6 Best Deer Food Plots For All Seasons
Most hunters understand the importance of food plots in attracting and keeping deer in their shooting grounds. Moreover, a recent study done by a whitetail research center revealed that the average deer spends most of its life within a quarter-mile of its favorite food source, simply to emphasize the point. A deer's existence depends on its food, in other words.
Improving the food supplies in your hunting region is one method to significantly improve your hunting. In this article, I'm going to talk about the 6 best deer food plots for all seasons.
Best Food Plots for the Fall and Winter
As the hunting season winds down and the cold weather sets in, deer require a high-energy, high carbohydrate food source. Brassicas, corn, and wheat are without a doubt the crops that deer prefer.
Brassicas are a genus of plants containing many cultivars that deer love such as turnips, radishes, kale, chicory, and canola. They are cold-resistant and attract deer more effectively once the cold converts their starch to sugars, making them more appetizing. Food plots grown in these crops have been reported to generate up to 10 tons of fodder per acre, with crude protein highly.
Even though it is slightly less drought-resistant than other viable options, corn can be a suitable winter food plot. Corn, while having a lower protein level than Brassicas, goes through a development stage where it is highly sweet and delicious to deer. In addition, corn is planted in rows and is an efficient plant to grow with a high rate of success per seed. Cornrows are tall enough to provide cover which makes the deer feel comfortable while eating.
Wheat is a great feed for white-tailed deer in the cooler months. Wheat that is healthy, green, and growing has more than 20% crude protein and is highly digestible with less than 25% acid detergent fiber. Wheat is continuously eaten by deer from the time it is sown in late summer/early fall until the end of winter, despite the availability of other forages. Wheat is cold-hardy, grows in a wide range of soil types, and is tolerant of relatively dry conditions. It’s easy to plant. The germination rate is high – rarely below 80 percent – and seedling vigor is strong, all of which help make wheat a high-quality plant.
Best Food Plots for the Spring and Summer
Warm-season food plots are arguably the most common and important for the sake of preparing for hunting season. Typically, clovers, soybeans, and sunflowers tend to be planted during the warm season to provide the nutrition deer need for the young ones to grow healthily, females to produce milk, and males to grow strong antlers.
During the summer clover grows rapidly and is utilized most heavily by the deer. It comes back quickly after being cut, ensuring that the deer have a constant source of luscious food. Clover is also strong in protein, which is exactly what bucks need in the summer to grow antlers and does need to produce lots of high-quality milk for their fawns. Once planted, it frequently reseeds itself and will maintain a crop for years to come.
Soybeans are a near-ideal food for deer. Planted later in the spring, deer can eat soybeans throughout the summer and bond with the land, creating trails and relying on the food and water sources available in the area. Soybeans are a simple crop to grow as they are easy to maintain in a variety of soil types and can be planted separately or in combination with other crops.
Sunflower plants are very tasty to deer and offer an excellent source of nutrition when available. They are something that deer rarely get in the wild. Deer will begin to use sunflower food plots as soon as they come out of the ground. It's the perfect early season food plot to coincide with the early parts of deer season in many counties in the Carolinas. Sunflower fields need to be generously sized, and they need to be rotated regularly to maintain healthy soil.
There's no such thing as one perfect crop for all your food plot needs. The deer change and the plants themselves change with the seasons making certain crops better during the summer than during the winter and vice versa. You can mix crops to maximize resource utilization. For example, you plant soybeans in the spring and then come back in mid-September and use a no-till drill to interseed a mixture of winter wheat and brassicas. Your goal should be to design a food program that addresses both times frames equally well, make for the best all seasons food plots for deer.
See more deer food nutrition: Deer Food: The Thing That Makes Your Hunting Effective