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Sunflowers for deer food


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#1 The Juice

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 03:17 AM

Has anyone planted sunflowers as a food plot feed source? How much luck have you had? When did you plant and how long did it take for the sunflowers to seed out/mature?

#2 Fieldtip

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 10:55 PM

I have been planting sun flowers for a few years now. I grow the Mammoth ones (10'-12'). I use them more to create a fencerow (dividing up my food plot into smaller sections) than for food. I have watched deer eating on the giant leaves, the birds generally get the seeds as they ripen. The most interesting thing I've found is that I get several buck rubs on the stalks which are about an inch and a half thick every year.
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#3 ridgehunter

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 11:08 PM

A new hunting friend claims that he successfully uses sunflower seeds to attract deer every year. We will see :unknw:

#4 MLN1963

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 03:28 AM

A new hunting friend claims that he successfully uses sunflower seeds to attract deer every year. We will see :unknw:

Like bird seed sunflower seeds or salted ones humans eat?

#5 buckskins

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 05:37 AM

Sunflowers are great for deer. We usually plant the black oil sunflowers. The plants are alot smaller than the mammoths but are more nutrious. They are great for does to fatten back up after raising fawns all summer. Here in Illinois we plant about the same time as the soybeans plant. Usually in mid to late april. They reach maturity in august and are usually picked over pretty good by the time octobers bow season rolls around so I don't recomend it for a foodplot by themself but a really good food plot should consist of a variety of plants that provide food from mid summer to winter. Adding strips of sunflowers,corn, sorgumn,and soybeans is a very good idea. We usually try to do about 8 rows of each with clover,alfalfa,chickory in between half of the rows and turnips,beets, radishes,and brassicas between others. A friends of mine even plants climbing peas in with the corn or sunflowers and the peas will over grow the stalks and use as a trelis. My food plot is usually between 1 and 2 acres. Rick
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#6 The Juice

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 05:43 AM

My uncle tried this last year, planted a whole 50 pound bag of them and the deer devoured them according to him. I don't know that they were the mammoth ones, but they ate the head, stalk, leaves, everything down to the ground. They never fully matured, he said they only got a few feet tall then the deer just ate'em all up. I wanted to check with others to see if people had similar results. The stalk on these seems like it'd be very stringy, much more so than say celery. Thanks for the feedback thus far. I'm talking about the bird seed style MLN1963, but you plant them in the ground and grow a sunflower plant, you wouldn't just throw the seeds out for them to eat like the birds do. They'd probably like the salted ones though come to think about it. Good luck though, most anything wild will want to lick/eat the salted ones!

#7 The Juice

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 05:53 AM

Thanks buckskins, your post is very detailed and informative. Where do you buy black oil sunflower seeds? Are they special order or should I be able to get them from my local elevator? I plan on putting these in along the edges also, near the brush/wild grass/trees. I'm not going to do a mass planting like my uncle did all in one spot. I don't want the deer to be able to hide in them! My dad was actually saying guys at work told him to do soybeans in early August. They say they grow just enough to be little by bow season here and the deer love them because of how sweet they are. I don't know how much beans cost, I'll have to check it out. I agree with you totally on having a variety food sources to draw the deer, as well as having different maturity times for each thing to last you the longest timeframe. We're going to be planting an area no more than 1 acre at most. This past week I planted alfalfa, chicory, clover mix, wheat, rye, oats, and buckwheat in different areas of the one plot.

#8 buckskins

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 11:34 AM

Juice, I get mine at a feed store about 10 miles away.I can't remember the exact spelling but I think the variety was something like perdovick. I know I just ask for the black oil seeds and thats what I get. We have planted soybeans in our wheat fields after harvest in mid July before and have been able to get a crop off by fall. I think a company called real world wildlife seeds was coming out with a food plot soybean that matured later and the pods wouldn't crack open as easy so there would be beans still in the pod for those cold december days. I know I will try some next year for sure. Nothing pulls whitetails out of their beds when its really cold than soybeans !! Rick

#9 The Juice

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 02:29 PM

Hi Rick, thanks again for the info. This year I put in a pretty basic setup of food. Some of the areas have been planted before and the PH is decent, another spot is virgin and we'll see what happens. I put a lot of $$$ into what I've got so far but want it to be right before I spend the big dollars on more premium stuff. I'd like to get some unique stuff in there, like the soybeans you mentioned, hoping that'll pull the deer in for stuff they can't get elsewhere. We'll see how it all goes in the next few years. Thanks again for the advice and info!

#10 Fieldtip

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 10:40 PM

About half of my sunflowers this year got eaten when they grew to about knee high. My spring planted clover did poorly with all the dry and hot weather we had this summer. Now the deer are eating the crap out of my pumpkins, the plants are already dying off and the pumpkins are turning orange but there are bites out of many of them and some are half eaten and all of the seeds and guts are gone. There are deer tracks everywhere. I will try to get a camera up so I can get some photos of the pumpkin eaters. I planted some rye seed between my soy bean rows, the turkeys found the seed and are devouring all the seed. The soy beans are getting topped and trimmed on a regular basis from the deer also. I guess that's what I planted it all for. I hope there is enough left for hunting season! "I don't know how the farmers cope with all the competition"

#11 ridgehunter

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:46 PM

My friend says that he just throws birdseed type sunflower seeds on the ground and the deer come in and eat them. I have never tried this but we will see what happens with his technique this year. He is hunting closer to me this year so I will be able to follow his activity.

#12 Fieldtip

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:28 PM

Well, I was out to my food plot today. I forgot to take a camera with me. I have a really beat up and twisted sapling - buck rub! The bucks really started rubbing on the 10' sunflowers. One must have been caught in the antlers, it was broken off and carried across the beans about 30', it has a nice buck rub on it. And I noticed a couple of other bubs on the sunflowers. The season starts Monday, I'll try to get some pictures by next weekend.

#13 The Juice

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 05:49 AM

Thanks, I'll look forward to the pics!

#14 whistlepig

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 11:07 PM

Ladino clover is the best thing that I have tried. This is a 1/2 acre food plot.

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#15 buckeye dan

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 10:04 AM

I was raising sunflowers for a couple of seasons. Each year saving the seeds from the most desired plants. Mammoth heads on short stalks. I would have had enough seed to try them after the last season but the birds got into my stash and I gave up on it.

#16 Fieldtip

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 11:21 PM

I've been busy, I will post soon. How do you add pictures to these posts now?

#17 The Juice

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:28 PM

Hey Whistlepig, I'm working on a clover section of my food plot, can't remember if it's specifically ladino or not, I'll have to check. Those are some amazing pictures of cows on that food plot, what area of the country are you in? The deer here don't get that size on a normal basis. You do get some prehistoric buckzilla's every once in a while like in your photo, but that's not the norm. Nice, nice deer. If that's not a deer farm those are from then you are blessed to have creatures like that to harvest. This pic is the biggest one in the area I'm hunting that I've seen or have pics of this year. RCX_0400A.jpg

For Fieldtip, to post pics you have to click on "more reply options in the lower right corner. Then click on the "browse" button in the lower left to find a pic or pics that you want to post. Double click on the pic or pics, then you have to click "attach this file" button in the lower left. After that, you then need to click "Add to Post" in the right corner. When you do this, there will be some funny looking letters/numbers show up in your message. This is actually the script for the picture so don't mess with it. Hope this helps, I look forward to the pics!
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#18 The Juice

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Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:49 PM

This is the first year for this food plot and this buck is eating oats. I live in Central Michigan and I've actually had really good luck with oats. They are hammering the oats more than the wheat and rye, although they are eating them as well. They are also really eating the rape, which I have a mixed blend with clover and something else. I tried buckwheat, alfalfa, and chicory. They aren't eating any of those three and the hard frost we had the other night killed off the buckwheat.RCX_0022A.jpg RCX_0045A.jpg RCX_0081A.jpg

The turkeys really hurt the oats which I planted just as thick as the wheat and rye but you can see it didn't come in well. I've got a group of 13 turkeys that come in twice a day, everyday, and feed. I got one of the little bastards the other day. This area used to look like the background, all woods and underbrush. Through a lot of work, mostly by hand at first, we cleared it off to what you see now. I should have taken pics of the progress from the beginning. Sent soil samples in, added a couple rounds of lime, and things are shaping up nicely now that we have a kubota with a backhoe and a 55hp New Holland with a 7ft King Kutter tiller. Industrialized food plots in the making!! It was so dry this year that I didn't get much planted til late, so I'm going to do the sunflowers next year and see how it goes.

#19 Fieldtip

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 12:38 PM

I'm trying to post my pictures but I get a flag that says they are too big to download (2mb). They are from 1.1 to 3.2.

#20 Fieldtip

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 12:47 PM

Hear is a picture of the 8 pointer I passed on. He has my food plot all tore up (I think it was him) with rubs on sunflower stalks, licking branch and scrape (4' behind camera), a sapling all tore up (15' behind camera), and he shows up anytime I see another deer. The rest of the pictures won't download because they are too big.

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