Why Are Acorns Important to Deer Food Plots?
One thing is for sure: you need to provide a good food source for deer to linger on your plot. Food, water, and shelter are three prerequisites for deer to start coming to your land and make it their home.
Deer Like a Variety of Food Sources
Food sources can vary, depending on the season, the climate, and the land. In general, spring starts with forbs and soft grasses that are easily digestible. During this time, deer are trying to gain back the fat they lost during winter.
As summer comes, deer will turn to fruit and nuts; in fall, acorn supplies start giving nutritious acorns that deer love. Depending on the type of oak, acorns can be found from September up until March, keeping deer fed until the end of winter.
A small tip for landowners and deer aficionados: deer love mushrooms. They are a good source of protein for deer, who will often nibble at mushrooms on the ground.
Why Do Landowners Need Food Plots?
Landowners often plant food plots for the in-between period when natural vegetation is not available. Food plots are particularly useful at the end of summer and the end of winter. In late summer, fruits have already fallen but acorns are not ready yet. At the end of winter, the acorn supply has dried up but grasses have not yet started to shoot. Food plots will supply tasty vegetation for the animals.
Deer Like Variety but Have Preferred Foods
Depending on the region and the time of year, deer will have their favorite food supply. Sometimes it’s maples or berries, in other places it can be sumac or acorns. Deer will start with their preferred food and will then turn to the second and third choices, once their first food choice has been depleted.
Acorns are highly nutritious, filled with carbohydrates, and easy to digest. When fall comes, deer need to put on weight to keep them through winter and acorns are an excellent food for this purpose, as they are a high-energy food source.
Research has shown that the more acorns deer eat, the fatter they are. When they eat acorns right before winter, they have more body fat stored to keep them going in winter, when food sources are fewer and leaner.
Why Are Acorns Important for the Deer Population?
Planting various types of oaks will keep deer populations on your plot, particularly from early fall through to winter. Oak trees come in a great variety of species. Planting different types of oaks is essential to provide acorns for your deer population at different times.
Sawtooth oak, for instance, gives acorns from September to mid-October. It is then followed by willow oak, white oak, swamp chestnut oak, Shumard oak, and Nuttall oak, which drops acorns from January until March. Planting several varieties of oaks will make sure your land has acorns from late September to March, and deer will find a precious food source on your property.
Planting Oaks on Your Land
Before choosing which oaks to plant, you need to study your plot and see what type of bottomland and highland you have.
You must also see what type of oaks already exist on your land and how you can diversify the varieties of oaks. You need to take into consideration your area, climate, type of soil, and surrounding vegetation before deciding on which oaks to plant.
Take time to walk around your property and notice which trees and bushes have been nibbled by deer. This will give you an idea about what type of vegetation deer favor in your area.
Oak trees take time to mature and produce acorns, starting at 20 years old and maximizing production around 50 years old. Crops vary from year to year and even from tree to tree; humidity, drought, and late frost affect acorn crops.
Providing a variety of oaks is important because some oak trees will produce well this year while others will have a bumper crop next season. By diversifying your oaks, you are making sure there will always be acorn production for the deer.
Oaks and Acorns Can Help You Bring Deer to Your Land
If you are looking for deer to populate your land, you need to plant oaks. Acorns will be a much-appreciated food source to deer, from late fall to winter. In between grasses, leaves, fruit, nuts, and mushrooms, acorns have a solid position in deer nutrition.