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Fruit orchard draw bucks?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
wildwilderness 02-Nov-23
Groundhunter 02-Nov-23
molsonarcher 02-Nov-23
WI Shedhead 02-Nov-23
Catscratch 02-Nov-23
Corax_latrans 02-Nov-23
fuzzy 02-Nov-23
Catscratch 02-Nov-23
Pat Lefemine 02-Nov-23
Catscratch 02-Nov-23
Buckdeer 02-Nov-23
wildwilderness 02-Nov-23
Hancock West 02-Nov-23
wildwilderness 02-Nov-23
Catscratch 02-Nov-23
GFL 02-Nov-23
Buckdeer 02-Nov-23
fdp 02-Nov-23
Screwball 02-Nov-23
W 03-Nov-23
02-Nov-23
Does anyone have experience with fruit trees like apples, pears drawing bucks in from farther than say a corn pile or the best food plot?

Where I’m at in Kansas there are plenty of big properties with ag fields and food plots and baiting is legal of course.

I don’t see any orchards though and wonder if 5 trees, 10 trees or 50+ fruit trees could draw those bucks off the neighbors? The ones that already have most everything where they are at….

From: Groundhunter
02-Nov-23
You could plant an apple tree, anywhere in the world, and a whitetail deer, would find it........we planted plenty years ago, deer love apples.

From: molsonarcher
02-Nov-23
You would most definitely draw deer. From how far hard to say. It would be a limited timeframe hunt though, unlike corn or beans left standing, apples will not last nearly as long. I would think it would take a large amount of trees to produce enough fruit to make it worth doing. You would need several varieties as well. Some trees are better producers in drought, etc.

If you are only looking to kill one or two deer and arent picky, you might get by with 6-12 trees, but around here they get gobbled up very quickly.

From: WI Shedhead
02-Nov-23
On our small property, we have roughly 5 acres of rotated food plot crops and 85 pear and apple trees around them in strategic places. When the bucks Come out of the bedding cover, they check out the bottoms of the trees looking for windfalls before they move out onto ag ground after dark. They definitely keep deer on our place longer during shooting hours. Like MA said they do get gobbled quickly however I planted trees that mature at different times and have apples ripening from august 1 til thanksgiving. It is a great addition for a land manager to add to his property. I started planting them in 2015, and have added 6-10 every year and they are all doing great

From: Catscratch
02-Nov-23
I live in KS and have planted many fruit trees. I can't say that they are a huge draw by themselves but I love to plant things and to eat the fruit myself so it's worth it to me. I pick trees based on 2 criteria; disease resistance for my area, and drop dates. Fruit trees will have deer checking them all fall, but once the fruit is gone they don't have much going for them. I like to plant clover and alfalfa in my orchards. Figure might as well have something else they like to eat rather than just grass under them.

I will warn you... be prepared to protect them with cages, window screens, and be ready to water them far at least the first year. And be prepared to find it addicting. Somehow planting trees can become a sickness, it's stupid but it seems to be a thing!

02-Nov-23
You can also diversify the portfolio with crabapples — I used to watch deer eating those from one of my stands. The tree was out in a pasture, well past any kind of bow range, and there was no safe angle for a firearm. But since I recall having that latter frustration, that would mean that they were out there after mod-November up here in New England…. So those might extend the time frame.

From: fuzzy
02-Nov-23
Apples are great, crabapple are good, but pears are best. Pecans are just nuts.

From: Catscratch
02-Nov-23
Lol fuzzy! I agree on all those.

I have jujube, che, crabs, apples, pears, persimmons, kousa dogwood, and probably some others that I'm forgetting about. And don't even get me started on on nuts; DCO, sawtooth, burr, chinese chestnut, dustan's, oak hybrids, etc.

From: Pat Lefemine
02-Nov-23
My NY property has/had thousands of producing apple trees. They are awesome at bringing in deer from sep to early October in my area. Then after a couple freezes they get mushy.

They are not great to hunt over. A deer can literally park itself under a couple trees for 30 minutes. They don’t need to move around. For bow hunting, One big producer tree is better for hunting than 20 acres of productive trees imo.

I’ve been letting my trees get overtaken by maples. I’ve probably lost half of them in ten years. I just don’t need a thousand apple trees.

From: Catscratch
02-Nov-23
In wildwilderness's situation where there are zero fruit trees I believe the draw is stronger than were they occur naturally.

If you decide to buy some trees I'd suggest Turkey Creek. He has a nursery in your area, is an avid hunter, and his trees are better than anyone else I've bought from. I'd send him a message and tell him what you are thinking. He wont steer you wrong.

From: Buckdeer
02-Nov-23
Late drop persimmion can also be good.Making sure what ever you plant is disease resistant is a big deal.Check pears for fireblight and apples for cedar apple rust.As Cat said be prepared for work.It's better to grow a couple and protect them right than 50 and get them all killed.I find that some of the crab apples stay later than apples or pears.I am also in Kansas and with the drought last year I went from hundreds of pounds of fruit to a few pounds but kept all my trees alive including the 30 new tree orchard.lowes has them at 75% off but not the variety I was looking for.

02-Nov-23
Thanks for all the responses. I’ll have to start somewhere. Just thinking of what will attract bucks that is different.

Short term I am thinking of planting around the farm house on the property. I can use the water and connect a timer to irrigate the trees. I will consult the local suppliers

From: Hancock West
02-Nov-23
Do you have Japanese beetles in your area? If so, that will definitely be a challenge for you. We had two orchards, one with 36 apple trees and the other with 27. You'll want to make sure you have both male and female trees.

02-Nov-23
There may be Japanese beetles, not sure. I can ask my farmer neighbor.

From: Catscratch
02-Nov-23
Call Chris at Turkey Creek. He'll tell you everything you need to know. Fruit trees for hunting are his passion. He won't lead you astray.

https://www.turkeycreektrees.com/

From: GFL
02-Nov-23
I have a massive about of pears. The only con is blight and having to prune them each winter. Plus the frost gets lots of my blooms each year. If I had it to do over in order would be chestnuts/persimmons then pears and apples. I probably have over 30 different varieties from early to late drop.

From: Buckdeer
02-Nov-23
Thats why it's easier to start off with resistant trees.Also jap beetles can be trapped with a bucket trap and it thins them down

From: fdp
02-Nov-23
My experience is that orchards/fruit trees draw all the critters.

From: Screwball
02-Nov-23
Have 30 apple start up of 3 pear , more to come, 3 plum, more to come, draw deer from a long way away. The residents are regulars, the orchard is my wife bow stand and she does quite well. Some years better than others a year ago a frost killed the blossoms we didn't get enough apples fora pie this years, thousands.

From: W
03-Nov-23
I’ve been hunting on wild persimmons this week. Definitely drawing the deer. Sat down at 4 pm and killed a doe at 4:18.

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