If you’re hunting trophy bucks, you need to bait them to your hunting area. But, how do you do this successfully? One way to do this is to introduce the deer in your area to turnips. The only thing with planting turnips for deer is you must plant them at the right time to be successful. Here, we will explain how to plant turnips to give you the chance at the best success.
Table of Contents
Why Should You Plant Turnips for Deer?
There are lots of bait choices, so you probably wonder why you should choose turnips. Turnips offer deer many benefits. The truth of the matter is Turnips are easy to grow, and deer love them. As if that wasn’t enough it’s also tons of fun to watch turnips grown.
Turnips develop from a taproot. From there, a leafy top pops out of the ground. It doesn’t take a bunch room to build a turnip food plot and you don’t have to do a ton of maintenance to make sure the crops grow.
Why Deer Like Turnips?
Turnips are brassicas, which is a class that also includes radishes, cauliflower, kale, and rape. If you have turnips growing in the ground deer are going to raid your garden. Another great reason to choose turnips is that deer don’t just eat the leafy tops, they also love the taproot too. To get the turnip out of the ground, the deer will dig it out and take off with the entire veggie – taproot included.
Deer are also high in protein. Deer need tons of protein in their diet to grow big antlers. In total, turnips are about 15 to 20% protein so they’re easy to digest too. Unlike cereal grains or forage crops, the fiber in Brassica plants doesn’t increase as the turnips mature. What this means is the turnips are easy to digest during their entire maturity, so they are always digestible for deer to eat.
Turnips are Easy to Grow
You might be wondering how hard turnips are to grow at this point. Honestly, turnips are extremely versatile, which means you can grow them very easily. Even better, there easy to grow just about anywhere. As if that wasn’t enough reason to grow turnips to bait deer the crop usually produces a ton of produce. What this means is you can expect the return on your turnips to be much more than the effort it takes you to plant them.
When to Plant Turnips for Deer?
At this point, we’ve probably convinced you that turnips are the way to go. But, we haven’t explained when you should plant turnips. If your sole purpose is to attract deer to an area, you need to plant the crops in time to get deer in the area before the season starts. Another factor that plays into this is the region you live in. Turnips are easy to grow, but if you plant them at a bad time of year, you won’t get great results.
Turnips mature quickly. So, it’s important to keep this in mind when you are getting ready to plant a food plot. In general, it takes about 75 to 90 days for the crops to meet maturity. If you’re getting ready for deer season you need to make sure you have time for the tap roots to grow and the leafy top to appear. The leafy top is what is really going to get the deer going in an area.
Not only do deer love to eat mature turnips, but they go crazy for turnips that have received a good frost on them. The reason turnips taste better after they’ve received a good frost is because older leaves have a starchy taste to them. Starchy leaves also have a great sugar taste. Deer go crazy for anything that tastes starchy and sugary. Younger turnip leaves tend to taste bitter. Deer will still eat them, but they won’t crave them, which means they’ll probably only show up when they’re really hungry and not just when they want to snack.
1) When to Plant Turnips in Cool Climates?
The great thing about planting turnips in a cool climate is that the plant is actually a cool season annual, so the cooler temperatures won’t damage it or prevent it from reaching maturity. If you live in a northern state, you’ll want to plant your turnip crops in late summer.
Most northern states, have a cool climate, which makes late summer the perfect time to plant turnips. By planting in late summer, your crops will be ready for deer season. Since turnips are usually still around still in the winter, they can help fill a nutritional gap for deer during cold months.
2) When to Plant Turnips in Warm Climates?
If you live in southern states, you have to handle planting turnips entirely different. Southern states have warmer climates than most other places in the United States. Because the climate is generally warmer crops grow faster. Since deer season starts in late fall, you can plant turnips in early fall and be confident that you’ll have enough crops to attract deer before the season starts.
Where to Plant Turnips?
Now that we’ve gone over all the basics, it’s time to talk about where to plant turnips. The crop does best in well-drained fertile soil. The pH should be somewhere between 6.5 to 6.8. There are many different turnip varieties on the market.
The differences in turnips have to do with leaves and roots. Garden variety turnips create plants with big leaves and should be avoided. Instead, for a food plot, you should choose turnips that are leaner. The best way to do this is to choose turnip seeds that are designed specifically for deer food plots.
There you have it a simple guide to plant turnips in a deer food plot. It will be interesting to watch turnips grow and develop their deep taproots and leafy greens. As we’ve explained here, turnips are easy to grow and the deer will go wild for them, which means you’ll have plenty of bucks around your hunting area and only have minimal effort involved.