Whitetail Food Plot Basics

The critical nutritional times for deer are really spring and late summer-early fall. Deer seldom need supplemental foods at other times for basic survival. Yes, in some northern states, during prolonged severe winters, there are die-offs, but this is fairly rare. Deer have developed an ability to get by on reduced food in the winter. Supplemental feeds (corn, pelletized feed rations) can be used to feed deer and are sometimes misused in Mississippi to bait deer for harvest. Food plots can be used to attract deer for hunting, and this can be a valuable management tool for harvest of does. However, if you plan to actually supplement the nutrition of the deer, then food plantings should be available year round, with both cool and warm season plantings available on 1-2 percent of an area. Of course, pay special attention to the late summer-early fall and late winter-early spring periods, when the deer need supplemental plantings most.

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