It’s hard to beat a well-planted, high quality food plot for deer hunting in the fall. Whitetail just pour into them, especially when they are tucked away along a creek or river or at the base of a draw. There are many species that are planted to deer food plots during the cool season, but clover food plots for whitetail deer are some of the very best. Nitrogen-rich clovers are coveted by deer, especially mature bucks. I’ve had many successful hunting trips over clovers.
For a perennial clover food plot, it is hard to beat Durana. If you only want to plant an annual clover, then I would recommend with either Apache Arrowleaf or Dixie Crimson. Both are pretty dependable re-seeders as far as clovers go and work well for food plots for deer hunting. Despite the fact that these varieties are technically annuals, you will see a good amount of reseeding in the following years. Keep in mind, the annual clovers will primarily grow from September through about April or May. The perennial clovers will pretty much grow year round.
Clover can be planted during the warm season, but you will definitely better off planting Durana, Apache Arrowleaf or Dixie Crimson clovers in the fall. I typically use the summer to work the seed bed. First, I disk the plot, then wait a few weeks until growth appears, then hit it with roundup to take care of the weeds. If you don’t want to spend the money on roundup or can not get your hands on it, just keep disking the food plot area when new growth appears. By fall planting you should have a good seed bed prepared for the clover plot.
To ensure a successful winter plot, and hopefully deer hunting season, I fertilize a new clover planting with 250 to 300 pounds of 19-19-19 fertilizer. Once the plot is established you will not need to fertilize with any nitrogen because the clovers fix (make) their own since they are legumes. If you seed a perennial clover, you can keep the plot going strong by hitting the plot with a round of 0-20-20 fertilizer (if you plant the perennial clover) once or twice a year. We have a 3 acre of Durana clover food plot that has not been fertilized in 3 years and it’s still going strong. Deer love it!