2023 Food plot results and seed reviews
Another fantastic year
Our 2023 report reflects the results of our 2022 planting results and subsequent deer hunting season. 2023 was our third year owning this Ohio ground. Our 2021 strategy worked so well that we followed the same template in 2022 with some tweaks. We doubled our screening in 2022 to put even more buffer between my big plot and my neighbors. I also butted that up against 4 acres of corn to make a 6 acre buffer (total), providing both cover and a food source. I split my 4 acre kill plot evenly between soybeans and brassicas, and I moved my 2.5 acre south plot into a custom fall blend of Oats, annual clover, and winter peas. The result was my farm became the hub of deer activity again in 2022. I also killed another mature buck last season; a 5.5 that was number one on my list.
The only failure was my 4 acres of corn got decimated in the silk stage and whatever grain had germinated was wiped out prior to hunting season. I still benefited from the buffer it provided, but it took a good chunk out of food source production.
For the 2022 growing season I used a mix of seed types including mostly 'brown bag' varieties, Ag seeds, and some retail 'deer head' seeds as well. The goal of our annual seed review is to demonstrate how a little effort, and moderate expense can dramatically improve the deer hunting on any property.
Food Plot Choices and reviews for the 2022-23 season
- 2023 Review Introduction & Guide
- Food Plot 1 - Ag soybeans + Ag Corn + Egyptian Wheat
- Food Plot 2 - Ag soybeans + Brassica + Peas + Clover
- Food Plot 3 - Legacy clover + Alfa-rack (year 3)
- Food Plot 4 - Hancock Killer Clover (year 3)
- Food Plot 5 - Durana clover (year 3)
- Food Plot 6 - Merit Aberlasting Clover + Chicory (year 3)
- Food Plot 7 - Merit Winter Peas + Crimson Clover + Buck Forage Oats
Map of the Ohio DeerBuilder Property with Food Plot Locations
Planting Conditions last season
For our third planting season in Ohio we experienced exceptional moisture, bordering on excessive. We had good temps, and excellent planting windows.
Overall I rate growing conditions as 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 with ten being best. There were periods of intense, nonstop rain in 2022.
Soil Tests and Amendments
I had not amended our soil much in 2021, and in 2022 the fertilizer prices forced me to skip another year. My crops still came up great, but soil tests are showing that I will need to play catch up this coming year with an investment in both lime and fertilizer.
I used, 100HP New Holland Powerstar 100 tractor, a four row 7000 Deere Planter, an 8' Greenscape drill, a 12' White travel disk, a 12' Deere Cultimulcher, a 20' boom sprayer, and a 3-pt mounted spreader. I planted all the plots myself.
Trail Camera Survey
We had 40 cameras running year' round. We diligently maintained batteries and SD Card collections and finished out the Trail Cam Survey season with 163,877 individual photos of deer. These were sorted and maintained for establishing accurate deer utilization trends in each plot. We utilized 16 cameras running Moultrie Mobile in several key locations. This allowed us to have Real-time photos.
I spent 48 days hunting this property over the entire 5 month archery season. I identified 6 mature shooter bucks with most being above PY minimums. We also identified 41 additional bucks that were 2.5 or older within our borders. This farm has been phenomenal.
In January 2023, I took my second buck from this farm - a 5.5 year old 8-point that I have passed in previous years. I shot him on January 24th after wounding him on Halloween and hunting him nonstop for the rest of the season.
I also shot a doe during the February season.
How we choose our seeds
You will notice that a lot of our crops come from fresh, 'brown bag' type seeds. I prefer to buy seeds from high volume distributors - rather than per-packaged varieties sold by big name hunting companies. On occasion, we will use 'deer head' branded seeds. Please remember, I have been doing this for over 25 years and most people will never want (or need) to go to the lengths I do to plant food plots.
Our plot strategy
While my plot strategy has been evolving, it still relies heavily on soybeans. I also added 4 acres of corn but that was a disaster. I learned not to grow corn when all my neighbors are growing beans. For my kill plot, I planted half in beans, and half in a brassica mix. I utilized a funnel design again this year - only I used Egyptian wheat instead of corn. My south kill plot, previously in brassicas, was rotated into Oats, Peas and Clover. My perennial plots remained unchanged.