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Deer Food Plot - Pumpkins
Wanted to know if any of you fellow WI hunters have had success planting pumpkins for a deer food plot. With the many different types of seed available wanted to know which pumpkin seed you have had the best luck with. I have struggled with many of my plots(chicory/clover/brassicas/rape/turnip etc) to keep the deer intrested into the late fall / gun season and thought that pumpkins may be worth a try.
Any tips on planting and growing?
Slayer.....if you really want late season....remember this one word.....you won't regret it.......
Corn is by far the best late season food source you can plant. You can even buy one of them cheap push row seeders for corn from tractor supply for $100. tHEY WORK LIKE A CHARM FOR PLOTS. You can plant 5000 plants in about an hour. Thats 10,000 ears of corn for them deer to eat , from the time the soy, clover, alfalfa turn brown, till the snow is flying full boar....you'll have the food they want, and will migrate to non-stop.
good luck, and good hunting.
Only problem is that the area that I am planting is not a "field". I have maple/oak wood land with old logging roads that I seed. Corn would never grow on these roads. I have a small opening with plenty of sunlight 20yds x 10yds that I was looking to plant. This is a crossing of a couple of old logging roads.
I tried Pumpkin patch's several times in food plots and this is what I learned .
They consume a lot of water . If you go through a dry spell you'll need to hand water the plants .
They take a long time to mature so you need to plant early or start plants indoors in April .
One year the deer ate the pumpkin flowers , so no pumpkins . The following year they left them alone .
Through out the summer you'll see naw marks and hoof marks on the pumpkins but they can't penetrate them .
When they rippened the deer could only break open the small ones . I broke open the large ones in mid October and they pigged out until mid November .
Lot of work for a small gain, but I did supply lots of kids and friends with Holloween pumpkins amd the wife made a ton of baked pumpkin seeds .
FOR SOMETHING THAT SMALL, I'd still use corn.....A bag of it....lol
Good luck brother. If it's your land...time to rent a bobcat, and get to clearing some forage area's. 10x20 yards is nothing to a deer herd, and far from sustainable for more then a few days if they choose to smack it.
The last 5 years I planted pumpkins along side about 4.5 acres of foodplots. Primarily for friends, family, neighbors kids. Each year yield has been anywhere from 30 to 120 pumpkins, and size up to about 90 lbs. Some years the vine borers and cucumber beetles have killed 80% of the vines/fruits.
pumpkins need water, full sun, and lots of space. Deer rarely touch the pumpkins. Ocassionally I find teeth marks, but that is all. End of October we bust up any remaining pumpkins. Between the coons and possums, not sure how much the deer are actually getting.
As a deer foodplot alone, I would not waste the time/space on pumpkins .... too many other, better, planting options.
I have now tried a combination of Turnips & Rape 2 years in a row on different areas and have been amazed by the results.
If you are only planting logging roads and have an occassional 20x30 opening, you aren't really planting enough area.
I would be concerned with the limited space, the condition of the trail (compacted Soil and moisture, and enough sun exposure (at least 3-4 hours a days) on the trail.
If you are planting on well traveled trails, you use, you are wasting your time.
Are you doing enough soil prep to loosen the planting bed area for seed generation? Remember all these seed plot companies are now claiming "throw & grow" with no prep. That's bunk!
If it's your land and you can clear an area, I would try to claer severl small 100x100 to 200x200 plots to plant your food plot in. make sure you can give the plot the approprita southern exposure. Also make sure you place these plots as transitional plots from a bedding area to a major food source area.
Unfortnately you have given no description of your property, geography, biomass ratio, and local properties and what they contain to allow everyone a chance to access needs.
I couldn't agree with Serb more!! I leave up standing corn every year and the deer hammer it Period!!! This year I had 4 acres standing and with a "Normal" winter, cold & snowy in December...I had Great late season hunting, the best in over 30 years!! It was all gone by early January. I agree CORN!!!
I wouldn't go the pumpkin route... Corn is awesome if you have decent soil otherwise I would go with rape as the sugars don't hit until a hard freeze with this. -Only problem is your plot may get "raped" after the first hard frost and late fall may be a stretch with the plot size.
True rpe works for some folks, but i'll be the first to say, that it works like junk for me. The deer would rather eat bark off pine tree then hit the rape i've planted in the past.
Corn my friend, corn. Just clear some more area if you have the right to.
"The deer would rather eat bark off pine tree then hit the rape i've planted in the past."
That is because the deer have too much other, better tasting, prefered browse/forage to eat.
Try RR sugarbeets .... they are as easy as RR soybeans ;-)
Does anyone try to plant small sporadic plots in a hard wood forest? I thought about doing some hinge cutting next spring and planting something (have no idea what yet) in the opened up areas. I know light won't be ideal but even my home garden is decently productive without full sun.
Remember that you cannot manipulate the pumpkins (break them open) unless you follow the baiting/feeding rules.
I supplement my plots with pumpkins all the way around. I've seen deer jump on them trying to break them. funniest thing ever in December. Most are broken open by mid November so it isn't really a problem for them. I agree that corn may be better if you have the equipment to deal with the stalks and such in the spring. Also Pumpkins are cheap and easy. Pictures will be coming, computer is being stupid.
Does it stay mostly shady during the rest of the day?
Winter rye, turnips, rape, Winfred brassicas, and radishes will keep them interested all winter long - if any of it lasts in areas that small.
Slayer, Grandpa Ray Outdoors makes a logging trail mix that I plan on using on my property next year. We have a 10 acre parcel that is low lands and hardwoods. We have a trail that goes down the entire length of the parcel and I plan on using that mix next year.
What does a bag of that cost? There wasnt a price on the link.
We planted our trails one year. It ended up being a mistake. IMO. The problem was most times we walk those trails to and from our stands. With the deer on the trails constantly it made for tough travel.
Winter Radish... Planted in early September this year. Heavy wooded area, disced last year, limed, and brassica planted. Re-disced this year threw the radish in, watered it with plot booster and away it grew! They come every and mow down for 15-30 minutes.
Why would you want to plant your trails?
You will bump deer coming and going.
If you insist, try winter wheat.
Grandpa rays grains and greens planted august 1st. Deer love it
Grandpa rays grains and greens planted august 1st. Deer love it