Coexisting with Deer in the Summer

As the flowers bloom and residents work on outside landscaping, deer become attracted to home gardens. Deer think flowers like hostas, roses, and daylilies are a tasty treat on a summer’s day.

It is important to take a multi-faceted approach when trying to keep deer from eating the plants in your garden. This includes planting species that are “deer resistant.” Plants that have prickly foliage, furry leaves, strong scents or tastes are less likely to be eaten. Along with planting these type of plants repellents, barriers, and loud noises can be an effective approach to help keep deer out, especially when being persistent.

A fawn in tall grass

Coexisting with Deer in the Summer

Even if you do not have a garden, you may still see deer in your backyard. White-tailed deer fawns are born typically in May and June. You can enjoy them from a distance but take care not to disturb the fawn. Does (female deer) are very protective of their fawns and can be aggressive towards humans and pets. Does leave newborn fawns for long periods of time, usually returning at dawn and dusk to nurse them. This strategy helps keep the fawn safe from detection. If you discover a fawn, the mother is usually nearby.

Deer may also feel threatened by dogs during the spring because coyotes often prey upon fawns. Accompanying pets on a leash when they go outside is the best way to ensure their safety. “White-tailed deer are not naturally aggressive and in most cases, they use flight as a survival strategy. However, like many animals, deer can become aggressive if they perceive that their fawns are threatened,” states Lance DeVoe, Rochester Hills Naturalist.

Residents meet at the city offices to hear a speaker talk

Rochester Hills’ Deer Management Advisory Committee

The Rochester Hills’ Deer Management Advisory Committee (DMAC) is a group of citizens, Council members, and city staff that aim to provide deer education to keep both wildlife and residents safe. In addition to their efforts to reduce car-deer collisions, they also provide resources on how to coexist with deer. This includes deer gardening seminars, educational brochures, messaging on utility bills, and more.

To learn more regarding deer, visit the Deer Management Advisory Committee website or call to talk to a Parks & Natural Resources team member at 248-656-4673.

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