Black-tailed Deer
Feeding Signs

 

Deer feed on a variety of plants. Their diet changes with the seasonal availability of certain foods. Some foods, such as the leaves and bark of evergreen species, are available year-round. Other foods, such as berries and acorns, are seasonal. Due to the high nutritional value of nuts and acorns, deer may feed almost exclusively on those during the times when they are available. The photos on this page show some of the common feeding signs left behind by deer.

Blacktailed deer feeding sign on twig. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Deer lack the top incisor teeth that other animals have. Thus, they make rough cuts when they eat stems such as this one. Rabbits have sharp upper and lower teeth and can clip off the twigs cleanly. When you see rough edges like this, and find them at a height a deer could reach, you are looking at deer sign.
   

Blacktailed deer feeding sign on willow leaf. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

This leaf has some interesting scars that tell which species was feeding on it. Notice the scars are in lines and end at the jagged tear. The deer gripped the leaf in its mouth and then bent its head upward, trying to tear off the leaf on the edges of its lower front teeth. These teeth scraped across the leaf surface, leaving the scars you see here. The tip of the leaf was torn off and eaten.
   
Blacktailed deer feeding sign on blackberry leaf. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
Deer love to eat the new leaves of blackberry plants. When the leaves are young, the spines are soft and easy to eat. The older leaves are also eaten, but the large spines are avoided, as you can see in this photo.
   

Blacktailed deer feeding sign on willow leaf and twig. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

A willow twig and leaf both showing signs of deer foraging. Deer have a preference for willows. Notice the leaf bud on the twin, indicating that a new leaf will soon grow here.
 

Blacktailed deer feeding sign on willow twig and leaf. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

A deer browsed on this willow leaf and twig. Notice the rough cut of the twig and the torn leaf. Rabbits cut leaves cleanly with their sharp teeth.
 

Blacktailed deer feeding sign on willow leaf and branch. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Another browsed willow. Deer feeding signs appear more messy than those of rabbits.
 
Blacktailed deer feeding sign on blackberry vine. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
This blackberry branch had all its young, soft leaves browsed. Deer love the new leaves as they lack prickly spines found on older leaves.
 
Blacktailed deer feeding sign on blackberry. Burdock on right. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
These older blackberry leaves were eaten by a deer. The plant on the right is a burdock, whose seeds stick like Velcro to passing animals' fur and are thus transported to another growing location.
 

 

For more deer signs, see the:

Deer Rutting Signs page.

Main Deer Tracks and Signs page

Deer Scats page 1

Deer Scats Page 2

Deer Bucks Photos

 

Find deer posters, greeting cards, postage stamps and more in my new store.

Now available: "Animals Don't Cover Their Tracks - An Introduction to Animal Tracking" on CD! (Version 3.0) New drawings, more species, more photos, more extensive sections on tracking humans, more detailed directions for plaster casting, mystery tracks section, tracking stories section, and more. The CD features over 100 species, including special bonus sections with the tracks of some African and Australian animals. A large section on tracking lost people for search and rescue is included, with over four pages of photos showing the details of tracks and signs people leave. Easy to use format. This web site is limited by bandwidth, but the CD-ROM is not. The CD is available in my online store at: www.dirt-time.com  Works with Mac or PC. Happy tracking!!

What else can you find in the nature store? Beartracker's animal tracks coloring book, T-shirts, sweatshirts, journals, book bags, toddler and infant apparel, mouse pads, posters, postcards, coffee mugs, travel mugs, clocks, Frisbees, bumper stickers, hats, stickers, and many more items. All with tracks or paw  prints, or nature scenes. Custom products are available. If you don't see the track you want on the product you want, email me and I can probably create it. Proceeds from all sales go to pay the monthly fees for this web site. You can help support this site as well as get great tracking products! Thank you!

 

Find other tracking products: www.zazzle.com/tracker8459*

 

 

Also visit these fine stores for more products of interest:

NDN Pride shop - For Indian Pride items for all tribes. Custom items available on request.

ASL Signs of Love - For anyone who uses or is learning ASL, American Sign Language. Custom name items and more are available here.

Sales from all stores give commissions to Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den, which helps keep this site online as a free service. We are celebrating ten years online this year!

 

 

Looking for a Gift? This site lets you customize a gift card with your own photo. Commissions earned when you buy from this link help keep Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den online! Thank you!

 Gift Card Lab - Create Photo Gift Cards Online

 

 

 

If you wish to help keep this site online, donations are accepted through PayPal.
Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den is provided as a free service, but your
donations are sincerely appreciated to pay the monthly hosting fees.
If you do not wish to donate, we do have a store where you can purchase
custom tracking items.
Thank you and happy tracking!

 

 

 

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tracker777@hotmail.com

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Copyright 1997, 2008, 2010. Text, photos, and drawings by Kim A. Cabrera

Updated: November 20, 2010.

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