Use what they can't get. I have several acres of corn and so do my neighbors, so even if I took all my corn off they can still find it in ample supply. They will however, still eat corn bait if they pass it. I use molasses in my corn to draw their sweet tooth, but I have never gone wrong with cut apples hanging in the apple trees. I keep them in the apple trees so it seem real enough to them. I also mix a paste of apple butter, peanut butter, and oats. I put oats in it to keep it from freezing solid when I put it on stumps.
We use apples also the trick we found was to put out only 3-4 apples each morning ,late in the day apples encouraged them to come at night and so did to many apples so we started just putting a few out every morning this gave us the best results.
Winter is tough on whitetails, that is an accepted fact.
You can help the quality of your herd by providing winter plots - that are not necessarily designed as kill plots.
Having what I call green plots - that the deer can browse in when most of the other food is gone, can greatly benefit the deer herd when they need it most.
Come December - at least in our area of the south - most of the mast is gone, all of the crops were long harvested and this green browse can really make the difference for...