Another example of deer learning and intelligence has unfolded right outside my house. Ten years ago deer never came close to the house. They might walk across the yard or watch from the edge of the woods, but they were too wary to come close.
In recent years, however, as the coyote population has increased, deer seem to feel more secure closer to the house, especially at night. Several times a month I hear coyotes yipping not far from the house, but they never come into the yard. I love the sound, but I'm sure it unnerves the local deer.
I think that's why deer now bed down right next to the house. Sometimes I spook deer from these spots at night, and other times I find used beds in the morning, and they are right up against the foundation. Such positions may provide protection from wind, but I think safety from coyotes is the primary reason deer stay close to the house.
Deer also seem able to interpret human behavior. I've lived at this location for 28 years, and though there's plenty of hunting taking place around our property, the yard is safe. Often I walk the 150 feet from my garage to the house, especially late in the day, and a deer or two will be in the yard just 20 feet from the driveway. I can stop, yell, wave my arms, or even lift my arms into a shooting position, and the only response I get is a snort or stomping feet. Experience tells the deer they are safe. When I encounter deer in the woods, usually I only get to see that big white flag as they flee.
Learning from experience is clearly a sign of intelligence. I conclude that at least some deer are pretty smart cookies.