Improved Deer Hunting: Plant Japanese Honeysuckle for Whitetail Deer

Question: I am interested in providing additional forage for the whitetail deer in my area in order to improve body condition, grow better antlers, and improve the overall deer hunting. I know that browse plants make up a lot of a whitetail’s diet, and have been thinking about planting Japanese honeysuckle because I know that they like it. Do you have a place to purchase Japanese Honeysuckle seed? Have you ever purchased seedlings or has it just always grown naturally where you’ve hunted? Thanks.

Answer: Better deer hunting is something that you can make happen, and you are on the right track. Deer management that leads to better deer hunting is all about age, genetics and food. You have two options because there is native honeysuckle and Japanese honeysuckle. Although I would suggest trying native honeysuckle over introducing a foreign plant into your area, the choice is up to you. I have seen Japanese honeysuckle growing in the wild and it does not completely dominate areas like some non-native plants can do. Maybe that is because deer love it.

Honeysuckle is a good browse plant for white-tailed deer. Although I have never purchased honeysuckle plants, I be nurseries in your area will it. This is one route, or you can collect cuttings and grow many more of your own plants for a lot less. Take cuttings from honeyusuckle vines by removing new growth from the tips of the vines. This will be about the last two inches or so. Cut the vine so that you only have two or three leaves on the tip. Then, dip the cuttings into plant growth hormone, which you can find at most nurseries or Wal Mart even for that matter, then stick them in moist soil. Keep them in a warm, humid place and they will begin to grow.

When the honeysuckle cuttings develop a root system, you can plant them in a protected place on your property so that deer can not readily access the plants. Then, as they grow, deer will be able to consume the spreading vines and shoots, providing them with additional browse. This can be done with any species of browse, so don’t limit yourself to just one species. Some plants perform better in different locations, so I suggest some experimentation. Best of luck and here’s to better deer hunting on your property!

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