The amount of deer sighted on campus has increased significantly from previous semesters, and they have been frequently seen by students on the lawns near Brock and Wood halls. The presence of deer in the area has become a hazard for Southern’s landscaping department.
Although there have always been deer in the area, Mark Antone, director of landscape services, said that he has definitely noticed more on campus this year than in the past 35 years of working here. Antone explained that although there are plenty of trails and wooded areas outside of campus, nearby construction “has been plowing open areas away, forcing the deer onto campus.”
Other reasons behind their presence may be due to overpopulation. According to Campus Safety, the deer birth rate is climbing. No predators or major threats reside in the Collegedale area, thus allowing the deer a rather safe environment to live and reproduce in.
“The deer are causing a lot of damage to landscaping. They love to eat the pansies we plant—especially in the Garden of Prayer,” Antone said.
Having a large fence to block the deer from the Garden of Prayer would blot the landscape, so Antone said the landscaping team must consider deer-resistant plants for the garden.
“I wish that there was less subdivision and more country for the deer to live in. They are really cool to see on campus, but have become a nuisance to all of us working in landscaping,” Antone said.
Some students have noticed the emergence of deer on campus as well. Fynlee Schober, a freshman English major, reported seeing five deer outside of Thatcher Hall as she pulled into the parking lot one night.
“I almost hit one of them. They weren’t scared of my car at all. It was very strange,” Schober said.
In order to keep both students and deer safe, Campus Safety advise everyone in the area to be attentive and drive slowly. As of Nov. 5, no accidents deer-related to deer on Southern’s campus have been reported.
Some students, however, are enjoying the presence of deer on campus.
“I haven’t had many intense experiences with deer and driving specifically. But I love seeing them in the morning on my way to class. It always puts me in a good mood,” Emily Turk, a freshman Business Marketing major said.