Do Deer Eat Pumpkins?


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If deer enjoy visiting your yard occasionally, it’s never a bad idea to leave them a few samples of foods that they can enjoy.

Deer like a variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, so if you’ve ever wondered, do deer eat pumpkins, the answer is a definite “yes.”

Deer love pumpkins, in part because of their sweet taste and partly because they can eat most parts of the pumpkin, including the flowers, leaves, seeds, the squishy part of the rind, and of course the pumpkin “guts” themselves. Pumpkins are also good for deer due to their vitamins and minerals, so there’s an extra benefit when you feed deer pumpkins.


When Do Deer Eat Pumpkins the Most?

While deer love pumpkins, their feeding patterns will change depending on what season it is.

For example, when it’s summer time, deer usually go for the leaves of the pumpkins first, while you’ll usually find them feasting on the fruit itself once fall arrives.

As with most other fruits, pumpkins are seasonal, so you won’t be able to feed your deer pumpkins 365 days a year.

Nevertheless, you can count on the deer in your yard eating the leaves and the fruit during the summer and fall months for sure.

This means that after you make that pumpkin pie, you don’t have to put the leftovers in the trash can. Just leave them out for the deer instead!

If you love the idea of providing the deer around your property with a steady supply of pumpkins, the best option is to cut the pumpkins open so that it’s easier for them to get to the “meaty” part.

Pumpkins usually have hard shells and therefore can be difficult for deer to eat, but if you smash them open first, the deer will come out in droves to feast on these tasty fruits.

If you love seeing deer visit your backyard and you want them to keep coming, all you have to do is smash open some pumpkins and scatter them around the area, and it shouldn’t take but a few days for them to start their visits to your yard.

Are Pumpkins Good for Deer?

Not only is it easy to get deer to eat pumpkins, but it’s also a very healthy fruit for them. Pumpkins have a lot of ingredients that make them taste good and provide numerous health benefits.

For instance, pumpkins have a lot of fiber, as well as potassium and vitamin C. The “meaty” part of the pumpkin has a lot of fiber, which helps make the deer’s bones nice and strong.

The pumpkin seeds have a lot of fats in them, which help the deer stay healthy and full when winter comes and food is scarce. Pumpkins also have a lot of beta-carotene, which is good for warding off cancer and other diseases.

Pumpkins are heart-healthy and can help prevent and control various illnesses, including eye problems and diabetes, which makes them a very nutritional food to eat both for deer and for humans.

pumpkin field

While it’s obvious that deer love pumpkins and will eat them every chance they get, it’s also good to know that this food is good for the deer and can help them lead long healthy lives.

Pumpkins also contain a lot of water, which keeps deer nice and hydrated.

But if you’re going to leave pumpkins out for nearby deer, make sure that there is nothing harmful attached to it (think wax and/or candles when you made your jack-o-lantern) and that there’s no mold on it that could make the deer sick.

Other Things to Remember

Of course, when your goal is to keep deer out of your yard, you might want to consider not having pumpkins anywhere in the area.

Keep them inside until you’re ready to throw them away, and keep them in a secure garbage can afterwards.

And this goes for keeping away other animals as well, because some of the animals that love pumpkin include raccoons, badgers, opossums, foxes, bears, rodents, and squirrels.

It seems that humans and deer aren’t the only ones who love eating pumpkins!

But if you just want to look at the deer and not have them visit your yard, take the pumpkins out to a forest or woody area and leave them there for the deer and other wildlife to consume.


While deer eat pumpkins because their diets consist mostly of fruits and vegetables, keep in mind that it isn’t just the fleshy “meaty” part that they’ll eat.

Indeed, deer will eat the seeds, rinds, leaves, and vines of the pumpkin, so whatever part you decide to leave out for them, they’ll devour it in no time.

Make sure that the pumpkins you set out for the deer are good for them and have no mold, and remember that these fruits are usually only there during the summer and fall months.

Pumpkins also help prepare deer for the upcoming winter season, so there are a lot of advantages to giving pumpkins to deer.

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