I don't think a snake is too likely to even strike at a deer's legs. Now a nose that would touch them, maybe.
Snakes know they can't eat a deer so they certainly don't want to waste venom on them. Thus they are more likely to just avoid the deer if it is at all possible.
Here is an example of how snakes will avoid striking anything they can't eat.
A friend of mine was out looking around for some grouse over Labor day weekend with is four German Short Hair dogs. He knows the area well and knows it to be good snake country.
After being out for about three hours, it getting hot and both he and his dogs getting tired he saw one of his dogs actually stepping on a large rattle snake. He yelled at the dog to come but the dog was close so it just stood there with feet actually on the snake. The snake didn't even coil or buzz. Since he yelled two more dogs came running over to the one standing on the snake. Now there are three dogs with feet actually on the snake.
That caused the snake to coil, start to buzz and also elevate its head into a strike position and start rotating its direction from one dog to another. It still hadn't struck at a dog though. Jim had to do something pretty fast though because it was only a matter of time until one of the dogs got hit. He took off running away, while calling the dogs. That worked and the dogs started running to catch up with him.
Once he had three dogs out of harms way he stopped and looked back for the forth dog which had been back the trail a bit further. He it came running to catch up to the pack. It too ran right over the snake, on its way to get caught up. It wasn't struck at either.
I am sure not all snakes would be that tolerant, but the fact is snakes really don't want to strike anything they can't eat. If threatened enough though they will sometimes strike in self defense. But sometimes they don't even do that. I have had snakes I wanted to get pictures off that were crawling away so I touched them with my boot only to have them take off crawling away even faster to the point I couldn't even get them to coil or buzz while making their escape to a rock they could get under.
Most people simply have a way over extended fear of rattle snakes.
Everyone who spends any time walking around in snake country walks past snakes, within easy striking distance all the time and have no idea they even had a snake within feet or even inches of them.
Last edited by R. S. B.; 09-09-2019 at 01:03 PM.