How can we encourage deer to use our 20 acres near Westfield, Wisconsin?

By Grant Woods,

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← Grant's AnswersHabitat Management
Hi Grant,

My family and I have land in Westfield Wisconsin. We have not seen any deer in the past 10 years on our property. I think it might due to the fact that we have absolutely no source of food on our property so my question is, how do we get more deer to come on our property?

Also, if my family and I were to try and grow a food plot, what type of food would you recommend growing? We only have 20 acres and it is all pines and timber so I am not sure if we should clear a section of land and start chopping down trees to clear a place for a food plot?

Thanks for providing great tips!


If the timber on your property has a closed-canopy then I’m not surprised there’s not much deer activity there.  Part of what determines deer use of a 20 acre parcel is what’s happening on neighboring properties.  Do deer commonly frequently the neighboring properties?  If so, are there lots of dogs, etc., on your property that would discourage deer from passing through your property?  

If and win the pines are thinned a great technique is to covert each thinned row to a food plot!  I really like this technique!  There’s usually enough sunlight that will reach the soil just after thinning and for a few years until the tree crowns grow enough to intercept most of the sun.  I’ve had good success with clover, brassicas, and wheat in such applications. 

There will be more moisture if the pine rows are oriented north and south and more sun if the rows are oriented east and west.

If deer actively use the neighboring property then be sure to reduce disturbances on your 20 acres so deer are not alerted there and provide a source of quality forage.

Enjoy creation,


February 9, 2016