Biologists commonly state that a well-maintained acre of clover will feed up to six deer. That is a safe yardstick when determining the number of acres to plant in summer foods. If you think your hunting property supports roughly 70 deer you need at least 12 acres of summer food plots. If you are the only one in the neighborhood providing lush summer food, you will likely attract a number of your neighbor’s deer, as well. In that case, you need to increase the number of acres you must plant to assure that there is enough to go around.
Keep the food plots small and spread them around the property so that they are within a short walk of every deer on the place. If you decide you need to plant a total of six acres, it is far better to plant six good one-acre plots than three good two-acre plots. By spreading out the summer food you make it more accessible and you also spread out your hunting pressure when you hunt over these plots come fall.
Maintaining the Plot
It is far better to plant the minimum number of well-fertilized, properly limed clover plots than to plant twice as much without the same care. In other words, you will be rewarded for following the directions. Finally, is important to mow your clover plots at least once per summer, twice is better. Ideally, you will mow when the plants start to become mature so that the deer can then benefit from the tender, more palatable new growth.
Having great summer food sources will do more than help you produce high quality deer, it will also provide you with a fun place to spend evenings during the summer watching the bucks putting on the feedbag as they grow their big antlers and watching the does as they refuel to feed their fast-growing fawns.
In the end, we do this as much because we love to see as we do for the enjoyment of hunting them. Nothing will improve your chances of doing both more than providing a sufficient amount of high quality summer food.