Alsheimer: Follow the Whitetail’s Stomach to the Best Deer Hunting

By Charles J. Alsheimer

Charles J. Alsheimer on Deer & Deer Hunting

To bulk up as winter looms ever closer, deer can eat as much as 10-15 pounds of food per day in September and October. (photo copyright Charles J. Alsheimer)

Though testosterone is beginning to drive bucks by the first of October, their stomachs still control their activity. The amount of food a whitetail consumes from Sept. 1 to the end of October is amazing. In early October “he who has the food has the deer” because deer are eating every 3-4 hours, and consuming 10-15 pounds of food per day.

Whitetails gravitate to any food source that has high sugar content. If an area has apples, wild grapes or other sugar-producing fruits, deer will literally bed right in the food source. In the case of apples, an adult whitetail can easily consume 30 or more tennis ball-size apples per day. In most cases an adult deer will eat five to eight during each feeding session – in only about 10 minutes if the picking is easy.

Here in western New York we have had the best apple-producing year in recent memory. The fallen apples in both of our farm’s orchards are so numerous they are almost completely covering the ground. Consequently, the deer have shifted their primary feeding from food plots to apples.

So be sure to keep an eye on the various food sources in your deer hunting area during this time of transition, and keep tabs on what is most favorable to their taste buds at any given time. That can make all the difference between successful stand vigils and boring sits without a deer in sight.

– Charlie

Keep tabs on the food sources in your deer hunting area and the big bucks using them! 

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