Do Deer Eat Pumpkins?

by Derrick | Last Updated: October 24, 2021

Have you ever worried about deers roaming your property? Maybe you have a pumpkin crop, and you don’t want it to be spoiled by the wild animals that it may attract. However, do deers like to eat pumpkins?

The deer will eat the pulp and soft parts of the pumpkin, but not the whole plant as it will damage their teeth. They will only do so if other options aren’t available during the time of year when pumpkins grow ripe enough for deer to eat them.

If you are interested in how to prevent deer from eating your pumpkins, or, otherwise, how to get them to eat them, the foods they like and don’t like, keep reading this article.

How Can I Keep My Pumpkins Safe From Animals?

Deer aren’t the only wild animals that can be on the lookout for your pumpkins. For example, animals like raccoons and opossums will also be looking for pumpkins to eat. Here is how you can protect your pumpkins from these wild animals:

  • Set up a fence around the pumpkin patch.

By protecting your pumpkin crop with a fence, you will be able to keep pumpkins safe from both deer and other wild animals.

  • Place the pumpkins away from trees.

If there are any trees in your pumpkin patch, raccoons and opossums might decide to climb them and get your pumpkins that way. By placing pumpkins further away from trees, they will be safer.

  • Keep your pumpkins out of reach.

By keeping pumpkins out of the reach of wild animals like raccoons and opossums, you can ensure that they are safe for more extended periods. If pumpkins are up high or in hard-to-reach places, your pumpkins will be out of harm’s way.

  • Make sure the pumpkins have no holes in them so that animals cannot get inside of them.

If pumpkins have any holes, wild animals may try to get inside of them. By keeping pumpkins intact with no openings, animals will not be able to access the pumpkin’s insides.

  • Avoid storing pumpkins together if you can because they will attract wild animals to one area where pumpkins are being kept.

If pumpkins are stored together, it may attract undesirable animals. If you separate pumpkins into different areas, wild animals will not be able to reach them all.

  • Keep pumpkins away from places that have water nearby.

If pumpkins are stored near a body of water, it will make their skin softer, allowing animals to easily break through them. Try keeping pumpkins as far away from places with bodies of water as possible for optimal results.

  • Cover any exposed pumpkins.

Pumpkin’s exposed flesh needs to be covered up with pumpkin leaves or hay to prevent animals from finding them quickly. This will make the pumpkins less appetizing for the wild animals.

By following these tips, you can protect your stockpile of pumpkins from potential disasters caused by hungry animals.

How To Feed Leftover Pumpkin To Deer?

On the contrary, if what you want is for the deer to eat the pumpkins that you leave them, here we will give you some tips:

  • Cut the pumpkin.

It is necessary that the pumpkin is split so that the deer can eat from it. The pumpkin’s exterior is too hard for the teeth of these herbivores. Therefore, you need to take the softer parts and reserve them for the deer.

  • Place the pumpkins where deers are likely to find them.

Deers eat at night , so it is recommended that you place this food in places near their habitats. This way, they will discover them and feed with ease. Take into account that deers tend to be attracted to areas with thick vegetation or shrubs.

  • Give the deer room to eat.

Deer are prey animals, and their sense of survival is highly developed. Therefore, if deer feel like they are being watched, they may perceive you as a threat and not eat the pumpkins you leave for them. Deers are herd animals, and deers will not come if they smell humans in the vicinity. They can sense a human presence, even when you cannot see them. This is why they often return to the garden after their first attempt at prowling around your garden or patio.

With these steps, you will be able to take advantage of the leftovers of your pumpkin. This way, you can feed the deer that are foraging, which is convenient mainly in winter when the leaves of the trees are falling, and the grass is covered with snow.

What Foods Can Deer Eat?

Deers are herbivores, and their digestive system is designed to digest plant matter only. This fact means that they cannot digest meat or other types of food.

Although deer can eat pumpkin, it is not the main food in their diet since deers can get all of the nutrients they need from grass and leaves. Nonetheless, deers do enjoy having pumpkin as a snack every now and then. Deers usually eat grass , leaves, flowers, and small twigs from trees. Leaves make up about 80% of deers’ diets in the winter months when food is scarce due to snow cover on the ground. In summer, deers’ diets consist primarily of grasses and plants.

The following are some of the most common foods in a deer’s diet:

Deer eat grass as their first food source. Since deers are herbivores, they need to eat a lot of grass in order to get enough energy for their daily activities and body functions.

Second, on the list of food sources for deer are the leaves of trees such as oak and poplar. They can also be found eating the branches of larger tree species like pines.

The third food source deer consume is acorns, which are found in oak trees. Even though deers eat oak leaves mostly in autumn when they are plentiful, they can also be found nibbling them all year long.

What Kinds Of Plants Can Deer Not Eat?

As we already mentioned, deers can eat plants, but deers must avoid some poisonous plants. These are some of the most dangerous foods for deers:

Some plants, like daffodil or foxgloves, are commonly used in medicine for their anti-inflammatory and gastrointestinal effects. However, these plants are also poisonous to humans when consumed in large doses, and even in small amounts, they can be lethal to deer.

In addition, certain plants with strong scents such as garlic and mustard are unpleasant to deer , so they tend to avoid them.

Another plant deer tend to avoid is the Japanese barberry. This shrub has sharp thorns and produces a chemical that deers don’t like, keeping them away from its leaves and branches.

Deer also tend to stay away from plants that have a high concentration of latex. This is because deers are known for breaking down this organic compound, which degrades the leaves and branches of these kinds of plants (e.g., dandelions).


Deer eat pumpkin, but they are not much of a threat to your harvest because it is not their preferred food. If deers are eating your pumpkin fruits, you can either use a fence to keep them away. Deers will not eat pumpkins from the ground if there’s a choice of green plants growing in their proximity, so worry more about raccoons or squirrels than deers.

However, if you want deers to eat your pumpkin’s leftovers or even learn how to feed deers with pumpkins, you may first want to give them some space to eat so that they don’t feel threatened by your presence.