Are Deer Friendly? (Generally Not)

Deer are wild animals and hence by instinct they don’t consider humans as friends. Bucks (male deer) as well as does (female deer) are known to be territorial, particularly in the breeding season, and can get vicious towards any trespassers. 

While in general deer will simply run away from humans, they are occasionally known to act aggressively under certain sets of conditions.

In most other instances, they will mostly keep on minding their own business and will take no notice of you unless you are intentionally doing something to get their attention.

Are Deer Friendly

Are Deer Friendly?

Once in a while, the news will come in the media outlets that certain deer are found to behave more friendly towards humans than other deer. This happens when they end up losing their fear of humans.

For example, deer can become friendlier when someone used to feed them. (Feeding wild deer is not the right thing to do as deer are wild creatures and are not meant to be petted under any circumstances).

However, such occurrences are quite rare.This sort of behavior prevents them from properly mixing in with their herd and can cause them more harm than good.

Most deer consider humans as predators and can instantly go into an aggressive state within a matter of seconds and as they have strong antlers and very sharp hooves, they can do some considerable damage to humans. So it’s best to not try to be friends with a deer.

Related Article: Can you Eat Deer?

Are Mule Deer Friendly?

Mule deer can be a bit more friendly than other deer varieties but it’s best not to approach them to feed them or pet them as it’s extremely unpredictable how they will react.

Are Baby Deer Friendly?

Baby deer can be more curious than adult deer and can act more friendly with humans.

However, you should never try to bring them home or think about keeping them as pets as keeping wild animals as pets are illegal in most places of the world.

Furthermore, baby deer are vulnerable to predator attacks hence they do not contain a significant smell of any sort to avoid detection. You being close with the baby deer can impart different kinds of scents onto the deer which can in turn harm them down the line. 

Related Article: Do Deer Bite People?

Are Female Deer Friendly?

Does are known to remain to themselves and are not regarded to be friendly with humans. In fact, during the breeding season, they can even act hostile towards humans especially if they have babies located nearby.

So, if you encounter a female deer and if she is not demonstrating hostile behaviors and minding her own business, see it as a privilege, enjoy the moment and move on.

Don’t try to pet her as that will agitate the doe.

Wild animals do not see people from outside of their world as friends hence it’s best to not spook them anyhow.

Deer can look quiet and friendly but it’s best not to approach them. If the deer is not acting hostile towards you, that doesn’t mean it won’t if you try to befriend him or her. There are often videos of people online acting friendly with deer but that is a rare occurrence.

Deer are wild creatures with sharp instincts and are never meant to be befriended by humans. So if you approach the deer to feed him or her then it may change their attitude instantly and they try to attack you with their hooves or antlers deer attacks can be fatal, so the risk is not worth it.

Related Article: Do Deer Mate for Life?

Are Deer Friendly with Dogs?

Deer and dogs rarely share a friendly relationship. In most instances, dogs end up chasing the deer which ultimately stresses out these wild animals. Evolutionary instincts kick in right after dogs go near deer and the moment deer get their sight on dogs, they start running.

In fact because of this, in many places in the US, some laws state that if pet dogs end up harming wild deer by any means, their owners will be held responsible.

Dogs are known to chase and there have been instances where they have left the deer in gravely injured states.

Even if your dog remains very well behaved near the deer, the deer will get agitated and can run or even at times can get aggressive towards the dog as deer consider animals like wolves, foxes, and dogs as predators.

Depending on the species, even deer are capable of hurting dogs badly with their hooves and antlers. Hence it’s best to keep dogs away from wild deer.

What to do if you Encounter a Deer while Walking

If you encounter a wild deer, do not try to pet the wild animal or try to feed them anything. It’s best to keep moving while facing them as they generally tend to charge from behind.

Start changing your route to the opposite direction while keeping a steady distance between yourselves and if you find them being aggressive towards you, it’s best to find a tree nearby and climb it.

In case you have a dog with you, make sure you hold them tight and do not let the dog run after them. Tightly hold the leash and if possible, stop them from barking. Dog barking or even the sight of dogs can end up spooking the fight or flight response of the deer and can lead to problematic responses from the deer.

When to Worry about Deer

Deer don’t normally act aggressively towards people however bucks or a mother deer having a fawn(baby deer) nearby can be territorial.

It’s important to understand the body language of the deer that you encounter. If you find them to be on guard and staring right at you, keep maintaining a steady distance from them, and if possible it’s best to stop walking toward them and go the opposite way.

So if you encounter deer grazing and minding their own business, and not showing any interest to you, its best to just enjoy their short company and just leave them alone, and don’t try to spook him or her by any means.

How to Tell if a Deer is Behaving Unfriendly

  • The deer has completely stopped grazing and has stiff body language.
  • The neck of the deer is upright and rigid.
  • The deer have been observing you for a long time and now are slow-moving forwards with heavy steps.
  • The ears are drooping and the movement of the tail has ceased. Deermove tails left and right when they are relaxed.


Only animals that don’t feel threatened by humans act friendly towards us. Generally, this means only domesticated animals or animals that have become accustomed to humans are friendly.

For deer,this is not the case as they are wild animals and the majority of the deer see us as dangerous predators.

So, it’s best to not try to force your friendliness onto them and respect their boundaries if you encounter them out of nowhere. If you find them in the woods, moving around and minding their own business, keep your distance, and move on. Maybe you can try to take a picture or two, but that’s it! (Important: Make sure that both the flash and the clicking sounds are off).

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