I wanted to post an update on a couple of my pre-season goals that I have talked a bit about. There has been a lot going on lately in preparation for the upcoming season pertaining to my fall food plots. This is probably the busiest time of year for those of us plagued by the anticipation of fall. We are all absolutely bonkers over food plots, tree stands, feeders and much more. I’ve been putting in some serious hours at my “real life job”, and in the woods.
My fifteen dollar feeder is a success. It took the deer only a week to become fearless enough to check out the odd wood-framed object now in their living room. My mixture of feed and precise placement of the trough feeder was spot on. I have a couple of great bucks frequenting the location during daylight hours. The benefits of a new addition to their diet are a hit. I hope a few of you have been crafty enough to build one for yourself.
My fall food plots were lucky enough to be planted a couple of weeks early due to an unexpected rain chance. My main summer plot has been somewhat inundated by a couple of weeds. I know the photo may not be very pleasing to the eye, but after all, most of us farm for the wildlife, not for the cash. Some people worry about their plots being weed-free. Sure, there are plenty of instances where that is best. I don’t worry about it too much with my summer annuals. Native forbs are a large part of a deer’s diet. Giant Ragweed made an appearance in my pea and bean plot this summer. When I investigated a portion of the field, I discovered a couple of advantages to this annoying plant. In the areas where the ragweed was the tallest, I found more leaf matter per plant. Some of the weeds were five feet or more with a stalk up to an inch thick. The peas had vined out completely to the tops of the Giant Ragweed, doubling the forage production.
Secondly, where the weeds were the thickest, there was an abundance of lush leafy protein underneath. The weed-free areas of the field had been plagued with a severe drought and overgrazing. The deer are slowly picking their way through the weeds now and still munching on cowpeas and mung beans. Most every other crop in the area has burned up. There is so much vegetation left that I opted out of turning a portion of the field under. As I plowed my plots, I disced only a strip around the pea patch closest to a stand. Wheat, rye and turnips were drilled into the body of the plots. Around my “sidewalk” strip, I broadcasted a mixture of Ladino and Durana clover before I drilled the rest. The packing wheels on the drill act as a cultipacker over the clover. In a week or two, I will broadcast my fall mix over the standing summer plot. When it is starting to turn brown, I should have a carpet of green growing beneath.
So don’t scoff at my trashy plot. We should think of it as a Golden Corral for the mighty whitetail this fall. If you haven’t figured it out, the last pic is the view from a great stand.
’til next time – Scott