Winter Deer Foods
The following is a partial listing of tree and shrub species that are eaten by deer in the winter, arranged in order of quality and preference. This listing is based on thousands of observations in deer wintering areas over many years from all parts of New York State.
|Preferred or Best Liked|
|Cedar, white or arborvitae||Yew||Apple|
|Wintergreen||Witch hobble||Flowering dogwood|
|Alternate leaved dogwood||Basswood||Staghorn sumac|
|Elderberry||Red berried elder||Mountain ash|
|Highbush cranberry||Highbush blueberry||Willow*|
|Silky dogwood||Red osier dogwood||Honeysuckle|
|White ash||Sugar maple||Oaks*|
|Black birch||Yellow birch||Hickory|
|American chestnut||Black cherry||Witch hazel|
|Black walnut||Shadbush, Winterberry||Lowbush blueberry|
|Wild grape||Bush honeysuckle||Leatherwood|
|Starvation or Poor Food|
|Scotch pine**||Pitch pine**||White pine**|
|Red pine**||Beech||Aspen or poplar|
|Mountain laurel**||Rhododendron**||Gray birch|
|Paper birch||Musclewood (Blue beech)||Ironwood (Hop hornbeam)|
|Grey-stemmed dogwood||Red cedar||Balsam**|
|Raspberry and blackberry||Sweet fern||Pin cherry|
|Sheep laurel||Tamarack||Gooseberry (current)*|
*There is considerable difference in palatability and preference of the different species of this genus.
**This species is often browsed heavily enough to appear to be second choice food in areas where winter food is inadequate.