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Winter Deer Habits

18th Jun 2012

Winter Deer Habits

Winter is here in full force, bringing with it cold weather, snowfall, warm fires, and grazing deer. For many there is a fascination with seeing deer in a snow covered field or even your yard. Unfortunately, for a gardener it can be a dreaded sight. 

Since a deer’s food source is much scarcer in the winter, deer become less discerning. The woodland crops, such as beechnuts, acorns and sumac peas, which are in abundance in the fall become in short supply, hidden beneath snowfall and matted leaves.  Deer depend on the crowns of mature conifers and cedar for survival in the winter season. The loss of adequate wintering habitat due to development and deforestation is a serious threat to the deer population. As a result, the deer turn to your ornamental shrubs, evergreens and grain fields for their food source.

Deer' food shortages are most likely to occur in the winter months

Deer' food shortages are most likely to occur in the winter months.

The list of plants that deer will not eat is extremely short. It is better to come to terms with the fact that when a deer is hungry it will eat anything, including bark off trees. The only sure fire method of protecting your yard or garden during the winter months from foraging is deer fencing. 

Deer are creatures of habit. Their habits are controlled by their needs; food, shelter, and procreation. If left alone, a deer will follow the same routine every day, shifting their pattern only because of weather conditions or the availability of food. They do not migrate and does are known to stay within the same 4 mile radius for their entire lives. This means the deer you saw last year will most likely be back this year and the year after. Over time a feeding site will attract increasingly more deer, wrecking havoc on homeowner’ plantings.

You will save yourself a lot of anguish by making the investment in a proper deer fence around your yard or garden, if you have a serious deer problem. Deer can leap very high and at a distance of up to thirty feet. An effective fence needs to be at least 7.5 feet tall. Deer have poor depth perception limiting their ability to determine where the deer fence ends and the sky begins, making the deer hesitant to jump the fence. Deer may also try to go under or through a deer fence; be sure the deer fence is securely staked and goes all the way to the ground. Polypropylene deer fencing is virtually invisible from a distance and is more cost effective than conventional metal deer fencing, making it a great option.

With preventative measures, you have a good chance of protecting your treasured shrubs, trees and gardens this winter from foraging deer.

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