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When To Plant Food Plots ?


Most of us bowhunters are trying to get every edge we can. We even want to provide good forage for the deer in our area during the summer so they get used to coming into our food plot.  After all, we want to make sure they know the food plot is there well before the season starts. This is supposed to give us a leg up on opening day of bow season, however many hunters have questions such as When To Plant Food Plots ?

There are 2 choices in When To Plant Food Plots.


First, forget about deer not finding your food plot in time for the opener. Deer roam around most of the night. They’ll even smell your new lush plants before they get there. The deer will be in your plot at night as the new plants sprout out of the ground. If your biggest concern about When To Plant Food Plots is that you are not sure the deer will find it on time, don’t worry about it. Trust me!

Second, don’t worry about the deer not having any food in your plot during the summer. There is so much natural food around everywhere anyway, that your food plot for deer would be a drop in the bucket in comparison. But, maybe your biggest concern about when to plant food plots is to provide good quality forage for antler growth. Actually the biggest impact you can make on antler growth is from January to March. This is the best time to have food in your plots, when the available natural browse is dead and gone.  Deer are in a nutritional deficit in which they need to climb out of in the spring. They need to catch-up.

So if you want to create deer food plots to encourage good antler growth, don’t focus on feeding them in the summer. Because there is not a plant anywhere that can feed all summer and all winter.  Part of your decision about when to plant food plots involves choosing when you want to feed your deer the best forage.

For producing good antler growth the answer to When To Plant Food Plots should be to “feed in the winter” to keep bucks from losing even more body weight like they did chasing and not eating during the rut. The quicker you replenish their nutrition levels, the bigger head start they have in the spring to growing a nice set of head gear.

So the answer to When To Plant Food Plots for deer is late summer, as in August.

What do you plant?

My favorite plant is purple top turnips. Deer eat the green leaves and stems in the fall, and then eat the turnip root in December and January. Some of these roots or bulbs can grow to the size of softballs. Other good choices for providing protein in early spring is ladino clover and chicory. All of these are very easy to grow.

To get all your food plot questions answered such as how to prepare the ground with little effort, how to test the soil correctly, when and how to plant your seed, etc….check out my complete food plot guide here.

Good Plotting,

Feel free to leave your comment below and let me know if this answered all your questions about when to plant food plots.

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3 thoughts on “When To Plant Food Plots for Deer
  1. Derek says:

    I do many of the thing that you talk about and I look forward to working on the land more then hunting now. How do you feel about planting food plots that you know they will only use at night as a feed field. I love the small food plots which work great during the rut. Still in Michigan it hard to keep mature bucks on there feet during daylight. Just want to say I love many of your views and ideas, keep up the good work.

  2. Ryan says:

    Hello, i live on 3 acres of open land in MI and i am surrounded by corn and soybeans. I know that there are good deer around here because i have seen them, and i want to put in a food plot but not sure what i should use? i used to have bait out there but then MI banded baiting, and the deer only would come in during the night when i used to have bait out there. Do you know how i could get them in to a food plot during the day?

    Thank you

  3. jon says:

    hi i hunt on about 6 acres of private land i have corn fields everywhere along with apples i want to put a food plot in a shaded area but dont know what to use i want it to attract deer all year round what would be the best thing to use can any one help me out

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