John's Journal...

Food For Thought – Use Food Sources to Locate Deer

Hunting Midwestern Deer During the Mid-Season and Late Season With Toby Bridges

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Although some hunters take bucks around scrapes, along trails, near saddles in mountains and at creek crossings, you'll often find hunting near the food Click to enlargesource where the white-tailed deer feed at the time you hunt the most- consistent way to pattern the deer and to locate a stand where you can harvest a buck. The whitetail's preferred food source changes from early season to mid-season and at the end of the season.  Also as you travel around the country, whitetails in various sections like different plants, shrubs and nuts indigenous to these regions. To learn where to hunt when, we've asked some deer hunters to tell us the food sources they hunt at three-different times.


During the middle of bow season, often the deer still will have plenty of food available.  But the animals may become much-more selective in their food choices. Toby Bridges, a longtime deer hunter with various weapons, mentions, "My favorite time to bowhunt each year is during the first week of November. Usually the rut occurs in the Midwest then, and an abundance of acorns covers the ground. Too, the whitetails have corn fields and wheat fields to feed on at this time.  I'll find the bucks chasing does and also more selective in their food choices." Although Bridges still hunts his favorite ridgetop in mid-season as he did during the early season, he also has discovered honey holes that consistently produce white-tailed deer. Old home Click to enlargeplaces often have orchards and large nut trees around them that hunters frequently use as stand sites. But Bridges has pinpointed another important ingredient that regularly yields nice bucks for him to hunt in the middle of the season at abandoned home places. "I hunt the outhouses and septic tanks," Bridges confesses. "These places leak nutrients into the ground that feed the root systems of acorn trees. The acorn trees closest to the outhouses produClick to enlargece more nuts, bigger nuts, and, I believe, sweeter nuts on which the deer feed. I have one particular abandoned outhouse I hunt where I always see whitetails during the middle of the season."

Late Deer Season:

If you hunt at the end of Missouri's archery season, realize that gun hunters, blackpowder hunters and bowhunters have harassed these extremely-wary deer.  The deer tend to move from the oak flats and ridgetops into the corn fields
to feed and to hide from the hunters. Bridges usually takes a stand on a trail that leads into a corn field in late season. "My favorite stand when I hunt at the end of the season has three ridges that funnel into a bottom with corn planted in it," Bridges explains. "I usually scout the ridgetops to see which ridge the deer use most frequently.  Then I set my tree stand between that ridge and the corn field. I generally can get a shot at the deer coming to the corn in the afternoon or leaving the corn in the morning.  I've hunted plenty of mornings where I've seen 30 or 40 deer coming out of the corn."

Tomorrow: Jerry Simmons on Hunting Southeastern Deer During Early Deer Season

Check back each day this week for more about "Food For Thought – Use Food Sources to Locate Deer"

Day 1: What Whitetails Eat in the Midwest in the Early Season with Toby Bridges
Day 2: Hunting Midwestern Deer During the Mid-Season and Late Season With Toby Bridges
Day 3: Jerry Simmons on Hunting Southeastern Deer During Early Deer Season
Day 4: Jerry Simmons Tells How to Hunt Southeastern Deer in the Mid-Season and Late Season
Day 5: How to Hunt Deer Around Food in the Northeast


Entry 529, Day 2