Planting Turnips for Deer: A Guide to Attracting and Feeding Your Local Herd

Michelle Hill


For many hunters and wildlife enthusiasts, attracting and feeding deer is an important aspect of their outdoor activities. Whether you’re looking to create a wildlife habitat on your property, supplement natural food sources during times of scarcity, or simply enjoy watching deer in your backyard, planting turnips can be an effective and rewarding way to achieve your goals.In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about planting turnips for deer. We’ll discuss the benefits of turnips as a food source, when and where to plant them, how to care for them, and how to attract and maintain a healthy deer population. So let’s get started!

Why Turnips?

Turnips are a popular choice for deer hunters and wildlife enthusiasts for several reasons. First, turnips are high in carbohydrates, which provide the energy deer need to survive during the winter months when natural food sources are scarce. Second, turnips are easy to grow and maintain, making them a cost-effective option for those looking to supplement their deer feed.Finally, turnips are a hardy crop that can withstand harsh weather conditions, making them a reliable food source even in areas with unpredictable climates. Overall, planting turnips is an excellent way to attract and feed deer while also improving the health and biodiversity of your local ecosystem.

When and Where to Plant Turnips

The best time to plant turnips for deer is in late summer or early fall, depending on your location and climate. In general, turnips should be planted at least 60 days before the first expected frost to ensure they have enough time to mature before the cold weather sets in.When it comes to choosing a location for your turnips, there are a few factors to consider. First, turnips prefer well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. If your soil is heavy or compacted, consider adding compost or other organic materials to improve its texture and fertility.Second, turnips need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to thrive. Choose a location that receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day, such as a south-facing slope or an open field.Finally, consider planting turnips in a location that is easily accessible for deer. Ideally, the turnips should be located near a natural deer trail or in an area where deer are known to frequent. This will increase the likelihood that the deer will find and eat the turnips.

Planting and Care

To plant turnips for deer, start by preparing the soil. Clear away any weeds or debris from the planting area and loosen the soil to a depth of at least six inches. If your soil is particularly heavy or compacted, consider tilling or aerating it to improve drainage.Next, sprinkle turnip seeds over the planting area, following the instructions on the seed packet for spacing and depth. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and water gently to ensure they are moist but not waterlogged.Once the turnips have germinated, thin the seedlings to ensure they have enough space to grow. This will help prevent overcrowding and ensure the turnips have enough nutrients and sunlight to thrive.As the turnips grow, be sure to water them regularly and fertilize them as needed. Turnips prefer a neutral pH of around 6.5-7.0, so consider adding lime or other soil amendments if your soil is too acidic or alkaline.

Attracting and Feeding Deer

Once your turnips are mature and ready to be eaten, it’s time to attract and feed deer. There are several ways to do this, depending on your goals and preferences.One popular method is to create a bait station near the turnips. This can be as simple as a pile of corn or other deer feed placed near the turnips. Alternatively, you can use a deer feeder or other feeding device to distribute the feed more evenly and reduce waste.Another option is to create a food plot that includes turnips as well as other deer-friendly plants such as clover, alfalfa, and chicory. This will provide a variety of food sources for deer and help maintain a healthy population.Finally, consider using attractants such as deer urine or other scent-based products to draw deer to the turnips. These products can be sprayed directly on the turnips or placed in strategic locations around the planting area to increase their effectiveness.


Planting turnips for deer can be a fun and rewarding way to improve the health and biodiversity of your local ecosystem while also attracting and feeding deer. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you can create a thriving turnip plot that will provide a reliable food source for deer and other wildlife throughout the year.


1. Are turnips a good food source for deer?

Yes, turnips are high in carbohydrates and other nutrients that provide the energy and nutrition deer need to survive during the winter months.

2. When is the best time to plant turnips for deer?

The best time to plant turnips for deer is in late summer or early fall, at least 60 days before the first expected frost.

3. How do I attract deer to my turnip plot?

There are several ways to attract deer to your turnip plot, including creating a bait station, using a deer feeder, planting a food plot, and using attractants such as deer urine.

4. How do I care for turnips?

To care for turnips, water them regularly, fertilize them as needed, and thin the seedlings to ensure they have enough space to grow.

5. What other plants can I include in my food plot?

Other deer-friendly plants to include in your food plot include clover, alfalfa, chicory, and other legumes and grasses.

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