Deer Poop: What Does Deer Scat Look Like?

Written by Taiwo Victor
Updated: July 10, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Sourabh Bharti
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The deer and its majestic antlers, utilized for protection and sexual communication, are among the most remarkable features in the animal kingdom. It has incredible speed, agility, and elegance and can jump into action when disturbed. Furthermore, it has developed a remarkable capacity for digesting various sorts of vegetation. But as regal as they may appear, deer can make a mess of your backyard.

A deer can be a serious problem for those whose homes are close to a forest. They won’t just devour every plant they see; they’ll also leave a mess for you to clean up after eating your favorite vegetables. They may cause harm to health in addition to significant damage to your crops. A good technique to confirm the presence of deer if you think they are on your property or in your garden is to look for their droppings. So what does deer scat look like then? And what may be learned about the deer from their feces? Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about deer poop will be covered in this article, plus more! 

What Does Deer Scat Look Like? 

A deer pellet can measure between 0.78 inches and 1.2 inches.

prattaph/Shutterstock.com

Deer feces, also known as scat or stool, resemble goat and rabbit droppings in appearance. Even though deer pellets are four times bigger than those of rabbits, they can be difficult to distinguish from one another at first glance. 

Size

A deer pellet can measure between 2 cm (0.78 in) and 3 cm (1.2 in), and they defecate larger heaps containing more pellets per bowel movement. A deer’s scat is much smaller than you would expect from an animal of that size.

Texture

Since deer are ruminants, the food they eat is thoroughly digested before it leaves their bodies. Due to their diet, they have multiple bowel motions daily, but these feces appear shiny and smooth. The droppings are most likely younger than 12 hours old if they still appear moist, shiny, and dark in color. The poop is likely at least 24 hours old if it is lighter in color and appears dry. It might even be many days old at this point.

Shape

This is probably the most helpful in examining a deer scat. Deer pellets typically have a bullet- or pellet-like form and are quite distinctive. They are oval-shaped, but one of its sides has a tiny point due to the deer’s anal sphincter closing on the pellet.

Color

Almost all deer poop is dark brown, sometimes even black. The final piece of the puzzle to determine if a deer is ruining your yard is the color of the animal waste. The scat is most likely not coming from a deer if it is any color other than dark brown or black.

Is there a Distinction between Buck and Doe Scat?

The answer is yes, technically. In this instance, the pellet count rather than the pellet’s shape or size serves to identify the gender of the culprit who left the mound. A buck often leaves 70 to 80 pellets, compared to a doe’s average of 50 to 60. Although it is tough to tell how many pellets are in a pile at first glance, you can always count them if you are determined to find out.

How Does Deer Poop Aid Hunters?

Male Sambar deer standing in the middle of a jungle stream at Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary.
Hunters smear dry deer scat all over treestand and hunting shoes to mask their scent.

iStock.com/neelsky

Deer hunters will be able to locate this mammal with the use of poop analysis. Hunters typically extensively examine deer feces, and warm, wet scats are signs of ruminants. One or two additional inspections are made to confirm whether the deer regularly occupy the region or merely pass through it. Simply counting the number of deer droppings in a certain region allows them to estimate the number of deer around. They just walk multiple transects across a square mile of land and count the number of pellets.

Another, more subtle aspect is that if you take a sample of dropping from another region and scatter it across your hunting area, the deer will undoubtedly come to scent the feces of this newcomer in their herd. You can also go hunting during this time. Last but not least, the idea might be unpleasant. When planning a hunting expedition, some hunters dry the deer scat, smash it, and smear it all over their treestand and hunting shoes. While hunting, it will aid in masking their scent.

Safety should always come first when hunting. You should, therefore, always use gloves while handling deer scat since you never know which animal may have a disease.

Is Deer Scat Hazardous? 

Although it is possible, it is uncommon for humans to become ill after coming into contact with deer droppings. Still, it is not advisable for humans to touch wild animal feces directly because it may contain parasites that cause disease. It is important to raise awareness about prions-caused Chronic Waste Disease (also known as CWD), a dangerous disease that can be spread through feces. It affects the deer’s brains, which results in weight loss, loss of coordination, unsteady movement, and eventually death. While it is still uncertain if humans can contract the disease, farm animals and pets are at risk. Although rare, the chance of E. coli transmission is also feasible.

Is Deer Scat an Effective Fertilizer? 

Despite being a good nitrogen source, deer droppings are not the ideal fertilizer for a vegetable garden. The bacteria E.coli is present in most mammals, including deer. When people consume food contaminated with E.coli, specific strains of this bacteria can result in serious illness.

What Do Deer Eat?

What Do Deer Eat
White-tailed deer eat twigs, leaves, grass, and vegetables.

A-Z-Animals.com

The core of these animals’ food sources includes leaves, grass, lichen, buds, fruit, and herbs. The deer family is a ruminant species, a mammal with a four-chambered stomach that can digest and ferment vegetation. To help with this task, different bacteria are present in each chamber. The deer will regurgitate the meal as cud after the first stomach has finished processing it and make an effort to chew through the tough plant matter. The remainder of the stomach’s chambers then processes the meal for digestion. However, they have a more selective palate than many other ruminants like sheep and cow. They favor nutritious food that is simpler to digest. This is because antler growth requires a lot of energy and nutrition.

Sambar deer in beautiful winter light and colorful background at wetlands of Keoladeo National park or Bird Sanctuary, India.
Sambar deer in beautiful winter light and colorful background at wetlands of Keoladeo National park or Bird Sanctuary, India.
iStock.com/Sourabh Bharti
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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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