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Food Plot Basics
Submitted By: © 2005 Pete Gamet on 09/25/2005

When choosing your location(s) for your food plots consider:
  • Secluded spots work best.
  • Several small plots in key locations are more desirable than 1 or 2 large plots.
  1. Provides more stand locations for hunting season or viewing.
  2. Spreads out the deer over the entire management area thus reducing competition for food.
  3. Keeps plots in their youngest vegetative state thus providing increased protein levels.
  • Plan to have approximately 3 acres of food plots per 100 acres of habitat, population density should also be considered.
  • Use edges, pick spots with cover on at least 2 or 3 sides.
  1. Consider planting a cover crop on the open edges of your plots, this adds a sense of security and deer will increase daytime usage. Our Ringneck Ranch Blend works great for that purpose.
  • This cover may well serve as a new bedding area once your plot becomes established.
  • Food source locations can result in changes of bedding area locations.
  • Your plot will need at least 3 - 5 hours of sunlight per day.

  • Choose you method for planting Till or No-Till
  • Prepare your plot based on your choice and equipment available.
  • With the No-Till method it works well to use Roundup on the site at least 10 days prior to planting to reduce weed competition.

  • Take soil samples from several random spots within your plot
  • Samples should be 4" - 6" deep (a bulb planter works).
  • Mix the samples together in a plastic bucket and place in a plastic bag to have tested.
  • Send us your test results and we will tell you what to apply to maximize your success.

  • Choose the blends and or crop species which you intend to plant
  • Wildlife Buffet has done all the work for you our Buck Spring and Fall blends in combination can provide high protein food sources all year long.
  • Throw in some corn and 2 - 3 Bionic Buck mineral stations and you have the nutritional portion of the Steps to Successful Game Management well in hand.

  • Maintenance of your food plot
  • Buck Spring Blend doesn't require a great deal of maintenance, periodic mowing is necessary, when the forage is 12"- 14" it should be cut back to no shorter than 6."
  • Mowing will stimulate new grow which delivers the high levels of protein necessary for maximum antler and body development of your deer, it also keeps them coming back to your plots. In addition, mowing helps to reduce competition from annual weeds since they don't mature and go to seed.
  • Lime and/or fertilizer should be applied as indicated by your soil test results.
  • Low or no nitrogen fertilizer if available should be applied to Buck Spring Blend Plots for example 0 - 20 - 20
  • Supplemental applications of fertilizer should continue as your budget allows but at least twice a year in the spring and again in late summer. Spring or fall applications of lime depending on soil tests should be considered over the lifetime of the plot.

  • When should I plant my food plots?
  • It's time to plant when the soil temp in your area reaches 55 degrees, waiting for this temperature insures the best germination rates.
  • You can start plot selection and preparation now and then you'll be ready when the soil warms to 55 degrees.
  • Our Buck Spring needs about 3 to 4 weeks before the first frost in the fall, so late August to mid September is a great time to plant since the soil is still warm and the seeds germinate quickly.
  • My point is, in the Northern states, you can plant a Wildlife Buffet food plot any time after the threat of frost in the spring up until 3 to 4 weeks prior to the first average frost in the fall.

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