Do Deer Eat Burr Oak Acorns? (Everything You Need To Know)


There are a lot of myths out there about what deer do and do not eat. One common question is: do deer eat burr oak acorns?

Deer love to eat burr oak acorns because of their taste and easy access. While burr oak acorns are not a common part of a deer’s diet, they provide vitamins and protein which aid in deer health.

There’s a bit more to learn about deer eating burr oak acorns which we’ll cover in today’s guide. Read on for more info.

Why Do Deer Eat Burr Oak Acorns?

Deer love to eat burr oak acorns because they like the taste and they fall on the ground, so they’re easy to get at.

Why is this?

Burr oak acorns are very sweet and don’t have as much of bitter tannins like some other acorn variations do, so deer greatly prefer them.

Additionally, burr oak acorns are rather large, so the deer gets more food versus eating smaller acorns.

Deer usually feed on burr oak acorns between in autumn and winter.

Once burr oak acorns initially freeze and begin to thaw, they’ll start decaying and deer will ignore them.

Additionally, deer will consume a wide variety of foods like burr oak acorns based on opportunity.

If you’re not convinced, leave some burr oak acorns out for deer to eat and wait to see what happens!

Are Burr Oak Acorns Good For Deer?

When deer eat burr oak acorns it provides them with a good blend of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber, along with the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamins A, B6, & E
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
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These vitamins and minerals provide deer with many benefits.

Manganese assists deer in growth, respiration, and reproduction.

Potassium is great for deer because it helps maintain good pH balance and aid in proper digestion.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins For Deer

Vitamins A, D, E, K, and calcium are fat-soluble, so they can be stored in the deer’s fat and liver to be used later as needed.

This means that vitamin A content from deer eating burr oak acorns can be “stored up” for later use, which is highly beneficial.

Water-Soluble Vitamins For Deer

Vitamin C, B Vitamins, niacin, folic acid, and potassium are all water-soluble, which means they cannot be stored, so they must be replaced continually.

So a deer that eats burr oak acorns for the potassium content must continue to consume foods that contain these necessary vitamins to stay healthy.

How To Feed Deer Burr Oak Acorns

There are a few things to keep in mind when feeding deer burr oak acorns: the size of the portion, your scent, and how many deer you’re feeding.

Make sure to place the burr oak acorns on the ground where they’re visible and can be easily reached by deer.

If you’ve got a burr oak tree, the nuts will naturally fall on the ground and the deer will eat them, usually after all other food resources have been depleted.

If deer are not normally around your area in winter, don’t feed them leading up to winter as they will not migrate where and when they should.

This will lead to the deer relying on you as their food source and can result in starvation.

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Should I Shell Burr Oak Acorns For Deer To Eat?

Chances are that it’s not worth it for you to spend time specifically shelling burr oak acorns for deer.

You could leave your scent on them, plus the deer’s teeth are designed to be able to eat food (or crack shells open) for food that’s best for them.

Don’t Leave Your Scent On Deer Food

Deer have a keen sense of smell that allows them to smell human scent farther than bloodhounds can, and can smell up to six different scents at once.

Deer won’t eat food like burr oak acorns if they have a strong human scent on them, so you should take care to minimize your trace.

You can do this by rinsing the burr oak acorns and also washing your hands with antimicrobial soap.

Alternatively, you can put a few drops of apple cider vinegar on your hands when handling food you’ll be giving to the deer.

Another easy option is to use gloves when handling burr oak acorns for deer to eat.

Consider The Amount Of Deer You’re Feeding

If you have lots of deer in your area, think twice about putting out food continuously for them.

If you bring deer together at the same feeding site, it can increase their risk of contracting chronic wasting disease or other communicable diseases from each other.

Can Deer Eat Burr Oak Acorns? Wrapping Things Up

So, do deer eat burr oak acorns?

The answer is yes.

Deer will consume burr oak acorns whenever they can because they’re easy to get, large in size, and deer benefit from the vitamins and minerals found in them.

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Have any observations to add to the discussion? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.

Check our our other helpful deer food guides while you’re here:

  • Do deer eat black walnuts?
  • Do deer eat hickory nuts?
  • Do deer eat chestnuts?
  • Do deer eat peanuts?
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>