You could probably bait me with a pile of Snickers bars or some ice cream. I admit, I have a sweet tooth! I’m not alone, deer also have a sweet tooth. In fact, I believe deer like sweets more than white oak acorns and that’s saying something.
I use this knowledge when I’m scouting each fall. There are many varieties of sweets throughout the whitetail’s range that may be available during the fall. These include fruits such as apples, pears, pawpaw, etc. Often pears, apples, and other types of fruit trees are found near old homesteads. I’ve found such homesteads with fruit trees nearby on public and private land. When the fruit is ripe, deer and other critters are likely to be feeding there.
It makes sense that one of the fruit trees with the largest distribution that deer like is a native. I’m talking about persimmons!
A persimmon tree varies in size and shape based on the growing conditions and soil quality. There is a wide range of when persimmon fruit will be ripe and it seems to vary tree by tree as well as location. In general, the fruit ripens from September through November, pending on the individual tree. One oddity about persimmon trees is that most of them are single sex: either male or female but not both. The male trees can’t produce fruit. This is important to hunters because it’s important to ensure when scouting that the persimmon tree or trees you plan to hunt produce fruit.
Biting into a persimmon fruit before it is ripe will cause an instant puckering! Deer ignore persimmons until they are ripe. However, once the fruit is ripe deer, raccoons, foxes, and more all commonly eat them.
Given this, I scout for large persimmon trees that can produce a lot of fruit. I may even hang a stand or place a blind nearby. However, I don’t hunt in areas where a persimmon is the main attraction until the fruit is ripe. Once it’s ripe, it’s common for deer and other critters to frequent the tree daily. I’ve tagged several deer near persimmon trees and have already scouted some this year to ensure they produced fruit.
I’m confident I can tag one deer (or more) near persimmon trees this year. I may even eat a few ripe persimmons on the way to the stand.
You can watch a hunt where I tagged some does by a few persimmon trees in this video from last fall.