Deer damage to plants and gardens is usually the biggest complaint we receive here at Salthaven. Deer will also damage young trees by stripping their bark for food or scarring them when bucks use trees to scrape the velvet from their antlers.
If you are willing to exercise tolerance when the deer are visiting your property, you can often expect some damage to your shrubbery or gardens. However, there are precautions that you can take to coexist with the deer in your neighborhood:
- Thoughtful landscape design (where special consideration is given to plant selection) can go a long way to helping you peacefully coexist with deer.
- Some plants are very tolerant of deer browsing.
- Deer fencing can also be very helpful in keeping deer away from gardens. Electric fences are extremely effective against deer.
Tree protection by wrapping trees with corrugated plastic sleeves can protect trees from Buck Rubs.
Rescued or Abducted?
Every year, Salthaven gets calls concerning "abandoned" fawns that they stumbled across in fields, backyards, or roadsides. It is perfectly natural in spring to come across a deer fawn by herself in the woods. The mother is usually nearby within earshot. The strategy deer have developed to deal with predators is to leave their young hidden except when feeding them. If you encounter a fawn like this, leave her alone. Mom will often leave her fawn alone for 6 to 12 hours and, in some cases, much longer than that before she returns to feed her. At that time, she will move the fawn because now Mom's scent is there. If the fawn is wandering excessively and calling out, she may need help, but this is usually the exception rather than the rule. If in doubt, call your local wildlife rehabilitator (Like Salthven if you are in London or the surrounding area) for help in deciding whether the fawn needs human intervention.
Above all else, DO NOT attempt to feed the fawn.