Steps to successful food plots:

by purnell family...
by purnell family...

1. FIRST AND FOREMOST: TEST THE WIND

Evaluate each deer plot separately. You get the most accurate results when doing this in the season you plan on using your plot as a deer attractant.

Do a virtual tour of the area in your head. Where will the deer come from? What will be the shape of your deer plot? How will the deer maintain comfort through cover? Where will be areas they may feel overly exposed? Where will you be positioned?

2. CONSIDER COVER

Deer tend to move along the edges of the woods because it is safe. So make sure your food plots are selected with natural elements of cover available.

If there is no natural interface, consider planting a series of rapidly growing brush trees along the margin of the food plots to provide maximum interface area. The use of tall grasses and corn can also be considered.

3. FORGET THE COMPLETE CLEARING!

Bucks are a lot more cautious than does, especially later in the season. They rarely venture out into the center of food plots, even the small ones. An island of growth can give the illusion of cover. The buck may enter the deer plot because he feels safe that he hasn’t revealed himself for very long.   

Deer Hunting Food Plot ( live footage )

4. LOOK FOR PERIMETER TRAILS

Perimeter trails or old logging roads may help you when considering the location of your deer plot.  Consider locating your food plots within several hundred meters of the trail. This will help to ensure traffic close to the plot.  

5. SOIL TESTING

50 % of people say “Let’s just plant something”.  These 50% may be the people in the forums talking about disappointing food plots. A word to the wise-don’t be one of these people.  

6. STOMP OUT MR WEED LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!

Commit the first spring and early summer for site preparation and weed control.

Let the grass grow three or four inches this spring.

Spray the field with Roundup: right around mid May.

After burn down, till the field.

You will likely need a second spraying after three or four inches of new growth; usually late June or early July.

A third treatment may be required.

Continue with only tillage to keep the field clean.

By the time these weed control measures are completed, it will likely by July.

Do a late summer planting the last week of July through the first week of August.

You should get weed free growth for fall or winter food plots.

7. ANNUALS FIRST: SAVE THE FANCY PLANS FOR LATER

Consider annuals for new deer plots or new locations in your food plots plan.

When you use an annual in the first season of your deer plot, it gives you another spring to deal with weeds. You don’t want weed control problems to undue a perennial crop that has the potential to be fruitful for 2-5 years.

I often use Rapeseed or Chicory on new deer plots. Rapeseed comes up quick. Deer only use it after it has frozen hard a couple of times so it has a chance to compete with the weeds. For late-season bow hunting this plant in your food plots is phenomenal.

Chicory is another easy choice. It has the reputation for being a perennial but in my area it doesn’t really come back as well the following years. I treat it as an annual. Your primary goal should be to get a healthy stand every year. This strategy helps tame the wild weed beast.

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