Moultrie Products
food plots in the woods/on hills
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
mattandersen 21-Mar-19
RIT 21-Mar-19
mattandersen 21-Mar-19
RIT 22-Mar-19
RIT 22-Mar-19
BullBuster 22-Mar-19
Charlie Rehor 22-Mar-19
Single bevel 22-Mar-19
mattandersen 22-Mar-19
mattandersen 22-Mar-19
t-roy 22-Mar-19
Early Bird 22-Mar-19
mattandersen 26-Mar-19
Deerplotter 26-Mar-19
mattandersen 28-Mar-19
lv2bohunt 29-Mar-19
BullBuster 30-Mar-19
Single bevel 30-Mar-19
Deerplotter 30-Mar-19
RIT 30-Mar-19
RIT 30-Mar-19
RIT 30-Mar-19
RIT 30-Mar-19
RIT 30-Mar-19
RIT 30-Mar-19
BullBuster 30-Mar-19
Deerplotter 30-Mar-19
BullBuster 01-Apr-19
From: mattandersen
21-Mar-19
The land I hunt in Ohio is less than flat and mostly heavily wooded. It was logged in 2014. There are some areas I have in mind that are fairly open where I could knock a few smaller trees down and make a food plot but the areas I have in mind are sloped a bit. The food plot I made last year worked great and grew well but it was 75 yards from the cabin I stay in when I'm there. I chose that area because it was flat and open already, all I had to do was make the plot. I had never made one so it was also a trial run. It was fun and it worked but mostly it had night activity due to me coming and going from camp.. periods of time when I hadn't been there for a while there was more daylight activity which proves my point. Anyone ever make plots on hills? What's best to plant on micro plots in the woods and on hills? My biggest concern is packing the seeds in well so they don't get washed away first heavy rain..any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated, thanks guys!

From: RIT
21-Mar-19
What is currently growing in those areas now?

From: mattandersen
21-Mar-19
not much its woods/browse..I successfully grew red/white clover and rape seed in the other plot I mentioned with good success. I'm not certain of the native vegetation if that's what you mean?

From: RIT
22-Mar-19
i was wondering if you had cool season grasses and weeds on the ground. If so then you can spray to kill it then broadcast seed into and it will work. If the area is covered in leaf litter you need to get that cleared off this Spring so vegetation will start to sprout. The chances of low PH are fairly good so you will be limited in what you can plant. Winter rye grain, not rye grass is a really solid option.

I assume you are only interested in providing fall forage for hunting season. You could broadcast buckwheat into the dead vegetation to start improving the soil but it won’t leave you much bio-mass/vegetation to cover up your fall seeds. I think natural vegetation will be your best bet. If you don’t plant anything this Spring (I probably wouldn’t) then you wouldn’t spray now.

For the obvious reasons you stated discing and tilling are completely out and that’s a good thing anyway.

I think It would be more beneficial to remove the woody browse and encourage natural vegetation for the spring and summer.

Then in mid August burn down the plot with glyphosate. Broadcast a clover like frosty berseem or medium red along with Winter Rye, and a tillage radish right around September 1st. Come back 2 weeks later and broadcast Winter Rye over the plot again. Once you broadcast your seed into the dead standing vegetation mow it down with a mower, trail cutter, or even a weed whacker. You can pack the area if you have a cultipacker but I’ve done it both ways with success. By October 1st you will have 4” Winter rye and radishes with a little bit of clover. You will have plenty of deer in it also and depending on the pressure and size of the plot you might have a food source that last into Spring.

Winter rye is cheap ($14-15 a bushel) with the other seeds this puts you at about $45/ an acre. Pretty cheap for an experimental in the woods plot. Winter Rye will also grow on the sidewalk, the back of your truck, and even had some grow inside the skid plate on my ATV. It builds soil, suppresses weeds, and deer will dig through snow to get at it.

From: RIT
22-Mar-19

RIT's embedded Photo
Here is some winter rye that I broadcast into 3’ Foxtail. I then mowed the foxtail down over the seed and walked away. 4 weeks after mowing.
RIT's embedded Photo
Here is some winter rye that I broadcast into 3’ Foxtail. I then mowed the foxtail down over the seed and walked away. 4 weeks after mowing.

From: BullBuster
22-Mar-19
I would think that an initial controlled burn would be a good start. Soil test too.

22-Mar-19
Recently logged? Good to go as is! Good luck!

From: Single bevel
22-Mar-19
Be careful. If you have a high DPSM and plant something they pound, then you could end up with a mud slope when the late winter/early spring rains come. I have some slope that has happened to over the years. Some areas just aren't made to be plotted, but that doesn't mean that you can't grow something beneficial there. Crabs, plumbs, pears, dwarf chinquapin oaks are some things you can plant that are fast producers and won't risk soil loss. There are several sub species within those choices that drop anytime from July to late November. And those shrubby type trees can also offer a softer edge rather than the hard edge that a "field" produces which makes them more huntable. Plus many of them are preferred scrape species. Cover, edge, prolonged food, and less soil disturbance and less erosion.

From: mattandersen
22-Mar-19
Wow learning some new stuff here! Thanks guys, haven't heard of a lot of those seeds..probably not your typical plot being wooded and hilly. I just ordered a groundhog max to till behind my 4 wheeler but didn't think of the erosion I may create..no worries it'll get plenty of other use. Please post pics of any sloped plots anyone has. Thanks again!

From: mattandersen
22-Mar-19
It's def covered in leaf litter..I plan to go in soon if possible and get a soil test. Assuming its likely acidic I will add some lime/fertilizer to allow it to condition the soil. I'd like to avoid a muddy hillside come late fall/winter but hadn't thought about that either. Great points guys!

From: t-roy
22-Mar-19
If you’re concerned about erosion, clover (once you get it established) will probably hold the soils better than anything else. It is still attractive to deer late into the fall/winter. Definitely try and get rid of the leaf litter. The sooner, the better for the lime as well (if needed). I would suggest raking/blowing off the leaf litter vs tilling it into the soil, especially if they are oak leaves.

From: Early Bird
22-Mar-19
I have property in Scioto county. I just had a dozer operator to my property and he is going make a road and also clear about an acre for a food plot on a relatively flat area. Not sure what I will be planting but I'm guessing the soil will need some work. I am thinking of planting oats and Austrian winter peas and then layer with rye, at least for the first year. where are you located in Ohio?

Ray

From: mattandersen
26-Mar-19
Thanks guys. I had great luck with clover in the one plot I did do so I'll likely go with that in addition to something else. The leaf litter is mostly oak leaves..I'll try and get it cleared soon and some lime down asap. Early bird I'm in Tusc county.

From: Deerplotter
26-Mar-19
I would second the clover but add alfalfa with it. Alfalfa will have longer root systems and be a great soil stabilizer. In conjunction with the clover a nice combination.

From: mattandersen
28-Mar-19
Doesn't Alfalfa need a good deal of sunlight?? There will be some light but not like an open field...

From: lv2bohunt
29-Mar-19
RIT had some great advice for a hard to get to plot with very little work and effort.

From: BullBuster
30-Mar-19
Wow. I just read RITs post closer. That is great stuff for the out of way places. Not sure about spraying in August when native grasses are dormant. RIT, will the w rye and radishes grow in fall among sparse trees or does it need be wide open?

From: Single bevel
30-Mar-19
Pretty much every plot forage does better with a minimum 6 hours of sunlight. That's not to say stuff won't grow with less sun, but it won't do as well. And a struggling plot won't outcompete weeds. However, a little bit of shade can be a benefit during the dog days when plots in full sun go dormant.

From: Deerplotter
30-Mar-19

Deerplotter's embedded Photo
Deerplotter's embedded Photo
Winter rye with dwarf Rape Looking forward to RITs response but will share this. I too plant winter rye and radish here in MN with good success. I have found both of these plants are very hardy in regards to where they will grow and even on soils with marginal ph levels. My opinion would be try the winter rye and radish in sparse tree cover. No question sunlight will help immensely with most seeds and it may not look at healthy and rich as RITs but I think it will come ok. Good news is both seeds are relatively cheap, especially the winter rye. Best of luck.

From: RIT
30-Mar-19
A millions if’s Bull but I’ll try to answer with what has worked for me. Every plot for every guy is going to be a little different but the principles will stay the same. Soil type and timing will be factors here. It may take a few years of soil improvements to really get up and going. Timing of the mowing, spraying, and seeding will really influence the outcome.

There are cool and warm season natives just as there are cool and warm season weeds. The August spraying is one to kill off any warm season weeds or natives you don’t want in your new plot. Foxtail, thistle, nightshade, lambsquarter, wild carrot, velvet leaf, etc can all still be actively growing in August. With most of them going to seed soon. The benefit of planting late August early September is the weed competition is far less than in the Spring. I have sprayed in August and broadcast seeds into the residue many times with great success. Just remember that success isn’t a beautifully manicured food plot that you see on TV. It’s a food source that feeds and attracts whitetails.

I need a little clarification on sparse trees. Type of tree, crown spread, and plot orientation all come into play. I have a long winding in the woods plot that borders a destination food source. It has very tall trees on the East side of the plot (80’ Oaks, 60’ pine, walnut) , shrubs throughout the plot, and thick brush on the West side of the plot with trees in the 25’ range. It has North to South orientation, never get any wider that 30 yards, and grows great. I wouldn’t call it wide open but it does get some sun. Mostly afternoon sun. If you have a mostly shaded spot you need to open it up and let some light in. I will post a few photos of my woods plot so you can get a feel for what mine looks like. It sits downwind on SW winds from the destination plot in between two large bedding areas. Deer wear this plot out staging before the big field.

From: RIT
30-Mar-19

From: RIT
30-Mar-19

RIT's embedded Photo
View from East side of the plot in a large pine
RIT's embedded Photo
View from East side of the plot in a large pine
RIT's embedded Photo
RIT's embedded Photo
RIT's embedded Photo
Ground view
RIT's embedded Photo
Ground view
RIT's embedded Photo
Late November photo with the destination plot at the top. The oats are freezing out but the WR, clover, and Radish still looking good.
RIT's embedded Photo
Late November photo with the destination plot at the top. The oats are freezing out but the WR, clover, and Radish still looking good.

From: RIT
30-Mar-19
My mix on this plot last year was Winter Rye, Oats, Clover, and Radish. Because last years WR was so tall I broadcast the seed, mowed it down, then sprayed 2 days later. I probably could have skipped the spraying all together and may this year.

The great thing about this mix for me is that I didn’t do anything in the spring but let the WR suppress weeds and the clover grow. The WR went to seed and it just let me have free seed for the fall. One thing I would do from my past experiences on a brand new plot would be to stagger at least two broadcastings of Wnter rye. That will fill in any thin spots. Once the Oats and Radish freeze out you will still have Winter Rye. It will also be an early Spring food source.

From: RIT
30-Mar-19

RIT's embedded Photo
RIT's embedded Photo
Here is the same plot just last night. The Winter Rye is already greening up. I chased a dozen or so deer out of it last night while I was heading to the destination plot to cage newly planted fruit and nut trees. They will feed in this plot for the next few weeks until everything else starts to green up. If you don’t terminate the WR in the Spring it will grow to about 5’ and go to seed.

From: RIT
30-Mar-19

RIT's embedded Photo
5’ tall Winter Rye. No longer a food source but good cover.
RIT's embedded Photo
5’ tall Winter Rye. No longer a food source but good cover.

From: BullBuster
30-Mar-19
Matt, didn’t mean to steal your thread. The semi shaded area is on a ridge with pine trees. Never been tilled or farmed. May need to be burned first with all the small branches and needles. Most soil around has pH above 5.0. Thx

From: Deerplotter
30-Mar-19
Good info!

From: BullBuster
01-Apr-19
RIT, do u ever mix winter wheat with your w rye or is the seed too big to get good seed to soil contact with your mow over technique?

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