I guess all of us realize how they have proliferated in the last decade or two, and how few defenses we have against them as riders. Should preface this story by telling you I live out in the country where in the fall I'm sure a few deer get shot by legal hunters. But not nearly enough. All of us have problems with deer eating our gardens. So I'm sitting in my living room reading a book and glance out the window. Two deer are in the neighbors pasture grazing on the grass - hardly exciting. Next time I look up from the book there are six deer and one is grazing on my neighbors raspberry patch. I figure I have a neighborly duty to scare them off.
Get the old single barrel 12 gauge out of the gun case and grab a couple 1 ounce loads with number 9 pellets. (The gun is old, rusted inside and out, so I don't worry about cleaning it. The light hand loads are for my safety and the pellets very small so they will just sting an animal like a deer - though fine for dispatching magpies.)
I walk out the basement door and fire a shot over their heads. (If you are not familiar with the sound of a shotgun, suffice it to say I first put in earplugs.) That shot gets their attention. They all look at me and hold their positions. Then the closest deer walks toward me, and I'm glad there is a barbed wire fence between us. He is maybe 25 yards from me and I wait until he has lost interest in me and turned away before I shoot him in the flank. THAT deer did bound away. The rest left very slowly. I have no doubt they will be back to both our gardens.
The moral of this story? I think deer have changed. The sight of a person should have sent those deer running. CERTAINLY the sound of a 12 gauge shotgun should have! I believe deer are becoming more like raccoons - happy to live in close proximity to people and eat what those people will provide with no fear.
A couple years ago I rode my bike to a friend's rented duplex in Cranbrook, B.C. (a small city) and saw four deer lying down on the small lawn. My first thought as I pulled in was WHO THE HELL WOULD PUT OUT THOSE TAXIDERMY ANIMALS HERE! Then I saw an ear twitch. Later that year there were deer attacks on a woman walking a small dog IN THAT CITY.
Deer have become a serious problem across all of North America and I don't have any great solutions. I hope the mod's don't delete this thread because of the "gun component" in the post. I'm hoping to hear better ideas from you if this post is permitted.