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1028 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Pa-Guy
I planted the second half of two plots yesterday with a mix of Buck Forage Oats and Andre's NE Deer and Turkey mix. The 1st half of each plot has Andre's Brassica Blend. Returning back to the barn after planting the second plot, I encountered a big doe in the Brassicas in the 1st plot. She was munching away happily, completely unconcerned about me and the tractor. At this point the Brassica Blend is only about 4" high. She's too early! This is my late season crop. I thought the Brassica Blend would be unatractive until at least the first frost. Is this normal?
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Not in my experience... Usually brassicas are bitter to deer at that young age. It isn't until several good freezes do they become attractive to deer. You sure the deer wasn't feeding on something else in the plot? It could also be you have high density deer heard and they are really hurting for food...
I agree with CJBS2003. It sounds like you don't have enough natural feed.
A friend of mind did the same thing. "They killed the brassicas before Thanksgiving."
He has no browse, nothing, except some acorns.
I think too many people under estimate the importance of good browse.
Last year I did some experimental food plots.
1. Grass and clover, just like you have in your yard.
2. Chickory mix.
3. Brassicas

Through rifle season, 10 to one, they were in grass/clover vs. Chickory. (also note that the grass stays green for a long time into the winter.)
Never touched the brassicas until mid to late winter.

I also have a lot of browse.
Good browse also offers cover, unlike a typical food plot.
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I think you're both right. We have too many deer for the available browse. My Forest Stewardship plan said the same. This just confirms it. We took 4 doe off the property last year, but I think we need to be more agressive this year with the doe harvest. I also have to get started with selective cutting to open the canopy.
On our plots, I have found that the deer prefer the brassica or purple top turnips over any other food source. They don't care if the plant is 2" tall or 18"s. They devour them on a first come first serve basis.
cj sudhop said:
I also have to get started with selective cutting to open the canopy.
That's exactly right.
I had a forester come in a long time ago and look at my woods. I told him "I wanted to raise as many deer as I could. What do I do with my woods."
He said, "Cut down every deciduous tree that does not produce a nut or a fruit. Let a logger come in if you can. The equipment will stir up many dormant seeds laying on the forest floor. Opening up the canopy will help to get them started. The first thing you will get is briars. Then followed by sapplings. Do something with your forest every 10 years."

I did all of this. The results are fantastic!
Also, you don't have to plant any food plots.
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