These are a whitetail buck’s favorite wild foods and your deer stand should be nearby if you are hunting big bucks.
As all experienced hunters know, food sources are the number one points of focus when it comes to hunting big bucks. While the rut has its importance, food sources are a daily congregation for deer and if you are in your stand at the right time, you just might catch a big buck making his way to or from his favorite food source.
With the prevalence of farming and orchards, we have included farm fields and orchards as a natural part of the wild landscape.
It is said a deer’s favorite nut is the acorn. Acorns provide valuable nutrients during long difficult winters. Most types of oak trees produce acorns annually to every other year. If it is a season where the acorn production is high, there is no better hunting spot than an area known to produce a good acorn crop.
Pecans are also a little known favorite nut of the whitetail deer. Next time you are out collecting pecans for that delicious pecan pie, leave a few for that big buck, you just might get rewarded.
Forbs are an herbaceous flowering plant. They include wildflowers and other broad-leaved plants, known to most of us as weeds. Forbs, along with woody plants, provide deer with their most important food sources.
Forbs are nutritious – and with the low nutrients of woody plants, there is no substitute for ground vegetation, such as forbs and tender grasses. In areas without deer management practices and supplemental feed such as corn and protein, forbs are the only means for deer to make it in the wild.
Although forbs are more of a spring season food source, in areas that are not over-grazed by farm animals and exotics, fall forbs help deer prepare for the long winter ahead.
Browse are tender leaves, twigs and other high-growing vegetation on bushes and trees. Deer are more “browse and forbs” consumers than grass consumers such as cattle and elk. Whitetails prefer the more tender low-lying browse from bushes and trees.
In areas where deer must compete for food with cattle and exotics, you’ll find a barren landscape as far as animals can reach making it difficult for deer to thrive in such areas.
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4. Fruits and Berries
Fruits and berries, including blackberries, mulberries and apples, are sweet fruits deer can’t get enough of. Some species of apple trees do well in fall and winter seasons – and if you are fortunate to be near an apple orchard during deer season, you just might be hunting the sweetest spot on the lease.
5. Farm Fields
In many parts of the country, farm fields such as corn, soybeans, vegetables and peanuts are the natural landscape of the land. If you spot a brushy or tall grassy area butted up to a farm field, you may have just found an ideal location for your stand.
By morning, big bucks will retreat to the thick vegetation for bedding and concealment. By evening, big bucks will hit the farm fields and feed throughout the night. If you hunt throughout the day, he just might hop up midday for a quick lunch.
No matter what part of the country you are hunting, by taking the time to perform some vegetative scouting, coupled with strategic stand placement, you too can locate a whitetail buck’s favorite wild foods and be on your way to setting yourself up for a shot of a lifetime.