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How to Create a Deer Hunting Food Plot

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How to Create a Food Plot For Deer Hunting - A Summary

Food plots can be a small garden-size plot created with garden tools, a 1/4 acre plot created with the help an ATV, or several or many acres created with the help of tractor and implements. Many will opt for the ATV route since many hunters already have an ATV and a 1/4 acre plot can be big enough to be effective. Ideally, you will want to have the soil tested and add lime and fertilizer as needed - without the soil test you are working in the dark. To find a university extension office that will do an inexpensive soil test for you, search for Soil Test Your-State on the internet. For example, Iowa soil test providers are shown by searching for soil test iowa. See my page on Food Plots, Sol Tests, & Fertilizers for some tips, calculators, and info on how to obtain a soil test and add the required fertilizers & lime in proper amounts. Nearly all hunters kill off existing vegetation with a weed killer product that contains glyphosate (RoundUp). A lot of money can be saved by buying the weed killer at an agricultural supply store rather than a retail store (8 times as costly). Then the ground is tilled or disked and possibly treated again with weed killer. Then it is planted and covered or packed down with either your ATV tires, a compactor, a tractor implement, or a drag. The articles below can provide a lot of guidance as to what the best seed mixes are, but most will agree that clover is a good component of your mix. Of the food plot mixes commercially available, Antler King Trophy Clover has always been a good mix for others and myself, although a bit pricey.

Clover alone, may not be enough to draw in late season deer. A popular choice for a fall plot is a mixture of oats and clover. The oats, an annual, will provide food into the late fall, and the clover will come back strong in the next spring. It is noted, however, that the oats will die out as soon as a hard killing frost hits. For far north climates, winter rye (cereal rye, not annual ryegrass) or winter wheat is a good choice for late fall hunting as it will stay green even under the snow.

If you are in heavy clay, as I unfortunately am in, you will find that even an ATV will not be able to adequately till up the soil. A nice alternative is a farming tractor, but this is not always possible where access is lacking. You may want to start with some smaller manageable plots and bring in a garden tiller with your ATV and trailer. Read the article on my Winter Rye Food Plot in Clay to see how I managed to create a small, but top-quality, food plot in my stubborn clay soil.

In summary, it would be best to perhaps provide a mix of plots: Clover for early spring deer the following season, broad leafed plants like turnip and rape (common to many mixes), and some late season crops like oats (as far north as Illinois) or winter rye or winter wheat. A local farmer in my area raises winter rye for use as straw bedding - his fields always have deer!

Deer Hunting

7 Steps For Planting a Deer Hunting Food Plot - This article describes the process of growing a food plot in 7 well-written steps. Starting a Food Plot - Video showing steps in killing existing growth. Uses 8 oz glysophate (Roundup-like product) per 4 gallons water with a little ammonium sulphate to enhance weed killing. Food Plots and Wildlife Management - A wide variety of opinions on food plots and wildlife management.
Creating Food Plot Trails - This video shows how ATV trails are used as food plots. They also discuss general deer habitat improvement. Very good video! Tips for Creating Small Food Plots - A bunch of deer hunters discuss creation of small food plots. They discuss no till food plots as well. Winter Rye - The Poor Man's Foodplot - Describes how you can cheaply plant a food plot of winter rye for your late fall hunting.
Top Ten Food Plots - This page has a summary of what they say are the top 10 food plots for northern areas and also for southern areas. Great resource! Food Plots Up North - Great info for hunters planting food plots in MN, WI, and other northern states.

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Hope this page helps you create a successful deer hunting food plot!


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