The Importance of Protein
At various stages of life, deer have different protein needs. Fawns require up to 22 percent of their diet to be protein. This percentage is similar to but may be a few percentage points higher for lactating females. To develop antlers properly, males need a diet of 13 to 16 percent protein. [source: McGowan and Osborne].
Food Plot Ethics
Let's consider how food plots are beneficial to wildlife. They attract and nourish deer and other wildlife in multiple seasons. Planting a food plot means that the deer are more spread out than they would be at a supplemental feeding dump. This brings less likelihood of passing disease throughout the herd.
Some people believe that food plots are simply part of effective deer management. Food plots also create a habitat that will attract other wildlife. Insects that pollinate the plot will provide food for nesting birds that may find shelter there.
Fewer people now must hunt out of necessity. Following sound ethical practices such as obeying the law, using appropriate behavior, and showing respect for and knowledge of animals can assist the non-hunting public in understanding and accepting the motives of hunters [source: Posewitz]. In general, a good relationship with landowners and adherence to all rules about hunting is required.
The major ethical questions a person should as before starting a food plot are:
- Is the food plot good for the resource (deer, in this case)?
- Is the practice good for the future of hunting [source: Hart]?
These questions can only be answered on a case-by-case basis. For a senior citizen or disabled hunter, for example, a food plot can permit the joy of hunting once more.
Whatever your motives for starting a food plot , keep in mind that you will be rewarded for your efforts. The wonder of wildlife, whether appreciated as a food source or as an object of beauty, might enrich your life.