Deer Food: Grape (Vitus spp.)
Class: browse; preferred by deer
Description: There are many species of grape throughout the white-tailed deer’s range, but all species seem to serve as good sources of deer forage. In areas with high deer populations, grape leaves will not be found within the reach of a deer, but foliage can be found higher in brush and tree canopies. Common grape species include mustang, post oak, and muscadine.
Grape plants are vigorous and clump forming or high-climbing woody vines occurring on moist sandy soil and loose clay soil in both bottomlands and uplands. Most grape species are very aggressive, often outcompeting other vegetation in an area.
Grape plants are usually found along fence rows, adjacent creeks, and within forested areas. Growth can be encouraged on properties managed for white-tailed deer by loosely stacking brush piles so that small, protected grape plants can establish with the physical protection of the pile and then grow outward where deer can consume the leaves.
The fruits are also eaten by many birds and mammals, including deer and wild hogs. These animals will plant the seeds of the highly sought after fruit directly into the areas they frequent, such as brush piles!
Mustang (2 photos above)
Post oak (above)