Whitetail Café

A post written for older children:

Have you ever admired deer frolicking in a nearby field and wished you get a closer look? Maybe even get close enough to snap a picture or two? There are several ways you can do just that.

Enlist the help of your favorite grown-up and make your own Whitetail Café. It might take deer a little time to find your delicious treats, but soon they will be visiting your Whitetail Café regularly. (It is important to note here for parents: be careful where you place your café as deer love landscape plants, hostas, ivy, roses, and of course your veggies.)

First, try to find a quiet spot near a natural water source: a pond, river, or a small creek. Build your café along the edge of a wooded area and deer will find it quicker. Now offer them some of their favorite foods and get your camera ready.

One of the simplest ways to attract deer is to plant a food plot- a small section of ground where their favorite plants are grown. White-tailed deer especially like to eat clover. Be sure to include it in your food plot. Deer also enjoy munching on soybeans, turnip, and alfalfa. You will need to buy seeds from a Farm Supply or Feed Dealer store. They are listed in the Yellow Pages section of the phone book.

Gather some gardening tools such as shovels, rakes, and hoes. Now clear a small patch of ground by removing grass, weeds, and leaves until the soil is bare. Loosen and break up the soil. Scatter your seeds and lightly cover them. Water your food plot until the plants are growing well. You might consider placing some preferred foods nearby: carrots, apples, corn, oats, wheat, and soybeans.

While you are purchasing your seeds at a feed dealer, think about buying a salt block. Sodium is often missing in a deer’s diet. Placing a salt block near your food plot will help attract Whitetails. Rains dissolve the salt into the soil. Deer not only lick the block, they also scratch and eat the dirt surrounding it. Also available are mineral licks- a thick liquid containing nutrients.

Trees produce delicious fruits and nuts while providing shelter for White-tailed deer and other wild critters and feathered friends. Acorns are a favorite of deer. Consider planting an oak tree. Other trees that provide food for deer are: beech and apple.

Deer usually feed at dawn or dusk. However, I have seen them dining in our backyard in the middle of a hot afternoon.

You may want to keep a Whitetail Café feed journal. Record the food you offered. Keep track of which ones the deer find most appealing. Log times you spotted deer dining. Do you see a pattern of the their favorite times to eat?

Due to diseases among deer, a few states have limited or banned the use of salt blocks and deer feeders. Please have a grown-up check with your state’s Department of Natural Resources for current laws in your area.

Nature lovers feed deer for many reasons. The pure joy of watching fawn play as their mother feeds nearby is captivating. For those living in harsh winter climates, feeding wildlife seems the humane thing to do when food sources are scarce. To most, White-tailed deer are a breathtaking vision of grace in the landscape.


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