A deer’s diet is chiefly tender shoots, twigs, and leaves (called browse), a wide assortment of herbaceous foodstuffs, mast, and certain fruits. Deer definitely prefer some plants over others. Some preferred deer food plants are listed in Table 1, and Table 2 lists plants Mississippi deer do not seem to prefer.
Deer like acorns, pecans, pods of the honey locust tree, wild grapes, persimmons, and a number of agricultural crops. It is important that the deer manager have a thorough knowledge of plants because the presence or absence of certain key plants is one of the methods used to evaluate deer range.
In Mississippi, deer feed mostly during the late afternoon and night. They spend the day bedded down in some suitable site chewing their cuds, resting, or sleeping. In areas not frequented by humans, deer may feed during daylight hours. An adult deer requires 5 to 10 pounds of green forage each day, depending on body size and season.