“Ice Cream” Foods Are Ticket to Bowhunting Bucks

Natural food sources are crucial during the early season. Set your stands within 30 yards of the best sources to get the optimal show with your crossbow.

Texas Fish and Game Hunting Editor Lou Marullo (and lifelong bowhunting enthusiast) believes hunters should focus on “ice cream” for deer in the coming archery-only season.

Well, sort of.

In Texas, most hunting is done over corn feeders are at least corn sprinkled on a trail or sender. On public land this is not legal and the fact is relying solely on corn during the archery-only season is a big mistake.

You should be looking for the “ice cream” foods.

“Ice cream foods are the sources the foods wildlife managers say that deer will eat before anything else. It’s not just a standard, it’s the top food. Talking to some of the guys who hunt public land where baiting is legal, it’s evident that honeysuckle is one such food for whitetails.”

Indeed, in the archery season, I have focused heavily on honeysuckle in the areas I hunted for years in Newton County and occasionally find it in fair concentrations early in the gun season if cold fronts are few and the deer have not wiped it out yet.

Another excellent source for deer is black gum, which Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials rank as “excellent” for deer and other game. It tends to grow along the edges of hardwood bottomlands in a variety of areas in the state, especially the eastern third.

Yaupon (the bush that produces the pretty little red berries) is considered a nuisance plant by many landowners but the bushes grow closely together and create dense thickets. Deer however will eat yaupon with great fervor in certain areas. Yaupon thickets are decent places to hunt. If you can find yaupon on the edge of a field, you will see deer feeding on it fairly frequently. It’s something that is easy to key on for hunters and is more readily identifiable than many other plants in the field.

Bowhunting is a great challenge but looking for these foods can help you score in the early season.

Chester Moore, Jr.


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