When I was younger, I was enamored with food plots. Watching the Outdoor Channel, you would see countless giant bucks get killed on lush green carpets of food. I thought, this seems simple… Plant a food plot, then 4 and 5 year old deer will just stand in it, waiting for you to wrap your hands around their rack. I am still working on that…
I’ve been planting food plots now for five years and I haven’t done that simple task above. So, are TV shows, DVDs and the outdoor industry full of shit? No, just their hunting ground is different than yours most likely.
In the same token, food plots have helped me, increase deer sightings, frame deer movement and provided some incredible trail cam pictures. So don’t listen to your local farmer or old timer when they tell you “ you don’t need that, that there’s plenty of food on the farm”.
In my incredible maturity over the last few years I have realized that these are wild animals, their ending purpose everyday is to 1. Live and 2. Breed. I experiment with it every year and love the process of that, one of these days I will get my picture perfect hunt.
So, the main question is, should you plant a food plot? Simply, yes…
Wikipedia describes a food plot as a planted area set aside to act as a supplementary food source for wildlife. The term was coined by the US hunting and outdoor industries. (Yes wikipedia is a real source, shut up professor)
I look at it as any type of additional food source you can provide your deer herd and a way to direct and frame movement in certain directions.
There are multiple types of food plots. I will not get into deep scientific data, but use this as a starting point to help you decide, ***further research is recommended.
Types Of Food Plots – Annuals & Perennials:
According to Texas A&M, horticulture, “annuals are plants that perform their entire life cycle from seed to flower to seed within a single growing season. All roots, stems, and leaves of the plant die annually. Only the dormant seeds bridge the gap between one generation to the next.”
“Naturally, perennials are plants that persist for many growing seasons. Generally, the top portion of the plant dies back each winter and regrows the following spring from the same root system.”
Simply put, annuals die during the winter and perennials should come back year after year for an extended period of time. God dammit, somebody tag my high school biology teacher!!
A lot of people get hung up with the fact that they don’t have heavy and expensive equipment. I don’t believe that you need much equipment to plant serviceable food plots. You can go big or you can go small.
I started off with absolutely nothing except a Roundup sprayer and a rake. My first year of “food plotting” (new coined phrase – Taylor Henry), I actually rented a four wheeler from a local power sports place and rented a disc from a local farming supply location (Shout out Nelson Ag).
Supplies I use:
The list goes on and on. In my opinion, to get a serviceable food plot, you need something to spray Roundup, a rake and your hand. Bottom line. That’s all you need.
“Should I Plant A Food Plot?”
In my experience with food plots, they are an extraordinary way for you to get out into the field and get some time in the woods, scratch that itch. At times it may be more of an action to appear busy than it actually is to truly help your hunting experience.
I don’t believe that it should be the most important thing that you do. If you are on budget and you have multiple items that you need or you’re picking between, I would say that trail cameras and tree stands, are far more important than food plot expenses.
Don’t get me wrong. Creating a food plot is one of my favorite things I do! If you can afford it, it really can create a lot of really fun sits for you, a lot of high quality trail cam pictures, and a good demonstration of how deer move in on your property.
If you can afford it, do it. Anytime you can get out in the woods and enjoy yourself is a positive thing.
In the next blog, I will cover the differences between perennials and annuals.