Deer are a common sight in many areas of the United States, and understanding their feeding habits can be important for a variety of reasons. For hunters, knowing what deer will eat can help with attracting and maintaining a healthy population on their land.
For those involved in wildlife management, understanding deer nutrition can help with conservation efforts and ensuring that populations remain healthy. Additionally, homeowners and gardeners may be interested in knowing what deer will eat in order to protect their landscaping.
One food that is often discussed in the context of attracting deer is cracked corn. In this article, we will explore what cracked corn is, whether deer will eat it, and how to use it as a deer attractant.
We will also discuss alternatives to cracked corn for attracting deer and consider some additional considerations for those interested in using food to attract deer.
What is Cracked Corn?
Cracked corn is a type of feed made from whole corn kernels that have been crushed or broken into smaller pieces. It is often used as a supplementary feed for livestock, including chickens, cows, and pigs.
Cracked corn is relatively inexpensive and easy to find, making it a popular choice for farmers and ranchers.
When it comes to the nutritional content of cracked corn, it is important to note that it is lower in protein and energy compared to whole corn. It also lacks the hull and germ of the corn kernel, which means it is lower in fiber and certain nutrients.
However, cracked corn can still be a good source of energy for animals and can be used as a supplement to their diet.
Will Deer Eat Cracked Corn?
There is some debate among hunters and wildlife enthusiasts about whether deer will eat cracked corn. Some people claim that deer will readily eat cracked corn and that it can be an effective deer attractant.
Others argue that deer are not particularly interested in cracked corn and that it is not a good choice for attracting them.
There is some evidence to support both sides of the argument. Some studies have observed deer feeding on cracked corn, particularly when other food sources are scarce.
Other research has found that deer may prefer other types of food, such as natural browse (leaves, twigs, and other plant material) or commercially available deer feed.
There are a few factors that may influence whether deer will eat cracked corn. One important factor is the availability of other food sources. If deer have plenty of natural browse or other preferred foods available, they may be less likely to eat cracked corn.
On the other hand, if natural food is scarce, deer may be more willing to try alternative sources of nutrition, including cracked corn. Individual deer preferences may also play a role in whether they will eat cracked corn.
Just like people, deer have their own likes and dislikes when it comes to food. Some deer may be more inclined to eat cracked corn than others.
It is also worth noting that some people argue that feeding deer cracked corn or other supplemental foods can lead to dependency and may not be the best choice from a conservation standpoint. If deer become reliant on supplemental feeding, they may be less able to survive on their own in times of food scarcity.
This is something to consider if you are thinking about using cracked corn or other food to attract deer.
How to Use Cracked Corn to Attract Deer
If you are interested in using cracked corn to attract deer, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here are some tips for using cracked corn as a deer attractant:
Offer cracked corn in small amounts:
Deer can become overweight if they consume too much high-energy feed, such as cracked corn. It is best to offer small amounts of cracked corn at a time and to supplement with other types of food, such as natural browse.
Present the cracked corn in a way that is easy for deer to access:
One option is to scatter the cracked corn on the ground. You can also use a feeder specifically designed for cracked corn or other deer feed.
Offer cracked corn at the right time of year:
The best time to offer cracked corn as a deer attractant will depend on your location and the availability of natural food. In general, late fall and winter are the best times to offer supplemental food to deer, as natural food may be scarce during these seasons.
Alternatives to Cracked Corn for Attracting Deer
There are many other types of food that can be used to attract deer. Some options to consider include:
As mentioned earlier, deer prefer natural browse when it is available. Offering a variety of plants that are native to your area can be a good way to attract deer.
Commercially available deer feed:
There are many types of deer feed on the market, including pellets, blocks, and corn-based mixes. These types of feed are often formulated to provide a balanced diet for deer and may be a good option if you are looking for a more convenient way to attract deer.
Many deer enjoy eating apples and will often visit apple trees in search of a snack. If you have an apple tree in your yard, you may be able to attract deer by leaving some of the apples for them to eat.
In summary, deer will eat cracked corn, but it may not be their first choice when other food sources are available. If you are interested in using cracked corn as a deer attractant, it is important to offer it in small amounts and to supplement with other types of food.
There are also many other options for attracting deer, including natural browse and commercially available deer feed. When using food to attract deer, it is important to consider local laws and ethical concerns, as well as the potential impacts on the health and well-being of the deer.
Can cracked corn be harmful to deer?
There is some debate about the potential risks of feeding deer cracked corn or other supplemental foods. Some people argue that feeding deer high-energy foods like cracked corn can lead to obesity and other health problems.
However, others argue that supplemental feeding can be beneficial in certain situations, such as during times of food scarcity. If you are considering using cracked corn or other food to attract deer, it is important to consider the potential risks and benefits and to follow any local laws or guidelines that may apply.
How do I know if deer are eating the cracked corn I put out for them?
There are a few ways you can tell if deer are eating the cracked corn you put out for them. One option is to simply observe the area where you are offering the cracked corn and look for signs of deer activity, such as hoof prints or gnawed branches.
You can also set up a trail camera to capture photos or video of deer visiting the area. If you are using a feeder to offer the cracked corn, you can check the feeder regularly to see if it is being used.
How do I store cracked corn to keep it fresh?
Cracked corn should be stored in a dry, cool place to keep it fresh. It is also a good idea to keep it in a container with a tight-fitting lid to protect it from moisture and pests.
If you are storing cracked corn in a feeder, be sure to clean the feeder regularly to prevent mold or other types of contamination.
Can I feed cracked corn to other animals besides deer?
Cracked corn is often used as a supplementary feed for livestock, such as chickens, cows, and pigs. It can also be fed to other types of animals, such as squirrels, birds, and rabbits.
If you are considering feeding cracked corn to other animals, it is important to consider their nutritional needs and to consult with a veterinarian or other expert if you have any questions.
Is it legal to feed deer in my area?
Laws and regulations regarding the feeding of deer vary by location. In some areas, it is legal to feed deer, while in others it is prohibited.
It is a good idea to check with your local wildlife agency or department of natural resources to find out if there are any laws or guidelines regarding the feeding of deer in your area. Even if it is legal to feed deer, it is important to consider the potential impacts on the health and well-being of the deer and to follow any guidelines or recommendations that may be in place.