Over the past three years we have enjoyed black tail deer in our front yard meadow, usually numbering around three or four, one or two bucks and the remainder females. Last year two babies were born there, under a tree covered by a natural vine. Encouraging these births, I believe, was the nearby, very spiny cactus we use as fencing which gives much protection from predators. Both deer and predators wander in from adjoining farms which are linked to wild country hillsides covered with the typical California scrub about a quarter mile away. California has experienced a severe drought over the past few years and this likely has driven critters seeking both food / water (deer derive much water just from the grasses they consume) down into the farmlands.
These deer are wild but are acclimated to people as they will be laying down under a bush, near the road on many of the properties as pedestrians, runners and bicyclist cruise by.
They are visitors both during the night (footprints) around the front yard and during the day they often startle joggers and dog walkers who happen to look down the driveway. We do not feed nor water this small band of foragers as that encourages all the wrong things - a misguided dependency on man and would gain nothing for them except severe hardship.
We believe the reason we are graced with them is that we have a varied fruit environment around the house along with our own pre-established ornamental landscaping created years ago as havens for insect life to gather nectar when they have exhausted their supply of any bad insects. That has worked miracles and we've not used any organic or inorganic insecticides for over twelve years: All insect issues are settled amongst the insect life, although many years ago we established a large predator insect population purchased from labs who grow them for this purpose - mostly lacewings.
Our owls, which control the ground critters, are the great horned owl (we have seen babies every year for years), barn owls, screeching owls which we have never seen, and up until a few years ago we had a huge nest in our front yard's sycamore tree which the red shoulder hawks used yearly. It might have been crows which dismantled the nest for their own.
CLOSEST WE HAVE EVER BEEN
One afternoon, during a cartoon watching, I was tickling the grandchild girl and she was giggling and giggle. The widows to the front were open, we were downstairs, and when I got up off the floor and sat down, lo and behold, three deer were looking over the bushes and toward the window and were about ten feet away. We watched transfixed as they slowly walked off toward that area in the video. An incredible moment for all of us, Grandpa and Ma, and the 5 year old grandchild.