Know Thy Habitat: Greenery Desirability Changes with Seasons

Food sources change in desirability during their various stages of maturation. When hunting over them, you should time your hunts for the phase when they’re most desirable.

Deer will use different areas of emerging or thriving vegetation to maximize the best use of each season spring through autumn.

Deer will use different areas of emerging or thriving vegetation to maximize the best use of each season spring through autumn.

While it’s impossible to cover the most desirable stage of all preferred deer foods in one article, the following generally applies to greenery:

• Seedlings – extremely tender and most easily digestible. When thick enough to make a meal, they can be highly desirable.

• Young, rapidly growing – extremely tender, easily digestible and offer the highest nutrient content. This is the sweet spot for most greenery in terms of drawing power.

• More mature, but still growing – cell walls are thickening and hardening, making them more difficult to digest, and nutrients are dropping. Deer will often still eat greenery in this stage, but the desirability has been reduced some.

• Fully mature, but still green – harder to digest and even lower in nutrients. Again, deer will often still eat these plants, but will abandon them if a better option is available.

• Dead and brown – eating “greenery” in this state often results in it taking more energy to digest than it provides. It’s generally a last resort food.
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