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.

At both food plots, the vegetation is a lot thicker and higher in the closed off area. So that tells me that the deer are tearing up the plots. So small food plots can grow, even though it may appear that they are not. They do grow, but I am not sure how well these small plots are supplementing the deer diet. I don’t think they are producing enough food for the deer in the area. I think there are simply too many deer eating on the small plots. This, even though it’s early in the season.

I suspect when winter rolls around and when all the native vegetation is gone my food plots will be gone as well. I will never do small food plots again, unless I do many of them. My personal recommendation would be to do larger food plots of at least 2 acres or more.

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