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Question: Deer avoid Bears?

Old 11-17-2008, 08:58 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Northern Virginia
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Default Question: Deer avoid Bears?

New member with a question. The area I normally hunt usually produces at least some "sightings". Not last weekend. I could not understand it. Then the last afternoon I found a big pile of bear droppings within 100 yards of where I was hunting.

The question is - do deer vacate an area when a bear moves in? It is a black bear, as I hunt in Virginia.

Appreciate any help I can get. Thanks

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Old 11-17-2008, 11:24 PM
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Default RE: Question: Deer avoid Bears?

Deer will avoid bears, but they aren't frightened into the next county as long there's no direct aggression. The exception would be early in the year when does have young fawns, as bears do take a big toll on these.

The area I often hunt is a relatively wide open hillside. In the early mornings, it's not uncommon to watch 30-40 deer on a panorama of a mile or so making their way up to bedding areas. At the same time, there are often 1 or 2 bears working the slope, and I have seen as many as6 spread over the hillside. The deer will avoid them, butnot by very far and without any panic. A couple weeks ago, I observed one sow with 2 cubs scrounging whatever they could find while a pair of mule deer stood and watched less than 100 yards above them. Eventually the deer just grazed their way upslope.

Certainly these deer do not abandon their home area, as I see the same ones following the same routes day after day, in spite of the bears.
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Old 11-18-2008, 12:00 AM
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Default RE: Question: Deer avoid Bears?

Not that I have seen. It makes the deer more cautious, but they live together.
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:47 AM
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Default RE: Question: Deer avoid Bears?

Nope...I've seen them feeding in the same field within 50 yards of each other...
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Old 11-18-2008, 03:58 PM
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Location: Northern Virginia
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Default RE: Question: Deer avoid Bears?

Appreciate the answers, guys!! Now I have to go over all that I did (and didn't do) to figure out why the deer were MIA. Of course, as my late, great Dad used to say "some days are like that - instead of the windshield, you're the bug."
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:02 PM
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Location: Mukwonago, WI
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Default RE: Question: Deer avoid Bears?

While baiting for bear in August the last two years, I've noticed a noticible decrease in the amount of deer in the general vacinity of the bait site. Trail Cameras rarely picked up deer sightings until after the bear were harvested and the baiting was over. I'm getting 5-6 pictures per day now where before I'd be luck to get that many in a week. In years when I wasn't baiting for bear, 5-6 deer were captured on the camerapretty consistantly since this area has cover food plots and was heavily browsed throughout August up until the freeze in NW Wisconsin.

So my observations are the deer shy away from an area that bear are frequenting. When the bear leave, the deer return in typical numbers usually within about 1 week.

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