5 Ways to Attract Deer to Your Yard

Sharing the homestead yard with animals like deer would be like having paradise on earth for many people. Watching them graze is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful sights to behold. But deer are skittish animals; thus, attracting them can be quite an ordeal. Then how do you make deer come to your yard?

To draw deer to your yard, create an environment that replicates their natural habitat. Provide food and water, then leave some parts of your yard bushy and untended. Corns and a salt lick can also attract deer and make them stay in your yard longer.

Attracting deer to your yard may never happen if you do not set your yard appropriately. Therefore, you have to get things right.

Let’s delve into some of the critical tips to make your yard a deer haven.

How Do You Attract Deer Quickly?

Attracting deer to your yard shouldn’t be an arduous task, provided that you have the suitable yard settings. Modify your yard slightly, and you will improve your chances of sharing a yard with these elegant animals.

Here are some of the ways to attract deer quickly:

1. Establish a Water Source

Deer, like any other animal, will be drawn to places where there’s sufficient water. Therefore, establish a water source on your property to make it attractive for the animals. A horse trough, pod, channel, or any other freshwater source will serve the purpose.

You are most likely to have deer searching for water during the summer. There’s general water scarcity in the surroundings, and the temperatures are relatively high.

Also, deer will search for water during winter, especially when it is chilly and the natural water sources dry up.

Therefore, you must make sure the water in your troughs does not freeze during winter. Invest in a water heater to keep the water liquid. Also, placing a piece of wood in the water will prevent freezing.

2. Provide Food

Food is the ultimate thing that will have deer wanting to come to your yard. Feeding these animals should also not be a tricky thing, and a simple apparatus will do.

Buy a gravity feeder and mount it on a tree. Acquiring one should be cheap, so you won’t need to worry about the costs.

As the name suggests, it’s gravity that makes it work, so constantly changing batteries would not be a problem. Therefore, operating it is cost-free.

A gravity feeder such as Moultrie Feed Station is both affordable and top quality. The brand is also UV-resistant, and thus you don’t have to worry about it getting destroyed in the sun.

It is also well designed to keep animal feed free from dirt. The feeder holds about 40 pounds of feed. Thus you do not have to keep refilling it.

Also, buy commercial deer feed. Deer are fond of eating corn and grains. Hence most deer commercial feeds will have these components.

Consider buying organic deer feed. Inorganic or GMO deer feed will have unnatural ingredients, which may be unhealthy for the deer.

Buy feeds such as farmer’s Blend Ernst Grain Shelled Corn. Ensure the meals are clean and made from organically grown corn.

It will keep the deer healthy and energetic. GMO deer feeds, on the contrary, may have a long-term impact on the health of the deer.

3. Provide a Salt Lick on a Low Limb

Salt lick is one effective way to make deer visit your yard. Deer are fond of the salty taste, but that’s not all. The salt lick minerals are healthy for their well-being. Thus, you will also be boosting the deer’s health by increasing their mineral uptake.

Since the salt lick is a delicacy for deer, be prepared for herds of animals visiting your yard. That is how much they like it.

Choose a natural salt lick that is clean and harmless to the animals. One such product is the Himalayan Animal Lick Salt. It has no preservatives and comes with a rope to facilitate tying it to a convenient area. The product is also cheap thus you don’t have to worry about spending too much on it.

4. Spread Deer Urine Around the Yard

Hunters used deer urine for many years to draw the animals to their traps. You can also pull the same trick as it is proven to be effective.

The attractant gives a smell synonymous with how deer smell in their natural habitat. As a result, deer will be drawn by the scent when you apply it around your property.

Also, it will make your property feel familiar to deer. Spreading deer urine attractants like TINK’SS #69 Doe-in-Rut Buck Lure will do the trick.

5. Use Cover Scents

Using the deer urine attractants will, without a doubt, be vital in drawing the animals to your yard. However, deer are likely to be rebuffed by human smell. You need to make your homestead yard smell as natural as possible.

Here is when the use of cover scents comes in handy. Typically, these scents are made from the smells of common animals that deer interact with while in the wild. They can be heavily strong like the skunk scent or mild like earth scents.

The bottom line is that the scent will dispel the natural human smell from the yard. Thus, the deer will not be suspicious of your yard’s environment.

What Smells Attract Deer the Most?

Deer are arguably one of the most smell-sensitive animals in the jungle. Dogs can be some of the most smell-sensitive animals around. Yet, when it comes to smell sensitiveness, deer trounce dogs. Unsurprisingly, deer can quickly detect the presence of hunters in the woods.

Hunters have converted the deer’s sensitivity to smell to their advantage. Human odors are unattractive to deer. Hence, hunters have created a means of bypassing this hurdle by creating products familiar deer smell.

The doe urine scent attracts deer. It is the most commonly used attractant by hunters. You can also use it to draw deer to your yard, albeit not for hunting.

However, attracting deer to your yard for hunting using doe urine scent is outlawed in states such as Minnesota and Pennsylvania.

Deer urine attracts deer by making them calm. It also suggests to the deer that there is another deer in the vicinity. The underlying principle behind its effectiveness is that it is a familiar smell in the woods. Deer will not become skeptical of your intentions to draw it.

Doe urine is also so effective that it will attract deer at any time of the year. Thus, it doesn’t matter whether it’s during the rut or pre-rut season. It is also easy to apply as you only need to sprinkle it in the area where you want to attract the deer.

Caution: The use of real doe urine is banned in some states, such as South Carolina and Oregon. The aim is to prevent the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is standard in deer. If you live in these states, you can use synthetic urine instead as it is legal.

What Kinds Of Deer Will You Draw?

If you are living in the US, you will most likely draw three types of deer. They include the following:

1. White-Tailed or Whitetail Deer

You will find the white-tailed deer in almost all parts of North America, including Canada and Mexico. They are unique for the white part on the lower side of their tails.

Most of this breed of deer that you will sight are probably reddish-brown colored. Here are some of the white-tailed deer’s other characteristics:

  • Bucks are large and will weigh between 150 to 200 Pounds. They also have antlers that can grow up to 16 feet. Typically, an antler has a branch of tines that curl outwards.
  • The does, unlike the bucks, are less heavy and also do not sport antlers. Most doe will weigh approximately around 100 pounds. You may find a doe that has antlers, especially if it has a hormonal imbalance. Nonetheless, they will be tiny and are common in fawns.
  • You can know when the deer is frightened by checking the motion of their tails. They usually raise the tails revealing the white part when scared.

2. Black-Tailed Deer

As the name suggests, you can tell what a Black-Tailed deer is by a large characteristic: their black tail. They are commonplace in the Pacific Coast, California, and Alaska. Some of their unique features include:

  • Like the White-Tailed Deer, the bucks can weigh up to 200 pounds. Also, the bucks sport antlers that begin growing from the age of 8 months. Every year, the antlers grow and branch to tines.
  • Female deer weigh between 100 pounds though sometimes you’ll find some weighing up to 130 pounds. They also lack antlers, but fawns grow tiny ones during summer and spring.

3. Mule Deer

The mule deer is the largest deer species in the US. It is similar to the White-Tailed Deer in appearance, but their tails are different. The color of the mule deer is also dependent on the season.

In the summer, they are reddish-brown, and the color dulls during winter. Also, they resemble mules, as their name suggests. The deer’s ears, like those of mule, are notably large.

Here are other features about the mule deer:

  • Given their large size, bucks can weigh up to 300 pounds. Like other deer, the mule deer have antlers, but their tines are not quite as large. Their heads and bodies are also larger than those of the other deer species.
  • Mule female deer can weigh up to 200 pounds. They also do not have antlers.

To differentiate these types of deer better, refer to the table below:

Type of DeerWeightColor/sUnique Features
1. White-tailed DeerBuck: 150-200 pounds
Doe: 100-150 pounds
Reddish-brown body, white on the lower part of their tail– 3.5-7 feet in length
– Antlers grow up to 16 feet
– Their tines curl outwards
2. Black-tailed DeerBuck: 160-200 pounds
Doe: 100-130 pounds
Brown body, black tail– Found in the deep parts of the Pacific forests
– Grows antlers as early as 8 months
3. Mule DeerBuck: 200-300 pounds
Doe: 170-200 pounds
– Similar in appearance to the white-tailed deer
– Fully creamy whitetail
– Dull brown during winter, reddish-brown during summer
– Mule-like ears
– Largest deer species in the US
– Antler tines are small compared to other deer species

What Are the Benefits of Attracting Deer?

Being close to natural things is undoubtedly one of the means to a peaceful and happy life. Therefore, encouraging deer to visit your yard is cardinal in that quest.

Along with this primary benefit, there are upsides to having these graceful animals on your property. They include:

1. Creating a Good Family Experience

Today, many people interact less with nature due to work commitments and urban living. They also have little outdoor experience than in the past when activities such as hunting were every day.

Enabling deer to visit your yard is a way of reigniting the outdoor experience spark. You are thus setting the scene for your family to have nature right next to the house.

You and your family will undoubtedly enjoy seeing the animals graze and walk around the yard.

2. Helping to Feed the Animals

If you are providing food for animals such as deer, it encourages the deer to visit the yard. You are also helping their population increase by providing them with food.

Feeding animals such as deer is essential, especially during the winter season. Therefore, feeding the animals is crucial for giving back to nature as you enjoy its beauty.

3. Getting the Shrubs in Your Yard Tended for Free

If your homestead yard is full of bushes that you’ve been wondering how to control, encouraging deer to visit is the solution.

Deer like to feed on overgrown bushes. Thus, they will help clear the bushes. It will be a symbiotic relationship as the deer will also benefit from feeding on the dense shrubs.

4. Bringing a Unique Ambiance

The ambiance and gracefulness that having deer near you brings cannot be undermined. Experts claim that one of the ways of improving moods and feelings is by interacting with nature. There is no better way to establish this tranquility than being surrounded by deer.

Are There Downsides of Attracting Deer to Your Yard?

There is a lot to reap from attracting deer to your garden. Nonetheless, there are also some downsides that you’ll have to put up with.

1. The Deer May Ravish All the Vegetation Cover in Your Garden

If many deer visit your yard, you should be prepared to have most of the vegetation eliminated. Deer will also feed on flowers, vegetables, and any other foliage in your garden.

2. They Will Destroy Bird Feeders

Deer are avid feeders of seed. Thus, they will do anything to access the grains that you have placed on the bird feeders. When you attract deer to your yard, you risk having your bird feeders destroyed as they try to access the seeds.

3. Deer Can Be a Threat, Especially to Children & Pets

Deer are docile animals but can be defensive, especially if they feel threatened. The animals are large, and with their sharp antlers, they can inflict serious injuries. It would be best to keep children and pets safe by limiting their interaction with the animals.

4. Deer Can Cause Road Accidents

The animals often get run over by a vehicle and are also likely to cause accidents. In the countryside areas with minimal traffic, you’re less likely to experience this challenge. Nonetheless, in urban areas, cases of deer causing accidents as they cross the road are common.

5. Deer Can Be Disease Carriers

Deer live in the wild where there is little attention to healthy well-being. As a result, they may bring diseases to your home. A common disease transmitted by ticks on deer is Lyme Disease. Getting too close to the animals is therefore inadvisable.

Final Thoughts

Attracting deer to your yard is an epic idea, especially if you are an animal enthusiast. It should not prove too hard as there are tried and tested means of attracting them.

First, you need to provide food and water to the deer. Like any other animal, these beautiful creatures will find the allure of a supply of food and water irresistible. Additionally, when you supplement these with a salt lick, it will just be a matter of time before the animals start streaming to your yard.

It would also help to give your yard the wild’s appearance where deer naturally spend time. Deer urines and a cover scent will undoubtedly do the job as well.

It’s simple. Set your yard under the best conditions for deer to live, and they will frequent it.


Photo of author

Hubert Miles

Hello! My name is Hubert Miles. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. One of my favorite parts of my job is inspecting decks and patios. I also enjoy spending time in our backyard with friends and family. My team and I started this site to share this journey. We hope you enjoy the content.

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