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Food forest for deer

 
Will Holland
Posts: 296
Location: CT zone 5b
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Is anybody growing a food forest specifically to INclude deer? Conventional ag folks grow food plots for deer hunting with things like soybeans and corn that they don't intend to harvest, and use a lot of resources to do so.

I'm not currently in a design phase, but when the time comes, I'd really like to design an/some areas to draw deer into and keep their interest there specifially for hunting, especially if it might distract them from some other areas of the property.

I imagine it'd need some preferred foods for deer, and some really good cover for them to bed in close to their yummy lunch.

I'd love to hear some ideas!
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 365
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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My property has deer that are on the endangered species list, so I have areas to share with cattle. Generally they benefit from lines of fruit trees - just make sure you have protectors up to 6 feet to build a canopy beyond browsing. Some oak trees will work well too if you can wait for their production to cycle up.
Grass and herbs growing tall without blackberries and thick roses or vines will provide good bedding space. If you're going to harvest sometimes, include a few enclosed corridors with long range of sight - maybe even from a window if it's near your house.


 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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I'm really into this idea. Around here we have many parks, tracks, football fields et cetera which butt up on forest and tend to attract deer anyway. I think it would be great to do a pass or two with a tractor around such clearings and plant them with a mixture of attractants for both deer and pollinators. Mostly tasty flowers and legumes I would imagine. A few protected fruit trees and raspberry thickets, once established could provide sweet treats for deer, bees, park goers and t-ball players alike.


There are a TON of videos on youtube as you have likely seen. Some of those hunters are pretty darn knowledgeable even if they do use a backpack sprayer to establish their plot. Take the advise that seems good and improve based on your own judgement and standards.
 
Landon Sunrich
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One thing I have heard said many times is to try and plant "food that is cover". Had me thinking of Fava's.

 
allen lumley
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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- O.K., What I am about to say will be considered heresy by most of the deer hunters in the Northeast who form hunting clubs to have exclusive hunting rights to
land with ''good whitetail hunting potential !

Worse I am going to advocate the planting of plants and trees that are prime browse during the local ''Hunting Season'' !

The very heart of my argument is that any attempt to hold whitetail deer onto a piece of real-estate to the exclusion of boundary parcels of land to Automatically
doomed to failure !

Whitetail deer the most common deer species in North america do not migrate,nor do they change their feeding range much from day to day, season to season-

YES !

Any attempt to draw deer into a local area even to include winter feeding, will rapidly deplete the Browse in a specific area !

Also in All of North America there are restrictions on planting crops to specifically attack deer and restrictions for hunting over such plots of ground !

Having said that, unless there is massive illegal harvesting of Deer ''Out of season'', It is far better that your hunting grounds provide 30% to 60% of the non-
hunting season browse and 80% to 100% of the preferred browse during the legal hunting season !

A neighbor has in years past had a CornField Maze and a plot of ground where he plants pumpkins for sale to the families that show up to solve the maze each year!

Past additional activities include a Trebuchet for pumpkin chunkin !

At the end of the season he sells the leftover rotten pumpkins and Apple drops off of Commercial Apple trees to many local hunting clubs.

Hunting directly over these patches is called salting from the practice of creating artificial deer licks and hunting over the top of them !

In most legal hunting areas Drivers can legally drive deer from there Feeding grounds toward other hunters who are watchers who have learned to station themselves
to safely intercept the deer and make a legal and sanctioned killing !

Again, It is probably more important to you to protect your Food forest from overgrazing by white-tailed deer than it is to try and hold them on your plot of ground
through an entire hunting season and the next !

I will now set back and await comments from my fellow members ! For the good of the Crafts/ Cause ! Big AL
 
Dan Boone
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I have noticed that a lot of the best information out there on propagating wild persimmons comes from hunters who are setting up winter food plots for deer.
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 613
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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allen lumley wrote:Also in All of North America there are restrictions on planting crops to specifically attack deer and restrictions for hunting over such plots of ground !


While there are restrictions on bringing truckloads of corn or apples, I am not aware of any regulations regarding planting crops that attract deer. Do you have a cite for legislation that says it's illegal to plant apple trees or clover because the deer might like them?

Indiana Article:
“Basically, if you place anything that isn't grown in the area and hunt there, it's illegal,” said Lt. Larry Morrison, outdoor education director for DNR Law Enforcement. “Hunting next to a corn field or from an apple tree is legal, but placing corn or apples under your tree stand would put you in conflict with current Indiana law.”


Many states even give hunters information on how to establish foot plots that will attract deer: Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, etc.
 
Will Holland
Posts: 296
Location: CT zone 5b
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Food plots are definitely legal here, and baiting is legal in some zones. I do neither of those things.

I'm thinking of stuff along the lines of persimmons, some mast crop, and some good browse in all seasons enough to keep the deer coming around. I had the idea while hunting on my new property and noticing a lack of preferred food sources here. I don't wish to plant a food plot of annuals.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1266
Location: Central New Jersey
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Will, I am not doing it, but it seems like a sensible thing to do and will keep it in mind when I get to that point

To my mind, the major downside with having deer around is the damage they can do to young plants during establishment. The same problems as with letting domestic livestock into the young areas. Once a section is reasonably well established, then the deer can help prune your trees (reference Mark Shephard describing how cattle grazing among his apple trees prune low hanging branches and thus protect the trees against scab), mow grasses, provide fertilizer - all those things that we can get from domestic livestock, but without having to buy and raise the livestock and with no responsibility for their care.

And then you get to harvest meat that has virtually no cost in it. Heck, you may even be able to generate a little income with a fee for hunting on your land.
 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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Best to check laws in your state/county. Here in NC it is legal with the following exceptions...


● It is unlawful to place processed food products as bait in any area
of the state with an established season for taking black bears.
Processed food products or any food substance or flavoring
that has been modified by the addition of ingredients or by
treatment to modify its chemical composition or form or to
enhance its aroma or taste. This includes: food products
enhanced by sugar, honey, syrups, oils, salts, spices, peanut
butter, grease, meat, bones, or blood; candies, pastries, gum,
and sugar blocks; and extracts of such products.
● The placement of commercially available mineral supplements
specifically and exclusively marketed for attracting or feeding
deer is allowed anywhere in the state, except on game lands.



http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Regs/Documents/2014-15/Big-Game-Regulations.pdf page 55

In past years, I remember the Wildlife Resources people handing out wildlife food plot seed packets to landowners, don't know if they still do...


 
                    
Posts: 238
Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
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You might try mushrooms, I'm pretty sure they eat the white ones that have a red cap, some kind of Russula, but I don't know the true name...they grow in oak leaf litter. If you have some rich, somewhat moist dirt, you might try 'sweet root' Apiaceae Osmorhiza longstylis...which is a 2' tall forbe that has a purple-ish stem, which it's stem is quite sweet like sugar, I know they eat this stuff (I don't mind eating it myself) and it grows for years in deep shade. Violets are also perennial that grow in deep shade.

There is a bush called hearts-a-busting, Euonymus americanus, they eat that stuff, it grows in shade. I think crab apple or regular apple would be smart. Sassafras, mulberry, black gum, white oak might be a good tree, that you may have to bush hog every year or two to promote fairly short, suckering type growth. I heard that buckbrush (Coralberry) is good, I have it here & there, but I've never seen a deer eating it, it is a kind of 'honeysuckle bush' that gets about 3' tall, and is not terribly invasive...loses its leaves in the fall...anyway it grows in the deep shade. I heard they eat poison ivy, but I don't know if they eat virginia creeper, both grow well in deep shade.

I'm pretty sure deer won't eat spicebush, nor french mulberry, nor paw paw, I have all of those, the deer don't seem interested in eating those leaves.

james beam
 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
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I know deer love Lespedeza, but if you don't already have it please be aware it's considered invasive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lespedeza_bicolor
 
Jd Gonzalez
Posts: 196
Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
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Plant native or naturalized species that are edible to both humans and wildlife.
Native Hazelnut
Chinkapin (Castanea pumila)
Chestnuts
Apples
Pears
Plums
Service Berry (saskatoon)

I have planted most of these on my land. Chinquapin is in such demand that I must wait until Spring to order some. Check with your State Forestry Department to see if they sell seedlings. Here in Virginia one gets 10 "trees" for $20.00 plus shipping. http://www.dof.virginia.gov/tree/index.htm


Here are two helpful links:

http://ouroneacrefarm.com/10-shrubs-wildlife-friendly-edible-landscape/

http://ouroneacrefarm.com/15-trees-wildlife-friendly-edible-landsape/
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4153
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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This is certainly not a plant that I would have ever considered as deer browse, Purely speculation on my part would be that if this plant becomes scarce
in my hunting area then its time to look for other signs of over grazing !


http://phys.org/news/2014-12-evolve-tolerance-deer.html?utm_source=nwletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=ctgr-item&utm_campaign=daily-nwletter below :


Again, my goal is not the feed deer 365 days of the year, my goal would be to have attractants that deer will seek out AFTER I have harvested
those crops that I have planned to feed me ! Holding them on my range during Hunting season is good for them and for me ! Big AL
 
Jeff Reiland
Posts: 59
Location: Central Iowa
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Thanks for the links Jd!
 
Chris Gilliam
Posts: 26
Location: Foley, Alabama
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I have nine acres that I'm slowly transforming and there are deer, boar, and turkey to share with. I'm planting mostly black walnut as a timber crop, and as a way to keep the kudzu next to me from invading. I've planted chestnut, pear, plum, persimmon, heartnut, mulberry, apple, pecan, paw paw, wild cherry, etc.. so far, with many more varieties to come. Considering that there wasn't much there but pine and sweet gum when I started I'm sure all the wildlife will be pleased with the increased number of food sources.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Will Holland, I would recommend getting in touch with the CT Game and Fish Commission, they will be happy to assist you in many ways including the legalities of putting in food forage crops for wild game animals.

I live in Arkansas and when I contacted our game and fish, they directed me to one of their biologists.
He has helped me plan the best areas for food plots, deep cover for bedding areas and many other little projects. I do hunt when I need the meat but mostly I have provided nutritious food plots that also provide cover.
I plant crimson and white (Holland) clovers, sorghum, soybeans, Cereal Rye, Amaranth and some small plots of Corn. I've also created some edging areas where they can move along with cover.
These are located along the trails the animals have used for years, but not on them, sign this year has indicated they have begun to use my "highways and byways."

In Arkansas, it is not considered baiting as long as you do not hunt directly over a food plot, which you really wouldn't want to do anyway.
That would disrupt the main reason for going to the trouble of planting them.
We have some clover patches that are near our house and the deer are beginning to use them now, and we look forward to being able to take some photographs of our friends.

Many other species are beginning to use these plots as well. Rabbits, Quail, Doves, etc. all are finding out that those places are where they can forage and not be disturbed.
I have two areas where I do hunt, these are on the trails where they come into the plots and move away from the plots, they are a minimum of 400 yards from any of my feed plots as well.
I even found out that certain plants should not be part of a feed plot meant for deer, like red clover, alfalfa, barley and a few other plants that come in some of the commercial feed plot bags.

When I got with my AGFC biologist we went over what I wanted to get out of the project, good nutrition for deer, turkey, rabbits, doves and quail if I could lure them into our habitat. He came out and walked our property with me, after which, he worked out a plan with me that would be of the most benefit to the animals I wanted to help get the nutrition they needed. Now I have plantings that will attract deer, turkey, dove, rabbit, quail, and other wild life we like to watch ( and on occasion eat).

I am not trying to hold them on our land, we only have 15 acres, not nearly enough for holding a herd, but I am working on making some areas of our land more inviting to them and perhaps they will come more frequently now that I am giving them reasons to not just pass through on their way to the pastures behind us.

I have a small persimmon orchard already, this year the deer didn't come get them, nor did the raccoons. It may be because this orchard is within 100 feet of our house, but it didn't stop them last year, so maybe this was a bumper crop year and they ate their fill at some of the neighbors orchards. We have plans to put in at least 4 apple, plum, pear and peach trees this spring as we continue to build our orchard.
 
Dan Boone
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Bryant, interesting about the persimmons!

Here in central OK it was an off year for them, my trees had less than half the crop that they had last year and many trees that had fruit last year had none at all this year. Last year I picked mostly freshly-fallen fruit but this year there was NONE on the ground; all that I typically found on the ground was deer poop and hoof marks. I had to shake my trees to get any fruit at all. So in this very local area at least, I concluded that the deer were hungrier in a year with less fruit on the ground and were thus picking it up much faster than last year.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Dan, I think it was the amount of rain we had this year that did it most. Arkansas has really been a good place to see the weather changes the current global warming is creating. It always tickles me to hear people act like it isn't happening but I have been following the weather of this region since 1957 and the current trends are very different than any fluctuation I have in my records. The last time we had something this significant was in the 1300 thru 1870 period, the little Ice Age event. This year we had very steady rain falls, instead of the late July thru August "dog days" where we get no rain to speak of. I think that created a better growing environment for everything, most people that grow tomatoes here were amazed that their plants produced through September this year.

I think the biggest factor on our land was all the clearing we have been doing this year to get ready for the permanent move to the homestead this next year. I'm sure our activities have spooked most of the wild life, but now that winter is here, they have "discovered" that we have made improvements that are to their advantage. Last weekend we found the first fresh deer prints since we started the land preparations. I had put out some feeder blocks for the really cold snap we had, and the only animals that touched them before last weekend were the free ranging chickens and guineas of our neighbor down the road. Now the deer have found them so they hopefully will be of good use to them.

I only use a Bow to hunt with and I only hunt when we have a need for meat that we can't furnish through our other methods. Interestingly, we have seen only one squirrel this past year, and I have only spotted four nests so far this winter.
 
Dan Boone
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Dan, I think it was the amount of rain we had this year that did it most. Arkansas has really been a good place to see the weather changes the current global warming is creating. It always tickles me to hear people act like it isn't happening but I have been following the weather of this region since 1957 and the current trends are very different than any fluctuation I have in my records. The last time we had something this significant was in the 1300 thru 1870 period, the little Ice Age event. This year we had very steady rain falls, instead of the late July thru August "dog days" where we get no rain to speak of. I think that created a better growing environment for everything, most people that grow tomatoes here were amazed that their plants produced through September this year.


I agree that it was probably the rain! Here locally we had the typical lack of summer rain (just a couple of showers that barely moistened the top inch of soil for a few hours) although even ten miles away they got much better soakings from random thunderstorms. We also had a late hard freeze that appears to have messed up a lot of tree crops.
 
Tim Malacarne
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Location: South central Illinois, USA
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A local guy has posted a FB photo of a big old buck, dead, of course. He got some clover seed from Whitetails Unlimited, I think... I am wanting to try the same thing as you next summer. I've modified my Forest Management Plan to include a food plot and a vernal pool. The pool will provide extra soil to raise the food plot, is my thinking...
 
Mark Thompsons
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Location: Western Washington
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I'm planning an orchard up in the woods myself for similar reasons, and will include oaks and apple trees. When picking your fruit trees, consider the rootstock. In my situation, I'm going to go with something large for drought tolerance and good anchorage...basically low maintenance, but do your research on soil type and local disease pressures that may be mitigated through wise choice of rootstocks. In picking your varieties, look for a spread out harvest to provide food through as many months as possible.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Mark, don't forget to protect the trunks of your orchard, deer will eat the bark in the winter, the bucks will rub all the bark off while getting ready for the rut. I have seen a large return of deer to my farm now that we have most of the areas cleared that we needed to clear and I currently have lots of crimson clover growing in patches. If you are planting clovers, the white (Dutch) and crimson are the two top ones to plant for deer to browse. Red clover is not a good choice as it will make the deer sick, they instinctively know this, at least in my neck of the woods. This year I will be adding other plants to the clover patches so the deer will have a varied diet of soybeans, clovers, cereal rye, and native wild grasses. Other patches will have corn and squashes added to the mix. I have a stand of persimmon trees already that are shared with the deer and raccoons. Later on they will also be able to get apples, peaches, plums and pears. I found that they don't really eat the wild black berries and neither do the birds so now I will finish eliminating those volunteer plants then put in the berries I want to eat along with grape vines.

I have fenced in areas for what we want to keep to ourselves, everything else we share with all the four legs and other creatures.
 
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