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Our Top Picks for Fall Food Plots

Fall Food Plots Puts the Odds in Our Favor

Food plots have become the craze for the hunter wanting to grow and kill monster whitetails. Plots that were once no more than a quarter acre of land, today, are expensive, well-designed, and well managed acres and acres worth of food. Food plots can be made as small, or as big as you have the ground for and the varieties of plots that can be made seem endless.

The opportunity to plant a variety of seeds in different plots that will give wildlife every thing they want and need should be first and foremost on the minds of anyone serious about hunting whitetails and other game. There are several good seed mixes on the market, but these work well for our needs.

Ease of Planting

Deer Delight is a great seed for deer managers and hunters because of its unique properties. Because of the high protein levels in Deer Delight, deer are receiving everything they need during the fawning stage for does and the bucks are getting the nutrients they need to grow big racks that hunters will brag about.

The great thing about Deer Delight Food Plot is that it can be planted in the spring to bring deer and other wildlife in during the summer and it has the strength to keep wildlife on the plot well into late winter. When other food sources have dwindled to nothing during the winter months, Deer Delight will still be healthy and producing the food deer crave and need.

Added Security

There is a lot of talk of funneling deer and how man-made funnels can really put the odds in the hunter’s favor. Also, planned exit and entry routes to the stand are so important that they can often make or break a hunt. Especially when a food plot near a stand or blind is likely to be holding deer. These are just a couple things that the Green Screen Food Plot can help with.

Growing at heights to 14-feet, this seed mix is strong enough to last well into the winter when other similar plants are dying off. There are so many uses for this seed that it is hard to mention all of them.

A favorite thing to do is to create a funnel to a food plot. By planting Green Screen around a plot such as the Krunch N Munch Food Plot you end up with a tall barrier, but by going in and mowing a path you create an entry and exit route for the whitetails. This will often dictate the path deer will take to gain access to the food. Whitetails will almost always take the path of least resistance which in this case would be walking down the cut path rather than through the tall Green Screen. This makes it a lot easier to place a stand especially on plots where deer seem to enter and exit from every direction.

In some cases, Green Screen can be planted as a barrier that will allow a hunter to get to or from his stand undetected by sight. So many hunts are ruined before they ever begin when a hunter tries to get to or from a stand and deer are feeding nearby. By having this tall barrier between a travel route and the plot, movement can be made unnoticed.

Other uses are to plant small patches around the base of tripod stands that help break up the outline of the support legs. Another great use is to plant small patches where ground blinds will be placed later in the season. It is so simple to snug a ground blind in to the tall cover and the blind blends in so well it is hardly noticeable to the deer. This is great if you need to move a ground blind from one location to another without giving whitetails time to get accustomed to the unfamiliar sight. Also, this is a great mix to plant around an entire plot that is not being used as a kill plot but rather as a sanctuary type of plot. Deer will feel secure enough within the confines of Green Screen to stick around and gain the nutrients needed to grow big racks and put on the weight to make it through the winter.

A Great Kill Plot

Brassica Plus Food Plot is a great mix of brassicas with annual ryegrass mixed in. The added edition of ryegrass will provide forage for deer to eat while the brassicas are maturing. Without the ryegrass it is likely the brassicas would be devoured before growing to their full potential.

The great thing about Brassica Plus is that it can be planted in the spring which will yield a higher forage volume, or it can be planted in August which will result in a higher quality of food which makes this a great mix for an awesome kill plot.

Morning Hunt Tactics

Try not to hunt directly on the food source on a morning hunt. Deer are probably feeding nearby and what makes an early morning hunt so great is that the deer have not been pressured by hunters. Climbing in your stand that sits on the edge of the food plot is likely to alert deer that you are close. This is where knowing what trails deer are using comes into play. Through your summer scouting and the use of trail cameras, these trails should be well-known by now.

Hang a stand on a trail between the food source and a known bedding area like a swamp or thick ravine. It is a good idea to stay within 50 yards from the food source. Any further and you run the risk of getting too close to the bedding area. This technique will allow you to sneak in undetected. Another reason to hunt this far on the inside edge is to intercept bucks who want to go to bed a little early.

Travel routes to and from your stand are just as important as where you position your stand. Always keep the wind in play. If walking to your stand is going to spread your scent across the plot, do not hunt that stand. Always keep downwind of where the deer are feeding. Never cut across a food source to get to your morning stand. If you have to leave home thirty minutes earlier in order to get to your stand undetected, do it.

Evening Hunt Tactics

On an afternoon hunt you can often get away with hunting on the edge of a food plot. Try to position your stand about 15 yards downwind from the entry trail or funnel. Unpressured whitetails will feel safe enough to enter a food source with plenty of shooting light left. You might even get a crack at a deer walking the edge of the plot.

Something to consider though is your exit route when leaving the stand at dark if it is holding feeding deer. This is a great way to ruin a good spot. If the wind is good you should be able to leave undetected under the cover of darkness, just take it slow and easy.

There are so many opportunities for food plots. It is hard to mention them all, but these that we have mentioned work well. If you have always wanted to build a food plot but haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?

Spring Food Plots | Planning and Planting Guide

Start Planning Your Spring Food Plots Now

Along with turkey hunting, which we know you’re looking forward to as much as we are, you’re probably starting to get spring on the brain. Sure, there’s still shed hunting to be done, but it is hard to think about whitetails and not think about getting your food plots rolling again. What will you plant? Will you start any new food plots this year? What has worked best on your property in the past? These are all questions you should think about before you start your spring food plots. Here are some tips to get you started as you count down the days toward spring green-up, even though you’re really waiting until you can get another view like this.

Planning Spring Food Plots

Luckily, you can get started on planning your spring food plots for whitetail deer right now, even if there is still several feet of snow out your front window. The biggest thing to consider is obviously what your goals and objectives are for your property. Wouldn’t you rather have a deer factory over the summer to support many new fawns and watch the development of bucks with your Nikon– optics? If so, spring food plots are probably the way to go. Or would you prefer your property to really attract deer during the fall hunting season? If that is your primary focus, fall food plots are where you should spend your time. The best of both worlds, if you have enough property and resources to support them, is to keep a good mix of both food plots for deer so you have all-season nutrition. You can do that either by rotating spring and fall crops in the same plot or keeping completely separate plots.

As you identify your property goals, consider your neighbors too. For example, it would not make much of a difference to plant a small corn plot if you live in Iowa’s corn country. Focus on planting something that deer can’t easily find in your neighborhood. In that same scenario, try focusing on clover plots for spring nutrition (before corn is available) or brassicas and turnips for late season attraction (after corn has been harvested).

You should also consider the size of the food plots you want to plant. As the size increases so does the cost and time investment. It takes longer to till, prepare, plant, and maintain larger plots, and you will have to buy more seed, herbicide, lime, and fertilizer as well. So if you are feeling a little cash or time-strapped this year, you might want to downsize your spring food plots a little. Of course, the downside to planting small or micro food plots is that they can quickly get overbrowsed. This is especially true if you would like to keep deer on your property over the summer. There are many mouths to feed that time of year for small food plots for deer to keep up.

Best Spring Food Plot Mix

Alright, you have made your plans and now you need to buy some deer food plot seeds to plant. There are probably hundreds of choices when it comes to food plot seeds, most are just different varieties of the same dozen or so plants. But you can’t talk about planning food plots without mentioning perennials versus annuals. Perennial species include long-lived species that come back year after year, which cuts back on planting costs, as long as you properly maintain them. Common perennial food plot species include clover, alfalfa, or chicory. Annual food plot species only grow for that growing season and are highly attractive. Common annuals include corn, soybeans, turnips, radishes, cereal grains, or peas. In some seed mixes, you’ll find a blend of perennial and annual seeds to get the best of both scenarios. The annuals act as a nurse crop because they grow fast and are highly attractive to draw deer attention away from the slower growing perennials, which will grow back in the following years.

Whether you decide on planting fall or spring food plots for deer and turkey, Arrow Seed has you covered. While they have a few spring food plot blends that would work great for you, two stand out.

Arrow Seed’s Deer Delight blend contains turnips, forage peas, forage soybeans, and two varieties of grain sorghum. This is an annual blend of seeds, and the sorghum acts as a scaffold for the forage peas and soybeans to climb on, while the turnips cover the ground surface.

Their Trophy Banquet mix is another good option, it contains orchardgrass, red clover, white clover, chicory, and two forage alfalfas. This perennial mix is high in protein and it will come back strong in the following years.

Planting Spring Food Plots

The planting process is where the hard work begins and it is a great way to get your kids involved. Of course, it is much more involved than simply planting. First, you need to prepare the soil, which can take some time. If it is a new plot and you are breaking new ground, it might be a better idea to use the first summer to spray it with herbicide and loosen the sod. If you have access to heavy farm equipment, you could also just till it under and have access to good soil relatively quickly.

Before planting, be sure to do a soil test, which will tell you how much fertilizer and lime to add to your plot. Without a soil test, you are just guessing (and you will probably guess wrong). Also, make sure you know the best planting method for the seeds you choose. Most large grains and seeds (e.g., corn, soybeans, etc.) need to be planted using a drill or by broadcasting and disking it into the soil. Meanwhile, small seeds (e.g., clover, brassicas, etc.) should usually just be broadcasted over the soil surface and lightly cultipacked in. It is always a good idea to plant right before a steady rain, so watch the forecasts. As far as when to plant food plots for deer, the seed you buy will have recommended planting dates based on your geography.

As long as you plant the seeds using the steps above and get enough rainfall, your spring food plots should do great. If weeds start to show up in your plots, don’t worry too much about it. Most forbs (flowering broadleaf plants like goldenrod) are preferred deer food too. If they start to take over or you notice really invasive ones (thistles, milkweed, etc.), you can mow the perennials to a height of 6 to 8 inches or spot spray the invasive ones. Don’t forget to hang a trail camera on your spring food plots to monitor the deer herd when you’re not there. Soon enough, you will be staring at a lush spring food plot and counting down the days toward autumn.