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What Deer Eat In The Wild

Do deer eat fruit?

That's a common question among farmers and deer enthusiasts, and you might be wondering that same thing.

The answer is yes.

Deer aren't picky animals. In the wild, they'll eat weeds, grass, flowers, seeds, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and pretty much anything else they can get their mouths around. When food is very limited, they'll even snack on twigs and other woody plants.

As long as it's not meat, deer will probably eat it. That's not to say that all fruits and vegetables are healthy for them.

Certain plants will provide deer with more nutrition than others, and some of the foods that they'll willingly eat can be detrimental to their health.

Availability of food is another major factor in what they eat. In the wild, fruit is the equivalent of a rare treat. They only really get it when it falls to the ground. Plants that grow out of the ground make up the bulk of their diet.

If you're going to set up a deer feeder, you'll want to know which foods are okay for a deer to eat, and which ones are bad for them.

Do Deer Eat Apples?

Do deer eat apples

Do deer eat apples?

Deer naturally eat apples, and apples are perfectly safe for use in a deer feeder.

Apples provide deer with a sweet treat that gives them a large nutritional boost. However, deer aren't capable of properly digesting apples. For that reason, deer typically only eat them at the end of the winter.

You should try to load up deer feeders with apples near the end of winter. They'll benefit more from easily digestible foods during the winter months.

Deer naturally eat apples, and apples are perfectly safe for use in a deer feeder.

Apples provide deer with a sweet treat that gives them a large nutritional boost. However, deer aren't capable of properly digesting apples. For that reason, deer typically only eat them at the end of the winter.

You should try to load up deer feeders with apples near the end of winter. They'll benefit more from easily digestible foods during the winter months.

Do Deer Eat Oranges?

Do deer eat oranges

Do deer eat oranges?

Oranges aren't a particularly common part of a deer's diet. Like apples, oranges are out of a deer's reach until they fall to the ground. They are healthy for deer to eat, though. They also have a lot of water and vitamins that can help a deer survive.

Oranges are easier for deer to digest than apples are, and they provide a comparable amount of nutrients. If you have a solid supply of oranges in the winter, you can easily use them in your feeders without harming the deer.

Do Deer Eat Tomatoes?

Do deer eat tomatoes

Do deer eat tomatoes?

Do deer eat fruit like tomatoes?

Of course they do.

Deer absolutely love tomatoes. In fact, they're a tomato grower's worst nightmare. If they can get into your crop, they'll destroy entire tomato plants with ease.

That can be a good thing if you like to feed deer, though. Tomatoes are inexpensive, and deer love them.

They're also exceptionally healthy for deer to eat.

You can load up your deer feeders with tomatoes all year long, and they won't have any negative impacts on your local deer population. Just try not to give them too much to eat.

Do Deer Eat Carrots?

Do deer eat carrots

Do deer eat carrots?

Deer eat carrots, and they're one of the better options to feed them.

A deer's stomach is capable of digesting carrots with ease, and they provide enough nutrients to the deer to help them survive.

Carrots aren't better than formulated deer products, but they are a decent option for when you run out of commercial feed.

Do Deer Eat Bananas?

Do deer eat bananas

Do deer eat bananas?

Deer will eat bananas, but it's better to give them seeds, nuts, and other foods that they naturally eat.

Bananas can provide deer with plenty of potassium and fiber, but they don't offer the deer much more than that. Bananas are best used as an occasional treat for your local deer herd.

Do Deer Eat Corn?

Do deer eat corn

Do deer eat corn?

Corn is extremely bad for deer, and you should never feed it to them.

While deer can adapt to most plant-based foods, corn is far too rich in carbohydrates, and deer can't digest it.

If they eat too much corn, they can die from acidosis.

Don't make the common mistake of supplementing your deer feed with corn. Your attempt at helping your local deer population can end up hurting it far more.

Do Deer Eat Peanuts?

Do deer eat peanuts

Do deer eat peanuts?

Peanuts are rich in fiber, protein, and other nutrients, and deer love them.

They're a woody plant, and they digest easily in a deer's stomach. If you're not going to invest in a proper deer feeder, peanuts are a great substitute.

However, deer require large amounts of peanuts to get the nutrients that they need, and it'll be difficult for you to source enough peanuts in a cost effective way. Other than the price, you can't go wrong with peanuts in your deer feeder.

Do Deer Eat Potatoes?

Do deer eat potatoes

Do deer eat potatoes?

Deer do not digest potatoes properly.

Potatoes won't kill a deer by causing acidosis, but they'll fill a deer's stomach up, and they won't go anywhere. Without any room for foods that a deer can actually digest, the deer will slowly starve and die.

Do Deer Eat Strawberries?

Do deer eat strawberries

Do deer eat strawberries?

Strawberries are one of a deer's favorite foods.

They're extremely sweet, and they're somewhat nutritious for deer. That's not a good thing for strawberry farmers, but it means that you can safely add a small amount of strawberries to your deer feeders. Just try not to add too much.

 Deer will benefit more from eating nuts and vegetables.

Do Deer Eat Pears?

Do deer eat pears

Do deer eat pears?

Pears are just as good for deer as apples are, and deer love them just as much.

They're not easily digestible, though. So, you have to take the same precautions that you would have to with apples.

Try to feed them pears towards the end of winter, and make sure that you don't give them too much to eat.

Considerations When Feeding Deer

There are a few considerations when feeding deer that you should learn about.

You can get in legal trouble, and you can cause a lot of damage to any deer that eat what you provide if you do it improperly.

You need to know your local laws. If you're trying to feed deer to bait them for hunting, a lot of states will press charges against you.

It's considered an unfair hunting method, and the penalties can be fairly hefty if you're caught. That's not a problem in all states, though.

So, you just need to check your local laws.

It can also be illegal to feed deer in general. This is due to a number of reasons that I'm about to explain, but it's important for you to check your local laws before you put any type of food out for deer.

Diseases can be spread via deer feeders, and that's one of the most common reasons that states outlaw feeding deer entirely.

Chronic Wasting Disease, (CWD) has become a major concern in the hunting community, and it's affecting deer around the country. Since deer feeders tend to attract groups of deer, it makes it easier for deer to spread the disease among each other.

Acidosis is another deadly disease that occurs because of feeding. It's almost entirely preventable by feeding deer the right foods, though.

Finally, you need to consider how much you put in your deer feeders.

Deer should only eat about 4 pounds of food per day, and overeating can kill them. Get an idea of how many deer will be eating from your feeders, and fill them accordingly.

The Quality Deer Management Association - QDMA has some great advice on setting up Food Plots for Deer.

Whilst you are watching the local deer population feed see if you can conduct an Aging Deer On The Hoof Test. 

OR

Learn about Deer Sounds Scent and Body Language

Alternatives To Using Corn In A Deer Feeder When Feeding Deer

At this point, you know that corn is one of the worst things that you can put in your deer feeders. It's a food that has deadly consequences for any deer that eats it in the winter, and it's outlawed in several places.

So, you may be wondering what you can use as an alternative to corn.

Soybeans, protein pellets, and cotton seeds are all great alternatives to using corn in a deer feeder. They're nutritious, and deer can digest them properly. They're also fairly inexpensive to buy in bulk.

You can also use peanuts, acorns, and other types of nuts in your feeders, but they tend to be far more expensive to acquire, and some of them require special types of feeders.

Regardless of what you decide to use, you need to make sure that it has plenty of fiber, and that it doesn't have a lot of carbohydrates.

Food that's rich in carbohydrates and low in fiber will cause the same problems that corn does, and you'll damage your local deer population.

You should also keep an eye out for commercial feeding products that are designed for deer.

They're usually made of alfalfa, seeds, and different fibrous plants.

They're the healthiest and safest food supplements that you can buy, and they're not too expensive to buy in bulk.

Explore more Hunting Tips & Tactics here.

Paul

Walk Little........Look Lots