Why are the deer not eating my turnips?


6 pointer
Oct 7, 2011
South Central, Ky
We have a 1/2 acre food plot that is a mix of oats and turnips but the deer are not touching my turnips at all. It is an Evolved Habitat seed plot and they are eating the oats but not the turnips. Granted it's not in a high deer density area but the plot is so lush that it looks like something off of TV. I kept thinking they would start after a couple of good frost but that hasn't happened yet. Is there a type of turnip that the deer don't like? When I planted the plot I also added some purple top turnip seed mixed in just to add a variety. This plot hasn't been hunted at all because we were saving until now to try and shoot a couple of does with our bows plus we had to worry about the tresspassing neighbor shooting us during gun season. So we stayed out. This is on a very small parcel of land and the land around us has only small wood lots and a good grown up creek bottom. We usually are able to see several does each year and take a few in the small set of woods we have to hunt. This is the first year we planted the food plot and I really expected to draw in every deer in the area with the turnips, but they just aren't eating them. Anybody have any theories as to what is wrong with my plot? Here is a couple of pics of the plot, and yes I know my blind is in the wide open but it has been out all season for them to get used to it.
trailcam pics 001.jpg trailcam pics 008.JPG

KY River Rat

6 pointer
Jan 3, 2008
It takes about a year for them to figure out that they like them. Just wait till it gets real cold up in Jan. or Feb. they will be digging them out of the ground.


6 pointer
Oct 7, 2011
South Central, Ky
I don't see what the difference in yours and mine are huntr467 except you are in a lot higher deer density area. Our deer here are still eating acorns I guess and with fewer deer it takes them longer to get them eat up. I'd like to transport a few of your deer to Adair County also, I think it's a good problem to have too many does because I love to hunt them and I wish I had a target rich enviroment with the ole bow.


Dec 9, 2001
Turnips need a few real heavy frosts on them to make the tops sweeter. When I had them out the deer wouldn't touch them til January and then they ate them to the ground. They are bitter tasting until it gets real cold and stays that way awhile. Not sure how it works but it has to be real cold to bring the sugar up and get rid of the bitterness or something to that effect. Anyway, wait til January and see what happens.


KY Swamp Beagler

12 pointer
Feb 20, 2011
the swamps of western KY
I am no food plot expert. I was watching one of Dr. Grant Wood's segments on Growing Deer Tv on youtube awhile back. As someone already stated it takes a few years for deer to get used to a food plot planted in something they don't regularly have access to. Case in point, Dr. Woods has a 1500 acre farm called the Proving Ground in the Missouri Ozarks. He has a few milo food plots that he said it took the deer some time to discover they liked. He said milo is totally new food for his deer as there was no milo planted for counties around his farm.


10 pointer
Nov 3, 2011
Western Ky
I seen the same post in archery talk about deer not eating their turnips either. I sure like to have some love them things with a little salt Hust saying.


12 pointer
Feb 2, 2004
Marion Ky. Crittenden county
Everyone always says that it takes a hard frost, the deer on our place don't seem to mind them before the frosts. They will start hitting them in mid Oct. and by the first week of gun season they look like you mowed the tops off. For the last several weeks I have been hunting the plots and taking some does off them. It is funny to watch them eat them, they pull one up by the root and eat the entire plant. This was a bumper crop this year, some of them are almost the size of cantaloupes. We had some smaller/new plots that didn't produce as big of plants or turnips, they were the size of golf balls, but you can't hardly tell there were any at all, they cleaned them up already. We started planting them in 2007 and they ate them from the first time. Guess we are just lucky. And if you want to come and get some of these turnip eating does, come on, I wish we could get rid of some.


8 pointer
Oct 7, 2003
Ky, USA.
Late... Season... let us know what your plot looks like the last week of season when your sitting in your blind with the bow! If that doesn't work wait until Feb or Mar and walk your plot looking for sheds.


Mar 3, 2010
The Deer, on my property, seem to be drawn to wild honeysuckle, acorns, and a few grasses. I place fertilizer, on the Honeysuckle late winter, to encourage growth. Got a spot where I might try planting something else to see what happens.


8 pointer
Dec 10, 2001
Hardin Co., Ky.
The deer have been devouring my turnip patch. Had a buck come into the patch in October & was eating them like he couldn't get enough of them. Leaves are nipped off & turnips are laying on top of the ground. Of course I poured the fertilize & lime to it (per the soil test)also which probably helped as comparing to the plots that we didn't use as much, the deer are not using.


6 pointer
Dec 1, 2011
Western Ky
maybe they just prefer the oats. until that is gone they dont have a reason to eat the turnips. maybe turnips are more of a last resort thing.

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