Contributors to this thread:
Why the change in behavior???
I am lucky enough to have elk, mule deer and white tail as neighbors. A behavior I have noticed is when any of the above see me when I am walking they are gone in a second. But when they peer into the house and see my wife and I they are not afraid, don't bolt and just go on with their normal browsing behavior.
What's up with that?
I don’t know if it’s relevant to your circumstance but here in our area there is a lot of deer in the neighborhoods and almost none up in the hills. The predators are pushing them down into the neighborhoods
Your a stranger when out walking the streets and a neighbor when your in your home. Deer are taught at an early age not to talk to strangers. You knw the saying STRANGER DANGER
A couple of reasons. I think deer get more information from their noses than their eyes. They don't smell you when you are indoors. I also believe deer need to confirm danger with their nose. People are opposite, and need to confirm with our eyes. For example: We can smell smoke for example but do not take action until we confirm location with our eyes.
Deer learn through association just like you and I. A person inside a bldg that they can see is not much of a threat. Nothing bad ever happened. People walking through woods etc are associated with danger because of past experiences.
On the farm, animals generally ignored us when we were driving a tractor, but ran immediately from us when we were in a pickup.
Simple answer is, they are conditioned to you, and know you aren't a threat inside the house.
My backyard deer have extended their conditioning to about a 50 yard radius around my house. If I stay within that radius, they hardly pay any attention to me, regardless of what I'm doing. Once I step beyond that imaginary boundary, I'm perceived as a threat.
It's actually fascinating to me to watch how the wildlife interact with me, my dogs, and my lIvestock.
I walk from my house to my barn twice a day (at least) to feed and do barn chores. I used to have a corn pile in the front yard so I could watch deer from my kitchen window. As long as I walked the same path and same way as I always walked to the barn, many times if there were deer in the front yard they would remain there and just watch me, and this is at 40 yards or so. If I varied my path, or Heaven forbid if I STOPPED, then they'd bolt out of there.
One time when they were there I walked into the barn as they watched. They went back to feeding and I went out the back door of the barn and snuck into the woods that was UP wind of them. As soon as they got my scent they lit out of there like they were on fire! Now they KNOW me and my scent, but I was NOT where I was supposed to be. Context, context.......
The deer at my local golf course have become so conditioned they don't even look up from feeding when golfers walk right past them, or smack a drive within a few yards of them.
The elk in the town of Estes Park are so conditioned, they look both ways before crossing a street.
I've seen that in Estes....UNREAL! It was hard to believe that these are the same species of elk that we hunted not all that far from there would run to the next zip code if they detected us in the woods.
I observed that on several occasions. I stayed at the YMCA in Estes Park and one morning a big bull fed on the front lawn of the admin building!
Grand Canyon State Park, the deer will walk right up to you, I mean nice nice bucks! they have no fear in the park surrounded by people, they are everywhere. Look at the moose and Bison in Yellow Stone.
You may recall, several years ago one of the biggest bulls ever seen in Estes, named Samson, was poached by an a-hole with a cross-bow on the YMCA grounds. After killing Samson, the idiot left the bull, his cross-bow, and his car at the YMCA, and hitch hiked back to Fort Collins where police were waiting for him. Dumbass.
Samson's rack scored well over 400" and his mount still hangs in the YMCA office today.
The deer in my garden aren't nearly as scared as when they are in the woods. Sometimes I can go get the mail and they just watch. Also I can drive my New Holland Front end loader through my woods roads and deer just watch if I don't stop. Same with my Gator.
I noticed the same thing Shuteye, on my tractor or using the chainsaw they pay very little attention to me.
Speaking of domesticated animals, here's a pic I snapped while in town today.