If you’ve ever sat in your tree stand for days on end without seeing or hearing a deer on your hunting property, there’s no question that you were wondering why. When all other indicators say you should have deer but you don’t, you’ve only got one problem: one of your neighbors has food plots on their land and you don’t. Food plots attract deer by offering them the things they want most: good food and a chance to mate thanks to proximity to other deer. Food plots are simply irresistible.
Picking Your Plot
To decide what part or parts of your hunting property you want to use as food plots, there are a few things you want to remember. Try to keep your plots in the interior of your property. You want to pull deer in and keep them in, not encourage them to leave when they’re done eating. Try to keep the plots away from roads. Food plots near roads are dangerous to deer and drivers alike. Also try to find areas that will involve minimal removal of large trees and rocks; removing these is expensive and time consuming.
When you pick your plot, you need to be certain that it is hospitable to the foods you want to grow. Check the plot for sandy or clay soil; these can both put a damper on your plans. Check the soil’s pH levels to understand what the soil needs to grow the food you want to plant. Consider the plot’s elevation and slope. Lower land is more fertile than higher land. Sloped land is more likely to have erosion issues than flat land. Soil fertility and soil erosion can make it more expensive and more difficult to get a good food plot started.
Use Nutrition to Your Advantage
Like all living things, deer have seasonal nutrition needs. In summer, they need more protein for the does to produce milk and for the bucks to produce their massive antlers. In the winter, they need high-energy, high-carbohydrate foods to ensure they’ll survive the freezing cold. Using your knowledge of deer’s nutritional needs, you can encourage deer to frequent your hunting property by offering them the food their bodies crave.
Foods that flourish during summer and offer great protein are often legumes. Try planting clover, alfalfa, peas, or soybeans for ideal summertime deer feed. If your plot is in an area with particularly stubborn weeds, you may do well to shell out the extra money for Round-Up resistant soybeans. For winter food, corn is, by far, the best deer magnet. However, deer will also gladly gobble up sorghum, winter wheat, triticale, and winter rye.
Serious hunters benefit greatly from offering needed food to the deer they hunt. By allowing deer access to the best possible nutrition, you let them grow to their full potential, which means you’ll bag your bucks at peak condition. Putting a little effort into creating a food plot will ensure you have a fantastic hunting property both now and for years to come.