Hunting Whitetail Bucks at Feeding Areas — Part III

Few forest region whitetail feeding areas are year-round feeding areas. Currently favored feeding areas are those with a current abundance of favorite foods and lots of fresh deer tracks and droppings. Most of their favorite foods mature at different times. Shortly after snowmelt in early spring, green newly emerging grasses are their favorites, the earliest commonly found adjacent to roads. Throughout spring and summer, whitetails feed on a great variety of greens, including uppermost leaves and green stems of various woody plants. In late summer, falling acorns and mast from beech trees become favorites.

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Doc inspecting sugar maple saplings (“suckers” coming out of a logged stump) in one of his favorite hunting spots.

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Green, thin-bladed grasses, and small acorns of scrub red oaks and leaves turning red on deer-tall mountain maples and sugar maple saplings are favorite foods of whitetails in fall in my study area until the beginning of the second week in November (unless buried by snow earlier and sometimes beginning later if not buried by snow).

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At this point, my whitetails abruptly (an overnight change) begin feeding on thin woody stems with developing buds of red osiers (dogwoods), sugar maple suckers (red stems growing from stumps in recently logged clearcuts), willows, mountain maples and black ash saplings — made evident by a sudden appearance of great numbers of ragged white tips on stems on these plants. Foods relished by whitetails are likely similar but different where you hunt.

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