Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conferences


Date of this Version

September 1989


We compared white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) use of 15 field corn (Zea mays) hybrids grown in food plots near 3 deer wintering areas in southwestern Minnesota, 1987-88. Physical and morphological characteristics of corn varied significantly among sites, subplots and among hybrids. Deer use of hybrids was significantly different and 5 use groups of hybrids were identified. A significant linear relationship was found between use and ear height. Hybrids with higher ears and less husk coverage were preferred by deer. These findings suggest that deer preferences for corn hybrids are affected more by deer pressure, ear height and husk coverage than by morphological variables which could affect deer mastication and mouth prehension. A 1988-89 study of 2 hybrids planted in food plots corroborated our preference rankings.