What do deer eat?

Deer are herbivores. This means that they only feed on food produced from plants and do not eat meat or other animals. Although they are herbivores, they are not picky in regards to what kind of plant they will eat. As the seasons change, so does a deer’s diet. Depending on the time of year, deer will eat a wide range of leaves, grass, nuts, fruit, flowers, twigs, fungi and farm crops.

The types of food that deer eat most often: 

  1. Plants: clover, honeysuckle, dogwood, flower, dandelion and grass
  2. Farm Crops: peas, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, wheat, beans, soybeans, and rye
  3. Fruit: blackberries, grapes, apples and persimmons
  4. Nuts: acorns, hickory nuts and pecans
  5. Fungi: Mushrooms

What do deer love to eat the most?

Soybeans - one of a deer's favorite foodsDeer are only able to eat their favorite foods during the late spring, summer and fall. Their favorite foods are often found on farms or in hard wooded areas. 

The food that deer love the most is fruit. Deer love fruit because they enjoy the natural sugar flavor and it provides quick energy. A deer’s second favorite food is corn. Deer love to eat corn in the fall. 

The 5 foods that deer love to eat the most: 

  1. Fruit (apples and berries)
  2. Farm crops (corn, soybeans, and rye)
  3. Acorns
  4. Clovers
  5. Potatoes

How do deer find food?

Finding food in the spring, summer, and fall is much easier than during the winter. During the warmer months, deer usually bed down close to farm land,  hard wooded areas that produce acorns, or river beds that produce lush vegetation. During the winter months deer spend most their day searching for food. Lucking deer bulk up and gain a significant amount of weight during the warmer months to prepare for the rut and harsh winter.

What is the best deer feed?

Clovers and flowers - deer foodChoosing the best deer feed often depends on the time of year. During the late summer and fall it is best to feed deer their favorite foods: acorns, corn and soybeans. This type of deer feed is best during this time of year because it is also naturally produced by trees and farm crops. A deer will be expecting this type of food and it is perfect for bulking season. 

During the winter months deer are used to an entirely different diet. During the winter it is best to feed deer woody foods such as clover, saplings, peas, and honeysuckle.   

Why are deer attracted to salt licks?

Deer are only attracted to salt licks at certain times of the year. Deer are attracted to salt licks during times of the year when they need the most sodium. Also, bucks are attracted to salt licks and mineral blocks during the fall as they are growing antlers. Doe are generally attracted to salt licks and mineral blocks when they are preparing for pregnancy. 

What time of day do deer eat?

Deer generally eat at the following times: 

  1. Early morning
  2. Dusk
  3. Middle of the night
  4. Noon 

On cold days during the winter deer will search for food the entire day in order to stay warm. The search for food keeps their blood stream flowing which helps them stay warm. During warm days deer generally bed down in the shade during the day. 

Although deer often eat at times during the day, they are considered to be nocturnal and mostly eat at night, early in the morning, or at dusk.