Do Deer Make Great Pets? What you need to know!

Walt Disney’s all-time classic, Bambi, has captured the hearts of thousands since it was first released in 1942. Of all the reasons this masterpiece is so famous, the adorable fawn is undoubtedly number one. These charming creatures can also be one of the reasons people wonder if deer are great pets and, if so, how to care for them at home.

First, the quick answer is no, deer are simply not good pets. There are several explanations for this, as you will find in the rest of this article.

Let’s dive in.

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Why Deer Don’t Make Great Pets at all


Keeping deer as pets may seem like a good idea at first; after all, they are beautiful, intelligent, easy to tame, seemingly harmless; You may already have a few in your backyard that come closer each winter to eat what’s left on your tree. In a way, it’s like having a big dog or even a horse, right? Well, not exactly. Here are the reasons why deer don’t make good pets at all:

1. They Can Be Dangerous

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Who would have thought that cute little fawns could pose a potential danger to humans once they reached adulthood? And yes, even if you adopt a baby deer and raise it throughout its childhood, there will still be a risk of aggression once it reaches adulthood. Especially male animals in a habit that can be dangerous for humans: a spike in testosterone makes them suddenly more territorial and alert. Its large horns can pierce your skin and cause serious injury.

And what about women? Females can also be unpredictable, especially if they need to protect their young.

So, seemingly harmless, deer are wild animals first and foremost, and their behavior is unpredictable and even aggressive as they mature.

2. It is Illegal to Keep Deer as Pets in Most States


Being a native wild animal, it is illegal to have deer as pets in most states. There have been many situations where people have found apparently orphaned fawns, brought them home and raised them, and finally received a visit from wildlife control. People who thought they were doing the right thing were sad to see their beloved pets confiscated, and in many cases, euthanized.

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Since deer raised by humans do not have much chance of survival once released into the wild, and if there is no nearby wild rehabilitation center that can accommodate them, they will be automatically euthanized.

Note: Check the last section of this article to find out what to do if you come across a small fawn that seems to be “abandoned” by its mother.

3. They are not easy to tame


Deer are not great for domestication – they are fickle and difficult to control because they can jump high, have a build that is difficult to fit or restrain, and are so nervous that they can literally die from stress.

Raising deer, especially orphaned fawns, also requires a lot of effort. Since he hasn’t learned the most basic things from his mother, he may not have some basic behavioral skills.

In addition, when kept in captivity, deer tend to be weaker; if you don’t know how to properly care for it, then a lot can go wrong. In the wild, they are in their element and have distinct advantages, but even so, many fawns with their mothers do not survive to adulthood.

In short, deer are complex animals to keep as they tend to be more fragile, behave unpredictable, and become uncontrollable and alert in adulthood.

4. They Can Destroy Your Property

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In addition to being generally a nuisance when eating, stepping on, and defecating in parks and gardens, deer also need a lot of space. Of course, you can build a large, enclosed area if you have enough space in your backyard. However, keep in mind that deer can jump high, so you’ll need a suitable enclosure. And during rutting season, you may have more difficulty dealing with the deer’s more destructive and unpredictable behavior.

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What to Do If You Find a Baby Deer Alone?

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You walk quietly in the forest, and you come face to face with a small deer curled up on the ground. Your first instinct is to urge him to hug him, reassure him and then take him home or to the vet, convinced that his life is in danger. Sure, you have the best intentions in the world, but is that the right thing to do in this case?

A deer alone is not necessarily in danger

If you find a fawn alone, it doesn’t mean it was abandoned. During the first weeks of life, fawns do not have a body odor that tends to attract predators. In addition, his coat allows him to blend in easily in the forest. So, the mother can go out for some time during the day to get food for her baby.

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When threatened, the fawn’s reflex is to lie on the ground and not move. If he sees you coming, then he’s most likely taking a position that makes him seem sad or hurt, but in reality, that’s fine.

The only situation that may require your intervention is if you find an injured fawn or the corpse of its mother nearby. If not, don’t interfere! Instead, turn around quietly and quietly without looking back so as not to frighten him.

So, in conclusion, if you find a baby deer alone in the forest:

Don’t touch it

If you touch a fawn, you run the risk of harboring your scent on it, which could lead to rejection from the mother. And without the mother’s protection, the baby will be destroyed. So, resist the urge to pounce on him to cover him with kisses and hugs, and continue your journey in peace.

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Do not take

Uninformed hikers thought they were doing the right thing and concluded that the deer were in danger. But the fawn may just be hiding in the grass while its mother goes out looking for food.

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If you are really worried, leave but come back the next day. The young animal may no longer exist. By picking them up, you will make it difficult to integrate them into the natural environment.

Protecting animals also means letting “mother nature do her thing” because she usually does things well.

What to do instead of having a deer as a pet

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Now that you know the reasons why keeping a cute deer as a pet is a bad idea, you may still want to approach it. Fortunately, there are several options for deer fans:

  • Volunteer at a wildlife rescue center

  • Take a walk in nature and bring your camera

  • Observe them from afar

  • Look for places that allow controlled interactions with deer (such as a zoo or deer farm)

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Final Thoughts

Wanting to keep deer as pets is quite understandable. But keeping wild animals in your home is not a good idea, even if they were adorable as babies. There are other ways to care for and protect them so they can breed in their natural habitat. And with all the stray dogs and cats that get abandoned every year, you’re sure to find a better furry friend just by visiting your local shelter.

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Featured Image Credit: Martina Janochová, Pixabay