OT - Deer in Ann Arbor

Submitted by jmblue on May 1st, 2011 at 3:46 PM

I've noticed quite a few deer near North Campus lately, especially around Huron Parkway.  (For some reason, they seem to really like the old Pfizer plant - I always see them when I drive by there.)  But I've never seen a deer with antlers.  Where are all the bucks?  I've seen some fawns, so there must be some bucks out there siring them, but they're never around.  Where do they go?  

Any sightings elsewhere around town?



May 1st, 2011 at 3:48 PM ^

Bucks don't have their antlers yet. They lose them late winter and they grow through spring and summer, which is maybe why you aren't seeing any now.

Happy Gilmore

May 1st, 2011 at 3:56 PM ^

Right now they will likely have little nubs growing, and as they continue to get good nutrients now they will begin to actually grow their racks. You'll see them in velvet at first and as the summer goes on they will make rubs and scratch off the velvet to give the typical looking rack.


May 1st, 2011 at 8:51 PM ^

Yeah, when you nail one at 60 MPH, that love affair will go south in a hurry.  My wife hit one a few months ago doing 40 and it did 6K worth of damage to the car.

I think this is a period of high activity for deer and I have seen them running across highways a lot over the last couple of weeks.

tn wolverine

May 1st, 2011 at 9:21 PM ^

Yes, exactly, my wife hit one Friday night here in Tenn. As I was talking to the police officer I said to him I bet you get 2 or 3 of these a week. He laughed and said try 3 or 4 a night . The deer are so overpopulated here because we haven't had any rough winters that they're being hit everywhere. They're suffering in the road after being hit or running off and dying not far away.


May 1st, 2011 at 9:42 PM ^

Think of how much insurance companies hate deer.  I've heard talk of them bringing baiting back in Michigan but you have to buy a license in order to bait. Just another way to get money, and they are also probably implementing again since I assume not as many deer were harvested this past year leading to a high number of deer related car accidents.  Thats just my opinion although I've heard others say that as well.


May 1st, 2011 at 9:33 PM ^

I haven't thought about this in a very long time, but since you've given me the perfect opportunity to wax nostalgic:

During my freshman year I lived at Markley. Late one spring night I ended up very inebriated on north campus (accompanied a girl home who lived up there, was not asked to spend the night) and, since it was a nice evening, I decided to walk home. Because I was a few dozen deep, I also decided to sing to myself to pass the time; I guess my voice sounded cool to me after a case of beer. I was somewhere on Fuller Road near the Arb, singing Neil Young (I think it was "Out on the Weekend" ... I was somber after striking out), when I saw a deer grazing back in the woods. I stopped and watched. The deer watched me back, then walked into the woods. For no logical reason, I decided to follow the deer into the woods (!). After about 50 yards the trees opened up into a little clearing, and I was suddenly in the presence of 15 or 20 deer, of all sexes and ages. They were grazing in small clusters, and regarded me as a curiosity rather than a threat. I was still singing Neil Young, which I was convinced had somehow communicated my benign intentions to the deer, and I decided to sit down against a tree. I stayed for about 10 mins, and the deer basically ignored me. Then I got up and walked back to Markley, where none of my buddies believed my ridiculous story.

No I was not on any pyschotropic substances that night. But yeah, deer on North Campus man ... good times.


May 1st, 2011 at 3:52 PM ^

The bucks tend to be better hidden than the does.  I've seen a lot of does around North Campus, including one that was eating my garden last year, but only one or two bucks.


May 1st, 2011 at 4:14 PM ^

Im not from AA and this goes without saying,  there is most likely a readily good food supply...clover, acorns etc over there and until they get run out by hunters or whoever they will keep showing up...is the rut up there the same as in Indiana usually Sep-Oct timeframe?


May 1st, 2011 at 4:20 PM ^

When I frequented north campus (~'07-'09) I saw deer all the time, including a few bucks.  I actually saw a rather large 8-10 point on Beal across the street from the Cooley lab, standing next to a tree that it just destroyed.  In general though, in Michigan buck to doe ratio is way out of whack (at least amongst the older deer) because bucks are hunted much more frequently.  There are bucks on campus though, and my guess is that you can't tell right now due to the lack of antlers on them at this point in the year.


May 1st, 2011 at 4:34 PM ^

......through Barton Hills at this time of the year and you'll find quite a few. Almost hit one the other day. The onlything that saved me were the brakes on my former police interceptor...


May 1st, 2011 at 4:36 PM ^

in spring but it is difficult to see them because the ears hide antlers well.  Usually about 4th of July is when they grow higher than the ears which are typically 3".

Genetics and diet are both critical to healthy horns.  There is plently of grain close to campus + no hunting pressure = monster bucks.



May 1st, 2011 at 4:49 PM ^

And she had a garden, with a fence higher than my head, and I asked her "how big ARE the rabbits around here?" and she told me about the herd of deer they have over there.
<br>And the adult buck to doe ratio always favors the latter because the males will fight and drive off competition for mates.


May 1st, 2011 at 5:02 PM ^

From what I've heard, the does/fawns will go out into a field and do doe/fawn stuff while the bucks wait in the woods in case something comes out to eat the does/fawns. I get deer in my backyard and very rarely see bucks because they're probably hiding in the woods.


May 1st, 2011 at 5:27 PM ^

To the OP:

Absence of proof is not the same as proof of absence. It is more likely that you haven't looked hard enough than it is that a healthy population of deer has an anomalously few number of bucks. I mean none of this condescendingly should that be in question--just cuttin' with some Occam.


May 1st, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

I've seen enough fawns to know that there have to be some bucks around.  I'm just curious as to why the bucks are so hard to spot.  The does don't seem very shy.  They're out there by the side of the road all the time.   Last fall I saw a group of about 10 adult-sized deer near the Pfizer plant, but none had antlers.


May 1st, 2011 at 7:05 PM ^

I think that could be a proper interpretation, but it could also be a close-minded one.

It could just as well be that the bucks are acutely aware of the many dangers of open meadows (no distinction between the interpretations yet) and respond to that awareness by acquiescing the ability to eat with the fawns/does, instead strategically hiding under cover to keenly watch the meadow, alert the group if danger is near, and surprise nonhuman threats by jumping out of the cover to protect the group in other situations.

So they could be deer wussies or deer braniacs. Or: something else altogether.


May 1st, 2011 at 5:38 PM ^

I hope it wasn't a buck in November. An understater would call that dangerous.

By the way, for this board's hunters/biologists, what is the name of the time of year during which the bucks' blood testosterone concentrates, their testicular volume increases, their antlers are largest of all, and their aggression peaks--Novemberish/Decemberish time?

There's a specific esoteric term to describe that; it's esoteric in the same way "torpor" is an esoteric way to say "hibernation." Anyone know?


May 1st, 2011 at 6:02 PM ^

By the way, for this board's hunters/biologists, what is the name of the time of year during which the bucks' blood testosterone concentrates, their testicular volume increases, their antlers are largest of all, and their aggression peaks--Novemberish/Decemberish time?

Isn't it "rut"?


May 1st, 2011 at 6:37 PM ^

I grew up on dixboro right across the street from mattaei botanical gardens meaning that dixboro has always been a slaughter house. i'm pretty sure there were always at least two or three roadkills on dixboro. somehow i've been lucky enough to avoid destroying my 95 taurus.