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Author Topic: West Central Food Plots  (Read 1964 times)

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Offline Bush_84

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Hello all.  Glad to have found this forum.  I'm hoping I can learn from the people here. I live west of Alexandria.  We are a big agriculture area.  Acre upon acre of corn and soybeans with small patches of woods in between.  I'm looking to see what kind of food plots people are planting in Minnesota. I have been binge watching Jeff Sturgis' videos on youtube and I have learned a lot. I rifle hunted a lot as a kid, but fell out of hunting once I did my undergraduate and graduate studies.  I then had kids.  So it wasn't until last year that I got back into hunting and want to focus on bow hunting.  I live on 8 acres that has a wooded area on the north side and I get few does bedding down in there.  My dad owns a ~36 acre plot that's bordered on a lake and has maybe 2/3rds field that gets a corn/soybeans rotation.  He bought the property last year so we haven't really done a lot out there yet.  If it were up to me I'd ditch the field and turn it all into a deer paradise, but that's not gonna happen.  I think I've convinced him to put a food plot out there that might get to about an acre.  I've got two spots at my place setup for food plots that will combined be a little less than 0.5 acre.  I plan on putting a mock scrape/stick and a watering hole on the bigger of the two. They both are bordering the woods and are fairly sheltered (considering putting switchgrass where they aren't).  I have another spot that's another 0.5 acre that I'm mowing and not otherwise using. This space isn't particularly sheltered.  The woods is on the north edge of my property and thins way out to a single line of trees on the east with corn surrounding all sides of my property. This other space is on the ne side of my property.

So I guess my first question is what is everybody planting?  My bet so far has been brassica and maybe winter rye.  With all the ag surrounding me I don't think I will ever be a draw for deer until the fields are harvested, which is why fall/winter oriented food plots have been my conclusion.  Since my plots are also fairly small I want to maximize what I can do with this space.  I am favoring a heavy mix of turnips and radish as they have above and below ground forage.  Maybe a small amount of kale as it is more cold tolerant than rape.  My plan is to make my own mix and see if local co-ops have seed for sale. 

Also I'm tempted to spray that 0.5 acre spot and turn it into a food plot.  Not sure what my wife thinks as she is rolling her eyes at all of this, but IMO it's better than having to keep mowing it.  Maybe it's best to plant some periennal plot in that space and keep my two smaller plots as bassica kill plots.  Thoughts?

My dad is old school.  Just put a stand out and the deer will come type.  I'm trying to gradually introduce him to new ideas and allow this to be his idea.  I'd like to get two separate one acre food plots at his property, but one of the areas gets quite wet when it rains and the other will cut into the field.  For this year we have two strips of corn 8 rows thick 600 feet long, but the corn is bordering a wooded area and is largely stunted.  It is however the only corn left standing in the area. All of the fields are done.  We will see.  I've been working firearm opener. My dad and brother have been sitting, but it's been all around quiet. 

Offline mike89

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welcome and you will get lots of reply's for this..  there are so many things you can plant for deer.  how far west of Alex are you??
a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work!!

Offline Bush_84

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welcome and you will get lots of reply's for this..  there are so many things you can plant for deer.  how far west of Alex are you??

About 20 minutes.  I'm more specifically (but not to specific) north of Kensington and east of Hoffman. 

Offline mike89

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nice country that way...   
a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work!!

Offline Bush_84

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nice country that way...

I've always enjoyed having corn for neighbors, but I will be honest that I've been blessed to have had great neighbors my entire life. 

Offline dakids

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Soft mast.  Apple, pears, and plums.  You must cage them to protect from deer and rabbits.  Bedding.  Pines and spruce.  You will also need to protect the pines.
Anything that is free is worth saving up for.

Offline Bush_84

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Soft mast.  Apple, pears, and plums.  You must cage them to protect from deer and rabbits.  Bedding.  Pines and spruce.  You will also need to protect the pines.

Interestingly I planned on planting a wind/snow break on the south end of my property.  My plan was to start with hybrid willow on the outside to grow quickly.  From there white spruce, white pine, plum, and red osier dogwood.  My wooded area is already quite thick and won't really benefit from any hinge cutting.  My dad's place will however and we plan on doing some hinge cuts in the spring.  I've got three apple trees, two pear trees, and a couple of oak.  All are to young to do a lot yet.  One of the apple trees gets me some apples and one of the oak will get a few acorns.  My long term goal was to plant a new fruit tree or two each year until I've got what I deem to be enough lol.  We also have a good amount of wild raspberry close to the woods. 

Offline dakids

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Best time to plant a tree is yesterday. Next best is today.
Anything that is free is worth saving up for.

Offline dakids

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Make your plots irregular shape or divide.  So the buck has to enter the plot to see everything or move past you to see everything
Anything that is free is worth saving up for.

Offline dakids

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Use some of the hinge cuts to funnel the deer where they enter the plots.  If there are old fences don't remove them.  Cut a whole in it where you want the deer to walk.  Deer would rather walk through an opening than jump a fence.
Anything that is free is worth saving up for.

Offline Bush_84

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Dakids is that your way of saying don’t procrastinate or literally plant in the fall? I was going to buy seedlings from the dnr as I’d need like five rows at 600 feet each.

Also a good thought on food plot shape. Because of my limited space I have what I have. They are small enough where I don’t think getting a shot is going to be an issue but more so where can I put a stand where I can get in and out without being noticed.

I like the idea of hinge cuts for directing flow. I had read previously that deer don’t like places where there are few options for entrance and exit. Have you experienced this?  The woods at my place is already incredibly thick and I feel that I can’t really improve much with hinge cuts but my dads place is another story. His biggest wooded area must have been planted but it’s all rows. The border is thick with brush but once you get inside you can see down the rows easily. Jeff sturgis’ videos always talk about depth of cover. I want to create that with hinge cuts. Diagonally zig/zag bedding areas throughout to create cover and what Jeff calls hardwood regeneration. A lot of trees in there that are good for hinge cuts.


Offline dakids

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Dakids is that your way of saying don’t procrastinate or literally plant in the fall? I was going to buy seedlings from the dnr as I’d need like five rows at 600 feet each.

Also a good thought on food plot shape. Because of my limited space I have what I have. They are small enough where I don’t think getting a shot is going to be an issue but more so where can I put a stand where I can get in and out without being noticed.

I like the idea of hinge cuts for directing flow. I had read previously that deer don’t like places where there are few options for entrance and exit. Have you experienced this?  The woods at my place is already incredibly thick and I feel that I can’t really improve much with hinge cuts but my dads place is another story. His biggest wooded area must have been planted but it’s all rows. The border is thick with brush but once you get inside you can see down the rows easily. Jeff sturgis’ videos always talk about depth of cover. I want to create that with hinge cuts. Diagonally zig/zag bedding areas throughout to create cover and what Jeff calls hardwood regeneration. A lot of trees in there that are good for hinge cuts.

Don't procrastinate.   I learned the irregular plot from Deadeye. .

I'm not saying to cut a lot of trees to funnel the deer.  Just a few trees.  Say to force a deer to enter a plot at 20 yards instead of 35 yards.  I've dropped a few trees to stop them from entering the food plot right under my stand.
Anything that is free is worth saving up for.

Offline Bush_84

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I'll have to think about that a bit before I decide what I'd want to do with hinge cuts to control movement.  I'm not sure that we have our stand locations definitively setup where we want them to be long term yet. 

Any specific food plot plants that people suggest?  Again my thought is to be heavy on the turnip and radish while being lighter on the kale.  I am considering the no till buckwheat in the spring so I don't have to alternate my fall food plots. 

Offline dakids

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Clover or rye grain
Anything that is free is worth saving up for.

Offline Bush_84

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Clover or rye grain

For my own education, why?  I get the rye being a nice fall/winter food. It stays green with cold and snow but why clover?  My understanding is that’s only a summer plot.

Offline dakids

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Not the whole plot.  Add it in.  Deer like a variety.  We have clover on all our trails.  Gets eaten all year. You also don't need to plant it every year.  It's a perennial.
Anything that is free is worth saving up for.

Offline Bush_84

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Not the whole plot.  Add it in.  Deer like a variety.  We have clover on all our trails.  Gets eaten all year. You also don't need to plant it every year.  It's a perennial.

What clover do you use?  A mix or single variety?

Online glenn57

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welcome and you will get lots of reply's for this..  there are so many things you can plant for deer.  how far west of Alex are you??

About 20 minutes.  I'm more specifically (but not to specific) north of Kensington and east of Hoffman.
you do know we'll eventually find you!! :sleazy: :evil: :rotflmao:

Welcome aboard!!
2015 deer slayer!!!!!!!!!!

Offline dakids

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Not the whole plot.  Add it in.  Deer like a variety.  We have clover on all our trails.  Gets eaten all year. You also don't need to plant it every year.  It's a perennial.

What clover do you use?  A mix or single variety?

We went to the local feed mill and got a mix.  After 4 or 5 years it's mostly red clover.  Pretty hardy variety.
Anything that is free is worth saving up for.