By mid-December the landowner who has the food has the deer. With November’s rut history bucks have had enough time to recover from the rigors of the rut. It’s now time for them to replace fat reserves lost in the rut.
In heavily forested regions of the country, browse from maple, oak, ash, basswood and hemlock are a few of the foods deer will gravitate to at this time of the year. In farm country, standing cornfields, clover, wheat, oats, turnips, radish and alfalfa plots will be a few of their preferred food sources.
The volume of food consumed by a whitetail during the post-rut recovery period will vary according to the needs of the individual animal and the availability of preferred foods. Over the years, food intake by the whitetails I’ve raised has averaged 7 to 9 pounds per animal per day. This is less than they consume during the prime antler-growing months of the summer but significantly more than the amount required during the winter.
If you live in a state where deer season is still in progress you’ll want to focus your hunting efforts around prime food sources. This is where the action will be.