There are plenty of benefits of planting food plots on your hunting property. It’s a no-brainer that they can help does acquire the nutrients needed to care for their young. And we all know that food plots can provide the protein necessary for bucks to develop their antlers in the summer, and the nourishment needed to help deer make it through hard winters.
Want to know more about the benefits and downsides of food plotting? Continue reading this article made just for you!
- Diversity. Diversity, both of plants and habitat, gives wildlife diversity in return. The importance of plant diversity when food plotting is not just planting clover or “big buck turnips”. For instance, early in the year deer will key in on soybeans or buckwheat, even clover and alfalfa are good options. Soon after that, they will transition to the hard mast foods to really get the high protein they need to sustain through winter, such as acorns. This applies to all species of wildlife.
- Food Source. Letting corn stand during the last part of winter is great for turkeys and deer. It will also attract doves and a multitude of other wildlife species! Remember to treat the habitat aspect as equally important as the food aspect. If you provide everything wildlife will need in an area then there is no reason for them to leave.
- More Knowledge and Skills. Food plotting gives so much joy about the fact that you are becoming aware of the natural cycles of life, rain, and sun. It brings fulfillment to people just watching creatures enjoying the fruits of their labor. It’s a way to give to wildlife what you’ve been getting from hunting.
- Overseeding. Some hunters tend to use too many seeds, not knowing that it may lead to competition for nutrients in the soil. What’s worse about this is none of the seeds end up getting proper amount of healthy components from the ground. Your plot will never reach its full potential when not done the right way.
- Hard to Maintain. Unless you have a lot of time, and you’re willing to exert more effort, you’ll get tired knowing that your work in food plotting is never done. Just because a food plot like clover is a perennial doesn’t mean you plant it and next year it doesn’t need anything done to it. They will need to be mowed, weeds have to be removed, and fertilizers will be needed again. Your hard work also needs to be doubled if there’s not enough sun, or when you forgot to do a soil test. Remember, without good, balanced PH levels in soil, plants can’t pull all the nutrients they need
- Deer Overgraze. This is one of the biggest downsides of planting food plots. Take note that you need to put in a utilization cage around the plot to prevent the deer from eating all of it. Another solution is to plant several plots that all mature at different rates so the deer aren’t just hammering one plot. Some seed blends have a variety of plants in them that mature at different rates, which can also reduce this problem
Food for Thought
Food plotting helps you improve both the health of your local deer herd and the success of your hunting. But this is only possible when you do it the right way. Otherwise, the exact opposite will happen and all your efforts will go to waste. Remember to do a soil test, use different varieties of plants that grow in different rates and that deer enjoy, and just enjoy the knowledge and skills that you gain from planting food plots!