Food Plots: What You Need to Know

These two words can mean different things to different people.  When I hear “food plots”  my mind goes directly to whitetail.  While in some parts of the country, food plots are not allowed, much of the Southeastern United States allows for some form of planting vegetation with the hopes of attracting game animals – typically whitetail or turkeys.

The idea of food plots is not new.  I recently talked to an old timer at a local public range who told me he used to have a side hustle going back nearly 40 years planting food plots for deer.  This gentleman said he used to have a pretty extensive client list he would plant clover and chicory plots for. In years past you were limited to what seeds your local CO-OP had in stock. We now have anything under the sun easily accessible via the internet and quick shipping.

I do not claim to be a farmer, however I have been planting food plots for whitetail in some shape or form for the past 10 years.  Here are a few things that I have learned over the years:

  • Food plots are not a magic wand that guarantees success
  • The deer in your area may be attracted to different food sources than deer a county or two away (drives me nuts sometimes)
  • Plant a variety of food sources – early season, late season, annuals, perennials, etc.
  • Fancy varieties may sound good, but it is hard to go wrong with the basics – corn, soybeans, peas, clover, and chicory
  • Make sure to read all labels – some swanky seed blends will try to trick you into planting junk, filler seeds that will grow and look pretty and green….but have no benefit to the deer
  • Think about maybe using a tall plant as a screen in certain areas to help the deer feel safe and also hide your movement from the deer
  • Generally speaking, wait to plant until the ground is at least 55 degrees. If in doubt go talk to a local farmer or ask you local CO-OP

At the end of the day you will need to do some experimenting of your own and see what YOUR DEER prefer. I have had people swear to me up and down that their deer absolutely LOVE turnips – I have tried several different varieties of turnips and my TN deer have always turned up their nose at them.  I have had some deer go absolutely crazy for brassicas in some years, then other years not pay them any attention.

If allowed in your area, I encourage you to try a food plot and have fun with it.  Experiment with different seeds and varieties and see if you can find the magic combination in your area that brings in the deer.  I enjoy the process of tilling up some dirt, putting out the seeds, and seeing everything that I planted grow.  If you are successful in harvesting a deer in your food plots that is the cherry on top!

The following is a list of everything I planted this Spring:

Tecomate Blockade

Evolved Harvest Chicory Pro

Boss Buck Fatal Funnel

Evolved Harvest Mean Bean Pro

Evolved Harvest Winter Pz

Domain Outdoor Incognito

Soybeans and corn I purchased through the NWTF seed program

Good luck to you if you are planting food plots!

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