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Do I really need plots?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Shiloh 02-May-24
Shiloh 02-May-24
greg simon 02-May-24
Jeff Durnell 02-May-24
Catscratch 02-May-24
drycreek 02-May-24
Shiloh 03-May-24
Starfire 03-May-24
Shiloh 03-May-24
Catscratch 03-May-24
Shiloh 03-May-24
Buckdeer 03-May-24
APauls 03-May-24
Shiloh 03-May-24
Corax_latrans 04-May-24
Shiloh 04-May-24
goyt 06-May-24
drycreek 06-May-24
Corax_latrans 06-May-24
WV Mountaineer 06-May-24
scentman 06-May-24
Shiloh 07-May-24
From: Shiloh
02-May-24
We have a large property in central MS and I really want to do all that I can do for the deer and turkey. I spend a LOT of money every year on fall plots and have recently been struggling with whether to do summer plots or not. We do a lot of burning in the late fall early spring and also have a lot of cutover. More importantly we have about 500 acres of new longleaf in the middle of the property that we have burned for the last 2 years and it is about knee high in green native vegitation. This makes me ask the question is it really necessary to spend more money on summer plots??? I have pretty well established durana clover in a lot of the plots that we hunt over in the fall, but other than that, there's not much variety. I feel like we have plenty of feed for our herd, but I wanted to hear the thoughts of other people knowledgeable in this area as well.

From: Shiloh
02-May-24
Oh well.....thought that I submitted this to the food plot forum and I have no idea how to move it or delete it??

From: greg simon
02-May-24
Deer need food and cover. If you manage your land for both it does not matter if you planted the food as long as it is there.

From: Jeff Durnell
02-May-24
No need. Deer evolved to eat browse. They'll be wild and healthy without farming for them.

From: Catscratch
02-May-24
Plots are fun!!! But the weeds are just as good if not better than what we bring in. Burning is a HUGE help in having a healthy herd! I'd say you've got it covered.

From: drycreek
02-May-24

drycreek's embedded Photo
drycreek's embedded Photo
If you think you have enough browse, then by all means skip the plots. I enjoy planting and seeing the results about as much as I do actually hunting. The places I hunt are a little short on browse, this is either pine tree or pasture country and deer have a hard time of it from about June until acorns fall. My spring plots don’t last but a couple months but I feel like I gave the lactating does a good boost, and the bucks a little protein too. I also feed protein on two places, my home place as well as one lease. The other lease nobody else wants to and I can’t carry the whole lease so I don’t.

From: Shiloh
03-May-24
I think y’all are right!! I’ve always done plots just because that’s what I grew up doing, but the more I hear about native browse and how much tonnage per acre there can be I wonder why I am working so hard and spending so much on plots. Same goes with feeding $12/sack protein. Kind of seems almost pointless

From: Starfire
03-May-24
Ask yourself if your deer have year around nutrition. I don't like the idea of putting in just fall "kill Plots". If your putting a lot of money in fall food plots maybe cut back so you can do some spring food plots. Providing spring/summer nutrition is important for lactating moms and growing fawns which equals bigger bucks. A buck will not develop its full antler potential until they achieve their full mature body weight.

From: Shiloh
03-May-24
Well I’m thinking the spring and summer is when I have an over abundance of food. That’s why I decided not to put in summer plots. If there is a rough period it will be August/September when browse gets dry and tough before acorns start to drop. I have heard that good clearcut habitat can produce 1000#/acre per year. That’s a lot of high quality browse on a few hundred acres.

From: Catscratch
03-May-24
Download the publication from this site and give it a read. Native plants and their nutrition vs month, and palatability. It's very good info.

https://www.noble.org/ag-publications/wildlife/quality-of-native-plant-forage-species-important-to-white-tailed-deer-and-goats-in-south-central-oklahoma/

From: Shiloh
03-May-24
Will do.......thanks!

From: Buckdeer
03-May-24
I have clover and alfalfa for summer but plant soybeans for fall,just plant fall and it will cut your expenses in half and start planting trees.Which is more addicting and expensive

From: APauls
03-May-24
How could anyone give you an answer or even opinion to this question without knowing what you have in plots, deer densities both in your land and surrounding area? Also need to know what the surrounding landscape is like both in terms of food and cover. Sorry, that’s just way way way too vague.

If there is nothing to attract them away from your property then maybe you are fine. Studies show that more bucks are homebodies than are roamers from a % standpoint. Even roamers would still include your piece. So for me, this means from a strategy standpoint I want them to think of my place as home. Summer/Fall/Winter, 24/7/365 would be ideal. If summer plots are needed to make that happen, do it. But who knows, maybe not. I’d rather have a buck living on my piece fat, sassy, and safe as the fall plots come up as opposed to hoping they move in from somewhere else.

From: Shiloh
03-May-24
Good thought APaul. I can tell you in short order that we have the best habitat around and do more than any neighbor. Most around here start feeding corn a few weeks before season and shoot most deer over bait. They definitely pull some deer from the edges, but no real way to combat this other than to feed and I started that last year only during hunting season. We have good food/water/cover 24-7/365. As far as density, all I can tell you is that we have more food than our herd can consume. I haven’t done a density estimate since 2019 I believe.

04-May-24
If you have more food than they can eat, you can’t possibly “need” more… though of course there are always preferences.

I’m never going to favor plots over a good mix of native vegetation, of course…..

But sounds like food is way down the list in terms of limiting resources. Not that it’s a long list; food, cover and mates pretty well encompasses all of it. So JMO, look at the security cover and see what you think they need more of. Is it protection from heat, or predators, or human hunting pressure, or WHAT? Maybe there’s not enough water around, or maybe the flies/mosquitos are too thick?

From: Shiloh
04-May-24
The biggest limiting factor that I can think of is neighbors who shoot young bucks!! I don’t have enough money to solve that problem!! I just wondered how many people who already have good habitat feel that plots are still a necessity. At least for now I have convinced myself that they are not even though almost everything you see tries to convince you otherwise.

From: goyt
06-May-24
I have legumes in my food plots and I do not feel that I need to plant spring plots. This time of year, there is more food than the deer can eat so I focus on fall food. However, I do feel that having plots providing some food choices is a good thing for holding deer and having healthy deer. Deer feed on the plots all year around which tells me that they are doing some good.

From: drycreek
06-May-24

drycreek's embedded Photo
Iron Clay peas, buckwheat, sunflowers, and Sunn hemp
drycreek's embedded Photo
Iron Clay peas, buckwheat, sunflowers, and Sunn hemp
drycreek's embedded Photo
This is a plot I seeded, fertized, and crimped at my lease.
drycreek's embedded Photo
This is a plot I seeded, fertized, and crimped at my lease.
This is my plot at home. I’m trying my best to go the regenerative route, that is , always have something growing so that I don’t have bare dirt and a new crop of weeds every spring and fall. If I can get away from spraying and discing it will be a win for me both in time and money. Both are important as I’m on a fixed income and getting pretty old to be riding a tractor all day. If I can seed, fertilize, and crimp that will cut my planting time in half. It starts slow though, and I have to beat the hogs as well as the deer.

06-May-24
If the Problem is hunting pressure from the neighbors, the Answer is security cover on your side of the property line. You’ll want to put it where it naturally belongs, but the closer to the center of your acreage, the better…. Maybe even carve out a Sanctuary where NOBODY ever goes….

06-May-24
If you have cutovers of young succession, you’ll have a hard time beating it year round with plots. Certain times the deer will key on food plots. But, if they have adequate browse, those times are restricted to harsh winter and when the crop comes in.

Thats based on a deer herds taste. Not when you think it’s ripe.

Personally, I’d plant fall plots. And, it’d be brassica’s or corn. So Erving to keep the weight on them until green up.

From: scentman
06-May-24
No, just corn;0) scentman

From: Shiloh
07-May-24
We have done corn before. We have 4 different fields that are about 3 acres each. This year the corn was gone before hunting season. I think if I was gonna do any more row crop I’d clean up a 40-60 acre field in the middle of the place and use it for corn or beans. I know you can fence them, but I’ve never done it.

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