Fall Food Plots for Deer- It's time!

Fall Food Plots for Deer- It's time!

At Legacy Farms and Ranches of North Carolina one of our great passions is the stewarding of land. One of the ways in which we do that is by planting food sources for wildlife, in particular white-tailed deer. As gun season is just around the corner bringing cool weather with it, we wanted to educate you about planting food sources for your deer herd.

Planting a fall food plot can be a great way to attract and provide nutrition for wildlife, especially deer, during the fall and winter months. Here are some steps to consider when planting a fall food plot:

Choose the Right Location: Select a suitable location for your food plot. Look for an area with good soil quality, proper sunlight, and accessibility for maintenance and hunting.

Soil Testing: Before planting, it's essential to conduct a soil test. This will help you determine the soil's pH level and nutrient content. You may need to amend the soil with lime or fertilizer to achieve the right pH and nutrient balance.

Select the Right Seeds: Choose appropriate seeds for your region and the wildlife you want to attract. Common fall food plot options include:

  • Cool-Season Forages: These include clover, chicory, and various brassicas (like turnips, radishes, and rape). They provide excellent nutrition during the fall and winter.
  • Cereal Grains: Wheat, oats, and rye are good choices for fall plots.
  • Legumes: Planting legumes like alfalfa or clover can also provide nutrition and nitrogen fixation.

Prepare the Soil: Clear the area of existing vegetation and debris. Use a disk harrow or plow to break up the soil. Depending on the size of your plot, you may use hand tools or mechanized equipment.

Seed Bed Preparation: Create a smooth seedbed by using a cultipacker or drag harrow. Ensure the soil is fine and firm for optimal seed-to-soil contact.

Planting: Follow the recommended seeding rate and depth for the specific seeds you've chosen. Most fall food plot seeds should be planted at a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

Fertilize: Based on your soil test results, apply the necessary fertilizers to ensure proper nutrient levels.

Maintenance: Regularly monitor and maintain your food plot. This includes weed control, mowing (if necessary), and ensuring adequate moisture, especially during dry spells.

Deer Protection: Consider installing fencing or using other methods to protect your food plot from excessive deer browsing until the plants are established.

Hunting Strategy: If your primary goal is to attract deer for hunting, position your stands or blinds in strategic locations near the food plot where you can observe deer activity.

Timing: Plant your fall food plot several weeks before the expected frost date in your area. This timing allows the plants to establish themselves before colder weather sets in.

Winter Maintenance: Depending on your location, you may need to provide supplemental food or allow the plot to stand for winter forage.

Remember that success with a fall food plot may take time and effort. It's essential to be patient and maintain the plot properly to achieve your goals, whether that's wildlife management or enhancing your hunting experience. Additionally, local wildlife and environmental factors can influence the success of your food plot, so be flexible and adapt your approach as needed.

We hope that you will have a successful harvest this upcoming season. Please reach out to us at Legacy Farms for any land management needs. Happy planting and happy hunting!


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