View Full Version : Food Plot Secrets
January 4, 2006, 04:23 PM
I am wanting to plant some small ( up to ½ acre) food plots for whitetail deer at my hunt club in south Georgia / north Florida. This is going to be my first time planting a food plot so I’m kind of ignorant as to what to plant and when to plant it. I want to plant something that will grow through spring / summer. and then replant if necessary for the fall / winter part of the year. I’m not too crazy about the premix “miracle deer growth formula” stuff you can buy online and at the department stores, I want something more natural per say like peas and beans. What have you guys used? What’s is your secret formula of seeds that keep them coming year round?
January 4, 2006, 05:02 PM
Most places in Texas, along in October or so, plant oats, rye or winter wheat. Oats are the easiest.
January 4, 2006, 07:13 PM
Turnip greens, about a pound per acre. Plant in the fall just before the dry spell is over but well before the first frost. Turnips are biannual and sometimes reseed themselves.
January 5, 2006, 12:32 PM
soy beans and black eyed peas are good also. Corn is too. Deer love corn.
January 5, 2006, 12:57 PM
I'm just a city-slicker and not a farmer, but I'll add this comment:
You should also consider how much maintenance (watering, etc.) will be required. Deer do love corn, but IIRC, corn needs a lot of water compared to other crops.
Wild Bill Bucks
January 5, 2006, 01:31 PM
Soy Bean is the best protein plant you can plant (up to about 38% protein)
Deer love the stuff but it may not grow well where you are.
As far as maintaining a food plot where you intend to hunt (FORGET IT)
To much time spent on your food plot and you will have most of your game run out by season.
Plant crops that are natural to your area and will grow naturally ( talk to your local Agriculture Dept. and find out what the farmers in your area have trouble keeping the deer out of)
If you are going to plant small food plots (Less than 20 acres) you are probably wasting your time, but if you choose to do this you will have to plant crops that will re-generate after being chomped on.
4 or 5 deer will eat a food plot to the bare ground in a matter of a couple of days and nights. If the plants can't re-juvinate quickly, you will lose your draw for the deer before season gets here.
Strips of plots around the edge of openings always seems to produce better than putting all your plot in one location, I think it keeps the deer more spread out and gives crops more time to "Come Back" between feedings.
Although deer are foragers and not grazers, they will visit a plot several times through-out the day or night and eat a little at a time, then go back to the woods and forage for a while, then return. If your plots are scattered around they don't do to much damage to the same one over and over.
I am in Oklahoma, and I can't get the Bio-Logic stuff to grow here without dying off before season starts.( Bad soil, low water table,Hot weather,Hard to fertilize)
Best I have done here is put mixes of Turnips, Winter wheat, rye, Red Clover,Soy bean, Sweet potatoes all out in the same plots. This gives me a little bit of something growing almost year around.
Austrian Winter peas is probably the #1 thing that the deer like in MY area, but I can't get them out of the ground more than 1/2 inch before they are desimated by the deer.
Last year I put a "Straight Shot Feeder" about 20 feet in the air, over some good soil, and filled it with rye and wheat seed as well as Whole Soy Beans.
When the feeder went off it scattered the seed in the wind for quite a distance and the seeds came up all over everywhere. The Whole soy bean was eaten by the deer and their hooves pushed a lot of the seeds in the ground.
Isn't working this year because we haven't had any rain(AT ALL )
but might work well in your area.
We are so low on rain here that the fish in our lakes are coughing.
Hope this helps a little.
Wild Bill Bucks
January 5, 2006, 01:45 PM
Forgot to ask,
I'm kinda new to a computer and don't know how to get a picture on the forum.
Have some pictures from my game cameras, but don't know how to let anyone see them.
Also Deer love corn, but it is a mouth candy for them, they don't really get anything much from it other than FAT.
Can anyone HELP.
Computer is a MAC OSX 10.
January 5, 2006, 01:59 PM
Wild Bill Bucks,
When you make a post you need to click "Manage Attachments" and then click "Browse" and you find where it is in the list and click "Open", Once you pick up to 3 pictures click "Upload Attachments" and your done :)
Need any more help IM me.
Wild Bill Bucks
January 5, 2006, 02:11 PM
Thanks dimitri, Let's see how it works.
January 5, 2006, 02:38 PM
Wild Bill Bucks,
It worked :)
January 5, 2006, 04:29 PM
Hey Wild Bill, what part of OK you in? And were you able to harvest that nice buck? The neighbors to me where I hunt mostly have a very small plot of turnips, and they say the deer come in a lot. I've heard that soybeans produce the largest antlers, due to the protein content.
January 5, 2006, 11:22 PM
Do soil tests and add the recommended nutrients to your plots prior to planting anything!!!! Otherwise, you're just pi$$ing away $$$$ and will be very disappointed. Best way to get soil tests done is through your local ag extension service-Call Them!!!. Cost is around $7 per sample for analyzing and will tell you everything you need to know (and add to your plots). Some might tell you that there are "do-it-yourself kits" that will work fine-don't believe it. Go with the extension service and ask them all your questions on how to prep your soil, what grows best where, etc. Use them, that's what they're there for.
Proper soil ph levels are as important as water to your food plots. If the soil is acidic (<5.5), it doesn't matter how much fertilizer you throw out, your plants will not grow very well, if at all.
N. Fla/So. Ga probably has the same type of poor, acidic soil that we have to deal with where I hunt in Ga. You will need lime and a bunch of it, maybe as much as 3-4 tons/acre to raise the ph to 6.5 (the soil test will tell you). Ground aglime (agriculture lime) is the best way to raise your ph. Aglime has calcium and magnesium in it as well-good for deer bones and antlers. Get it spread now, incorporate (till) and you should be ready to plant this spring. (It takes a few months for the lime to neutralize the soil.) We buy ground aglime by the ton from a local ag service. It's tough to spread, so we have them do it for us with their spreader trucks. Price is really dependent on location and distance from the supplier to your food plots. We payed around $40 ton delivered/spread last spring which is way cheaper than the bagged/pellet stuff. Find a local supplier and ask questions. They can also deliver/spread fertilizer in bulk.
As far as what to grow and when, your local extension service can make good recommendations based upon your soil type(s). The below websites offer good info as well.
My advice would be to establish/prep the food plots, do soil tests, add lime and recommended fertilizer/micronutrients at the recommended time and then plant buckwheat this coming spring. Seed is inexpensive at around $30 for a 50lb bag (will do an acre). It grows very well and will tolerate poor soil. The great thing is that it will mature in about two months. Bushhog it, till, and plant again. This provides "green manure" to build up the nutrients in your soil. As you're in N Fla./S. Ga, you should easily get two plantings/maybe three in from spring to early fall.
Do another soil test mid-late summer. After your second/third planting of buckwheat, add more lime/fertilizer as recommended by the soil test. Then, plant your fall/winter plots (clover, oats, etc.)
One other thing-don't bite off more than you can chew. It's far easier, cheaper and satisfying to have one awesome food plot than several medicore ones.
The above is experience-I consider the time it took to write well spent if it saves a fellow hunter some $$$ and headaches.
January 6, 2006, 11:24 AM
Wow, that can get complicated. Sound like if you don't have a tractor, till, expertise, and lots of money for aglime, paying to have it spread, seed, etc., then you're better off just putting up a feeder or 3. I'm gonna put up some this spring and start mixing corn with stabilized rice bran for protein. Although mostly it's a waste of time around here, since deer can get all the acorns they could possibly ever want everywhere they go in the timber, and have really no reason to venture to the feeders. They can and will hit them occasionally, but certainly not regularly enough to guarantee a successful hunt, by any means, let alone a good buck. Dang I wished I lived in someplace without a million oak trees per square mile - then it could actually be worth the money & time investment to buy a tractor & do a food plot, etc. If you're already a farmer, then the tools are right there handy without much extra expense, but I'm not.
January 6, 2006, 01:17 PM
Thanks for the advice everyone.
Wild Bill Bucks
January 6, 2006, 03:09 PM
Did not get the 14 point I wanted but did take a nice 8 point this year(about 147lbs without the fillings)
I agree with Sako, you need to do as much for the property as you can, but if your like I am here in Southeastern Okla. I'm sitting on the side of a mountain with no way to bring equipment to my plots, so everything I do has to be done with my 4-wheeler. Don't kid yourself, you can do a LOT with an ATV but you are still pretty limited when it comes to preparing soil the way it needs to be done.
I'm doing pretty good if I can get 3 or 4 bags of good old 10-20-10 to my plots.
All the guys that make deer feed pretty much have the same opinion that Protein is the main Point builder on a deer rack, so I try to keep my Soy Bean feeders full year around.
Since natural browse in my area is about 4% protein, my deer don't get a lot from Mother Nature. The whole soy bean is about 35% protein, so if I can just get them a mouthful every so often, they are increasing their protein level quite a bit as the year goes by.
Been using soy bean for about 3 years now, and have noticed BIG difference in the deer on our lease. 5 years ago, it was a big deal to see a buck with more than a 6 point rack that would weigh more than 90 lbs.
This year there were 2 of us that took deer over 135lbs. and the other boy had a 10 point rack on his.
I saw several bucks this year that had better than 10 points with the biggest one being 16 points (verifyable) so I know the soy bean is working. I just wish I had a way of making a food plot that would be really productive so I wouldn't have to fill my feeders quite as often.
I'm using 50 gallon barrels so I can't get much bigger and it takes a lot of trips up the mountain to fill one with a 4 wheeler.
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