Food Plot Question: “I hunt in Haskell County, Texas, and am searching for a good summer food plot for whitetail deer. This is our first attempt to plant a summer plot. Early last winter, we cleared approximately 12 acres for a food plot and we simply planted wheat. It did really good, but the deer didn’t touch it because of all the natural food they had to eat thanks to abundant rainfall.
We know that food plot preparation is important. We are getting a soil sample done next week. I am wanting to know your opinion on lab lab for food plots in Texas. I have done quite a bit of research and it seems to be on the top of people’s list for good plots. But, is 12 acres big enough? My research says that lab lab needs to get established before serious browsing or the deer will kill the plant. Also, what kind and how tall do I need an electric fence to be?”
Response: We have planted deer food plots for the last 25 years or so in parts of the state with high whitetail deer densities, as well as exotics in some cases. We have successfully used electric fence to keep deer out. As for food plots, deer love any pea or bean, but lab lab is the best as far as being drought tolerant. It is slow to establish once it sprouts and emerges from the ground. They put on two leaves and then spend about 10 days putting on root structure.
If the two lab lab leaves are browsed off by an animal at this stage it will almost always kill the plant. After almost two weeks of root development, lab lab will start to grow again. We have used two different electric fence setups to keep deer out. The key to both is to put it up the very day you finish planting a food plot. Deer will not try to get into a field of bare ground if they get hit by an electric fence.
The best fence way we have seen is to use as large of diameter of electric wire woven strands of rope as you can find, such as Intelarope. We construct a five strand electric fence using electric rope that is 4 1/2 feet tall and spaced about nine inches apart around our whitetail food plots. We also make sure that all strands are “hot”. If you fence it and allow lab lab to get four to six weeks of growth on it then it will last much longer, providing more supplemental food for your deer.
The key is to a lab lab food plot is to get it to the seven leaf stage of growth with runners starting. It will take deer browsing pressure then, and if you get some rains, it will continue to put on new growth until completely consumed or until it freezes. Lab lab is an excellent choice for a whitetail deer food plot. I have no doubt that it will work in your part of Texas. Just make sure you prepare your seedbed well and protect it early.