The Herald Bulletin

October 2, 2013

Rick Bramwell: Jury still out on whether deer eat apples


The Herald Bulletin

---- — My column last week elicited several responses about whether deer eat apples and when. There were pros and cons. The best I can figure is: Sometimes and at certain times deer eat apples. I will share with you some of those responses.

Aaron Clark writes: At my work we have an abundance of some kind of crab apple tree. I'm not sure what they are, but deer dig through snow and eat them up during the winter. I had a buddy that told me about a pile of apples he put in front of a trail cam. Nada. Typically, the magazines have you believe that deer eat apples this time of year, but I'm not so sure either.

Nathan Bryans writes: I have an apple tree in my yard which I don't spray, two-to-three years ago, late summer, I took a heavy trash bag of unsprayed or untreated apples from the ground and tossed them into an area near Brookville that is thick with deer and squirrels. Two weeks later, I went back to that same location, and there were still lots of apples on the ground. I think it is more a fact of, if an animal is used to eating it, they eat it. If you take something that they don't get in their area normally, and as long as they have other food they are used to eating then they will eat what they are comfortable eating. Same reasoning as to why we in Indiana don't dine on cooked grasshoppers ... as long as we have hamburger and chicken around, we don't have to eat bugs.

I'm not sure about that analogy Nate, but it could be.

Robert Marsh and his wife often travel between Layton Road and Lapel. On a bend, there stands an apple tree about 30 yards off the highway. They have been seeing a doe and her twins feeding under said tree.

Old friend Bob Porter chimed in from the hills near Patoka Reservoir. He says the variety makes a difference.

"Our daughter has an untreated apple tree in her yard. Deer love those small wormy apples," Porter said.

Perhaps, apple worms are a deer's way of eating protein.

Last week I put piles of apples on two occasions in a corner fencerow. The first pile was gone in five days. The ground was too hard to show tracks, making it impossible to determine what was eating them. Two apples had bites taken out of them, the rest were totally consumed.

u u u

Tri-County Fish & Wildlife Area will host a youth rabbit hunt on Saturday, Oct. 19.

The hunt is from 8 a.m. to noon. Children will be partnered with an experienced hunter, and various beagle dog handlers will guide the youth hunters as they trail rabbits through fields and woods.

If your child is interested in participating, or for more information, contact Don LeCount at (574) 551-1461 or dlecount@embarqmail.com, or call Tri-County FWA at (574) 834-4461.

LeCount is the man who sold me Daisy.