Deer Disease and Destruction: Top 5 Reasons to Keep Deer Out of Your Yard

Overpopulated deer will spread disease, attract predators, damage landscapes, and even go after you. Understand the truth about deer danger.

Deer may seem harmless, but left unchecked, they can spread disease, attract predators, and damage your landscape. Image: Contech

Deer disease and destruction can make those doe eyes and white-tipped tails much less appealing than they are in Disney movies. These pretty creatures can cost you money and wreck your health. Think it’s a shame to fence out, repel, and hunt deer? Think again!

1. Deer carry diseases

Lyme disease: Transmitted via a tick bite, Lyme disease can cause headaches, fever, fatigue, joint pain, and rashes in humans and other animals—including the family pet. If not treated properly, Lyme disease can cause memory loss and damage the nervous system.

Brucellosis: This bacterial infection can cause flu-like symptoms, including fever and headaches. Brucellosis can affect the central nervous systems and heart linings.

2. Deer attract predators

When deer are concentrated into small areas, they become an easy meal for their natural predators. Coyotes and bobcats carry disease, such as rabies, and won’t hesitate to snatch the family pet or urban chickens you’ve been raising for fresh eggs.

Once these predators determine the dining is good, they’ll come back for more. Now, not only do you have a deer problem, you have a coyote and bobcat problem, too.

3. Deer damage landscape

Deer damage hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of landscaping yearly and make your yard a minefield of scat. They eat 6 to 10 pounds of food daily, tearing leaves from plants and bark from trees, leaving 2-inch long gouges, and weakening plants. Deer love tender new growth, but they’ll nibble on every branch within their reach, from the ground to 6 ft. up.  

When bucks are in an amorous mood and marking territory, they rub their antlers on young trees, scarring, weakening, and sometimes killing them.

4. Deer are aggressive

Competition for food can be fierce, causing larger deer to muscle away the younger, frailer herd members. Also, aggressive deer have head-butted, gored, and trampled people who got in their way.

5. Deer cause collisions

Nationally, drivers and deer collide 100,000 times a month, killing about 150 people a year. While most victims do not seek treatment after a deer-vehicle collision, a Utah study showed individual medical costs ranging from $437 for minor injuries to more than $20,000 for inpatient treatment.