With spring food plot season pretty much upon us, I thought I’d start featuring a series of short and to the point “food plot tip” articles on the blog. I intend to pull most of these tips from various books, magazines and resources featuring expert strategies and opinions of food plotting and then add my own 2 cents!
That being said, today’s tip comes from “Quality Food Plots”, which is in my opinion the most comprehensive and helpful book devoted just to food plots for whitetail deer.
Food Plot Tip of the Day – Producing Food Plots That Maximize Body Growth and Fawn Recruitment
“Most food plot programs are designed with the intent of enhancing antler size, body growth and fawn recruitment. If this is the objective, you must have an integrated, year-round food plot program incorporating both cool-season and warm-season forages. Care should be taken to provide a variety of high-quality forages that peak in production and attractiveness during different seasons.” – Quality Food Plots
The key here is that if you want to produce healthier deer that can reach their full potential, you’ll need to provide year-round forage. With a strategic eye on this goal, you can easily set a food plot plan in place that can achieve this objective. Make sure you have different food sources that can both thrive AND be attractive and nutritious to deer throughout the various seasons. Reference a manual such as “Quality Food Plots” or various online resources to better understand when certain forages can grow and when they are most palatable to deer. Soy Beans for example can start growing in the late spring, and can almost immediately start providing great protein for your deer herd. The beans will remain a terrific food source til late summer/early fall when those beans will turn – and the deer will move to a different food source. This is one of those gaps that you’ll need to plan for, and have a second food source available such as a clover for the deer to move on to. Later in the winter, with those beans still standing, deer can return to them for a great late season snack.
Develop a calendar and map out when each of your food sources should become available, and when each should be preferred by deer. With this clearly laid out, it should help you identify weak spots that need some help and you can then plan to provide a future food plot to shore up that weakness! If you really want to grow larger and healthier deer you can’t just plant an attractive food source to hunt over in the fall. Keep the year round needs of a whitetail in mind and you’ll be well on your way to producing a food plot program that can truly make a difference!
For more great food plot information, I’d highly recommend picking up a copy of Quality Food Plots from the Quality Deer Management Association. You’ll also find some very helpful tips in the online versions of Whitetail Institute’s “Whitetail News” magazine, available here.