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Do deer eat hickory nuts

Old 09-21-2003, 08:08 PM
  #1  
Fork Horn
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Default Do deer eat hickory nuts

Has anyone ever seen deer eating hickory nuts? This year where I hunt we have no acorns at all but the hickory trees are loaded. I know that squirrels will eat them but I' ve never seen deer eating them. Any ideas?
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Old 09-21-2003, 09:10 PM
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Boone & Crockett
 
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Default RE: Do deer eat hickory nuts

I would doubt it. I don' t think a deer could chew the hulls.
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Old 09-21-2003, 11:23 PM
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Default RE: Do deer eat hickory nuts

I asked a biologist this same question once. He told me that is unlikely because of just what timercruiser said. The shells are just too large and tough for a deer to crack or digest well. -- CDH
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Old 09-22-2003, 07:27 AM
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Fork Horn
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Default RE: Do deer eat hickory nuts

Thanks guys, that' s pretty much what I thought. Growing up we had a hickory tree in our back yard. I used to sit out there and crack them between two rocks and eat them. As hard as they were to crack open I didn' t see any way a deer could eat them. Thanks again.

Shane
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Old 09-22-2003, 08:45 AM
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Default RE: Do deer eat hickory nuts

I did pretty much agree with you guys, however a similar thread was on a different site. Quite a few people responded saying that deer will eat hickory nuts. Pignut hickory or bitter hickory was sited as the most common one that they seen being ate. That particularly variety as you guys probably know is very thin shelled. A few people even said that they would eat regular hickory nuts in years where the mast crop was limited. So it seems that deer may eat whatever they have to in certain years
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Old 09-22-2003, 11:22 AM
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Default RE: Do deer eat hickory nuts

Greg, I think that both sides are right here.
I think that hickory nuts would be very far down on the list of deers favorite foods!
I am sure that they would eat them if they were hungry enough though!
I once saw a list of East Texas deer foods, pine and yo-pon where on the list of deer foods. I think that the deer would be VERY hungry before they decided to eat either one of those foods!
So, while the deer may eat foods like hickory nuts, you would be wasting your time trying to hunt hickory areas, if there are better food groups available!
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Old 09-22-2003, 12:02 PM
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Default RE: Do deer eat hickory nuts

Deer have also been know to eat red cedar as well. That has to be very low on their preferred foods.
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Old 09-22-2003, 03:34 PM
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Default RE: Do deer eat hickory nuts

I have never seen a deer eat a hickory nut. The only thing that can eat them nuts is those tree rats.
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Old 09-23-2003, 07:47 PM
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JKT
 
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Default RE: Do deer eat hickory nuts

A number of years ago I saw a doe eating hickory nuts under one in our back field. I watched her with binoculars and am sure that' s what see was eating.
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Old 09-24-2003, 08:08 AM
  #10  
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Default RE: Do deer eat hickory nuts

I' ve seen plenty of deer eat plenty of hickory nuts. I don' t know what variety they were....one of my best stands a few years ago was in a grove of hickory trees...the deer do eat them and regularly in my area. This year is bad around here for acorns and beechnuts, there is no mast food in this area. From what I' ve seen the deer are eating a lot of beech buds/leaves, wild blueberrys/bushes, and wild cherry' s.....basically surviving off of browse. I sure hope we don' t get another hard winter, there will likely be a winter kill if we do.
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