Best Year Round Plot Food

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shadow
 
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Best Year Round Plot Food

Postby shadow » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:25 am

I planted a very small plot for the first time in late summer last year. I had very good success having the deer use it, sticking around, seeing them, getting trailcam pictures and even shooting at one.
This year I plan on enlarging it considerably and have already started cutting the brush.
In my state, in order to have a food plot and be legal, it must be planted with a food source that the deer have access to year round.
I was thinking of planting cow peas and soybeans, the Tecomonte mix. I haven't yet looked at their website to get more info, I maybe should have before I pose this question but would that be a good year round food?
From what I understand, maybe i'm wrong but the deer will eat the vegetation in spring and summer, then the pods/peas in the fall and winter. Is this right?
 
I would like to possibly also have some clover but doesn't it take a season to start and establish then go dormant in the fall?
 
What do you suggest? 
With all the deer you may have taken there holds in your memory a special place i'm sure for each one you killed.

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Goose
 
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RE: Best Year Round Plot Food

Postby Goose » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:50 am

What is the size gonna be?
 
Jake

Genesis 27:3 Take your bow and quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game.....

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shadow
 
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RE: Best Year Round Plot Food

Postby shadow » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:39 pm

The main plot will be much larger than last year's but still small by most standards. Its gonna be about 75 yards long and at the widest point maybe 40 feet. Not huge, but with the 40 foot by 40 foot plot I had last year they used it and I still see there are turnips there.  I also want to do about the same that msbadger does and plant some walking trail areas with plots.
Like I indicated the law says that in order to have a plot and hunt near or over it, it must be a food source the deer can access year rond.
With all the deer you may have taken there holds in your memory a special place i'm sure for each one you killed.

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SHKYBoonie
 
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RE: Best Year Round Plot Food

Postby SHKYBoonie » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:35 pm

shadow. you are correct that peas/beans are a great "bonus" food plot. The deer will eat the foliage though out the growing period and then eat the pods in the Winter. One thing that you have to keep in mind is, once the deer eat them down, they are gone. They don't take very well to heavy browsing. So, usually if your plot is less than an acre in size, the deer will eat them down to nothing as soon as they start coming up. I have seen a small plot of peas/beans do fairly well in small plots but the deer usually had something else in the area they were eating too. This took some of the pressure off of the beans. Also, cow peas do not grow well after it gets warm. They are cool season peas which is why some refer to them as Winter peas. But, this may work well with the warms season soy beans.
 
As far as clovers go, there are several different verities and they grow in different stages. Some are annuals, meaning they have to be reseeded every year. If you cut them at the right time of year, when the blooms are at head, they will reseed themselves to an extent. Some are perennials, meaning that they work off of a root system. These still need to be clipped a few times a year to keep the tender growth coming, but they react well to clipping and heavy browsing. As long as you keep the tender sprouts coming the deer will eat it on a regular basis. In the Winter, they do go dormant as far as growth, but the dormant plants still offer great nutritional value to the deer. They will seek these plots out in the dead of Winter. I have about 3 acres of clover in 4 different plots. The deer are really using them hard right now. This is a plot that they will dig through the snow to get to. Also, the clovers are much more labor friendly than most other plots you could have. Once they take hold, they are very easy to maintain.
 
I have about 15 acres of soybeans in 3 different plots. They served their purpose, but are pretty much done as far as having anything to offer the deer now. They used them during the Spring, Summer and early Fall and then again this Winter, but it didn't take them very long to eat what was left as far as bean pods go.
 
I don't really know if there is such a plant that will offer the deer what they need at all times of the year. Most plots have to be rotated from Spring to Fall to offer the tonnage and nutrition that deer need at specific times of year. If I had to choose one that closely falls into that category, I would say clover. But hey, try anything once. If it works, stick with it. If it doesn't, try something new.
 
It might be more cost efficient to go with the "buck-in-a-bag" seed mixtures if you are only doing one smallish plot. If you are planning on doing more than that, do yourself a favor and go buy you a bag of cow peas/iron clay peas and a bag of soy beans. You will pay just a little more for alot more seed.
 
That's just my two cents worth with several mistakes made in my learning curve.
Hunt as though your life depended on it, because one day it just might!

msbadger
 
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RE: Best Year Round Plot Food

Postby msbadger » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:09 am

Shadow the plot pictured is a jumbo clover...starfire red...oasis chicory ..sm burnett...alfalfa and trifoil....its only 10-12 ft wide and 100yrds long....It looks great here but as soon as fall hits...they take it down to dirt...to remedy this a bit you can over seed before a rain with rape seed or seven top ....both none bulb forming braccs...I have to say that maintenance is'nt easy with exception of mowing ...because you can't kill weeds well unless it's grass only weed killer so you'll have 3 great years then a down hill run after that....but it will green up well in the spring and deer will travel the area well...especially if you can get some brambles growing near as well as elderberry....brambles hold their leaves green well into fall/winter and elderberry green up early spring and have green buds through ought winter...keeps them in the area.....

Oh ...Welter seed and Honey Company has come out with a few good deer blends at a fair price so you may want to check them out...remember you have figure in shipping cost verses buying "brand" name stuff...good luck


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msbadger
 
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RE: Best Year Round Plot Food

Postby msbadger » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:12 am

Second pic didn't embed....

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ranwin33
 
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RE: Best Year Round Plot Food

Postby ranwin33 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:40 am

Cowpeas and soybeans would be considered annual crops.  You may want to check with your state to make sure they meet the requirement of year round food source. 
 
As for it being a year round food source, I'd say no myself.  They're really won't be anything there for them to eat in late winter and early spring other than maybe stubble and to me that wouldn't qualify as a legitimate food source.
 
You might consider a mix of clover with your soybeans and cowpeas, that would give you the spring green up that might make your plot a year round source.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
Aldo Leopold

GTOHunter
 
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RE: Best Year Round Plot Food

Postby GTOHunter » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:29 pm

I would have to agree with ranwin33....the Pea's and Beans may not qualify as a Year-round Crop?I like the suggestion of mixing some Clover in with the other crops so it will be there year round.You could add some Clover-Trio from Pennington Seed Co. or mix your own Red Clover,White Clover & Ladino Clover at a local Co-op or Feed Store,chicory is also good and alfalfa too.MsBadgers idea of mixing some brassicas/rape seed would also help in filling in the spaces to make the other seeds/crop last longer and green up.


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