This deer knows how to survive!

weeper_11(2b SK)March 24, 2013

Lately we've been having deer coming down our lane and into our yard, poking around for something to eat...I imagine some of them are starving at this point. So I wasn't surprised to see a lone deer loping down our lane and up to our barn/horse pasture. I just commented "stupid deer" to my husband. A few seconds later, though, I WAS surprised to see a very fuzzy coyote running after it! And a few minutes later, I saw - presumably - the same coyote running in the same direction again, as if it had just run in a circle!

This needed investigation. So out I went to the horse pasture, where I could see the horses cleaning up their hay, and no coyote. I got closer and saw a deer looking at me from between the horses! She looked somewhat alarmed, every time one of the horses shifted, up her poofy tail went and she nervously looked from one horse to the other. Suddenly she boing-ed her way over the barb wire fence and was standing less than 6 ft away! She didn't look mangy, so I have NO idea why she had pretty much no fear of me. She figured I was less scary than the big horses. She was a little thing, born this past year for sure. She hardly even noticed me, except when I talked to her. Up went her tail, and she moved her head from side to side(ha, just like the cows at the farm do!) trying to figure out what I was. Then her tail went down again and she went back to watching the horses. After a few minutes, she hopped back into the horse pasture and ran 30 ft away and started sniffing around for something to eat.

Now, I don't want any deer hanging around our yard or thinking it is a safe place to hide, so I marched in there and chased it out; it just made a loop and went back to the horse barn. I'm not even sure it would have ran away from me until I pretty much touched it, but the horses were following me around the pasture, and I think she was afraid of them(my one old gelding, Chester, is typically pretty darn territorial about visitors, so I don't blame it!) So I went back into the house to get the pellet gun to give it a good scare. I probably sound mean, but I'm not going to feed it or protect it. Hasn't it seen The Lion King? This is the circle of life, baby. Survive or die. Anyway, when I came back out of the house with the pellet gun, it was gone.

I went back in and was talking about this bizarre event with my hubby, and we came to the amusing conclusion that the deer was separated from the herd(we have 10-20 animal herds all over the place around here this time of year, there would be around a couple hundred if you counted all the animals in a 5 mile square area.), got chased by a coyote, and - lacking a better plan - jumped in with the horses as a new "herd". The hilarious part? It worked. The coyote wasn't going to take the horses on, so it ran around in a circle hoping the deer would come out and be his supper. No dice, so he takes off. The deer decides, "hey guys, thanks for hiding me, but you're kind of big and scary and...I think I'll go find my buddies now. Catch ya later."

It's funny how they can be dumb as stumps, but their instinct does them right some of the time! I can't say anything like that has happened before..typically deer around this area run as soon as they see or hear people! Probably didn't know any better without older animals to tell by example to run.

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Ginny McLean_Petite_Garden

So funny, Katie! And we only hear about Wile E Coyote. :)
It's a good thing I don't live in the country....I'd probably invite her into the house for tea and cake! Afraid I wouldn't make a very good farmer.....I cried all through the Lion King!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 10:36PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Great Story!
That new deep snow got them pretty hungry again, this picture from today, stripping mugo pine pretty good!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 11:01PM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

Deer aren't afraid around my house either. We have some pretty big herds of deer and elk, our resident herd of mules is about 6-7 and during the summer they love to get into my garden, I've used a defender shot gun to try and scare them off but they look and me as if to say, piss off, we were here first. Cheryl

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:47AM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

That is some nasty tree damage, Konrad, is that on your land? Poor mugo! So far they haven't been bothering our trees, but I think once the snow starts melting they are going to be ravenous and munching on whatever they can find. As soon as it is above zero, I'll have to quickly paint all my exposed younger trees with deer spray again and hope for the best, I guess.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 6:25PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Yes it is, munching on anything now, the pine, [soft needle] family they love, ..the Colorado Spruce is usually safe.

We just got some Wolf Urin from friends of ours, should put some out and see if it helps, apparently you can buy in the City.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:49PM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

Wolf urine, now that's interesting. Do you suppose the scent will hold up thru the rains? Could you ask where they purchased it? That might be worth the investment. Cheryl

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:59AM
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I used to work on a ranch as a teen. One day when I went to catch some of the horses in the pasture, I came up on them in a clearing and... there were waaay too many of them, lol. Sure enough, an entire herd of deer were grazing along with them, interspersed amongst the horses and not seemingly afraid at all (they were full-grown, though). Great story, weeper! Sadly, my in-laws have now found two deer near their yard that have succumbed to starvation this winter, so I like to hear the happy tales. We have loads of deer around here, but it's very rare that they come inside the treeline around our yard, likely because of our dog.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 2:15PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Wolf urine you can get at Halford Hide & Leather in Edmonton,
just off Yellowhead.

Supposedly, put urine into some sort of container with lid, I might use plastic jar, drill a hole on the side near the top for a string/wick, you can put a dish over, [roof] for rain.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:18PM
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bdgardener(3 AB)

Thanks Konrad, will look into that. c

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 7:25PM
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I wonder what the reaction of deer would be to human urine. Has anyone tried it?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 1:51AM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

I've heard that a person could "mark their territory" around a vegetable garden to keep the deer out. But i don't think i would rely on that alone. I'm pretty sure the deer have us figured out by now!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 9:20AM
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weeper_11(2b SK)

I think human urine is along the same lines as human may deter to some extent, but from what I've read it doesn't cut it when it comes to them really wanting to munch on something.

Unfortunately, I think deer can become accustomed and feel safe around ANY measure we use to deter them, if there are never real repercussions that hurt them. The only sure way is probably a fence! A dog is sometimes good enough - but sometimes not - it depends on whether the dog will chase them out!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 3:30PM
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runswithscissors(MT 4/5)

Since wolves are the bane of our area the last thing we want to do is attract them....I use cougar urine and it works great! I get it at the gun shops...hunters use it to mask their own scent and to attract them. It comes in a squirt bottle and smells just like a strong tom-cat litter box. I let it soak into strips of cloth and hang them around the perimeter of the yard. It's not fool-proof for winter browsing, but it seems to make the neighbors yard more appetizing. She has way more deer poop than I do. (heeeheee) Hey; don't get mad at me, I told her my trick!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:48AM
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