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May 05, 2020 2 min read

What do deer eat in December? Here are insights on their feeding favorites as the winter season sets in.

Deer have a wide selection of food in spring and summer. They will feed on newly formed growth from evergreen trees in spring and graze on grassy collections during the summer. However, these abundances dwindle as the winter seasons set in, which brings tremendous change to their diet habit. As the winter sets in, it is okay to ask the question – what do deer eat in December? In this article, we will answer that question by sharing insights into their feeding patterns.

What Do Deer eat in December?

To fully understand their diet in the winter season, let in by looking at how they feed in fall. Because the winter is harsh for most animals, including the deer, they have to prepare for it. Therefore, they spend more time during the fall filling up on high-fat food sources such as mushrooms. Deer also favor nuts from diverse trees and will eat more of them in fall.

When December arrives, and the wintertime sets in, deer will derive energy from their stored fat to keep warm and move about during the winter. Usually, they will stay close to food sources to avoid moving around too often, which depletes their energy stores. You should also know that deer might sometimes stay in one place for days without eating to reserve energy as well.

During the winter, deer will usually rely on these select few

Woody browse

They eat buds, twigs, and leaves from trees. These trees include hackberry, grapevines, green brier, oak, maple trees, white cedar, white pine, yellow birch, sumac, aspen, and many more. Usually, they feed on all leaves, including dead old ones on the forest floor.


Deer also feed on the fruit (mast) of plants such as berries, pears, apples, and acorns. Usually, they will stand on their hind to access these fruits from their trees. They might also go after acorns that had fallen from oak trees during the fall.


Deer favor corn because it has lots of fats and carbohydrates. They will usually forage for corns from cornfields after farmers have harvested. However, they do not see these corns from established plants but look for leftovers on the ground.

Besides this list, deer can also feed on radish, turnip, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and any other plant they can find during December. They can also eat lichen, which is part algae and part fungi and loaded with lots of nutrients. If they must dig through layers of snow to find food, they will even if it is not a preferred choice.

Concluding thoughts

To answer your question -what do deer eat in December? You must know that deer eat whatever the season presents. December is usually the start of the winter, and so they will have to depend on woody browse, mast, and corns for nourishment. Deer will also seek out lichen from dead or dying trees to supplement their meals.