Defensive food plots for deer
Defensive food plots for deer
So you passed a little buck and 15 minutes later heard the ‘WHAM’ from the neighbors rifle. Another little buck dead and you can’t do anything about it, or can you? There are a few tricks you can employ to have your property hold a few more deer. Food plots for deer are a part of that equation, and the hows when and wheres will dictate whether or not you have success planting defensive food plots.
Defensive food plots keep deer on your land during daylight hours
If you can keep deer on your place during legal shooting hours, you win. Who cares where they go at night as long as they are back on your place before the greying skys signal morning is on it’s way. First and foremost you need quality bedding in an area that is strictly off limits to human activity. A high quality sanctuary that your deer feel safe in when the human pressure starts ramping up. This sanctuary only sees human activity when we are hinge cutting trees or improving the habitat, or if we must enter to track a wounded animal we only enter at night when the deer have all left for the night time feed session. Give them a place where they feel safe every day all year long, and over time the deer will learn to use it faithfully.
Now that we have a safe haven defined for our deer, what else do we need?
Food cover and water are they 3 basic our deer herd craves. If water is at a premium on your piece of land, don’t make the deer go looking for it. Water
is often the first thing a deer seeks out when it gets on its feet in the evening, and the last place it visits before it holes up for the day. Make sure you have some water close to the bedroom. It makes the bedding area more attractive, and will insure your deer don’t get a hole poked in them on the neighbors because they were thirsty. Let them have a place to drink.
With cover and water out of the way, lets look at how defensive food plots work. The first thing we will talk about is variety. Deer like variety in their diet. If the neighbors have something the deer want, and you don’t give it to them, they will leave. I realize it is impossible to have everything, but at the very least make sure you have attractive forage year round for your deer herd.
Clovers are a staple in any food plot plan, and close to half of your food plots for deer acreage should be in clovers. They are relatively inexpensive to create and maintain, and last for many many years. Clover is some of the first forage to green in the spring and with 2 mowings remains attractive through the first few mild frosts of the year. Spring summer and early fall it shines.
Annuals are attractants that pull deer during the summer fall and winter. Corn and beans are key draws during the hunting season, and if acreage permits will be a key player in the defensive food plots for deer plan. If you have limited acreage, a brassica mix will offer the same tonnage and attraction on smaller acreage for much less money. Excessive snowfall will often push deer off the brassica and into corn and beans because they are less work for deer to eat. Have some annuals in your defensive food plots for deer plan.
Cereal grains are another great option that we will plant late fall (August and September based upon latitude). These tender young greens are often the only fresh growing forage available during the rut, and offer a change of pace from the browse, beans and corn the deer a feeding heavily upon. Make sure you plant some attractive areas with these cereal grains to offer fresh greens when the clover goes dormant and becomes less attractive late fall.
The goal of defensive food plotting for deer
The aim is not to try have the deer never leave your property, but to try and keep them at home for as many daylight hours as possible. Try to cover the food water and cover bases as thoroughly as possible, so the deer do not leave your home range until the safety of darkness has arrived. Defensive food plots for deer are not a knock out punch on their own, but they will help you manage and maintain a population of deer on a small parcel.