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6 Things What Deer Like to Eat at The Most

  • Animal
Things What Deer Like to Eat at The Most

They’re adorable, graceful creatures — and also some of nature’s strangest looking animals.  You might have seen them on your morning walk with your dog.  Or maybe you’ve been driving by hundreds of times as they leisurely graze along side the road. But what exactly does this creature feed on?

According to researchers, there isn’t much difference between a whitetail deer and a cow when it comes to diet. In fact, cows aren’t even very close competitors at all since cows will eat grass while deer prefer other plants. Although cows can be classified as ruminants because they use bacteria within their stomachs to break down cellulose into simple sugars, this doesn’t mean that deer don’t need to find ways to get nutrients from their diets however.

Here are 6 Things About What Deer Love to Eat

1. Grasses

Deer Like to Eat grasses

Deer feed primarily off of vegetation such as grasses, leaves and twigs. This means that if you want to attract more deer to your property then you should consider planting native types of grasses and prairies near trees and shrubs where they often spend time. These foods include blue grama, buffalo grass, little bluestem, switchgrass, watercress and sugar cane grass. If you live in colder climates then you may wish to try installing hay bales around your yard or garden so that deer can nibble on fresh new grass during winter months.

These grasses contain fiber which helps regulate blood sugar levels, maintain healthy heart and bones, improve digestion, strengthen muscles and provide energy needed for daily activities. Because of these amazing properties, grasses are commonly used in animal feeds due to its high nutritional value. However, people who hunt wild game usually avoid consuming any part of a plant because it could make them sick or cause digestive problems. Therefore, always check with your local hunting association before harvesting these crops from your own land.

Other than having lots of fun feeding our pets dogs, cats and horses, why else would anyone choose to raise deer? Many states require hunters to possess special licenses or permits depending on how much damage they believe they’ll create if allowed to kill wildlife on their premises. For example, Virginia allows only two hundred permits per year for residents.

Hunters must obtain a permit to shoot either a male or female buck, no matter what size it happens to be. Another benefit of raising deer is that once harvested, venison meat actually has quite low fat content compared to beef! It’s true! Just take note that the higher quality meats come from older fawns instead of younger ones, because older deer grow faster and therefore reach maturity sooner. So remember, “you get what you pay for!”

Related: How to Attract Deer

2. Shrubs & Small Trees

Deer Like to Eat Shrubs & Small Trees

If you notice, deer mostly seem fond of browsing small bushes and tree limbs rather than full grown trunks. Since they’re unable to digest wood fibers, they simply chew through branches without breaking them down. Also, deer cannot digest bark. When you see a deer walking away with a piece of bark stuck onto his antler, he chewed it right off! Aside from being able to handle tough materials, deer are great diggers too, using their strong front claws to pull apart roots, stems and leafy greens. By doing this, they help themselves access moisture stored inside plants.

Another reason why deer seek out smaller pieces of greenery is that they are easier to catch. While bigger chunks of foliage fall to the ground, young bucks can easily pick up tiny twigs. Additionally, the soft needles found in conifers serve as natural teasels, helping them keep warm throughout the cold winters. Lastly, deer love to browse underbrush and along streamsides, areas where these smaller plants flourish.

3. Leaves

Deer Like to Eat Leaves

In addition to grasses, leaves are another primary source of nutrition for both adult and newborn deer alike. Adult females tend to consume less green material than males do, but both sexes crave nutrient rich foods. One thing worth noting though is that mature bucks won’t waste their time searching for edible leaf matter. Instead, they’ll look for tender shoots of brushy weeds or saplings.

Besides the fact that deer are naturally attracted to colorful flowers, many people claim that they feel a sense of peace around certain types of plants, specifically those containing large amounts of calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and molybdenum. Also, when choosing a variety of leafy greens, be sure to select varieties that offer vitamin C, beta carotene, folate, lutein, phytonutrients, protein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, retinoic acid, and vitamins B12, D, K, and E.

Although it sounds strange, deer are known to play games with prey items. Sometimes, they act aggressively towards whatever object they desire, forcing it further back behind layers of brush. Then after waiting patiently, they begin again until eventually catching their target. This behavior was witnessed first hand when my friend caught a raccoon playing hide and go seek with her cat.

She said she heard scratching noises coming from deep beneath the deck floorboards. After investigating, she discovered a group of eight raccoons making camp underneath the house! On the contrary, deer will sometimes sit quietly beside objects, watching them intently. Once they realize that you have spotted them, they quickly move away.

4. Deer Like to Eat Vines & Bush

Deer Like to Eat Vines & Bush

Similar to leaves, vines and bush are also a popular choice amongst whitetails. Unlike grass, these plants are easy to spot thanks to their vibrant colors. During springtime, newly born fawns observe their mothers closely, learning everything they need to survive.

Often times, they mimic their mother’s actions, including the way she grasps hold of the vine and pulls herself forward. With this technique, they gain valuable strength, speed and agility. Like their mothers, they later learn to eat the tasty fruits and berries located along these plants. Before long, this form of communication becomes instinctual for them.

However, although it seems unlikely, it is possible to injure yourself by attempting to grab hold of something while pulling yourself forward, especially if the vine is slippery or covered with mud. Be mindful of where you place your hands and feet and wear gloves when approaching a vine. Also, be careful when removing grapes from clusters, as they can become lodged in your mouth. To prevent injury, try placing short sticks against the sides of the vine, allowing you to grasp on to them for support.

Lastly, deer love to consume acorns during autumn, and for good reason. Acorns contain carbohydrates, minerals, amino acids, lipids, fatty acids, tannins, flavonoids, phenols, saponins, glycoside, and proteins. Due to these powerful antioxidants, acorn consumption makes humans healthier overall. Plus, it provides nourishment for birds, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, foxes, coyotes, bears, and even wolves!

5. Fruits/Nuts

Deer Love to Eat Fruits and Nuts

Aside from vegetables, fruit is probably the next best option when trying to lure deer closer to your home. Most fruits contain carbohydrates, mineral salts, essential oils, fats, nitrogenous compounds, and vitamins. Moreover, deer can extract important nutrients from seeds and nuts. In particular, black walnuts, hickory nuts, pecan shells, chestnut hulls, hazel nut husk, and sunflower seed kernels all contain enough calcium, phosphorous, sulfur, sodium, chloride, and iron to sustain life. Additionally, apple seeds contain similar components as well.

While it appears that deer can eat almost anything, there are still specific types of foods that may harm them. Certain herbs, spices, coffee grounds, alcohol, tomatoes, potatoes, avocados, chocolate, caffeine, garlic, onions, peppermint, hot peppers, citrus, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne powder, and curry powder are harmful to deer. Similarly, pesticides are extremely dangerous to them as they can lead to brain tumors, liver cancer, kidney failure, birth defects, blindness and death. Never apply toxic chemicals to your property unless approved by an expert.

6. Water

Deer also need water

It’s not surprising that most deer enjoy drinking water, since it contains the same minerals and electrolytes as sweat glands. However, this should also work in reverse. Deer are known to avoid standing water since it attracts insects and other bugs.

You can use this knowledge for your own benefit by creating pools of water on your property to attract butterflies, dragonflies, skimmers, and damselflies. It is important to note though that water has different qualities when it comes to attracting deer. Generally speaking, it’s ideal to set up a water source that flows slowly, like a creek or small stream. In addition, a clean water source with minimal debris is preferred (such as clear, unpolluted ponds).

Deer Food at All Seasons

Deer Food at All Seasons

You probably think of deer primarily as creatures that live outdoors in forests. But each region varies by type of habitat. For example, white-tailed deer spend much of their lives feeding in wooded shrubbery rather than trees.

They typically graze along riverbanks and creek beds throughout the day. Their hind legs serve mostly as paddles, propelling themselves through shallow water or allowing them to push aside brush and small saplings. Since they lack strong claws, they usually leave behind scrapes and wounds caused by branches breaking off rather than sharp barbs. Because of their preference for grassy plains, they rarely swim across rivers. Instead, they walk back and forth until they reach deeper water.

Another important factor affecting what deer eat is temperature. Research shows that lower temperatures affect what the animals consume. At night, for instance, female elk choose cooler spots to bed down in order to keep warm. Male deer tend to sleep under taller cover such as low bushes and tree limbs, whereas females often rest in marshy areas near lakeshore.

When it comes to diet, deer vary depending on location. One study found that black bears ate a higher proportion of fish compared to deer in Maine. Other research showed that moose preferred a diet containing lots of berries and lichens, whereas caribou lived in tundra regions preferring plant matter high in nitrogen. These differences were attributed mainly to adaptations to different environments.

As mentioned earlier, both male and female deer undergo seasonal changes. Males shed their antlers once mating season ends in late November. Females drop theirs sometime between mid-November and December. Once shedding occurs, males start growing new ones. Female growth cycles repeat every four years, although gestation lasts only 300 days.

With all of these dietary variations, it shouldn’t come as surprise that deer aren’t known for their culinary skills. Let’s next explore some options available to hunters willing to put in long hours waiting for dinner.
Migrating birds sometimes travel hundreds of miles to return to their nesting sites, and migrating deer regularly cross borders between countries. Yet despite migrations, deer remain legally classified as “livestock” rather than “wildlife.” Why? Migrating birds are considered wild creatures, but deer are viewed as livestock because they cannot survive alone after reaching adulthood.

What Do deer eat in the spring?

There is a lot of food for deer in the spring after a long winter. They will eat grasses, shoots, shoots, and fruit during this time of abundance. Spring is the time of year when this food pair has fawns, which makes it extremely important. In the spring and summer, they need to eat a lot of food in order to produce milk.

What Do Deer Eat in The Summertime?

Deer eat a lot of shoots, bark, and shoots in the winter when food is scarce. While they eat a lot of greenery in the winter months, they also consume a lot of nuts and corn.

Hunting Tips for Success When Hunting Deers During Cold Weather

While hunting in colder climates, remember that ice forms easily. If you plan to drive vehicles, clear them of snow beforehand. Snow plows and chainsaws also prove helpful.

It’s hard to predict heavy rains and storms during the winter months, but always bring adequate rainwear. Keep cell phones charged and batteries topped off to prevent communication problems. Take care of loose electrical cords in case power lines snap.

Since heat rises, hunters should wear layered outfits made of breathable fabrics such as cotton. Wear pants tucked into socks, and dress in layers. Pack sweat pads, thermal underwear, wool sweaters and light jackets. Never underestimate the importance of sunscreen lotions and lip balms that contain SPF 15 or above. Carry extra blankets, towels and flashlights to combat darkening skies. Find out where you’re headed, and map out

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