Do Hawks Eat Deer?

Deers have been the victim of several species. They are on the lower part of the food chain and often become the target of carnivorous animals. But today, I’ll talk about a specific question, do hawks eat deer?

Hawks can prey on sick deer and deer fawns. However, larger deer species are not hunted by hawks due to their large size. Besides, hawks also tend to feed on dead deer if they find one.

You will find more details about the hunter-prey relationship between hawks and deer in this article. Let’s get into it without any further delay.

Do Hawks Hunt Deer?

Do Hawks Hunt Deer
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The possibility of a hawk hunting an adult deer is highly unlikely. Considering the size and speed of deer, chasing and taking on a deer wouldn’t be practical for a hawk. Even with the dangerous and skillful tactics of hunting, a hawk usually won’t hunt a large and adult deer.

However, deer fawns are fair game for hawks and other carnivorous birds. The same can be said for a sick deer. With a careful ambush, hawks can attack and kill a sick and large deer in the wild.

If there is enough food available in the wild, a hawk may not go hunting for a live deer. But when there is a scarcity of food suitable for hawks, they may search for larger animals like deer to hunt. In some cases, they feed on dead animals and roadkill animals instead of hunting.

Another thing to mention here is the particular species of both deer and hawks. There are many species of hawks and deer. Not all hawks will hunt a deer. In the same way, hawks won’t hunt all deer species.

Even though many hawks are not large enough to hunt and kill a deer, some species are comparatively larger and have occasionally hunted down deer. For instance, red-tailed hawks and cooper’s hawks are known to prey on deer.

Do Hawks Eat Dead Deer?

Do Hawks Eat Dead Deer
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Hawks often feed on dead animals, and a deer is a common animal in their diet. When other animals like bears, lions, etc., hunt deer and leave deer dead, it becomes a viable and lucky meal for the hawks.

It’s not an uncommon scene to see hawks feasting on a dead deer. Because hunting living deer can be inconvenient for hawks, they tend to enjoy leftovers of a deer from other animals’ meals.

There have been observations where hawks are seen to follow bears and other animals with the intention of feeding on the animals they kill. Because deer is a common prey of carnivorous and omnivorous animals, it can end up being a hawk meal in the end.

Note that hawks prefer to hunt their prey before feeding on them. So, eating dead animals is seen more in winter when there’s a scarcity of food available in the wild.

What Do Hawks Eat?

What Do Hawks Eat
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A hawk’s diet largely depends on two factors. The first thing to consider is whether or not the hawk is in the wild or in the city. The second factor determining a hawk’s diet is what’s available in that area.

Because of their carnivorous habit, hawks prey on other animals, usually those that are smaller in size or at least similar. Common animals to be included in a hawk’s diet are small mammals and rodent-like animals.

Occasionally, hawks tend to follow other animals like bears to get some leftovers from their hunt. That’s when they feed on larger animals like deer. Then again, it depends on the area they are in and what’s available at the time. But feasting on dead animals is not uncommon for hawks.

Another example of hawks feeding on dead animals is when they feed on roadkill. Many people have witnessed red-tailed species of hawks feast on roadkill animals, including deer. Sometimes when there is a scarcity of animals to hunt, hawks tend to search for dead animals, including roadkill animals.

What Are Other Predators Of Deer?

What Are Other Predators Of Deer
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As I have mentioned before, deer are common victims of a lot of predators. This herbivorous animal, especially the smaller species, can be considered weak and defenseless for carnivorous hunters, regardless of their size.

Let’s take a look below to understand what other species may hunt a deer other than hawks.

  1. Wolves
  2. Coyotes
  3. Bears
  4. Hogs
  5. Mountain Lions
  6. Lynxes
  7. Alligators
  8. Wolverines
  9. Humans

How Do Deers Defend Themselves?

How Do Deers Defend Themselves
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There are countless predators out there to get a deer for their meal. Hunters enjoy both hunting and eating deer. May it be a bear, mountain lion, or wolf, the deer needs excellent survival instincts to stay alive in the wild.

To save themselves from these predators, deer have developed some excellent skills. For starters, their agility is unmatched compared to most species out there to get them. A deer can run as fast as 30 miles per hour, which is way faster than most of its predators.

Moreover, deer have excellent hearing capacity too. They get extra cautious at the slightest sound, which makes it more difficult for the hunters to catch up with them. Another thing to contribute to their survival is the color of their skin. It creates camouflage in the woodland and increases the chance of their survival.

Even with all these characteristics, the number of times a deer falls victim to a hunter is very high. One primary reason behind this is that numerous predators prey on deer.

Wrap Up

So, if I’m answering the question, do hawks eat deer or not? They do. They may not hunt adult deer directly, but they certainly prey on sick deer and deer fawns. Another common encounter between deer and hawks is when hawks feed on dead deer left by other hunters.

The defenseless nature of deer makes them suitable as a prey species for most large size carnivorous animals. Small predators like hawks can also take advantage of this weak species whenever it’s possible.

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