Do Deer Eat Pumpkin Plants and Pumpkins

You have probably planted some appetizing pumpkins on your farm or garden, and one morning you notice nibbles on several pumpkins.

You may start to wonder what might be doing the damage to your plants?  Could a deer have done that?  Do Deer Eat Pumpkin? Deer absolutely eat pumpkin!  Most animals do.  We have some time-tested ways to keep deer out of your pumpkins listed below.

Short Answer:

Deer absolutely eat pumpkin

Do Deer Eat Pumpkin?

Do Deer Eat Pumpkin

The answer to your question is relatively straightforward. Yes, deer will eat your pumpkin. They will consume the guts and seeds found inside of the pumpkin fruit.

A deer’s diet is mainly fruits and vegetation, which means pumpkins are perfect for them. Deer have a unique adaptation of the mouth.

Their mouth is specially built for consuming fruits like pumpkin and vegetation. The deer will first consume some part of the pumpkin plant, such as bud, leaves, and even immature fruits. That is how destructive they can be.

However, the fully-grown pumpkin fruit may not be easy to eat because of the hard outer covering. The deer will still gnaw the skin until the fresh and soft spot is achieved and then consume the seeds and guts.

Are pumpkins great for deer?

Do Deer Eat Pumpkin

If you are trying to feed/attract deer, pumpkin is a great food to leave out.

Understand that deer love consuming pumpkin guts and leaves. That is because the plant and fruits are sweet and soft. Pumpkins are also relatively healthy for the deer, and it seems the animals have discovered this.

There are several nutrients deer get from eating pumpkins. That may include:

  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin E, C, A, and B

The pumpkin fruit is also rich in protein and water. It is the ideal source for hydration and proteins for the deer. These minerals and vitamins help the deer remain healthy and grow thick fur that helps them during winter. With these minerals, their antler and bones are much stronger.

When do deer eat pumpkins?

Deer will destroy your pumpkin plants and fruits at any time all year round. During summer, you can expect deer to eat your pumpkin plants’ shoots and eat the young fruits. During autumn, the deer will eat any mature pumpkin fruits and leaves that they come across. Usually, pumpkins are harvested during the Halloween season, and if you are not careful, you may harvest nothing.

Deer will eat to satisfaction during the summer and autumn seasons as they prepare to usher in the winter season. You may be shocked that not only will you have deer as visitors to your pumpkin farm, but you will also have other animals such as:

  • Badgers
  • Foxes
  • Squirrels
  • Opossums
  • Bears
  • Raccoons

Do Deer Eat Pumpkin Plants?

Pumpkin plants are just like similar vining vegetables. They grow fuzzy stalks, after which they produce flowers before the pumpkin fruit comes to life. Deer do not adore the fuzzy stalks meaning that the vines may not be in great danger.

However, you have to understand that deer love these pumpkin flowers. The blossoms are sweet to the deer, and they like them a lot.

Once the blossom is gone, no pumpkin will come out of that plant. The other time deer will feed on your pumpkin plants is when they are young and shooting.

Deer love these younglings, and your pumpkins will not be exceptional. That is why you need to protect the plants as much as possible. You may plant marigolds around the garden or farm as their smell may drive away deer.

Are Pumpkins Safe

You may wonder whether pumpkins are safe for deer. The raw and fresh pumpkins are safe for consumption by the deer if you plan to feed them. Instead of disposing of the Halloween jack-o-lantern, you could feed it to deer but make sure it is safe for consumption.

Get rid of the wax, candles, and scorched areas. Scattering pieces of the jack-o-lanterns for the local wildlife is more reasonable than letting them rot in your trashcan. However, you should always make sure the pumpkin is ideal for consumption.

Old pumpkins may have mold, which will sicken the deer upon consuming it. If the pumpkin has mold, you could use it in your compost at home rather than giving it to deer.

Do deer like pumpkin?

Do deer eat pumpkin

If you are still wondering whether pumpkins attract deer, they indeed do. Typically, deer love the pumpkin plant scent and also love the taste of pumpkin leaves. That is why you will easily come across deer around your pumpkin farm during summer. So, it is evident they like pumpkin and will be attracted to any place where they smell pumpkin scent.

However, even though these animals like consuming pumpkins, understand that these are not their top favorite foods. They have other priorities such as grass, corn, evergreen plants, beans, acorns, and cultivated vegetables like rye and sweet potatoes. That means if you notice the deer not eating up your pumpkins, it may be because they are feeding on something else like your corn or some juicy green grass around.

The typical deer behavior is consuming the pumpkin guts and leaving the rinds. However, after like one month, they may still come back to eat the rinds if they lack something else to eat during winter.

Do Deer Eat Pumpkin: The Verdict

The answer to “do deer eat pumpkin?” is yes, but it is not that of a priority to the deer. If there are better options to feed on, the deer will prefer that.

They prefer corn and sweet potatoes. However, the pumpkin plant has a pleasant scent that will attract deer from afar. That means during the winter, when there is scanty and less vegetation, the deer will come for your pumpkin.

There are several ways to keep the deer away at this time, including the use of repellents, among others.

Related article: Do deer eat watermelon?