I think winter is, despite its faults, a beautiful time of year. I love the stillness of the cold and that silence that only comes in a snowfall. I miss seeing all the little critters that roam the outdoors. They’re still there, though. All the birds that visit the feeder during the cold months are snowbirds that stick around all year or come to my state to live in the Wisconsin winter. The squirrels are still scurrying about, and even the deer are still roaming around.
We often think that all wildlife animals are hibernating, so we don’t need to worry about them until spring arrives again. However, deer are still abundant and might still look to your property for some food. If deer are a problem during the warmer months, it’s even more important to maintain your control efforts even during the winter.
Winter Deer Behavior
Deer eat about half as much food in the winter, eating a lower protein diet that is less digestible. This means it takes more energy to break down the food, resulting in less calories consumed. However, they may still come by to nibble some branches or twigs from your new tree or scrape bark off of others. It is important to prevent deer from establishing a feeding pattern on your property all year, and allowing deer to enter your property during the winter can potentially undo all your deer control efforts from the spring and fall.
How to Keep Deer Away During Winter
There are several steps you can take to prevent deer from damaging your plants and protecting your property from deer browsing. All it takes are a few preventative measures and a little diligence to keep your yard or property deer free even in winter.
- If there are any potential food sources available to deer, try to remove them as often as possible. Spilled bird seed can supply the food deer want, so consider using bird seed cakes instead.
- Protect shrubs, low plants, and young trees from deer damage by wrapping the shrubs, plants, and trees in burlap, frost blankets, or other plant covers, and use tree tubes on trunks of trees. Wire cages can help to protect larger trees.
- Fencing materials, like snow fences or temporary roll out fences can create a barrier that will help to deter deer from specific areas or groups of trees.
- Deer repellent products can still be used in winter. Just be sure to follow the label’s suggestion for winter use. Using them before the frost and snow can be helpful.
- Visual and audio deterrents, like motion activated floodlights, Mylar tape, and wind chimes can help to startle and deter deer from the area.
- These steps are most important if the deer pressure in your area is high and you often have difficulty with deer. If deer pressure is low, you may only have to wrap your plants or hang up wind chimes to keep deer away. Assess your situation to pick the best combination from this list.