Food Plots for Wildlife

There are several ways to provide additional forage for white-tailed deer and other wildlife on your property, but one of the best is through the use of food plots. Planting food plots is an great way to improve wildlife nutrition, attract wildlife and increase the carrying capacity (while they are growing) on your property. That being said, food plots should not be used in place of habitat management, but rather to supplement the quantity and quality of foods that naturally occur on a property.

Habitat improvement techniques are more important than food plots for deer, turkey and other game animals, yet many hunters overlook habitat enhancement because it is more labor intensive and time consuming. However, there is nothing better adapted to an area than native plants, and wildlife have developed to eat them, so management practices such as timber management, brush management, prescribed burning and diking should be implemented before food plots.

Planting Food Plots for Whitetail Deer, Turkey, Quail and Dove

As one might expect, food plot plantings will depend upon which wildlife species you want to attract, as well as the seasonal requirements of the plant species you decide to seed. Remember,  not all wildlife species benefit from all food plot plantings, but well thought out food plot mixtures do provide benefits to a variety of wildlife species.  Also, keep in mind that not all plant species can grow in harmony. In certain cases, taller plants can shade out trailing or low-growing species. Read More…

How to Plant Food Plots

Hunters and wildlife managers know that food plots are powerful attractants for both game and non-game species, especially white-tailed deer, upland birds and waterfowl, but sportsmen do not know how to plant a food plot correctly. Proper plot preparation is not always possible because sometimes access and food plot preparation and planting equipment is limited, but I can assure you that a spring or fall food plot will not reach it’s full supplemental-forage-providing potential for wildlife if it is not planted properly.

How to Plant Food Plots for Deer and Other Wildlife

Research has found that well-planned food plots offer significant, measurable benefits for whitetail deer. Other game animals respond readily to plots planted to appropriate forage, too. With this is mind, let’s take a step-by-step approach on how to plant food plots for whitetail deer and other wildlife. Before jumping ahead too much, the importance of selecting a good location for your food plot should not be understated. Look for fertile soil on level ground that is close to cover, ideally near areas that wildlife often frequent.

After identifying the food plot location, first collect and send off your soil samples for testing. Next, prepare the seedbed by plowing and/or disking the soil. After initial breaking, lime and fertilizer should be incorporated, as recommended by the soil test, into the soil at this time. Next, plant large seeds such as wheat, oats, and peas into the prepared seedbed, then lightly disk/drag seeds into the food plot, covering approximately 1 inch deep. Read More…