do hawks eat deer

Do Hawks Eat Deer? The Answer May Surprise You!

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Compared to deer, a hawk’s size almost seems insignificant, so you may think that the question: do hawks eat deer is an easy “no.” However, things aren’t quite so cut and dry. 

Hawks are excellent hunters that use their sharp talons and stellar vision to scope out and attack small mammals, invertebrates, and even other birds. In some cases, yes, they’re even able to overtake a deer. 

Keep reading to find out the how and the why. 

Do Hawks Eat Deer?

Hawks are raptors, or birds of prey, which means that they use their talons and beaks to kill and eat other animals. Hawks typically eat small mammals like rabbits and squirrels, but they will also eat reptiles, fish, and insects. In rare cases, hawks have been known to kill and eat larger prey like deer.

Hawks typically hunt from the air, using their precise eyesight to spot prey from a distance. Once they have spotted their prey, they will swoop down and grab it with their talons.

Hawks usually kill their prey by either crushing its skull or by piercing its brain with their beak. While deer are not a common part of a hawk’s diet, it is not unheard of for them to kill and eat these larger animals. 

What Type Of Hawks Eat Deer?

Hawks may be predators, but they typically eat smaller animals such as rodents, reptiles, and birds.

However, some species of the hawk are large enough to take down larger prey, including deer. The red-tailed hawk is one of the most common types of a hawk in North America, and it has been known to kill adult deer on occasion.

The Cooper’s hawk is another type of hawk that is found in North America, and while it typically eats small animals, it has also been known to kill deer fawns. In addition to these two species, there are several other types of hawks that have been known to prey on deer, including the goshawk, the Eurasian sparrowhawk, and the African crowned eagle. Hawks, on the other hand, prefer smaller food.

When required, they are capable of overpowering larger animals.

Do Hawks Hunt Deer?

Deer are generally too large and agile for the average hawk to take down on its own. That said, there have been instances where hawks have been successful in hunting deer.

Usually, this occurs when the deer is already injured or otherwise unable to defend itself effectively. In some cases, a group of hawks may cooperate to take down a deer, but this is relatively rare. Overall, while hawks may occasionally hunt deer, it is not a common occurrence.

Though it is not a common part of their diet. If you see a hawk hunting a deer, it is likely that the deer is already injured or otherwise unable to defend itself.

Do Hawks Eat Dead Deer?

Occasionally, hawks may scavenge dead deer from the ground, but hawks typically hunt live prey. Most hawk species are not well-suited to eating large carcasses due to their small size and weak feet.

However, there are a few exceptions, such as the ferruginous hawk and the red-tailed hawk, which are both large enough to take down a deer. Even these two species typically prefer to hunt smaller prey, however, so it is unlikely that you will see a hawk snacking on a dead deer anytime soon.

Overall, hawks do eat deer, but it is not a common part of their diet. Hawks typically hunt smaller prey, but some species are large enough to take down a deer.

Can A Hawk Pick Up A Deer?

Hawks hunt small to medium-sized prey. The smaller the prey, the more likely the hawk is to capture and kill it. Hawks have sharp talons that they use to grasp their prey.

They also have sharp beaks that they use to tear their prey apart. However, hawks are not strong enough to pick up and carry away large prey, such as deer. If a hawk tried to pick up a deer, the deer would likely struggle and eventually break free.

In addition, the weight of the deer would make it difficult for the hawk to take flight. As a result, while hawks can kill small prey, they are not able to capture and carry away larger prey, such as deer.


Hawks are raptors that typically prey on smaller creatures. Some species of hawk, though, are big enough to consume larger prey, such as deer. While deer are not a common part of a hawk’s diet, it is not unheard of for them to kill and eat these larger animals.

If you see a hawk hunting for a deer, it’s usually because the deer are already wounded or otherwise helpless. Hawks consume deer, but this is not a significant component of their diet.

Hawks are typically hunters of smaller animals, but some species may capture and carry off a deer. They are unable to seize and transport larger prey, such as deer, despite their size.

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