|Articles on Habitat and Wildlife
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
- Provides more stand locations for hunting season or viewing.
- Spreads out the deer over the entire management area thus reducing
competition for food.
- Keeps plots in their youngest vegetative state thus providing increased
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Send us your test results and we will tell you what to apply to maximize
Choose the blends and or crop species which you intend to
- 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
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
- 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.