How Food Plots Work

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Deer Food Plots

If you've de­cided that you want to attract more deer, whether for viewing or hunting, you should begin by realizing two factors. First, no single plant can offer complete nutrition to any animal. Deer like corn, one of the most popular food plot choices, but they need other nutrients. Second, there is no simple solution. In a perfect world, you would plant a variety of crops that mature at different times, providing a regular food supply for deer. Such efforts can get expensive and require a great deal of maintenance. Make sure you know what you're in for before you break ground.

­Just like people say in the real estate business, the most important factor is location, location, location. Think about your property: Do you have a wetland area, the edge of a forest, a field border, windbreak or a brushy fencerow? There's the place for your food plot [source: Zoller and McMillen]. In addition to finding an ideal location for starting your plot, you also need to consider its size. The plot needs to be a minimum of 300 square feet (about 93 square meters). A good rule of thumb is to plant about half an acre (0.20 hectares) for about every 20 acres (8 hectares) of land. If you also want to provide the animals with winter cover, you'll need about 2.5 acres (1 hectare) to do the job. Generally, you should place the food plot in a long strip abutting an area that the animals would use for a refuge. That way, animals will use it more.

Regional variations exist. Deer food plots are critical during major stress periods. In southern climates, late summer is one of these periods. In northern regions, deer often experience nutritional stress in winter [source: Food].

You've got the land, the time, and the desire to put in a deer plot, but have you checked the soil? Have you thought about what to plant? To find out, amble on over to the next section.