Summer Plots Vs Winter Plots.

Discussion in 'Food Plots & Habitat Improvement' started by Ztachick, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. Ztachick

    Ztachick Weekend Warrior

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    So redirect me if this have been brought up but I cant find the Info anywhere.

    Background of this basically I am going to be purchasing some land possibly in the next few months so I am trying to do all the research on can in the mean time for food plots.

    So question is for summer and winter plots when do you mainly till up and replant the plot depending on the season? I have read that you do not want two separate plots for summer and winter but never found the info of when to plant. I just don't want to plant for a winter plot in the last week of August/ first week of September then have bow open here in Wisconsin 2 weeks later and have my land stirred up from going in and out for that week span. Just wondering if someone can give me some info on this.
     
  2. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    There are so many different ways of going about food plotting...however understand first that what implements you have at your disposal can impact recommendations for attacking this.

    Also know that planting dates vary due to locations in the US, and expected temperatures. I wouldn't have the same planting windows (in Indiana) as you would up in Wisconsin.

    Basic plotting techniques vary, but know you can most definitely have separate or the same plots for summer/fall depending on what you want to do.

    We've almost always focused on fall plots and ignored spring/summer but the year we really did attempt to attack spring plots we surely saw an uptick of deer activity that year as they had more consistent food sources.

    For the most part depending on density of deer and size of plotting available a great summer plot is soybeans, but not just because deer like them but because they fix nitrogen. Then in the fall one can simply broadcast seeds of their choice into the dying beans which will hopefully have canopied and have viable dirt exposed for seeding brassicas or cereal grains into them. They will produce fall/winter forage as well as if you plant a cereal grain like Winter Rye you'll have spring green up and food source then as well....and you can start the entire cycle back over.

    On smaller scales where beans won't work, I've had great success with buckwheat/cereal grains and peas in the spring...then same options in the fall...this requires more fertilizer though as I don't have the nitrogen fixing beans.

    Another great option is clover/chicory blend. Both once established can withstand mowing high and will provide great protein levels and in right conditions can thrive well into 5 years or more. I like over seeding clover spots each spring before green up....or frost seeding it.
     
  3. MistaWondaBread

    MistaWondaBread Weekend Warrior

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    Going to be honest, a lot of the time I just rake the summer plot and rebroadcast. The heat down here kills everything and it's decaying by the time august rolls around. I start planting in march down here in GA, but it all depends on where you are. Generally, I plant my winter plots in august, again, it all depends on where you live. I plant brassicas, rye and oats for the winter, Deer love the soybeans down here, so I plant those in the spring.

    Check out the QDMA website, they have a lot of good info on all of it.
     
  4. CoveyMaster

    CoveyMaster Grizzled Veteran

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    Agree with Tyni, there are so many options it's almost hard to decide which course of action is going to fit you best.

    In my part of the world, we have so much summer crop that spring planted food plots are almost unnecessary. Also considering I've worked some cereal grains back in to my crop rotations and I'm now producing my own winter cover crops for seed so we have a lot of forage over winter and spring anyway. Deer would use spring/summer planted plots of course but it really just doubles the amount of work I have to do for minimal benefit to the deer herd.

    What I'm doing is transitioning to more perennial food plots so I don't have to cover so many food plot acres so many times per year. I've put and am putting in, more acres of ladino clover, mixed clovers and chicory, sanfoin plots, alfalfa plots. I'm going to do about half our plot acres in those to fill what food gaps we have. My priority is to provide consistent and reliable high protein nutrition, secondary goal is to enhance hunting in fall and early winter. I can easily accomplish goal two with half or less of our total food plot acres and it'll save me a lot of time planting, spraying and caring for so much summer plot stuff. We have 100 acres of dedicated plots so having to cover that much ground twice a year, once for spring summer plots then again to replant it in winter plots is just not very efficient for me.

    Besides the perennial plots are going to be great for my honey bees and other pollinators. Also if I get cattle worked into the ranch, I can graze them over rather than having to mow them a couple times per year. This kind of a hybrid system is going to be more sustainable, more efficient, cheaper and more reliable for the deer and a way for me to make money from the plots rather than pouring money and time into them. If something happens and I can't get annual plots in then I can rest easier knowing the deer have good high nutrition food sources readily available 100 percent of the time. This is even going to let me transition out of relying on feeders which is stupid expensive and time consuming. It will also help take some browse pressure off my cash crops.

    So my point is that if anyone said you can't have two dedicated plots they are wrong. I think it's far better for the deer and for the plot maker of any scale. Even if I had just two 1 acre plots, my opinion is it would be worth while to do half of each one in perennials and half in annual if annuals are wanted at all. Some annuals would be useful to add in some diversity and to hunt.
     
  5. w33kender

    w33kender Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Agreed. And rotate the annual half each respective season. Good advice.
     
  6. Ztachick

    Ztachick Weekend Warrior

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    Thanks Tyni that helps alot. I was just trying to read and watch videos on what people have done for theirs and just know that depending on the area with wild plants that can feed the deer if there isn't an abundant amount to keep them in the area late season and spring plots are a good idea. That true? Because if that is the case ill just kind of have to scout better if I purchase land to see if that is something that the land can take care of.
     
  7. MistaWondaBread

    MistaWondaBread Weekend Warrior

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    Deer will go for the easy access food. A good example is the peanut field near my property, I put in my food plot in and the deer all but ignore the peanut field, since my food plot is closer to their bedding area, and it has good cover, they prefer to use it. If my plot sucks one year, or gets pounded too hard at the start, they will switch. Food plots for sure will help deer stay in the area, and if you can complement that with good transition zones and easy access (don't plant it in such a way that they only have one way in and one way out) they will stick around. I'm all about getting does on my food plots, if I can hook them in the spring, then I generally will have them there in the fall if I keep the food plot going, this means that during the rut, bucks are much more likely to come to that food plot if there are does and food.
     
  8. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    Native brows will always provide more of the deer's food ingestion...however, plots allow one to centralize their activities. I always tell people don't overlook encouragement of regular native brows (weeds are included) in their overall habitat plan...just plots alone are good but added diversity and native brows will always turn the property into something special.
     
  9. elkguide

    elkguide Grizzled Veteran

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    There have been a lot of good ideas so far. I have plenty of equipment and can do whatever I want. For me it comes down to time.

    With all of the crops being grown on the land currently, I try to have some alternatives that can interest and attract the deer. Apples are a big attractant here and I have food plots near apple trees. I like to have clover in all of my plots. I will frequently have a strip of clover with a strip of winter rye/wheat and maybe a strip of brassicas in the same plot. Clover plots need to be cut at least once in the summer, usually twice, and seem to be appealing to deer for about 4 years and then they need to be replanted.
     
  10. Ztachick

    Ztachick Weekend Warrior

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    Thanks guys this all helps alot.
     

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