View Full Version : Pumpkins For A Food Plot??/

12-15-2010, 10:57 PM
My friend is set on planting pumpkins next year for a food plot. Is growing pumpkins for a food plot practical? Will deer even eat the fully-grown pumpkins?

12-15-2010, 11:12 PM
Deer love them where I am (Upstate NY). I pulled and dried a bunch of seeds this year from the little patch I put in for my kids and am going to modify a plate to put them in with my corn planter next spring. I have a few commercial pumpkin growing neighbors who have to hammer the does with their nussance permits to limit damage. I am not sure how the seeds I pulled will work but at least they are free. I plan on ringing the pumpkin plots with field corn so the deer will feel safe in there. The neighbors shoot them from their 4-wheelers, mostly at night in open fields so I think the surviving deer will appreciate some pumpkins with surrounding cover.

12-16-2010, 09:44 AM
Never had them mess with the fruit here, but they eat the crap out of the vines. Of course, never had them mess with watermelons either, but in south Georgia they wear them out. I sure like planting pumpkins though. My flock of laying hens love them. ;)

12-16-2010, 10:18 AM
Is growing pumpkins for a food plot practical? After planting them along side clover, soybeans, and corn for 5 years ... I don't think so. Considering usage, space, and forage output, there are lots of better choices. I plant them mainly for friends, relatives, and the neighbor kids. If the deer get a few, thats ok too. ;)
Will deer even eat the fully-grown pumpkins? Yes, I get a few teeth marks each year in a few, but they seem to like them more when you bust them up after Halloween.

12-16-2010, 11:08 AM
IMO pumpkins are not a very economical choice for a wildlife plot. I guess if you have everything else habitat wise. We have taken bucks with stomachs full of pumpkins in Nov. and the closest are about a mile as the crow flies, so that is saying something about their attractiveness. I see them as labor intensive for the return.

12-16-2010, 07:12 PM
Pumpkins may fill in a weak spot in my own foodplots that usually occurs from about late October to mid November (from the mid part of bow season, to the early part of gun season). It seems that the clover looses most of its appeal then, but it is still a little to early for field corn, and way early for brassicas (deer dont touch them at my place until after a while of hard frosts and usually not until we get some good ammounts of lasting snow). I think I can take the labor intensity out of them by using the corn planter to put them in. Seeds are free and I will just cultivate for weeds so no herbicide cost. I know that pumkins like nitrogen but I hope I can get enough by planting on old clover plots, thus eliminating that cost. I am going to try a mixture of Connecticut field pumpkins and Baby Pams. Even if it dont pan out for the deer, my wife and kids love giving pumpkins away to friends and nieghbors, so they will be happy if they can get a little more than the little 1/2 acre patch that I put in every year produces.

12-16-2010, 09:37 PM
Check your local market! Pick the nice ones and sell them. leave the rest for the deer. It's my food plot that pays as my wife says.

12-16-2010, 09:56 PM
I do a pumpkin patch every year with about 40-50 mounds. 4 seeds per mound.

Its for the kids and the deer. Sadly the deer win the battle over who gets more of them. Last year I was only able to pic less than 10 pumpkins TOTAL because the deer had chewed on everything else.

This year wasnt too bad. I got one that was 175 lbs. It was growing great, so we would go out and spray it with soapy water to try and keep the deer off of it. I was able to pick probably 50 to bring home this year. Sizes from tiny ones that are a few inches in diameter up to my mongo punkin.

I plant about 10-15 varieties.

Hands down the deers favorite is the Atlantic Giants. They eat the heck out of those things!

Check this sequence of pics after I dumped the halloween load behind the house. Check the dates out on the pics.





12-16-2010, 11:05 PM
Deer love pumpkins where I hunt in WI. They even chew on gourds. I'll always plant a couple small patches of pumpkins every year since they bring in deer and it nice to have a few pumpkins around the house during the fall. They are a good late season draw. But like apple trees, you aren't going to get the tonnage to hold deer for a considerable amount of time. IMHO your better going with brassicas. . .more tonnage, similar, if not better, draw.

12-16-2010, 11:11 PM
this young buck was caught in the act and rolled this one off the steps ..they love em here ...i don't grow them though ...at some point during the season they are a favorite

12-17-2010, 05:18 AM
Warning Shot that pic is classic. Guess its better to have deer smashing your pumpkins than teenagers. :D As for planting pumpkins grab a few seeds and plant them on the edge of your plots see what happens got nothing to lose.

12-17-2010, 07:25 AM
I have planted pumpkins over the years for myself and friends, and deer have never touched them. I have broken pumpkins open and still no takers. I'll still plant them, but not for deer...

BTW, roasted pumpkin seeds are a great snack! Google for recipes.


12-17-2010, 01:09 PM
The deer hammerd my pumpkins this year. I have over 150 plants in my food plot. I tilled up a spot 6 feet wide and 75 yards long on the edge of my plot. The first sign of use was in mid sept. The deer worked on them up till the 1st of dec. The cold weather and deep snow slowed them down some. I need to go look to see if they are still working them. In wisconsin you can only feed deer 2 gal. of feed per day so we cant just dump a pile by our food plot and hunt over it. I have seeds saved for next year, if you buy non hybrid seeds you can keep them from year to year.

12-17-2010, 04:12 PM
This is interesting to me for the following reason:

I have an irrigation system set up to drip irrigate about 100 trees (no way to establish trees in my area without some help water-wise). The problem I have is that the same water that keeps the trees alive also grows weeds like crazy that I fight all summer long. I've been trying to find something I can plant that will help suppress the weeds and ideally provide some food for deer. I think Pumpkins and Cantelope could do just that!