Deer: frequent questions


How to keep deer from eating plants
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 it into a plant sprayer. Spray on plants every two weeks and after rainfall. Keep remainder tightly enclosed in a jar between uses.

Deer Ticks
Deer Ticks (Ixodes scapularis), also called Black-legged 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 they also prey on rodents, birds and others animals. They wait on foliage for an animal to brush past and then attach themselves to it. The ticks are dangerous because they can carry Lyme disease. 

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.

Illustration of the Deer Tick during four life stages.

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

• 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 it stay safe by leaving it 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 it’s an orphan. Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for instructions. If it’s in imminent danger, approach only if it’s just a few days old — at this age it’ll freeze when it first sees you, which will give you a chance to catch it. Beyond that, don’t approach unless it’s ill, injured or weak, as it’ll be too fast to catch. Forcing it to flee may thrust it 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.

All about White-tailed Deer

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