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Whitetail Deer Habitat Managing habitat for the benefit of deer.

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Old 06-18-2009, 05:50 PM
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Default Do deer eat mature wheat?

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I planted this plot last Labor Day weekend. It's only 1/6 of a acre. We planted it in a transition area between two large wood lots. We just wanted a place for the deer to grab a bite to eat on their way to the other side and hopefully offer a shot if needed. Well the wheat grew really well and it's at least 3ft high with a 4" grain head on it. My question is will deer eat the mature wheat heads in the fall? You never see wheat fields unharvested in the fall so I have no idea. If they do I would let it stand but if they don't I will replant it this fall. Thanks for any input..

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Old 06-18-2009, 07:14 PM
anon2192012 anon2192012 is offline
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I have seen very little deer activity in mature stands of wheat. I would replant it in Sept. They love it when it's young and tender.
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Huntermax-4 View Post
I have seen very little deer activity in mature stands of wheat. I would replant it in Sept. They love it when it's young and tender.
lightly disc it early in sept there should be enough seed left to have a great fall stand.
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Old 06-19-2009, 11:40 AM
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sagittarius sagittarius is offline
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Originally Posted by jflem View Post
My question is will deer eat the mature wheat heads in the fall?
Absolutely, turkeys will too. By the time the snow comes every seed head will be stripped bare.

I have watched deer eat wheat heads for several minutes, then spend several minutes eating white clovers, then move on to the soybeans ... the 3 deer traveled 150 yards in 15 min. very slowly.
"The real problem is not how we shall handle the deer in this emergency. The real problem is one of human management. Wild life management is comparatively easy; human management difficult." Aldo Leopold, March 1943

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Old 06-19-2009, 12:21 PM
fairfax1 fairfax1 is offline
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The poster above observes: "By the time the snow comes every seed head will be stripped bare."

He's very right....but probably conservative. That wheat will be gone long before snow flies.
Everything....everything....seems to eat wheat: birds, virtually all of 'em; mammals--squirrel, deer, coon, possum, fox, mice, woodchuck, etc. I wouldn't bet that there's not a box-turtle in their eating right now.

Our wheat....and we put in winter wheat almost every year (in September)....seems to fall prey to every species of animal on our ground. It is always...always....well worked over by the critters before we disc it up in September.

Now, contrast that rye grain....where nothing seems to eat the matured heads. One of the reasons that rye is so economical a green forage to use for plotting is that one purchase of seed may last you up to 5 years --it has us. Plant the grain in September, then brush hog it the following September and disc it down....no need to add seed as the critters didn't eat what was there so you'll get a healthy crop of volunteers.
"...things natural, wild, and free." - A.Leopold

'In nature’s infinite book of secrecy…….. A little I can read.' W.Shakespeare
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Old 06-19-2009, 01:00 PM
Ed Spin04 Ed Spin04 is offline
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Are most of the wheat seeds gone by mid September? Certainly, but I have never seen a deer eating it. I'm certain that they do as noted here, but no observation by me. I see turkeys and crows go at it like it was candy, I see blackbirds when they gather in late summer prior to their flight south in swarms filling their gullet, but never deer.
Keep the fun in hunting!
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Old 06-19-2009, 02:22 PM
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I've allowed wheat to ripen a few times, and I can tell you that coons will park their ugly asses in that stuff and stuff their faces until they can hardly move.

Ditto on bird use of ripened wheat. I've never seen deer eat the stuff.
Lycopene, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.
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Old 06-20-2009, 05:29 PM
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Backwoods-Savage Backwoods-Savage is offline
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I've seen them eat but not a lot. They do however, love to lay in mature wheat. Turkeys go wild with it.
Keep smiling!
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Old 06-21-2009, 03:07 PM
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My southeastern Ohio deer love mature wheat. Last year a bunch of deer were in a wheat field near where I hunt almost every evening after it matured and before it was harvested. I watched them chomping the seed heads off.
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