White-Tailed Deer

Perhaps the most recognizable animal in DuPage County, the white-tailed deer needs little description. Many people encounter unwanted deer situations in their backyards and gardens.

Recommended Deterrents

  • To keep deer out of your yard, you will need to install a 6- to 8-foot fence. Deer have been known to jump over a 6-foot fence to reach food. They will only jump if they are sure of a clear landing. 
  • Place fencing around individual plants.
  • String light bird netting around plants and chicken wire around young trees.
  • Taste deterrents work, such as spraying a mixture of 1 gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of hot sauce or garlic puree onto the plant, but they need to be reapplied after a heavy dew or rain and used for 10 or until the deer stop eating the plant. Nurseries or home centers may carry commercial products as well.
  • Hang bars of soap, even if unscented. Leave the wrapper on, and drill holes through the soap bar. Hang the bars no more than three feet apart. Leave them up for a week; this is usually enough time to deter the deer.
  • Suspending human hair in a pair of nylons also works well. Leaving hair suspended for a week is usually enough time to deter deer.
  • Scarecrows, bright lights, loud music, motion detectors, and hanging tinfoil or pie tins may work for a few days; but once the deer become familiar with the items, they lose effectiveness.

Fawn Alone in the Woods

Young wild animals are not like human babies. Their mothers do not constantly watch them, and they spend large amounts of time alone. 

If you see a fawn alone, leave it be. Fawns may be left unattended for up to 24 hours. The mother is usually within a short distance. If a fawn has been moved from an area, return it immediately. The fawn’s best chance of survival is with its own species. In addition, deer are protected by state law, and it is unlawful to care for a fawn without a wildlife rehabilitation permit.

Deer and Moving Vehicles

Deer and auto collisions increase dramatically during two times of year: October through December, when deer are in rut, and May through June, when young from the previous year are out on their own and does are with fawn and thus slower and less agile. To prevent a deer-auto collision:

  • Reduce your speed, and watch for deer on the edge of a road, especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Make a note of where you have seen deer before.
  • Be careful when going around curves or when approaching favored deer crossings.
  • If you see a deer cross safely in front of your car, slow down and expect more to follow.
  • Don’t assume that a deer that is in the road will run off as you approach.
  • Don’t use your horn unless it looks as if you are going to collide with a deer. Far away noise may confuse the deer. Close noise may produce an extra burst of speed from the animal, but there is never a way to predict how a deer will respond.
  • Heed deer-warning signs. They are placed in areas where deer-auto collisions are likely to occur.

If You Hit a Deer

The following information is provided by: 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Region II Law Enforcement Office

2050 W. Stearns Rd., Bartlett, IL 60103

(847) 608-3100

In the event of an accident, any motorist or passenger who is involved in the accident should provide assistance to anyone who is injured. Do not attempt to remove a dead or injured deer from a busy roadway. Instead, contact local, county or state law enforcement officials. If the accident results in more than $500 worth of damage, it must be reported, and an accident report must be filed with the police.

If you or another party intends to possess a deer killed by a vehicle, you must follow state procedures. First, the driver of the vehicle involved has priority in possessing the deer. If the driver does not want the deer, any Illinois resident may possess and transport it. Whoever possesses it, however, assumes all liability associated with the handling and use of a vehicle-killed deer. Inedible parts, such as the antlers and hide, cannot be sold. The IDNR recommends that any person who claims a deer as the result of a vehicle collision retain the following information for future reference:

  • Date the deer was killed
  • Sex of the deer
  • Location of the accident
  • Place where deer parts are stored.

Anyone who claims a deer as a result of a vehicle collision and who intends to transport it to a taxidermist or tannery must phone the IDNR’s Springfield office at (217) 782-6431 before delivering the deer.

Finally, anyone who finds a dead or injured deer that was not killed by a vehicle or was not taken by legal hunting methods cannot transport the deer or deer parts without first obtaining permission from the IDNR, which may be requested through its Region II office at (847) 608-3100.

Public Health Concerns

Dermatophilosis is a bacterial skin infection that may be transmitted from deer to people, especially those involved in raising orphan fawns. Toxoplasmosis could be contracted from improperly cooked venison meat.

What Not To Do

  • Trapping and removing an animal is not always a solution to the problem. Removing the animal is illegal without the proper permits and only creates an open space for another animal. A trapped adult may also leave young behind to die of starvation in an inaccessible area. Focus on removing the attraction, not the animal.
  • Do not use poisons. They are inhumane and may be illegal. They can also result in secondary poisoning of raptors, wild scavengers and neighborhood pets.
  • It is illegal to keep wild animals, even for a very short time. They have specialized nutritional, housing and handling needs that you are unlikely to be able to provide. Inexperienced individuals who attempt to raise or treat them inevitably produce unhealthy, tame animals that cannot survive in their natural habitats.

Willowbrook Wildlife Center

If you come across a wild animal and are concerned, leave it alone. Call Willowbrook Wildlife Center for advice at (630) 942-6200. The center is located at 525 S. Park Blvd. in Glen Ellyn and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except select holidays. Recorded messages provide general information for callers when the center is closed.

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