Using Corn as Cover

By GrowingDeer,

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Dr. Woods,

Thanks for all the help this year, my property is improving because of it!  I planted 20 acres of corn on my 100 acre parcel with 5 acres of green fields, mostly surrounded by cover.  Corn has been a huge attractant, with 30 deer per site, but that number is tapering off.  95% of the deer are does, but I did have a shot at a mature, 3.5 year old deer last week which made me excited (I missed).  Tonight I saw 8 does and my dad saw 2.  We are not seeing a lot of bucks which could be due to lack of cover.  We had a lot of bucks in the summer, but they’re not showing up on trail cameras now.

All that sounds great, so maybe I shouldn’t change much but since deer sightings (especially bucks) are dropping I’m thinking it is best.  Most of my hunting has to be over the corn/food plots because of limited cover (I have a centralized 20 acre bedding area, but hunting it would ruin my “sanctuary”).  I’ve basically been gun hunting the edges of the food source outside of the bedding area.

I want to add more cover for next year, as I believe I actually have too much food.  If I plant new cover with SG will corn make all that much difference in what I see next year?  That is, if I had all the food a deer could eat in the form of clover (which stays green here throughout hunting season) would it act as good of an attractant as corn, or can corn REALLY attract deer?

As you know, corn is a land consuming crop and I was hoping it would act as good bedding cover, but it really hasn’t.  It is good for cover as a transitional area, but I don’t find deer bedding in it, they prefer the thicker forests next door or in my central sanctuary.

If I turned the rest of my property that’s not part of a sanctuary now (40 acres) to SG and put in several small clover attraction plots, would it give me a better chance of seeing the same number of deer throughout the season while providing more cover?

I also know that hunting does usually leads to bucks.  I’m just not seeing them.  Any thoughts?  Should I plant more cover or not try to fix it if it isn’t broken?



I’m a big fan of the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy.  With that said, I’ve experienced deer adapting to the use of standing corn as cover in areas where corn is not traditionally planted many times.  I think corn can be a great source of cover eight or more months out of the year.  Any cover or food source can be easily over hunted to the point that mature bucks will only use that area at night or will stop using that area totally.

I’m curious, did acorns become available about the same time deer reduced the usage of the corn plot (even acorns not on your property)?

Corn needs to be rotated with another crop.  So preparing enough food plot area to allow corn and soybeans to be planted in rotation is a great technique.  In addition, it’s always a good plan to have smaller hunting plots scattered throughout the property so they can be approached and hunted in any wind direction.  In addition, these plots will reduce the hunting pressure on the feeding plots (corn and soybeans).

By providing multiple food plots, feeding plots in a sanctuary, and ample cover, you should have some great opportunities to hunt throughout the season while producing quality bucks.

Growing Deer together,