Monday, September 24, 2012

Planting a Food Plot for Whitetail Deer

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Quivira-Whitetail-Buck.jpg
A food plot will provide whitetail deer with nourishment throughout the winter months.  If you reside in an area that has harsh winters then food may not be available for the deer and a cold hardy food plot planted in the fall will provide the whitetail deer with ample food.

Every fall and spring I sow seeds into an area that is 20 feet from my home.  I plant 1000 square feet of sweet fast growing forage seed for the whitetail deer.  When planting seed I prefer to use seed that is easy to grow.  No-till forage of clover, brassica and tetraploid ryegrass seeds that I throw and grow in a personal plot.


Planting a Deer Food Plot
Choose and area that gets at least a half a day of sun.  An area that has level land is preferred but this throw and grow seed can also be planted in a rocky terrain provided there is patches of soil and ample light.  

I live in the mountains and the land has limestone rocks, the rocky terrain does not prevent me from putting down forage seed.  The seed grows well amongst the rock. Normally I choose an area that is closer to the hardwood trees.  My home resides directly next to a nature sanctuary and the land I choose is a meadow that surrounded by a barrier of mature Oak and Maple trees.  The trees provide the whitetail deer with a sense of protection from predators’ and hunters.  You can also grow the seed in a meadow or a large field.

Getting the land ready for seed is easy, clear the land by removing the leaves weeds and cut down the grass so that it is soil level.  I like to thatch the grass to remove excess dead grass and to loosen the soil I think this step is needed because it is a good for soil to seed contact.

Prep the deer food plot before it rains.  Plant the seeds after it rains when the soil is moist.  The moist soil will help the seeds to germinate.   Watch the forage plot so that the seeds to do dry out.  If you are able to water the plot with hose and sprinkler then you will prevent seeds from getting burned. 


Before planting the seed test the soil for lime and for fertilizer; the soil test is helpful in determining what fertilizer and how much lime is needed to grow the clover, brassica and tetraploid rye grass seed.  Plant forage seed with broadcast seeder.  If you have an ATV run it over the seed bed. Do not cover the seed with more than 3/16 of soil.   If you do not have an ATV then let the seed be, it will grow provided you keep the soil moist.

Tips:
If there are many deer foraging then reseed the area to encourage new plants.

Follow the planting instructions on your forage seed and plant in the spring and fall time zone that is appropriate for your area.

 I plant throw and grow no till perennial deer forage plot in September.  This year my fall was dry and I needed to irrigate the food plot with water from my well.  After I planted the seed I added a light layer so straw to help keep the soil moist and to deter birds from eating the rye grass seed.   

There are many reasons why someone would plant a food plot for deer. They may want to deter deer from eating their spring bulbs or other plants in their yard and garden, or they may want to attract deer for photographs or to enjoy nature’s beauty.  I plant a food plot to watch the whitetail deer and to supplement their diet.  Winter is harsh here in the mountains and finding food can be hard for the deer.

Here are books and deer plot seeds that I recommend: 


 



For more information on deer food plots view this You Tube video:


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