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Old 05-18-2018, 05:01 PM   #1
venado
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Default Food Plot Success but Bottom Line Failure

As many of you read in my post re "Big Antler Experiment" I gave our results with food plots. In short, the plots that we have planted over the years have failed to attract deer.

I started my deer hunting in East Texas in the Trinity area north of Houston. Our rancher planted large Oat Patches strictly for cattle consumption but the deer flocked to them, especially at night. This same approach was used on a place in south Texas in Maverick County with the same flocking of deer to the oats. It was part of the camp culture to spotlight a field and see all of those glowing eyes and deer that we never saw in the daylight. This was at a time before trail camera and baiting with corn and we hunted simply by patterning bucks and watching trails with the hope that we would be there when the big buck cruised through.

The "Big Antler Experiment" ranch is east of San Antonio and the soil analysis shows that it is good soil with plenty of base components. The rancher has thirty years of experience and appropriate equipment to properly prepare soils and to fertilize as necessary. Since the high fence went up 9 years ago, he has had 16-20% free access protein available to the deer and has planted oats for cattle in a 30-acre field and has planted a mixture of oats, ryegrass, and 3 type of peas in three separate deer food plots of approximately 2 acres each. These plots have been successful with an excellent stand of desired plants. Unfortunately, the deer have never utilized the oat patch or the food plots extensively and we end up turning the cattle in to use up the goodies.

With all that said, now to the issue. What suggestions does anyone have that we might plant that would attract deer? I have read about beets, radishes, and carrots. Has anyone in south Texas had experience with those plantings? What other possibilities are there?
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Old 05-18-2018, 05:56 PM   #2
lovemylegacy
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Soybeans....If there is a lot of natural browse, the deer will most definetly prefer that over any plot seed no matter what you plant. Soybeans is really the only Spring plot ingredient that the deer will eat along with the browse. We are in SETx, so it may not apply to you. The Beets, Radishes, Brassicas, Winter Wheat, Oats are more of a Fall type forage. Once the Spring green up started, the deer quit using my plot completely, I had Winter Wheat, Clover and Rape planted. I have clover in my plot presently, so Im gonna see if they like it, but Im not optimistic. My goal is to hold deer close to where I hunt. The one thing I learned was, you really cant plant to attract deer, you gotta plant to feed deer. If they have a lot of natural browse that they like, it may be an effort in futility. In places where they have a limited amount of browse, plots will flourish no matter what is planted.
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Old 05-19-2018, 09:55 AM   #3
Radar
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I am due south of Seguin about 25 miles. I have been doing food plots for a few years now. Spring food plots in this area needs to be some type of legume that is high drought tolerant. I would recommend Clay Iron Peas at 70-100 pounds per acre if your broadcasting and 50 pounds if your drilling. You can mix sunflowers in with the peas if you like. RR soybeans is another possibility for you. Dont get a spring plot mix from a store, your wasting money. Half of the stuff in the bag will not come up in our area. Clover will never make it here because of the lack of moisture during the summer.

Fall plots I plant Elbon Rye at 80 pounds an acre and purple top turnips 15 pounds per acre. You can also buy a plot mix at Douglass King Seed company in San Antone that has elbon rye, winter oats, winter wheat and turnips. I planted that a few years ago and it done well, but the wheat never grew. Pasture ryegrass is a waste of your money, you must buy a cereal rye. Also once the Elbon Rye gets tall it will kill off the remaining oats, but the turnips will be fine. Turnips will get eaten in our area after a freeze, for some reason the deer get after them then.

Send your soil samples to A&M and tell them you want to plant legumes and they will give you a fertilizer recommendation. Take that to Pruski's Fertilizer in Stockdale and they will make that exact blend of fertilizer including any trace minerals and have it in a spreader buggy for you. Same for the fall plots.

Hogs are my biggest nightmare, because of nutsedge and johnson grass. They will root up your plots looking for that stuff. I counted 13 deer the other night in a 4 acre plot I have in CI Peas. Another 1 acre plot I have the deer will walk in a line over an open pasture to get to it. They also bed in the plots in the summer.

Thats probably the best grammar I have ever used in a post, most of the time I booger them all up with redneck
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:03 AM   #4
Slick8
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I've had the same issues on a much smaller scale. I've had best luck with beans and plan to try a 3 cover blend this fall. It will be crimson, arrow head and white along with beans or peas.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:49 AM   #5
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I remember the first plot I planted and it took about 4 months before the deer figured out what it was. You have to remember that you planted something the deer never seen or smelled before, so naturally they are going to shy away from this different "weed". I might add this, dont put a plot in the middle of a pasture with no cover around it. You got to have trees or thickets along one or two sides of the plots for cover. All four sides is better.

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When they figure it out, you will have a lot of deer coming around. They will also remember the plots the rest of their lives.

I can only offer a little advice, there are some others on here that have it going on. Elgato is the original bad arse when it comes to plots and such. Drycreek, Low Fence and some others are full of info on this stuff.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:51 AM   #6
Drycreek3189
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I've never had issues with deer not eating what I plant, except for brassicas. They just won't eat them no matter how cold it gets. Clover is the spring plot they love the most, followed by soybeans and iron clay cowpeas. I planted a little sunn hemp this year for the first time, but if we don't get some rain soon, all mine are gonna fail. Like Radar, the damm hogs are killing me. They rooted up and ate most of the seed, beans and peas, in one food plot as soon as I planted it. It's a total bust. Soooo..... I'm either gonna quit planting spring plots or e-fence them. I don't think I'm going to that much trouble.

I should add that wheat/Elbon rye is my fall crop of choice. Thanks Radar for the compliment, but I'm back of the pack on some of this stuff and still learning. One thing I'm 100% sure of though, I literally hate damm hogs !

Last edited by Drycreek3189; 05-19-2018 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:55 AM   #7
Bowanta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar View Post
I am due south of Seguin about 25 miles. I have been doing food plots for a few years now. Spring food plots in this area needs to be some type of legume that is high drought tolerant. I would recommend Clay Iron Peas at 70-100 pounds per acre if your broadcasting and 50 pounds if your drilling. You can mix sunflowers in with the peas if you like. RR soybeans is another possibility for you. Dont get a spring plot mix from a store, your wasting money. Half of the stuff in the bag will not come up in our area. Clover will never make it here because of the lack of moisture during the summer.

Fall plots I plant Elbon Rye at 80 pounds an acre and purple top turnips 15 pounds per acre. You can also buy a plot mix at Douglass King Seed company in San Antone that has elbon rye, winter oats, winter wheat and turnips. I planted that a few years ago and it done well, but the wheat never grew. Pasture ryegrass is a waste of your money, you must buy a cereal rye. Also once the Elbon Rye gets tall it will kill off the remaining oats, but the turnips will be fine. Turnips will get eaten in our area after a freeze, for some reason the deer get after them then.

Send your soil samples to A&M and tell them you want to plant legumes and they will give you a fertilizer recommendation. Take that to Pruski's Fertilizer in Stockdale and they will make that exact blend of fertilizer including any trace minerals and have it in a spreader buggy for you. Same for the fall plots.

Hogs are my biggest nightmare, because of nutsedge and johnson grass. They will root up your plots looking for that stuff. I counted 13 deer the other night in a 4 acre plot I have in CI Peas. Another 1 acre plot I have the deer will walk in a line over an open pasture to get to it. They also bed in the plots in the summer.

Thats probably the best grammar I have ever used in a post, most of the time I booger them all up with redneck
The deer are attracted to the turnips after a freeze because the sugars increase. That is when they will eat them up..
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:57 AM   #8
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The deer are attracted to the turnips after a freeze because the sugars increase. That is when they will eat them up..
Yes sir, that is what the biologist told me as well. I just forgot when I was pecking on the keyboard.
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:44 PM   #9
venado
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Thanks, for the feedback and especially for the post by Radar who has essentially the same climatic and soil situation that we do. We have too much cattle activity to have time to plant spring plots but we will seriously consider the turnip planting in the Fall. Another point that Radar made in a PM was to put a feeder out in the plot, that sounds like something that might encourage deer to eat while they wait.
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Old 05-20-2018, 08:55 PM   #10
Dushon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venado View Post
Thanks, for the feedback and especially for the post by Radar who has essentially the same climatic and soil situation that we do. We have too much cattle activity to have time to plant spring plots but we will seriously consider the turnip planting in the Fall. Another point that Radar made in a PM was to put a feeder out in the plot, that sounds like something that might encourage deer to eat while they wait.


It will take a few years for the deer to eat the turnips. Once they start they’ll hit em pretty good. My experience anyways.


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Old 05-21-2018, 09:13 PM   #11
BTLowry
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I planted stuff here in Smith county for years and the deer wouldn't touch any of it

Last year I mixed 25# of black oil sunflower seed with 50# of the usual IC peas

The deer wore it all out for the first time ever
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