Do Deer Eat Pumpkins?

Basit Ali Chaudhary

Pumpkins are a favorite seasonal fruit enjoyed by many people, often associated with fall celebrations like Halloween and Thanksgiving. But did you know that pumpkins are actually popular treats among wild deer, too? Yes, deer love to eat pumpkins as well. 

While you can use various parts of the vegetable for baking sweets, deer eat it for its nutritious properties. Pumpkins are commonly found in the autumn season in the last quarter of the year. 

Deer will happily enjoy eating pumpkins if they stumble across one in the forest. Pumpkin has many edible parts, such as flowers, leaves, seeds, and squishy pieces, that provide nourishment to deer during cooler weather. 

Pumpkins are nutritious and full of health benefits as well. Not only deer but a lot of other animals also enjoy eating pumpkins.

Let’s analyze further what are the health benefits of pumpkins. What other animals also love to eat pumpkins, and what’s the reason for its popularity among deer and other animals?  

If you are a hunter, pumpkins can be a cheap way to attract deer. As strong smell of pumpkins attract deer’s.

Furthermore, if you have a garden of pumpkins and you don’t want deer ruining it, I’ll share how to keep deer out.

So, lets get started.

What is pumpkin? What are its health benefits?


Pumpkins are actually fruits, not vegetables. Most people mistakenly think of them as vegetables.

Pumpkins grow in 3-4 months and become fully mature in that time. Most people plant them in May and June, and they’re ready in October. So you’d have plenty of them last quarter.

Also, pumpkins are popular for Halloween and some cultural events, such as Thanksgiving.

Pumpkins are very nutritious and low in calories. They have a sufficient amount of vitamins A, B6, C, K and E and are a very good source of fiber as well. Other elements common in pumpkins are copper, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Not just pumpkins, their seeds are also very nutritious and rich in protein and zinc.

According to Healthline, below are nutritional facts about pumpkins:

245g of canned pumpkin serves below nutritional values:

Calories: 137

Protein: 3 grams

Fat: 7 grams

Carbs: 19 grams

Fiber: 7 grams

Vitamin A: 209% of the Daily Value (DV)

Vitamin K: 37% of the DV

Copper: 28% of the DV

Vitamin E: 22% of the DV

Iron: 18% of the DV

Magnesium: 13% of the DV

Vitamin B6: 10% of the DV

Vitamin C: 10% of the DV

Potassium: 10% of the DV

Animals that love eating pumpkins

Pumpkins are not just eaten by humans; they also have a good fan following in animals as well. Many animals find the large orange gourd a tasty treat too. Squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, chickens and birds are some common examples. 

Deer, in particular, have been documented enjoying pumpkin patches and gardens, while chickens and birds can happily peck away at whatever portions remain after the harvesting season. 

Can you feed pumpkins to deer? 

Yes, you can feed pumpkins to deer. Check the video above, where a moose is enjoying a Halloween pumpkin.

Pumpkins are a great source of food for wild deer, and you can make them even more appealing by cutting open the excess to expose the soft and spongy part inside. Because the outer layer is harder to chew and eat so, deer prefer to eat the soft inside portion of the pumpkin. Also, doing this provides greater access to nutritious content. 

Feeding pumpkins is also a helpful way to attract deer. If you are a hunter then this can be a big tip. As deer have a very keen sense of smell, keeping a few pumpkins half-cut around your property will definitely entice deer to visit your property.

Since I am fortunate enough to live right next to a forest, I had no trouble attracting animals who were eager to have this delicious treat in my yard. Alternatively, if you have an open garden, that is also a good place to drop off the pumpkins.

Do Deer love eating pumpkins?

deer eating pumpkin

Yes, without any doubt. Deer prefer eating the soft gut and often leave the hard shell; perhaps it’s hard to swallow. Pumpkins and its plant have a decent smell that attracts deer

Although it’s a fact that deer like pumpkins, it is not their only favorite food; let’s compare the situation with a self-example. Lets assume you are sitting at a dining table and have a variety of dishes in front of you, you will definitely choose one that you like the most. Likewise, deer may choose apples, nuts, corn, etc., if they have lots of other food options.

How To Keep Deer Away From Pumpkins

If you have grown a garden of pumpkins and are residing in an area with a deer population, you may be worried about deer ruining your garden. If left unchecked, deer will surely enter the garden and will ruin it. So, you must ensure the safety of your garden. In order to protect your garden from deer, you can try multiple ways. Below are a few of them:

1- Try building a 6-7 feet fence around your garden. For your convenience, you can use steel, poly steel or polypropylene fences. This will help to keep out larger animals as well that are looking to get into your pumpkins garden.

2- Try covering your pumpkin patch with some form of tree netting. 

3- Another great option for protecting your pumpkin patch is to add deer repellent plants that won’t let deer enter to your garden. Some popular examples are chives, daffodils, marigolds, oregano etc. Not only does this provide added protection for the pumpkin patch, but it also adds color and fragrance to the garden ambience. 

4- Other methods include hanging an Irish spring soap with pumpkin plants. Its strong smell will keep the deer away.

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