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

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean.

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months.

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Increase a lure’s effectiveness by pairing it with the ideal reel speed.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?5 Great Lures For Bluegills Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

Get ready to braise ground venison with all the traditional chili ingredients, directly on the grill, for a smokin' hot take on this comfort food classic.Smoked Venison Chili Recipe Wild Game

Smoked Venison Chili Recipe

Eva Shockey - October 16, 2020

Get ready to braise ground venison with all the traditional chili ingredients, directly on the...

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers Striper & Hybrid

3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Sometimes, 'big buck derangement syndrome' makes a passion an obsession.Crazy Talk: Big Bucks Can Lead to Questionable Choices Whitetail

Crazy Talk: Big Bucks Can Lead to Questionable Choices

Jeff Johnston - November 03, 2020

Sometimes, 'big buck derangement syndrome' makes a passion an obsession.

Convince a mature buck that an interloper has invaded his turf. Then use it against him.5 Intruder Tactics to Trick Whitetail Bucks During Rut Whitetail

5 Intruder Tactics to Trick Whitetail Bucks During Rut

Josh Honeycutt - November 18, 2020

Convince a mature buck that an interloper has invaded his turf. Then use it against him.

Smart technology offers crossbow hunters instantaneous decision making capabilities.Field Tested: TenPoint's Vapor RS470 XERO Proves Itself on Ohio Hunt Crossbows

Field Tested: TenPoint's Vapor RS470 XERO Proves Itself on Ohio Hunt

Dr. Todd A. Kuhn - November 18, 2020

Smart technology offers crossbow hunters instantaneous decision making capabilities.

Use the correct whitetail vocalization, properly applied, to draw big bucks in.Calling All Deer: Right Call at Right Time is Key to Luring Bucks Hunting How-To

Calling All Deer: Right Call at Right Time is Key to Luring Bucks

Terry Madewell - November 30, 2020

Use the correct whitetail vocalization, properly applied, to draw big bucks in.

See More Whitetail

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

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

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

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