Every winter white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus, Cervidae) congregate in a field behind my house in southeast Michigan. I’ve lived at this particular location for ten years, and every year the herd has gotten bigger. A couple of years ago I wrote about a herd that was composed of about 42 individuals. A few weeks ago I was surprised to see about 80. Today I was even more surprised to see over 180.
It makes sense that this location attracts a lot of deer. Large woodlots of hardwood trees and conifer windbreaks provide winter cover, and the ample farm acreage offers a great deal of food.
The deer seem to be really comfortable here. I often see many of them laying down, chewing their cud and relaxing. At night I’ve even seem them chasing each other around and playing.