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Why Do Deer Sleep in My Yard? (And Should I Stop Them?)

Why Do Deer Sleep in My Yard? (And Should I Stop Them?)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Living in an area that has many deer will be quite interesting for several reasons. Of course, you’ll need to be a lot more careful while driving at night so that you don’t get into accidents.

You might even be noticing that deer will spend time on your property. If you’ve walked outside and noticed that deer are sleeping in your yard, then you might be wondering what is attracting them to the area.

Why would a deer want to spend time in your yard, and what makes it comfortable enough to sleep there? Keep reading to learn about deer and why they might sleep in some peoples’ yards.

Deer Don’t Usually Stray Far From Food Sources

One of the biggest reasons why deer might be sleeping in your yard is that it happens to be fairly close to the food sources that they’re using. Generally, deer aren’t going to travel far away from food sources.

In fact, most deer will only travel about 100 yards away from the nearest food source that they have been using. If it’s very cold outside, then they might not even travel that far.

This means that you’ll be more likely to see deer sleeping in your yard if there are things nearby that deer like to eat. Deer will hang out in your yard if it seems to be a good spot that provides them with what they need.

It might be the case that your yard happens to be situated perfectly by a nice forested area. The deer will go to the edge of the forest to look for food, and then they’ll go to sleep in your yard because there’s a good open patch of grass for them to lay on.

Deer Like Eating Food From the Edge of Forested Areas

You’ll see that deer will eat food from the edge of forested areas quite often. If you go deeper into the forest, then you’ll find less food that will be of interest to deer.

The edge of the forest is where many types of habitats converge, and this gives deer the opportunity to easily forage for food. They can find berries, leafy plants, seeds, grass, and mushrooms that will help them to survive.

There are many suburban areas that are located close to small forests. Deer seem to like to stick around small forests instead of living inside of large ones.

It all makes sense when you start to think about where your yard is located. If your yard is close enough to a small forested area, then it shouldn’t surprise you to see deer pop up now and then.

When your yard starts to become a regular hotspot for deer, then it means that it’s a particularly useful location for them. The food that they’re eating is likely not too far from your yard, and they’re going to continue to stay in the yard unless you scare them away.

It’s also worth noting that deer tend to sleep in yards that are very large because parts of the yard will be far enough away from people. If you have a tiny backyard, then it’s less likely that deer will be sleeping there.

The deer will almost surely be scared by humans and the noises that they make. Rural homes with large yards that are near forested areas will be the most likely to have deer.

The Deer Population Is Booming

You should also know that the deer population is booming right now due to low predator numbers. Deer have natural predators in North America such as cougars, wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, and bears.

Simply put, these predators are not thriving in the same numbers that they once did. Predatory animals are seen as a threat to human populations, and this has caused humans to hunt these animals down over the years.

Even if it isn’t legal to hunt some of these predatory animals down now, it’s still true that predatory animal numbers have diminished significantly. Now that deer don’t have to worry as much about natural predators, the deer population has risen.

This is one of the reasons why deer hunting is so popular. People see that there is a need to control the deer population, and human hunters help to try to cull the deer by eliminating many during specified times of the year.

However, the number of deer being killed by hunters isn’t enough to make the population dwindle much. There are still too many deer, and this is why you’re seeing a lot of deer pop up in suburban areas.

It’s a combination of suburban areas being convenient for local deer populations and deer numbers being so high. If deer population numbers were to dwindle, then you wouldn’t be seeing as many deer sleeping in your yard.

The Deer Might Be Eating Things on Your Property

It’s also good to consider that deer might be eating things on your property. People plant gardens and they have trees on their properties that produce things that deer will eat.

If you have plants and bushes that produce fruits, berries, nuts, and other things like that, then deer might be eating those. Deer might also be interested in eating leafy plants that you have on your property.

Take a look around your yard to see if it looks like the deer have been eating any of the plants. You might notice that deer have nibbled on quite a few things, and it isn’t unusual for deer to eat patches of long grass either.

You could be attracting deer to your yard by just continuing to plant things that deer like. Many people do this while having no idea that it will be like a beacon to deer that are in the area.

Laws Often Prevent People From Killing Deer Within the City Limits

You know that deer are hunted by people during specific parts of the year in North America. There are lots of laws that you will need to abide by even if you plan on hunting deer.

Deer are usually protected in certain ways when they are inside city limits. A deer that is in your yard might not be able to be killed by a hunter depending on your local laws.

If you have deer on your property and they seem to be sticking around, then it might be because they’re safe there. Deer that go into the forest and are outside of the city limits will be able to be killed by hunters, but not deer that stay within the city limits.

Of course, local laws can differ quite a bit, and this may or may not be the reason that the deer are thriving on your property. It likely has something to do with it, though, and the deer feel that they are safe in the area near your property.

Deer Don’t Always Sleep Laying Down

Sometimes deer will lay down when they go to sleep, but this isn’t always going to be the case. Deer will sleep standing up sometimes, and they’re also capable of sleeping with their eyes open.

If you see a deer or a small group of deer standing somewhere in your yard, then they might be sleeping. It might not appear like they’re sleeping at first, but it could be that they’re resting while standing.

Deer remain alert so that they can spring to action at a moment’s notice. They are animals that understand the need to try to flee from predators, and this might be part of why they are able to sleep standing up.

If you do notice a deer sleeping laying down in your yard, then it might be trying to appear dead. When you attempt to get close to the deer, it’ll spring to its feet and flee incredibly fast.

The fact that deer have an awareness of their surroundings while sleeping is quite interesting. It might be a part of the reason why deer can sleep in your yard while still feeling somewhat safe.

As long as humans aren’t getting too close to them, they might see your yard as a safe spot to rest. They can smell danger within about 400 yards, and if you get close to the deer they’ll be able to react in time to get away.

This is actually part of what makes hunting deer so challenging. They’re very alert animals, and catching one off-guard can be tough even from a distance.

Keeping Deer Out of Your Yard

Keeping deer out of your yard might be for the best because deer do present some problems. For example, deer carry ticks and these ticks can wind up giving humans Lyme Disease.

It’s also well-known that deer cause traffic accidents. Deer will often stop in the middle of the road, and hitting a deer with a car has the potential to kill a person.

Thankfully, there are things that you can do to try to keep deer away from your property. Read on to get a few basic ideas that will help.

Ultrasonic Deer Repellent

Ultrasonic deer repellent might help to keep deer from sleeping in your yard. Basically, there are ultrasonic devices that can emit sounds that will bother deer but can’t be heard by people.

You place an ultrasonic repellent device on your property and it will work to keep deer at bay. It’s very simple in practice and it seems to get good results.

Many of these devices are solar-powered now as well so you won’t have to worry about batteries. These devices aren’t overly expensive either, and it could be worth looking into if you don’t want deer on your property.

Eliminate Plants That Attract Deer

You could choose to eliminate plants in your yard that seem to attract deer. There are many types of plants and bushes that deer will want to try to eat.

Some plants, bushes, and trees will produce berries or fruit that deer will want to snack on. If you remove those plants, bushes, and trees from your property, then deer will be less inclined to stick around.

Eliminating plants that you like might seem harsh, though, and you could just try to make them unappealing to deer. There are things that you can spray on your plants that will make deer think they taste bad.

People will often spray stuff like this on their plants and fences to try to keep deer at bay. It works pretty well, and it’s an option for those who would rather not eliminate plants entirely.


Dogs can do a very good job of scaring away deer. If you let your dog spend time outdoors, then the noise that it makes will probably keep deer from wanting to come around.

Of course, a bigger and more intimidating dog will be more likely to get good results. If you have a larger dog that will bark at deer, then it could be placed outside for certain hours of the day as a deer-deterrent.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Using motion-activated sprinklers will be a great way to scare deer and make them run away when they step onto your property. You can easily set up motion-activated sprinklers at specific points in your yard.

These sprinklers will start spraying water as soon as it detects something walking by. Some people even use this as a type of security measure to protect their homes.

It might be somewhat pricey to set up a system like this, but it can be very useful. It’ll also be nice for keeping your plants and lawn watered since you can set up a timer system as well.

Don’t Ignore Deer

It probably isn’t a good idea to ignore deer since they can become a problem in the area. The deer might seem harmless at first, but they can cause problems for the neighborhood even if they’re peaceful creatures.

Keeping deer off of your property will be the safest choice for you and your family. Use some of the repellent methods above to get them to go away and you won’t have to worry so much.

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