Planting corn for deer is a popular activity among hunters and wildlife enthusiasts. Corn is a nutritious food source for deer that can help them survive during the winter months when food is scarce. In this article, we will discuss the steps involved in planting corn for deer and provide tips to ensure a successful harvest.
Choosing the Right Location
The first step in planting corn for deer is to choose the right location. Look for an area that receives plenty of sunlight and has well-draining soil. Deer prefer to feed in areas with cover nearby, such as woods or thickets. Choose a location that is easy to access and is not too far from a water source.
Preparing the Soil
Once you have chosen the location, it’s time to prepare the soil. Clear any vegetation from the area, including weeds and grass. You can use a tiller or hand tools to break up the soil and remove any rocks or debris. Spread a layer of compost or manure over the soil and mix it in thoroughly. This will help to improve soil fertility and provide the corn with the nutrients it needs to grow.
Choosing the Right Corn Variety
When selecting corn for deer, it’s important to choose the right variety. Look for a variety that is high in protein and carbohydrates, such as sweet corn or field corn. Sweet corn is a popular choice for deer because of its high sugar content, but it can be more difficult to grow than field corn. Field corn is a more durable variety that can withstand harsh weather conditions and is less susceptible to pests and diseases.
Planting the Corn
Once the soil is prepared, it’s time to plant the corn. You can plant the corn by hand or use a seed drill. If planting by hand, create shallow furrows in the soil using a hoe or rake. Space the furrows at least 30 inches apart and plant the corn seeds about 1 inch deep. Cover the seeds with soil and water lightly.If using a seed drill, adjust the depth and spacing settings according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Run the seed drill over the prepared soil and make sure the seeds are evenly distributed. Water the area lightly after planting.
Providing Adequate Water and Fertilizer
Corn requires plenty of water and fertilizer to grow properly. Water the corn regularly, especially during dry spells, to keep the soil moist. Fertilize the corn with a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and timing.
Maintaining the Corn
As the corn grows, it’s important to maintain it properly. Keep the area around the corn free of weeds and grass, which can compete with the corn for nutrients and water. You can use a hoe or cultivator to remove weeds or use a herbicide. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for herbicide application rates and timing.
Protecting the Corn from Pests and Wildlife
Corn is susceptible to damage from pests and wildlife, such as deer, raccoons, and birds. To protect the corn from pests, you can use insecticides or repellents. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and timing.To protect the corn from wildlife, you can install a fence around the area. Use a fence that is at least 8 feet tall and bury the bottom of the fence at least 6 inches deep to prevent animals from digging under it. You can also use a motion-activated sprinkler or other deterrents to scare off wildlife.
Harvesting the Corn
Corn is typically ready to harvest 70-100 days after planting, depending on the variety. The corn kernels should be plump and the husks should be dry and brown. To harvest the corn, use a sharp knife or corn picker to remove the ears from the stalks. Store the ears in a cool, dry place until ready to use.
Planting corn for deer can be a rewarding and enjoyable activity. By choosing the right location, preparing the soil properly, selecting the right corn variety, providing adequate water and fertilizer, maintaining the corn, and protecting it from pests and wildlife, you can ensure a successful harvest.
1. Can I plant corn for deer in the spring?
Yes, you can plant corn for deer in the spring. However, it’s important to choose a variety that matures quickly, such as sweet corn, to ensure a successful harvest.
2. How much corn should I plant for deer?
The amount of corn you should plant for deer depends on the size of the area and the number of deer in the area. As a general rule, plant at least 1/4 acre of corn per 5-10 deer.
3. Can I use field corn for deer feed?
Yes, field corn is an excellent choice for deer feed. It is high in protein and carbohydrates and can withstand harsh weather conditions.
4. How do I know when the corn is ready to harvest?
Corn is typically ready to harvest 70-100 days after planting, depending on the variety. The corn kernels should be plump and the husks should be dry and brown.
5. How do I protect the corn from birds?
To protect the corn from birds, you can use bird netting or scarecrows. You can also use reflective tape or other visual deterrents to scare off birds.