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March 18, 2020 2 min read

Do you wish to know what do deer eat in the winter? In this article, we will discuss their eating habits and more.

You may have heard that deer are some of the best scavengers in the world. The best time to observe their truest nature is during the winter. That’s because like every other animal, deer must change their eating, sleeping and moving habits to conform with the freezing cold winter atmosphere. So, what do deer eat in the winter? Let’s take a look some crucial aspects of their feeding and the type of foods they scavenge for.

What do deer eat in the winter?

During the open season, deer preferably browse through open pastures for their food. Usually, they eat between three to ten pounds of food daily. The winter season is different because they have to deal with colder temperature and snow as well. Nevertheless, deer will not eat food from established plants or rows of crops.

Deer may also feed on the thick, greenish lichen commonly found on Amber and Spruce trees that are dead or dying. In wintertime, these lichens form the most part of their diet. They can also feed on twigs, grasses, stems, and other plants if they can find them and will supplement with fruits, mushrooms, and nuts as well.

However, although there are many ways, they can feed in the winter; majority of deer will not get enough protein nourishment as they do during the warmer months. In some cases, they might resort to drastic measures and get under the snow to eat when they can.

Can you direct their feeding during the winter?

Deer may also come into properties in search for unguarded corns, cow peas, or soybeans that are not rotten.

To prevent deer from crossing into your property during the winter in search of their food, you can help attract them to other areas of your land. However, be aware that you don’t want deer feeding on one part of your property all the time because it enhances the risk of disease spread in deer. You also don’t want them rummaging through your fields, properties or wearing out crops and soil. You should also be aware of the regulations or restrictions against deer feeding during winter season. Therefore, try alternating the different areas to scatter their dining habits and ensure they move around.

Whether you want deer in your property or not, you can plant tall crops at the edge of your property or erect a fence. This is especially important around sensitive areas you don’t want them crossing at all. A guard dog can also help keep deer away especially in the morning and evening hours.

Concluding Thoughts

So, what do deer eat in the winter? Deer eat corn, cowpeas, soybeans, twigs, grasses, stems, lichens, and other things they can find. However, they will not eat established plants which is an excellent benefit to farmers. If and when necessary, deer may also dig deep within the snow in search for nourishment.