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food plots for deer

Discussion in 'Ohio Whitetail Deer Hunting' started by mikenbow, Jan 12, 2003.

  1. This spring I will TRY and establish food plots on my deer camp. I burned off the areas i want to plant back in november. Soil samping is done. pH is 7.0. I'll be ready to turn over the soil, prep with fert., and seed come spring. I'll be planting on reclaimed strip mine areas in SE ohio (morgan co.) This first year the areas to be planted will be small (about an acre broken up over different areas.) Any suggestions would be appreciated on how to get started and what to expect. What to plant? When to plant? etc... I've talked with many people out of Ohio on what they have done to make their food plots work. I want to hear from the boys in my home state and preferably SE ohio. Thanks.
     
  2. Its always a good idea to add substance for deer to help them thru times of stress like late winter and late summer, when food is scarce or simply food sources are changing.
    I know a few who have tried food plots in your area with no or mixed results.
    Let me know what the purpose of your food plots are so I can narrow my suggestions down ;)

    My guide service is located in the same county :D
     

  3. No idea where that link should have went LOL
    Shoot us another one Aimrite :confused: ;)
     
  4. We plant buckwheat, millet, soybeans, corn, and pasture mix (8 clovers and timothy + some renegades). Feeds everything and covers the entire year. A few rows of beans and corn, bulk of plot in pasture mix, and millet, small "special patches" in buckwheat. All planted about 2 weeks after last freeze/frost. Turn over and plant winter wheat in late Sept/Early Oct. "Special patches" to get good starts and 6" or better growth. "Special Patches" are those small areas withing the wooded areas where we typically locate stands. Most are "garden" size. A handfull of millet here and there is great for the birds too!
     
  5. Food Plots in S.E. Ohio

    Have land in S.E. Ohio and have had GREAT success with our food plots. We actually had a local farmer plant our whitetail clover for us and we cut it twice a year. The response from the local deer pop. is outstanding with up to 30 plus deer a night visiting our plots. The farmer was actually very willing to plant it for a very small amount of money to keep the deer from his fields. Our property is on the border of Harrison and Jefferson counties and our land was also stripped. The right amount of lime and fertilizer will do the trick. This year we are going to try to plant some different kinds of food beside the clover on some property that we just bought, any suggestions?
     
  6. We planted 3 acres of biologic, this past Sept. in Noble co. and it worked great and the deer loved it too. We are adding 12 more acre's of food plots this year aswell. We are also looking to plant a few acres of corn and soybeans and was wondering if anyone could give me a ball park fiqure of how much does it cost per acre to plant corn and soybeans. We need to plant something that we do not need to mow, since it will already be hard to find the time to mow the 3 acre's we already have and the 12 acre's that we are planting this year. Thanks, Pike
     
  7. Hey Pike,
    Call any seed supplier in Noble County they can give you a solid answer and also let you know which variety is better suited for down that way;)

    We planted biologic a few years ago without much success. There are alfalfa fields near where we planted, the farmer wanted the deer out of them, and did all the work for us. No luck and not enough to continue :( The farmer called our patch the after dinner snack area LOL His alfalfa and corn took a beating and still does :rolleyes:

    Anyone who thinks of it and can I'd appreciate photos of food plots from start to finish and along with text for future articles I'll be writing :D
    THANKS in advance
     
  8. atrkyhntr, Thanks!! I will, We been buying all our supplies at the Landmark store and they been very helpful up to now. thanks for the advice Pike
     
  9. Any of you guys who responded belong to QDMA? I have been a member for 2 years and have really found some intersting articles about food plots in the magazine. I was wondering if anyone was interested in starting a branch for the S.E. part of the state. I know its difficult to find time, I too live in Cleveland and only have time to go to the property on weekends, but I think that every one would benefit from having a branch in the area for general info on food plots/deer management. Just trying to get an idea?
     
  10. martinconcrete, actually I am in the process of joining QDMA. And since I am going to be doing the majority of my hunting in SE. Ohio I think it would be a great benefit to have a branch in the SE. part of the state. So yes, I would definately be interested. Pike
     
  11. I would also be interested in joining a local qdma branch in se ohio. I am starting out very small this spring as i stated. My goal this year is just to see what will grow and how much work i have to put into these plots as i dont have a lot of time to commit(i'm happy if i get to my deer camp once a month.) If i get decent results this year i will plant 3+ acres in 2004. My goal here is to supplement the native food sources on my camp and help out (and attract) the local deer population.
     
  12. Hey guys, I e-mailed the qdma and recieved a response this afternoon, the fellow said he will be back on the 20th of this month and will call me with info. I know it will take a little time to set it up, but with a little perserverence it definately will pay off. The short time that we have been doing it, we have already seen a large amount of mature bucks on and around our property. This year we have seen more 160 plus class bucks than in the past 5 years combined,
     
  13. Foods plots are just a small part...

    Here is a short article I wrote several years back... I belive it still has its place... :)
    Food Plots are not the answer to every question... Form yourself a plan but do it in small increments to ensure a proper completion of your overall goal...

    Quality Habitat

    Quality habitat is the single most important factor in a management program for any form of huntable game. As with many other types of wildlife, whitetail habitat can be broken into three key areas: cover, food and water.
    When we talk whitetail cover, we know cover provides bedding and resting areas, shelter from the elements and a place to escape predators. Without cover on your property or hunting area it does not take too much pressure to send deer off your property. You need to create a sanctuary of sorts for whitetail to feel comfortable. Easier said then done, perhaps. Depending on the total acreage you own or hunt, there are many ways to provide adequate cover for your deer population. A good idea is to find out what is on your neighbors property. Never limit your knowledge to your property alone. Use a good neighbor policy and join forces if possible. State your plans for habitat structure and what you will set your harvest totals at. See if there is a way to work together to benefit all property owners.
    I like to have land owners break their property into 75-100 acre plots to help determine what is needed to improve habitat. A whitetail will spend a major portion of their daily activities in as small an area as possible if all the elements are within these boundaries. Many property owners can do very well with 75-100 acres or larger property owners working within smaller boundaries.

    First you must make a mental picture of what a whitetail requires, where these required elements are met on your property and the distance between each. We are talking travel routes here, the natural travel patterns deer use to go from one area to another. If you don't all ready have one, purchase a good topo map of your area. Make copies to list the various elements and the distance between same. We want whitetail to keep their travel pattern in as tight an area as possible. You will want to mark bedding areas, water and food sources on your topo map. This will tell you how far apart each is from the other, the travel patterns and where needed improvements are required. This also helps you decide in what areas you will need work and in what order. Again having all these required elements are a small part of a much larger picture.

    Look at the bedding sites you have marked on your topo and see where improvements can be made. Many areas can be improved with some plantings, thinning out of undesirable plants, pruning, fertilizations and select timber cuttings. Planting pines that grow fast and stay close to the ground provide needed cover and security. Thinning or pruning helps to maintain the exact type of cover whitetail desire. Remove older mature plants to provide room for younger plants to grow and spread. Are mature trees blocking needed sun light from fields or food plots? Remove as many as required to help establish a better food source. After any pruning, fertilize with a slow release fertilizer that can be spread with a hand spreader or simply dig holes around drip lines for trees.

    Have a timber company do a select cutting and tell them to leave the tops where they fall. These tops will take root and provide shelter and new growth for a food source in the future. Select cutting also can put much needed money in your pocket for future projects. Keep in mind that these areas should be close together to keep deer anchored to your property. Food sources, closer to bedding, resting or staging areas, will be utilized more and possibly during daytime hours. You can create areas that deer will become more huntable by leaving an open area in hardwoods or fields that will create a corridor for travel or staging areas where deer wait for nightfall before entering a field or food plot. These areas can be hunted successfully during most times of a season.

    Food can be anything from planted crops, food plots to natural browse. If you plant an agricultural crop, create cover on or near the edges. Unharvested in areas as close to cover as possible, provide food sources that require little movement from deer with safety nearby. Sections are better then rows and also provide cover on its own depending on crop type. Leave portions of fields uncut when harvesting hay or alfalfa near thick cover staging areas or bedding sites. Food plots should be planted in an area near cover and away from human activity. Keep in mind that whitetail require food all year long and plant food plots for the four season. Mineral sites should be placed on level ground near known bedding areas for time of stress.
    Water is a must have when we consider habitat. You can create retention ponds with ease of effort and dam up creeks and run offs to hold water on a yearly basis. Swamps can be opened up to provide water without destroying cover, killing two birds with one stone if you will.

    Steps for Seed Inoculation

    Pre-inoculated seed has been marketed for several years. Results from its use have been variable. The use of additional inoculant at seeding will provide cheap insurance and reduce the risk of failure in legume establishment, particularly if the pre-inoculated seed has been in storage for a long time.


    Legume inoculation will be more successful if you follow a few simple steps and provide suitable soil pH and physical conditions. Use inoculants specifically labeled for the legume you are treating.
    Mixtures of bacteria strains usually are not as effective as preparations labeled for one specific legume.
    Use only fresh, age and dated inoculant purchased from dealers who store their supplies in cool, dark places to minimize deterioration. Best storage conditions are provided by refrigerators with temperatures just above freezing. Store the inoculant in a refrigerator until used.
    Dampen the legume seed, using as little liquid as possible. Approximately 1 pint of liquid per 100 pounds of seed is required. Use milk (whole, condensed, or skim), diluted pancake syrup, or gum arabic solution as an adhesive. Mix the seed and liquid thoroughly until every seed is moist but not wet enough to cause the seeds to stick together. If too much liquid is added, add a handful of finely ground agricultural limestone. Do not use containers or mixers contaminated with seed disinfectants or fertilizer materials that might be toxic to legume inoculants. Add the inoculant to the seed in small quantities until at least the amount recommended by the manufacturer has been applied. Two to three times the suggested amount can be used without difficulty. Mix thoroughly until every seed has come into contact with the inoculant. When planting under conditions that are not ideal, increase the inoculant rate. Be sure inoculated seed does not come into direct contact with the
    fertilizer.
    Plant seed into a well prepared, firm seedbed immediately after inoculation. Avoid exposing the seed to sunlight, severe drying conditions, or high temperatures. If seed is not planted within 24 hours, repeat the inoculation
    step because the bacteria from the previous treatment may have been destroyed by drying. When planting, leave seedbed surface packed to minimize exposure of seed to sunlight and drying conditions. Broadcast seeding should be covered and firmed by a cultipacker or roller. Plant seed just before a rain or into moist soil. Cultipacking the soil after seeding will help to maintain moisture near the seed.
     
  14. Excellent post atrkyhunter, I could not agree with you more. Food plots are only a portion of the total plan for a properly managed property. There are many challenges that each property owner faces and adjoining property owners can be one of them. It does take time to try to get every one on the same page and create a plan for the area around your property. When our adjoing property owners saw the response to our food plots though it was alot easier to try and get them to improve their propeties. Along with food plots though, we also had a man from the division of forestry come to our land (free of charge) and make a forestry plan. He mapped out our porperty and told us what trees to eliminate to create habitat and browse along with what trees to plant and where. His name is Jeremy Scherf and his address is Jeremy Scherf@dnr.state.oh.us. He handles the S.E. part of the state but anyone can notify the division of forestry to find the department in there area. It really gets fun to begin to see the progress after a few years. Unfortunetly cutbacks by the state have limited the state owned nurseries tree program so only a few spicies of trees can be bought this year.
     
  15. mikenbow, you did not mention what type of soil you have. different plants require different soils. clover likes heavy loam with good moisture where alfalfa will do better in sandier soil. also look around the area to see what crops are planted if any. you dont want to plant an acre of alfalfa when a local farmer has a 30 acre filed of it nearby. if planting several small plots try different products and let the deer tell you what they want.clovers,alfalfas,beans and peas work good during the summer.winter wheat,rye and rape are good winter plots.another thing to consider is how much sunlight the plots will recieve.most plants require at least 6 hours of broken daylight to good.
     
  16. Good point... Its always better to have several smaller plots then one large plot ;)
     
  17. Wild bill thanks for your insight. I'm not exactly sure what type of soil I have. I do know its not sandy. I would say its very compacted and will take some work to get it turned over. Like I said ph is right at 7.0. Im assuming this is a good thing. As for sunlight the areas will be in full sun. Im looking forward to getting started this spring and will keep everyone updated as to the results. I still appreciate all the advise/suggestions/ideas from everyone.
     
  18. mikenbow, one thing to remember is that clover likes moist soil. if your soil is not sandy and has good moisture clover should do good.if the soil is welldrained, a alfalfa mix will do better. you mentioned turning the soil over. when doing so try not to go to deep. top3-4 inches. the further down you go the more likely you are to bring dormant seed to the surface and have problems with weeds latter on.
     
  19. The food plots are in! I finished the tilling this past weekend. Spreading the seed was the easy part of a back breaking weekend. I planted several small plots to see what does best. Sunflower, soybean, two types of corn, game bird pea, clover mix, and a generic wildlife mix. All the seeds were from a reputable wildlife seed company. Cant wait to get back to deer camp in two weeks to see whats poking through the soil. I also mapped out another 1/2 ac. for a winter plot. Just more hard work come September. I'm really pumped. I'm sure the benefits will be worthwhile.
     
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