The order and timing of forage preferences

SD51555

5 year old buck +
I've been forced to become a student of the forages. I've never had enough plot space to grow first choice forages. Hell, I don't think I could get 1-4 to November to be honest. So I've spent a long time trying to understand in what order and at what time deer eat certain things during bow season, and through gun season. I've also come up with a guess on what I think is the order of forages on my place.

Beans, corn, brassicas, and oaks won't ever be a hunting draw for me. So let's start at #5

5. Alfalfa - mid September into early October
6. Clover - October
7. Cereals - Late October until snow burial.
8. (blank for the snow intermission. It snows, deer vanish for two weeks)
9. Clover - They come back in winter and dig it up.

Anyone else try shifting their forage offering to make it last to your desired time?
 

TenPoint

5 year old buck +
Why won’t brassicas work for you?
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
I've been forced to become a student of the forages. I've never had enough plot space to grow first choice forages. Hell, I don't think I could get 1-4 to November to be honest. So I've spent a long time trying to understand in what order and at what time deer eat certain things during bow season, and through gun season. I've also come up with a guess on what I think is the order of forages on my place.

Beans, corn, brassicas, and oaks won't ever be a hunting draw for me. So let's start at #5

5. Alfalfa - mid September into early October
6. Clover - October
7. Cereals - Late October until snow burial.
8. (blank for the snow intermission. It snows, deer vanish for two weeks)
9. Clover - They come back in winter and dig it up.

Anyone else try shifting their forage offering to make it last to your desired time?

Chicory!!!


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S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
Why won’t brassicas work for you?

Deer by me usually don’t get on them until December at the absolute earliest


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Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
Deer by me usually don’t get on them until December at the absolute earliest


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You’re around a lot of ag though right? I’d guess it’s the opposite problem for SD, they don’t make it through the rut.

@SD51555 - Besides confirming my above assumption, are you saying acorns are dropped/eaten by hunting season too? It seems most of the acorns around home in 4b are dropped already but there was a banner crop hanging on the trees still by Grand Rapids last weekend.

We can get brassicas through rifle season up north but probably 75% of the leaves are eaten by then. I wonder if the predators and our presence at those plots doesn’t limit usage though.
 
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TenPoint

5 year old buck +
Deer by me usually don’t get on them until December at the absolute earliest


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Crazy. I watched 14 eat in mine last night. About a month since planting. They spent almost an hour in my little 1/3 acre patch.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
Posts would be way more educational if posters put their hunting locations in their posts.
Yeah and even when that info is in someone’s signature, they don’t show up for me on the mobile version of the site.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
You’re around a lot of ag though right? I’d guess it’s the opposite problem for SD, they don’t make it through the rut.

@SD51555 - Besides confirming my above assumption, are you saying acorns are dropped/eaten by hunting season too? It seems most of the acorns around home in 4b are dropped already but there was a banner crop hanging on the trees still by Grand Rapids last weekend.

We can get brassicas through rifle season up north but probably 75% of the leaves are eaten by then. I wonder if the predators and our presence at those plots doesn’t limit usage though.
All the acorns on my place are bur oak. They're still falling now, but it's slowed down, and there aren't many free ones on the ground. The acorn cycle is over here before bow hunting even begins. No real ag up here, just a bunch of guys that make hay. The balance is big woods and big swamp.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
Chicory!!!


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I haven't figured out when the chicory gets taken here. They nibble on it all summer it seems, and then it's gone. It must go sometime after labor day, because I usually have a bunch going into September.
 

Foggy47

5 year old buck +
Deer by me usually don’t get on them until December at the absolute earliest


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That's odd.....deer at my place like radish, PTT and Rape and collards through November and will dig through two feet of snow for brasica in December and Jan. Sometimes my clover will still be viable in November (like last year) but rye has usually been good for me into November......if the clover is diminished by November....as it is most often with the cold weather.
 

SWIFFY

5 year old buck +
If Im planning on killing a buck in September it will be on my clover/chicory or on the young 2 week old Oats. Around the first week of October that pattern will switch to the young Cereal Rye and the Radish tops. That will take me up to the rut where everything is a shot in the dark. After the rut when it gets cold, of coarse the corn and beans are king but they love digging up the PTT and Radishes and Rape once its snowed on. I plant lots of other stuff for the deer and pheasants too but these plots are the sure things for these times!
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
I haven't figured out when the chicory gets taken here. They nibble on it all summer it seems, and then it's gone. It must go sometime after labor day, because I usually have a bunch going into September.
They hammer it summer until the cold kills it at my parents place up north.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
They are hitting radish pretty hard already at my place (compared to the PTT and rape) but oats, awp, and beans even more so.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
I've been forced to become a student of the forages. I've never had enough plot space to grow first choice forages. Hell, I don't think I could get 1-4 to November to be honest. So I've spent a long time trying to understand in what order and at what time deer eat certain things during bow season, and through gun season. I've also come up with a guess on what I think is the order of forages on my place.

Beans, corn, brassicas, and oaks won't ever be a hunting draw for me. So let's start at #5

5. Alfalfa - mid September into early October
6. Clover - October
7. Cereals - Late October until snow burial.
8. (blank for the snow intermission. It snows, deer vanish for two weeks)
9. Clover - They come back in winter and dig it up.

Anyone else try shifting their forage offering to make it last to your desired time?
This is an extreme local issue. Most of a deer's diet is native forage. Preferences are driven by the perception of safe access and then the particular stage of the forage. With native forages so varied and inconsistent from year to year, there is a big impact on planted forages use.
 

PatinPA

5 year old buck +
I have a lot of commercial ag around me, mostly beans and corn. We've had such a hot/dry summer that a lot of it is turning brown already so I'm hoping for early picking for a lot of it. That should make my plots a little more attractive.
 

Derek Reese 29

5 year old buck +
I have a lot of commercial ag around me, mostly beans and corn. We've had such a hot/dry summer that a lot of it is turning brown already so I'm hoping for early picking for a lot of it. That should make my plots a little more attractive.
I agree Pat that everything is turning brown sooner this year. The beans across the street from me are already yellowing and by golly there just happens to be an uptick on buck activity on my clover/brassica/grain plot. Hoping the beans hold out another couple weeks till I can hunt.
 

Wild Thing

5 year old buck +
Deer by me usually don’t get on them until December at the absolute earliest


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Deer have been all over my brassicas for a couple of weeks now. I won't have any left by firearms season unless I get lucky or get out there and put up some E-Fence.

IMG_0124 (4).jpeg
 

S.T.Fanatic

5 year old buck +
I haven't figured out when the chicory gets taken here. They nibble on it all summer it seems, and then it's gone. It must go sometime after labor day, because I usually have a bunch going into September.
For me both radish tops and chicory get hammered in october.
 

Wild Thing

5 year old buck +
I've been forced to become a student of the forages. I've never had enough plot space to grow first choice forages. Hell, I don't think I could get 1-4 to November to be honest. So I've spent a long time trying to understand in what order and at what time deer eat certain things during bow season, and through gun season. I've also come up with a guess on what I think is the order of forages on my place.

Beans, corn, brassicas, and oaks won't ever be a hunting draw for me. So let's start at #5

5. Alfalfa - mid September into early October
6. Clover - October
7. Cereals - Late October until snow burial.
8. (blank for the snow intermission. It snows, deer vanish for two weeks)
9. Clover - They come back in winter and dig it up.

Anyone else try shifting their forage offering to make it last to your desired time?
Here in Upper Michigan the bulb plants - brassicas and sugar beets are the best bet for making it into winter...if you can keep the deer from wiping them out before then. Either plant lots of acreage or E-Fence them.

Alfalfa is great for early season but goes dormant long before our firearms opener on Nov 15th - Clovers about the same unless we have a really warm fall season.

Cereal grains are good as long as they don't have to dig too deep into the snow, and of course, they are the first forage to be hammered as soon as the snow melts in the spring.

Stopped planting corn years ago when it was costing me $225/acre to fertilize it - can't imagine what it would have cost this year?

Beans usually get wiped out early on.

Except for one lonely Northern Red Oak here at "Lone Oak" all of my oak trees have been planted by me. While some of them are finally producing some acorns, there aren't enough to be considered a good draw for deer.

Here are some winter sugar beet plots...

Dec 12
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Dec 14
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Feb 3
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Jan 13
IMG_9336.jpg

IMG_9335.jpg

Late Feb
IMG_9339.jpg

IMG_9340.jpg

That was the good news. The bad news is that sugar beets are pretty expensive to plant. RR sugar beet seed usually costs between $200-$250 per acre (50,000 seeds per acre) and they like a lot of fertilizer. A neighboring farmer (now deceased) who planted sugar beets for deer bait told me he applied 19-19-19 at 900#/acre - not a typo - 900# per acre. That is a lot of fertilizer. I never applied that much but it was still fairly costly to grow them. You also need to spray them once or twice.
 
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