Deer Management: Use Brassica crops to attract deer to your hunting food plot.


Brassica’s are a good choice for fall and winter hunting deer food plots. They produce large amounts of quality deer food during the time of year when perennial forages and native plants are limited in both production and quality. Seeding your brassica crops in the summer can attract deer late into the fall and early winter.

Food plots are used extensively by deer management groups as well as hunters. There are two types of food plots, the forage plot and the hunting plot.

Deer food plots used to attract deer for deer hunting are best chosen to be secluded and smaller with ample cover to give deer a sense of security. The idea here is we want the deer to use these food plots during the day. That way we can strategically hunt along the perimeter trails and travel routes leading to the plot or adjacent to the plot during legal daylight hours.

Good deer managers use brassica’s in their food plots because they realize the value of the brassica group. The specific varieties that deer management specialists commonly use are kale, rape, and turnips.

The leaves of these plants are bitter until hit by a heavy frost. Deer managers capitalize on this deer behavior to get outstanding deer attractant factor in their food plots in late fall and early winter during hunting season. Deer will be seen to eat the leaves first and then dig out the roots later in the season as the snow covers the plot.

Here are a few facts about the varieties of brassica crops used by deer hunters.

Kale (Brassica oleracea): Varieties with a high leaf to stem ratio are preferred by deer. If planted in the spring the stemless is ready August through September. The stemmed variety takes longer and is usually ready October through December.

Turnips: (Brassica rapa):All parts of this plant are eaten by the deer. It can be late fall planted and the deer will eat the leaves first and then dig out the roots later. Choose a variety with a high proportion of leaves to provide a better deer attractant.

Forage Rape (Brassica napus): This variety is tolerant of adverse conditions such as cold, heat and drought. It is often planted in mid to late July. The dwarf types are best when using them as deer lure for hunting plots.

Brassica crops are often used by hunters to attract deer to their food plots, especially in the fall and early winter months. They are strong nutritionally and provide good grazing during times of the year when the native plant choices have deteriorated. So, consider brassica species when you want good fall and early winter grazing for your deer.


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