Attracting, Holding Bucks

Aenon J. writes: “I have a small tract of land that has a lot of game on the land that surrounds it. I would like to know what is the best attractant — food or another source such as golden acorns (corn), or scents. I have planted acorn trees, put out corn, molasses blocks, salt blocks, clover, and rye grass. What can I use to hold the game on my property and improve antler growth? I would also like to know what I could build to help keep the turkeys from getting eaten by the predators during their egg-laying stages.”

Dr. Dave Samuel

Aenon: I don’t know how much agriculture and food is around your tract, and that might change my answer a bit. However, it sounds like the food plots you are putting out should be good. But, in my experience, good, thick cover — really thick cover — will hold and attract deer, especially during hunting season when they are pressured.

Plant pines, make a small clearcut, and then include plantings. Do whatever it takes to create an area that is very thick cover. And then stay out of it. This cover provides sanctuary to deer, especially bucks, during hunting season. Build it and they will come.

Relative to the turkey nests being preyed upon, there isn’t much you can do. Studies show that if predators are taking lots of turkeys, it usually means that there are a lot of turkeys. You could, however, do some winter trapping of coyotes and fox.

I hope this helps and good luck!

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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 over 30 years.

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