Food Plot Construction: Forage Selection

Posted by: Jordan Howell on Jul 2, 2012
Page 3 of 3

Lettuce-type Forages
This nutritionally packed leafy green powerhouse is part of the Asteraceae family, one of the largest and most diverse families in the plant world.  The Asteraceae clan includes chicory, vetch, asters, daisies, sunflowers, and a bunch of other popular flowers and less-popular weeds.  All members of the Lettuce family prefer well-drained soil with a decent amount of moisture. They provide high levels of  vitamin C and folates, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  They are highly attractive during hot weather.  For this reason they make excellent choices for early season plots.

 FP 4

The author shot this 160 inch Indiana buck as it followed a doe into a brassica food plot.

Grains
Grains provide a lot of important nutrition for deer, especially during winter months.  They are a rich source of , minerals, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, oils, and protein. Corn is a favorite of whitetails when it is bitter cold because of its fat content.  However  a standing corn plot can be productive at any time of year.  Deer will often bed in standing corn, and feed on it from the time it is barely out of the ground all the way through winter until all the ears are gone.  A few rows of corn surrounding a plot will also create a security screen that will help deer feel more comfortable using the plot during daylight.  Corn loves nitrogen, so be sure to give it plenty before planting.  Other grain plots include Milo, wheat, oats, and rye.  Milo grows very tall and will provide both food and cover for deer.  The Milo heads produce a sweet smelling grain used for making Sorghum Molasses.  Wheat, rye, and oats are preferred by deer in their younger stages when they are tender and green.  I utilize winter wheat to provide food to my deer herd in late winter and early spring when not much else is green. 

FP 5

By carefully observing your deer herd's nutritional needs you can increase your chances for
success this fall.

Careful consideration of all the options will allow the hunter/land manager to make the best decision possible regarding forage selection for a new food plot.  Ultimately it depends on the hunter's goals, and how much time and effort they can put forth.  Each circumstance is different, but each circumstance can also be successful.  The right forage in the right spot, hunted at the right time, could help you bag the buck of a lifetime!

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Cheyenne, WY
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