Deer are beautiful creatures that can be a lot of fun to watch. However, they can also be quite elusive and are easily scared away. If you’re hoping to do some backyard deer watching, today we will teach you how to attract deer to your yard.
Attracting Deer into Your Yard
There are many reasons why homeowners want to attract deer.
Some people like how they look, while others are interested in watching how the animals interact with each other.
For folks who live in rural areas, their yards may be multiple acres that are suitable for hunting and providing food for their families.
However, deer can be quite skittish when it comes to entering areas inhabited by people. They definitely aren’t going to come to your yard if they’re worried about how safe it is.
That’s why deer need all the help that they can get when it comes to feeling more comfortable to overcome their fear of humans.
Typically, this will mean that their drive for whatever they want in your yard needs to be stronger than their instinct to stay away from people.
How Do I Get Deer to Come on my Property?
Any gardener will tell you that it’s pretty easy to attract deer.
All you have to do is provide them with something to eat and you won’t be able to keep them away. LOL!
Where we live in rural northern California, backyard deer are a daily occurrence.
This is because our yard is full of food sources, water, and native plants that the deer need to survive.
It’s wonderful to wake up in the morning and see bucks, does, and baby deer grazing on our property.
If you’d like to be able to do the same, try some of these tips and tricks.
Caution: While deer are beautiful to look at and fun to watch, it’s important to consider to dangers of having deer in your yard:
- Deer are a popular host for ticks with can transmit Lyme’s Disease to your family and pets.
- Once present, deer will eat anything they have access to and can cause serious damage to your landscape and lawn.
- While not common, it is possible for deer to attack humans. Never approach a deer or attempt to feed them by hand.
- Where there are deer, there is deer poop, which can be unsightly and spread disease to pets and other animals.
- There is a lot of bad information out there regarding what is safe to feed backyard deer. Be sure to do your research and make sure you don’t feed them something that will make them sick or kill them by accident.
1. Create a Backyard Deer Habitat
Deer prefer to spend most of their time in areas where they have protection and a clear view of their surroundings.
Commonly called transition areas, deer love to spend time grazing in open spaces that are close to the security provided by nearby trees and shrubs. It’s important to keep this in mind if you want to create a deer-friendly habitat.
You’ll want to provide large, open areas for grazing which are surrounded or lined by trees or dense bushes. Be sure to plant plenty of tall grass for security cover. Remember that deer are wild animals and they like to keep a safe distance from people and predators.
2. Plant Clover
Deer are herbivores that love to eat clover.
Providing an area full of clover is almost guaranteed to keep deer coming around. That being said, they prefer the soft shoots provided by new growth, so it’s important to keep the area mowed.
Whitetail deer absolutely love clover and since it’s full of nutrients, easily digestible, and super easy to grow it makes a great way to keep deer coming into your yard.
3. Install Deer Feeders
If you are interested in attracting deer to your property, one of the best ways is by providing an easy source of food.
A great way to do this is by installing a deer feeder where they can come and eat whenever they want.
One of the benefits of using a deer feeder is that they provide a source of clean, healthy food because you are in control of the quality of deer feed you place into the feeder.
Feeders can also be a great source of supplemental feeding during the winter season when a lot of food is covered in snow.
4. Keep Pets Inside
It’s important to keep your pets inside when you are trying to attract deer.
They may be cute and cuddly, but the last thing you want is for a fawn or young deer to get hurt by one of your dogs or cats. Besides, deer are smart and have a great sense of hearing, and won’t come around if they hear barking or see other animals.
If you have pets, it’s a good idea to keep them in an area of the house where they won’t disturb deer while they are grazing.
5. Plant Food Plots
Another great way to attract deer is to provide them with a food source that they love.
Food plots are an extremely effective and easy option for homeowners who want to do their part in providing natural nourishment for wildlife.
Common crops to include in a backyard food plot for deer include clover, alfalfa, chicory, and other plants that are in the sunflower family.
To create your own food plot, simply plant the seeds in an area that is weed-free and well-tilled.
6. Plant Fruit Trees
Another way to create a tempting food source is by planting fruit trees.
Deer love sweet fruits, so this can be an excellent option for homeowners who want to start feeding deer without spending too much money or time on the project.
That being said, if you plant fruit trees the deer will eat the fruit and there will be none left for you. Apple trees, apricot trees, and plum trees are popular treats for hungry deer.
7. Offer Salt and Mineral Blocks
Deer have a strong sense of smell that lets them find their favorite salt and mineral blocks from great distances.
This gives you an easy way to attract deer to your property because all you have to do is place these blocks in an area that is easy for them to access.
Apple salt blocks are a popular choice because they have a sweet smell that draw the deer in, and plenty of protein and fat.
However, you must be aware that the minerals from a salt lick will soak into your lawn when it rains and deer will be attracted to this area for a long time.
You will need to check with your local fish and game to see if salt licks are allowed in your area. Some jurisdictions consider salt blocks to be a lure and illegal to place in public spaces.
8. Avoid Chemical Lawn Treatments
One of the best ways to attract deer is by providing them with a natural habitat where they feel safe.
This includes how you treat your lawn so it’s important not to use chemical treatments that will kill all vegetation, which makes the area less inviting for deer.
If your goal is to invite deer into your yard to eat, then you want to make sure what they are eating will not harm or poison them.
One of the best ways to attract deer without harming them is by using organic lawn fertilizers.
You can find a wide range of great products that are safe for people and pets, but also provide much-needed nutrients for your grass so it will be more inviting to animals who want to come over and graze.
9. Plant Wildflowers
Planting wildflowers is a great way to draw deer into your yard.
Many flower species are eaten by deer including tulips, pansies, and hostas. When you plant flowers that deer love, they will be inclined to visit your yard more often than if it were full of plants they don’t enjoy. You can also take this one step further by adding some rose bushes which are another favorite flower for many species of deer.
10. Provide a Water Source
Deer are attracted to any source of water, which includes birdbaths and small ponds.
If you want to attract deer and make your yard a much more inviting place, then it’s important that the animals have access to water at all times. All you need is enough fresh water for them so they can drink whenever they feel thirsty.
If you live in an area that gets hot and dry in the summer, then adding water features to your property is a sure way to entice deer to enter your yard.
11. Plant Tall Grasses
Tall grasses like deer grass, fountain grass, and maiden grass are another excellent way to attract deer.
These tall plants provide good cover for the animals while they graze on shorter foliage that is easier for them to get at when you place it close to your home.
You can also plant these in containers and place them around the yard to create more areas where deer will feel safe.
12. Provide Bedding Cover
Deer herds tend to congregate in areas where there is plenty of brush or bedding cover. If you want to attract deer into your yard, then it’s important that you provide them with some kind of place where they can hide and feel safe at all times, especially when sleeping.
While the tall grasses are a great option, consider planting shrubs like cedar trees or arborvitae which will not only give them more bedding cover but will look gorgeous as well.
You can also create a protected area for them by collecting fallen branches and piling them up together to make a natural shelter.
13. Plant Oak Trees
I was surprised to learn that deer eat oak trees and that acorns are a primary food source. I should have known since our property is covered with oak trees and deer are in our yard daily.
Oak twigs and leaves are a favorite food for deer and they will eat the bark in winter when other foods are scarce. If you want to attract deer into your yard, then planting oak trees is a great way to do it.
14. Use a Deer Decoy
Deer are always wary of predators, so it’s important to make them feel as safe as possible.
One way to do this is by installing a deer decoy that makes the area seem more natural for wildlife.
However, it’s important that you use a decoy that is appropriate for your area. For instance, you may want to do some research to confirm the most common species of deer in your area.
15. Use Deer Lures
The jury is still out on this one, but it won’t hurt to try.
If you want to attract deer to your yard, then it’s important that you use good-quality deer lures. These come in many different forms including scents, feed pellets, or even hanging bags. Hunters use deer lures to attract or lure deer to them so they can shoot the animals, but homeowners are using these same products in a positive way for their yards.
Deer Urine is a common ingredient in lures that are supposed to attract deer. It’s also possible that their curiosity about any new smell, including the lures will appeal to them as well, and they may be more inclined to come onto your property.
Again, you will need to check with authorities in your area to see what the local laws say about the use of deer lures and deer urine.
Attracting Deer to Your Yard
Deer are curious creatures who enjoy exploring new environments and eating many different types of food. By using these tips for how to attract deer into your yard, you can create your own inviting place where they will feel safe and enjoy spending their time.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What attracts deer the most?
Simply put, deer are attracted to food, certain smells, and reproductive cycles.
Deer are primarily lured by food, especially new plant growth which they are very eager to eat. They are also drawn to certain smells that can come from either potential mates or predators. Depending on the proximity of human homes, deer might also be drawn closer for respite from harsh weather conditions. And finally, if a female deer is in her mating cycle she will be more likely to venture out into areas where males tend to congregate. Basically, there’s an overlap of these different attractants at many times throughout the year – but food is always what brings them back time after time!
Should I use peanut butter to attract deer?
No, do not use peanut butter to attract deer.
This is actually a very common question. The problem with using peanut butter as bait is that it’s dangerous; deer could consume too much and harm their health or even die of overconsumption of the peanut products. Other foods are equally as appealing to deer so it’s best not to use peanut butter to attract them.
How can I attract deer to my yard in the winter?
You may find that it is easier to get deer to come into your yard in the cold winter months than at other times of the year. That is because they are searching for food to help them survive. Deer will eat almost anything, including pine cones and evergreen branches; they may also be drawn in by the salt you’ve put down on your driveway or sidewalk which can replace minerals lost during winter months.
Their natural instincts to find food will make them a little more brave and willing to get closer to homes and humans if desirable food like apples, clover, and pumpkin are available. However, be sure to only put out a limited amount as a quick change in their diet can cause serious digestive problems for wild deer.