Do Deer Eat Pumpkins?

Deer eat pumpkins

Deer will eat just about anything edible if they are hungry enough. However, they do have preferences for some foods over others. Deer do eat pumpkins and they are one of their more prefered foods.

According to the University of Massachusetts, pumpkins are one of the most susceptible crops for deer damage. Deer tend to prefer the inside of the pumpkin and have been know to stomp on them to gain access to the fleshy interior.

Here is video evidence showing a deer eating a pumpkin.

Pumpkins can be recycled in your yard or compost pile. If you want the deer to eat them, we recommend splitting them open to allow easy access. Not only will deer enjoy the pumpkins, but also other animals such as squirrels and raccoons as well. (RELATED: Do Deer Eat Roses?)

Be aware that pumpkin seeds have been known to grow from animals moving them throughout the yard. You may wish to remove the seeds before you allow deer or other animals to feast on them.

How to Keep Deer Away from Pumpkins?

If you are growing pumpkins and deer are a potential problem, there are ways to protect your crop from being destroyed. Here are some of the top methods to protect your pumpkins:

  • Garden Fencing – A good fence not only makes a good neighbor, but also a good barrier for deer. By good, we mean that it needs to be tall enough so that the deer cannot jump over it, find a way around it, sneak under it, or find a hole they can climb through. Deer can jump over eight feet, so the fence is going to need to be quite tall to be sure the deer stay out. 
  • Cage or Netting – For a small crop of pumpkins, you can consider building a cage over them or draping them with a net. For example, this Bird-X netting would be a product to consider for building a barrier completely around your small pumpkin patch. 
  • Deer Repellents – Commercial deer repellent sprays are a popular method to deter deer. However, be sure to read the label to determine how and when to apply and reapply the repellant. A few repellents lose their effectiveness quickly, making them impractical in some cases. If you are planning on eating your pumpkins, be sure the spray is safe around this type of vegetation. 
  • A Dog – The typical dog will create commotion when something unfamiliar enters the yard.  Allowing the dog to roam the yard when deer are expected is a great deterrent. 
  • Motion Activated Sprinkler – When deer walk up to this type of sprinkler, their motion will turn it on. This in turn will scare them away from the area around the sprinkler. This is a humane way to deter not only deer but many other animals such as birds, raccoons, and rabbits. We recommend the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer which has both day and night detection modes.