All too often I get asked about what I plant for my food plots for whitetails. The truth is that far too regularly I see hunters planting things that have no real draw or affect on a whitetail’s movements or habits.
The shelves of every feed store, department store and sporting goods outlet are slammed full of products that claim to be some magic potion that will draw in even the most wary of old bucks. The honest truth of the matter is that few seed crops sold as deer attractants hold any real value as such. No more value than common grass growing in the pipeline or pasture you already hunt on and even the best ones will not draw in a wary mature buck.
We need to examine the real reason for a food plot. The big 170 inch buck on the bag will almost never be caught in your 50 by 30 hunting patch unless he is chasing the does that will come to eat in it. Planting some oats or winter wheat a month prior to opening day just wont yield the desired results you want if your target is a giant buck. What it will do is draw in does. Young fresh does that will soon be in estrus and that should be your target for a food plot.
Now by saying target I don’t mean that is the animal you are going after to harvest. What I mean is that in order to kill a good buck you need to hunt the does-whether on food plots or not. Use the does to your advantage and hunt them as the lure. Use the food plot to bring in the doe and then the doe to bring in the bucks. The hardest part is figuring out what food crop will bring in the those does.
In my long experience with planting I have learned a lot of great things. First and foremost is that keep is simple. If you will eat it then deer love it. Purple hull peas, Soybeans and just about any delicious table pea will draw deer. That does not mean they will flourish in the hot months that is usually the planting time in Texas but the fact remains deer love them. Turnip greens and beets are sturdy and grow well as well as will withstand cooler weather so they last longer. Clover and tender grasses such as winter wheat do well.
I tend to like to plant watermelons in the summer and once they stop producing disk them under and replant with peas and maybe soybeans. I will mix in a few varieties of clover, turnips and beets. This combination seems to make a good plot that does seem to like.
There are many great commercial seed blends that work great and if you have one then keep using it but remember there are far more useless seed blends designed to do nothing more than separate a hunter from the hard earned money they willingly will spend. Try my advice and see what happens. For this year it’s probably too late but you can observe the food plots you hunt and see if you need to make adjustments next year.
But remember you need to draw in the does and hunt them as if they were sold in a bag.