An objective journey into the creation, maintenance and productivity of a whitetail food/kill plot
|May 25th 2008||September 1st 2008|
Before we go into our 2008 results, let's evaluate our Long Term History of the Bowsite.com Food Plot
|1998||Good||New planting of Imperial Whitetail, did fairly well despite heavy grazing in summer and fall. No noticeable weed or grass intrusion.|
|1999||Excellent||Unbelievable second year results. The plot was as good as it could ever get. Deer really browsed it down in fall but held up well.|
|2000||Fair-Poor||Weed and grass growth took over plot. Imperial Clover all but gone.|
|2001||Poor||Had to plow under, installed Imperial whitetail again, but the weeds and grass took over quickly. Had to plow under in late summer and installed buck forage oats. Had marginal success with growth.|
|2002||No Plot||We decided to spend the entire spring/summer spraying roundup and killing existing vegetation. We planted peas in the fall but the deer over-browsed and killed it.|
|2003||Poor||We planted Imperial No-Plow. The Rape came up in abundance, but the deer never touched it during archery season. Our plot was a failure despite a successful growth of rape.|
|2004||Good||So far, plot is looking good. Heavy spring rains in the NE along with a new planting are showing positive results. Still some bare spots to overall progress is good.|
|2005||Good||Due to lack of utilization, we planted Tecomate Monster Mix in the Big Plot and Imperial Clover from Whitetail Institute on Small Plot|
|2006||Good||Big Plot (Monster Mix) came up great, moderate to low utilization, Imperial Plot highly utilized and healthy|
|2007||Fair||Big Plot (Monster Mix) still healthy and thick, still moderate to low utilization, Imperial Plot all but vanished, completely overtaken by weeds and grass|
|2008||Fair||Big Plot (Monster Mix) remarkably healthy and thick. We need to plow and plant clover again.|
Long Term Remarks - I am extremely impressed with the longevity and healthy growth of the Tecomate Monster Mix. The downside is the deer will choose the small plot (Imperial Clover) 3/1 over the Tecomate plot. However after 10 years of planting these plots, the Imperial product longevity is rarely more than 2 seasons and not well suited for smaller plots.
Results chart by Product*
Product Used Longevity Results Deer Utilization Results Imperial Whitetail 2-Poor (1st year fair, 2nd year good, then vanished) 4.5 - Very High Generic Field Peas 1-Extremely Poor hammered before hunting season 5-Extremely High Imperial No-Plow NA - Annual Product however it did reappear the 2nd year 2 - Poor during archery season Buck Forage Oats NA - Annual Product, hammered 4.5 - Extremely High Imperial Alfa-Rack 1-Poor barely came up and was overtaken by weeds NA - Did not come up Tecomate Monster Mix 5-Outstanding, 4 years of thick lush growth 3 - Fair
*Your results may vary based on the size of your plot, annual rainfall, planting times, fertilizer choices, etc. This chart represents the results of the Bowsite.com Food Plot only as a reference to our experience. No Seed companies are Bowsite.com sponsors and all products were chosen and paid for by us.
Our summer check up of 2008 shows GREAT results on the Big Plot and a DISASTER on the small plot. We also got a surprise by setting up a trail cam and capturing the buck making scrapes already on this plot.
Big Plot - Growth was outstanding, lush and thick. We mowed it but decided to skip a late summer fertilizer.
|Big plot close up. Lush growth shown on the chicory and clover.|
|My son Matt found a fresh scrape which got us thinking that there may a decent buck utilizing the plot. So we decided to put a trailcam in place and see what showed up.|
|Despite the fact that we were walking around the plot in sneakers and shorts, and that we were repairing fencing and putting out stands, Matt set up the trail cam anyway on the off chance that we captured deer in the plot. It worked like a charm, capturing two bucks and a deer that was too overexposed to identify. This was very exciting for us.|
|The small food plot was all but saturated by the companion planting of Rye Grass so to all of those who criticized my using annual ryegrass in conjunction with the Imperial Whitetail Clover you were right - at least for this first season. I will totally concede my mistake if the clover doesn't come up in the spring of 2009.|
Here's a close up of our small food plot. There is some clover popping up here and there but it's no more than 3-5% of the available forage. The remaining is the annual ryegrass which is 35" tall in most spots and has completely overtaken the clover. It may have been more effective had the plot been close enough to mow regularly, but this land is in PA and several hours from my home.
|The Plot isn't the only abundant food source. The apple trees surrounding the plot are overloaded with apples this year too. They have not started to drop yet but historically will be by opening day.|
|Small food plot after mowing.|
Big food plot after mowing.