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Author Topic: Plotting for the deer herd  (Read 1540 times)

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Offline Big E

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Many of you are getting into plotting which is AWESOME and I hope you keep doing it. You may not know it but normally (Not this yr due to the warm weather) this is the most crucial period for deer population as a whole. On most yrs we have snow yet and nothing has germinated yet and all the food has been picked through all winter. The pregnant Doe is coming into her 3rd trimester in which 82% of the fetal growth occurs. A doe with not enough fat or food that is carrying twin fawns will abbort one to save energy and make sure she has at least one healthy fawn.
 This is when YR round food plotting comes into play. Is there one thing that is better to plant then yes. It all depends on what is provided for them in your area. If there is plenty of corn and bean fields around you then you should try to plant something that will last into the winter months and something for early spring. I'll list some options and explain some pros and cons if there is any.

Corn- is great but only if you have a big field of it. Corn doesn't provide a lot of food for the deer if you have less than 10 acres or so. A deer herd can go through a lot of corn in a short period of time, but if you have the acres and can sacrafice not havesting the corn it is great bedding cover and food. Great Fall-winter food source it you plant enough of it.

Beans- We all know what deer do to beans from the minute they pop out of the ground. They provide a lot for a deer heard but again you want a pretty big area. Standing beans in the winter is probably the biggest draw for deer. We planted 5 acres last yr and I didn't have a pod on my beans for muzzeloader! This is a great summer-winter (if they can last into winter) food source.

Clover- really doesn't have any cons now a days. Many of the clovers in mixes today are very cold hearty and deer will dig through snow to get at it. Makes for a yr round food source for deer. It's easy to establish and keep up. It provides protien which is the key to healthy Does, Fawns and Bigger Bucks. It can be planted in spring or fall and does great things for your soil like producing nitrogen. Great for a yr round plot!

Brassicas and Rape- This is my favorite. This can be a food source that the deer will depend on in the stressful winter months. Here in Northern MN I plant mine in the spring on already established weed free plots. If your deer eat them in the fall they will eat them in the spring and summer. Brassica mixes can get up to or close to 40% protein. The turnip bulbs will winter over and deer will dig them up all winter long. Brassicas provide the most tonage per acre. They can be planted in the fall aslo. You will see a difference in how big your plants get if you fertilize them. The love nitrogen!    Summer-late winter

Cereal Grain- Oats, Rye Grain, Peas, Tricticale, Wheat These are great to have growing on your property. You want to plant them in the FALL though. The deer like it young and tender. Plant very thick too! We're planting for deer not a fall harvest. 120-150lbs a acre. (except peas) All deer love these. Some benefit your deer and you more than others.

Oats- are a deer favorite but will die at around 34 degrees. Buck Forage Oats, Winter Oats or whatever they all will die within a few degrees of eachother. Great stuff to hunt over though but not for a deer herd plot.  Fall

Wheat and Tricticale are awesome to plant and will green up in the spring again. Very big draw for deer. Cold hearty and can provide food into the winter months.

RYE GRAIN- Is my absolute favorite and most BULLETPROOF thing to plant. Be sure it's Rye Grain or Winter Rye.....NOT RYE GRASS! Rye Grain will grow on the hood of your truck practically. Rye will store nitrogen and not use it, it stays green all winter long, It will keep growing at 34 degrees! You may not notice it but it's still growing in November. It is the first thing to pop up and start growing in the spring. It will germinate and continue growing at 38 degrees. It grows faster than wheat. Plant into standing corn and beans for more of a draw and more food for deer. It handles low ph soils better than the rest. Protien levels are 3%-5% higher than wheat also. If you can plant a big enough plot to where the deer allow it to be 8 inches or so going into december you will find your antler sheds in these plots. It's also a natural weed control. Not only because it grows so fast but because it releases allelopathic chemicals that prevent small seeeds from germinating.           Fall-Spring

Peas- This stuff is deer candy and they will wipe out a plot in a hury. You should mix this in with any of the cereal grains listed above. Lay them on thick too (20-40lbs a acre) because the deer will walk through the plot picking each pea plant that is available. If the deer aren't eating you peas then you don't have deer.

I hope this helps you in deciding what you should plant this yr and yrs to come. The main thing is having yr round food for deer. The more food and cover you can provide the more deer you can hold on your property. If you're just starting out plant something you can hunt over when you'll be in your stand. This way you will get the urge to do more of it. Every plant has it's time that they're the most attractive to deer. You pick when you want that deer in front of you.
Let the small bucks walk. Don't assume the neighbors will shoot them if you don't. If you shoot him what chance does that buck have to grow......ZERO!