Question: “What can I plant in early December into deer plots, if anything, to benefit whitetail and turkey in western Louisiana? I have never attempted to plant this late in the hunting season but have an opportunity and figured would do my best to take advantage of it. The landowner of one of the small properties I deer hunt just cleared on either side of the access road through a wooded area. He wants to put something down now to prevent erosion. He asked if I wanted anything in particular planted for the deer, since I typically try to take a deer or two off of the property. I really have no idea what might work best for soil stabilization and as a food plot for deer and turkey and anything else. My first thought was ryegrass, of course, but would appreciate any suggestions.”
Response: It sounds like the landowner has done you a huge favor on this small acreage property. Woodlands are prime for whitetail deer and turkey will visit this recently disturbed site to take advantage of cool season forbs! So will the deer. Of course, ryegrass is the most sure fire way to stop soil erosion. However, the most beneficial planting(s) would be those that would add to the overall health, weight and minerals for both deer and wild turkey. Whitetail deer are more in tune to phosphorus, calcium, manganese and iron, whereas turkeys are more in tune to phosphorus and calcium, among other minerals.
When it comes to cool season food plots, crimson clover is more forgiving of acidic soil, making it a good selection for planting in your area due the high acidic soil that is found in that part of the world. Just make sure you use an innoculate the clover seeds or your plot will be a big fail. The “WR” inoculant would the the type used for crimson clover.
Another choice to include within a crimson clover plot, would be a healthy amount of oats or wheat. Whitetail deer really like oats and they tend to grow very well even in areas that do not get just a huge amount of sunlight. They will need some, so hopefully the clearing runs more north-south than east-west. Wheat can also work. Although deer prefer oats over wheat, it’s always good to go with a seed mix rather than a single, all-in plot. Different seeds do better in various soils. A mix typically ensures something will grow.
It’s really late in the year, but with a little luck you may be able to get a turkey and deer food plot within a couple weeks. In your area there will still be some warm days in early December, so I would encourage you to get those seeds in the ground ASAP! The cool fronts typically bring moisture during this time of year so take advantage of the precipitation and the warmer days that follow before winter sets in.
In short, I would recommend planting wheat and/or oats and crimson clover in your food plots right now and broadcasting all of them very heavily on the planting rates. If crimson clover is not available in your area, since it may be kind of hard to find right now, I would plant wheat, oats, and maybe even throw in some ryegrass for good measure. Deer and turkey will hit all of them quite readily. Although ryegrass really does not offer a whole lot for deer in the way of nutrients, they really do love it. It’s almost like whole kernel corn, more candy than anything, but deer and turkey love it. Lastly, if you are broadcasting this plot then remember to seed your plot heavy, and good luck!