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Suggest a crop please
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
brunse 27-Mar-21
brunse 28-Mar-21
altitude sick 28-Mar-21
Missouribreaks 28-Mar-21
altitude sick 28-Mar-21
BowSniper 28-Mar-21
brunse 28-Mar-21
brunse 28-Mar-21
BowSniper 28-Mar-21
Pat Lefemine 28-Mar-21
Riverwolf 28-Mar-21
JohnMC 28-Mar-21
goyt 28-Mar-21
Tradmike 28-Mar-21
RIT 28-Mar-21
brunse 29-Mar-21
darralld 29-Mar-21
APauls 29-Mar-21
Scott/IL 30-Mar-21
brunse 31-Mar-21
Ollie 31-Mar-21
From: brunse
27-Mar-21
I have a three 1/4-1/2 acre semi shaded areas to plant in western PA. My goal is to keep deer around until late October. I have a tractor, disc, granular spreader and hand cranked broadcast spreader.

The areas are in wooded areas adjacent to horse pastures and a hayfield.

Thank you

From: brunse
28-Mar-21
I have a three 1/4-1/2 acre semi shaded areas to plant in western PA. My goal is to keep deer around until late October. I have a tractor, disc, granular spreader and hand cranked broadcast spreader.

The areas are in wooded areas adjacent to horse pastures and a hayfield.

Thank you

28-Mar-21
Plant Alfalfa then allow the neighbors to bale it. It’s a great legume for deer. And you can sell 2-4 cuttings per year.

28-Mar-21
For late fall and early winter I like radishes, for early fall winter rye. As mentioned, alfalfa is a good food covering many months. You will have lot's of choices as I am sure guys from your area will chime in. A lot has to do with other food source around you, best to have food more palatable than other choices at the specific time you plan to hunt, if that is the objective.

Good luck, improving food and other habitat can be fun and productive, it all helps.

28-Mar-21
Alfalfa won’t produce feed into late season like some deer specific food plots. But it has the benefit of helping to pay you back.

Or put in Alfalfa with some grass mixes that produce further into the season and are good for horses cattle and deer.

From: BowSniper
28-Mar-21
If only until October, I like clover and chicory.

If going later into winter, it changes to more radishes, turnips, etc

From: brunse
28-Mar-21
I don’t really gun hunt much, so if the deer are less attracted to my place during gun season(end of November) then less trespassing I hope.

My pastures have a fair amount of clover which tends to keep some deer around. Last year I fenced livestock off 2 acres (surrounded by timber) at the end of august. Lots of does on trail cams.

I have a few places outside of pasture fence and where some logging stage areas were located in the past. Not a lot of sunlight but I’ve been opening them up a little at a time.

Thanks for the replies

From: brunse
28-Mar-21
I don’t really gun hunt much, so if the deer are less attracted to my place during gun season(end of November) then less trespassing I hope.

My pastures have a fair amount of clover which tends to keep some deer around. Last year I fenced livestock off 2 acres (surrounded by timber) at the end of august. Lots of does on trail cams.

I have a few places outside of pasture fence and where some logging stage areas were located in the past. Not a lot of sunlight but I’ve been opening them up a little at a time.

Thanks for the replies

From: BowSniper
28-Mar-21
If only until October, I like clover and chicory.

If going later into winter, it changes to more radishes, turnips, etc

From: Pat Lefemine
28-Mar-21
What’s your soil like? Best to start there.

Also, you say they’re semi shaded and only.25-.50 acres so alfalfa is not a good Choice.

Assuming your soil test isn’t too bad, I’d go with a fall blend like Hancock or make your own with annual clover, oats, a small amount of radishes and some cow peas.

Good luck.

From: Riverwolf
28-Mar-21
Natural native preferred browse should get first choice. Your own PA forestry has plenty of info listed . This is a important excerpt from a piece written by Dave Jackson getting deer through winter...........***Deer are referred to as “browsers” meaning twigs, buds, and leaves of trees and shrubs make up a primary component of their diet. A deer’s system can easily digest woody browse, and they will feed on it year round. It is the most important source of deer nutrition. During winter and early spring it is especially important as most other food sources are unavailable. Deer depend on browse to get them through the winter months.

Studies have shown that deer are selective feeders and have distinct foraging preferences. Preferred foods are eaten first, marginal foods are eaten only after preferred foods become scarce, and starvation foods, those that have little nutritional value, are eaten when no other choices are available. In Pennsylvania, work compiled by the Bureau of Forestry and others has shown that blackgum, oak, basswood, maple, tulip poplar, aspen, hickory, ash, and pin cherry provide preferred browse. Of the shrubs, dogwood, viburnum, elderberry, hawthorn, winterberry, sassafras, and raspberry briars are preferred browse.

Lots of good info about to advise on improving Deer , and wildlife habitat . Going all natural is the way to go for everything ;)

From: JohnMC
28-Mar-21
I’d think you would want the deer on your place during rifle season maybe then more would survive. Then figure out how to deal with the trespassing

From: goyt
28-Mar-21
The legumes ( alfalfa and clover) seems to attract well until about mid Oct.. After that I like cereal rye until heavy frost. Then brassicas may draw better. Of course the deer will come to whatever you have if they do not have a better choice. A clover and chicory mix which is over seeded with cereal rye around labor day may give you what you are looking for until sometime in early November. If you have a couple of areas that are about 1/2 acre you can consider dividing them in half and planting half in a brassica mix.

From: Tradmike
28-Mar-21
Diversity is key to a good food plot. Never plant just one type of seed. You can mix your own or buy it already mixed. I just planted spring release which has about 20 different seeds. U plan to kill it in July and then plant a brassica mix. Try to have something growing all year.

From: RIT
28-Mar-21
If I was planting one to three small areas especially one that is shaded as you mention it would be clover all day long and I wouldn't Spring plant it. Why fight the weeds? I'd spend the early portions of Spring and Summer killing off the weeds then in later summer I would plant a fast growing annual clover like crimson or frosty Berseem with a cereal grain cover crop. Could be oats, winter wheat, or winter rye while also sewing in my perennial clover. Clover thrives in partially shaded areas. The annual clover will give you a fast growing tender meal for the deer this fall while your perennial clover will be putting down roots and the cereal grains will give you a little food but being in a shaded area my experience is that it will be stringy and underwhelming. Next Spring you can clip the tops of the cereal grain and your perennial clover will explode and look amazing in the Spring. Then you can start to address weeds with a timely mowing or chemicals if you prefer.

From: brunse
29-Mar-21
Great info. Thanks a lot.

From: darralld
29-Mar-21
I would do clover & chicory. If you want something for late season plant Turnips in August. I would put some lime down now so the rain can start making it work. Problem with wooded areas is that when the leaves fall they cover the plot quite a bit.

From: APauls
29-Mar-21
I have to question not wanting the deer there in rifle season if you don't hunt it. That's exactly where I'd want them. It's a safe place, a sanctuary. Keep em there instead of getting blasted everywhere else and you'll have the best bowhunting of your life. If you still don't want to hunt it, at least they are surviving for next year. Deer don't have too hard of a time finding food Aug-Oct, it's come November that the food is tough to find, therefore amplifying the drawings power of food. If you have good November food, you're living the dream.

From: Scott/IL
30-Mar-21
As others have mentioned, clover and chicory would be where I’d probably lean.

From: brunse
31-Mar-21
Thank you everyone.

From: Ollie
31-Mar-21
Clover. Once established it will last for years. I use it in my food plots in Iowa and deer are in it every day from opener until the end of the season, even after the clover goes dormant and the ground is frozen solid.

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