Diet and Eating Habits

Diet and Eating Habits

Understanding the whitetail deer diet and the diet can help us track and hunt them better. It can also help when deciding where your hunting grounds are going to be. If you’re planning a trip, there’s nowhere better than a carefully-selected and maintained ranch. The amenities at Squaw Mountain Ranch provide the proper environment for whitetail deer to thrive. It cuts out a lot of the mess when it comes to selecting random areas in the wild, and hoping that whitetail deer will congregate there.

What Do They Eat?

There are three categories that define what a whitetail deer diet consists of. Each of these can be found in just about every area of the forest and other whitetail deer habitats.


These consist of wintergrass, oats, wheat, panic grasses, and other types of grass in the same category. Between every type of variable in this category, you’ll be able to spot most of them in everyday life if you zone in on your focus.


Items such as bayflower, lespedezas, spiderword, groundcherry and pigweed are all included in the whitetail deer diet. Much like various grasses, the full list of their forbs-specific foods are widespread throughout the United States, and can be found just about anywhere you look.


Possible one of the widest categories of whitetail deer diet foods: oak leaves, walnuts, acorns and honeysuckles. There are hundreds of items that fit into this category; too many to list here. Finding environments that are full of oak trees that are also nearby to ponds are certain to bring ample game your way.

Whitetail Deer Diet Habits Steer Their Instincts

Any animal’s instinct is to survive. Apart from avoiding predators, the strongest instinct they have is to gather food and water at any costs. This doesn’t mean that they will nest nearby. Bucks will travel great distances, up to 20 miles or so, just to gather food. Mature whitetail choose their nesting areas based on security. This may be the result of environmental advantages, such as higher rocky areas to provide cover, or shelter from the rain. If a whitetail really needs to eat, they’ll leave the sanctity of their bedding area no matter the cost. Their hunger drives them; capitalizing on this is going to be your best bet at intersecting them.

However, when you’re not dealing with mature buck and doe, you’ll be able to find their bedding area within 150 yards of most feeding areas. This is due to their potential for mating, finding a suitable place to bring up their fawn, and their lack of experience with avoiding predators. If you happen to find a young whitetail feeding or drinking, there’s a good chance that you’re within a football field of their bedding area.

Mature Deer Don’t Get Straight To The Point

Mature whitetail deer diet strategies rely on their sense of security. They won’t head straight to a food source. Instead, they’ll take the long way around. If you’re camping in a tree stand near a pond or stream where there are also food sources, you may see a mature whitetail walking the wrong way. This is intentional. They scout out the area for potential predators before zoning-in on their eating grounds out of precaution.

Night Vision Aids Whitetail Deer

We’ve discussed whitetail deer and their excellent night vision. They’re blind as bats during the day, so they rely on their sense of smell and hearing. When night falls, they’re more likely to head to a food source. Their night vision abilities make it far easier to remain alert at night. It’s also a great tool to avoid predators, since most predators don’t have night vision. They can see them, but the predators can’t see the whitetail. It’s the perfect condition. If you’re out on a trip and you’re dedicated to returning home with game, settling in with night vision goggles may prove lucrative.

Their Menu Isn’t Exclusive

In some instances, whitetail are just going to avoid certain areas for food. Every animal is slightly different, and their palettes are different, too. Even in whitetail deer diet habits, everything fluctuates. Some whitetail may just prefer other types of food over what’s readily available, and will travel to an area that they know well to acquire it. If you notice whitetail traveling in groups, specifically when gathering food, they may have similar tastes, so they’ll all flock one way or another.

Environmental Changes and Hunting

The big draw here is tracking them properly through their diet habits. The environment changes with the seasons, and as a result, everything about whitetail changes as well. Understand what type of vegetation is growing around the specific time that you want to go hunting. The way the seasons impact food supplies for whitetail deer greatly play into how many you’ll see, and how hungry they’ll be.

Feeding Frequency

It’s important to know how often whitetail deer actually feed, especially when tracking them. If you’re planted and they’re feeding infrequently dependent on the season, you’re going to wasting more time than you’re spending.

From April until August, the whitetail deer diet consists primarily of protein-rich foods, such as soybean plants, alfalfa, and clover. These give them the ability to bulk-up. During the fall season and in the coming weeks to it, whitetail crave energy-rich foods that help them when it’s time for breeding season.


Visually Sighting Nibbled-On Food Sources

Once you’ve associated yourself with the types of food whitetail eat, and what they look like, it’ll become second nature to see them in the wilderness. Whether you’re just walking through, or sitting in a tree stand, you’ll able to notice when weeds and other brush have been half-eaten, indicating that whitetail have bee nearby. It’s an invaluable skill for avid hunters to have. You’ll identify eating areas more easily, which makes hunting less frustrating.

The Best Ranch in All of Texas

For ideal conditions and a prime environment, there’s nowhere better in the Lonestar state than Squaw Mountain Ranch. With plenty of area to trek and a knowledgeable staff to assist you, there’s nothing to lose. Call us at (830) 275-3277 for a tour, or further information. You won’t find a better spot for trophy whitetail deer hunts in Texas.

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