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End of Summer Food Plot? (feature article)

August 2009 Feature Article:

End of Summer Food Plot?

When most people think of planting food plots, they envision planting them during the months of May or June, and then watching their crops grow throughout the spring and summer months. Many don't view the dog days of summer as a time to be planting food plots. Most deer hunters plant the usual varieties of plants to give their local deer the extra nutrients to encourage healthy body weights and antler growth. Unfortunately, most of the hunters really aren't providing their local deer the well rounded, yearly feed that they should be providing. Read more...

Please use this area to post comments or questions about this feature article.

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 08/05/2009
Posts: 1
End of Summer Food Plot? (feature article)

I live in Northeastern PA and Fall usually comes early with the first frost by the end of September. I enjoy planting a variety of food plots as described in your article. I have been planting food plots for 5 years now on my family's farm. 5 years ago we sold our herd of 200 dairy cattle and no longer work our fields. Naturally the fields have grown up with several weeds and warm season grasses. The land is made up of only 15% wooded areas with the rest open fields.

The land held several deer when it was under work due to the several different types of food sources available. I was concerned that deer would move to different locations when we stopped working the fields so I looked into and read about planting food plots. I plant a total of about 5 acres of a variety of food sources. I make sure that I have plots that contain food sources the deer can eat year round. Thus far my strategy has paid off. Each of the past two years I have taken two nice 8 point bucks, the later scoring much higher. There is a total of about 5 people who hunt our land and each one of us has dedicated ourselves to passing up younger buck and taking atleast one doe per license. Deer love to use the grown up fields for cover and bedding. My ultimate goal is to create a landscape that makes the deer feel at home.

I plant several plots next to wooded areas on the edges of large fields. I have witnessed several deer using the tall fields and wooded areas as travel corradores to the plots. I keep 15-20 ft of the field/woods border bush hogged as I have found the deer tend to feel safe when they can enter the fields and look both ways for danger, kind of like looking both ways for cars. I am currently attempting to plant an acre of assorted pine trees to create the ultimate bedding area for deer. It is located in the middle of the property next to a 3 acre wooded lot.

I use equipment that we kept from our farm to plant the food plots. It makes the job much easier when having the right tools. I am lucky in that we have several farm supply stores where fertilizer, lime, and herbicide is readily available. I recently used a skidsteer with a steel toothed bucket to create a food plot in the center of a wooded area that was inhabited mainly by briars, pricker bushes, and several other unwanted plants. I am anxious to see how the deer react to and use this plot this fall. I used Whitetail Institute's Secret Spot XL to plant this specific area. I am slowly getting my wife into hunting and feel this will be the perfect spot to set up a two person ladder stand. Hopefully we will be able to see many deer moving through this area as it located next to a heavily used bedding area.

I feel to many hunters/outdoor enthusiasts believe that they have to plant large multiple acre food plots to be successful. I have found that planting small 1/4 to 1/2 acre pieces is the best in my situation. If a person only has a few acres to work with they can plant small plots and reap the benefits. Following the planting instructions on the package labels is crucial to grow a plot that will feed many deer and last for an extended time. If you take the time to read what works and what doesn't you'll be much happier with your efforts in the end.

Anyone out there have any interesting food plot succes/stories/advice/comments/questions/etc.?

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Joined: 11/26/2009
Posts: 6
food plots

yeah i am goin to build a food plot next year and im wantin to plant some corn,turnips,oats,wheat,clover and whatever else to feed them all year and what they need all year. when should i plant these seeds and how do i test the ph level..thanks

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