Deer in Our Community

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is the most common species of deer currently found in North Carolina. Male deer, or ‘Bucks’, are easily recognizable in the summer and fall by their prominent set of antlers, which are grown annually and fall off in the winter. Female deer, or ‘Does’, give birth to one to three young at a time, usually in May or June and after a gestation period of seven months. Young deer, or “Fawns", have a reddish-brown coat with white spots that helps them blend in with the forest. 

Deer Density Map NC
  1. More About Deer
  2. Carrboro's Community Climate Action Plan

White-tailed deer are common in both urban and rural areas, as they have adapted well to live in close proximity to humans. Deer inhabit around the edges of creeks and rivers, forested areas, croplands, and urban green areas. Deer can prosper following a prescribed fire, timber harvest, or other disturbances which produce new vegetative growth around the ground level. Although wild deer can live up to 16 years, the average lifespan of deer is 2-3 years, and they rarely live past 10 years. According to NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Orange County is home to more than 50 deer per square mile (source: Deer Density map).

Fence Anti-Deer Photo by J. Keeler Johnson

Deer populations are increasingly adapting to live in human-developed landscapes, which can impact gardens and other urban green spaces. There are several different methods you can use to prevent deer damage to plants.

Feeding Deer C_ Mont Tremblant

Why it is Important Not to Feed Deer

While it may seem like a kind gesture to feed deer, feeding these animals, particularly in urban or suburban areas, can have negative consequences for both the deer population and your community. This section highlights the reasons why it's crucial to avoid feeding deer.

  1. Risks and Consequences
  2. Legal Prohibitions and Carrboro Town Code

Feeding wild animals can have detrimental effects on both animal populations and human communities. Here are some examples of the risks and consequences associated with feeding deer:

1. Disrupting Natural Feeding Behavior and Promoting Dependency: Feeding deer can alter their natural feeding patterns, leading to malnutrition.

2. Increased Disease Risk: Feeding stations can attract not only deer but also other wildlife species, increasing the likelihood of disease transmission.

3. Neighborhood Nuisance: A congregation of deer can become a nuisance for neighbors, causing damage to property and gardens. Moreover, heightened deer activity in residential areas can lead to more frequent vehicle collisions.

  1. 1
  2. 2

Deer-related accidents on the road can pose significant risks to both drivers and the deer population. While some of these incidents are unavoidable, there are proactive steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of colliding with deer while driving. This section provides guidance on how to steer clear of deer collisions.

Animal Crash Locations in Orange County

Abandoned fawn Photo by: Fairfax County
  1. What to Do If You Encounter A Distressed or Orphaned Deer
  2. Finding an Orphaned Fawn
  3. Understanding the Doe's Behavior
  4. Reporting Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

Encountering an injured or orphaned deer can be a sensitive situation, and it's crucial to know how to respond appropriately. This section provides guidance on how to handle such situations, emphasizing the importance of responsible and compassionate actions.

North Carolina Department of Transportation Animal Crash Report from 2018 to 2022