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How Do Deer Protect Themselves? (4 Common Ways)

How Do Deer Protect Themselves? (4 Common Ways)

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Deer are common sights in many parts of North America. You might see deer in your area during many different times of the year.

Some people like to hunt deer for sport. Others find them to be fascinating animals and they enjoy observing them from a safe distance.

You likely know that deer are prey animals that can get killed by various predators. There aren’t as many predators that deer have to worry about in modern times, though.

If a deer does run into a predatory animal or other threats, how does it protect itself? Does a deer have good defenses against threats?

Continue reading to learn about deer and how they can defend themselves. You might gain a greater appreciation for deer after learning what they can do.

1 – Deer Prefer to Run Away

All animals have a fight or flight instinct. Deer are generally going to choose to run from threats whenever they’re able to.

Deer are smart enough to understand that the best chance of survival often involves running. When a deer senses a threat, it’s going to try to flee to safety as soon as possible.

You should also know that deer are very alert. It’s difficult to sneak up on a deer because it’s always paying attention to its surroundings.

Even when a deer is asleep, it’s going to have some awareness of its surroundings. It’ll be ready to spring up and flee if someone or something approaches it.

It’s almost always best for the deer to run and try to get to safety. Deer can run pretty fast, too.

Just how fast are deer? It’s said that deer can run as fast as 30 miles per hour when they reach top speed. Some predators might be able to outrun the deer, but the deer are fast enough to get away from many threats.

2 – Hiding

Hiding is another way that deer protect themselves from predators. They do their best to stay hidden from threats to stay safe.

You’ll find that deer prefer to spend time in places where they won’t feel exposed. They hide among tall grass and bushes that will provide them with cover.

It’s best for the deer to stay out of sight to keep predators from trying to come to attack them. The deer will stay hidden almost all of the time.

Stumbling across a deer hiding in the grass isn’t really going to be possible. As noted earlier, the senses of the deer are very sharp.

They’ll always hear you coming and will run away if you try to get close. Deer use their sharp instincts and senses to remain hidden and run to different hiding spots when they sense danger.

3 – Attacking with Hooves and Antlers

Since deer prefer to run and hide, does that mean that they’re nonviolent? No, deer will absolutely fight other animals or even humans if they feel threatened.

Sometimes the fight or flight instinct is going to tell the deer that it’s time to fight. For example, if a predator is too close to a deer, the deer might have to attack the predator to create an opening to escape.

Deer are not defenseless creatures. They are able to fight in a few different ways.

Male deer possess antlers that can be used for self-defense. You might see a deer lower its head and run toward a target to ram it.

The deer can potentially hurt a predator or a human by charging at it and striking it with its antlers. The antlers can do a lot of damage and will knock the wind out of a target.

You don’t want to get hit by a deer’s antlers. It could seriously injure you if you’re unfortunate enough to get attacked by a deer.

Female deer and fawns aren’t defenseless just because they don’t have antlers. They might also ram into aggressors to create openings to escape.

Also, it’s common for deer to fight using their hooves. A deer can strike predators with its hooves and do some damage.

Don’t think that deer can’t fight and try to get away from predators. They aren’t defenseless animals.

A deer’s hooves are sharp and can cut predators in some instances. The blunt blows will wind up catching predators off-guard in many instances.

4 – The Deer Look Out for Each Other

Did you know that deer are social animals that watch out for each other? They live in herds and they all constantly look out for danger.

When one of their deer senses danger, it’s going to alert the others in the group. It’ll do this by stomping its hooves, snorting, and making other sorts of noises.

Deer stay in their family herds and watch each other’s backs. They protect their young and they’re constantly trying to make good choices to keep themselves out of harm’s way.

It’s normal for young deer to stay hidden most of the time. They lay low while the older deer in the herd do what they need to do.

You should also know that a doe will protect its fawn aggressively. If a person gets too close to a fawn, the nearby mother deer is going to attack.

This is a good reason to avoid going anywhere near a fawn if you ever spot one. You don’t want to get hurt by a deer.

Will Deer Attack Humans?

Yes, deer will attack humans, but only under certain circumstances. It’s not as if deer go out seeking to harm humans for no reason.

Deer will see humans as threats and they’ll react accordingly. A deer is more likely to run from a human than it is to attack.

There are exceptions to this rule, though. As mentioned above, sometimes deer will attack humans if they get too close to fawns.

The fawns are the young deer that need to be protected by the mother deer. A large doe might attack a human for trying to approach a fawn.

Also, if you try to corner a deer or if you get too close to it, it might choose to attack you. Sometimes attacking is a good way to create an opening to run away.

The deer might see attacking a human as a logical option. This is why you should stay away from deer since they can be dangerous.

Male deer are the most dangerous of all. Of course, they have more potential to hurt you due to being able to attack with their antlers.

It’s also true that male deer become more aggressive during certain times of the year. During mating season, males will sometimes get a bit crazy.

Mating season is referred to as “the rut” and it’s common for male deer to become very destructive. Sometimes males will make unwise decisions and they might choose to attack humans.

This has been known to happen and it’s a good reason to steer clear of deer during mating season. If you see a male deer, you don’t want it to run toward you and try to attack.

There have been reports of fishermen and campers being attacked by male deer during mating season. Don’t think of deer as harmless animals because they can be dangerous in these situations.

When Is Mating Season?

The mating season for deer is generally from October to December. Whitetail deer are the common type of deer that you see in North America.

During this time, it’s best to be especially wary of wild deer. If you see a male deer, you should stay away from it to be safe.

Mating season is a time when male deer are trying to impress female deer and breed. They try to showcase dominance so the female deer will be impressed.

Whenever a buck sees something that it feels is a challenge to its dominance, it’s going to attack. Many people describe bucks during mating season as “insane.”

They might not truly be insane, but they can be dangerous and unpredictable. It’s normal for bucks to destroy property, attack, and do all sorts of other things that they wouldn’t do during other times of the year.

Just keep this danger in mind so you can make good choices. If you live in an area that has many wild deer, it’ll be best to steer clear of them if you notice any near your property.

How to Keep Deer Away

Are you worried about deer bothering your property? Perhaps you just don’t want to deal with aggressive bucks coming into your yard during mating season.

What are some good ways to keep deer away? You actually have quite a few options to consider. Simply mowing your lawn and eliminating hiding spots will keep deer from wanting to hang out in your yard.

Deer like to hide in tall grass, bushes, and under trees. If you eliminate the hiding spots or make them more open, they won’t be as appealing to the deer.

You should be able to keep deer from thinking of your yard as a safe location to hide and live. Just keep putting effort into maintaining your yard and keeping the grass short.

It’s also wise to reduce the number of food sources on your property. Don’t keep bushes and trees in your yard that drop berries and fruits that deer like to eat.

If you have a garden area, you could try using fences, netting, and repellents to keep deer away. There are actually a number of different repellents on the market that work pretty well.

Many types of repellents are made using urine from predators. This will scare the deer and tell them that they need to stay away from the area.

Even having your dogs pee near the garden area can help to keep deer and other wild animals away. Dogs are considered to be predators.

Ultrasonic repellent devices can work to scare animals away as well. They emit sounds that bother deer and other animals that you might want to keep away from the garden.

Often, these devices are powered by solar energy. You can stake them into the ground and they work without you having to do anything so long as they are exposed to sunlight.

There are sprays that are designed to keep deer away if you don’t like the idea of using ultrasonic devices. No matter what, you have many options when trying to keep deer off of your property.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that deer have several ways to protect themselves. They aren’t defenseless animals that are easy to kill.

It’s true that deer aren’t normally violent animals. They prefer to run and hide to keep themselves safe.

Typically, you’ll find deer hiding in patches of grass, under trees, and near tall bushes. They try to stay concealed to keep themselves safe from predators.

Deer live in herds and they look out for each other. When one deer senses danger, it’s going to do its best to alert the group so that all of the deer can run.

You’ll find that deer are so alert that it’s difficult to catch them off-guard. Deer have incredible senses and they’re even alert while they’re sleeping.

A sleeping deer can spring up when it senses something approaching. It’s impressive how fast deer can run away.

A whitetail deer can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Some predators can outrun them, but they’re very good at getting away from many threats

Sometimes deer will have to fight, though. Bucks might fight by ramming threats with their antlers.

They can do damage and create an opportunity to run away. All deer can attack by flailing their hooves and striking at threats.

You need to keep away from male deer during mating season. They’re known to be aggressive during this time of the year.

Keep all of this in mind and you should be able to stay safe. It might be a good idea to take steps to deter deer from coming into your yard if there are a lot of deer in your area, though.

Let your friends and family know what you learned about deer today. It’ll ensure that more people understand what these animals are truly capable of.


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