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  1. #1
    Platinum Member
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    Default food plots for deer

    I'm in the process of preparing several 2-acre food plots to benefit deer herd at hunting camp, northeastern Pa. Have put down lime at about 2 tons per acre. Will check soil tests in early spring to see where we're at as far as requirements for lime and fertilizer. Ground is very rocky and not very rich. Was clear-cut several years ago from oak and pine woods.

    Have reclaimed plots using DR field and brush cutter, round-up and ATVdrag harrows. Plan to buy 30-40 hp CUT, 5-6 foot 2 row disc, york rake, medium duty bush-hog and broadcast seeder over the winter to be ready when weater breaks in spring.

    Not sure what to plant. Have read good things about clover blends. Some companies offer spring, summer and fall mixes to further confuse the issue. Does anyone know if perenial clover can be frost seeded with seeds like brassica or sugar beets for future seasons? Do you apply fertilizer before and after planting? Can lime be spread over an existing crop without screwing it up? Many, many questions and options make confusing picture.

    Hope I'm posting this in right section. Look forward to advice from more experienced folks so I'm not reinventing the wheel.

  2. #2
    Bronze Member
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    owen sound ontario
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    IH 1086, JD 3130, universal 530U

    Default Re: food plots for deer

    why not try birds foot tree foil. i don't think many hunters will say this is a good idea but they seem to like eating it when they're not welcomed [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  3. #3
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    Default Re: food plots for deer

    With the arrival of CWD in the East, I would not do anything to concentrate deer. That means no food plots. At this point how CWD is transmitted is open to conjecture but since it may be soil borne, it seems like common sense to not provide anything that will attract deer to an area.

    You may introduce a factor that ends up assisting the transmission of the disease among deer.

    Blue tongue takes off during drought years when deer concentrate near the remaining water. CWD may be similar.

  4. #4
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: food plots for deer

    Has CWD been found in deer? I know they found it in some Elk in Colorado, but the Fish and Game was responsible for that.

    I tried a few different mixes in my food plots without finding one I'd reckomend. I'm in Texas, so what works there probably won't work here. One thing to look for in allot of the mixtures is rye grass. They like to use it to fill the bags, but charge you four times as much for it compared to just buying the rye seed by itself.

    Lab-lab is a type of pea that I've heard works real well. I've also seen some amazing results with alfalfa.

    Instead of buying the pre-packaged sacks made for hunters, why not buy seeds in bulk like the farmers do? Mix it up. Half acre plots of differt types of plants. Clover in one, grain or wheet in another, peas in a third and the remaining one you could use a mix, or alfafla.

    It doesn't matter what you use, but I think it's a good idea to expirement with various plants to find the one that works the best in your area. Figure five years to get it right. That way you wont be too disapointed when the first couple of years don't work out like you'd planned.

    Good luck,
    Eddie


  5. #5
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    Default Re: food plots for deer

    Personally I believe CWD has been blown out of proportion a bit. With food plots, if it was a concern, you would have a better oportunity to asess your herd. If you saw deer that showed the signs of CWD, you could take them out before itbecame epidemic. Again I dont believe it is that big of a deal. Besides, from what I remember reading on it, it is not transmitable to humans.

    I also agree with doing your own mix. We have some feed stores around here that supply hunters in the area alot of seed. They always have good recomendations of what works. You may want to drop into your local feed store to see what they say.

  6. #6
    Gold Member
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    Central Lower Michigan
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    Kubota L3430

    Default Re: food plots for deer

    In Michigan the DNR exempts food plots from feeding rules that exist for baiting/food piles. Deer just don't get any closer to each other in a food plot as they do eating in a farmers field.

    ksmmoto

  7. #7
    Platinum Member TNhobbyfarmer's Avatar
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    Middle Tennessee
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    Kubota 3430 4WD

    Default Re: food plots for deer

    I live in Tennessee. Although I am quite a bit further south than you, I think you should be able to use plantings similar to those used here. I think that a good mixture works better than each plot having only one type of plant. I also think that you can go to a feed store or co-op and get seeds and make your own mixtures for much less $.

    I have had good success with clover, rye, oats, wheat, and austrian winter peas. A cultipacker is very handy. Since most seeds (especially smaller ones like clover) have a much better germination rate if not buried too deeply in the soil, it is better to cultipack rather than disk under the seeds. Just make a good seedbed, cultipack, sow the seeds, cultipack again and wait for rain. As long as the seeds have good contact with the soil, they don't have to be disked under.

    One word of caution; if you have a good mast year in your area and there are lots of acorns on the ground, don't expect much activity in your plots. Deer prefer acorns above all other food sources and will not use food plots much until the acorns are depleted, usually later in the deer season. This isn't a bad thing because acorns offer deer the greatest value in necessary nutrients, thus a healthier herd. In a bad mast year, they will hit your food plots much harder.

    Enjoy your planting. I get a great deal of satisfaction watching the crops as well as the wildlife using them, not to mention a good venison steak.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: food plots for deer

    CWD is in the East.

    http://www.wvdnr.gov/Hunting/ChronicWaste.shtm

    Because of the location in WV where it was found, you can bet money it's in MD, VA and PA. As for evaluating deer for CWD, unless the animal's obviously sick, you won't know a thing. There was nothing to indicate that the deer shot during the sampling were anything but healthy. It was only after testing the tissue that the CWD was found in some of the deer.

    Because of the possibility of the soil factor, attracting deer to a common location has a possible downside. I would rather let normal winter conditions kill off the weaker deer rather than maintain a higher herd level beyond what the natural vegetative state will support.

    The other problem with high levels of deer is the effect on the forests. In many places in WV the DNR's preferred deer density has wiped out the understory in the forests. Deer are browsers, not grazers. That means future hardwood production is being sacrificed to maintain an artificially higher number of deer. Keep in mind from cutting to harvest is about eighty years. Forests will only recover after the deer herd numbers return to a reasonable level.

    The decades long effort by state wildlife organizations to establish deer hunting as a sport rather than a subsistance skill has led to most hunters wanting to kill a buck rather than a doe. It doesn't take anymore skill on my part to kill a buck as compared to a doe. I'd rather shoot does and limit the herd, reduce the herd's pressure on the food supply and long term allow more bucks to live longer lives to grow that big rack that "real" hunters can bag to demonstrate their prowess.

    Anytime I can shoot deer out my kitchen window, there are too many.

  9. #9
    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: food plots for deer

    Thanks for the info on CWD. I'll read the article later on, but appreciate the link. Does it say anyplace about there being a danger to humans if they eat those deer that appear healthy, but test positive?

    I also agree that too many states don't manage their deer herds to best benefit the deer. I don't know about your area, but in CA, where I grew up, the state biologist make the reckomendations on what the season should be with certain goals they want to achieve along the the best method to achieve those results.

    Then they present this to the elected officials who veto doe hunts every year. The heards in CA are typically in the 1 in ten ratio. The ideal situation is a 1 to 1 ratio.

    I am suprised that you think it's easy to shoot does as compared to hunting a buck. Have you ever hunted in a area that has either sex hunts? Female deer are just as smart as the male ones, and as soon as people start shooting at them, they will show you just how smart they are. Same thing with deer in park, peoples back yards and in zoos. These animals behave totally different than animals that are hunted.

    As to your comment about "real" hunters and their bragging about shooting a buck with a big rack.

    I'm one of those hunters. I don't shoot baby deer or any imature animals. I enjoy the challange of hunting a mature animal that has survived several hunting seasons. I had a legal buck walk past me two days ago. In five years I may kill him if I get the oportunity, but for now, he's too small, young and dumb to be of any interest to me.

    Trophy hunters spend more money on wildlife than meat hunters, and rarely fill their tags. If I wanted meat, I'd go to the grocery store and buy it for allot cheaper than it costs to hunt it.

    Eddie



  10. #10
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    Default Re: food plots for deer

    I'm interested in reading that too.

    I with the horn hunter thing to a degree. I wont shoot a buck unless he is going on the wall. At this point, he would need to be bigger than anything that is there now.

    I prefer to eat doe's, they tend to have a better taste. I'm aware of the care, or lack there of, that makes it gamey tasting and thats not what I mean. I guess its the testosterone in the buck that gives it a different taste. So, to me if I want to shoot a deer, I'm typicly looking for a mature doe. Part of the problem we have here, along with the large herd, is that we are allowed 12 deer per season 10 must be antlerless. I think this is rediculous. The average Joe wont kill that many deer and there arent enough "hunters for the hungry" locations to donate the meat so many hunters, myself included, dont kill but a couple of deer per year. Its fun to watch them though, it doesnt help the overpopulation.

    As for the plots, when the accorns are gone, the deer tend to come to your plots. This is why we save ours for late season hunting. Basicly from the rut on.

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