My deer rant


You have my condolences, it must be infuriating to lose all that fruit.



Deer are a prey species that have a natural fear of predators like humans (forward facing eyes are cues). Fear of predators is then reinforced by learned behavior as does teach their young how to detect and respond to predators. Fear of humans can be overcome. This can even happen with adult wild deer under conditions where food is very scarce. Deer will risk proximity to predators if they get hungry enough, especially if the predator (human) does not display signs of predation. Note on nature shows how gazelles will feed in fairly close proximity to fat and happy lions just checking on them from time to time but once the lions start to hunt, their behavior triggers a very different reaction from the gazelle.

So, a young fawn whose mother was killed usually won’t live too long. Without the ability to nurse, it is limited in the food it can digest when young. Before fawns are old enough to outrun predators, their nature is to lay down and hide until mom returns and indicates the coast is clear. So, it is easy for humans to walk up to a young fawn. Young fawns (like many mammals) have a bonding period. If a human picks up the fawn and cares for it for a bit it can bond with humans and stop seeing them as predators. If not penned, they will often hang around that human until they are old enough to range a bit and vary their diet. But that will likely be their anchor location.

So, a fawn that otherwise seems healthy that shows no fear of humans has most likely been through something like this.

If the fawn is not behaving naturally in other aspects, it could be diseased. Epizotic Hemoragic Disease (EHD), can cause deer to become lethargic, seek water, and not run from humans. It can affect deer of any age. It is pretty clear deer with EHD are not healthy and acting abnormally.


Im kinda new to the forums, but what is working for me is, Irish Spring Soap, Ultra Sonic Pest repeller on amazon


God I wish I wasn’t a vegetarian!
I have a deer family that visit me every night or every other night. I have learned their favorite foods: Sweet potato vines are their favorites, with thornless blackberry bushes a close second, and mulberry leaves in last place. As long as there is plenty of their “favorites” they tend to leave everything else alone.
Does anyone know of a plant that tops those three I mentioned?


Thanks for mentioning this. Last year they went straight to my sweet potatoes and I’ve been thinking I’d better put bird net over them soon…like now, LOL.


Yes, they decimated our sweet potato vines last year. I planted some bare root thornless blackberries this year- about 9 of them and about 6 have been munched on.

Around here they’re not too particular about what they eat, they even grazed some peppers this year, which is a first. They also will destroy an apple tree if given a chance, maybe more than anything else. Just moderately so with peaches, and less so with pears.

Over the last few years I’ve noticed they pretty much leave pumpkin vines, zucchini and cabbages alone. Of course, that could change at any time. They will shred a tomato plant- fruit, leaves and stalk. We had hardly any last year because of their raids. They are my nemesis. :angry:


I forgot about my tomato plants…they almost waited until I harvested the first tomato until devouring my vines and green tomatoes. I miss the days when everyone’s dogs ran loose in our neighborhood…dog poop everywhere…but at least I wasn’t invaded by a nightly raid of raccoons, opossums, armadillos, and deer.


Wow, I’ve grown tomatoes at three different sites in two different states and have yet to see a deer touch one of them.


Deer here really like beets, daikon radish, beans, and taking single bites out of every pumpkin in a field


They did that to us last year. We planted out in early June, and the plants took off. They set a lot of fruit by the end of the month, and I was hoping to get a taste of a few. Alas, the first week of July, in just a few nights, I’d say about 2/3 of the fruit was gone, the plants were munched on a bit too, but the loss off the 'maters was disheartening, especially considering I had put up a fishing line fence around the patch. This had worked the year before, but they figured it out this time.

The plants did set some new fruit, but due to inevitable disease and weeds taking over, we didn’t get a very big harvest. Just enough to do a few quarts of salsa. Our peppers were in the same protected patch, and the deer ignored them, so we did get a bumper crop of those. It wasn’t until i put up a black weed fabric fence between the two patches that I was able to get some tomatoes later in the season.

This year’s patch is closer to the house, and I’ve put up another fishing line fence. It looked like there were a couple plants nipped last week, but nothing since. I know I’m tempting fate if I don’t get some more protection put up. I bought some more weed fabric last week but haven’t installed the fence I was planning on yet.



The lead plant.



I’m just curious about “deer rants”. Are most of you who struggle with deer issues in suburbia?


I’m in the hills of NE Kentucky. About as rural as you can get.

Scott is in suburban Baltimore, I believe. I don’t know about other folks’ locations.


Yes…on the outskirts of Gainesville: One and a third acre plots surrounding five acre “common areas”, which are just unmanaged wooded areas. But I have a 1200 acre prairie two blocks away, adjoining several hundred acres of woods. Besides the deer, raccoons, opossums, and armadillos, we have foxes, coyotes, hogs, and bear. I do appreciate all the wildlife…I just wish they would save some of the fruits for me…They are not very good at sharing!
My sister-in-law lives in a densely populated neighborhood near the center of Gainesville (FL) and she has deer in her yard also.


I have a place in the country. I have more problems with deer in the garden but they do bother my trees some as well. I grow my peach trees up tall to keep them out of reach of the deer


Thanks Deer! I wanted to spend my time in the burning sun making t-buds to save a broken off graft.


Hope they take!


Me too! I haven’t had much luck with budding. I’m also out of parafilm so I can’t wrap a protective coat around the bud.


Saran wrap?

In this dry heat …


I just read that hanging soap bars on the trees will keep the deer away. Has Anybody tried this? Results?