After the rut and when deer activity has slowed down for the season, it’s good for hunters to center their attention on the food source. By the end of most deer seasons, the acorn crop is gone. I like to focus most of my hunting around planted food plots.
When beginning to plant your food plot, first pick a location where you can access this food plot with a favorable wind direction. It’s a good idea to have different stand locations at each plot for varying wind directions.
When you’ve selected the area you’d like to turn into a food plot, prepare your ground by making a good, soft seed bed by disking or tilling and fertilizing according to the seed you’re planting. Really good attractants for deer are food plots that include winter forage such as clovers, turnips and dwarf essex rape.
Even for those without a green thumb, not much effort is required to plant E-Z Grow; this mixture comes up even with minimal seed bed preparation. Just like the bag says: E-Z Grow.
Once your planted food plots are in place, it’s important to avoid hunting some of these food sources during the early season. It can be tempting to hunt there from day one, but that’s often a mistake where you end up picking the low-hanging fruit too soon. Instead, I prefer to stay away from some of my food plots until the late season.
The less pressure that’s on that food plot, the more likely the big buck will be feeding there; your scent’s not there, it’s undisturbed, and that’s where the big buck thinks he can feed without being shot at. This is where your patience throughout the season really pays off: Hunting a late-season, secluded, undisturbed food plot will pay off.
In addition to or instead of planting a plot filled with winter forage, one can also capitalize on natural food sources, as well. Consider fertilizing a natural food source in your area such as honeysuckle and greenbrier. The deer will prefer fertilized honeysuckle over non-fertilized honeysuckle. Think of it this way: What tastes better -- sugar-free chocolate pie or regular chocolate pie? Regular chocolate pie wins out every time, and to deer, fertilized natural food sources are their regular chocolate pie, while other natural food sources are the sugar-free version.
Note: The sale and use of game feeders and supplies is restricted in some states. Please consult your local game laws before supplementing or hunting with feeders, feeds, baits or attractants.