Why Do Deer Lay Down in the Grass?

At sunrise, it’s not uncommon to step outside to see a few deer in close range in your yard. It can be a beautiful moment as long as you don’t look to the side to see a ruined garden that acted as a food source for the last few hours. Deer may seem gentle and harmless, but they aren’t when it comes to your yard. 

Why Do Deer Sleep in the Grass?

So, wondering why do deer sleep in your yard? In reality, deer often don’t travel far from bedding areas and food sources. In rural and urban areas, deer will often stay within 100 yards of a food supply, regardless of outside temperatures. This makes it common for them to sleep in a garden, yard, or nearby woods.

But there are additional reasons you might see deer in the grass of your yard.

Recently, deer populations have risen exceptionally quickly. There are many reasons this has happened.

The first is that the predators of deer have been eliminated or reduced. Wolves and cougars are common predators, but with a reduction in their population, deer are in less danger.

In addition, deer appreciate fringe forests. Thick cover doesn’t offer as much food. Places with several habitats serve as the best feeding areas for deer. Places where urban and wild meet are the perfect place for the animals. Deer can find a food source and visit it over and over.

Suburbs also offer more food options. For example, homeowners tend to replant vegetation so the deer feed then revisit the same location.

Problems Related to Rising Deer Populations

Deer may be gentle and beautiful, but they can also cause problems for humans. While deer won’t attack as dogs may, they are still responsible for the deaths of several humans every year.

Lyme Disease and Ticks

A moving deer could carry around the black-legged tick since this pest prefers the taste of deer blood. However, these ticks can also bite dogs, cats, mice, and even humans.

Ticks from deer can carry Lyme disease, which is potentially fatal to humans when it isn’t treated. Unfortunately, once someone has this disease, there is no way to cure it entirely.

Some of the symptoms of Lyme disease include the following:

  • Aching muscles
  • Headaches
  • Fevers
  • Joint pain or aching
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

The bullseye rash is the most obvious sign of this disease. It can occur anywhere from three to 30 days after a tick bite but most commonly occurs after a week.

This rash is only associated with Lyme disease but isn’t the only rash a tick can give you. Some rashes won’t have a bullseye appearance or they might show up later. The rash can be found in hidden areas like the groin or hairline.

The presence of deer in your yard or nearby areas can make it more likely to be bitten by a tick that carries this disease.

Vehicle-Related Accidents

With deer moving around all over, severe and fatal car accidents have become more common. The average number of people killed in these accidents each year is 150, but the number is growing. Deer may not show other behavior that is dangerous but cause millions of accidents every year.

Driving the speed limit can deter deer accidents. However, it’s impossible to prevent car accidents involving a mature buck. Some steps you can take to avoid an accident include:

  • Pay attention – Stay away from the phone and radio and watch for deer at crossing areas. When you spend time paying attention, it’s less likely that an accident will occur.
  • Slow down – When you move slowly in areas where deer sleep or move, you’re more likely to spot them early. This can give you time to stop and prevent an accident.
  • Use high beams – If high beams can be used, you should do so. The bright beams are more likely to catch the shine from a deer’s eyes as they step close to the highway.
  • Know how to handle an accident – If you can’t avoid the deer, slow down as much as you can before the impact. It’s safer to hit the deer than it is to swerve out of the way. Swerving could lead you to end up in a ditch with a rolled car or even make you hit another vehicle and put your life at risk.

What To Know When Deer Hunting

Hunters find it challenging to move close to a deer on a bed or grass. People who are hunting want to be sure deer aren’t alert to their presence. Make sure you wear scent-free clothing and follow the tips below.

Pay Attention to the Back Trail

Deer might be aware that a predator or hunting humans will come from behind. When the animals are grazing, they will lay in the grass to view the area behind them. Deer have excellent eyesight and are alert to movements. The position of the eyes on the side of the head creates a wider field of view. Their horizontal pupils also assist with visual acuity.

Researchers note that deer enjoy sleeping in areas where they can monitor their surroundings. Deer might sleep from a few seconds to a few minutes and may have eyes open or eyes closed. Deer sleeping will spook easily and can detect danger from hundreds of yards away based on wind direction.

Security Matters

A yard or other area with grass is a space where a bedded buck or doe can monitor its surroundings. As a result, their scent, sight, and hearing will be in top condition when resting or sleeping. Deer choose a bed based on where they feel secure.

Food Sources 

Deer are ruminant animals who have a four-chambered stomach. After spending time in a feeding area, they will search for a yard where they can chew for short periods. These are safe, open areas where deer may spend seven hours a day chewing.

Why Different Deer Populations Lay in Grass

Unless you are alert to the world around you, it can be nearly impossible to realize the deer in your yard is sleeping. Rather than curling up like many animals, a deer will sleep standing and may have its eyes open. Other deer sleep so soundly that it might seem they are dear in your yard.

Deer stay alert throughout their entire life, whether they are fawns, bucks, or doe. They remain near food, while bucks wander more than an estrus doe. If a deer finds a good spot near a house or yard, they will stay close.

Rutting season is an important time for deer, especially bucks. Mature bucks may go without food and sleep to find a doe to mate with. The male will watch for a doe that is resting to take advantage of that. If you see a female and male in your yard, it might be a sign of a full estrus period.

Following the pre-rut period, you may see bucks laying in grass with their head down. This occurs during the rut to help ensure the deer hears the sounds of a predator. The buck will rest while ensuring the best security possible.

How To Keep Deer Away From Your Yard

If you want to avoid buck bedding areas in your yard, there are several things you can do. Keeping deer away will prevent them from eating your roses or stomping through your garden. Thankfully, you can avoid deer beds in your yard with the following tips:

  • Avoid tasty plants – In spring, deer are hungry and nursing their young. Avoid planting pansies, English ivy, beans, peas, lettuces, and other food that deer enjoy. Fruit trees are also targets.
  • Keep plants near your home – This lets you watch the progress of plants to be sure deer or other animals don’t eat it. Any tender and smooth plants are fair game, including berries, chrysanthemums, roses, and more.
  • Plant scented perennials – Making your yard less attractive to deer can be done with smelly plants. Try plants like mint, garlic, chives, and lavender which will mask the scent of other plants in the area.
  • Consider texture – Deer are attuned to scent but touch matters, too. Prickly, hairy, and thorny plants are items that deer will not want to eat, which can keep them far away from your home.
  • Plant hedges – Try deer repellant hedges or shrubs like short needle spruces or boxwoods as barriers to your yard or garden. When deer cannot see inside, they are less likely to wander into your space.
  • Let out the dog – If you have dogs, they can help with managing deer. Regardless of the breed or size, the bark and scent of a dog will keep deer away. Let the dog out when you’re gardening or the kids are playing in the yard.
  • Try sprinklers – Adding a few motion-activated sprinklers will startle deer that come near you. The moisture and sound will send them running back to safer pastures.

Wrapping Up

At this point, you should know why deer use grass as a bed to rest or sleep. You also understand why they seek out a yard and use certain bedding behavior. The sleep process can be short and sweet or long, but deer laying in a yard are aware of what is happening in the same place.

Humans can run across sleeping deer at night or during the day, but the deer are more aware of you than you might expect. So the next time you see a deer sleeping, make sure to enjoy the experience. It isn’t something that people encounter every day.

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