Where to See
Where To See Key Deer |
First, stop at the the National Key Deer Refuge headquarters for the brochure "The Facts on Key Deer," with a map of the refuge. The office is located 100 miles southwest of Miami and 30 miles northeast of Key West, along U.S.#1.
Headquarters is on Big Pine Key in the Big Pine Key Plaza off Key Deer Boulevard shopping center situated between Key Deer Boulevard and Wilder Road. (See map). The address is National Key Deer Refuge, 28950 Watson Blvd. Big Pine Key, FL 33043-0510; (305) 872-2239. Key Deer Refuge website.
Be careful when you arrive on Big Pine Key. Many of the road kills take place between Mile Marker 33 and 32, a broad curving stretch of road. The major intersection on Big Pine Key is at U.S. 1 and Key Deer Boulevard, which bears to the left.
Proceed along Key Deer Blvd., driving past the shopping center on the right and carefully observing the posted 35mph speed limit. This road is regularly patrolled and the speed limit is strictly enforced, day and night.
Key Deer Boulevard extends for less than five miles. The best place to begin sighting deer starts at about mile three, though you may have to drive almost to the end to spot one of the animals. Remember, do not feed the deer! It's both illegal and bad for the animals.
The best time to see a deer is two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset. Since the deer lack any regular predators, they are very tame, perhaps too tame. If you see a deer eating on the side of the road, it's possible to park 20 or 30 yards away and approach it closely on foot to photograph (a 200mm lens here is the maximum required).
In addition to the sides of the road, examine the field on your left at the development. Depending on how recently the grass has been cut here, you may see as many as a half dozen deer feeding in the field at one time. Farther down on the left is the old Lions Club building, which frequently has deer in back or across the street.
Adjoining Big Pine Key via a single road is No Name Key , most of which belongs to the refuge. No Name is reached via Wilder Road; where U.S. 1 intersects at the stoplight with Key Deer Boulevard (on the left), bear right instead, onto Wilder Road.
No Name Key is sometimes better for deer at night than in daytime.
Why Key Deer Are Endangered
Key Deer Habits and Habitat
Key Deer Evolution, Adaptation
Close Neighbors: People and Key Deer
To Florida Key Deer Homepage