Attracting deer to the yard

jdx485January 2, 2006

I own 1.5 acres of land which is pretty wide open. There is a section of woods behind me that I see deer in from time to time. One of the few trees on my property is an apple tree. I can see by the deer tracks that the deer eat from the tree and also cross my yard in other areas to get to the woods.

In an attempt to attract them more often I've purchased corn, deer food and also salt licks. I've placed them in different areas in the yard. The last placement of deer feed was somewhat in the open right next to the apple tree that's in the open. The problem is I'm not having any luck!

I moved the deer feed to the edge of the woods but that hasn't seemed to work either. Any suggestions?

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jancarkner(Ottawa CAN)

You can search "deer" on GardenWeb, and you'll likely get numerous threads on this topic. Many people, including myself, are opposed to artificial means of attracting deer (or birds for that matter) and you may wish to consider long-term impact of encouraging deer. If you are doing any reforestation of your land, you'll want to discourage deer instead to protect your saplings from destruction.

Deer naturally keep to protected areas to avoid predators, so won't want to venture out where they can be killed. So you may not have much luck, even with salt licks and feed.

By providing protection to the deer (plant evergreens: cedars, spruce, or pine) and a natural source of food & water (create a pond & let your acreage return to native scrubland) you'll create a better environment.

If you have a dog or there are neighbourhood dogs loose, deal with that first, as it is a cruel fate for a deer to be run down.

Hope this helps! Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 8:29AM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Attracting deer is a bad idea for many, many reasons, as stated above. One not mentioned is that you make them more likely to be attracted to bait stations run by hunters on other land. In addition, many areas already hold all the deer they can handle (if not many more). Just enjoy them where they are, as the wild creatures they are intended to be.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 11:37AM
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Another consideration is danger to the deer and any motorists on the road near you. Since you only have 1.5 acres, I assume you are close to a road. Deer don't have much sense when it comes to staying out of the way of cars. They not only often lose their own life when struck by a vehicle, but they can cause serious injury or death to the driver and passengers as well. The best advice on deer is to just let them be and enjoy them in their natural habitat.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2006 at 2:34PM
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Not to throw water on your efforts to attract deer, but I noticed that you are in Wisconsin. Wisconsin regulates the feeding of wildlife, especially deer. I suggest you check the information in the link below carefully; the fines can be quite high for violations.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wildlife Feeding Regulations

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 4:07PM
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Thanks for the update. First I wouldn't call what I'm doing baiting. It's no different than feeding the birds. The second is I'm in an area where there are no problems.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 6:35PM
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I also forgot to add that I gave up on this idea knowing that the deer could eat my new landscaping that I will be doing.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 7:06PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

jdx, when you have time, read the articles linked by northeastwisc again. I did, and they clearly show the detrimental effects to deer of not just baiting to hunt, but also feeding for 'viewing opportunities'.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 11:55PM
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I don't think anyone said you were baiting them. I believe that she meant that feeding them might make them suseptible to baiting. They would come to trust artificial feeding and then become easily lured by hunters that choose to bait them. Glad you reconsidered your idea.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2006 at 5:50PM
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echoes_or(Zone 3)

Deer are wild animals and need to stay that way. By taming them down and providing food so they learn to depend on that food isn't healthy or safe. A family near where I live just had a family pet killed by a deer, they had fed the deer, the deer made it their territory and killed protecting it by attacking. Could just as easily been a human. Also, when you entice deer into your area you entice ticks. They will transfer from the deer into your shrubs and bushes, not healthy for humans or pets. Lyme's disease.....

They are beautiful and I enjoy seeing them also but let them roam as nature dictates. Don't make them dependant upon alternate food and forage.

You don't ever want to accidently be caught between a momma and her baby....

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 1:49PM
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You guys make me laugh. Everyones all bent about feeding a few deer some corn but nobody gives a hoot that thousands of acres of forest lands are destroyed each day to build useless sites such as shopping centers. Many deer die of starvation due to overpopulation (i.e. reduction of natural habitat). Go ahead and feed the deer as they probably need the extra food source.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 1:17AM
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If you are looking to attract deer I have just the product that will bring them in from far away. Deer will walk past corn to get Buck Bran. We sell many deer attractants, mineral licks and lures but nothing compares to Buck Bran. Give it I try and you will not be disappointed.

Dont worry even if you had feed available for deer year round, they will only consume about 15% - 20% of their diet on feed. 75% of a deers diet would be on native browse and forage.

The only concern with feeding is when large amounts of feed are located in one area and many deer feed in that same area then they sometimes can be subject to passing on diseases.

Buck Bran is an attractant not a feed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fleming Outdoors

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 4:12PM
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nestmaster(5b WA-USA)

In our area (same general area as Kirk - near a town called Deer Park) we currently have too many deer. Each day I drive to work I see dead deer along US HWY 2. Last year we had a cow moose and two calves in our area. They also met their fate along HWY 2. We now have a bull, cow and calf moose visiting our area (along a small river). I'm hoping they don't try to cross the highway (1-2 miles away). Humans and wild animals have a hard time mixing without very careful and thoughtful planning by humans. Problem is, collectively, we humans are detrimental to the wellbeing of wild animals. Whether we intend to or not we often attract deer to our yards just by being there (water when it is dry, grow very tasty stuff, etc.). I can see feeding deer intentionally when nature is rough - providing a food source to help maintain a population when food in the wild is temporarily scarce. But, feeding just to feed tends to increase a population further than it really should be. As stated above, our own increasing population is detrimental to wildlife (changing habitat). A wild animal population that increases artificially will impact its wild environment negatively (over eating wild food sources). These food sources are relied upon by multiple species - which further upsets nature's applecart. Overpopulation also usually leads to increased transmission of disease - and with fewer natural predators to cull the weak/sick the overall health of a species deteriorates.

What I'm getting at is that it is a very tough call when deciding to feed wild animals. It is best to search one's soul to find out why we are really doing it. Are we doing it for them or us? Educating oneself on the consequences is the best way to approach the decision making end of it. That's what's great about forums such as this one - one learns a lot - some of which may be bad tasting medicine that we find out we need to take.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 10:43AM
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nestmaster(5b WA-USA)

Ooops - in my reference to Kirk I thought the Kirk above was another Kirk I know who lives in eastern WA. Guess I'd better read things more closely!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2007 at 10:48AM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Wanting to bring animals up closer is completely understandable and something we have all wished for as nature lovers at some time or another, even if it's just because they are out of binocular range.
But be careful what you wish for. I just found my 7th dead deer this week, , less than a 1/4 mile from the 6th, and I know that the trend will likely only continue because we are in the middle of an outbreak of EHD, epizootic hemorrhagic disease. It's brought on by the bites of a small flying insect (not sure if it's a midge or gnat or what exactly) and transmitted when the insect bites an infected deer and then bites an uninfected deer nearby. The disease is always present, but some years have severe outbreaks due to a variety of environmental factors. Since we are smack in the middle of a very severe drought, there are two things occurring that spur the disease onward: many pools of formerly deeper water have now become shallow puddles, perfect for insect breeding. And the numbers of watering holes has been greatly reduced so that animals must congregate at what few are left. In the 15 years I have lived here, our creek has never totally gone dry until this year. There is one tiny pool of about 4-5 inches in depth, and it is totally rancid. The deer I have found are all near water, or former watering holes, as the disease makes them seek it out. The ones not fortunate enough to somehow fight it off succumb in a horrible way, severely bleeding internally and convulsing. I had to drag a small buck out of what was left of the farm pond we have...he actually died out in the water. I have started using my eyes and nose to locate more animals--the circling of turkey vultures and the strong smell of decay are becoming the hallmarks to watch for, a grim end to a dry summer.

Any time you have a situation where animals congregate you are bettering the chances that any disease present will be able to spread. I must admit to some hypocrisy here, since I occasionally feed sunflower seed to the birds, especially in the winter months. However, I am as equally concerned about the decrease in songbird populations as I am about the increase in deer populations so I make my choices based on this information.
Wanting to share our surroundings with nature is a basic desire for most of us, but sometimes there are consequences we may not be aware of.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 1:04PM
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If you want to attract deer just plant roses. They ate EVERY rose that tried to bloom in my garden! I desire to eradicate them and you want to attract them! I know! I will just send all of mine to you!!


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 4:34AM
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I own some woods that follows a creek line and i would like to put a food plot in the woods to attract deer i was wondering if i should plant it near the creek and also i was wondering what i should plant to attract deer.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 8:45PM
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As odd as it sounds last year our conservation department magazine suggested turnips.

Have not tried this yet.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 10:03PM
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Plant Clover any type, they love it!! You can buy seed and just direct sow !!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 4:41PM
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I was searching the internet to find out what types of food deer like to eat, as there are a few deer in my neighborhood I see from time to time and I wanted to attract them. I came across this post and as I was reading through all of the different reasons why NOT to feed deer, I kid you not, a tick crawled across my computer screen. I don't know if it came off me or my dog who is sitting right next to me on the couch. That's reason enough for me to NOT want to attract them anymore! Yikes!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:20PM
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well if you live close to a city pls dont feed them but if you live where I do in the country thay come up and eat my okra every year down to a stub in the grown lol and thay love greens to all kindas lol i had to put up flashers in garden to keep them out but i live 25 miles from the nearest store but i love to watch them too just my input for the year god bless and gl

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 4:50AM
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