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  • Writer's pictureRidge Hunter Staff

Utilizing Food Plots in Agricultural Areas

Most Midwestern hunters are used to hunting in areas where agricultural crops are plentiful. This can be a big advantage, but it can also lead hunters to believe they don't have to worry about food sources for their herd.

Offseason Feeding

Deer eat everyday. That seems like an obvious statement, but many hunters don't think about that. They only think about deer feeding during hunting season, while ag crops are still in the field. What they tend to overlook is the period from the end of the season to early spring, or, February to April.

This is an extremely important time for a deer herd. During the first part of this phase, they need plenty of food to survive the harsh conditions of winter and recover from the rut. In the middle of the period, bucks are beginning to rapidly regrow their head gear and does are preparing to birth their fawns. In the final leg of this time period, does are recovering from birth, fawns are in need of nutrition to develop and bucks are still in the antler regrowth phase.

Meanwhile, farmers are generally done harvesting by this time and they haven't started planting again yet. That means, even in big agriculture areas, the deer are looking for other food sources.

Depending on your location, a good stand of winter wheat, certain types of brassicas and cool weather clovers can make all the difference in the world during this phase. These types of food plots will give your deer enough forage to make it through the late winter and early spring stages.

In Season

During the season, at least until the late season, farmers have crops in the fields and deer have plenty of grazing food. However, that doesn't mean a good food plot won't significantly increase your chances of harvesting a whitetail.

While most of the feeding is happening out in the big crop fields, a well placed food plot can be a really attractive holding spot for big deer coming from and going to their beds. Opening up a main trail and planting clovers and chicory between beds and crop fields creates a place for the deer to browse during the day or before and after they're done feeding in the field.

These plots also give deer more options to get the key nutrients that they may not be getting from the ag crops. Just like humans, deer need a well balanced diet and will even prefer a good stand of clover to a soybean or corn field at times.

A great seed combo for these plots is clover and chicory. Our Ridge Hunter Food Plot Mix is perfect for the job and will give you just the right blend of both for whitetails. This type of plot will last into the late season as well, giving the deer another place to feed when the ag crops are gone.


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