Do deer eat pumpkin plants is a question you might have in mind if you own a pumpkin garden and have deer around your neighborhood. If you’re looking for a quick answer, then the response is yes.

Do Deer Eat Pumpkin Plants

Read this post, however, if you are curious about which portions of the pumpkin plant deer eat or prefer the most.

In addition, you will learn about keeping deer from eating your pumpkins. So, now let’s learn about do deer eat pumpkins and squash.

Do Deer Consume Pumpkin Plants?

Yes, deer consume pumpkin plants, because it is a prominent source of nutrition for deer as their diet is mostly composed of foliage and fruit. Pumpkins are a good source of energy and nutrition, as they eat the leaves, the skin, the seeds, and lastly the flowers.

– Leaves

First and foremost, you will first notice the leaves missing from your pumpkin plants if you have reasons to believe that a deer is consuming your harvest of pumpkins.


Before moving on to the pumpkins themselves, deer will consume the leaf of any pumpkin plant they may find. The greener the leaves, the fresher they are. As they would be consuming tender young branches and leaves before they get to have the chance to fully mature is a favorite activity of deer.

– Pumpkin Skin

Pumpkins with a tough outer peel are less appealing to deer as a snack. Despite this, they will still devour it in order to get to the softer center, which they prefer. The deer won’t get sick from eating pumpkin skin. On the other hand, it may be extremely bitter, difficult to chew, and dense for them to consume. 

Be mindful that the skin of any pumpkins purchased from a store may have residue from the application of pesticides. However, if you intend to leave your Jack-o’-Lantern at the of Halloween in your garden for a herd of deer to eat them, because you’re aware that they would love it, it is strongly suggested that you clean it thoroughly before doing so.

Pumpkin Skin

This will ensure that there are no lingering chemicals that are residues which could be harmful to the deer. 

Even while the mature pumpkin skin isn’t particularly appetizing to deer, they will gladly consume the young fruit when it is still unripe and green. They will be able to enjoy the skin at this point because it is tender enough.

– Seeds

As they have consumed the pumpkin’s outer part, this part contains the guts and the threadlike pile of seeds is what deer enjoy the most. The deer would consume all of that mushy, gooey pumpkin flesh in addition to the seeds since it is loaded with nutrition.


If you intend to give an old October pumpkin to a deer as a treat, you should try to leave the seeds that you scoop out intact and give them the pumpkin fruit that has been chopped up with the intact seeds because they would eat the seeds too. Basically, now you know the answer to do deer eat pumpkin seeds as the seeds are a great source of fiber to their health.

– Pumpkin Flowers

Pumpkin flowers are a favorite food of deer, as they come to hunt for food at night, these are their favorite parts. They have a delicate flavor and a pleasant aroma, much like deer like them.

If deer are given entry to a pumpkin patch that has flowers and leaves, they will eat everything off the plant and leave nothing behind. Therefore, if you are trying to know the answer for do deer eat pumpkin flowers, the answer is that deer love eating them. 

The deer are not going to wait around and will eagerly bite on pumpkin buds and petals. If you are attempting to cultivate a good crop of pumpkins, this may present a challenge for you if there are deer in your neighborhood.


What Are the Signs That Deer are Eating Pumpkin?

The signs that deer are eating pumpkin would be seeing the scat of the deer in your garden, in addition you would see the hoof prints of the deer on the soil of your harvest. Lastly, you would see the bite marks on the pumpkin.

– Scat of Deer

It’s not uncommon to see pellets in a deer’s droppings that are roughly the size of an eraser on a pencil. This would be a clear a sign that a deer has visited your garden to eat a pumpkin or two. 

Scat of Deer

You can differentiate it from rabbit droppings which typically form piles and squirrel droppings which are typically arranged in clusters.

If you see deer droppings next to your pumpkins, it’s probable that deer may be eating them, as it has entered to eat the flower first and left its dropping. Nonetheless, you must be sure to check the surrounding area too, as they do not necessarily leave droppings behind just where they are feeding all of the time.

– Hoof prints

Deer has pretty interesting hoof prints that would be left on the soil of your patch. Especially if it has been raining recently and the ground is a little damp, you might be able to notice prints on the ground or the grass in the surrounding area.

Hoof prints

There is a significant possibility that deer have eaten your pumpkins if you find deer hoof prints in the area, as the soil would be imprinted.

– Bite Mark

Pumpkins attract deer in different ways, and as a result the plants are consumed in their entirety by them. They would eat the whole things with a single visit, however, if they were interrupted as they ate it, and left the pumpkin halfway, then you would spot it with the bite mark.

But many smaller animals, such as squirrels, only make a hole in the pumpkin large enough to let their heads through in order to access the seeds. So, if you find that your pumpkin plants are gone, there is a possibility that deer have eaten them.

How To Prevent Deer from Eating Your Pumpkin?

To prevent deer from eating your pumpkin, you can build tall fences, you could install a sprinkler to activate through motions. In addition, you can even cultivate some deer resistant flowers around it, install deer netting, and even use a repellent plant. 

– Building Tall Fences

The most reliable method to prevent deer from entering your garden is to enclose it with a fence. One important requirement, though, is that your fencing must be at least eight feet tall all the way around. Whitetail deer eat pumpkins a lot, and they have the ability to do jumps up to seven feet tall.

Building Tall Fences

Note that this is because deer are capable of jumping fairly high, there is a good probability that they will be browsing around your pumpkin garden even if the fence you install is of the recommended height. In the event that a deer is starving and comes across some pumpkins, a fence that is shorter will not prevent them from leaping over to grab the treat.

– Installing Sprinklers That Are Activated by Motion

Sprinklers that are activated by motion fire water in the direction of the movement they detect in the vicinity of them. This is important because deer are easily scared by unexpected motion and loud sounds, as soon as the sprinkler starts up, the deer will be on their way out of there as quickly as they can.

Installing sprinklers is a great investment because it is a great way to keep your pumpkins safe from deer. If you’re going into the garden, you must ensure that the sprinkler you have installed is turned off.

– Cultivating Deer-resisting Plants

It’s a good idea to grow deer-resisting plants in your garden area. Planting some crops in close proximity to pumpkins can help discourage visits from deer. The deer may change their habit and seek out those raw pumpkins if they’re hungry enough. 

Cultivating Deer-resisting Plants

Nonetheless, it is a good initiative that you can take. Examples of some deer-resisting plants are Onions, Garlic, Foxgloves, Peppers, almost any herb, Fennel, Zinnias, etc. as they will not come close to the pumpkin if, of course you plant the pumpkin three to four rows ahead of the flowers.

– Installing Netting

The use of deer netting can be of great assistance because it prevents deer from eating pumpkins almost entirely. They won’t be able to consume pumpkins because the netting will prevent them from being able to put anything in their mouths, this will be like a barrier to them.

Installing Netting

However, they may still stroll all around your plants and destroy some of them.

– Using Repellent Spray

You can find a deer aversion or repelling spray that is made with natural substances such as peppermint oil, oil made from garlic, and egg particles that had been putrefied, on the internet and purchase it there. These give off a foul odor. It is likely to require quite a bit of effort to get rid of that odor if you plan to apply them to plants you intend to consume later. 

This option is better for pumpkins you plan to carve or leave out in the open. In addition, you could even create your own deer repellents by combining ingredients such as garlic, peppermint, eggs, milk, dish soap, cayenne peppers, and hot sauce.


– Which Part of the Pumpkin Deer Avoid Eating? 

The pumpkin vine is frequently the one portion of the pumpkin plant that deer will avoid eating when they are browsing for food. The reason for this is that pumpkin vines are very robust, fibrous, and hairy. The velvety or hairy portions of plants are typically avoided by deer. They will gladly pick the flowers, leaves, and fruits instead of the vine if given the choice. 

When a deer has finished with a pumpkin plant, all that is typically left is a vine. If you want to cultivate pumpkins that are robust and healthy, it’s possible that the periodic trimming of the vine of the pumpkin plant by a deer would be useful. However, if they continue to visit your plants night after night, your plants won’t stand a chance.


Every part of the pumpkin, except for the vines, is delicious to a deer’s appetite, including the blossoms and the leaves of the pumpkin.

If You have gained an understanding of which portions of the pumpkin plant deer consume as a result of reading our post, let’s summarize it:

  • Although they don’t particularly enjoy the pumpkin skin, deer will consume it in order to access the pumpkin’s flesh.
  • If the leaves are still young and green, this portion of the pumpkin plant is one of the most desirable components to deer.
  • Raw pumpkin fruit, particularly the seeds and flesh, is the part of the pumpkin that deer enjoy eating the most. 
  • If you want to know, do deer eat pumpkin leaves, the answer is yes. Pumpkin flowers also have a lot of appeal to the deer.
  • They do not consume pumpkin vines because the deer dislike their taste.

Now you have a clear idea about whether deer eat pumpkin plants. We hope that the advice we have provided will assist you in protecting your pumpkin plants from being eaten by deer.

5/5 - (17 votes)
Evergreen Seeds