What Do Deer Eat?
Think of a calm and gentle animal and your thought runs to deer. It gets really difficult finding a more graceful and splendid animal, especially the white-tailed deer. Deer can often be seen eating plants and jumping through tall shrubs. They can be recognized by their feathery whitetails and big antlers. When spotted skimming through the wild, there’s a sporting chance that they are out looking for food. So, what do deer eat?
Basic Deer Diet
The white-tailed deer are herbivores. This allows their stomach to digest a wide range of diets such as leaves, twigs, nuts, fruits, grass, corn, alfalfa and even lichens and fungi. Their unique stomach allows them to eat foods that are not edible for humans – foods such as mushrooms and poison ivy. The deer diet will also vary by season, according to the availability of food sources.
Grasses and evergreen ground plants appear to be the major food type during the spring season. These ground plant foods may include barren strawberries and wild strawberries. Aspen leaves are still a dominant food type for these deer and ranks amongst the top four food choices. This is despite the fact that it is usually not available until mid-to-late-May. Springtime is a season for grasses and edges, so, most deer can be seen this period openly grazing the grasslands and open fields. Immediately after winter, their food choice will change once more to only greenish leaves. The grasses are sought after by deer due to their protein-rich concentrate.
Aspen leaves will provide ample food choices for deer from June down to July. Studies have found out that this food type provides approximately 30% of the total food volume consumed by deer. They are high in protein. The year-round feeding habits of deer is built mainly around the availability of aspen leaves. Deer will only turn to other food choices when the aspen leaves become unavailable.
During early summer, one only needs to walk down to logging roads, log landings and utility lines to more the amount of heavy browsing going on there. The basswood, marches and maples are a source of diet for the deers at this time. Other food items prevalent amongst deers this period of the year include grasses and strawberries.
What do deer eat in late summer? Their food choice will consist of bush-honeysuckle, asters, grasses and strawberries. Fruits are also a popular choice during late summers. Cherries and blackberries prove more readily available and are preferred.
Grasses and sedge will be inculcated into the deer feeding diet once fall approaches. Acorns will also be preferred in cases where they are available. The beginning of the raining periods will make mushrooms more available, setting the stage for the introduction of a mushroom diet.
Finally, what do deer eat? Deer as herbivores are generally considered concentrate pickers. Their diet depends on the different types of vegetation available at different times of the year, and also on the region in which they dwell.