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What Do Deer Eat? Deer Diet 101

What Do Deer Eat Deer Diet 101

Hunting a deer is very hard because of its exceptional sense of smell and sound. You cannot lure them easily if you don’t know what do deer eat. Also, their eating habits change with the weather. So if you want to make good bait, you should know, ” What do deer eat?”  Deer prefer leafy green and colorful vegetables as well as sweet fruits. They also like to eat wheat, corn, and soybeans. If you want to lure them with plants, choose soft and green ones. You can make the bait with berries, chocolate, or peanut butter.

Which types of berries do deer eat?

Deer likes to eat berries when there are limited sources due to weather. They like to eat berries, which have extra nutrition in them.

Mississippi State University discusses the diet of deer. According to the website, the diet of deer varies depending on the time of year, geographic location, and the availability of food sources. Here are some of the key points from the website:

  1. Summer Diet: During the summer months, deer primarily eat herbaceous plants such as grasses, forbs, and browse. These plants provide the necessary nutrients for antler growth and overall health.
  2. Fall Diet: In the fall, deer shift their focus to hard mast such as acorns, hickory nuts, and beech nuts. These high-calorie foods help deer prepare for the winter months.
  3. Winter Diet: During the winter, deer rely on woody browse such as twigs, buds, and bark from trees and shrubs. This food is less nutritious than other food sources, but is still necessary for deer survival.
  4. Spring Diet: In the spring, deer consume new plant growth such as forbs, grasses, and other green vegetation. These plants provide the necessary nutrients for lactation in female deer and antler growth in males.

The deer love to eat serviceberries because they can get a large amount of sugar and calories from these berries. These extra calories help fawns grow faster. They also help the mama deer ease the pain of giving birth to a fawn.

Deer also eat bilberries. Fiber is an essential food element that helps deer absorb their diet appropriately. Deer passionately eat huckleberries.  These berries provide extra energy for the baby deer. 

They also contain antioxidants, vitamin C, and food elements like manganese and fiber. The deer get most of their vitamin K from blackberries. That’s why they eat them a lot when they get these berries. 

These berries also contain vitamin C, which helps deer to fix their tears caused by minor accidents. Deer eat blueberries to increase the phytochemicals in their bodies. It is also a major source of vitamins K and C for deer. They get antioxidants from blueberries.

Deer like to eat mulberry. They also like its leaves. Usually, they don’t eat mulberries directly from the tree. Rather, they like to eat those that fall from the tree.

What type of nuts do deer eat?

Deer eat nuts. The most popular nuts for deer are acorns and chestnuts. They provide different food elements to the deer. The deer get a vast amount of fat and carbohydrates from acorns, whereas chestnuts are one of the deer’s best protein sources. 

The chestnuts are also full of fiber, increasing the deer’s digestion. Deer like acorns from white oak trees more than red oak trees. The white ones taste a little bit sweeter to them. 

Deer also eat peanuts. They are also a good source of protein and fat. Acorns are also a favorite nut of whitetail deer. Deer don’t eat hickory nuts, but they like the tree of this nut very much. 

They eat all the edible parts of these plants’ bodies. Deer don’t eat black walnuts because of their hard shells. Its husk is also very tough to break. 

What type of wheat do deer eat?

Deer eat wheat a lot. A wheat field is a perfect food area for them. However, there are some factors before deer eat wheat. Deer usually avoid wheat fields if there is a nearby corn or soybean field, because corn and soybeans taste better and come with more nutrients.

This scenario, however, changes in the winter. In winter, white-tailed deer always eat winter wheat because of its sweet taste. They also provide vitamin A, B, and fiber to deer’s bodies. They also eat wheat seeds.

It helps to grow baby deer faster. Deer like to eat mid-ripened buck forage oats and rye. Both have good taste and help them with nutrients and antioxidants. 

Deer can eat whole corn and corn plants. These carbohydrates provide extra energy for deer. However, they are hard to digest, so deer may ignore them if they get another better source of food. Deer can eat popcorn when whitetail deer eat popcorn at this time of year because of hunger. 

However, they can ignore it when they find other corn to eat. Deer can also eat oats. It is one of their major winter foods to eat. They are full of nutrients and protein, which help deer in winter. Deer can also eat cracked corn because they can eat it for a couple of days. 

They are full of fiber. As a result, deer can digest their food more efficiently by eating this corn. Deer may eat hay and sunflower seeds. 

However, you cannot force them to eat sunflower seeds or hay. They only eat it when they are hungry and there is not enough food to eat. Their metabolism isn’t good enough to digest these seeds raw. 

What type of vegetables do deer eat?

Deer like to eat fresh vegetables that have boarded leaves. Also, if these leaves taste sweet, they like them even more. One of their favorite vegetables is the lattice. They want to eat round lettuce and lamb’s lettuce. They also like icebergs and endive lettuce because of their sweet taste. 

When deer are hungry, they may eat bitter lettuce. However, they have to be leafy, like radicchio or chicory lettuce. They also like to eat spinach because of its fluffy and smooth leaves. If they want to eat something crunchy, they usually have beans. 

The beans need to be as fresh and soft as possible. They love to eat broad beans or kidney beans. Deer can eat the whole pea tree. These trees and peas are both full of nutrients and vitamins. Deer like to eat cabbage. 

They both have a sweet taste and crunchy leaves. People may think the heavy smell of cabbage may disturb them, but it is not a problem for deer. Deer can eat all types of cabbage, like green, red, and savoy. 

They can also eat small cabbages like napa cabbage, Brussels, or even bok choy. However, in the winter, when there is no cabbage, they eat broccoli, which has almost the same taste but no smell. You can also attract deer with beets. 

Though they like to eat soft, big, and sweet-smelling broccoli, they also love to eat beet leaves. These leaves are juicy and bitter and provide fiber to the deer’s body.

Deer eat sweet potatoes. They can eat them raw or even cooked. Deer also like to eat potato vines. The potato provides them with a lot of carbohydrates.

What type of fruit does deer eat?

Deer can also eat fruit. They sometimes eat the fruit directly from the trees. Sometimes they like the fruits that fall from trees because they get overripe. 

  • Apples: Apples are a common food source for deer, particularly during the fall when they are in season. They are attracted to the sweet smell of ripe apples and will eat both the fruit and the leaves of the tree.
  • Pears: Pears are another type of fruit that deer enjoy eating. They are attracted to the sweet smell of ripe pears and will eat the fruit and the leaves of the tree.
  • Berries: Berries such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are also a favorite food of deer. They will eat both the fruit and the leaves of the berry bushes.
  • Peaches: Peaches are a favorite food of deer, particularly in season. They are attracted to the sweet smell of ripe peaches and will eat the fruit and the leaves of the tree.
  • Grapes: Grapes are another type of fruit that deer like to eat. They are attracted to the sweet smell of ripe grapes and will eat both the fruit and the leaves of the vine.
  • Plums: Plums are a favorite food of deer, particularly in season. They are attracted to the sweet smell of ripe plums and will eat both the fruit and the leaves of the tree.
  • Melons: Melons such as watermelons and cantaloupes are also a favorite food of deer. They are attracted to the sweet smell of ripe melons and will eat both the fruit and the leaves of the vine.
  • Pumpkins: Some deer may also eat pumpkins, and Its flowers, but it’s less common.

It’s worth noting that deer’s diet can vary depending on their location and food availability, so deer in your area may eat different fruits than those listed above.

What types of plants do deer eat?

One of the favorite kinds of food for deer is vegetables. They like fresh vegetables with green leaves. That’s why deer eat pumpkin plants and its flowers.

They are basically attracted to pumpkin because of its good taste, pleasant smell, and vivid orange color.  Deer don’t like to eat goldenrod, Norway spruce, and birdsfoot trefoil because the leaves are not soft and leafy. They also found the taste unpleasant.

Deer usually don’t like to eat Christmas trees because the leaves are not tasty for them. Though deer can eat small bamboo trees and bamboo leaves, they try to ignore some parts of the bamboo trees because they release minor toxins. 

One of the reasons deer don’t try to eat hot peppers is because they are full of too much capsaicin. Deer don’t want to eat farnese. It doesn’t have many nutrients. The taste and size of its leaves are also not good.

What type of exceptional food do deer eat?

Deer sometimes eat dog food and meat because of their chewy texture. However, their metabolism power isn’t good enough, so they don’t take a large portion of these foods. Deer also love chocolate and peanut butter. 

Chocolate provides them with extra energy and antioxidants, whereas deer can not ignore the smell of peanut butter. You can even use chocolate or peanut butter with bread to lure them. Deer can eat bread, but the portion must be very small. 

If the amount of bread they eat is more than usual, they will feel indigestion. In the worst-case scenario, it could die.

How does a deer’s diet change with the seasons?

Deer’s diet changes with the seasons as the availability of food changes. In the spring, as the snow melts and new growth appears, deer will eat a variety of new growth, including leaves, twigs, and buds of woody plants and shrubs. They also eat the leaves of grasses, clover and other vegetation types. This allows them to get the necessary nutrients to survive and grow.

In the summer, deer will eat a variety of plants, including clover, dandelions, and other types of wildflowers. They also enjoy eating the leaves and twigs of apples, cherries, and other fruit trees and the leaves of corn and soybean fields. This is when food is abundant, so they can have a wide variety of food choices.

Their diet shifts to acorns, berries, and nuts in the fall. This is when they are preparing for the winter and need to build up fat reserves. They also eat the fruits of the trees, bushes, and herbs in season.

During the winter, food can be scarce, so deer eat evergreens, bark, and twigs of woody plants. They also eat grasses, clover, and other available types of vegetation. This is when food is scarce, so they must be more selective about what they eat and make the most of the available food.

What do different types of deer like to eat?

Different types of deer have slightly other dietary preferences, but generally, they will eat a wide variety of plants. For example,

  • White-tailed deer: They are a common type of deer found throughout North America and have a diet that includes leaves, twigs, fruits, and berries of woody plants and shrubs, as well as grasses, clover, and other types of vegetation. They also eat corn, soybeans, and different types of agricultural crops.
  • Mule deer: They are also found in North America and have a diet similar to white-tailed deer, including leaves, twigs, fruits, and berries of woody plants and shrubs, as well as grasses, clover, and other types of vegetation.
  • Blacktail deer: They are found along the west coast of North America, and their diet is also similar to white-tailed deer, including leaves, twigs, fruits, and berries of woody plants and shrubs, as well as grasses, clover, and other types of vegetation.


How long can a deer hang in warm weather?

A deer can hang in warm weather for up to 3 hours until the temperature rises more than 45 degrees. However, you need to put it in the fridge so that the enzymes inside the meat stop functioning.

Do deer sweat?

No, deer don’t sweat. Their bodies react differently when the temperature is high. When they feel too much heat, they start breathing more rapidly. As a result, hot air is produced inside their bodies, and they expel this air with the help of their mouths.

Can you eat a deer?

Yes, you can eat deer even if they get hit by a car. The meat of deer is very tender and tasty. You can also eat its body parts like the liver, heart, and brain. Some Native Americans like to eat these exceptional deer body parts raw.

Can you eat raw deer heart?

Eating dear heart raw is not recommended because there can be micro-organisms. However, eating deer hearts raw can be a tradition for hunters. Some Native Americans also like the lean texture of heart and liver meat.


So, as you have seen in the upper section, there is a major list of foods that deer eat. Their diet, however, changes when the weather changes and the food sources become limited. So if you know “What do deer eat?” you can use different types of food to lure them. However, some foods don’t attract them, so make sure not to use them.