The Shagbark Hickory produces edible nuts that are enjoyed by deer, bear, turkeys, fox, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and other animals. Hickories serve as food for many wildlife species. The nuts are a preferred food of squirrels and are eaten from the time fruits approach maturity in early August until the supply is gone. Shagbark Hickory nuts also are 5 to 10 percent of the diet of eastern chipmunks.
In addition to the birds and mammals above, mallards, wood ducks, and bobwhites utilize small amounts of hickory nuts. Hickory is not a preferred forage species and seldom is browsed by deer when the rest of their food options are in good condition. Mature Shagbark Hickories are also a natural roost site for bats.