Do Deer Eat Pumpkins?

So, do deer eat pumpkins? Yes, deer do eat pumpkins. They are among their favorite foods. Deer prefer the insides of pumpkins over the outside shells, so consider breaking it open before feeding it to them.

Not only do the animals consume the mature fruit, but also the leaves and pumpkin seeds. In the summer, they consume the leaves, and in the fall, they devour the fruit. 

As we all know, headlights are one of many things that attract deers, but they are more likely to be spotted grazing quietly for food in fields.

Deer are ruminant animals, like cows and sheep, and hence avid browsers. They like to feed on grasses, bushes, sedges, and, in rare instances, lichen.

What are pumpkins, exactly? 

You can tell it’s pumpkin season when the leaves start to turn brown and the first chill arrives in the air. Pumpkins are large, roundish, ribbed orange fruits that are both resilient and nutritious. They are winter squash family members, and you may have seen them carved into jack-o-lanterns when trick-or-treating.


Pumpkins are commonly grown for animal feed as well as terrifying Halloween decorations. Aside from these uses, pumpkins are healthy and give various benefits when consumed by both humans and animals. 

Do Deer Eat Pumpkins? 

Yes, deer do like to eat pumpkins and pumpkin plants. My cousin cultivated many pumpkins in her garden, and she would drive the deer away from the plot every night.

The deer gets attracted by the scent of pumpkin plants and the taste of fresh pumpkin leaves. As a result, they are lured to pumpkin fields throughout summer. 

do deer eat pumpkins

Even while deer-like eating pumpkins, it is not their preferred food. The deers also like to have foods other than pumpkins, including maize, vegetables, raw pumpkin, riped pumpkin, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, corns, beans, grass, gourd, and cultivated crops such as sweet potatoes and rye.

If you notice an adult deer not eating pumpkins, it’s either because it’s hungry or because there are many other items to eat, such as berries and maize. 

Are Pumpkins Beneficial to Deer? 

Pumpkin fruit is a very healthy fruit, even for deer. Pumpkins are not only a pleasant treat for humans and deer, but they also contain a range of nutrients. They’re high in potassium, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

deer eating pumpkin

The Fiber Composition 

Pumpkin is well-known for being high in dietary fiber. Fiber aids digestion and soothes anal gland inflammation in animals. 

Vitamin C 

Humans and deer alike require vitamins, and pumpkins provide several of them, of which vitamin C is the most crucial.

Human tissues depend on vitamin C for their growth, development, and healing. The discovery that vitamin C also improves white blood cell formation has also been made.

Excessive Fat 

Deer require fats to stay warm throughout the winter. Pumpkin provides enough fat for deer to make it through the winter. 


Pumpkin contains a lot of antioxidants, including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants shield tissue cells from the effects of free radicals. 

Suggestions for feeding pumpkins to deer 

As previously said, while feeding Halloween pumpkins to deer, you should open them up to provide easy access.

If animals frequently visit your home or raise them, all you have to do is plant pumpkins in your garden. If you live near a forest, put them in the region where they spend most of their time. 

How to feed pumpkins to deer?

Many folks are unsure what to do with their pumpkins after Halloween. The majority of people discard them in garbage cans, where they decay. Few people like to give them to animals that eat pumpkins, such as chickens, ducks, and deer.

Ducks, like humans, enjoy eating pumpkins. The favorite fall fruit of deer is pumpkins, and if you reside in an area with abundant deer, you may feed them with ripe pumpkins. 

To feed pumpkins to deer, first, crush the pumpkins open to make them easier for the deer to consume. Otherwise, deer may attempt to smash them with their hooves, which will be challenging in the case of hard-shelled pumpkins. 

6 ways to avoid the deer from eating your pumpkins

If you have a pumpkin garden near a deer population, you may have struggled to keep the deer out of your garden. Deer love to eat a variety of plants, including fruits such as pumpkins.

Deer damage your garden by nibbling on the leaves and blossoms, consuming everything you have spent months nurturing.

By following a few steps, you can keep your pumpkins off from the deer. Fortunately, there are several ways to safeguard your patch. Among these methods are:

Using the fence to defend pumpkins 

You’re not only doing your pumpkins a favor by fencing them off from deer, but you’re also keeping your neighbors happy. Since deer may leap up to eight feet, the wall should be a minimum of eight feet high.

The fence should also not allow deer to get around it, climb through it, or slip under it. Install an electric fence with horizontal wires placed at 10, 20, and 30 inches from the ground if you can afford it. 

A net should be used to cover the route 

Consider covering the pumpkins with a tent if you only have a few pumpkins or cannot afford to build a fence. Cover the pumpkin patch in such a manner that deer cannot snag the net and fling it aside. 

Deer repellents should be used 

Applying excellent quality deer repellents to the border of the pumpkin patch can go a long way toward keeping deer from destroying your pumpkins. To decide how and when to use and reapply the repellent, carefully read the label.

It should be noted that particular deer repellent knockoffs on the market wear off too quickly, making them unsuitable to use. Because certain repellents are toxic to pumpkins, spray them from a safe distance. 

Put a dog to work 

Not only can a nice furry buddy make a wonderful pet, but he can also keep dangerous deer out of your yard. All you have to do is confine the dog to the yard, and the deer will be held at bay by his roving.

Take advantage of a sprinkler triggered by motion 

When deer approach this sprinkler, their movement activates it. As a result, the deer are scared away from the area around the sprinkler. The motion-activated sprinkler not only keeps deer away but also other animals and birds. 

Plant marigolds or lavender as a flowering plant

Pumpkin patch protection is much easier when you apply these techniques. To deer, marigolds are revolting. It would help if you then placed marigolds around the perimeter of your pumpkin patch.

What if the deer is not having pumpkins? 

Last Halloween, I placed several pumpkins in my garden for the deer to eat. After a few nights, none of the pumpkins were consumed by the deer. While deer are attracted to pumpkins, they are not their favorite meal.

Other food items eaten by the deer include farm cultivated vegetables, grass, beans, corn, acorns, sweet potatoes, rye, tomato plants, sunflower seeds, squash, gourd, fruit, peanut butter, and many more.

As a result, if you observe deer not eating pumpkins, they are either famished or have lots of other food options. 

Ideas for using pumpkin as deer bait 

If you’re looking for methods to entice a deer, pumpkins could be your best choice. To attract deer for hunting or click camera photographs, you must study their movements first, the most often grazed regions, and the grazing frequency.

One of the most common errors is putting the bait in the wrong place. Even though the deer bait is simple, forcing a deer to graze where they do not want to is difficult.

Place the pumpkin bait near a recognized sleeping place. It shortens the time it takes the deer to go from their resting place to the feeding area. Cut the pumpkins into chunks and place them at the bait location.

The bait spot should be placed in such a manner that it lies between your stand and the deer’s sleeping area. Verify the deer’s typical movement path to your bait once more. 

Taking trail camera photos is less complicated than hunting deer. Once you’ve put out the little pumpkin pieces on the baiting site, you’ll have a long duration of grazing activity since the deer will spend 3-5 minutes grazing on the spot. 

Do deer enjoy other types of squash? 

In addition to pumpkins, deer look for other squashes in the garden, including the following:

• Straightneck squash 

• Pattypan 

• Butternut

• Banana squash 

• Cushaw squash 


Deer adore pumpkins, both the fruit and the plant. This is excellent news for you and them since you no longer have to throw away your pumpkin leftovers. Also, if you enjoy having deer on your property, having pumpkins nearby will help you attract them.

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!