If you turn on the TV any given Saturday morning and find a hunting show where they are bowhunting deer, chances are you will see some guy hunting over a lush green food plot that is the size of a football field or even larger. You will also see a buck come out into the open in broad daylight and get shot. That is the way it goes on TV. For the rest of us the picture is often different. Most of us don’t even have enough land to plant such a large plot or the money it takes to turn a 50 acre field into a green buck magnet. That is O.K… If you are a die hard bowhunter like us, a much smaller food plot has many advantages over a large one. Below is a guide to help you serious bowhunters with limited "real world" resources know what to plant, how to plant it, and how big to make a plot that is perfect for bowhunting. Remember – not all food plots are bowhunter friendly!
Clover is one of the most popular seed blends planted, but according to food plot specialist and successful bowhunter Steve Gruber, isn’t always the best option. “Clover can be a great food plot, but once it comes in, the wildlife often loves the plot to death. They will eat it until it is gone. By the time the hunting season is in full swing, the clover will be gone. A better option is planting a blend that has a variety of different seeds in it that mature at different rates. Once a plot starts to green up, the deer and wildlife will have something to feed on all summer and fall. That way in the summer the plot is a great place to see deer and in the fall it is a great place for bowhunting,” Gruber added.
Clover is by far the most popular food plot, but not always the best option.
When choosing a seed blend, Gruber says hunters should confirm the seeds they plant compliment each other. For example, winter peas and sunflowers compliment each other – the peas can grow up the sunflower stalk. “Clover is a slow-growing perennial that doesn’t sprout up as fast as some of the annuals out there so if you have a blend that contains a clover and a fast growing annual, you could be in trouble. The annual will grow quickly and not allow sun or water to reach the clover. If hunters have questions about the type of seed blends that compliment each other, they should call the company they are getting the seed from and ask. Annual seeds are very big and perennial seeds are small. Often when a hunter is planting seed, he has the seeder set to allow for the large seed to spread. The small seeds fall out at the same time because the hole in the seeder is too big and the perennials end up all in one spot. In our mixed blends, we have a bag of perennial seed inside the large bag of annual seed. They can be seeded independently, thus providing an even spread of annual and perennial seed throughout the plot. For a harvest plot to sprout properly and grow correctly, the seed needs to be distributed properly. If not, you will encounter problems. The plot won’t be successful and the harvest plot could be a flop,” Gruber explained.
Read more about Bowhunting Food Plots.