leaves fell in the fall, deer are migrating away from woods to avoid becoming deer meat. 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.

Because food is scarce in the winter, 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.