Reasons Your Food Plots Donít Work with Dr. Grant Woods
What Keeps Deer Coming to a Green Field
Editor’s Note: If you’ve put time, money and sweat equity into your green fields; planted 10 green fields; and spotted plenty of tracks and signs around the green fields, but seen few if any deer or perhaps only does and small bucks or only deer on specific green fields, then you need to know why you’re having problems with your green fields. We took your questions to one of the nation’s leading deer researchers and the creator of Mossy Oak’s BioLogic green-field plantings, Dr. Grant Woods of Reeds Spring, Missouri, who has spent thousands of hours studying deer and green-field management, as well asstudying how to most-effectively use those green fields to grow and harvest mature bucks. Let’s look at common green-field problems and Dr. Woods’ solutions.
Problem: I’ve got a beautiful, green, lush field of clover but not a deer in sight. I’ve plowed, limed and fertilized. Initially, the deer came to the field to feed. Now, I rarely see a deer in my clover patch. What’s wrong?
Woods’ Solution: Don’t let your food plots become over-mature. I’ve had hunters tell me, “Grant, I’ve got clover a foot deep, and it has plenty of white and red blooms on it, but the deer just aren’t eating it.” The deer aren’t eating that clover because the forage quality of those plants has gotten very low. When plants reach the seed stage, the forage quality isn’t very good. So, I recommend that you mow perennial crops, like clover, once they become 60% or more seed producing. By mowing these crops, you set them back and cause them to produce more forage and less seed. If you don’t mow your perennial crops, they won’t produce the amount of forage they can or attract and hold the numbers of deer you’ve planned for them to hold.
Problem: Our food plots are where we take most of our deer. The first week or twoof the season, the food plots really pay-off for us. However, from the middle of deer season to the end, although we’re hunting those food plots every weekend and sometimes two or three times during the week, we rarely see a deer in them. Why aren’t the food plots working like they should?
Woods’ Solution: Don’t over-hunt your food plot. Food plots often don’t produce the number of deer they’ve been planted to produce because they get over-hunted. If you over-hunt a food plot, the deer using that green field will become nocturnal and only feed in that field at night. Then regardless of the amount of deer food the food plot produces, the food plot is a failure. So, minimize the time and the frequency you hunt a food plot and also the amount of human odor that crosses the food plot. Never hunt any food plot with a bad wind.
Consider Dr. Woods’ suggestions, and follow his prescription for planting and managing green fields to have better crops and more deer this season.
Tomorrow: Site Selection for Green Fields and Their Design Are Critical for Success