How Much to Plant in Deer Food Plots?

How Much to Plant in Food Plots?

How much of your property or ranch should you put into food plots? Good question, but the answer depends upon the actual amount of deer habitat you and neighboring properties have, the carrying capacity of the land, and the amount soil you have that is food plot friendly.

Generally, estimates range from 1 to 6 percent in both cool season and warm season food plots, but that wouldn’t make much sense if your property is smaller in size.

On smaller properties, food plots may make up 10 to 25 percent of the land. The only way to know for sure if you are supplying adequate amounts of nutrition to your deer herd is to put an exclosure (keeps deer out) or utilization cage on each food plot you plant.

How Much to Plant in Food Plots?

An exclosure allows you to see the growth potential of your plants inside the cage and examine what the deer herd is consuming on the outside of the cage. If the outside is eaten down to the dirt and tons of deer tracks are in the field, you need to reduce the deer herd, plant more food plots, or improve the production of native plants.

2 Replies to “How Much to Plant in Deer Food Plots?”

  1. When is the best time to start planting food plots? And what is the best thing to plant? I hunt a wooded area and think I would need to rake out the area, for I am not able to get in there with a tractor to disk it up. But where I throw out corn it sprouts up without fertilizer.

  2. I have a small farm, about 70 acres in Maryland. I don’t farm it, but have a local farmer that does. My property is surrounded by much larger farms and between them they all feel that the deer would be better off dead and gone. Over the years I have seen the deer population decrease as well as the number of healthy bucks. I see more plain pitiful racks on some older deer and its starting to show in the younger ones. My plan is to try to get the surrounding farmers to agree to a management program involving food plots and limited buck harvest. My question is how much and what kind of food plots would best benefit my situation? Will it decrease the amount of crop damage. Thanks.

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