By Josh Genz, G2 Outdoor Products
Hunting season is quickly approaching, and the anticipation of what this year’s harvest will bring is building in hunters across the U.S. You’ve been monitoring your deer herd since the end of last season, seeing which animals made it through and how they’ve developed over the past few months.
Whether hunting for that early season doe for the freezer or that trophy buck of a lifetime, implementing a food plot program into your plan of action is sure to give you an edge. Incorporating a food plot into a management plan often separates the successful and unsuccessful hunters each fall. So let’s take a closer look at the what, where, when and how of food plots.
This year, more than ever, hunters will experience the importance of having proper food sources available to their whitetail herd and other wildlife. The severe drought that has affected much of the nation has left most areas with a lack of agricultural crop, fruit and soft mass production as well as a diminished acorn crop for deer to feed on. Having a fall food plot on your hunting property is sure to increase your chances of harvesting a whitetail.
Over the years, I’ve designed, altered and planted many types of food plot blends to accommodate the deer herd on my properties. From nutrition feed plots, which offer forage during all seasons, to kill plots designed to draw and hold deer during daylight hours, food plot blends are designed to optimize your property throughout the hunting season and beyond.
The blends described below were designed after years of research and testing on properties throughout the Midwest. It’s important to take into consideration where your property is located within the U.S. and follow the step-by-step instructions provided on the product to help you succeed in your food plot efforts. By planting each of these products in the same plot or within the same property management system, you’ll provide whitetails with quality nutrition all year and hold them on your property, giving you the best chance at success during hunting season.
The Kill Zone
Step one is killing the unwanted vegetation in the plot with Glyphosate (Roundup). Then work the ground to create an adequate seed bed to plant. Timing your planting with a rain in the forecast will ensure quick germination and growth for your newly planted plot. Following these steps will set you up for mini farmer success.
The next step is to plant your field of dreams. The following blends—with seed varieties including clover, chicory, winter oats and brassicas—each serve a specific purpose in the success of your plots.
A Perennial Blend of Clover and Chicory: The Foundation for Years to Come
This blend, consisting of perennials, provides the first source of protein for whitetails, beginning early in the spring and continuing through the growth stages into fall. Providing a blend of premium perennials will enhance antler and fawn growth and increase doe lactation performance, leading to a healthier herd.
Fall Finisher Oats: Establishment and Early Attraction
The quick germination and extreme cold tolerance of a winter oat blend will give your plots protection from overgrazing and attract whitetails from early season into late season.
Brassica Forage Blend: Forage Fit for a Giant
A brassica blend has the potential to produce up to eight tons of quality nutritious forage per acre. The plot is so sustainable, even the heaviest of deer densities will have trouble eating this food plot out. A quick to germinate, fast growing, cold tolerant blend of brassica will act as a super attractant as the cold weather and snow start to move in. The chilly temperatures will sweeten your plot, delivering what big whitetails crave.
Mineral Supplements: Developmental Attraction Mineral
Offering a snack bar on the edge of your food plot with a quality deer mineral that has the proper level of salt and other essential vitamins and trace minerals will provide your whitetails what they need to optimize their growth potential. Mineral use policies vary by state, so always check and follow your local and state regulations. Visit the Made in the U.S.A. section of this issue for more information on minerals.
You Reap What You Sow
The most critical factors of food plot seed and seed blends are seed purity and germination. You want to pick a blend that will grow in your climate, germinate quickly and is pure seed or has very limited filler, noxious weeds or weed seed. Finding a seed blend that offers all of these will ensure that your plot will establish quickly to fend off competition from weeds and other unwanted vegetation.
Offering premium forage to your whitetail herd this fall and winter is sure to increase your chance at success now and in the future. It’s another way to enjoy the great outdoors while doing something that benefits the wild game you’re chasing. Good luck this fall!
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance website is designed to provide valuable articles about hunting, fishing and conservation for members of AFL-CIO affiliated labor unions and all sportsmen and sportswomen who appreciate hunting and fishing and want to preserve our outdoor heritage for future generations. If you would like your own story and experience from the outdoors to be considered for our website, please email us at USAmembers@unionsportsmen.org.
Other USA artilces that may interest you:
Tricks for Better Trail Camera Results
Food Plots 101: Nine Steps to Growing a Successful Whitetail Food Plot
Build a Better Deer Trap
Or enjoy THIS video!