Deer food habits are highly dynamic, regional, and seasonal. They often change within a deer season and may change literally overnight. Being able to predict a deer’s “destination” is an important hunting strategy. Highly preferred foods are a destination. Identifying highly preferred food before it actually is being used is the key to applying this strategy. In addition, being able to recognize that deer have switched to a new food source as quickly as possible after the change has occurred will also help the hunter stay abreast with what the deer are doing.
Hunting pressure can and will affect when a deer uses these food resources. In some cases hunting pressure can be predicted; is some cases it will be a surprise.
We recommend that actual specimens of tree leaves, and the fruit of preferred deer food (acorns, fruit, browse, etc.) be used to teach this section. Photographs and agricultural and dendrology textbooks can be used to supplement the actual specimens.