Food plots for deer work?
Food plots for deer work?
Many ask if food plots for deer work. A good but loaded question. They can work, but only when used properly as part of a solid game plan. Lets take a look at some lessons I learned on a typical high pressure low deer density setting, and how the food plots for deer became a part of a solid functioning plan.
When do food plots for deer work?
Food plots for deer perform when they are placed in areas with the following criteria:
They are in the right location. Forget the tv shows with 10 acre bean fields and 20 acre corn plots. You can’t afford it. The temptation is to select an area where it is easiest to break ground. Expecting your deer to go out of their way to feed is a mistake. They will late season when all chow is gone, but under normal circumstances these food plots for deer are only visited at night. I made this mistake when I first bought my farm, as I reclaimed an old field and planted it. The deer came, but daylight visits were always low. The plot was in the wrong spot.
A good kill plot is a spot the deer visit on their way from the bed to a destination plot where they feed heavily at night. Give them a snack on their way to supper and be in the chips.
Food plots for deer work near the best bedding cover
When you plant a food plot for deer it should be close to the best bedding cover available. Pick the best bedding area on your place, or create the best area by habitat manipulation. Make sure it is a spot you can access without bumping deer. Plan plan plan for the total package. Pick your plot spots based on natural deer movement, and whether or not you can successfully access those spots, and if you don’t have the best bedding for a mile or 2, make it happen. Timber harvest is overstated as small properties can’t cash flow for loggers, so a chain saw is your tool. Create the best bedding in the area and deer will use it if you leave them alone in there.
Food plots for deer work when deer feel safe in them
For daylight use, your deer must feel comfortable getting to and feeding in your plots. Consider both the travel corridor, and the size, shape and location of the food plot for deer. This means heavy cover along the path to the plot, and heavy cover around the plot. It also means a plot size and shape where the deer are two quick bounds and into the woods for safety. Long skinny plots work better than round shapes if you can get the sunlight to the ground. Manipulate the cover leading to and surrounding your food plots for deer for best results.
Food plots for deer work when access is a gimme
If you can’t get to and from your plot without bumping deer, you made a strategic mistake. It happens. Be aware that your local deer population has a preffered way of traveling your property. If you bump them you are drastically lowering it’s deer holding potential. I gave up on hunting the north end of my property because of this problem. Manipulate the travel routes or get a new plan. Bumping the deer on your small property changes their travel patterns long term. Adjust or they will. It is the biggest mistake you will make on your 40, and always means less deer utilization. Change the woods or change your plan to be successful.
Strongly consider wind direction. Deer don’t survive because of their eyes. They live to next year or next week because of their nose. Wind dictates travel for whitetails, and they will go out of their way
to use their nose to detect danger. Take a clue and do the same. Never hunt a bad wind, or access a stand on a poor wind. Deer adapt quickly.
It will take you a year or 3 to learn a new property and how the deer use it. Trails and funnels do not always tell the story, and you will make mistakes. Learn how the deer use the property, and then manipulate bedding, travel corridors, and food plots for deer to work on your farm. Strive to keep the deer on your small piece consistently during daylight hours because this is when they are killed. Let them wander to the ag fields at night, but have them sleep, water and start feeding on your place and the numbers will climb.
I sat with my dad during rifle season and we saw 22 does and 2 bucks in 2 days of hunting. (16 hours on the stand). We saw deer almost every hour of the entire Minnesota gun season. A big change from 3 years ago when we saw 2 deer all season. They key is to make a plan to give the deer what they want and need, and then letting them have those spots without knowing you are there. Bump them once and shame on you, but bump them twice and they may just leave your farm. Work and change that plan as you learn, and manipulate the land to make that plan produce. Food plots for deer work, but only when put into a proper plan.