Food Plot for Deer and Turkey | Planting Simple and Easy Food Plots
Planting season might sneak up on the weary and unprepared. Consider yourself warned, the spring and late summer will be here quicker than you think. This season’s arrival will start turning gears in your head, from turkeys to food plots, or maybe both. You will start thinking like many hunters, which dream of a huge tract of prime hunting ground. This dream property is abundant with great access, tillable fields, and beautiful soils. Well wake up! Welcome back to reality. The real world is cruel to you, the enthusiastic and determined hunter. Reality leaves us with little to make our dreams come true. So what can you do? Believe it or not, the simplest and easiest food plot for deer and turkey can also be the most effective!
Many don’t realize that establishing a great food plot for deer and turkey can be very simple and in some cases require little effort. That dream plot is wonderful but lower your expectations if you don’t have heavier equipment. However, you can still put in an effective plot that will meet and possibly exceed your expectations.
For those enthusiasts eager to plant, but lacking equipment, time, land, and/or money – you will be forced into settling with a smaller plot. These small, simple, and easy food plots for deer and turkey need to be planted with a food plot species that meets three main requirements. Lacking on just one of these requirements might lead to complete food plot failure due to the nature of the plots. So what are the requirements your food plot species of choice has meet?
1.) First off whatever species you put into your plot must be able to survive heavy browsing pressure. Sure the amount of pressure will be dependent on deer densities, but in most situations these small plots will be hammered.
2.) The size of the plot also accounts for the second requirement, shade tolerance. With the lack of equipment, you’ll be forced to put in a plot wherever you can. This might often mean an opening in the woods or section of previous pasture ground surrounded by trees. Either way odds are there is a fair amount of shade cast across the area. Your food plot species of choice needs to be able to handle these conditions while still putting on growth.
3.) To start growing the seed needs to have contact with soil. With little equipment and only a few tricks up your sleeve the smallest and most easily established seeds will work wonders in these food plots for deer and turkey.
Clovers are the hands down winner when it comes to meeting these requirements. There are many types of clovers to choose from. The most-favored clover for these plots are the whites and more specifically ladino or Durana. Ladino or Durana clover are a perfect species, offering exceptional growth under high browse pressure and some shade. Its bundled in a small seed making it perfect for establishment especially in a case without using equipment. They are also perennials which means they can last for several years without replanting.
Food Plot Establishment
The first step to creating your food plot for deer and turkey is preparing your selected site. First off, get the soil right! Clover is easy to grow but for the hunter with that luscious plot in mind you’ll need to give it a push. It needs nutrients to grow! Take soil samples, send it to the lab, and follow the recommendations for the food plot of your dreams.
If you have equipment, great! You’re most likely already used to planting. For those without it, there is still a solution! You will experience the best results in your plot by spraying glyphosate (RoundUp) first. Spraying glyphosate will kill any weeds in the plot at first, follow up maintenance with different sprays will be needed later. Adding fire and burning to the food plot establishment will remove the dead plant matter. If you’re stuck with landowners afraid of fire then take a weed-eater, blower, and hard rake to the site, roll those sleeves up. This insures good seed to soil contact and will result in a well-established plot. The next step is actually seeding the food plot for deer and turkey.
Whether you’re planting with or without equipment you need to get the food plot for deer or turkey planted. This means getting the seed on or in the ground. With clover needing to be planted no more than ¼” deep, you have the ability to plant using Gods own equipment, the rain or the frost. Simply broadcasting the clover using the frost seeding technique during the winter/early spring thaw is perhaps the best method. Later in the spring wait for a good solid rain to broadcast the seed into. These methods will result in a green plot full of lush clover ready for deer to browse and turkeys to bug in. Keeping it that way is your next step.
Food Plot Maintenance
Clover plots experience competition from both grasses and broadleaves. Using the herbicides Clethodim and Sethoxydim (Poast or Arrest) will kill grasses but not broadleaves. To kill broadleaves you will need 2,4-DB (2,4-dichlorophenoxy)butyric. With herbicides and a little extra seed every year you can keep clover plots going for 3-5 years or more!
Food Plot Value in Effectiveness
These small clover plots are simple to establish and easy to keep going, but they can also be particularly effective. These plots are often the most secluded, making them predominantly favorable to deer and turkey, especially in daylight before they work their way out into larger food plots or crop fields. Keeping the plots under as little pressure as possible until hunting season could pay off huge.
The small nature, shade tolerance, and ability to be established without equipment means you can place the plot in those once untouchable spots. As hunters we have run into those areas before. The small old field, or small group of trees that, with a little work, could be the perfect staging area to stick a giant in. Or perhaps it’s the once unreachable opening right next to the turkey roosts that lacked a certain draw factor. Turning that opening into a clover food plot for deer and turkey could now be a perfect place to decoy hunt in or to catch toms in the afternoon.
Food plots for deer and turkey don’t have to be difficult. In reality the most basic plots are often the most effective. This year put a food plot in the once untouchable areas of your property with these simple and easy clover food plots.