Summer Deer Behavior and the Damage it Can Cause

Summer Time Can Mean Deer Damage to Your Lawn and Garden

Living near wooded areas can be lovely until wildlife comes visiting to cause damage to your yard or garden. In particular, deer can be a real nuisance. While they are a problem any time of year, there are some aspects of deer behavior that are unique to the summer season. Here is what to look out for when the weather gets warmer.

Changes in Feeding Habits

As with most animal pests, it’s the eating that does the most damage. And considering how large deer are, they can eat a lot once they get a taste for the plants in your yard. Not only will they eat grass, flowers, vegetables and many other bedding plants you have in the garden, they will also browse on shrubs and low tree branches too. Unlike during the winter, they aren’t as likely to start gnawing the bark off the trees during the summer months.

In the summer, there may be enough easily found food in the woods or fields that the deer don’t need to take the risk of visiting close to your home in search of something to eat. But if the weather turns particularly dry, that can change. Presuming you keep your own plants watered, your garden may be a lot more attractive, especially when there are no other green leaves around.

Deer Scrapes

The making of scrapes is definitely a summer issue and can create some damage if you have trees and fairly regular deer visitors. Male deer will scrape away bark on trees, or paw through the grass to create a bare patch of earth where they can leave their scent markers. Those are their way of “communicating” with other males to warn them away, and to establish their presence among the local females.

Not only does this behavior ruin trees and leave dead patches in your lawn, these markers can attract other deer which will make your problems worse.

Big Animal Trespassing

By this, we mean that their large size can cause damage just by roaming around in your property. Fence posts can be pushed over, fencing wire pulled, decorations knocked down and other such damage that just comes from a large animal wandering around.

Too many hooves can churn up the turf, especially if they are walking in soft areas like a freshly turned-over garden patch or sandy walkway.

Dealing with Deer in Your Yard

Now that you are familiar with potential summer damage, you might want to take steps to keep deer off your property. Fences are useless unless you want to undertake a major construction to put up an 8 foot barrier. It’s more effective to take a scent-based approach and use a repellent that has the scent of a predator (like a coyote) to scare off the deer. This is particularly useful when you have a scrape to deal with since those are all about the scent markers.

 

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