Why Do Deer Sleep in My Yard? | Information & Facts

Written by Paul Hayes

Are you noticing deer lying down in your yard? You might feel surprised, especially if you don’t happen to live in a rural area. However, deer can live just about anywhere.

Why do deer sleep in my yard? Deer will sleep in your yard when there is a food source nearby. They don’t like to travel far to find food sources, meaning you likely have something they enjoy eating near your property. Deer will stay alert even when lying down, and they may sleep in your vegetable garden as well.


If you see deer sleeping in your yard, that means they feel safe there, and they will continue returning unless the conditions change. For this article, we made sure to cover all the possible reasons why deer might be sleeping on your property and discuss some safe, natural ways to keep deer out of your yard.

Deer Sleeping Information

Deer Sleeping Information

Deer can sleep anywhere. They usually choose their favorite resting place, then return there night after night. If your yard stays in the same conditions, the deer will likely keep sleeping there for months.

The chances are good that something is attracting deer to your yard. Most times, there’s likely a food source nearby, or if you have a vegetable garden, they might be eating from it. Likewise, if there are woods in your backyard, deer will feel safe and at home there.

Having deer in your yard isn’t a bad thing. However, deer do spook easily, and it’s not always safe to have them in your yard if it’s close to the main road, as they could run out into the street and get hit by a car.

Where Do Deer Sleep?

Deer can potentially sleep anywhere. They like sleeping under trees and will make beds in the soft grass. Deer do move around a bit as they sleep – they may tuck their legs under them like a cat or lay on their side. Some can even fall asleep while standing up if they need to stay alert.

Deer may sleep alone or in groups. Once they find a comfortable place to rest at night, they will keep returning every night. On pleasant nights, you are more likely to see them in your yard. However, they will seek shelter if it rains during the night. You may notice them under dense trees or bushes.

When Do Deer Sleep?

Deer sleep mostly during the day as they are nocturnal creatures. However, deer are easily frightened and always alert for predators. To stay alert, deer can’t sleep for long durations. Deer sleep for a short burst of time – as short as 30 seconds, with only a few remaining awake in the herd.

When one senses a predator, it will alert the rest of the herd by snorting. They wake quickly and will run from the predator. If deer are sleeping in your yard, you will want to observe them quietly. They view humans as predators and will quickly scatter if they notice you.

Do Deer Sleep Standing Up?

Do Deer Sleep Standing Up

Deer do sleep standing up when they need to be alert. If they had a run-in with a predator earlier, they might not feel comfortable falling asleep laying down. That way, they can wake up and run away much faster if they feel in danger. Some deer can even keep their eyes open while they sleep.

How Long Do Deer Sleep?

Deer don’t sleep very long at all. They sleep in quick, 30-minute cycles, then get up and walk around before laying back down to rest. A cycle includes 30 seconds of light sleep, then a brief waking period. Deer evolved to have this sleeping pattern, as it allows them to stay safe during the night.

That process continues for half an hour, and then the deer will get up to stretch. The animal also will go to the bathroom during this time – which can be troublesome for homeowners.

With so many in a herd constantly cycling through awake and light sleep, the odds are likely that one is awake to notice a predator lurking nearby.

What Attracts Deer to Your Yard?

What Attracts Deer to Your Yard

Deer will come to your yard if they discover a food source and there are comfortable places for them to sleep. Deer love nuts and other plants, and if you have any of their favorites growing in your yard, they are likely what is bringing the deer.

These plants will attract deer to your yard:

  • Orchardgrass
  • Red clover
  • Chicory
  • Chestnuts
  • Acorns
  • Soybeans
  • Alfalfa
  • Kale
  • Corn
  • Peas

Deer love acorns most of all. So, if you have plenty of them in your yard, that is likely what caught their attention. Acorns are nutritious for deer, even allowing their antlers to grow much more prominent.

Are Deer Dangerous?

Deer can be dangerous during their rutting season, as bucks become more aggressive and will fight with each other. They can be a threat to dogs and other animals at this time. In general, however, deer are not usually dangerous, and they prefer to run away rather than fight.

Even though deer will usually run away from you, it’s best to keep your distance during the rutting season. The bucks have more testosterone in their systems, making them much more aggressive. Bring your pets inside if you notice bucks in the yard.

Do Deer Attack Humans?

Do Deer Attack Humans

Deer usually do not attack humans. Deer may defend themselves if they’re cornered and can’t see another way to put distance between you and them. Bucks become much more territorial and will lose their fear of people, and they’re likely to attack during rutting or if you’re too close to their babies.

There are signs a deer will display before attacking. The deer will tuck their tail in, and their hair will stand up. Additionally, they will have their ears lowered and may walk stiffly. If you notice any of these signs, you will want to move away from the deer.

Deer may kick or bite, which can cause serious injury. If a deer hurts you, you should go to the hospital right away. They can carry bacteria in their mouths which can lead to an infection.

How To Keep Deer Out of Yard?

Deer dislike plants that have strong smells. You should plant garlic or chives around your property. Plus, plants that have thorns or prickles can keep them away. You will want to avoid using roses since deer will snack on them.

Next, make sure that your yard is clear of their favorite foods. Clean up acorns and other nuts, then move any plants that are attracting them closer to your house. Finally, coffee grounds might be an excellent way to deter deer. While they don’t actively dislike the smell, they see it as a warning that people live nearby.

Related: Do Coffee Grounds Keep Deer Away?

What Will Keep Deer Out of My Yard?

There are several natural methods that will keep deer out of your yard. These are a few of the deer deterrents that we recommend you try.

Deer Deterrent for Yard: Best Products Reviews

Deer Out Concentrate

Deer Out 32oz Concentrate Deer Repellent
  • Over 100,000 Repeat Customers - For over 20 years Deer Out is the...
  • Minty Fresh Scent - Smells Great to Humans but Deer, Elk and...
  • Wont Wash Off - Two Natural Stickers keeps Deer Out on your...
  • All Natural ingredients - Deer Out is environmentally friendly...
  • Year-Round Formula - Can be used in all Seasons: Spring, Summer,...

Deer Out Concentrate Repellent from Amazon works amazingly at keeping these animals out of your backyard. It adheres to plants and comes in a minty scent. We appreciated that the brand uses all-natural ingredients in the product – it works without adding unnecessary chemicals to our yard and garden.

Safer Brand Waterproof Deer Repellent Station

Safer 5962 Deer-Off Deer Repellent Stations - 6 Waterproof Deer Repelling Stakes for Gardens and Lawns - All Season Protection
  • Proven to Repel Deer - The repellent station contains 100% dried...
  • Odorless to Humans - Though the scent is easily detected by the...
  • Weatherproof Housing - The rugged housing is specially designed...
  • Safe for Vegetable Gardens - The repellent is contained safely...
  • Season-Long Protection - Apply the repellent stations once for...

Place one of these Safer Brand Repellent Stations in your yard. They work all season long and repel deer easily. This repellent station contains a dried blood sample, which alerts the deer and causes them to run away.

Howler Coyote Decoy

Flambeau Outdoors 5985MS-1 Lone Howler Coyote Decoy, One Size
  • PREDATOR HUNTING DECOY: Ultra-realistic body detail mimics the...
  • NUISANCE ANIMAL DETERRENT DECOY: Excellent deterrent for unwanted...
  • VERSATILE DESIGN: Ultra-sturdy hard plastic construction with...
  • DETAILS & FEATURES: Includes faux fur tail with a wire backbone...
  • FULLY ASSEMBLED SIZE: 30" L x 9" W x 25" H

Try using this Flambeau Coyote Decoy from Amazon. The model resembles a coyote male, which is something deer view as a predator. It should keep deer away when placed on your property. You will want to leave the model out until the deer stops returning.

Can You Shoot Deer in Your Yard?

You should never shoot a deer in your yard. Hunting deer is not allowed in the off-season and certain licenses are required. Plus, hunting is not permitted in residential areas. Some rural regions allow it, but you will need to be 100% sure so as not to find yourself in legal trouble.

Most states have game protection laws in place that make it illegal to leave out food to attract deer.


In short, deer are likely sleeping in your yard because there is a food source nearby and they feel safe there. If you don’t enjoy having deer on your property, you will need to change the conditions of your yard to deter the deer. Several commercial products work well to accomplish this.

List of Sources

Diefenbach, D. (2016). When do they sleep? The Deer-Forest Blog, The Pennsylvania State University.

Coey, B., Mayer, K. A Gardener’s Guide to Preventing Deer Damage. California Department of Fish and Game’s Wildlife Programs Branch.

Kalb, T. (2016). Deer Repellents. NDSU Yard & Garden Report

Perry, L. Deer Deterrents – Scents. University of Vermont Extension.

Paul Hayes
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