Walking Along Paths
Deer are creatures of habit and do the same things over and over. This is why we see deer crossing signs in certain places. They walk along the same paths regardless of how many of their friends have become victims of vehicle collisions. They leave their home going to a place they know they can feed and then walk back home. As long as this continues to be a safe place for them, they will continue to walk along this same path every single day. Of course throughout the year, depending on what the deer are doing it may be more or less frequent. They may sprint along if it is mating season, slowly guide their young in the spring, or casually walk in the winter.
They Were Here First
No matter the place that the deer call their home, they will always walk and forage in the same place. This can be no big deal for some people, but for others it means deer all the time. Every day you can count on a deer meandering in your backyard and eating your flowers and shrubs. After all, deer have been living in these areas before they were built up. They learned a very long time ago that this was a safe place to walk through. We built our homes in the middle of theirs. Just like in the old days, if a car or buggy drove down the same path to get to town, there would be a clear line in the woods to get there. No trees or plants would grow on that path. Same with the deer paths. Over time creating smooth trails for them to walk so they can easily grant themselves access to water, grass, or other plants to feed on.
Travel tends to be after the sun sets until the sun rises. They like to walk when it is cooler out and not windy. When the wind is blowing it is hard to track scents of predators and hear where there is movement coming from. You care sure to see deer out feeding right before or after a big storm. Making sure to feed heavy to make up for the time they are taking cover during the storm.
A doe will walk in small groups with their fawns in the spring and summer. There is a lead doe who will pick where they will live and where to give birth. This is also the first doe to mate with the buck. With the increase in human population and growing cities, groups may overlap which results in turf wars. The lead doe will listen for incoming does at all times. If she hears, smells, sees another doe coming she will attack her and show her dominance. A doe will break off from the group however in order to give birth when the time comes.
Bucks have their own way of becoming part of a heard. At roughly 16 weeks old, the mother doe will actually kick their buck out to form his own new group. They will meet up with other bucks and learn the ropes. They may form their own group or take the lead of another. They will show their dominance by fighting, staring down other bucks and many territory marking. There is generally one buck per group. At some point the original group will become too big and will section off. This is when bucks who have been kicked out by their mother’s can become the new sire.