While the deer season in most states is very short, there are simple things that can be done every season to ensure a great hunt in the fall. In spring, one of the most common preparations for deer is a food plot on your hunting land. While the below guide is by no means exhaustive, we hope it will encourage you to learn more about sustainable food plots as an alternative to corn feeders.
When to Plant
While many of the more temperate areas of the United States can plant winter food plots, this guide primarily deals with the more popular spring food plot. These should be planted once there is little chance of any future freezes, which will kill or slow the growth of your food plot. In the south this could be as early as March, while some areas of the north may be better suited waiting until early May.
Choosing a Spot for a Food Plot
Obviously, you will want to choose a spot for your food plot that is in range and sight of a blind. Generally one can apply the same principles they would apply to placing a corn feeder – must be accessible easily for maintenance, and preferably in an area experiencing traffic by deer before planting.
What Should I Plant?
Spring (warm season) food plots, according to Timothy Fulbright, writer of “Food Plots for White Tailed Deer”, should supplement the local vegetation, providing alternatives to natural forages that will disappear or degrade in the heat of summer. Some good hardy warm-weather crops that should entice deer include sorghum, corn, and soybeans. While corn is by far the best attractor of late-season deer, this particular crop is susceptible to pre-season snacking on green stalks and leaves, which, left unrestricted, may result in the fledgling plants being unable to produce an ear. There is no limit to types of crops that can be planted, and many find large success with legumes and types of clover as well.
Because there is such a vast array of ideas on what to plant, generally we suggest checking either online or with locals to find what grows easily in the area or is being grown by others. Another easy method to consider is checking your local feed/hunting supply store to see if they carry any location-specific seed mixes.
Click here to see a great article on the benefits of food plots over feeders in this recent article by our partners at Field And Stream.
Click here for a step-by-step guide to planting a food plot using a unique and proven seed courtesy of our Tecomate partners.