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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - November 07, 2013

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Are there plants that are resistant to axis deer?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Greetings! I live about 10 miles south of Kerrville, Texas, toward Medina. I wish to begin planting more natives on a plot we have recently purchased. Some plants will go inside a fence that deer will not enter. Outside the fence, the plants must be able to survive a nightly visit from approximately 12 Axis, as well as some white-tail deer & cotton-tail rabbits. I've also seen black-buck antelope in the area for the first time recently. In doing research on deer-resistant plants, I have found loads of resources for white-tail resistant plants. For axis, I have found nothing. Is there a good list you know of for axis-resistant plants, native to the Texas Hill Country, of course :0)

ANSWER:

The good news for you is that, as it turns out, Axis axis [synonym = Cervus axis] (Axis deer or chital) feed predominantly on grasses.  They will browse (e.g., in Texas, live oak, hackberry and sumac) to supplement the grasses when they are scarce.  To many people, axis deer meat has the best flavor of any wild game.  This is attributed to the fact that they graze on grasses and do not usually browse on forbs, shrubs or trees.  Now, if you are visited by white-tail deer, it's a different story.  They are mainly browsers and very seldom eat grasses.   You can read our Deer Resistant Species list and, as you doubtless know, there are other lists that you can find on the internet.

 

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