Food plots can be used to improve hunting ground. Better nutrition is useful not only in attracting and keeping deer in the area, making them easier to hunt and raising a healthy herd at the same time. It might take time and money to achieve, however, you can easily do this with some plan and forethought. First and most importantly, various diets are more attractive to deer, therefore you should plant different foods during different times in year.
In late summer, deer are attracted to soybean fields. This provides great filming opportunities for your hunting cameras. Other summer planting should include vetches, hairy indigo, alyceclover and alfalfa, a favorite of deer. In September, as soybeans die, deer look for corn and mast produced by trees. After corn and beans are gone, plants in the legume family such as red and white clovers provide energy and the calcium necessary for bone strength and antler production.
Brassicas such as turnips and kale, and cereal grains, which include winter wheat, oats and rye are also excellent winter period plants. Clover and chickory come out of dormancy in the spring. Planting plots that mature during this time frame can be extremely productive during hunting seasons. If all of your food plots are designed to provide nourishment during the summer months, they will certainly help with antler growth and development, but will do no good if the deer move off your property to another food source during the hunting season. The creation of a "harvest plot" or two will help assure that some of the deer you've fed all summer will remain on your hunting property year round. Continue to monitor images from your trail cameras.
The first step in the planning of your food plot should be to consult with your local soil scientist or wildlife biologist. That includes the Soil Conservation Service or Natural Resources Conservation Service as it is sometimes called. They can assist with soil testing and make recommendations relative to soil quality. Test results will determine soil requirements such as the need to add lime and/or fertilizer to achieve the desired soil quality for the type of planting that is planned. Their expertise is invaluable and they may even assist you in finding new hunting areas or aerial photographs. Also, check with the local agronomist who can provide information concerning which plants do well in the area and when to plant them. Most major universities have agricultural extension offices that provide free information.
Another method of improving the nutrition of the deer in your area is through fertilization of local plants. The advantages of this method are that mechanized farm equipment is not necessary and you can create food plots that only you and the deer are aware of. For example, fertilizing around the drip line of several trees on an oak flat or around an old orchard can greatly improve the production of fruit and mast in a given area.