What type of apple trees do deer like? I've notice their are a few different types of crab apple trees (Sweet, Siberian, Zumi, Sargent, Magenta and Midwest) and also found some domestic apple trees. Which one would they be more attracted to?
As long as they have a big enough apple and drop off the tree, deer will eat most any. The problem with many of the seedling crabs is you won't know for quite a few years what you will get regardless of what the nursery shows in their photos. Is it a 3/4" crab that drops on August 15, a pea size crab that holds all winter long, or a 1.5" crab that drops in October or November. If you have enough room, you can plant a variety of seedling crabs and assume some will a deer magnet. Or with grafted trees, you can choose the apples or crabapples you think fit best and put them in the location you want.
Even if a particular crabapple does not work out for fruit size and/or drop time, it will still serve as an excellent pollinator for nearby apple and crabapple trees. I can understand some concern if space is tight.
We have a few crabs that make pretty small fruit, but I'm OK with it for the pollination factor....and some type of critter will make use of the fruit, no matter how small.