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Deer can become a nuisance when they feed on landscaping and ornamental plants and vegetable gardens. They eat a wide variety of plants, and when they are hungry they will eat almost any kind of available plant. Bucks can also sometimes damage tree trunks and other woody plants by rubbing their antlers on them.
You can prevent deer from becoming a problem in your yard by choosing plants that are less susceptible to browsing by deer, including prickly and thorny plants and those that produce a smell, Wildlife Illinois advises. In addition, the University of Illinois Extension maintains a list of deer-resistant perennials. Morton Arboretum also has a comprehensive list of trees, shrubs, herbs and other plants not favored by deer.
Fences can keep deer from entering your yard, but because they are such good jumpers, fences would need to be at least 8 feet tall to ensure they can’t access your yard, Wildlife Illinois advises.
Commercially sold repellents can help limit damage caused by deer browsing, but these products vary in effectiveness and must be reapplied after heavy precipitation, Wildlife Illinois reports. The usefulness of repellents also depends on the local deer population and the availability of other food sources. When deer are hungry, they will eat any available plant, even those that have had repellent applied.
In Illinois, white-tailed deer are protected as a game species under the Illinois Wildlife Code. You cannot remove deer from your property without a license or a permit, Wildlife Illinois advises. Homeowners should try to control damage from deer by modifying their landscape, installing fencing or using deer repellents. If these strategies are not successful, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources can assist with a deer removal permit
All wildlife in Illinois are under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Forest Preserve District of Will County does not treat, rescue or remove wildlife from public or private property. Both the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife Illinois maintain lists of wildlife rehabilitators you can contact for assistance with injured wildlife.
(Lead image courtesy of Amy Miller)