Why plant food plots?
Planting food plots is the single most effective way to attract, grow and keep deer on your property on a year round basis, if you have the food you’ll have the deer. We completed a 5 year radio-collar study on deer and food plots and found some astonishing results. We found that deer that have a relied upon year round food source (food plots) spent 95% of their time within 1/2 mile of that food source and most of that time was actually spent within 1/4 mile, thus proving the effectiveness and importance of planting food plots. This also means that whether you hunt on 40 acres or 4,000 if you can offer a year round, relied upon food source, you’ll hold more deer on your property. We recommend planting 5-10% of your property in food plots, as studies show that is the amount of food it will take to sustain your deer herd for an entire year, with average deer densities. If you have 40 acres…then roughly two-four acres should be planted…if you have 100 acres than 5-10 acres should be planted and so on. Now we realize, not everyone has the equipment or ability to plant that much food, so ANY food is better than no food. If all you can plant is a 1/4 of an acre in front of a tree stand, then absolutely plant it…your deer will thank you for it. You might consider planting a Spring food source in that plot (Red Zone, Trophy Clover, No Sweat) and then re-planting it in the late Summer with a Fall/Winter food source (Honey Hole, Slam Dunk or Lights Out) to keep your deer coming back all year long.
What to plant?
When planting food plots there is a lot to consider and one crucial component is planting food sources for Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. Although you may only hunt in the Fall, your deer herd needs to eat year round and there are certain food sources they will desire and need depending on the time of the year. Since deer need to consume different nutrients throughout the year we recommend planting 50% of your food plots in year round, long lasting perennials like our Trophy Clover Mix and Mini Max Clover Mix and 50% of your food plots in annual hunt plots (Fall and Winter forage) like Honey Hole, Slam Dunk, Fall/Winter/Spring, Lights Out, Red Zone and No Sweat. This program will offer your deer a year round food source, increase the amount of deer that stay on your property and provide them optimum nutrition. During the Spring and Summer months when bucks are growing antlers, fawns are nursing and does are producing milk deer crave and need high amounts of protein in their diets to maintain their health and to maximize body and antler growth. If a deer can consume a diet of at least 16% protein they can maximize their health, body, bone and antler development. Studies have shown that A 4.5 year old buck fed a 16% protein diet can grow antlers 15-25 inches larger (Boone and Crockett Score) than a 4.5 year old buck fed only a 6% protein diet. It’s science…if you can provide them the nutrition that they need, you can grow Bigger Bucks and Healthier Deer on your property. Therefore, you need to plant food plots high in protein during the Spring and Summer months and we offer three food plot mixes that are high in protein. Two perennial mixes; Trophy Clover Mix (30%+ protein) and Mini Max (20-30% protein) will last 3-6 years and one annual mix, Red Zone (30%+ protein) will provide this crucial Spring, Summer and Fall feed. As the weather turns colder deer will begin to focus their consumption on food sources that have a higher energy content so they can prepare for the breeding season and ultimately survive the winter. Fall Hunt Plots high in energy are not only vital to the health of your herd, but can offer great hunting opportunities in the Fall and Winter. Antler King® Food Plot Mixes such as Honey Hole (turnips and brassicas), Slam Dunk (radishes, peas and brassicas), Lights Out ( oats, turnips, brassicas), Fall/Winter/Spring (fall rye, winter peas) and No Sweat (oats, rye, brassica, clover) can offer your deer herd premium food for the Fall and Winter months. Turnips, radishes and brassica plants will turn sweet after the first hard frost and deer will seek these sweet, energy-filled food sources during the colder weather. Food plot mixes with oats, rye and peas will offer both energy and protein, vital for pre-rut and post-rut deer to sustain their weight and overall health heading into Winter.
How do I plant food plots?
A nice mix of Spring and Summer protein sources and Fall and Winter energy sources will provide deer the nutrition they need to survive and thrive and will keep more deer on your property on a year round basis. If you provide food, water and cover your deer will not have to leave your property.
If you don’t have equipment, don’t be deterred as we offer both perennial and annual mixes that will grow and thrive in a minimum or no till environment. As long as your pH is adequate (5.8-7.0) and the plots receive some rain and sun you can grow food plots virtually anywhere with a little bit of effort. Once you’ve chosen your plot location spray Roundup on the existing vegetation to eliminate competition when you plant your plot. Come back 7-10 days later and if you can, “rough-up” the soil with a steel garden rake for better seed to soil contact. Otherwise, you can broadcast one of our minimum/no till mixes into the dead or dying plants and as they continue to wilt they will act as a mulch for the newly spread seeds. Once it rains, this moisture will push the tiny seeds down to the soil and with a little sun your plot will begin to germinate. Mixes such as No Sweat, Mini Max and Honey Hole are great for minimum and no till situations and just need proper seed to soil contact, rain and sunshine to thrive and grow. The more you can do to create an optimum growing environment (lime, fertilize, till, etc) the more you can expect from your food plot.
To help you establish the most successful food plot program available we’ve created an easy to follow “7 Easy Steps to Planting Food Plots”, DVD, Video and Brochure that can be found on our website. You can check out the 15 minute video and brochure by following this link: Food Plots in 7 Easy Steps