Hunting The Food Sources – Early Bucks
By understanding the food sources you have in and around your hunting areas you can greatly increase your chances of shooting a nice buck early in the Deer Season. Here we will not include Deer Plots, but natural food sources and crops.
What Are The Whitetail Deer’s Food Sources
The food sources available greatly depend on where you hunt geographically, but in the Midwest these are the most common; Soybeans, Corn, Clover, Vegetables, Fruit, Raspberry Leaves, Sumac tops, Browse, and Acorns. By understanding these and which ones are at the top of the list for the Deer will definitely help in your Hunt this year.
Clover & Alfalfa Fields
If you happen to have a Clover or Alfalfa field on or near your property you may think you got it made. However this will not be at the top of the Whitetail’s diet. These fields will be hit more often in the early Spring and late Fall when the weather conditions are cool and damp. Also, your Whitetail Deer are more browse and forbs consumers than they are grass, clover, and alfalfa consumers.
Browse are your twigs, grasses, forbs, low growing plants, and natural vegetation shrubs that are found in or around the edges of your woods. This food source is very important to the deer especially throughout the Winter, but this is still not at the top of the list for Deer cravings.
Many say Corn is King, but this is not true either. Corn is a good food source in the late Fall and your corn fields will hold a lot of deer, but Deer will walk by Corn to eat dried Soybean pods that are either still standing or that have been dropped by the Combine. So what else is available that the Whitetail Deer would prefer over Corn.
One of the top food sources or we should say preferred foods are the fruits; Apples, Plums, grapes, raspberries, and there are many weeds that also produce a fruit. These fruits become ripe in early Fall and are high in sugar. Those that are not eat in the Fall will be sought out throughout Winter, dug up and eaten. I would put Grapes at the top of this list for fruits, as deer will dig for every frozen dried grape on the ground. But there is still a food source much more carved than fruits.
Acorns are King! If you have oak trees then you need to see which ones are producing the Acorns and the most, but Red Oaks or White Oaks. Yes there is a difference and if you have both you will want to focus on the White Oak trees that are dropping lots of big Acorns. If you are fortunate to have a corp such as Corn or Soybeans with an Acorn Tree on the edge of the field, and it’s dropping nuts, you have found the end of the rainbow. If you do not have corps next to your woods then look for large patches of raspberries. Raspberries patches with acorns close by is just as good.
Hunt the Acorns on the edge of your crop fields, if you don’t have corps then find the raspberry patches and the closes Oak tree that is dropping acorns. These areas will produce deer anytime during the day where your other food sources are more for morning and evening.