How to: What Do Deer Eat During the Late Season?
After the point when you identify the rumen and least digested contents of the stomach, you can pick apart the contents and try and apply percentages, or a conclusion to where the deer on this property are spending their time feeding.
The buck’s stomach contents revealed most visibly corn, but you have to realize this is probably only 20-30% of the contents. It just happens to be the most visible and easily identified. 60-70% or the majority of the stomach contents were grasses and forbs, with about half being winter wheat in the surrounding cover cropped ag fields. They also witnessed a basic estimate of 10% woody browse. There were no food plot species or acorns in the stomach. This directly reflected what food sources were available and not available on the property this year as Steve’s property does not hold food plots or a vast amount of oaks.
Now this doe is a different story. The property has popcorn (which shatters more easily once eaten and is far less desirable than regular corn) many oaks and acorns, several areas of early successional growth ( woody browse) and of course the large winter rye cover cropped AG fields that were discussed last week on Trail Cameras Weekly. The percentages come out to be roughly 20-30% corn and acorns, 60-70% Winter rye/grasses and forbs, and an estimated 10 % of woody browse.
Over the course of the next week or so, if the hunting is slow, take a doe for the freezer or for management purposes, or just try and examine the stomach contents of a deer killed on or near your property. Do not waste the gut pile! Often times this is a far more accurate representation of what your late season food sources are, how much time your deer are spending in the food sources, and where you might want to think about hunting as the temperature starts to fall! If you are asking “what do deer eat in the late season” take it into your own hand to find the answer!