Deer in Winter: How They Survive

Adaptability is the key to survival for deer in winter. Numerous physical and behavioral changes allow them to keep active, so it’s important to protect landscape plants year-round.

What do deer do in winter to survive? Between frigid temperatures and dwindling food supplies, they demonstrate tremendous adaptability several ways.

Changing Physically

Two important physical changes help deer survive in winter. For one, their bodies store extra fat to provide insulation and help them through the cold months ahead. In addition, they grow an extremely dense undercoat with hollow “guard hairs” that provide exceptional insultation. Thanks to these adaptions, deer can survive in temperatures up to 30 degrees below zero.

Hunkering Down

Unlike people, who move to warm up when outside in the cold, deer take the opposite approach. Their metabolism slows, and they hunker down to conserve energy when food is scarce. In bitter cold weather, they can stay put for days at a time, living off their fat reserves.

During the winter months, you’ll often find them nestled under conifers, protected from wind and predators. When possible, they’ll find a spot on a South facing slope. There, they can take advantage of the warm sun and easier movement as the snow melts.

Foraging Far and Wide

As food supplies diminish, deer change their diet. They’ll eat whatever is available, such as twigs, bark, grasses, berries, and nuts. Perhaps the greatest delicacy for deer in winter is your evergreens, including yews, arborvitae, rhododendron and holly.

Discourage Deer in Winter

To protect your evergreens against winter deer browse, continue to spray with Bobbex Deer Repellent, rated the #1 most effective repellent in independent studies. Environmentally safe Bobbex should be applied every two months when temperatures rise above 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Deer can do a lot of damage in winter, but you CAN train them to avoid your plantings and look elsewhere for their next meal. Protect your landscape year-round, and don’t let your guard down when growing season is over!

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