If you want to find turkeys, especially those refusing to answer your calls, then focus on what turkeys do most of the day: they eat. The same goes of any animal you happen to be hunting. By targeting food sources in your area you’ll put yourself within hearing or seeing range of talkative turkeys or other targets of your hunting pursuits. Here are five foods to watch during your hunt.
Mast, especially acorns, attracts turkeys and other animals year-round, especially in early fall as they build fat before winter. Leftover mast gives winter and spring wildlife an additional boost when other food is scarce.
Hard mast includes acorns, chestnuts and other hard-shell nuts. Fruit, like apples, crabapples, pears and plums, fall into the soft-mast category. These hidden mast sources give elusive and cagey animals a nutritional boost under the canopy of cover. If you listen closely, you can hear turkeys scratching for a meal in mast-heavy areas of a forest.
Nothing says “food plots” like clovers. In more arid regions alfalfa shines, but both high-protein food sources appeal to deer adding weight and turkeys nipping buds and looking for insects. Most varieties of clovers and alfalfa contain an average of 20 percent protein. Besides a high protein benefit, they are perennial, coming back each year.
Like clover and alfalfa, deer and turkeys are drawn to soybeans throughout the fall, winter and early spring. Classified as a legume, soybeans provide their biggest boost in early fall with a protein value north of 20 percent.
Corn is a favorite food of wildlife almost everywhere. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide top nutritional benefits, but it does have its place in the wildlife world besides being a major attractant.
First, corn provides some protein; coming in at just under 10 percent in protein value. More importantly, corn is a beefy carbohydrate. During times of extreme cold weather, it fuels the animal’s internal furnace and keeps it energized to battle extreme weather throughout winter and early spring.
Finally, an ideal food source is a smorgasbord of everything and for good reason. Many food plot companies create seed mixtures of plants with varying maturity rates. This allows one plant to mature while another is browsed by wildlife. Food plot products, like Mossy Oak’s Biologic Perfect Plot and Hunters Specialties Vita-Rack, offer planting guides so you can pick the correct blend for your region.
Every animal you hunt requires food, and once you find its favorite blend you’ll be one step closer to hunting success.