Skip to main content Skip to main content

Plan It, Plant It for Your Food-Plot Future

Ideally, you want a variety that provides whitetails with foraging options all year.

Plan It, Plant It for Your Food-Plot Future

Photograph courtesy of Chestnut Hill Outdoors

Property owners often take special care in establishing and maintaining deer food plots each season.

However, planting hard and soft mast trees, and caring for existing trees, shouldn’t be overlooked either. Mast sources are a key component of a whitetail’s diet, and they supplement standard food plot crops very well.

They are especially important on smaller parcels that can’t support acres of food plots, but they should really be a part of any management strategy.

When deciding to add mast trees to any land, first evaluate which species are already present. Ideally, you want a variety that provides deer with many foraging options throughout the year, including the off-season.


Different trees drop mast at different times of the year. Plant with purpose to ensure you always have food available no matter the season, and you’ll attract — and retain — more deer.


We as humans like variety in our diet, and we have to eat all year in order to survive. Why not offer deer the same opportunities?

If you already have abundant white and red oaks on the property, consider adding fruit trees like apple, crabapple or persimmon to the mix. Conversely, if you have fruit trees and are lacking hard mast sources, expand in that department.

One great hard-mast option is the Dunstan chestnut. This hybrid species, offered by Chestnut Hill Outdoors, is resistant to the blight that all but eliminated the original American chestnut in the early 20th century, and it bears mast in just 3 to 5 years as opposed to the 10 to 20 years or more it takes some oaks.

Also, each year the Dunstan chestnut produces a heavy crop of sweet-flavored, high-carb, high-protein chestnuts that some studies suggest deer often prefer, even to acorns. Oaks, while they typically produce annually, don’t produce a strong crop each and every year.




The Dunstan chestnut’s combination of a short initial time to produce, substantial yearly crop and desirable nutrition source makes it a perfect choice for adding a hard-mast option to a property relatively quickly. So, there’s really no excuse not to start planting for the future today.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Beyond the Bait: Best Soft-Plastic Worms for Smallmouth

Beyond the Bait: Best Soft-Plastic Worms for Smallmouth

Soft-plastic worms are a classic bass bait, and their various shapes and styles seem almost endless. There are some worms, however, that especially appeal to smallmouth bass. In this episode of Beyond the Bait, we'll take a close look at some of the best plastic worms as well as how to rig and fish them.

The Modern Air Rifle: Air Rifle Hunting with the Umarex Gauntlet 2

The Modern Air Rifle: Air Rifle Hunting with the Umarex Gauntlet 2

This .25 Caliber precision air rifle can be used for anything from small game & coyote hunting, to target shooting and competitions. Using a regulated 2100 PSI system for improved shot-to-shot consistency, it's extremely accurate and easy to handle. If you're a shooter that's looking for a strong performer on the range or in the woods, check out the Umarex Gauntlet 2.

DIY Garage Bow Mechanic: List of Tools and How to Get Started

DIY Garage Bow Mechanic: List of Tools and How to Get Started

Wanting to tune, tinker, and test your archery equipment without taking a trip to the pro shop? Great. Here's a list of tools you'll need and how to get setup to become a DIY bow mechanic in your garage.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now