Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease
Besides the fact that deer damage or destroy plants, another good reason to keep them out is Lyme disease. In the Northeast U.S. the adult blacklegged tick or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) that spreads the lyme disease bacteria is transported mostly by deer. Where deer are excluded, the deer tick population may diminish, making it harder for the lyme disease bacteria to get around. That doesn’t mean the deer tick or the chances of a deer tick bite inside the enclosed area will vanish, or that the potential for lyme disease transmission will go away. But if one sprays the enclosure and fence line the tick population can be drastically reduced. And even if one does not spray, once the deer are removed the deer tick population will generally begin to decline and over several years may tend to fall significantly.
Coping with Deer Inside
Deer in a panic may do anything. They may leap a tall fence, as already noted, or they may harmfully charge right over someone who is trying to herd them out of an enclosure. Deer, even fawns, are really strong; being in an unfamiliar area enclosed by a deer fence makes them edgy; they don’t like being herded; and if you try to shoo them out they may panic and become dangerous–not because they want to hurt you, but because they have a powerful urge to escape. So this is one of the deer problems worth noting. And if one day a deer manages to get into your fenced-in area, don’t go near it. Instead, call in your dog (that’s the first thing to do) and then open a gate if you can do so without alarming the deer; because chances are that if a gate is open, eventually the animal will leave.