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Old 12-12-2007, 09:12 AM
Cabin Fever Cabin Fever is offline
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Default Deer and Apples

Curious where apples rank on the deer's preferred food list? It was my understanding that even though deer love apples, they are more like candy or a treat. They don't make up the bulk of a deers diet when available do they? I didn't think apples provided enough nutrition to satisfy their needs this time of year to be considered a staple of their diet?

I am asking because there is an apple orchard 200-300 yards from my foodplots (BFO, clover/chicory, WW, and my good-for-nothing-brassicas) and there are 100x the amount of tracks in the snow in the apple orchard as in my foodplots.
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Old 12-12-2007, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cabin Fever View Post
I am asking because there is an apple orchard 200-300 yards from my foodplots (BFO, clover/chicory, WW, and my good-for-nothing-brassicas) and there are 100x the amount of tracks in the snow in the apple orchard as in my foodplots.
That kind of answers your question. Apples are always a good draw, even better in remote areas. In some Ag areas I've seen apples as only a moderate to low draw until late fall. Generally deer will eat apples before corn unless the apples are frozen solid.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:36 PM
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GR8RALLY GR8RALLY is offline
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I have a location where there are 13 wild apples trees boadering me and my neighbors property. Your correct, it is always filled with deer tracks. Took my first deer ever under a huge apple tree in the center of my property 3 years ago during bow season. The apples are gone way before rifle season for me. Started planting various soft mast trees in 05 due to the fact deer love apples, pears, plums etc. (even if its just for candy purposes, it attracts/keeps them on my property) I try and offer a diversity of food options.

PS, Deer LOVE my brassica in my area, no matter if it's Biologic, WTI or Antler King.
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Old 12-12-2007, 04:34 PM
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For me and the 5-6 wild apple trees I have in one section of my land its a honey hole up until about a week before rifle season then turns colds as all of the apples are gone by then. It is also a big area for buck who come there to eat and ummmmm great the estrous does who happen to be taking some sweets. After the apples are gone it goes cold and for that reason I planted 14 trees (will add 10 more this spring) to an open area surrounded by woods and near a steep hill and not far from my sanctuary. This year I planted brassicas inbetween the 2 rows of apple trees and every night around 4:30 I had deer coming into the brassicas. They brought in a few bucks but only 1.5 year olds who are safe on our property. Conclusion is that apples for me are a must have on the property for deer nutrition and holding ability.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:46 PM
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We had a bumper crop of apples here in central Maine this year. The deer started in on them as soon as they began to drop in September for the early varieties. The season is over now and the deer are still coming to the apple trees and digging thru the snow to find what is left. I have one late hanging tree in the backyard with apples still on it, and the deer are under it every night. The tracks in the snow tell the story, they come to the apple trees and then work their way to the food plots where they are digging for the clover chicory and the brassica Looks like I have sheep pastured out back.
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:57 PM
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We have hundreds and hundreds of Apple trees - some are in a"old orchards" - others are in 'old pastures" and not as old or as productive. (old farm/homestead property).

Our deer are on apples before they are out of Velvet in August- and stay on them - until they physically cannot dig through the snow enough to make it worth their while. Even where we have our best Soybean, clover and corn - the apples are always the staging area before they go to the plots.

For us - a great apple year is tough because the deer can get them literally anywhere, so it makes it hard to predict where is best to hunt.

Nutritionally - they are not close to green plots - the deer seem to know this - and never seem to feed exclusively in the apples.

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Old 12-13-2007, 01:00 PM
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From the nutrition side of the equation, apples are very high in carbs. From the hunting side during a banner apple year, look for the trees that have late dropping fruit and hunt those. Eventually all the early apples will be gone, but the deer will continually return to the late dropping trees to look for more apples that have fallen. I wish we had big apple crops every year because that would be the only places I would set up, and leave the food plots as year round nutritional plots.
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Old 12-13-2007, 04:02 PM
Cabin Fever Cabin Fever is offline
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Interesting. I really don't have to worry too much about scattered apple trees and when the apples are dropping in this area. My property is bordered on 3 sides (within 200-400 yards) by large apple orchards!

I just didn't think that deer would use them so much in their diet as they don't provide much nutrition. I thought they would focus on what would not only sustain them, but also to add back lost fat reserves going into winter. I figured they would concentrate on crops and grains, then just supplement with apples to satisfy their sweet tooth. I must have it all wrong by the looks of all those tracks in the apple orchards!
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Old 12-13-2007, 05:14 PM
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Apples are very high in sugars. What other nutrient could add fat more quickly (just ask my Dr.) to a body? While they may not offer much in the way of protein, apples and other fruits do offer a way for an animal to get quick energy and to add fat.

Put a plate full of chocolate chip cookies in front of me and a plate full of high protein snack bars. Guess which one I'll consume first?
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Old 12-13-2007, 05:23 PM
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yup, deer are like kids ..... it does not matter how much protien or minerals is in the foodplot .... deer are going to eat what tastes best at that time.
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