Deer: frequent questions


How to keep deer from eating plants
It’s fun to feed deer intentionally, like the toddler above, but not everyone wants them eating their precious plants and damaging trees. Here’s a formula The National Audubon Society says is effective at keeping deer away. Use it sparingly, as the odor is offensive — which is the point. Keep it out of your eyes and wash your hands after handling. It contains hot pepper and raw eggs.

Deterrent recipe
1 – 2 quarts water
3 whole eggs, raw
1 large garlic clove
2 tablespoons chili powder or hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon shavings of deodorant soap
Liquefy ingredients in a blender and mix with the water. Strain and place in plant sprayer. Spray on plants every two weeks and after rainfall. Keep remainder tightly enclosed in a jar between uses.

Deer tick

Deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). (U.S. Gov’t-CDC; PD)

Deer ticks
Deer ticks are found in the eastern half of the U.S. They commonly feed on White-tailed Deer, which is how they got their name, but also on rodents, birds and others. They’re dangerous because they can carry Lyme disease. They wait on foliage for an animal to brush past and then attach themselves. There are a number of things you can do to reduce your exposure. Spraying your wildlife habitat isn’t one of them — what kills ticks will kill beneficial insects, too.

  • It helps to clear paths through your habitat, wide enough for you to follow without brushing against foliage.
  • When gardening, wear light-colored clothing, tuck in your shirt and tuck your pant legs into your socks.
  • Another deterrent is to spray repellent on your skin and clothes. The most effective repellents contain DEET, which is toxic to insects; be sure to wash the spray off your skin as soon as possible.

How to rescue an orphaned fawn
You may never see a white-tailed fawn lying among tree debris on a forest floor or tucked in a stand of tall grasses. Their tawny coat dotted with white spots camouflages them very well when they stay totally motionless. Fawns have no scent at all for the first few days of their lives, another way nature protects them. Even nearby predators can easily overlook them. If you should come upon a fawn, help him stay safe by leaving him alone. Mother deer stay away from their fawns most of the day so as not to attract predators to them.

Don’t approach a fawn unless you’re certain he’s an orphan. Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for instructions. If he’s in imminent danger, approach only if he’s just a few days old — at this age he’ll freeze when he first sees you, which will give you a chance to catch him. Beyond that, don’t approach unless he’s ill, injured or weak, as he’ll be too fast to catch. Forcing him to flee may thrust him into the arms of danger.

A fawn can be suspended in a blanket, towel, even a jacket and carried that way. Take the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.