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Deer getting spooked

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This post is about our fallow deer getting easily spooked. By what? Anything unusual. Shape, noise, anybody's behavior.

They get scared easily, but they also get used to things. For example, you put a new bucket in the paddock and you get lots of panicking deer. But over time they get used to it being there, and will eventually come close to have a sniff. The bucket will eventually blend into the background for them, up until the wind knocks it off and now it is lying on the side and so visually it has acquired a different shape and the deer won't come near it again. Sometimes they'll be scared if the previously 'safe to be around' object has moved. They remember where each thing is supposed to be.

Below are a few videos featuring cautious or scared deer. First - Bluetooth and Junkie.

does cautious examination

Does cautiously eating bread from the new spot

Bluetooth and Junkie discovered their favourite treat on a new spot. Anything unusual is scary to them. They are being very cautious even sniffing around the place, and still scared after they've grabbed a piece from there. Once they eat everything they still sniff around the surface, probably making sure they haven't missed any bits, but also possibly to 'get acquainted' with the location, remember how it smells in case they come back and want to check it in the future.

Next one up is about the whole mob.

Deer herd getting spooked

This video shows a herd peacefully lying down resting when suddenly another deer appears to be running scared. Everybody (well, most) get up immidiately. Actually, this is why, it seems, the deer would never cuddle (except little fawns). They always lie down at a distance from each other. That way if there's danger each deer can rise and be in a good position to storm away.

The following spook is entirely self-inflicted.

Buck spooks everybody including himself

This one is only a mild spook, they can be freaking out much more at times. But entirely self-inflicted. Which happens quite often, actually. Which is probably why these animals seem to be 'snapping out of it' pretty fast too. Once second they tremble in fright, another - they're back to browsing grass. Almost a visceral reaction going on. I'd say, they're used to their fear, if that makes sense.

Finally, last but not least...

Single doe comes upon a suspicious bread slice

This 'chilling' story happenned during NZ summer draught of 2019. A doe stumbled upon a goodie - a bread slice! And tried to escape from it! Not that fast, though, the cunning toast chased her down and got itself eaten)))

Deer jumping away when scared

What do the deer do when they feel frightened? They immediately jump away. At least. If they're really scared they'll try to run away. If they can't - they'll panic and try to break away. Jump the fence, break the fence, break through anything or anyone on their way...

Here's a good illustration of how it looks. The buck gets a sniff of new food ... and ... where's he gone?

It may be hard to believe that an animal would react so dramatically to simply a new scent, but deer take them very seriously. New often means danger in their vocabulary. If it is at least similar to what they've come across before - fine, they'll inspect further, but if it's totally novel - 'I better run'!  So if we hand them new crackers we're prepared to see a few of them jump away at first.

BTW,  a video (gif) with no sound has been circulating on the internet purportedly showing a sneezing deer, while in fact it most certainly is a frightened deer awkwardly leaping away and slipping in water. Most likely after having seen or sniffed something in there that spooked him. So we would like to take this opportunity to educate our deer readers :) about that unfortunate misinformation.

Ever seen a deer sneeze?

We've decided to quickly whip up a short compilation of deer sneezing and not sneezing but ... leaping away in fright. 

Another video of buck jumping scared

Here's another one of our buck leaping scared. Here, however, he already has the dreaded new food in his mouth - a wheat wrap, but realizing half-way that it's something not completely usual he finds himself flying in the air with it still in his mouth. He ended up eating it, btw. A bit of a drama-king this one. :D

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