Deer are nocturnal herbivores—they are very active at night time looking for food. As prey animals, they avoid staying in one spot for long period of time. They quickly feed on the food available in an area and then move to another spot.
So, whether you have deer as pets, or are trying to attract them to a place you can either watch or photograph them, it is useful to know the best deer feeding times. This article discusses the proper ways to feed deer including what to feed them, deer feeding times, and more.
What are the deer feeding times?
Deer eat anytime of the day or night. But since they are nocturnal creatures, most of their feeding times are during the night. They may be active at night looking for food in open fields, then quickly galloping back to the woods to return to cover. Interestingly, deer eat more during the fall to pack on the fat supplies they will need during the tough winter season.
Deer are most active at dawn and dusk. They feel safe looking for food during low-light conditions. They sneak into the fields, sometimes into yards or gardens if there is a meal to be found. In places where deer are common, homeowners usually wake up to destroyed gardens or crops that were in perfect condition when they went to bed.
Deer feeding times during winter
The season affects deer feeding time. In winter, food for the deer is scarce. They prepare for this season by eating more food before it turns cold. They are more active during the fall in searching for food and preparing for the winter season. Fall is also the mating season for deer. During this season, deer feed more during the day than night time.
During the spring when plants, trees, and other vegetation are abundant, the deer feed more during night time. They are back to their regular feeding times as compared to their feeding times during the winter.
What do deer eat?
Deer eat almost anything; they are herbivores so they eat leaves, bark, and any other parts of a tree or other vegetation. They are not picky eaters and among staple deer foods are grass, twigs, alfalfa, nuts, fruit, fungi, and acorns.
Even if they eat almost anything, they have their favorite foods. They like fruits such as apples and persimmons, and nuts such as hickory and pecans. Bad news for homeowners—deer also like vegetables, flowers, and ornamental trees.
If you are taking care of deer, avoid giving them corn. Corn contains high levels of carbohydrates which are hard to digest by the deer’s complex digestive system. They may get seriously sick, which could end up in death. Corn is the worst kind of food for deer.
Supplemental deer food mixes
If you plan to feed deer with supplemental food, feed them formulated deer food mixes. These kinds of foods are a combination of oats, soybeans, alfalfa, molasses, and are enriched with vitamins and minerals. Each component is easy to digest, so they are perfect for supplemental feeding.
Most deer owners provide supplementary food during the winter season when normal deer food is scarce. But before they do it, they slowly introduce this kind of food because the deer are not used to it. They gradually mix it with the traditional deer food until they get used to it. It usually takes 3-5 weeks.
Deer feeder kits
Deer hunters use deer feeder kits to entice these animals to get into the target area. These are best used during the winter season when deer food is scarce. However, it is important to note that deer like acorns. If you place the feeder kit on an area that’s abundant in acorns, deer will choose acorns rather than the feeder kit.
Among the best-selling deer feeder kits on the market today are the Moultrie Pro Hunter Quick-Lock Feeder Kit, On Time 11113 Lifetime Elite Feeder Timer, Banks Outdoors Feed Bank Gravity Feeder, and Moultrie Deer Feeder Classic Tripod. Choose a good feeder model to effectively attract deer for hunting or for observing.
Hunters are likely to spot deer when they are roaming around looking for food, usually at night, which is the time when deer are most actively looking for food. With proper timing and an effective feeder kit, you should be able to achieve your deer hunting or observing goals.