Hunters prep for deer season

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 6, 2007


With deer season just around the corner, hunters have been in high gear preparing food plots to lure the elusive whitetails, but the succulent grasses do more than that.

Food plots planted these days provide year-round nutrition for deer, and also double as food for wild turkey, doves, quail. It is estimated hunters spend more than $35 million a year on food plots for wild game.

Email newsletter signup

Dallas County and the Black Belt are the favorite hunting grounds of choice for hunters from all over the United States.

Early fall is the best time to plant food plots, which ideally will be in their prime as the foliage in the woods dies out, luring wild game to the lush greens and keeping them in the area near the food source.

The top seller this year is a BioLogic product called Green Patch Plus. It consists of a mixture of wheat, oats, brassicas and clovers.

A 40-pound sack of the top seller plants one acre. Veteran hunters say the average size of food plots varies depending of the size of the hunting preserve, but are rarely over an acre.

According to the BioLogic web site, their products are developed in laboratories and field-tested. The company is sharing secrets to successful food plot yields.

Make the most of your calendar

BioLogic forage blends are developed for specific applications and specific regions of the country, and planting dates and instructions will vary depending on your location. Never assume that what works in the north will work in the south or anywhere in between.

What about weeds?

If you’re a grower who notices some grasses coming up along with your perennial food plot, here’s some good news. You can spray any type of herbicide that will not kill a broadleaf. Poast for example, will kill the grasses while allowing plots to flourish.

Pay attention to your pH

Most soils across the whitetails’ range are acidic, which isn’t good for food plot crop growth or nutritional value. Acidic soil reduces microbial and insect activity, eliminates helpful bacteria and traps critical fertilizer nutrients so the plants can’t use them. A pH test will tell you how your soil measures up &045;addition of lime will turn acidic soil into a perfect bed for an effective food plot.

What makes a successful food plot crop?

Certain characteristics will always vary depending on region, critter and time of year, but here’s a basic rule of thumb: Forage must be palatable (so deer keep coming back), produce ample tonnage (so they can eat all they want), and be digestible (so it does their bodies good).

Good digestion takes guts

All critters are not created equal &045; a cow’s stomach is designed to digest grass, the whitetail’s belly isn’t. That’s what makes BioLogic crops stand out over standard forage &045; tested blends are made so deer can efficiently digest the proteins and cell structure and gain maximum nutrition.

Help the plants put down roots

Ideally, a plant should be allowed to establish its root system and become browse-tolerant (not harmed by constant browsing) before it becomes palatable. This characteristic has been bred into BioLogic forage Brassicas. And the new Plot Protector protects blends not equipped to fend for themselves.

Low temp, high taste

While cold temperatures can reduce a plant’s vitality and taste, BioLogic Brassicas are proven to remain palatable after several frosts and freezes, long after most clover varieties are “burned” by frost and unavailable to deer.

It’s not how many crops there is, it’s how much the critters eat that counts.

Yield is measured in tonnage per acre of digestible forage produced, digestible being the key word here. For example, deer don’t eat mature wheat or oat stalk – only the leafy portions, and only during their grass stage. So don’t judge yield by quantity of forage a plot produces &045; judge it by the quantity a deer is going to eat.

Prepare your soil a month in advance

Since most whitetail habitat is acidic, the addition of lime is key to a healthy crop. For best results, apply lime well in advance of planting, so the soil has plenty of time to prepare itself for maximum productivity. About 30 days should do it.