Hackberry Provides Good Browse and Mast for Deer


Hackberry provides solid white-tailed deer browse food

Deer Plant: Hackberry / Sugarberry (Celtis spp.)

Class: browse; preferred

Description: A small to medium-sized tree with a spreading irregular crown found on moist soil in stream and river drainages, and a common invader along fence lines. Hackberry leaves are dark green above, pale with prominent raised veins below and are rather thick and stiff. The common name and variety name refer to the dense network of veins in the leaf.


Fruit is eaten by many species of birds and some mammals, including white-tailed deer. The leaves and twigs are browsed by both deer and livestock, so have a good handle of livestock stocking rates in areas where deer management is important.

Hackberry / Sugarberry Photos:

Hackberry provides solid white-tailed deer browse foodHackberry provides solid white-tailed deer browse food


Grape is Good White-tailed Deer Browse

Grape is deer browse

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. Continue reading “Grape is Good White-tailed Deer Browse”

Cedar Elm Makes for Good Deer Browse

Cedar Elm is Deer Browse

Deer Food: Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia)

Class: browse; moderately preferred by deer

Description: Cedar elm is a medium to large-sized tree with drooping branches that form a narrow to rounded crown. The plant occurs on moist soils in bottomland, upland, and even limestone sites where found. The stems may have corky wings, but do not confuse cedar elm with winged elm.

Unlike winged elm, cedar elm leaves are thicker, has the smallest leaves of the elms and is one of the few with fruit, called samaras, maturing in the fall. In addition, the top part of cedar elm leaves have a sand paper-type roughness. In the fall, leaves will turn yellow-gold in color.

White-tailed deer are fond of all elms, especially cedar elm. Where moderate to high deer populations exists, this browse plant will typically show heavy use.

Cedar Elm Photos:

Cedar Elm is Deer BrowseCedar Elm is Deer BrowseCedar Elm is Deer Browse

Elbowbush is Good Deer Browse

Elbowbush is Good Deer Browse

Deer Food: Elbowbush (Forestiera angustifolia)

Class: browse; moderately preferred by deer

Description: A perennial, small rounded shrub occurring in open fields, brushy prairies and limestone outcrops. The stems of elbowbush are often looping and appear almost vine-like in many instances.

The fruit may be eaten by some birds and mammals, but white-tailed deer use foliage for browse where this plant is found. Elbowbush’s shrubby growth form provides good cover for deer and other wildlife.

Elbowbush Photos:

Elbowbush is Good Deer BrowseElbowbush is Good Deer BrowseElbowbush is Good Deer Browse

Japanese Honeysuckle is Great Deer Forage

Japanese Honeysuckle is Great Deer Forage

Deer Food: Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Class: browse; highly preferred by deer

Description: An introduced (from Asia) woody, twining or trailing evergreen vine occurring on moist soil of bottomlands and uplands along streams, fence rows and timber edges. Japanese honeysuckle is often introduced into “wild” areas because it is used as an ornamental around dwellings. It has showy and fragrant flowers in addition to evergreen foliage.

Fruit, flowers, leaves and stems are used by many birds, mammals and insects. Deer love honeysuckled leaves and the fresh-growth of stems. Honeysuckle is a high quality forage with protein contents ranging from 9 to 20 percent and a digestibility of 75 percent. Protein content is dependent upon season and soil fertility with the highest levels reported during the cooler months of the year — when deer need food.

Japanese honeysuckle Photos:

Japanese Honeysuckle is Great Deer ForageJapanese Honeysuckle is Great Deer Forage