Fall Food Plots?
By AHLA Certified© Deer Manager Erich D. Long
So you just got the lease of your life and I’m sure your mind is running in a thousand different directions regarding what you need to do to prepare for the upcoming season. You have tree stands or ground blinds that need ordered and placed, you have cameras that need put up, and then fall food plots to be planted…or do you?
You have enough on your plate with your new piece of paradise. Have you considered that you may not have to fool with fall food sources at all the first year? Let me explain. To produce forages that will produce tons of forage per acre and the protein or carbs that you envisioned when you planted that magic bean, it takes knowledge and, unfortunately, money to get it right. You have to ask yourself, is it the right thing to do until you have the time and money to do it?
My advice to you, depending upon the lease term, is to consider waiting until you learn what the property can do for you. First things first: learn the property by paying attention to travel routes and deer patterns. After that is more understandable to you, food plots may then be a consideration. Don’t shoot from the hip and place these forage areas randomly. Elements to consider include topography, soil conditions and pH levels, and more importantly, access in and out without spooking the deer you’re trying to harvest.
The next step is what to plant, a pretty important question as well. The answer depends on what you’re trying to accomplish on the property, or better yet, what the surrounding area is lacking. Remember, you’re trying to attract and hold deer on the property. Don’t plant corn if your lease is surrounded by corn, for example. If you have a lease for multiple years, start off with simple forages like winter wheat or buckwheat until you feel that you have a grasp on food plot placement and fertility. These seeds are inexpensive and extremely easy to plant. Then the following year you can plant the good stuff such as your brassica varieties. Turnips could be an option depending on location. The goal here is to simplify your time. If you start by planting a clover variety, you may be spending more time and money than necessary.
No one blames you for wanting to plant a food plot. They can be very effective in helping you hold and harvest the buck of your dreams. The aim of this article is to have you take a breath and consider the best option; don’t spend your time and money ineffectively. There is a lot to consider when it comes to the ever popular food plot and you owe it to yourself to do it correctly!
Good luck and congratulations on your lease. If you need help with any or all your management needs, don’t hesitate to call or visit my website.
Erich D. Long
AHLA Certified©Deer Manager