Years ago, we would exclaim in surprise if we saw one deer. Now we have a herd. If we see three deer out there, there will be at least ten or eleven or maybe more. I counted thirteen yesterday. It was early, and they were sleeping, looking like big brown lumps against the snow. As the sun rose, they aroused themselves and began to nibble on whatever they could find. Deer nibble on just about everything. I used to have a lovely flower garden with roses and annuals west of the house near the woods. Long ago, I gave up my interest in having a master garden. Now my garden is mostly iris, marigolds, and few hardy plants. Roses and flowers must taste like candy to the deer. They graze with no abandon. They graze with impunity. They graze as if the evergreen trees are salad greens. My evergreen trees are shorn up to the level of where a deer can reach to get a bite. The needles must be tasty.
They collect in family groups of a mother and her fawns. In looking up deer to learn more about their habitats and life cycles, I read they mate around November in my area of the country. We see fawns in early summer, and thus in January and February we see them as lively one- year- olds still with their mothers. When a doe has no fawns, she is usually solitary. Male deer, bucks, have antlers, and the other day, I saw one out in the woods stomping around. Male bucks may stay around with the herd for a short time but leave after about a year.
Deer live in most of the United States except for Alaska, Hawaii, and some places in the Southwest. In 2015, in my state of Indiana the deer population was over a million. The state of Georgia has the largest population of deer of any in the nation. Since there are few wolves and lions in the woods to serve as natural predators, the population in America has increased substantially.
They have wonderful hearing. Their ears whirl around like large antennas at any noise. They also have an excellent ability to smell. Somewhere I read their eyesight isn’t so great, but their hearing and smelling capabilities offset that weakness. I do not know. Around here they often signal each other with their flashing white-tails as they jump and run. They are beautiful creatures.
A deer's home range is usually less then a square mile, and our house and neighborhood is definitely in their range. My husband called me to the window yesterday to watch three deer happily nibbling on the hedges by our door. One morning, I reached outside my front door to pick up the morning newspaper, and a deer was standing on the steps. After a lovely moment, we decided not to bother each other. The deer wander around our yard and up and down the street. Dear, oh deer, I admit I have mixed feelings about the fictional Bambi.