Do Deer Dig?
Both white-tailed deer and mule deer can dig. In fact, they are pretty darn good at it. When they sense, smell something they want they waste no time getting to if, even if they must do a little excavation in the process.
How Do Deer Dig?
Deer are ungulates, which means they have hooves. Hooves are modified feet, but a hoof is engineered quite a bit different from one of our feet. Deer and humans basically have all the same parts/bones, but if humans were built like deer we would essentially be walking on the tips of our toes. A hoof is a larger version of a fingernail, toenail.
Though hooves are great for walking on uneven terrain, they are also good for digging things up, such as your yard!
Why Do Deer Dig Yards?
Deer feed on a variety of plants and trees found in our yards. Deer love fruits, flowers and new-growth stems found no shrubs and vines. I think deer often get the blame for digging up residential lawns when in fact they are not the culprit. There are a lot of other animals out there that dig too, like armadillos, skunks and even raccoons.
But deer can and will go below the surface when they need to.
Deer, bucks in particular, scrape the ground during the breeding season but both sexes will dig in search of minerals, tubers and bulbs. This makes most home landscaped yards nothing more than deer buffets. Property owners must be aware of the types of plants they establish in yard, taking steps to use plants not attractive to deer, if they wish to prevent deer digging in the yard.