|Make Your Neighbors’ Deer Jump the Fence|
Whether you have 4 or 400 acres, you want as many deer as possible passing in front of your stand during deer season. A hunter deserves to have a choice of targets and, with a little effort, those choices can improve dramatically. Being able to bring your local deer within range, or attracting your neighbors’ heavy-racked portable-protein onto your hunting property, will increase your chances of putting meat in the freezer and a set of antlers on the wall.
There are all kinds of attractants on the market you pour on a stump, hang from a branch, spray on your clothes or troll through the woods hooked to your boot. While these may be effective at times, they are short term and won’t do much to turn deer into fence jumpers. A well-planned and palatable food plot will last much longer, bring in more deer and increase the overall health of the deer herd.
For years, oats, wheat, clover, ryegrass and various other herbs and forbs have been used in deer food plots. From the locally produced to the exotic, they have all been tried to some extent in various special formulations and concoctions. Some are perennial, some are for the summer only and some are for fall attractants. Of all of these, oats are, by far, the most common and effective for attracting and holding deer in the fall. SHOOTER, a new variety of oats, will be hitting the market this fall.
SHOOTER oats are spring oats by nature, but, when planted in the fall, they far out-yield most of the oats currently on the market. A fall attractant must be fast-establishing, grow rapidly and provide plenty of sweet, tasty forage for the deer. With hunting season starting the first part of October, it is important to plant something that will be ready in a few short weeks and has the staying power to go through the end of the season in the middle of January. SHOOTER oats fit all of these requirements.
Oats, as a rule, are not very winter-hardy. Fall varieties can withstand some fairly good frosts, but they are normally not heavy fall producers. SHOOTER oats can withstand frost down to 20° F while still maintaining excellent yields of forage. Many fall varieties will start to go dormant when the cold temperatures hit. Also, most cold weather in the South occurs in January and February, when most deer seasons are closed. In yield trials throughout the South, SHOOTER oats averaged 26% more fall/early winter forage than the next highest yielding varieties.
SHOOTER oats are the E.A.S.Y. choice for fall food plots.
• ‘E’ is for the ease of establishment. SHOOTER oats do best when drilled into a worked seed bed, but also do well when no-till drilled into an existing food plot. SHOOTER oats are also good for use as a cover crop on top of corn and soybean fields. It will do double-duty to conserve soil and provide for deer.
• ‘A’ is for attractant. SHOOTER oats, with its ability to grow fast, will compete with existing food sources to bring in those neighboring deer.
• ‘S’ is for sweet. SHOOTER oats are like deer candy. They are sweet, lush and highly-preferred by deer over most other fall forages. High protein and high energy will improve the overall health of your herd.
• ‘Y’ is for yield. SHOOTER oats will keep up with the heavy appetites of hungry deer as they head into winter.
SHOOTER oats are an excellent choice for many types of food plots. From that small, hidey hole in the middle of the woods, those road edges and powerline right-of-ways to larger food plots of several acres, these oats will fit right into a quality deer nutrition management program. SHOOTER oats can be planted by themselves or combined with other cereals, winter peas, turnips and other brassicas to provide a veritable smorgasbord of forage to satisfy even the most discerning antlered palate.
This fall, make the right choices. Choose the right fall attractant to plant, SHOOTER oats, and give yourself every opportunity to have an expanded choice of targets during deer season. SHOOTER oats are available at your local Quality Co-op.
Matt Herb is a Research Director with Oregro Seeds.