Hunting game animals is fun and rewarding, and can be made even more so if you cultivate a food plot on your property. Food plots are like an all-you-can-eat buffet for game animals, a cultivated area where you grow delicious and nutritious plants for the type of game you’d like to foster. Deer are the most common animals to target with a food plot, but other game animals such as moose, elk, turkeys, ducks, geese, and wild hogs can also benefit from them. They are relatively easy to install and maintain and provide two important benefits to hunters:
- They keep your herd healthy. Food plots provide essential nutrition to the herd. Adequate amounts of protein-rich food will ensure that the herd or herds in your area stay healthy. This is especially important for fawn-rearing and antler growth.
- They hold the herd in your area. Game animals will stay in an area that has an adequate food source. You can make them easy to hunt by ensuring that they won’t wander elsewhere looking for their next meal.
Be sure to take the type of animal you’d like to target into close consideration as you plan for your food plot. When you’re ready, installing a food plot is as easy as starting a new garden.
Choose a Location. Start by mapping out the area where the animals reside as best you can. Look for their current food, water, and bedding destinations, as well as the trails between them. It is pointless to create a food plot in an area where your herd will never find it. Also, think about the current condition of the site. Turning dense forest into a food plot is a much bigger undertaking than transforming a grassy field. Finally, consider the suitability of the site for growing. Test the soil and make sure it has the correct acidity level and moisture content for the crop that you’ll be planting.
Till it! To create your food plot in your chosen location, start by clearing the land if need be. Once it is cleared of trees, brush, and other big obstacles, rototill the area to make it ready for planting. For big projects such as food plots, a tow-behind rototiller is the easiest and fastest way to cultivate the planting area. Check out the DR Roto-Hog Power Tiller for easy and powerful tilling. Adjust the tilling depth right from your seat and add optional Spreader and Culti-Packer attachments to make planting a breeze from start to finish.
Choose your Crops. The crops you plant will rely on the game that you’d like to target. See the chart below for some suggested crops for common game animals. Because many crops are suitable for multiple animals, it is possible to create a mix that would foster several different game animals on your property. Before planting, be sure to research each crop’s ideal planting date and the seeding density that is recommended for food plot planting.
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