Attracting Deer

If you don’t have deer in your woodland, or would like to provide better habitat for your current deer residents, there are some simple things you can do to encourage a healthier deer community.

  • Provide cover. Resting places are important year round, but cover is especially important during hunting season and when fawns are born. Cover includes stands of trees or dense shrubs.
  • Provide forage plants: Vine maple, western red cedar, hazelnut, huckleberry, thimbleberry, and trailing blackberry are all good options.
  • Protect water sources: Conserve vegetation around water sources and protect them from road runoff.
  • Restore disturbed areas and return natural burn cycles: Where land has been disturbed or trees removed, make sure it is restored with native plants that provide good forage.
  • Consult with local wildlife biologists on special actions for your area.
  • Keep your woodland safe from non-native predators: Domestic dogs if they are allowed to run loose may hunt or otherwise harass deer. Even deer do not die, harassment can deplete their energy resources at a critical time of year or disrupt breeding.
  • Avoid habitat fragmentation: Construct any fencing with deer in mind. Property fences should allow deer to pass over and under. This means a 17-inch gap on the bottom to let fawns crawl under, and no more than 4 feet in height to let deer jump safely over.


Native predators help keep deer populations stable and healthy. Without natural predators, deer populations can grow out of control, damaging plant life, increasing disease within the deer community, and raising the incidence of automobile collisions. If deer browsing is severe, or interfering with restoration efforts, you may need to build a deer-proof fence. For information on how to construct a fence for deer:


Top Ten Native Plants by Region: Developed by the National Wildlife Federation

An Alternative To Hinge Cutting: Learn about some of the issues with hinge cuts and what you can else you can do to enhance wildlife habitat on your land from the MI DNR's New and Updates, November 12, 2015. 

PDF icon An Alternative To Hinge Cutting154.19 KB
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