Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

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spearfisher
 
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Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby spearfisher » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:14 pm

Hey guys. Looking for some suggestions on how to improve things and help my deer along. I grew up hunting with my dad and was addicted to it for a long time. Life got in the way and I have been out of it for last 13 years or so. Life, family, kids, school all took priority. Graduated for the last time 3 years ago and had to move to the Alabama Gulf Coast for work. Last yr I was blessed to land a spot in a great club 20 mins from my home. I had little to no time to recon the club before paying dues and starting to hunt. Most of the guys in my club are older and stick to the fields and shooting houses. I used google maps and too late to do anything with it I found several sites back off in the woods that would be perfect for food plots. . The only tools I can get in are my strong back, a hand seed spreader, rake and the like. These spots are well off the paths any one else would use. I'm very confident these spots haven't been visited in years actually. Plot sizes range from 1/8 acre to a full acre and they are all off in the middle of the woods. I have googled and researched, read threads and seen a lot of speculation etc. I'm wanting to know how many of you have had actual experience and what you planted, how well it did. Our deer are actually big for this area. We are surrounded by farmers that raise peanuts and soybean. The racks however suck. Thin and spindly. I know I need to do some mineral supplementation. But for planting plots, what have you guys planted for late winter/early spring and what did you plant for fall and the hunting seasons? I have put down one plot already. A bag of throw n grow and fertilizer. It went down right before a good rain. I'll be checking it tomorrow. It is fairly mild down here most of the winter. It rarely got to 30 degrees unless the wind chill took it that low. At this time, I am planning on doing another plot with Evolved Habitats Shot Plot and putting a stand of pear trees in. Another area (the biggest one) in clover and chicory. My concern on that particular plot is that it is often wet. Thoughts? Suggestions, ideas?

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rthomas4
 
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Location: Hampton, SC

Re: Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby rthomas4 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:34 am

Visit your local agriculture extension office, or feed and seed store. Find out which plants work best in your area, and after doing a soil sample determine what fertilizer and lime requirements are needed to help your plots. I actually prefer planting seeds from local producers, rather than major national brands due to the similarities in soil conditions the plants were in that the seeds originated from. I also like to plant a mixture of different seeds with different maturity times so that the plots will provide something over greater periods of time. Alabama soils are probably very similar to coastal SC, in that there are some very rich black dirt areas, and others that are somewhat sandy, and still some that have a good bit of clay. You may encounter all three on the same piece of property, and even in the same plot location. Usually soy beans, clay peas, and sunflowers will do very well, but the deer will also aggressively graze these to the ground before they can reach any decent size. Oats, rye, wheat, or triticale will usually take a little longer to grow, but will last throughout an entire winter/spring or summer/fall. Depending on your soil, you may have success with clovers, or even corn. Also, never forget turnips in the fall, since once there is a frost, the deer can't refuse them. Today, there are also various forage carrots, beets, and radishes that are proving to be very good attractants while also supplying some excellent nutrients. Another thing I do, is plant alternate strips of different species on my plots. For example, I'll plant Sorghum or a cereal grain on the outer edges next to the cover, this adds a sense of protection to the deer as they come into the food plot. Then I'll plant beans or sunflowers, with clay peas in the next strip. I'll then plant clovers and chicory or some type of brassicus in the middle of the plot. It's similar to having a deer smorgasboard, and the plot will last longer before having to replant for the next seasonal change.

I'm lucky in that I can access all of my plots with my small Massey Ferguson tractor, or my Yamaha ATV, so that helps to eliminate the really hard work, which is mandatory since I'm disabled.

Good luck, and happy farming for deer!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NRA LM, NAHC LM, Buckmasters LM, The Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, NAGR, Palmetto Gun Rights, QDMA, DU, NWTF, ASAdisabled sportsmens' alliance, EDH, and Proud SC redneck REBEL for life.

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JPH
 
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Re: Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby JPH » Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:56 am

I don't know the South, so my help to you may be limited, but I think natural habitat is the best "year round" attractant. Most food plots and agricultural crops have their window. Some have longer windows than others, but they all fade during certain times of the year. The biggest payoff I have seen, in terms or year round attraction has been to work to eliminate evasive species and cultivate habitat that comes as close to the way it was, per-agriculture. Natural grasses, browse and mast tend to grow close to one another here in the Midwest, so natural landscapes tend to hold deer year round.

Again, this may not be the case where you are, but I'd encourage a good look at natural restoration.

spearfisher
 
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Re: Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby spearfisher » Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:02 pm

Thanks for the replies. I just got back from looking around and putting out more corn. I had put down a throw n grow plot and went to fertilize it. Looks like it is coming up very well except that we had so much rain half of it is under water so part of it may drown. You both make great points. I am contacting local AG here next week and hitting the Feed/Seed store. Bama's ground here is a lot like coastal SC sounds like. We have a combo of all three types of soil. Lot of it is clay based but we have nice black belt areas as well as sand. Where my first plot is, happens to be clay and holds water.

Pro Staffer, I'm all about what you mentioned. We have a ton of honey suckle, wild growing muscadine, black berry etc. I plan to fertilize those areas heavily and go in and cut back a lot of the undesireable weeds etc. I plan to be in this club long term so I am also about to plant pears, apples/crab apples on various sites where I am "planting". Our deer are well fed anyway and can get some good size for this particular area. I just want attractants in place to keep them in certain areas and to help support growth. For example, my last set of game cam pics, I had a camera over corn and captured 8 deer feeding on the corn. 7 of the 8 were spikes or button bucks. I want those boys able to really grow racks. I like the idea of strip planting like you mentioned RThomas. And the turnips I plan to utilize, only problem is you guys are both far enough N that you have "real winters." We actually hit the gulf and spear fished some in January. Tore up the flounder and triggers too! I think we literally had two days that got cold enough for a frost. Most of the hunt season I had to contend with mosquitos.

Thanks for the info guys. Good stuff, esp from you Rthomas. Gave me some good food for thought. From one disabled hunter to another, Happy Hunting....maybe disabled is the wrong word......definitely handicapped. Few deer have escaped bc of it too. But most don't :)

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rthomas4
 
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Re: Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby rthomas4 » Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:39 pm

I think the coldest day we've had was in the high 20's, and like you, the 'skeeters will eat us alive early in the mornings and late in the afternoon. Also, like you, we've had about 8 or 9 inches of rain over the last three weeks. My winter plots of oats and Austrian peas, along with my turnips are just as thick and green as they can be. I won't be replanting food plots until about the middle of April, and those should last until late August or early September. BTW, in my game zone, our deer season runs from August 15th to January 1st, so I try to have my Summer plots last through the beginning of the season and then plant my winter plots just prior to the beginning of the rut, which is usually around the second week of October.
NRA LM, NAHC LM, Buckmasters LM, The Second Amendment Foundation, GOA, NAGR, Palmetto Gun Rights, QDMA, DU, NWTF, ASAdisabled sportsmens' alliance, EDH, and Proud SC redneck REBEL for life.

1-GTOHunter
 
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Re: Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby 1-GTOHunter » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:37 pm

We're planning on planting some of the Pennington Rackmaster Durana Clover this Spring,it is suppose to be drought resistant,grow well in the shade and a lot more tolerable to lots of grazing.Plans are to clean up several spots where the sun light comes thru fairly decent in some of our heavier woods (which we've done that in Jan and Feb),then we're going to rake any heavy leaves back away and lightly run an ATV disc to break up the ground,then we will probably put down some granular lime then broadcast the Durana Clover and hope for warmer Spring Weather and rain in March.

spearfisher
 
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Re: Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby spearfisher » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:11 pm

Go figure we are having a cold snap now. Well, for us anyway. Hitting 33 tonight. We barely got there twice the whole hunting season. Ive cleared off 4 kill plots that I will be using this year. GTO i'd love to hear how your Durana does for you later after you have had time to evaluate it. I've got one Evolved Harvest Throw N Grow plot down right now. Only worry is that half the field flooded when we had 10 days of monsoon. No kidding. In 24 hours we had 6" of rain. Sucked but what was not under looked good and strong. I am going to that spot next weekend with 4 keiffer pears and 2 anna apples. Planting those on the edge of that plot. Ive got another that Ive cleared, nobody will ever find it either. Looking at backlogs on the prop no one even signs that part out for some reason. But I found a staging area from logging. Planting a pear/apple orchard. It'll hold many trees. It's along the edge of a marsh though. Anyone have experience planting wet areas? Its along the edge of a marsh area some of it can be down right muddy but for the most part its solid ground that gets a little damp at best. I am thinking of planting in it something like Evolved Harvest Shot Plot. Also going to the local store for red clover. I have read that the alsine(Sp) clover does well in lower light conditions. I found another spot that is more select cut/thin tree area along a creek bed. While it can get a little wet at times its fairly open. I thought to lay some alsine clover in it. It's a big space prob close to acre and half all total and its just trees and bare soil at the moment. Any ideas on something to add in with the clover? This summer that area will see a watermelon patch for sure. I think I now have a year round hobby :)

GTO, let me know how that Durana does for you after its been long enough to evaluate it. Be interested to hear about it

1-GTOHunter
 
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Re: Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby 1-GTOHunter » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:56 pm

Spearfish,it has been over a month since we planted the 4 New Food Plots and also over-seeded some Durana Clover in our larger 1-1/2 Acre Fall Food Plot,since then we have had 2 more light Snowy days,then into Colder weather,then some really nice warm days,cool weather again and lots of Thunder Storms to add to all this Crazy Weather pattern.

Hopefully I can get up to our Hunting Lease and take several nice photos of how well our new Durana Clover Food Plots are doing?Work and Turkey Season has caused delays and it's killing me not to see if our hard work is paying off....hopefully this weekend will work out for some good news and photos.I'll Definetly let You know how things turn out....I also put down some of the Durana Clover in a few Plots here at the local Farm in the last week but results will not show up for several more weeks here.

We got hit with some serious Storms here today again...at least we have plenty of moisture! ;) :D

spearfisher
 
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Re: Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby spearfisher » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:29 pm

I planted a throw n grow plot in Feb. It came up fast. It's no til which is good b/c it is way ass out in the middle of nowhere on the club. 1 week ago, I went to another site I found along a creek bed that is fairly open. I think it was a staging area during logging a while back. I put in 4 apples, 2 pears, 2 persimmons and 24 water melon vines. Fertilized, Epsom salt etc. The apples had either blooms or small apples already on them. Wish I had gotten em in the ground sooner. I'd like to plant some other stuff now, possibly some clover but I thought it maybe a bit late. Work got in my way and I couldn't get to the club in time to get the clover on the ground. May just hold it until Sept or Oct to put down. What do you think? Keep in mind i'm on the gulf coast and it is rather warm here. And wet now too. I hope to plant 2 more orchard locations before May though. Plus more melons. Keep me posted on your progress. Good luck with the long beards. Its time for me to slip beneath the ocean and start shooting AJs and big grouper!!!

msbadger
 
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Re: Year round plots for feeding deer, suggestions wanted

Postby msbadger » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:21 am

Being in the south...have you considered Quail Heaven or Topgun soybeans? I'm in New York and planted them just as an annual climbing bean(less expensive for me...They are marketed for game birds but deer LOVED them...
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