Food Plot Question: “We have a place in Coleman County, Texas, that we have been deer hunting on for about 5 years. We are thinking food plots may improve our luck. The place is surrounded by coastal grass, which I know is not great for whitetail deer. There is some scattered brush here and there so the habitat does not offer great cover. Not seeing very many deer this year. Basically, how would we go about start/developing a food plot for deer? We do not have a tractor or any implements. Any idea on how we would go about plowing the field? What type of food plot would work best during the fall and winter in that area?”
Response: There is no doubt that some high quality deer food plots could help you out. Feeders can attract deer, but there is something about deer hunting over a good-looking winter food plot that is just plain fun. There are a number of options when it comes to food plots for whitetail deer. They can be very easy to develop or more difficult, requiring more time and equipment. You will get out of them what you put in.
If you own the property then I would recommend spraying the area that you want to plant in the fall with roundup. Do this in the spring after plants have greened up. This chemical will kill the coastal and other grasses in the area, providing your fall and winter food plot with a more or less clean slate come later in the year.
You will need equipment to do it right. If at all possible, I would suggest either renting a tractor and plow or hiring a neighboring or local farmer or rancher to turn the land over really good the first time. This will really help the food plot seeds to be broadcast or drilled into nice loose soil, but with a firm bed.
If there are any type of livestock on the property then you must erect a fence to keep them out. A four-strand barb-wired fence will usually do the trick with cows. Sheep and goats are a different matter. Think net-wire. As for what to plant, you can’t go wrong with something as simple as oats or wheat. If you want to get fancy, my recommendation would be to contact Turner Seed Company and tell them where you are planting your food plot. If you can get a soil test before calling, so much the better.
Keep in mind that food plots are only part of the equation. You will need about 1 acre of food plot for every 6 to 8 deer, but you also need to provide food, cover and water at other times of the year if you really want to manage for whitetail and improve antler growth. If you just want to attract deer, then a hunting plot can do that for you, but it still needs to be large enough that deer do not just hammer it and kill it right off the bat.