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Bestul: Corn on the Ground!

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October 22, 2010

Bestul: Corn on the Ground!

By Scott Bestul

It’s the peak of harvest here in the Upper Midwest, and farmers are combining fields at a pace I haven’t seen in many years. The annual grain harvest is always exciting in farm country, and it usually means good news for deer hunters. Here’s why:

As the harvest progresses, more and more cover is removed. A certain percentage of deer will basically live in standing corn for months, and once those stalks come down, whitetails will be forced into other bedding habit; usually woods, brush and CRP fields. This typically concentrates deer and puts them into environments where it’s easier to hunt them. Also, picked cornfields can become a whitetail feeding mecca, as deer focus on waste grain missed by the combine. Hunting a cornfield in the first week after combining can be truly exciting.
But there’s a downside to the fall harvest, too. Farmers in my area quickly follow combining with chisel plowing, essentially eliminating the attractiveness of a cornfield to deer. Stubble and waste grain now lie under dirt, and whitetails have to be truly hungry to waste time searching for odd kernels in a plowed field. Once the plows come out, I know I better have nearby backup food sources nailed down or I’m going to be scrambling to find deer.

So how’s the harvest coming in your area? And do farming practices there hurt or help your hunting? Anxious to hear your thoughts!

Comments (10)

Top Rated
All Comments
from gman3186 wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

the corn was picked here back in the first of september but we dont have to worry about the corn being plowed back into the ground the farmers land we hunt he only plants 2 crops corn and soy beans all his crops go to feed the cows

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

We had another dry year in eastern WV, the corn was pretty sad and was all gone by mid to late August.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

dads still cutting beans and shelling corn that 9500 has a 8 row head on tsmall combine dad has a 9760 with a 12 row corn head and a 40ft macdon draper head and it still takes several months with 3 combines and a grain cart dupmingon the go!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

Got the biggest kick a few years back!

I was big into the "Monster Bucks" tapes/DVD's.
Greg Ritz of T/C was trying to get on some deer in an alfalfa field in heavy wind. He discovered a piece of abandoned equipment and used it for cover.
He had to dismount and slip along a ditch to get to the deer, but later, as he was talking about using this old "corn picker" to spot the deer, the camera panned across a broken down self propelled swather! LOL!!!
Wheat country is a little different. Nobody plants corn in these parts unless it's a little sweet corn in a garden.
Wheat is normally planted as early as mid Aug and I've seen it planted as late as mid Dec.
Very little is planted for harvest. Most of it is grazed out as wheat pasture.
I have noticed that whichever wheat comes up "first", the deer pattern to. I have seen them walk across a late wheat field to get to an earlier field!
The deer also prefer rye (the grain, not the grass!) to wheat!

Bubba

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PA009 wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

for the time being i am waiting for the field behind my blind to get harvested. until then it, being the only standing corn for quite a ways, is where the deer seem to be. i can sometimes hear them while i hunt. oh well though

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ricefarm wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

Remember how last year's extremely late harvest wreaked havoc with deer hunting in many areas? This year many parts of the midwest had the earliest and quickest harvest they might see for a long, long time if not ever. I'm guessing a lot of areas are like mine and the extra time is going to lead to more tillage than you would normally see, especially since not much got done the last two years and we are doing some catching up. I would bet next year we will get back to a more normal pattern. Once I have taken a shot at repairing the damage done the last couple years I expect to get back to doing very little fall tillage. Putting hours on a $150,000 tractor using $2.50 fuel might look like fun, but most guys are only going to do it out of necessity. On the bright side, by November the deer should be getting hungry and moving a lot more than during last year's corn fueled orgy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from tirdypointbuck wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

I run grain cart for my dad while he combines, and I love to watch the deer run out in front of us. Last year was the worst year for rifle season in Nebraska. It was to wet for the corn to be harvested so the deer could hide in the corn. This year should be a great year for deer season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from phconk wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

River Falls, WI had its anual FFA corn drive 2 weeks ahead of schedule because the corn was ready

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

We actually have a few farmers that will leave a small section of corn standing after the harvest.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from knollie wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

the farm I hunt doesn't plow the fields by the barns so they can spread manure all winter w/out driving icy roads. perfect for late season bow

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from ricefarm wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

Remember how last year's extremely late harvest wreaked havoc with deer hunting in many areas? This year many parts of the midwest had the earliest and quickest harvest they might see for a long, long time if not ever. I'm guessing a lot of areas are like mine and the extra time is going to lead to more tillage than you would normally see, especially since not much got done the last two years and we are doing some catching up. I would bet next year we will get back to a more normal pattern. Once I have taken a shot at repairing the damage done the last couple years I expect to get back to doing very little fall tillage. Putting hours on a $150,000 tractor using $2.50 fuel might look like fun, but most guys are only going to do it out of necessity. On the bright side, by November the deer should be getting hungry and moving a lot more than during last year's corn fueled orgy.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from gman3186 wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

the corn was picked here back in the first of september but we dont have to worry about the corn being plowed back into the ground the farmers land we hunt he only plants 2 crops corn and soy beans all his crops go to feed the cows

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 007 wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

We had another dry year in eastern WV, the corn was pretty sad and was all gone by mid to late August.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Plotner wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

dads still cutting beans and shelling corn that 9500 has a 8 row head on tsmall combine dad has a 9760 with a 12 row corn head and a 40ft macdon draper head and it still takes several months with 3 combines and a grain cart dupmingon the go!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

Got the biggest kick a few years back!

I was big into the "Monster Bucks" tapes/DVD's.
Greg Ritz of T/C was trying to get on some deer in an alfalfa field in heavy wind. He discovered a piece of abandoned equipment and used it for cover.
He had to dismount and slip along a ditch to get to the deer, but later, as he was talking about using this old "corn picker" to spot the deer, the camera panned across a broken down self propelled swather! LOL!!!
Wheat country is a little different. Nobody plants corn in these parts unless it's a little sweet corn in a garden.
Wheat is normally planted as early as mid Aug and I've seen it planted as late as mid Dec.
Very little is planted for harvest. Most of it is grazed out as wheat pasture.
I have noticed that whichever wheat comes up "first", the deer pattern to. I have seen them walk across a late wheat field to get to an earlier field!
The deer also prefer rye (the grain, not the grass!) to wheat!

Bubba

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PA009 wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

for the time being i am waiting for the field behind my blind to get harvested. until then it, being the only standing corn for quite a ways, is where the deer seem to be. i can sometimes hear them while i hunt. oh well though

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tirdypointbuck wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

I run grain cart for my dad while he combines, and I love to watch the deer run out in front of us. Last year was the worst year for rifle season in Nebraska. It was to wet for the corn to be harvested so the deer could hide in the corn. This year should be a great year for deer season.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from phconk wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

River Falls, WI had its anual FFA corn drive 2 weeks ahead of schedule because the corn was ready

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

We actually have a few farmers that will leave a small section of corn standing after the harvest.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from knollie wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

the farm I hunt doesn't plow the fields by the barns so they can spread manure all winter w/out driving icy roads. perfect for late season bow

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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