There is nothing in the world that I love more than whitetail hunting. There is something about it that I really enjoy, and it’s not all about hunting season. In fact, I get just as much fun getting ready for deer season. I don’t own a huge tract of land, although I am lucky enough to have 134 acres on which I’ve been able to implement my very own whitetail deer management program. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons over the years about deer behavior, what deer eat, and what they need.
In the end, for those landowners and hunters that are serious about managing deer populations, we should want to create the best whitetail habitat. For this is where quality hunting opportunities are literally born. The real secret that I’ve determined when looking at properties where individuals want to improve the deer herd is finding and enhancing the most limited habitat element. It’s easy to concentrate on one single facet of habitat and provide a whole lot of one thing, but they need it all! Continue reading Whitetail Hunting Is Not Just Food Plots
Question: When using a drill to put in whitetail food plots, how do you plant the seeds in rows without going over the same row that you’ve already planted? I’ve broadcasted seeds before and I would broadcast the appropriate pounds of seeds per acre until the plot is finished, but how do you do that with a drill?
Answer: It will take a little practice using a seed drill, but using your drill will become very easy over time and really help you get your food plots in fast. First, planting seeds in tilled ground is much easier to see where you’ve been and probably the best way to learn. Start out by making the first pass along the outside edge of the plot. Once you’re at the end, just raise the drill, make a sharp turn and start planting again right beside the first pass, you should be able to see where the last “row” is. Just get it as close as you can without overlapping or leaving a gap of unseeded ground.
Most drills are equipped with a seed metering system, which controls the seed drop rate. Once you determine what seed you’re planting and how many pounds per acre, look either on the drill or owners manual for which gear or gearbox setting needed to achieve that rate with that particular seed. Using a drill involves a learning curve, but it’s well worth the trouble for a good food plot that provides valuable supplemental food. Good luck with your plot and your deer management.
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.
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