The reproductive cycle of deer follows a general pattern. That pattern can be affected by several factors including seasonal changes in temperature, rainfall, and day length. The unique behaviors displayed by deer during different periods of the cycle can affect how deer impact your lawn and garden.
Seasonality for Male Deer or Bucks
The season when male deer breed is called the “rut”. The rut, for most bucks, takes place in October. Some bucks, however, experience the rut as late as December. The later rut is most often experienced by younger and weaker deer. There are several behaviors associated with the rut, they include:
- velvet is shed from the antlers
- sparring among bucks
- “rubbing” – a buck rubbing his antlers and forehead on a shrub or small tree
- “making scrapes” – a buck pawing a spot of ground, usually to bare soil, and urinating in that soil.
During the rut, a buck is likely to be more aggressive. The rut is also the time during which a buck is likely to be most destructive to your trees and landscaping as the conduct their rubbing and scrapping activity.
Seasonality for Female Deer or Does
Female deer generally come into estrus (the period of fertility) in the fall, from October to December. If impregnated during the estrus period, a female deer will likely give birth to between one and three babies (or fawns), two being most common. Statistics indicate that about 15 – 20% of deer pregnancies result in triplets. The fawns will be born in the early spring.
Just prior to the estrus period and then during it, female deer are very active and increase their food intake. The extra nutrition helps to prepare them for the food scarce winter months and for staying healthy through pregnancy. It is during this time that a doe is more likely to raid your garden and lawn to find food.
Enhancing Your Deer Repellent Strategy During Breeding Season
Though it is important to protect your lawn and garden from deer year round, the deer repellent strategy you use during the other parts of the year may be less effective during the deer’s peak breeding season from mid-autumn through December. During that time bucks are more aggressive and may be harder to deter from entering your property. They are also more likely to harm your trees with their rubbing behavior. At the same time, female deer are more active and may be bolder about entering your garden for food. To bolster your deer repellent toolkit during the mating season you can add Deer Repellent Packs from Shake-Away. Deer Repellent Packs can be used as a long-lasting stand-alone solution, or they are easily hung from fences, trees or ground stakes as an add-on layer of deer defense.