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What Deer Actually Eat

There are many kinds of deer feed and supplemental food for deer on the market today.  But what do most deer eat that aren’t fed by humans?  It depends on where in the country you are, but in general, most deer eat nuts, grass, flowers, fruit, mushrooms, and farmers’ crops.  Depending on what’s naturally available and growing on your South Carolina hunting land, this is what your deer are eating.

Nuts and fruit are generally a deer’s favorite foods.  They like acorns, pecans, beechnuts, and hickory nuts.  Acorns from white oak trees are preferred over acorns from red oaks because they are sweeter.  Deer love apples, persimmons, and sumac heads.  They are happy to eat most other fruits as well, but these 3 fruits are the most common to appear naturally in the wild.  Deer also eat many types of mushrooms which are very good for them, even the kinds that are deadly to humans.

Farmers’ crops are also another favorite of deer, which is why purchasing a farm to also hunt on is an excellent idea if you’re interested in both.  You may find that the deer get to enjoy your cultivated vegetables more than you though.  Be sure to plant vegetables along the outskirts of your crops, where the deer will feel safe and can run into the woods easily if they sense danger.  Deer enjoy many types of vegetables, including beans, wheat, rye, soybeans, and sweet potatoes.  They will also eat grasses grown especially for livestock.

When fruits, vegetables, and nuts aren’t available, deer will also eat grass and wildflowers.  You will often see deer eating in large fields filled with wildflowers, such as dandelions, roses, clover, and other flowers, grasses, and weeds.

Sometimes in the winter, none of these options are available.  Deer will have to eat twigs and any available leaves.  The winter is a good time to make sure there is food available for the deer on your South Carolina hunting land.  Plant winter-hardy deer foods or spread out corn kernels to keep them strong during the winter months.