Deer are not particularly fussy eaters so you may find attracting them isn’t all that difficult. In winter, deer tend to live on the buds and twigs of shrubs and saplings. They prefer edge habitat (the area at the edge of a forest that leads to a meadow) since these areas contain a lot of young trees and shrubs for them to eat. Deer like forest clearings for the same reason. Mature forests don’t have enough small trees or shrubs to sustain themselves.
In the summer, deer supplement their diet with young grass and plants such as jewelweed, asters and goldenrod. They might also snack on elderberries and raspberries. A wildflower meadow will also add to their food sources.
In the fall, deer will eat fruit where available. Apples are particularly attractive to them, but you can also plant cherry, blueberry or blackberry.
Trees such as hemlock, cedar and fir are good for deer. They also like mountain, striped and red maple, sumac, oak, mountain ash, aspen poplar and willow. A winter of heavy snow can devastate deer populations if there isn’t adequate cover for them. A large clump of cedars can provide both food and shelter.
Check our plant encyclopedia to see which of the above-mentioned plants are native to your particular area. By choosing an assortment you should be able to please the local deer population.