Ah fall. It’s finally here and another long-awaitd hunting season is just around the corner. You’ve labored long and hard building your food plots and now it’s time to kick back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Or is it? It may be, if you’re convinced you’ve done all you can to build the most attractive fall plots possible. But if you’re not sure, there’s still plenty of time to build a better deer trap.
Late Food Plot Plantings
Perennials are fast-growing and designed to reach maximum nutrition and palatability when deer and more importantly, you, need it most – hunting season. It may be a little late for brassicas, which do best when planted 60-90 days before the first killing frost, but Heartland Wildlife Institute recommends planting their Secret Weapon 45-60 days before you want it to have prime attraction and maximum activity. From roughly Kentucky south, the planting season extends into late September. That means there’s still time to get in a late-season plot if you intend to hunt there in late October and November.
Even if it’s too late to plant, there’s still more you can do to enhance the effectiveness of existing plots. One way you can attract more deer is with supplemental feed. Over the next few weeks deer will be going through a dietary transformation. Their need and desire for high-protein food declines. Increasingly they’re craving foods high in fat, carbohydrates and energy, all of which they’ll need first for the rut, and later to outlast winter’s bottleneck of food scarcity. HWI’s Autumn Addiction contains roasted soybeans, black oil sunflower seeds, whole kernel corn and super-charged energy nuggets, all foods that whitetails crave this time of year. Products like HWI’s Rack Maker Deer Block aren’t just for building big racks. Their 23% protein and Opti-Ferm XL also improve the digestion of fiber, which becomes an increasingly larger component of the whitetail’s diet in the fall and winter.
It’s also not too early to be thinking about next year. If you’ve planted a perennial blend like HWI’s Hi Pro Forage, now might be a good time to lime. Remember: lime takes time. It must first react with the soil to be taken up by plants and as a general rule you should apply lime in the spring for fall crops, and in the fall for spring crops. The clovers will also persist over the winter and sprout again in the spring, reaching peak palatability just in time for turkey season. You can also supplement your plots with something like HWI’s Topseed Trophy Clover, which contains white and Ladino clovers that will compliment and coexist with other clovers.
Hunting season is just around the corner. Have you done all you can to make sure your food plots are as ready as you are?