How to Determine a Deer’s Preferred Foods

When the Food’s Gone What Will Deer Do

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When the Pressure’s On, You Still Can Find Deer to Hunt

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Editor’s Note: Three elements cause deer to move – fear, sex and food. Once the hunter understands these three elements, he can predict deer movement more effectively and determine where and when a deer will show up. Fear usually plays a role in deer movement when hunter pressure is intense. Sex influences deer movement during the rut. However, every morning when a deer wakes up, he must decide what he’s eating for breakfast. Deer usually will eat something almost every day. Therefore, a food supply, as it relates to deer, may be the most-dependable ingredient for harvest success.

Even though the pains in a deer’s stomach direct him toward a preferred food source, the deer does not lose his instincts. In areas where the hunting pressure is high, especially around a favorite food source like a green field or an agricultural crop, the deer may show up for the first day or two. Then they may vanish. A keen observer soon will discover the deer are still utilizing the food in the field but are primarily coming at night.

You can continue to hunt deer around a green field or agricultural crops when hunting pressure is high. Follow the trail away from the field into the woods. Try and intercept the buck either early or late as he comes to or goes away from the field where he is feeding. Reduce the amount of hunting pressure on the particular field that a group of deer are using. If you and your hunting companions have several fields to hunt, don’t allow hunting on all the fields all the time. Save a few fields for later on in the season. By reducing the amount of hunting pressure on a particular field, you often can keep the deer feeding there all season long. Also, look for an alternate food source. If intense hunting pressure is exerted on a particular food source, the deer may change its feeding patterns and start feeding on an alternate type of food.

To learn more about hunting deer, go to John E. Phillips’s book, “How to Hunt Deer Up Close with Bows, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions at To receive your free book on “How to Make Venison Jerky,” go to

Tomorrow: When the Food’s Gone What Will Deer Do

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