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It is on point to say that deer love to eat corn and, therefore, to first-time deer managers planting corn in your food plot seems like a sound idea. In essence, corn is a good food crop for deer, and if you grow it, then deer will most likely visit your food plot. However, if you are new to deer management, planting corn under the wrong conditions will prove more costly than successful.
Can I Use Corn as a Deer Attractant?
Why You Will Benefit from Planting Corn as an Attractant
The following are what you should know when weighing in the decision to plant corn and more-so as a deer attractant.
- Corn is an attractant to deer herds; hence they will flock your food plot.
- As winter approaches, deer need lots of energy to survive it. Corn is rich in both carbohydrates and fats, therefore providing deer with the essential nutrients.
- Besides corn being a highly nutritious food crop for deer, it provides cover from winds, beddings, and travel lanes.
Disadvantages of Planting Corn as a Deer Attractant
There appear to be more disadvantages than advantages, but this should not dissuade you from planting corn as they are manageable situations.
- Deer love to eat corn, and when the deer population is high, deer eat all the emerging corn. It means that you need to plant on a big plot to cater for early deer consumption.
- Corn is not only deer favorite as other animals like raccoons also like corn. In some instances, raccoons often dig up newly planted seeds hence very destructive and a threat to your corn success.
- It is not a drought-resistant food crop and will not do well if you do not have an adequate water supply. Corn will not thrive if you live in areas that have low rainfall.
- Corn plants have low proteins, around 5-9 percent protein level. For deer to grow large antlers, it needs to feed on lots of protein-rich foods as well.
- Fertilizers are essential for corn growth; especially fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen, hence planting corn is an expensive venture.
- When planting corn, you should know that it performs poorly when they have to compete for food sources with weeds, especially in the early stages. Corn also wears down the soil making it necessary for a plant rotation every few years. Corn, in its early stages, does not compete very well with weeds.
- Planting corn is tasking and will require the use of more farm equipment compared to other food crops. Some equipment is not readily available and can delay the process.
- If the soil is not fertile, then planting corn is a bad idea. Before you plant corn, you should engage the farmers in your locality and find out if it is viable to grow corn and the variety to grow. County agents are also a good source of information.
How to Keep Deer Away from Your Food Plot
When you are trying to manage a deer herd in your plot, you will understand just how much of a nuisance. Some farmers report cases of deer herds damaging entire food plots overnight. As corn is one of the favorite food crops for deer, they will consume it regardless of their stage. Whether the ears have begun to ripen or at the seedling stage will not matter to deer. Hence you need to protect your food plot.
To keep deer away from your food plot must not be an expensive venture. A lightweight and temporary structure with netting can serve this purpose efficiently.
Erecting a Deer Netting and Wooden Structure
Start by taking the measurement of your food plot and gathering an adequate supply of both net and wooden poles. The proper spacing should be at least one wooden stake after every ten feet. Four a better reinforcement at the corners, consider using thicker wooden stakes than the middle poles. To prevent deer from leaping over the fence netting, weigh at least eight feet high structure.
When driving the stakes into the ground, consider at least two feet depth to make them steady and firm. It means that you should buy ten feet of wooden stakes and drive two feet to the ground while retaining eight feet for deer netting.
When stapling the deer netting, start with one corner and work from the ground up, putting at least one staple every 12-inches. Space the staples evenly as you stretch it to the next wooden stake and repeat the same process. Ensure that there is little or no room at the bottom to prevent other critters and small animals like the raccoon from crawling under.
You might need an extra pair of hands to stretch the deer netting tightly and holding it firmly as you staple through the wooden stakes.
It would be best if you also stapled reflective tape on each wooden stake to enhance the deer netting’s visibility and prevent deer and other animals from running into the deer netting. Reflective tape is readily available and is often sold together with the deer netting. It is also handy in repelling birds and keeping them away from your food plot.
You can also consider using deer repellents to keep them away from your food plot. These may be in the form of plants, sprays, and electronic gadgets, which are all effective in deterring deer from damaging your plots.
If you have decided to plant corn in your food plot for deer management, you should consider the best corn. Deer love the field corn so much, and you should choose the variety that is late in maturing so that corn is available for winter feeding. Stay clear from planting silage and white corn if you can. There are so many varieties of corn in the U.S region that you can grow in your food plot for the best deer management program.
Growing corn is not going to be easy, but if you meet all the right conditions, then you can have a successful harvest for the deer herd in your property. If you do not have the necessary farming experience and equipment, you should consider hiring local help, at least until you know what you are doing. The main reason for planting corn should be to feed deer through winter; hence you should time your planting season right.
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