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Winter Food

1041 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  wildernessjournies
All Spring and Summer we usually just put minerals down for the deer to eat. What we have noticed over the last couple of years is that come September or October we don't see the deer we see all Summer long. So my question is this, short of planting, what is your recommendation for keeping them coming ALL season long. I am ok with planting a small food plot but they area is mostly wooded so it may be difficult buy any ideas to work around that would be appreciated too (we do not own the land but are able to do whatever we want). Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Lots of variables here. Obviously related to your neighbors your land provides something they want/need during the summer. As the season change the habitat on your neighbors land is addressing that need. I can assure you the answer is not in a bag of minerals or even as simple as a small food plot.
In the fall a good mast crop can significantly alter travel patterns, but you said this is a multi-year observation. Not sure that surrounding property mast crop would be that consistent with you not having any.
The cover structure could change to the extent that your cover is only good during spring/summer, but I don't think that's it either.
In the end my point is that you have to understand what it is that your neighbors have that you don't.
That is were I get more confused. The heighboring properties are very similar. Most of it is all open woods. All the properties have a lot of oak trees. Each property is a little different in some ways but overall very similar.
The problem with doing supplemental attration during the spring and summer is that all of the browse is also eaten on your property and the surrounding areas grow back and then in the fall the deer feed o nthe best browse in the area.
supplemental feeding is great BUT i would never do it with out another year around food source available for the deer, they will come to rely on it and then that 30 days before season its gone, and it could really mess with there designed habits, i would take a second look at some possible plantings, as well. If you do supplement, do not use corn.....give them something like Golden Nuggets by record rack or protein feed.
If you choose to plant do a series of small 1/4 acre plots at various locations and use a different mix in each it will offer an attractive buffet as well as address some different nutritional needs.
I try to have something planted year around.For instance in the spring i have clover and winter rye.The winter rye doubles for a fall winter plot.Also hinge cutting unwanted trees helps.Do this in winter for browse anexample would be i have been hinging silver maple black gum and hickory.Freeing up the oaks.Learn your land and you can find where you can create openings or use natural openings. Also look for plants,forbs and shrubs that dont require much light.I experimented this year in raking open a spot in a semi open area of woods and sowing winter rye out.It did fairly well as is.The main thing is having some kind of food that is there for all times of the year.While i am hunting i am always looking for ways to improve my habitat.Prescribed burns is another one.Have fun!
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