Will Deer Eat Oats – You Should To Know As Hunter

Will deer eat oats

We have so many kinds of animals in our nature. There are two types of animals. One is predators like tigers, lions, and wolfs, and another type is prey like cows, sheep, and chickens. One of the wild kinds of prey is the deer. Deer is a herbivore mammal that loves to eat natural foods. They have a complex digestion system that allows eating grass, grains, leaf, and other natural green foods. They have to be habituated to eating the food otherwise they cannot digest it.

So, will deer eat oats? Or do deer eat oats? This is a question that bounces into the head of those who lives in forest areas. Most hunters make bait for deer hunting. Let’s find out deer food habits about oats in a detailed discussion.

Key Takeaways

Will Deer Eat Oats Regularly?

Many of us have deer around house areas as visitors. You also may have them roaming around and wondering what would be good food to offer them. Will dear eat oats? Don’t be confused about that. Let me help you to find the answer.

Will deer eat oats Regularly


Oats, also known as Avena sativa, is a cool-season annual cereal grain and looks very similar to the other cereal grains. However, oats are a deeper green compared to the other grains.

Also, when oats mature and produce a seed head, it is very easy to differentiate them from the others as its seed head is considered a panicle while the others have a spike. At maturity, oats typically reach about 2 to 3 feet tall if the soil fertility is good.

Why Oats?

As previously mentioned, oats are highly favorite by deer and they consistently rank among the top foods consumed by deer. Oats are highly nutritious as well. In well-managed food plots with a neutral soil pH and good fertility, oats can contain more than 25% crude protein.

Oats are also highly digestible. In fact, oats are one of the most digestible deer forages on the market, with acid-detergent fiber values registering below 20%. This fiber is a measurement of the indigestible portion of the plant, so the lower the better.

When do Deer Eat Oats?

Deer have beautiful food habits. They change their course of meals after every season changes. This helps them to maintain a perfect diet balance of protein, carbohydrates, and high fat. Mainly, deer like oats in late fall to early winter. This grain is also rich in sugar and protein which makes it an attractive choice for deer.

Deer like better oats in the early growing stages. Late September to early December is the time. Deer prefer oats that grow in soil that is pH 6.0 or higher. But, do not worry. Oats have a sweetness in them.

Types of Oats Deer Like

Buck Forage Oats is a winter hearty oat. A great fall and winter food source for deer and other wildlife. Buck Forage Oats are extremely winter-lasting, drought-resistant oat designed to provide more caring growth for a longer interval of time.

Buck Forage Oats is an excellent product that has dual uses both as a cover crop and as seeds. Planting Buck Forage Oats in August will provide tender forage, providing a food source for deer into the late fall season.

Reasons Why Deer Eat Oats?

Reasons why deer eat oats

Oats are one of the favorites of deer. As they have a very normal digestion system, they go for easy food as their first priority.

There are some specific reasons to choose oats:

  • Taste: Deer love to have tasty food. They go for a nice texture and flavor for their food habit. Oats have a very tasty flavor and good smell. Not only deer but other herbivore animals are also attracted to oats. Also, oats are rich in vitamins and minerals, making them so tasty.
  • Nutritional Benefits: Deer always look for a high-quality protein diet to support muscle growth and repair. Oats contain a good amount of nutrition. Oats also have the essential amino acids for deer to function body properly. Feeding deer oatmeal provides the following vitamins and minerals:
    1. Vitamin B
    2. Zinc
    3. Magnesium
    4. Manganese
    5. Phosphorus
    6. Iron
  • Easy to digest: Oats are very simple grains rich in test and nutritional benefits. These seeds are very easy for deer to find, eat and even digest. Oatmeal also contains dietary fiber that helps with digestion and absorption easily. The time for digestion of oatmeal is relatively faster and takes about two to three hours.
  • Deer like to be pets: Another reason for deer to eat oats is to get close contact with humans. Not only oats, but deer would also love to eat any other seeds if they like and feels safe around you.

See Also: How Often Do Bucks Check Their Scrapes?

Use Oats as Hunting Bait

Use oats as hunting bait

Oats can be used as bait during deer hunting. It is a clever way to find an easy trophy rather than wasting so much time on a single hunt. As you know, deer are oats lovers. To bait them with oats, you need to be much more focused.

Employment of Bait

You need to understand deer movement if you are truly looking to hunt over bait. You need to find out a way to access and hunt that compared to predict where the deer will already be. Many hunters will throw out bait at a location that best suits their access limitations or possibility. One of the biggest mistakes hunters make is placing bait in locations that deer usually won’t access during daylight.

Will Oats Attract Other Animals?

Will oats attract other animals

Of course, oats seeds will attract other animals as well. Oats are not only favored by deer. In fact, most animals who eat green food will love to eat oatmeal. In the category of birds and other animals like sheep, dogs, pigs, and chickens, all eat oats.

As a hunter uses oats as bait, they should be careful about the baiting area. Or else, the bait will be eaten by other animals and ruin deer hunting. Deer travels both solo and in a group, but mostly in a group. So, they will avoid interacting with other animals and move to a different location. In addition, check for weather before placing the bait.

Best Foods to Feed Deer

Deer eats from natural resources. Like leaf from the tree, grain from harvest, and grass. They take their meal from almost everything that can be digested easily. Deer are used to eating oats from late fall to early winter. The seasons can influence deer’s food habits. Let’s see the best foods to feed deer.

  1. Deer Pellets: Most farm feed outlets carry feed for deer. This feed is specially formulated and dedicated for deer with consideration of their energy, protein, and fiber needs, as well as digestibility. At first, deer may not recognize these pellets as food but if introduced to small amounts of corn, oats, or alfalfa, they will gradually become accustomed to the new food.
  2. Cereal Grains: Though not as well-balanced a diet as Deer Pellets, rolled oats or coarsely milled oats are easily digested. These cereal grains reduce the possibility of problems associated with a sudden diet change. Avoid feeding pure corn, barley, or wheat as they are too high in starch and may cause digestive problems and lead to death.
  3. Hay or Alfalfa: Precaution should be taken when feeding hay or alfalfa. As deer may have problems digesting them when in starved conditions. Introduce this feed gradually and ensure natural foods are also available.
  4. Fruit & Vegetables: Although deer will eat apples, carrots, cabbage, etc. They love to eat fruits. They are like candy to a child tasty but of little value in providing a well-balanced and nutritious diet.


Can deer digest whole oats?

Even though not as well-balanced a diet as Deer Pellets, rolled oats or coarsely milled oats are easily digested. It reduces the possibility of problems associated with a sudden diet change. Whole corn and whole oats can also be used and are often readily available.

What should you not feed deer?

Like ruminants, deer have a specific blend of microbes in their stomach. This breaks down their naturally high-fiber diet. Large amounts of carbohydrate, low-fiber foods like deer corn can disrupt this microbiome leading to bouts of severe diarrhea and dehydration that could be deadly.

What will attract deer fast?

From larger plots of forage soybeans covering 10 or more acres to small parcels of broken tree canopy planted to brassica. Several crops including corn, milo, turnips, peas, clover, and alfalfa will attract and keep deer. One of the surest ways to attract deer is through oats.

Do deer prefer wheat over oats?

Wheat is planted alone in a food plot in areas of high deer density and has a short life. Leaving deer without food in late winter and spring. Oats offer more lusciousness than wheat. There are scores of wheat varieties available. Those that are for seed production are less favored by deer. You may want to feed wheat.

Can deer eat rice?

Yes, they can, but it depends on the season, available food, and how you present the rice bran. However, rice bran can deteriorate relatively fast in many environments, as they tend to mold if wet. Therefore, do that while hunting deer if you want to use them in the raw form.

Final Thoughts

Yes, oats are one of the favorite food of deer. They like eating oats in the winter. Oats have a perfect diet balance of protein, carbohydrates, and high fat. Deer take oats during wintertime. Buck Forage oats are deer’s favorite. Hunters can use these oats as bait by planning only to attract deer. Oats are tasty and easy to digest and deer would love to get treats from you.

After all these discussions, you also need to be careful about feeding deer. They have a very simple and weak digestion system compared to humans. So, do not try to offer too many oats or any other toxic food. Too many oats will result in death as deer may not be able to digest them all.

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