Food Plot Planting Strategies
Food Plot Strategies – Q & A
By Rans Thomas
The Wildlife & Land Enhancement Company
Thomas Resources W&LE Inc.
As hunters we hear about the importance of providing high quality nutrition to deer herds to maximize both antler development and body size. No matter if you hunt 20 acres or 2,000 acres there are strategies you can implement to improve your current food plots. As a fellow bow hunter I know the importance of being even more strategic with the type and placement of our food plots to maximize that opportunity to get a shot on a mature animal. I have put together some of the more frequent questions and answers that I hope will help you obtain better results with your current food plots.
How big does your food plot need to be in relation to the total amount of property you hunt?
To have any positive impact on your herd with food plots a minimum of 1% of the property must be devoted to HIGH QUALITY & YEAR ROUND (HQYR) food plots, but I prefer much more for serious management. To determine the acreage of food plot for a property I determine the ratio of food plot acreage to total property acreage needed ( i.e., 1 Acre of food plot per X Acres of property or the percentage of the total property acreage to be planted in food plots). There are many variables to consider for each property to determine the amount of food plot acreage, but some basic principals apply to all tracts. For a very intensive Trophy Management Program we push for 6% to 10% of the property to be planted in HQYR food plot and/or a whitetail friendly agricultural crop such as alfalfa, soybeans, wheat, peanuts or corn. Because agricultural crops other than alfalfa are not equal in nutritional value for whitetails to the forage plants I use and recommend for food plots and because farm crops are harvested as soon as they mature, I only give a farm crop acre half the value of a food plot acre in my formula (i.e., 1 acre of farm fields on a property would count as a ½ acre in my ratio of food plot to land size needed for each project).
Again, when I say food plot I don’t mean a stand of wheat and winter rye thrown out in the fall with some 10-10-10 and then forgotten about after hunting season. I’m referring to very high energy cool season crops like Tecomate’s Max Attract 50/50™, high protein summer crops like Tecomate’s Lablab and ebony pea, or high quality perennial crops (grows year round) like white clovers, Puna chicory, or Bar alfalfa in Tecomate’s Monster Mix™ and Alfa Extreme™.
- 1000 Acre property
- 30 Acre farm field in summer soybeans & winter wheat on the property = 15 Acres of needed forage
- We are shooting for 6% of the property in high quality planted forage = 60 Acres or 1 Acre of High Quality Food Plot (HQFP) for every 16.6 Acres of land.
- With the 15 acres of forage provided by the farm field in our food plot formula we need to plant 45 Acres of High Quality Year Round Food Plot (HQYR) food plot to reach our goal
What is the difference between a “hunting strategy” vs. “attracting strategy” for a food plot?
Both share one major feature and that is ATTRACTION! A “hunting” plot is one that you want to place a stand over and literally hunt the field. An “attraction” plot is one that you don’t hunt over but you hunt nearby on trails the deer are using to get to the field or somewhere between multiple attraction plots, which is my favorite location. For either purpose I prefer these plots to be relatively smaller at ½ – 2 Acres and located near bedding areas or major travel corridors.
I know a little secret that I’m now going to share with you bow hunters that hunt over or around small attraction plots. As you have probably noticed these plots are often small in size and they tend to get really banged up by deer browse before the peak of rut when you really want to be hunting these plots. Also, the key is ATTRACTION! I know how to remedy the browse problem and make that plot the BEST thing going in the area! It’s the Plot D-Fence System™ (PDFS). I developed the PDFS to manage deer browse on food plots. This is not a deterrent like electric fence or odor strips but is total physical exclusion. Plant your fall attraction crop and then install the PDFS to fence it in. You leave the fence down for a few weeks and allow the plot to establish, thicken, and peak in nutrients. A few days before you are ready to hunt the field you literally roll up the fence by folding it in half vertically lifting the bottom to the top so deer can enter. Then my friend you will be hunting over the most attractive food plot possible, even more so than your neighbors who may be planting the same crops.
Originally posted 2009-12-04 20:40:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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