Will the Presence of Bears Keep Deer Away?

Brown Bear in Field

Whether you’re out hiking or just wondering about your own backyard – you may have wondered: Are there bears around here? Are there deer around?

The truth is – you may have one of the two species, but not both at the same time!

Bears and deer will not coexist in the same area.

Deer will happily graze and visit an area that bears have been in, but deers are fearful of bears and will stay clear if bears are present – most of the time.

While bears and deer can be in the same area at the same time, it is relatively unlikely.

There are a few other factors that determine when bears and deer will avoid each other, keep on reading to find out more!

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Deer Avoid Bears During Fawning Season

White-tailed deer buck in rut in an autumn meadow

In the fall, deer began to mate and gear up for their fawning season.

In the late spring to early summer, deer give birth to their young babies, which are otherwise called fawns.

During the fawning season, deer are extremely hesitant to be in any area near bears.

Bears are higher on the food chain and have been known to hunt newborn fawns if given the opportunity.

This is an excellent reason for deer to be avoidant of bears at all costs while they are raising their young.

So, how does this affect deer season?

While, the good news is that fawning or birthing season is in late spring and deer season generally takes place during the fall, giving the fawns enough time to grow and the family of deer enough time to come back to their regular spot.

Fully Grown Deer and Bears Do Not Coexist in the Same Area

Fully grown deer can and bears do not coexist with each other at the same time.

Deer and bears may be in the same area based on their habitat, but – deer will most certainly avoid bears when given the opportunity.

While bears and deer can be near one another at the same time, it is highly unlikely.

Deer are incredibly skittish creatures and are much lower on the food chain than bears. Deer don’t like getting too close to bears for this reason.

However, deer are not hesitant to go into an area just because bears have been there, and actually are quite faster and more agile than a bear – let’s take a closer look!

Deer vs. Bear Average Top Speed
Animal TypeAverage Top Speed
White-Tailed Deer30 – 36 MPH
Black Bear20 – 25 MPH
Grizzly Bear30 – 35 MPH

At first glance, it would seem that deer would want to stay away from any species of bear at all costs, as they statistically are easy prey with very comparable top speeds to bears.

However, this is not the case.

Deer Are More Agile And Faster Than Bears

Deer are much, much more agile than bears and can accelerate much quicker due to their lower body weight.

While at top speed, bears can usually move faster than deer, but, it takes them much longer to get up to that speed than what it would take a deer due to their weight.

So, in short, deer are extremely agile and in a crowded wooded environment will be able to move much quicker through the woods due to their hopping and prancing style of moving.

However, deer can easily outrun bears in a crowded, wooded environment due to their lightweight and agility….

And – drumroll please – this is why deer won’t stay clear of bear territory, but will most likely avoid being in that area while a bear is present!

So how does this affect you? Well if you happened upon this article, you’re probably wondering how to get rid of bears, and how to get deer back to your property!

Below are a few ways to do that!

Plus, if you want to really speed up the process, and get rid of bears fast, check out our article on how to repel them!

Keep Bears Away and Bring Deer Back by Removing Food Sources

Bears are natural, opportunistic hunters. They like to forage and get easy food (which makes fawns natural prey).

One of the ways you can keep bears away from your property and bring deer back is to get rid of any natural food that may be growing in your area – like wild berries, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens!

Bears absolutely love wild berries (who wouldn’t?), as these are one of the most delicious and easy foods for them to find.

Conversely, this could also deter deer from the area as well, but, deer also have an abundance of nuts and acorns in their diet as well, so making the lack of berries, not a huge deal.

Remember, we want to encourage deer to the area by deterring bears from it.

But hey, if you’re not into encouraging deer or bears to your area, make sure to check out our article about scents that deers hate and how to use them to repel them!

Remove Garbage From Your Outdoor Space

Even though it’s garbage to us – it’s an easy meal for a bear!

If you have overflowing garbage cans, and a messy set-up, it’s likely you are attracting bears to your space without realizing it.

Cleaning up your garbage scraps, securely sealing garbage cans and lids, and keeping your garbage in a trash bag – can help!

In fact, we have an entire article dedicated to how to keep bears away from your garbage, which is an absolute must-read!


  1. Lincoln, G. A., & Kay, R. N. B. (1979). Effects of season on the secretion of LH and testosterone in intact and castrated red deer stags (Cervus elaphus). Reproduction55(1), 75-80 
  2. Webster, C. (2008). Deer. Weigl Publishers Incorporated 
  3. Rogers, L. L. (1992). Watchable wildlife: the black bear. The Station. 
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