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Preparing Food Plots Step 2


          We ended phase 1 of the food plot system by identifying our areas of planting; we followed this with spraying the herbicides to rid that area of unwanted vegetation. Now we move onto site prep for plantings. We will first revert to our plan made in the beginning where we identified what exactly we wanted this plot or plots to accomplish. Examples could be; long term food (Mast trees, fruit trees etc.) or summer food to provide nutrition while does are lactating and bucks are growing antlers. Fall food and or late winter food sources.

Once we have decided which we want, or what combination we want we have to prepare the soil. One method that I highly recommend is NOT to plow your plots. While this may sound unconventional let me explain.

You just spent a lot of money and time spraying to kill unwanted vegetation in your plot. Plowing the soil will expose dormant seeds to contact with the soil and to the sun, thereby nullifying a large portion of your spray program. Nothing frustrates a hunter more than spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a food plot that is consumed by weeds. Instead of plowing this newly sprayed field. Using a seed drill, drill your seeds directly into the dead field and this will allow the seed to get great contact with the soil.

Many seeds can be drilled directly into the field. Corn, soybeans, grains, and even some brassicas can be drilled into the field. After planting, its always a good idea to fence the plot to allow it to establish. Many hunters and land managers are using ribbon style electric fences to keep deer from the fields. This will allow the crop to get established. Prior to hunting, when the crop is established remove the ribbon and the deer will begin using the plot in short order.

One good idea to implement when removing the ribbon is to remove a portion of the ribbon that is close to your stand, this will funnel the deer beside your stand.

Planting the plot is not the end of the process. Some crops will need additional fertilization, irrigation may be necessary during unusually dry periods, and monitoring the growing season will only enhance your plot.

Lastly, if you have more than one plot on your property, it’s a good idea to provide a variety of food sources for the deer herd. Don’t plant all of your plots in the same food. For example, while corn is a great choice for a plot, it usually takes a lot of acreage to provide the amount of food necessary. While oats or cow peas can be in a smaller plot. When you have multiple plots, you will have feeding or transition plots and killing plots. These killing plots are smaller and closer to your stands. Usually these plots will have a more desirable food source and be closer to the water.

The deer will usually filter from their bedding area, through the feeding plot and migrate to the killing plot on their way to water. This is where many trophy bucks are intercepted. More on killing plots in the next installment.