Food Plots for Hunters

Cultivate food plot seed for attracting deer and other wildlife for hunting.

  • The right food plot seed will attract your target prey.
    Photo by David Hart
  • A food plot for attracting deer will help you put food on the table.
    Photo by David Hart
  • Preparing a food plot will take some ground work.
    Photo by David Hart
  • Clover is a popular plant for food plots.
    Photo by Quality Deer Management Association;
  • A small tractor and seed spreader will make quick work of planting.
    Photo by David Hart
  • Soil testing will help you determine the nutrients your soil needs.
    Photo by David Hart
  • Low-growing plants make it easier to trek through fields.
    Photo by David Hart

Whether you hunt for food, for the challenge, or a little of both, a field of clover, oats, or chicory grown specifically for deer can help you put more venison in the freezer. Food plots attract deer to a specific location, and they help keep them on your acreage. They can tip the odds in your favor, especially helpful if you only have a small piece of property or if hunting pressure is heavy around your land.

Be warned, though: Planting food plots can be just as addictive as hunting them. They can be frustrating and rewarding at the same time, and there’s no guarantee your hunting success will improve. You still have to hunt.

So are they worth it? The answer becomes obvious when you watch deer filter out of the surrounding woods and browse on a plot you built. Just seeing a lush field of clover where nothing but weeds grew before is rewarding enough for some. Going from a field of grass and weeds to a plot filled with whitetails requires a number of critical steps.

Hot spots

First, choose the right location. Nothing matters more than adequate sunlight. No matter what you plant, it will need at least four hours of direct sun. This is a primary reason food plots built in deep woods fail. The overhead canopy blocks too much light.

A good rule of thumb is to place plots on the north or east side of a field, or in a location that gets full, direct sun throughout much of the day. Some plants like clover will get by with a little less sun, but the more it gets, the better it will grow.

If you have the option, choose a location that has the best soil. A good indication of soil quality is the plants that are already growing. If they are healthy, vibrant, and lush, you’ve likely got a good spot. Of course, you can grow just about any plant in any type of soil, if it is properly amended, so don’t fret if your best location isn’t filled with a jungle of native plants.

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