Deer FAQ

Deer FAQ

  What can I do to keep deer out of my garden? 

There are several approaches to keeping deer out of your garden. The first and probably most effective is total exclusion. A proper exclusion fence should be 7 – 8 feet high, constructed with woven wire pulled tight to the ground and uses wooden posts set at between 8 and 20 feet apart. Make the top of the fence visible, with flagging or high visibility wire. Also consider installing a gate at a corner, where an inadvertently trapped animal will be most likely to find its way out. 

Deer repellents use a disagreeable odor or taste, or a combination of both, to dissuade deer from eating the treated plant. They are easy to apply and homemade solutions are inexpensive. Numerous odor and taste repellents have been developed to reduce deer damage, and new products are continually becoming available. No repellent eliminates deer damage entirely. Try the "Not Tonite Deer" Spayerrecipe to make your own repellent.

Another, less effective way of keeping deer out of your garden is to design the garden with plants that deer may not be attracted too. Local nurseries will be helpful in identifying these plants, but be aware that a hungry deer will eat many different kinds of plants and shrubs regardless of what the label says! 
Cathy Cowles Landscape Design has a list of deer resistant plantsDafodil for the Durango area.  Back to FAQ

How can I protect aspen trees from deer eating the bark? 

As with your garden, you must consider totally excluding deer from accessing your aspen trees. The most vulnerable time for your trees is October – November when rutting bucks are looking for trees on which to take out their aggressions. You need to build a sturdy, cylindrical cage around the trunk of your aspen trees. Woven wire fencing will be most effective.  If possible wire 5 – 6 feet up the trunk. Leave 2 -3 feet between the wire and the trunk of the tree. Make sure you use plenty of T-posts to fortify the fencing. Imagine an angry 200+ pound deer that wants to get at your tree trunk and build this fence accordingly. The tougher you can make it, the better! These fences do not have to be in place year round, so while they might be a little unsightly for a couple months; it is a better alternative than a dead tree that has to be replaced annually!  Back to FAQ

Is there a season that deer stay in town? 

Deer in La Plata County tend to be migratory, however many deer are considered residents within the Durango city limits. Resident animals,as the name implies, live year-round in a certain area. So expect to see deer in town through all season.  Back to FAQ

Why are there so many deer in town?

Mule deer are very adaptable animals and urban / residential areas prove to be  easy places for deer to make a living! Imagine a “habitat”with an almost unlimited food supply in the form of ornamental and vegetable gardens along with fruit trees and even the occasional calorie rich bird feeder. On top of that this habitat is, more or less,predator free; the trade-off for the deer is simply having to adapt to living in close proximity to people and their pets. It is a relatively easy life for mule deer in town.  Back to FAQ

Who do I call if I see a dead or injured deer along the road? 

For all wildlife related concerns please call the Colorado Division of Wildlife at (970) 247-0855. In the event of an animal / vehicle collision that you are involved in or witness, please call the Colorado State Patrol at (970)-249-4392 or if you are on a cell phone, you candial *CSP or (*277). Please dial 911 if it is an emergency situation.  Back to FAQ

When do deer migrate and where? 

Deer that are not resident to a particular area are considered migrants. Probably 80 – 90% of the deer in SW Colorado are migratory,meaning that they move seasonally between summer and winter ranges. In a study conducted between Bayfield and Pagosa Springs, researchers found that deer begin their spring migration during the first week of May.They will then stay on summer range, which tend to be in the San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness Area, until late October. The fall migration generally begins the second week in October as high country winter weather begins to set in. Some deer migrate over 50 milesone-way between winter and summer ranges!  Back to FAQ

What are defensive driving techniques during deer migration? 

Drivers in SW Colorado should ALWAYS be on the look out for wildlife on area roads regardless of the season, however; the main push of migrating deer cross Hwy 160 the second week in May and again the last week in October. During these times, the most effective way to minimize chances of having an animal / vehicle collision is to slow down,particularly at low-light times of day in the mornings and evenings.  Back to FAQ

What should I do if I see an abandoned fawn? 

If you come upon a fawn while out hiking, simply leave it alone. Few fawns are actually abandoned; rather they are left in hiding by the doe for hours at a time. The doe will return to nurse the fawn and then will once again leave the fawn in hiding. Every year well-meaning people inadvertently take perfectly safe and healthy fawns out of the wild. Do not take it upon yourself to decide whether or not a wild animal is abandoned, please leave them alone.  Back to FAQ

Is it okay to feed deer? If so, what? 

It is not OK to feed deer, in fact a law passed in 1992 makes it illegal to feed big game animals. Aside from the legal ramifications there are several things to consider with feeding deer. concentrating animals while feeding them will often attract predators which you probably do not want near your home. Second, feeding deer often leads to reduced body condition because their digestive systems are not accustomed to eating hay or other commercial feeds. In all but the most extreme and prolonged winter conditions, deer are perfectly capable offending for themselves; such conditions are not experienced in this part of Colorado. Please resist the urge to feed deer. Back to FAQ

Looking for a shortcut to WildSmart? Bookmark our short URL at