How to Attract Deer


Some homeowners use all of their energy to repel deer from their yard or garden because of the trouble they can sometimes cause. However, others wish to encourage deer to hang out in their yard for either viewing or hunting purposes.

There are a variety of ways for you to accomplish having more deer on your property. Certain foods, plants, or scents are effective for encouraging the deer to make your yard their new favorite hangout.

Follow these simple tips on how to attract deer, and enjoy the sight of an increased number on your land.

Food Plots

Plant a food plot full of forage species that will be specifically for the deer to graze upon. Plants that typically attract deer include red clover, chicory, and orchard grass.

Certain high-protein crops, such as peas, soybeans, turnips, alfalfa, sorghum, kale, or corn, are also attractants that the animals enjoy feeding on.

Deer like the nutritious nuts that come from chestnuts and acorns as well. When surrounding vegetation is declining, the deer will appreciate coming to your yard to feast.

Before selecting which food to include in your food plot, it can be beneficial to consult with nearby wildlife experts and farmers for added information about your specific location.

Ensure that the food selection is not abundant in the region. For instance, if there is a corn field right down the road, you may not attract more deer to a food plot of more corn. Choose wisely and conduct research to find the best food plot resources.

Make sure that the planned location for the food plot is away from roads, since cars will tend to scare away the animals. Also, situate it away from any other plants or garden products that you do not wish the deer to eat.

The food plot should not be placed in an area that is prone to flooding, since it could be wiped away in a single storm.

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Once you find an ideal area for the food plot, prepare the land for planting. Depending on the size of your property, the plot can be as little as 1,000 square feet or several acres in size.

Clear all brush and trees that are in the way, and then prepare it for seeding with a tractor and cultivator. It is recommended that you spread fertilizer for the intended food plot for optimal plant growth.

Follow the planting directions of the intended crop carefully, while spreading the seed throughout the food plot area. Afterwards, rake the area where the seeds have been distributed to allow for the best soil contact.

It is also a helpful hint for protecting the plot from birds and smaller animals that are interested in gobbling up the seeds.

Deer Lures

Using deer lures can peak deer interest, especially bucks, and encourage them into your yard. Although they are typically used by hunters during the rutting or hunting season, they can also be used by homeowners that are looking to invite deer for viewing pleasures.

Usually, the lures consist of a variety of scents, including urine, pheromones, and appetizing foods. Lures can be purchased at most sporting goods or hunting specialty stores.

Perhaps the most effective scent is deer urine. Spread this type of lure liberally across the section of your property where you want to attract deer. The animals are very likely to visit your land in order to investigate the new, strange deer that is in the territory.

In addition, apply doe scent on the grass, leaves, or trees on your property to attract bucks. The scent is most attractive for eight to ten weeks before the peak of the breeding season, which occurs in mid-November.

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But, be very careful handling the scent. Avoid making any contact of the scent with your body. This will minimize the amount of human scent that could interfere in the attraction.

Deer are much smarter animals than they are given credit for, so they will avoid this seemingly potential trap. In fact, deer will stay away from all areas where there is a strong human scent.

Sweet-Smelling Apples

Deer cannot resist the sweet smelling aromas that come from apples, so use this to your advantage in attracting them. It is suggested that you consider planting apple or crab apple trees along the perimeter of the yard.

Not only will this provide the cover that deer prefer, it will also bloom tender leaves and fruit throughout the late summer and fall months.

Sometimes space or climate does not allow the planting of apple trees though. In those cases, it could be beneficial to learn how to attract deer into a feeding spot with apples.

Set up a trough or bucket for the deer to feed from, and pour a healthy serving of grain or deer feed into it. Then, cut up a few apples, cores included, into quarters and toss them in too. Mixing the apples with the feed will attract the deer to come feed on your property.

Salt Blocks

As most hunters are aware, deer are attracted to salt and mineral blocks. Cider and apple salt blocks can also be effective for luring in deer already in the area.

You can easily purchase these from a large variety at most hunting specialty stores, or even some local feed shops. Put the block on the edge of your property, near a food plot, or beside a feeder.

Sometimes the best results come from burying the salt block in the ground, within a hole about three or four inches deep. Cover the block back up with soil and sprinkle some salt on top of it.

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Keep in mind that the block will need to sit there for hours, or maybe even days, before the deer will catch a whiff and check it out. Remain patient because they will eventually find it and frequent the area.

Be aware that the deer will make a hole wherever you decide to play the block, as they dig it out and proceed to lick it. Make sure you pick an appropriate spot where there will not be negative consequences from this mess happening.

Plus, the salt can kill plants located within the immediate area. Be careful about choosing the location prior.

Other Deer-Friendly Yard Improvements

Deer are fonder of environments that have taller grass that will provide necessary cover and food source. Let the grass along the perimeter of your property grow taller than the rest of your yard.

This will help to attract deer to step out of the woods or brush, into a safe transition space towards your yard.

Fences can deter and obstruct access into the yard for deer that are looking to prance out of the woods. Remove fences that are being restrictive in this manner, so that deer can more comfortably move around the property.

If this is impossible, try to create some openings within the fence line.

Lastly, always remember to limit lights or sounds that will frighten the deer or discourage their visit into your yard. Keep a safe distance away from them, in order to protect yourself from injury and avoid startling the deer.

Limit the amount of human activity in the area and combine some of these useful tips on how to attract deer into your property.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>