How to Attract Deer This Hunting Season: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Attract Deer This Hunting Season: Step-by-Step Guide

Deer hunting season is just around the corner, which means that now is the best time to get a headstart in all the preparations leading up to months where you can score big game.

Regardless of your reasons for going on a quest for ideal hunting opportunities, one thing’s for sure: the most elusive deer aren’t going to come without the right lures. From planting the perfect food plots to laying out deer-baiting scents, here’s how to attract deer to your yard when the hunting months come rolling in.

How to Attract Deer to Your Area Quickly

Step 1: Plant a Food Plot

Turning your yard into a food plot is a tried-and-true method to draw deer in. Generally, deer feed on forage, from red clover to orchard grass, and blackberry shrubs. Deer are also known to love the smell and taste of sweet apples. So bringing a few apple trees into your area will prove to be advantageous.

Ultimately, it’s best to choose plants that align with your state’s climate and deer hunting months. And as some forage may take longer to mature, we recommend getting a headstart in preparing your yard for this year’s hunting spree.

Consider planting your food plots for deer away from the road to prevent scaring the animals. Moreover, if your area is prone to flooding, ensure that the food plots are elevated to prevent losing them to inclement weather conditions.

Step 2: Use Scented Deer Lures

Mature deer generally go through three behavioral stages: pre-rut, rut, and post-rut. These indicate how they behave before, during, and after the breeding season—which usually falls from September to November. These months coincide with the hunting season in most states.

You can take advantage of the overlap between the rutting and mating seasons by spreading deer urine or fluid rutting buck scent across your yard. It will trick other deer in the area into thinking that another deer in a rut has found a coveted doe to mate. The scent is one of the best ways to attract deer into your property—an opening for you to score.

Step 3: Take Advantage of Minerals

Like most animals, deer require minerals to survive and maintain optimum health. So you can incorporate calcium, sodium, and phosphorus into mineral blocks to help attract bucks to your area.

Deers love and naturally seek these minerals, so burying salt licks 3-4 inches in the ground can prove to be a simple way of drawing them in. But keep in mind that each state has different rules about baiting deer through minerals.

States like California and Colorado don’t allow any form of mineral licks. So be sure to check local state regulations before venturing into the mineral baiting territory!

How to Attract Deer With Buck Forage Oats?

Buck forage oats are what attract deer during the peak hunting season. While soy is often the top choice for warm season hunting, these cold-climate oats grow at the height of the fall and winter. Just in time to hunt deer and score your next trophy!

But while buck forage oats shine in the winter, you can plant them all year long. These steps will help you prepare the perfect forage to help deer mature in the summer and prepare for the winter months.

Step 1: Prepare The Food Plot

There are a few things to consider when choosing a planting spot for your oats.

  • The area must be visible to deer or close to the natural deer habitat as you don’t want to hide the food source from them. Consider choosing an area with a water source, such as a spring or livestock tank, to help attract deer.
  • The area must have relatively good wind flow to hide any human scent. Deer are smart. They’ll stay away from areas they know are full of hunters—even if you pour deer scents as lures. You want to create a hunting ground that looks like a safe food plot. That also means keeping your tree stand a little ways off to reduce visibility.
  • Choose an area with moist soil to speed up the seed germination process. There are a few ways you can measure soil moisture. But you may want to get help from an expert for an accurate appraisal if you’re new to raising crops.
  • Ensure that the area is free from other plants and vegetation. You can do so by spraying herbicide before tilling the soil with a disk.
  • Adjust the pH level of the soil using fertilizer. The soil needs a pH level of 7 or a value very close to it. Buck forage oats thrive in an environment fertilized with nutrients with a guaranteed analysis of 13-13-13. You can apply no more than 200 lb of fertilizer per acre of forage.

Step 2: Plant Buck Forage Oats

Once you’ve decided where your new forage should go, it’s time to plant! Some hunters begin planting in the summer. Doing so will allow the local deer to access your food source, making it a familiar location for getting their meals in. It will also provide them the nourishment they need to grow until winter comes around.

You can plant about 100-200 lbs per acre (though some recommend capping at 125 lbs). If you choose to disk the land, you need a four-inch depth to scatter the seeds. If you choose to drill, the holes should be two inches deep. After scattering the seeds, cover them up with a 2-inch layer of soil and water. You can also use a drag harrow or cultipacker to run over the seeded area and ensure a balanced seed-to-soil ratio.

Step 3: Wait For The Forage to Grow

With the right amount of moisture, it will take approximately 1-2 weeks for the forage to grow. Once the deer have gotten into them, you’ll have to begin the reseeding process again. While there’s no shortcut to this method, it can prove to be rewarding once healthy whitetails start frequenting your area in the hunting months.

Step 4: Protecting Your Forage

While local deer are more than welcome to browse your food plot, you want to keep them away before the forage is ready. You also want to keep other pesky wildlife from eating the oats that aren’t meant for them. Here are a few ways you can go about this problem:

  • Install a dual-perimeter electric fence around the prohibited area. Meanwhile, you can draw deer into ready food plots by putting mineral blocks or other lures nearby.
  • Install a series of traps for capturing unwanted pests that could compromise your planting. These include ground squirrels, raccoons, and crows that can quickly eat up the food if left unprotected.

FAQs About Buck Forage Oats

Are Buck Forage Oats Effective to Attract Deer?

Yes. Having these oats in your food plot is one of the best things to attract whitetail deer. In particular, bucks are fond of small forages. When grains become too tall or big, they become tougher to eat, and their protein content decreases. Deer are naturally drawn to more nutritious food sources, which is  why buck forage oats have become a no-brainer for many hunters in the country.

How Long Does it Take Buck Forage Oats to Sprout?

Weather conditions and soil quality can affect the forage’s germination period. It would, in turn, affect how long the buck forage oats will take to sprout. Generally, you can start to see the beginnings of the food plot in one week. By two to three weeks, the food plot should be ready for the deer to graze.

What Time of Year Do You Plant Buck Forage Oats?

It’s recommended to plant them during the spring or summer and the fall. By planting earlier in the year, you can provide a food source in preparing for the upcoming breeding season. And by replanting in the fall, you can replenish the food plots that have been browsed through.

In addition, doing so will provide new forages just in time for the hunting season to start. Some individuals like to mix in deer feed with their natural plantations, but keep in mind that it isn’t allowed in some states, such as Alaska and Colorado.

Do You Need Fertilizer For Buck Forage Oats?

Yes. Generally, you need a fertilizer with a guaranteed analysis of 12-12-12 and achieve a pH level of 7 for the perfect oats to sprout.

You don't need to look elsewhere because the Andersons 12-12-12 fertilizer is available on our shop. It contains balanced nutrients for added greening power and is formulated to help resist diseases and thicken new and existing lawns.

We recommend getting a soil analysis from a local extension office or an area expert so they can provide recommendations for improving your land’s soil health.

Can You Use Clover Instead of Oats?

Despite being a popular forage to attract deer, clover is not a year-round plant with the same versatility as buck forage oats. Clover can certainly work in the spring, but deer are more inclined to eat buck forage oats in the fall and winter. That’s because this type of oats is the perfect forage to plant all year round.

Can Other Oats Replace Buck Forage Oats?

No. There are key differences between buck forage oats and typical grain oats. The most important is cold weather tolerance. Spring northern oats can’t survive past 25-28 degrees, while buck forage oats were bred to withstand temperatures approaching 0 degrees.

So if you’re hunting and want to attract deer in very cold areas like Alaska and North Dakota, buck forage oats are absolutely necessary to solve the dilemma of how to attract deer to your property in the hunting season.

Where can I buy buck forage oats?

Buck forage oats are available in Standish Milling online shop. You can also visit our physical store to make a purchase. The Harvest Plot's Buck Forage Oats

  • have world class winter tolerance
  • are high in nutrient values
  • have 18% minimum protein content
  • with excellent palatability and digestible energy
  • are easy to plant and maintain.

It is the most preferred food plot for fall and winter attraction of whitetails. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.