Do Whitetail Deer Favor Corn Or Soybeans? An Analysis.



Whitetail deer prefer soybeans over corn. Soybeans provide better protein, nutrients, and energy.

Whitetail deer are one of the most hunted species in north america. They thrive in rural and suburban areas and have a diverse diet that includes various fruits, vegetables, and crops. However, their preferences for certain foods are well-known among hunters and wildlife enthusiasts.

Among crops, corn and soybeans are two of the most popular that deer feed on. While both grains have their benefits for deer, soybeans are preferred over corn. This is because soybeans have higher protein content, more nutrients, and greater energy levels compared to corn. In this article, we will explore why whitetail deer prefer soybeans over corn and what this means for farmers and hunters.

Do Whitetail Deer Favor Corn Or Soybeans? An Analysis.


Environmental Factors

Environmental factors play a significant role in the foraging behavior of whitetail deer. The impact of climate and soil conditions on crop growth can affect food selection. Studies have shown that environmental factors can influence deer foraging behavior without explicitly mentioning specific crops like corn or soybeans.

For example, deer may favor certain areas with more cover or proximity to water sources. Understanding how different environmental factors can affect food availability is essential for landowners looking to manage their land for wildlife. By improving habitat and promoting diverse plant growth, landowners can maximize food availability for deer and other wildlife.

Environmental factors like climate and soil conditions are crucial to consider when looking at deer foraging behavior and food selection.

Crop-Specific Factors

Deer have a unique taste when it comes to food selection, particularly corn and soybeans. Crop maturity, stage of growth, and plant parts can all influence their preferences. For instance, while corn is highly digestible, chemical compositions present in soybeans make it a valuable source of protein and essential amino acids.

A study published in 2016 highlighted that in the early season of crop growth, deer showed preference towards soybeans due to their high protein content. However, as the season progressed, their preference shifted to corn as it matured and became more readily available.

Another study in 2020 found that soybeans were the preferred food source of pregnant deer due to their nutrient composition, which helps in the growth and development of the fawn. Therefore, understanding crop-specific factors is essential to managing wildlife on farms.

Human-Related Factors

Human interventions such as planting and harvesting greatly affect the distribution and abundance of crops, which in turn impacts deer food preferences. Studies have shown that deer prefer corn over soybeans due to the higher sugar content of corn, but human-related factors can still influence their selection.

For instance, if soybeans are planted earlier than corn, they may be more attractive to deer, who often feed on the youngest and most nutritious crops available. Similarly, if corn is harvested before the soybeans, deer may have no choice but to consume soybeans if they still need to fatten up for winter.

These factors can contribute to changes in deer behavior and food preferences, and should be taken into account when managing deer populations in agricultural areas.

Cross-Species Competition

Herbivores and predators can influence deer’s food preferences leading to cross-species competition. Deer may adjust their food selection to avoid competing for limited resources. Studies reveal how cross-species competition impacts deer’s foraging behavior. In one study, deer avoided areas with coyotes and selected higher nutrient content plants.

Another study found that deer preferred soybeans over corn when cattle were present due to cattle’s tendency to graze on corn. Therefore, the presence of other herbivores or predators can influence deer’s dietary choices. This competition may prompt deer to switch to less-preferred food sources, ultimately impacting their health and survival.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Do Whitetail Deer Prefer Corn Or Soybeans?

What Do Whitetail Deer Eat Primarily?

Whitetail deer are primarily browsers and consume a variety of plants and woody vegetation. Their diet consists of forbs, leaves, twigs, and fruits of trees. They also graze on agricultural crops like corn and soybeans if available in their habitat.

Which Is Preferable To Whitetail Deer, Corn Or Soybeans?

Whitetail deer have a strong preference for soybeans over corn. Soybeans contain more protein than corn and provide more essential nutrients that are vital for their growth and development.

Why Do Whitetail Deer Consume Corn And Soybeans Instead Of Wild Foods?

Corn and soybeans are high-energy foods that provide a high-calorie diet for deer particularly during fall and winter seasons when natural food sources are scarce. Also, these crops are abundant and easy to access in agricultural fields.

Do Whitetail Deer Eat Corn And Soybeans All Year Round?

Whitetail deer primarily eat corn and soybeans during fall and winter seasons when natural forage is not available. During spring and summer, their diet consists of a variety of plants and vegetation.

Do Whitetail Deer Cause Damage To Crops Like Corn And Soybeans?

Whitetail deer are a major cause of damage to corn and soybean crops. They can cause extensive damage to crops by consuming vegetation, damaging roots and breaking stems. Thousands of dollars are lost annually due to crop damage caused by deer.


Throughout this blog post, we’ve explored the question of whether whitetail deer prefer corn or soybeans. While both of these crops are popular among hunters and farmers alike, it seems that the answer is not quite clear-cut. While corn is certainly a favorite snack for deer, research suggests that soybeans may actually be a better option for attracting them to your land.

However, it’s important to remember that there are a variety of factors that can impact deer behavior, including the time of year, competition from other deer, and the availability of other food sources. Ultimately, the best way to attract deer to your land will likely involve a combination of food sources, habitat management, and other strategies that take into account the unique characteristics of your property.

With careful planning and attention to detail, you can create an environment that is sure to lure in even the most elusive whitetail.

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