Prime Food Choices for Deer in Early Bow Season
Bob McNally 09.03.15
The early season isn’t the favorite time to bowhunt whitetails for many archers, but a lot of deer are arrowed when the heat is on–while many other hunters were still sitting at home waiting for the weather to turn more favorable, at least for them.
Deer hunters used to walking and scouting for “hot” oak trees dropping acorns to concentrate deer often are disappointed during the early archery season. Even cultivated crops like soybeans and corn may not be much to the liking of deer in hot weather.
Yet deer still must feed, but often their choice foods are browse, such as greenbrier leaves, honeysuckle, wild grapes and grape leaves, apples, watermelons, persimmons, and honey locust seed pods. Such foods mature earlier in the year than many plants whitetails dine on during the rut, late autumn and winter.
One oak variety, however, that can be an important food source early in the season is the water oak. Not only does this tree drop acorns much earlier than many other oaks, but it’s a consistent mast producer that thrives in wet, thick areas deer prefer early in the bow season. Water oaks are widely distributed from New Jersey to Florida, Texas to Missouri.