The Northeast-Midwest Territories of Whitetail Deer

Northeast/Mid-West Deer

White Tail Deer Diet
A white tailed deer's diet will drastically change as the year goes on. The transition from green foliage in the summer, to twigs and sticks in winter is a gradual process.

These areas contain many forests, which house two very important trees: the oak and the white cedar. The oak is very important in the fall because it drops its acorns to the ground. Deer love acorns, and they are rich in carbohydrates, which helps the deer develop their fat reserves. Acorns also stay on the ground for a long time; thus they are a great food source in the middle of winter, when all the other plants have died.

Where available, the white cedar plays the most important part in a deer's diet. The white cedar is a conifer, which means that it does not lose its leaves in the winter. It is also very rich in nutrients. Thus, the white cedar is an excellent year round source of nutrition.

During the winter, deer head toward pine tree plantations, where warm shelter is available. There, they eat anything available and often will dig through deep snow to uncover food. In these plantations, cedar and hemlock are an important part of the deer's diet.

The rest of the seasons provide many feeding options. There are very few droughts in these areas. Thus the only real problems stem from overcrowding and overgrazing of food. However, this too is seldom a problem, due to the abundance of foliage.

Here is a chart of Northeast and Midwest Deer feeding options:



aspen American Yew
blackberry dead leaves
blueberry dogwood
cherry hemlock
crabapple lichens
juneberry mountain ash
mountain ash white cedar
mountain laurel wintergreen
red maple  

Southwest Deer

Whitetail Deer Food
Leaves become a valuable food source to deer during drought and winter.

The winters of the Southwest are very mild which causes few problems with food supplies. However, droughts occur frequently in this area and that can cause most of the plant life to die, which severely limits a deer's choices for food. The lack of water also dehydrates a deer.

The Prickly-pear Cactus is found across the US. This plant is very important to Southern deer, just as the white cedar is to Northern deer. The cactus, which is able to survive year round, is also rich with water and can prove very essential during the dry days of a drought.

Below is a chart of Southwest Deer feeding options:




aster acorns broadleaf plants
blackberry cornstalks clovers
broadleaf plants honey locust dewberry
browse palmetto berries honeysuckle
clover pawpaw fruits inkberry
dewberry persimmon fruits leaves
herbaceous plants   ryegrass
mints   stems
mushrooms   supple jack (where available)
ragweed   wheat/grass
browse food    
French mulberry    
gall berry    
wild plum    

Southeast Deer

Deer Hunter
In the transition from fall to winter, bowhunters have to change their tactics and specific hunting locatins to fit the new lifestyle of the deer that the seasons bring. Hunter shown wearing Lost Camo.

The Southeast also presents very few problems for hungry deer. The winters are never severe, and the area is covered with a wide variety of foods. Overpopulation is the limiting factor in food availability. However, overpopulation seldom causes shortages severe enough to kill a majority of the deer population. Usually, it just forces deer to eat less healthy foods, which leads to malnourishment later in life.

Fall foods are available for a longer time in the Southeast, since the mild winter does not kill the plant life.

Below is a chart of Southeast Deer feeding options:


Popular Foods of the Southeast





acacia acacia seeds acorns
ash acorns chickweed
chickweed beans honey locust seeds
clovers coralberry lechuguilla
grapes grapes plain leaf puss toes
oak Mexican persimmon fruit spurge
oranges mountain mahogany various grasses
partridge pea saltbush  
persimmon sumac  

Popular Foods of the Northeast and Midwest Deer

American beech American plum bearberry big sagebrush
black cherry black haw cliff rose common persimmon
cucumber tree curl-leaf mountain mahogany crabapple dandelion
downy serviceberry Douglas fir elderberry juniper
high mountain blueberry honey locust honeysuckle mountain ash
mountain laurel mountain snowberry prickly bear cactus porcupine sedge
purple-flowering raspberry quaking aspen red alder red clover
red huckleberry red maple Sitka willow smooth sumac
sweet bay tall cinquefoil basswood white oak
white pine winter berry wintergreen witch hazel
yellow birch yellow poplar yellow skunk cabbage yellow sweet clover


Common Spring Foods for Whitetail Deer

alfalfa aster Big-leaf gallberry bitterbrush
blueberry bluestem cinquefoil clover
corn crabapple curly mesquite dandelion
greenbrier honeysuckle jewelweed lespedeza
magnolia may hawthorn New Jersey Tea plantain
poison ivy pokeweed red maple sassafras
serviceberry speedwell sunflower tall dropsied
teaberry trailing arbutus wild strawberries willow


Common Summer Foods for Whitetail Deer

alfalfa aster bearberry blackberry
black-eyed Susan blueberry bluegrass cabbage palm
corn crab apple dogwood elderberry
ferns green brier jewel weed mushrooms
red maples sasafras soy bean sumac
sunflower wheat grass wild grape wild rose

Common Fall Foods for Whitetail Deer

acorns arrow leaf sida aster bittersweet
black gum blueberry clover coralberry
crabapple creaping blueberry dogwood elderberry
goldenrod grasses greenbrier holly
honeysuckle lespedeza live oak maple
mat euphoribia mushrooms oak palmetto berries
persimmon plains love grass puss toes red raspberry
sassafras snakeweed snowberry sumac
sweet fern teaberry wheatgrass wild cherry
wild grape wild rose wintergreen witch hazel


Common Winter Foods for Whitetail Deer

acorns apple ash aspen
aster bearberry black gum blueberry
coralberry crabapple dogwood fir
goldenrod greenbrier hawthorn hemlock
honey locust honey suckle lady's tobacco live oak
mints oaks Oregon grape persimmon
plantain poison ivy poplar puss toes
red maple sassafras snakeweed snowberry
speedwell spruce strawberry striped maple
sumac swamp ironwood teaberry white birch
white cedar white pine vwild rose willow
wintergreen witch hazel viburnums yellow birch


Trees & Shrubs

Annuals & Perennials

Bulbs & Climbers

American Holly ageratum clematis
barberry black locust astilbe daffodil
blue spruce barrenwort iris
fox wood bleading heart lily-of-the-valley
bridal wreath butercup tiger lily
butterfly bush columbine wisteria
Douglas fir lavender  
Japanese Andromeda marigold  
magnolia pear Oriental Poppy  
rose-of-sharon rue anemone  
smoke tree sage  
wax myrtle snapdragon  
weeping birch zinnia  


Garden Prairie, IL
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