Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to Coexist with Deer

Baby deer eating roseIn a perfect world, we’d all be able to happily coexist – all people and all animals living in harmony like one big happy family.  But like any family, there is always someone getting on someone’s nerves.  In many cases, it’s deer that are nibbling the roses in the flower beds or feasting on the crops in the garden.  To them your garden looks like a buffet & to you they look like unwelcome guests.

What can deter the beautiful but invasive pests? One site says clipping of human hair spread around the garden weekly will frighten them away.  From my own research, baby deer love to chew on my hair when they are trying to convince me I didn’t feed them and they need another bottle.

Another site lists a hideous concoction of spoiled milk & rotten egg spread around the garden regularly.  While this may keep the deer away, it might well keep all your friends away as well & attract some vermin.

Surrounding the property with fishing line at knee height so the deer will trip over it sounds like a trip to the emergency room waiting to happen when you forget the trip lines are strung.

Bob cat, fox and other predators urine sprinkled liberally over the garden will make the garden smell like a cat box and has not been proved to deter deer.

With no sure fire method of keeping deer away from precious flowers, fruits and veg, found,  it was time for me to Ask Bob. His answer is short and sweet.

“Build a big ass fence!” was Bob’s definitive answer.

He confirmed my suspicion that most deterrents are not proven and the only way to keep deer away is an 8 foot fence.  Alternatively, deer will not jump a 4 foot fence that is at a 45 degree angle.

One thing that does work to keep deer away from your prize roses is a mixture of cayenne pepper, oil, water and a drop of dishwashing liquid (this allows everything to mix together.). Spritz this mix on your plants regularly.  You can find multiple recipes online for this elixir.

Your only other option is to resort to plants that deer don’t like eating.  Check with your local horticultural organization for a list pertinent to your region.

Texas A&M Deer Restent Plant List

Texas Department of Agriculture Brochure




What do I do if I hit a deer with my car?

Rehab deer

Rehab deer who is feeling ignored. NOT a dead deer.

Bob Anderson, Wild Animal Rehabilitator and President of Hearts Afire Responds: 

Each year over 1.5 million deer are hit by automobiles in the United States. These collisions are hard to defend against because usually the deer comes out of the darkness quickly with little or no warning. Few people give much thought to hitting a deer because it is such a random event that most people think will never happen to them. When it does occur, most people don’t know what to do.

There are two considerations to a post deer collision. The first is the reporting obligations of the driver. Many of these incidents occur in rural areas where it’s not clear who to report the incident to.

Unfortunately, there is no standard protocol for reporting deer collisions. Each jurisdiction has its own protocols for reporting auto accidents. Some require reporting all auto accidents, others only require reporting accidents with property damage and others set limits on damage levels and reporting. Complicating these many reporting requirements is the fact that wildlife is managed by the state. Each state also has its own set of rules and requirements concerning both reporting and disposition of the deer. So, what should you do?

To cover yourself from possible legal issues, you should report the incident the same as you would any crash. Call 911 and report the incident and ask the 911 operator what you should do. If you want to harvest the animal for food, tell the operator of your wishes and let them tell you the state requirements. Be prepared to wait for a responding authority if requested to do so. You should also remember to contact your insurance company if you will be filing a claim.

Consideration should also be given to the deer. Deer seldom survive a collision, but occasionally their injuries are treatable and the animal can be saved with your help. If the deer runs from the scene, you will probably never see it again. If it is injured and still on scene, you can visually inspect it for injuries. If the animal is unable to stand and is dragging its hind legs, you are most likely looking at a spinal injury. These deer will need to be euthanized. Deer with multiple broken legs are also beyond help. Animals showing no obvious serious injuries or just cuts and tissue damage may be able to be saved. You should contact a rehabilitation facility.

If the deer is deceased, you can take a look at the deer’s belly to determine if she is a nursing female. If she is, her teats will be swollen and usually a light pink color. To be sure, you can squeeze one of the teats and look for a milk discharge. If she is a “wet” doe, you must try to locate a fawn. A nursing fawn cannot survive on its own. If there is a fawn, you will usually find it near the roadway right at the place the adult deer entered the roadway. The fawn will be lying in the deep grass or brush and will be very still. They are hard to spot, but will usually be close to the road.  If you find the fawn, pick it up and try to keep it calm and quiet. This is best accomplished by covering the deer and its eyes with a large towel, blanket or jacket.  Contact a rehabilitator.

When you report the accident, you should tell the authorities that you have an orphan animal. Ask them for a rehab contact. If you cannot get that information, contact your state game department who license all rehab centers. Most states have good Samaritan laws that allows people to legally possess wild animals while they get the animal to a properly licensed facility.


Tinier & Cuter than Lucy?

Lucy, a little 3.75 pound doe smiles for the camera.

Obviously, I love Lucy

Lucy tipped the scale at a whopping 3-3/4 pounds when she arrived at the rescue and is the tiniest deer Hearts Afire has ever cared for. Now that she’s taken to deer formula and bulked up to a little over 5 pounds she’s out frolicking with her new best friend, Haley in the nursery pasture.

While we don’t play favorites here, but it seems that the Queen’s Zoo does.  Their newest baby, a southern pudu, being touted as the smallest and cutest deer ever.   A native to South America & an endangered species, the 1 pound little girl is nameless.  Obviously, they need our resident deer name expert, Bob, to lend a hand with naming her.


Viral Deer Are Not Funny

c AP photo by Janet Murphy deer with head stuck in jar

c AP photo by Janet Murphy

Yes, deer can be funny and cute, but when they have fallen pray to human’s stupidity, it’s serious.

MSN News points out how animals stuck in jars, bags and other human debris have gone viral in Oh deer! Why these photos are not ‘cute.’  The  National Wildlife Federation also focuses on this problem and offers some solutions and a lively discussion in their blog post “Animals are Getting Their Heads Stuck in Ourt Trash.”   With all the natural adversity that wild animals have to contend with, everyone can help them and the environment with a little care.