If you are hunting over corn this season, try to strategically leave some standing around your hunting blinds.
There’s no disputing the fact that standing corn is a hot commodity for deer hunters. Before cornfields are picked, the stalks provide everything a deer needs: cover, food and even water. Cornfields are sanctuaries that double as food sources.
Around most of the country, farmers are or will be harvesting corn. What does this mean for hunters? The short answer is your hunting blind overlooking standing corn loses some appeal as stalks are removed and bedding cover along with it. Of course, the hunting blind is still a great spot until animals have eaten the corn that was spilled by the combine. After the field has been picked clean by deer and other wildlife, the field loses its attraction. Once the corn is gone, so are the deer. This is why many hunters cut a deal with the farmer on the land they hunt to leave a little of the standing corn. Or, the folks who farm their own land and hunt it too, leave as much corn as they can. The uncut corn is a deer magnet during the rut and late season when all the other fields are deserted.
You don’t have to leave much standing corn around your hunting blind to reap the benefits. A small patch left standing in front of your deer hunting tower blind is enough to attract bucks feeding on the corn left behind by the combine into shooting range. The stalks, in an otherwise bare field, give bucks a sense of security and may coax them into the fields before dark. And when all the shelled corn is eaten, or mildewed by ground moisture, the deer will eat the corn off the standing stalks. While this tactic of leaving a small patch of corn standing provides big benefits, it does so for only a short window. If you have the luxury of leaving larger plots of standing corn, the benefits are even more advantageous.
Many landowners plant corn for the sole reason to attract deer and hunt over it – never harvesting it at all. To stack the odds in their favor even more, and to increase the chance of shooting a mature buck using the cornfield as cover and a feeding area, they will knock down strips of corn with a four wheeler or bush hog. These 15 to 20 foot lanes in between corn rows allow the hunter more visibility and better shooting lanes from their deer hunting blinds while still giving a mature buck the sense of cover. It can be particularly good in the late season when prime food sources are few and far between. Consider how Whitetail Properties TV hunter, Paul Sawyer, used standing corn to kill a trophy buck from his Banks Stump last season:
“It was a perfect morning cold, frost over the corn field,” said Sawyer. “I was hunting a Banks Blind butted up to a brushy fence line in front of two acres of standing corn with cut paths in the corn. I left the corn standing in a little cove right next to a ridge in between two bedding areas.”
The evening before Sawyer shot the 4-year-old, main frame 8-pointer with 4 brow tines on the right side named Medusa, Sawyer saw the deer standing 60 yards in front of his blind, broadside and within easy reach of his muzzleloader’s range. He elected to pass on the shot because there was another buck named Big Chocolate on his hit list. He didn’t know that another hunter shot the buck that same evening from another blind on the property.
Paul Sawyer shot this buck from his Banks hunting blind near standing corn.
“Once I knew Big Chocolate was dead, Medusa got a green light,” said Sawyer. “The next morning Medusa came running from behind the pond chasing a doe. He closed the distance to 60 yards; I had to stop him before he walked into the corn. The slug exploded his heart on impact and broke his opposite leg, as he ran off I shot at him again and missed him but my third shot, free handed at 125 yards, hit him in the back rib sending him head over heels crashing into the middle of the corn field.”
But the hunt wasn’t over yet. Even with all the commotion of a muzzleloader discharging and a buck crashing through the corn.
“When I got up to him, five does came running out of the creek bottom so I dropped to a knee and shot a doe at 100 yards, dropping her in the field with Medusa right at my feet,” said Sawyer. “It was a very fun hunt!”
If you are hunting over corn this season, try to strategically leave some standing around your hunting blinds. It will pay off big time once rutting bucks settle into a late season routine and are looking for quality food and bedding locations. Give them what they are looking for right next to your hunting blind setup.
Photo Credit: Jim