If you enjoy hunting deer, you already know how important it is to have the kinds of food deer enjoy available. If you want to increase the deer herds on your property, establishing food plots is important to keep the deer coming back. Following a few tips will get you off to a great start.
Some basic facts
A food plot that is not managed well can cause more harm than good and decrease the potential for a good hunting experience. If your food plot draws in a lot of deer, other hunters may discover the area and take advantage of the increased deer population. Excessive hunting can lead to deer avoiding your area and finding other places to feed.
It is not uncommon to see a lot of doe, fawns, and immature bucks feeding in your plot due to their higher herd and human stress tolerances, but mature bucks are wise and will avoid highly hunted areas. It is best to keep your deer food plot from becoming public knowledge if possible.
Drawing in the deer
Your food plot area should be for feeding purposes only. Never place it in an area where you have a walk or drive-through because if deer pick up your scent they will avoid the area at all costs, no matter how substantial the food source is. The goal is to get deer consistently coming to your food plot by making it a place they feel secure.
The late afternoon feeding time is when you are more likely to see deer eating in your food plot. This daily routine feeding usually occurs an hour or two prior to nightfall. Deer tend to bed near their afternoon feeding source, so if you get deer coming to your plot in the late afternoon, it is a good chance they will be bedding close by.
Food variety is important
The best food sources for deer will include plants that supply crucial vitamins and minerals deer need. This is especially important for bucks to grow their horns. Deer enjoy white clover, soybeans, cowpeas, sunflowers, hemp, buckwheat, radishes, oats, and kale. It is best to check with your local agricultural store to determine which plants are easiest to grow in your area for the best outcome in your food plot.
Learning proper food plot management techniques can make a big difference in the number of deer you see near your hunting spot. When deer are provided with adequate food, they will return to the area. Growing the right vegetation can take some time initially, but once established it can be well worth the effort.