John's Journal...

Deer Are Where They Eat

Day 5: Food When Snow or Water Covers the Land

Editor’s Note: The easiest way to bag a buck, which may eat 5-9 pounds of 300+ foods per day, is through his stomach. Learn which foods are what deer like best and also when and why they eat.

Click for Larger ViewDuring the fall and winter when rains and snow often cover the ground, much of the deer food will be inaccessible to the animals through the snow or underneath the water. However, once again, the deer don’t stop eating. They change their feeding patterns. When the snow comes, the deer will browse on small twigs and leaves that are above the snow. If the rains cause flooding, oftentimes the deer will look for food on high ground. But what some hunters fail to realize is that often the deer will feed right out in the water.

Click for Larger ViewIn many river-bottom swamps, after the acorns have fallen, and the land becomes flooded, the acorns will float to the surface. And, depending on the water’s current, the acorns may be right on top of the water for the deer to eat. I’ve seen deer along a flood plain wading in chest-deep water, picking the acorns up out of the water and feeding on them. If there is a current coming into a flooded hardwood bottom, the acorns will float to the surface and collect along the edges of the water or in pockets near the back of the flooded land. Wherever the acorns float to and concentrate is where you can expect to find high concentrations of deer.

Click for Larger ViewSometimes the acorns and the deer will collect in unusual places. One year I found a productive stand where I took two fine bucks. The acorns from the hardwood bottom had floated up to the surface. As the water came into the swamp, the acorns were washed into a pine forest about 1/4-mile from the bottom. Although normally there was nothing in the pine forest for the deer to feed on, when the water brought the acorns to the pines, it also drew the deer and made for excellent hunting.

Click for Larger ViewIf you remember that deer have to eat, and if you know what they prefer to eat, where the food source is found, and whether or not that preferred food is in relatively short supply, then locating deer to hunt can be simple. The hunter who gleans information from wildlife biologists, learns where the plants, trees, shrubs, fruits and nuts that the deer like to feed on are located and watches for the deer to change from one feeding pattern to another greatly will increase his chances of success this winter. One of the best ways to take a buck this season is to learn what the deer is putting in his stomach. Then you will know where you have to be to take him.

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and print books on hunting deer, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings,” click here on each. Or, 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.

For information on making jerky from your deer to provide a protein-rich snack, you can download a free book from

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) 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.

Check back each day this week for more about Deer Are Where They Eat

Day 1: The Three Elements - Primarily Food - That Cause Deer to Move with Dr. Keith Causey
Day 2: Foods Deer Prefer
Day 3: People Who Know What Deer Eat
Day 4: Food and Deer Locations When Hunting Pressure’s High and the Food’s Gone
Day 5: Food When Snow or Water Covers the Land

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Entry 858, Day 5