Young Guns, Big Bucks and Small Food Plots

Landowners can produce respectable bucks and attract all sorts of wildlife on small, well-managed tracts of land by providing everything animals need — adequate amounts of food, water and cover.

No matter the size of a food plot, wildlife managers can landowners can maintain quality habitat through sound wildlife forestry practices, such as timber stand improvement, prescribed burning and invasive species control. But it’s planting several small, year-round food plots that attract and hold species on the property by providing high-quality food and cover.

Don’t shy away from those hard-to-reach places when choosing plot locations. These remote isolated areas are where mature bucks and intelligent turkeys spend the majority of their time.

What to Plant

Obtain four-season annual and perennial seeds through the NWTF’s Conservation Seed program.

Four-season annuals are typically planted each fall and provide a food source for deer, turkeys and small game throughout the year. A typical four-season annual plot mix consists of cereal grains, legumes and forbs, such as a blend of oats, triticale, winter peas, red clover, arrowleaf clover and chicory.

Perennial plots include a combination of different seeds. For dry, well-drained soils, try using a blend of alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil and chicory. For moist, fertile soils, use a combination of ladino clover and chicory.

Plant in the Perfect Place

Plant year-round food plots near established bedding areas, so deer don’t have to travel far to feed. Mature bucks feel more secure and travel more often, especially during daylight hours, in more isolated places. As a result, hunting in these areas provides a better chance of harvesting quality bucks.

Combining year-round food plots with good habitat management will ensure that more wildlife will visit and stay on your property. Don’t forget to share your bounty with new hunters. 

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