Good Whitetail Food Plot?


Question: I planted a food plot to improve my whitetail deer hunting, but I’m not sure what I’ve got growing. The seed was given to me in an unmarked bag. I was told it was for winter food plots, so I planted. It’s growing great, but not sure what I’ve got or if the deer will like it. What do you think?

Answer: Your food plot has got as much buckwheat as austrian winter peas. The tallest plant with the white flower on top is a buckwheat plant. Buckwheat is good deer food, but it is not frost tolerate so it will die at the first frost, but that could be a while in your area. The peas are very cold tolerate and work great in food plots. In fact, I’ve had a low of 25 degrees and the peas are still growing. Most of the time it has get around 10 degrees before they are “done” for the year.

As for pea pods, the deer relish the whole plant and most likely will keep them grazed down to where pod formation is unlikely. Ideally it would take around 50 days until pods form, but with less day length and cold temperatures that could take much longer and as mentioned the deer will be devoured them by then.

If you applied fertilizer prior to planting, then I would not add any now. I’ve noticed peas grow at a steady rate regardless of fertility. If no fertilizer was applied, then I would broadcast as soon as possible and right before a decent rain, to try to prevent damaging the newly planted seedlings.

Whitetail Hunting and Small Food Plots

Example of an exclosure in a small food plot

Food plots are commonly used to attract and supplemental whitetail diets. However, small food plots are not always the best for improving deer nutrition or whitetail hunting. I planted two small winter food plots this year for the first time. Both of these plots are about a 1/4 acre in size. I used a mixed seed variety from the local feed store.

First, I disked the areas to be seeded, then limed, and finally fertilized. Everything looked good, but I waited for a week before seeding and then dragging to cover the seed. We got a nice rain and everything starting coming up within a week’s time. That was about month ago, but here is the kicker. If I had not built an exclosure in the middle of the plots, then I would not have been able to tell if the deer were eating or not.

To build the food plot exclosure, I placed two “T” posts about 2 to 3 foot apart and wrapped the area with 5 foot high net-wire fence. I did this to keep whitetail deer out and to see if plots were either not growing or being consumed by the deer. Continue reading Whitetail Hunting and Small Food Plots