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May 08, 2020 2 min read

What do deer eat when it snows? In this article, we will discuss how deer eat and survive the harsh winters.

The brutal cold and snow can be harsh to humans and animals alike, including the deer. However, research shows that deer have several levels of adaptation, although winter is also a devastating time for time. As you settle into the heart of winter, you may wonder how animals like the deer eat or rest when it snow. This is because they have to handle the snow and cold, 24 hours every day without stop until the end of winter. Therefore, this article will shed insights on that puzzling question in your heart – what do deer eat when it snows?

Preparing for the winter

The dead winter is no easy time for survival, and the deer are not left out to the winter’s cruelty. However, before the winter sets in, the deer begins to change its habits to prepare for it. First, they develop layers of weight by eating high-fat foods such as acorns.

These foods will be converted to fat stores to keep them warm and boost their nutrient stores. On the outsides, they will also develop thicker, longer, and darker hairs known as guard hairs. Some deer may also develop a much thicker undercoat.

Bucks usually have it rough since they lose up to 25% of their weight before the end of winter. Therefore, you might find them coming into properties or food stores in December, even in daylight.

What do deer eat when it snows?

During the winter, deer will seek sheltered areas to eat. Some might not move for days, even to eat, and may settle beneath coniferous trees for long stretch of time. Because they are excellent scavengers, they can also look for cow peas, soybeans, or corn atop the snow. They can also burrow into the snow from time to time, if necessary.

Nevertheless, their central nutrition within these months will come from woody browse such as twigs, stems, grasses, and buds of red osier, Hazel wood, maple, aspen, ash, or hemlock. They will also depend on the gray arboreal lichen, known commonly as the “old Man’s beard” and found on dead or dying aspen, balsam and spruce trees. Because lichens are part fungus and part algae, they have adequate nutrients to help deer survive the harsh winter.

Whenever they can find, deer feed on fruits, nuts, and mushrooms. However, they will stay as close to food sources to cut down their energy demands. It is easier to find them the densest covers during the winter season if you wish to go hunting for late-season deer.

Concluding Thoughts

So to answer the question, what do deer eat when it snows? Overall, they will feed on grasses, stems, twigs, and buds during the winter season. They will also feed on large portions of lichens to gather adequate nutrients. True to their scavenging nature, they can find most of their foods without digging through the snow. However, if they cannot avoid it, deer will dig in whenever necessary to find nutrients.