Do deer eat pumpkins?

Do deer eat pumpkins? Hunters and growers alike may ask the same thing. However, we have to set the records straight.

Halloween seems synonymous with pumpkin. These bright and flavor-filled fruits are widely grown for their commercial use. They are also native to the southern United States and Mexico. Deer have also been used for food, esthetics, and recreation. However, you might ask—do deer eat pumpkins?

Pumpkins are delicious favorites

If you have plenty of leftover pumpkins, and you have no idea what to do about it, then off-course, having deer feed on them for you might seem okay. However, as a grower, having a deer mow through your pumpkin plants can be heart-wrenching. They feed on seeds and fleshy parts and may return in the future to provide on the rinds if you leave them in place. Yes, deer eat pumpkins, which is a delight to hunters, but not an excellent notion for growers.

How pumpkins attract deer

Deer are drawn to the aroma of pumpkin plants. They love the taste not only of the fruits but stems, buds, and leaves. For these reasons, they can spot pumpkin fields from miles away and become a huge problem for growers. Remarkably, pumpkin does not top their list of favorite foods, which are acorns, corn, grass, beans, and lots more. However, pumpkins become their chosen delicacy when they cannot find more palatable food options.

How to deer-proof your garden

Luckily, you can do a few things as a grower to keep deer away from your pumpkin fields. Fencing is the most effective way to keep deer out of your fields. An 8-foot fence is an ideal structure, although you can also consider installing parallel walls. If you go for the 8-foot fence, you should equally keep it slanted outwards, so it can effectively deter deer from attempting the jump over your fence. You can also consider using taste and odor repellents to mask your pumpkins, but this only works to keep them away. Deer will taste and experiment, leading to damage, even if they don’t eat to their fill. Noise and visual deterrents can also work. However, deer become familiar with them before long. Additionally, if they are hungry and desperate, these deterrents will not work at all, especially in pumpkins.

Concluding thoughts

Do deer eat pumpkins? Yes. Pumpkins are a favorite meal for deer, primarily because of their delicious fleshy interior, sharp orange color, and sweet smell. If you have pumpkin fields and would love to keep deer out of them, you must consider using deer deterrents such as fencing. Repellents and scare tactics may not effectively keep them away, especially if you don’t alternate between them. Deer are very per-sistent and may continue to return to the same plant to determine if the taste is different from the last time. However, always remember that no one deer deterrent is enough to keep them away entirely. Still, consider a mix of methods and due diligence to keep deer away from your pumpkin fields effectively.

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