What are some common food sources for deer in urban areas?

By Grant Woods,

  Filed under:

← Grant's AnswersHunting Tactics
Dr. Grant Woods,

I am a relatively new bow hunter but it’s something I love doing. I have just recently found your videos and not stopped watching them. While watching your videos I thought up a few questions I would like to ask.
First to set the scene I am a college student at Husson University which is located in Bangor, Maine. The majority of hunting I do is in the expanded zones which are made up in the city limits. Maine has harsh winters and limited sources of food especially in the city.
My question for you is how would I go about finding a food source for white tails in the city? There aren’t many farms or orchards and few sections of woods here and there. From what I can tell the deer travel large areas eating from what they can find. Do you have an suggestions?
Also how you talk about food, cover, and water quite often I was wondering what you would consider a good water source for deer? Would they drink from small creeks going into swamps, or how would you know what type of water they would go to?
Attached is a photo of me with my first deer I took this past year. He is a young buck that I grunted at three times while in a field and he came running right towards me. I love watching your show and your work has inspired me to work with wildlife after my time as an officer in the Army.
Thank you for your time and hope you and your family have a wonderful hunting season.


Devin West


Thank you for your service to the USA!!!  

Deer living in urban environments often eat landscape plants that are heavily fertilized!  Many of these plants are very nutritious.  Damage to landscape plants is a common reason deer bag limits are very liberal in urban areas.  The best way to determine what deer are eating in any habitat is what I call scouting from the skinning shed.  This simply means inspecting the rumen (stomach) content of a hunter harvested, road killed, etc. deer.  This information is current and 100% accurate for that location because deer are selective feeders. They tend to eat the best food available within their range. 

There’s often plenty of water sources in urban environments. I’ve had my best success hunting cover or travel zones in urban areas.  Cover can be any undeveloped area.  I prefer hunting where deer enter/exit cover than going inside areas of cover and alerting deer.  

Urban deer can be very challenging to hunt. Congratulations on tagging a buck. It sounds like it was an exciting hunt!

Enjoy creation,


November 11, 2015