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Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

Old 04-11-2003, 09:06 PM
  #1  
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Location: New Berlin WI USA
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Default Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

This past fall we put in a few oat food plots rather hastefully. My buddy next to me had a much larger plot about a 1/2 mile away. His oats were pounded every day by numerous deer. His oats were about and inch high due to over browsing. My oats were over a foot high and were not utilized by the deer very much. We used the exact same seed. The differences were as follows:
1) He had his plot limed in the spring prior to the fall planting.

2) His plot is much bigger (about 4 acres) whereas my plots were small (about an 1/8 of an acre or less.)

3) His plot was relatively open on the sides with oak woods, mine had thick pines on one side which is a great bedding/cover area and oak woods on the other.

I am certain that my soil was much more acidic than his with the pines and oaks, do you think that was the problem and it wasn' t very palatable? Now before you pro' s yell at me, a soil test will be done this year, along with adequate liming and fertilization.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 04-12-2003, 08:13 AM
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Boone & Crockett
 
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Default RE: Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

I think there is a good possibility that the lime may have been just enough difference in taste to make a difference although having other food sources such as acorns close by on your friends plot may have kept them in the area more. Hurry with the lime, it takes several months to work. I would consider making your plots bigger if possible.
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Old 04-12-2003, 01:41 PM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

Does he have more/better deer trails to his propertty than you do? Does he have other crops closer to his field? Do you walk your field more than he does? Do you have dogs on your property?

Dan O.
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Old 04-12-2003, 09:03 PM
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Default RE: Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

Timbercruiser and Dan O., thanks for giving me some input. To answer your questions:

He did not have anymore acorns than I had.

As far as the trails, not really. His woods is relatively open and the deer kind of meander through more than staying on trails.

There are no crops within a mile of either of our properties. If anything, I would be a little closer.

His food plot was overhunted and they had a lot more sightings and feeding activity. If they hunted the property they had to walk through his oat field to get in. Most of the time, it was the oats that were hunted. I told them all year long..you are over hunting it. However, they continually saw deer and shooter bucks. My nephew eventually arrowed a 125 class 8 pt off of the most overhunted stand. We rarely walked our plots.

I am at a loss other than lime, unless for some reason the deer just feel more secure feeding there. His is much more open, I really wouldn' t be able to make my plots any bigger, however, there some areas that I will put in new plots that will be bigger. In the future we are either going to put in about a 5 acre plot but right now we are holding off as I am hopefull that we will purchase another 40 acre parcel that has two 10 acre fields that we would plant. That remains to be seen though. First I' d have to convince the owner to sell, and then I' d have to convince my chief financial offifer, AKA - The Wife. Thanks again guys...I will keep you posted.
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Old 04-13-2003, 05:38 PM
  #5  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

Kyler; when you' re trying to answer the question try to balance the 3 needs of the deer: shelter, food and water. Each one is essential but I' d rate them in the order given. Deer will travel a distance for food or water but they can' t stand humans in their sanctuary. They' ll move through an inhabited area from their sanctuary but they bed in undisturbed areas.

Oats are commonly grown in acidic soil so the flavour shouldn' t have been unpalatable.

Dan O.
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Old 04-15-2003, 11:04 AM
  #6  
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Default RE: Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

Well I am at a loss then. Because my neighbor and hunting buddies absolutely pounded their oats where we hunted ours sparingly. They continually saw numerous deer including several shooter bucks. Most of our shooters are 3.5 years or older. We are going to plant some different things this year after soil testing, liming, etc. I am hoping that you are wrong regarding it not being unpalatable.

Thanks for your input.
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Old 04-15-2003, 07:32 PM
  #7  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

Hey Kyler,

Your buddy' s plot may have been a little sweeter, but not so much that the deer shouldn' t have hit it.

My best guess would be size - in this case size does matter. Deer can get extremely jittery on small plots. In my experience - you will not normally see much daytime deer usage on plots less than 2 acres in size, even if they are remote, where there is hunting pressure, even if slight. Actually, in my experience, the harder the pressure, the more likely to see deer in large fields in daylight hours. Deer do not have the reasoning power to know that a hunter can take him from 200 yds, and many deer feel quite safe actually in the open under such circumstances.

I' d probably look to upping the acreage to at least 2 acres.

Good luck


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Old 04-15-2003, 08:13 PM
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Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

farm hunter; it' s nice to see you back on line, even if you have dumb deer. LOL

I agree with you when hunting pressure gets heavy, the deer start moving and feeding at unpredictable hours. It could be that they' ve been pushed out of their normal " safe" zones. I don' t have that much pressure on my property so I' ve tried to respect their sanctuary.

Dan O.
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Old 04-16-2003, 09:12 AM
  #9  
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Default RE: Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

Seems like the only difference maybe was size.

Is it possible he could have been holding a considerable amount more of deer in his area, because of the increased size of his plots?

If your property was way too acidic, your oats wouldn' t have grown to 1' . Rye is more ph tolerant, and I' ve had a plot without lime that rye wouldn' t even grow in-in fact it came up an inch and died.

It seems like it' s got to be size of plot, adjacent bedding cover, intrusion, water source, or something other than lime, especially if your crop grew to 1' .

Jeff...U.P. of Michigan
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Old 04-16-2003, 08:58 PM
  #10  
Nontypical Buck
 
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Default RE: Oats, deer ate the neighbors, not mine, why?

Well I had the reverse happen to me .Largest plot ,great plants and the deer didn' t really like it.Smallest plot little work and they hammered it.WHy?Who the heck knows,that' s why it' s hunting.
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