planting corn for deer

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Don McCombs
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Re: planting corn for deer

Postby Don McCombs » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:34 am

In general, I tend to agree with your comments. However, deer can devastate a corn field when the plants are just 2 to 4 inches tall. Several years of placing a trail cam adjacent to our garden has revealed that deer and raccoons share pretty equally in damage to sweet corn when it is almost ready for picking. My experience, in my hunting area, has shown that planting corn alone is not much of a draw to deer. White clover works much better. However, placing shelled corn in strategic areas, either by timer operated feeders or spreading directly on the ground, will pull them in from miles around. Works equally well for turkeys. Much easier and less costly to do than planting. Of course, this practice is not legal everywhere. In PA, where I hunt, we have to stop within 30 days of the season or be further than 300 yards from anyplace we hunt. My experience with soybeans on our farm concurs that deer love beans. They don't tend to wander and nibble here, though. A half dozen deer can clip down the tops along field edges in pretty short order, feeding night and day.

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Re: planting corn for deer

Postby Super A » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:25 am

ricky racer wrote:Being rasied on a farm and living on a farm as well being an avid deer hunter spending thousands of hours in and around deer habitat, my obsevations are quite different. I contend that 90% of crop damage attributed to deer is done by raccoons not deer. Folks see deer tracks in corn fields and assume they cause the damage they see. You won't normally see coon tracks unless it's muddy or extremely soft ground. If you see standing stalks of corn where the ears have been stripped of kernals, that was done by a deer. If the corn stalk has been knocked down and the kernals eaten, that was done by a coon. Thats not to say that if a deer finds a downed stalk won't eat the corn but that's the exception instead of the rule. Folks see deer coming and going in the standing corn because deer like the cover it offers. There's also fewer peskey insects like deer flys and mosquito's than found in the woods.

Deer love soy bean plants too but you'll see them in a field wandering through the field taking a bite here and a bite there until their stomachs are full. I don't think they really do any damage to the plants or yeilds because just as I said, they take a bite here and there not staying in one spot for more than a bite or two. If you see an area virtually mowed down near a fence line or woods, that was done by a wood chuck. Again, you'll probably never see wood chuck tracks there but you will see deer tracks because the sharp hooves easily leave impressions where coon or woos chuck don't. I've discussed this here before: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=59207&hilit=+crop+damage

Somebody needs to tell this to our NC deer. Plant soybeans in rows 30" or wider. The deer will start at the woods and mow them to the other end just as they emerge. THEY WILL NOT GROW BACK. If you get them to the first trifoliate before they get mowed they are more likely to make it but usually a deer will be back by in a night or two to eat the new growth. Narrow rows they will move around a little more and cause less damage overall. We figured out after disking fields in for several years that drilling beans in a 7.5" row at TWICE THE POPLUATION would give you an acceptable final stand to actually yield a little except around the first 50" of the field. That's a lot of fun with seed costs being what they are.....Plus the deer will be meandering out there all season, trampling plants and in the fall prior to harvest knocking off pods.They will pull the shoot out of a stalk of corn just before silking, chew once or twice, and drop it on the ground. They tear down fences. They are known for their jumping abilities, usually into a car windshield, but instead of jumping they will sort of drag themselves up and down ditch banks, causing erosion. They carry ticks which carry lyme disease. Yes, I hate em. Back in the 80s we had a severe problem (see soybean discussion above) but we found some GOOD hunters that wanted meat and not antlers to hunt the farm. That has helped tremendously but there are still problems. One of best things to happen to our area has been the emergence of coyotes but of course that has led to other problems. Oh and forget about getting the game warden to come give you a permit to kill them out of season. They usually get someone from Raleigh to call you to say they are busy and can't come out, and if they do show up they act like you, the lowly landowner and tax payer, are wasting their time and give you a lecture about opening your property to hunting and the theories of wildlife management.

If deer are not plentiful in your area be thankful. You are better off to hunt something else. If the "hunters insist on a big healthy deer population they need to come to the landowners and people who have had their vehicles wrecked by deer (higher insurance for us all) with their checkbook regularly.

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