Deer Feeding Charts

Feeding Deer According to Solunar Data

Deer is one of the most popular animals to hunt. Hunters around the globe, especially in the USA and Canada provide supplemental feed to deer herds in order to keep them well-nourished and breeds ready for the next hunting season.

Importance of Deer Feed Chart

Feeding deer is a very delicate process. There are few questions that need to be answered before feeding. A hunter should have basic knowledge about what to feed when to feed, how to feed, where to feed, and much more. Answers to these questions are absolutely necessary in order to actually helps deer herds in staying healthy and breeding seamlessly.

Deer feeding charts answer most of the questions in a wonderful way. Deer feeding chart is based on solar and lunar position relative to location or region where you want to feed. Most importantly they tell you about timings when to or not to feed. It is a well-known fact that the positioning of the sun has a tremendous effect on the activity level of deer. It is best to feed them when they are highly active. There are two most important deer feeding times, major feeding time and minor feeding time.

Major and Minor Feeding Times

Major feeding time is when either moon is exactly overhead or exact beneath feeding location on earth’s surface. That’s when movement is maximum.

Minor feeding time is usually during sunrise or sunset, during this time period movement of deer is again high but not as high as major feeding time.

Major and minor feeding times are relative to location; hence two different locations might have different major and minor feeding times. These timings are identified using the relevant zip code.

Deer herds consume maximum feed during major and minor feed times indicated by feeding charts. It helps them to be healthy and active.

Basic of A Well Balanced Deer Diet

deer eating green plant

All deer species are generally herbivores meaning they eat plants and other vegetation as a primary source of food. There are vast varieties of vegetation available under the broader category of plants. Grasses, shoots and leaves of trees, sedges, woody plants, fruits, and much more comprise food sources available for them. Deer are known to priorities what they eat or do not eat, for example, deer only eat wood shaving when other food sources are scarce.

Different species of deer prioritize and consume different plants depending on their locations and physiological needs. In order to understand what different species eat, it is important to understand what they should eat. Three factors dictating what any species should eat include their behavior, anatomy, and physiology. Combination of earlier discussed factors differentiates their eating habits and choices from other herbivores like cattle, elk and etc.

Basic and Seasonal Deer Diet

Deer eating leaves

A step further into understating what deer eat throughout the year it is vital to differentiate between Basic Deer Diet and Seasonal Diet. The basic deer diet comprises of grass, nuts, twigs, alfalfa, and much more. Most of these are available around the year and hence are part of the basic deer diet.

However, there are many foods that are only available in certain seasons and are called seasonal diets. During the winter season, basic deer diet is available but difficult to find and that is why deer rely on woody food sources such as buds, shoots, shavings, etc. Like winter season, the summer season also offers certain summer limited food sources such as corn, acorn, and many much greener plants.

Deer herds simply love fruits and nuts. Seasonal fruits like apples and berries are very healthy for overall better health. Humans also provide supplemental feed to deer herds around the year in accordance with the deer feeding chart. There can be one of the many reasons for providing supplemental deer feed. During hunting season hunters provide feed to lure deer out in the open while during off-season feed is provided for better nourishment.

Deer Feed Requirements According to Age and Season

Like humans deer also need well-balanced nutrition during all seasons for better health and growth. Basic nutrients remain the same but their quantities and ratios vary according to the weather and age bracket they are in. Primary necessities for any deer include water, proteins, and energy. Energy can be further divided into fats and carbohydrates. They also need to consume calcium, fiber, phosphorus, and sodium as secondary nutrients for healthy growth.

The key here is to understand when and what they need most, to understand it in a simpler way nutrition calendar is usually broken down into four seasons. Each season lets you determine what feed composition and food plots are best during that particular season.

Let’s start off with

The Spring Season

deer eating grass in spring season

It is very easy to recognize the arrival of the spring season any year. With the advent of the spring season temperature of soil and air starts to raise enabling the growth of lush green fresh plantations on the floor of the forest. This is the greenest browse a deer gets throughout the year. In the early days of the spring season, deer consume lots of protein for muscle regrowth in order to recover from the harsh winter they just got out of. Bucks need excessive phosphorus and calcium as they are re-growing their antlers.

Female deer or fawns have to prepare their bodies to nurse a baby deer which can deplete their bodies of fat. Hence they need to consume excessive fatty feed to store enough of it to last the whole summer. Does need to provide protein and energy for the fetus growing inside them and that’s why they focus on food sources that are rich in protein and fat.

Summer Season Requirements

deer in the green

Summers can be really harsh for deer herds especially in the South where the temperature can go into 3 digits. Droughts and high temperatures can combine to make it hard for young deer and pregnant female deer to survive. Weather conditions are much better in the North as the temperature stays mild and water is readily available, however, requirements remain the same irrespective of being in North or South.

During summer bucks grow their antlers which are mostly calcium and phosphorus hence it is needless to say that they need an ample amount of phosphorus and calcium in their food sources. Does deliver newborn either at the end of spring or early summer depending upon the region they are in. Does consume and expend more protein and energy than any other deer species, male or female. In the early days fawns which are usually early or mid-summer days, they need a high protein diet for the rapid growth of muscles, organs, and immunity.

Fall Season Requirements

deer in the fall season

Fall is when deer herds prepare themselves for harsh upcoming winters. Along with getting ready for winter, mating season is just around the corner. Bucks prepare themselves for battles to win the best breeding mate while does prepare their bodies for upcoming pregnancy. Young fawns try to put as much fat on their bodies as possible to battle harsh winters within few weeks.

Fat is the single most important component of deer feed during the fall season as they try to develop fat sources within their bodies. These fat storages act as food sources in the upcoming winter season when food availability is scarce.

Winter Season Requirements

A side view portrait of a white tail deer walking in winter near Hayden Lake,

Quite opposite to summer, winters are super harsh in the North. Deer herds in the North just focus on surviving in extreme cold and food shortage. During the winter season their main focus is the maintain their body fat and weight and that is why carbohydrates and fats are their primary requirements.

It should not come as a surprise that like most animals deer do not grow much during the winter. They just wait patiently for spring to grow and flourish. Remains of past seasons agricultural production and woody browse become one of the major food sources. Food plots from Fall become an important source if a herd manages to get to them. Heavy snowfall and harsh weather restrict their movement and it seems wiser to stay within cover than to be out in the open.

Feeding Deer Herds for Hunting

a deer herd is near a deer feeder

Hunters often provide supplemental feed to deer herds, according to the deer feed chart, for a number of reasons. The end goal of any responsible deer hunter is to get good game without affecting the deer population.

During off-season which is usually winter season, hunters provide supplemental feed in order to help already struggling deer herds to survive. It helps young fawns and does to survive harsh weather which might die otherwise. The low mortality rate during the winter season results in a good population of deer in the coming years, hence providing better games in long run.

Hunters use deer feeders to disperse feed in order to attract deer herds towards them during hunting season. They use deer feed as an attractant to lure desirable trophies out in the open where it gets easier to hunt them.

Deer Attractants

Hunters use many different types of attractants to attract deer. One of the most common types of deer attractant is a good smelling deer feed. Deer attractants work as bait for deer. Other deer attractants may include minerals, salt licks fruits, whistles, and much more. It depends on situational requirements to determine which attractant would work best.