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Oats Vs Rye For Deer: Which One’s Better?

Deer hunters are often curious as to what type of deer attractant they should use. Oats and Rye are at the top of their list of confusion. When asked people will say one is better without any explanation. But today we’ll give you all the explanations. 

So which one’s better between oats vs rye for deer? 

Oats can’t survive in the winter but winter rye can go on pretty well. However, oats are a favorite of deers. They prefer oats over rye. Also, you should be able to plant other smaller plants in between these oats and rye. 

This is just the TLDR of the differences between these two attractants. We’ve gone into further details in the article below. 

Interested in knowing the details? Just scroll down and read the whole article! 

Oats Vs Rye For Deer: Key Differences

We think it’s important to give a rundown of what we’ll be getting into first. We’ll basically point out all the key differences there are from the beginning. It’ll be easier for you to assess all the information this way. 

We’ve noted down the key differences in the table below-

Dies in the winterStays intact even in the cold winter
A favorite for the deersDeers like rye as well. But not more than they like oats
You can plant other small herbs and plants as foods for other animalsYou can plant other plants and herbs in rye fields as well

Oats Vs Rye For Deer: Detailed Differences

If you’ve already seen the key differences, you must already have some idea. We’ll be getting into the details of what we mentioned before. So, in case there was something you didn’t understand, you should get it now. 

We’ve made different sections for different topics below. You’ll find it much easier for you to understand everything. Without any further ado, let’s get right into it- 

Season Friendly

The season is very important when it comes to growing any type of plant. The same type of rule applies to growing oats and rye as well. 

Both of these plants grow pretty much all throughout the year. But plants don’t really do well in the cold. They start dying early in the late fall when the snow starts falling. Unless they’re hybrid plants made to withstand the winter, that’s a different story. Those plants are genetically modified to survive in the cold. 

The sad part is, oats can’t survive in the cold. They start to die as early as in the late fall. That’s when the leaves start turning brown and maple leaves start turning red. 

Just like them, oats start turning brown. At the end of fall, they start dying and by winter, they’ll completely brown. Now, you can’t attract any deer with dead oats. 

So, that kicks oats out of the option. But wait! You might still be able to plant oats though. Oats are a problem in the northern part of the US, that is the snow. This term is called winter kill. But, it’s different if you live more in the south where winters are not that cold. 

Oats die at around 10℉ which is -12℃. But older and stronger oat plants can live until 6℉ which is -17℃. 

So, if you live somewhere where it doesn’t go as low as 10℉, only then plant oats. Otherwise, it’s going to be a complete waste to plant oats. 

Let’s talk about Rye now. Rye is usually like oats, it’ll die in the extreme cold. But, there’s a modified version of rye known as winter rye. If you plant those, you’re good to go in the winter. They’re specifically made to survive the snow. 

But, everything has a limit. Just because they’re made to survive the snow doesn’t mean they’ll survive forever. Winter rye can survive up to -40℉ which is also -40℃. 

You should definitely use winter rye if you live in the US. It never goes that low in the winter so you have nothing to worry about. 

So basically, if you live in the northern region, plant winter rye. But, if you live in the south where it’s not that cold, you can plant both. Or whichever you like. 

Favorite for deers

Favoritism for deers is an important thing to note about. Deers will go after the food they like most. 

Deer hunters usually like to use oats, rye, and wheat to attract deers. And these plants actually do the trick and work like a charm. They use whichever best suits their landscape. There are a lot of things at play when we’re talking about planting plants. Things like soil type and everything. 

Now, research suggests that deers like to eat oats over anything. They like rye the second and wheat the last. 

When eating wheat deers can get very picky though. If your wheat has what most farmers like to call beards, they won’t eat them. They’ll only eat the ones that don’t have those beards. But, we’re not talking about wheat in this article. We’ll cover this about wheat in some other article. 

If your land is suitable for growing oats, you should grow oats. They attract deers more than anything. Rye is second on the list which makes it pretty good too. But they prefer oats more. 


Can you guess what we mean when we say versatility for plants? If your guess is other plants then you’re completely right. 

A lot of farmers usually grow other smaller plants in the middle of the field. They do this to fill out the gaps in the fields. And sometimes to provide food for other animals. 

Animals like birds and squirrels can get food from those small plants. And if the farmers or hunters are in the mood for hunting them, they can. 

Although they’ll have to check if it’s allowed by the state or not. Different states have different rules regarding hunting all types of birds and animals. 

If you want to hunt them, you better check the rules first. Or else you might end up with a record on your name. 

Which One’s Better?

We actually don’t have any winners. Normally we would say that go with oats since this is what deers like. But, due to the cold winter, we can’t really say that. 

You should definitely plant oats if you live in the South. But if you live in the North, go with winter rye. They serve you well throughout the winter. 

Whichever corn you use, try using the best deer attractant that mixes well with corn. It’ll boost the possibility of you getting deers. 


Can I plant rye and oats together?

Yes you can. A lot of hunters do mixed farming. That way they’re able to attract a wider variety of deers. 

How fast do oats grow to be feedable? 

You’ll most likely be able to attract deers after 10-14 days of oats plantation. They germinate quickly which attracts deer just as fast. 

What ryegrass do deers prefer most?

There’s a breed of ryegrass called Annual Ryegrass. Deers prefer that the most. Other than that you can use winter rye in the winter. 


This is all there’s to know about oats vs rye for deer. You should be able to decide on your own which one you’ll need more. 

Let us know which one you planted and why in the comments. 

Good Luck!

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