John's Journal...

Food For Thought – Use Food Sources to Locate Deer

Jerry Simmons Tells How to Hunt Southeastern Deer in the Mid-Season and Late Season

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 source 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.Click to enlarge

"During the middle of the season and even through the end of the season, you'll find any areas with water oak acorns a dependable place to hunt," Jerry Simmons, the inventor of the Land Shark, the Mini-Shark and the Interceptor broadheads, of Jasper, Alabama, reports. "Since water oak acorns fall all during deer season, you'll find
them the most-consistent food source to hunt over in the Southeast to attempt to take deer." Red oak acorns will continue to fall during the middle of the season, and the post oak acorns will begin to fall. But Simmons believes in hunting around the swamp chestnut tree, one of the deer's preferred foods, if you can find one. This large white oak tree produces a sweet, big nut deer seem to love. "The overcup acorn and the nutall, a striped acorn, are other reliable acorns to hunt over during the middle of the season," Simmons says. "Few Southern bowhunters realize the nutall is one of the deer's preferred foodsources during the mid-season. You'll find the nutall in low areas - the same ones where you'll locate water oaks and overcup oaks. Many times I've seen the deer select the nutall over water oak acorns and overcup acorns."

Simmons has found a secret honey hole that consistently produces plenty of big nuts often in areas with no other nut trees. "If you can find old county maps and locate abandoned cemeteries on the property you plan to hunt, you'll often discover the biggest, oldest nut trees and the most deer Click to enlargeactivity," Simmons explains. Because much of the timber land in the South has been cut-over, you may have a difficult time finding mature, large nut trees.  However, timber crews are often forbidden to cut trees in cemeteries. If you can locate an abandoned cemetery in the woods, you'll usually see plenty of nut trees and numbers of deer there. "A friend of mine found a real deer hot spot, a 1- to 2-acre cemetery out in the middle of a clear-cut," Simmons mentions. "Deer poured into that cemetery all season to get the acorns those nut trees produced. Although we had a hard time reaching the spot because of the dense undergrowth, once we took stands in those nut trees above the tombstones, we had plenty of opportunities to bag deer with our bows."

Late Deer Season:Click to enlarge

By now with most of the acorns gone, Simmons will return to hunt around the water oaks still dropping acorns. "You also may find a few nutall acorns and some white oak acorns left," Simmons comments. "However, during the late season, I'll primarily hunt over Japanese honeysuckle." If you hunt in a place where hunters have planted food plots for the deer, Simmons suggests you hunt over the trails leading to these food plots. "To hunt food plots successfully, never hunt next to the edge of the field," Simmons recommends. "The deer rarely will come out in the field where you expect them to, and when they do move onto the field, they'll be skittish and looking for danger. Instead, move further back down the trail that leads to the food plot. Take a stand either where you see two trails meeting, or where you find a nut tree still dropping acorns beside the trail leading to the food plot. Most of the time, the deer will wait for darkness to fall in these regions before they move out into the fields. Simmons also suggests you consider when hunting food plots that the late season usually occurs during the rut in the Southeast.  Therefore, you often can expect bucks to come to the green fields to find does feeding in the middle of the day when no one else hunts. "To take advantage of this happening, either plan to stay in your stand all day long, or hunt the trails leading to the green fields from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm when few other hunters remain in the woods," Simmons emphasizes.

Tomorrow: How to Hunt Deer Around Food in the Northeast

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 4