John's Journal...

Create a Hot Spot Where You Can Hunt Deer Close

Day 2: The Importance of Native Plants and Natural Nuts to Create a Honey Hole for Hunting Deer Close

Editor’s Note: Through the years, I've learned that focusing on the big aspects of deer hunting doesn't always bring as much success as paying attention to the small details like having food available that deer like to eat and having places where you can hunt deer close with your bow, muzzleloader, pistol or crossbow. Following through with the little things that everyone else thinks they automatically will do, but don't, will ensure success afield for bagging deer.

No-See-Em Sites of Native Plants:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewTo have a secret place where you can take bucks with your muzzleloader or bow each season, create a spot that draws deer that other hunters won't find. You can develop a deer-hunting hot spot by using a herbicide to rid an area of low-quality hardwood brush. Then fertilize the region with a native plant fertilizer, preferably time-released. Few hunters realize that native plants have a high percentage of protein that can attract as many deer as agricultural crops do. Blackberry, greenbrier (smilax) and honeysuckle patches can produce a tremendous amount of high-quality, delicious-tasting deer foods that deer can utilize, especially during the late season. By eliminating the hardwood brush that competes with these plants and then fertilizing these native plants, you can make an area attract deer like a magnet that doesn't look any different from the terrain around the hot spot. But remember, if you decide to fertilize the native plants deer like to eat, don't fertilize the entire patch. If you do, the deer may eat all the food supply, destroying what has attracted them. Only fertilize one portion of the patch to allow the native plants to regenerate themselves and keep the deer from completely destroying them. I generally fertilize in the early spring when the plants just start putting on their foliage and again in the early fall, while the plants still have time to grow and put on leaves in the section of the South where I live.

Natural Nuts:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewAlthough I enjoy planting pecan trees for deer, I also fertilize acorn trees to create deer hot spots throughout the year. A wildlife biologist or a botanist can help you determine which nut trees to fertilize in your section of the country to have productive hunting areas when bow and muzzleloading season arrives. The two major categories of oak trees, white oaks and red oaks, contain many subspecies. Each of these subspecies drops its nuts at different times of the year. By knowing which trees drop their nuts during deer season and by using fertilizer tablets 1 inch to 2 inches under the dirt and circling the tree's drip line (outermost branches), you can fertilize two or three of each of the varieties of nut trees and make hot spots where you can hunt whitetails throughout the season. In my home state of Alabama, I can hunt with a bow and later a muzzleloader from mid-October until the end of January each year. I may fertilize one or two swamp chestnut trees for early-season hunting and then an overcup oak tree for hunting later in the season. Too, I may fertilize and hunt around a willow oak when no white oak acorns remain in my hunting area, which means I'll have a honey hole region around acorn trees for each week I plan to hunt.

For more information, get the new eBook, “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows” by John E. Phillips. Go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Use Wildlife Plantings to Make a Deer Hot Spot You Can Hunt

Check back each day this week for more about "Create a Hot Spot Where You Can Hunt Deer Close"

Day 1: Plant Fruit and Nut Trees to Create a Deer Hunting Honey Hole
Day 2: The Importance of Native Plants and Natural Nuts to Create a Honey Hole for Hunting Deer Close
Day 3: Use Wildlife Plantings to Make a Deer Hot Spot You Can Hunt
Day 4: Build Stalking Trails through Thick Cover to Help You Take More Bucks
Day 5: How to Install a Stalking Lane to Hunt Deer Close

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Entry 692, Day 2