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I have been deer hunting for 40 years and quite successfully, I might add - until this year. I figure you never have too much experience to take advice from someone else, so here goes. I own a couple of plots of land in SW AR where we have been very successful hunting the last few years. This year, it is like the deer have vanished. I am getting quite a few buck pictures on my game cameras, but very few does. On one camera that I have had in two different locations 1/4 mile apart, I have pictures of 11 different bucks since 1 Jan, and 18 different bucks since October. We have hunted hard, and my wife has seen one buck and I have seen none. EVERY buck picture in the past 4 months was taken at night. Is this typical for deer to still be that nocturnal this late in the year. Last year, during the winter, we were seeing 10 to 15 deer per evening in the food plots - this year, zero, although the plots are finally getting pretty good use. In three years of trying, I have never had deer eat corn, although I keep it out almost year round - from a feeder and also pouring it on the ground in the foodplot where they are feeding - any inisight into getting them on corn? Also, I typically plant wheat and oats in my foodplots, but the deer have not used them very well this year - do you guys recommend anything better? Thanks, any help is appreciated.
 

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On your plots when is the last time you fertilized? I have found that it makes a difference to the deer.
It's kind of like would you take a old tough steak over a grain feed steak?

I know on mine I am due for a good fertilizing. I am going to have soil samples done this time before I do.

As far the deer being nocturnal ......I have always said they do what they want....More than likely though they have another source of food in the area that they like more.

I think if you make your plots more tasty for them then you will have more deer using your plots. Just my thoughts.:shrug:
 

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I have been deer hunting for 40 years and quite successfully, I might add - until this year. I figure you never have too much experience to take advice from someone else, so here goes. I own a couple of plots of land in SW AR where we have been very successful hunting the last few years. This year, it is like the deer have vanished. I am getting quite a few buck pictures on my game cameras, but very few does. On one camera that I have had in two different locations 1/4 mile apart, I have pictures of 11 different bucks since 1 Jan, and 18 different bucks since October. We have hunted hard, and my wife has seen one buck and I have seen none. EVERY buck picture in the past 4 months was taken at night. Is this typical for deer to still be that nocturnal this late in the year. Last year, during the winter, we were seeing 10 to 15 deer per evening in the food plots - this year, zero, although the plots are finally getting pretty good use. In three years of trying, I have never had deer eat corn, although I keep it out almost year round - from a feeder and also pouring it on the ground in the foodplot where they are feeding - any inisight into getting them on corn? Also, I typically plant wheat and oats in my foodplots, but the deer have not used them very well this year - do you guys recommend anything better? Thanks, any help is appreciated.
hollenbach

where is your land located?
 

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Deer will walk through a rye grass field that is unfertilized, to go to a farther away fertilized rye grass field. You must fertilize to get the deer to use the food plots.

They are not using your fields because they have something better. Be it acorns, or a fertilized field, or someone elses supplemental feed such as protein pellets..... they are getting better nutrition somewhere else. You have to meet their needs, not just throw something out.... The only way that works, is if their presant nutritional food source is total crap.... At that point, they will move to anything that is better.....

To attract and hold them , you have to be better than everyone and everything else around you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Fertilized 300 lbs per acre in September at time of planting and top dress 100 lbs. per acre in late November. These same plantings worked fine for the last couple of years. Land is located in Sevier County - one plot of land joins Pond Creek refuge on two sides. This year, we had rain early and the wheat and oats were 10 inches tall by the 1st of November - the growth was actually much better this year than ever. Will what and oats get too large and become tough and unpalatable. Have any of you had good luck using some of the broadleafs, like kale, rape, or chicory?

And even Seth is having a tough time this year, although we have put a hurtin on the hogs.
 

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I've got a friend around ashdown who says that acorns are still dropping around there some. If your around pond creek and there's lots of hardwoods out there you won't see many deer untill the acorns run out.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I agree about the acorns - that is what I am attributing my lack of deer sightings to. The acorns were thick this year and were still dropping a month ago.
 

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we had the same problem this year was told it was probably the acorns still dropping so late. just hope next year is better
 

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On one of my properties, I do have a lot of hunters hunting my property line, early in the season, but that pressure usually goes away by the middle of November. I don't consider poaching to be much of a problem. I will attribute it to the numerous acorns and hope next year is better. Still wondering if anyone has had any success with some of the broadleaf plantings in foodplots.
 

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There are a few more hogs than normal, but I would say it is safe to say there has been a decrease in their population in the last month or so.
 

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Will what and oats get too large and become tough and unpalatable
Absolutely....:wink:

I have had great luck with Rape, Turnip, and Kale mixtures...best when mixed with the oats/wheat/ Elbon Rye. The brassicas will become sweet after a hard frost hits and usually after the wheat/oats are less preferred....which is good for a forage...and should be good in November and December

If you can find them...try the Quail Haven Soybeans also. A multiple vining plant that deer love. May need about a half pound per acre of WGF Sorghum for the plants to climb on also...(don't over do the sorghum thingy)...(spring planting)
 

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I have planted several different broadleafs, clovers, wheat and oats. I have found that every area seems to be different. In some places they won't touch brassicas but a few miles down the road they hammer them. Same with turnips, chicory, clover, etc. But every time I have planted wheat or oats, no matter where it is, they hammer it. And they are usually cheaper to plant also.

I'm not much help on corn, I rarely use it (too much $). But I have never heard of deer not eating corn, unless there was too many acorns elsewhere.
 

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I always plant wheat, oats, rygrass, clover, and rape. Right now it looks like someone litterally took a weed eater over it. The deer have been killing it.

In the future when your getting pics of deer in your food plot at night, but not seeing them in the daytime. Back off the foodplot 300-400 yards and cut the deer off. In my experiences the deer (bucks anyway) will browse around where they feel protected until it gets dark.
 

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If you have more of the open area stuff like these food plots you won't see many deer, especially with oaks on land around you. If deer are bedding in these hardwood thickets next to you and acorns are still falling they will stay put. Deer love acorns and if they don't have to go very far from the bed to get some food and water they won't. I have experienced this when hunting on some of my cousin's land but we did end up pulling some deer into the food plots late but by then the acorn crop around him was basically gone. All I can say is better luck next year!
 
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