Now is the time of year that many hunters begin to work on their food plots. As you may already know, establishing a food plot isn’t nearly as easy as some believe. There are many facets to consider when working on a food plot. Size, shape, and location are the most commonly discussed topics, but there are a few other things to consider. Here are a couple questions to first ask yourself before you get too far into working on your plots.The first is, what are you trying to accomplish? This sounds like an incredibly simplistic question but the answer dictates how you go about planting food plots. For example, if you are planting a hunting plot, you need to have a forage that is planted at the correct time, and will mature during the time you are able to hunt over it. A nutritional plot is a different type of food plot that is not typically hunted over. This type of plot is designed solely for the purpose of providing nutritional benefits to your deer herd. The forages between a hunting plot and a nutritional plot serve very different roles, and the seed blends you choose need to properly match their application. Perennials, annuals, spring/summer blends, and fall/winter blends are all components to consider.
The second question is, what are you working with? This is yet another question that may decide what type of forage blends should be planted. Also, is the area you intend on planting in a location that allows planting equipment? What is the surrounding habitat like? For example, if you are in an area near a stand of oaks you may experience a lack of deer activity/sightings during the acorn drop during the early fall. Being situated near large tracts of agricultural land may also have an impact on how deer use your plots, if they even use them at all.
As many hunters know, soybeans are a deer favorite and attempting to draw deer off a huge field of soybeans into a smaller food plot can be a daunting, and almost impossible task.
High deer densities can also result in over-browsing, which will result in a crop that is decimated before it can reach maturity and serve its purpose.
No two plots are alike, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Whether you have planted food plots before or not, these questions are critical to your food plot. Before you break ground preparing for the upcoming season, be sure to answer them. They will set a solid foundation for your food plot success this year.
For assistance designing food plots, choosing food plot forages and implementing habitat management techniques on your property, please contact me.
Andrew Walters is an Edgecombe County native and spends much of his time pursuing wild game and fishing across eastern North Carolina with his family and his fiancé, Noelle. His passion for the outdoors was the driving force that led him to North Carolina State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology with a concentration in Wildlife Science in 2014. He was the President of the NCSU Quality Deer Management Association club and continues to be an avid member of QDMA. After graduating, he earned his real estate license and joined the Mossy Oak Properties NC Land and Farms team in Greenville, NC. He is a freelance outdoor writer and has had a number of featured articles in the Wildlife in NC magazine, as well as, Mossy Oak Gamekeepers. Andrew is also a major contributor to the Mossy Oak Properties NC Land and Farms weekly blog, the Management Minute. His extensive knowledge of wildlife management coupled with his ability to identify plant and tree species provides him the unique ability to help clients not only identify, but manage their property to maximum potential. Andrew’s enthusiasm and knowledge enables him to properly navigate the channels necessary in “finding your favorite place” outdoors, as well as, developing a wildlife management plan specifically tailored for your piece of ground. Contact Andrew today to find out how he can help you find and manage your next dream property.
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