Are Brassicas In My Foot Plot Toxic?

James W. from Kentucky writes to ask about “Brassica Toxicity.” “I saw on a chat room discussion on the Internet that there is something called “Brassica Toxicity.” I have a lot of the Brassicas in my food plots. Am I causing a problem for my deer?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

That’s a new one for me Jim, but I attended the Quality Deer Management Association annual convention in Louisville in July (by the way, that’s a great convention to attend, especially if you are into deer management and food plots on your property), and Dr. Grant Woods talked about this subject. He said that maybe if you had a deer in a pen and Brassicas was all you fed them, it might be a problem. But in food plots, where the deer have a free choice of what to eat, Brassicas are definitely a great food for deer. When deer managers talk about brassicas they are usually referring to kale, rape and turnips, as these are the most common species of brassicas planted in deer food plots.

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, senior editor of‘s content at Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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