Bag Maps…

By GrowingDeer,

  Filed under: Food Plots, Hunting Blog

It’s snowing and cold in Western Kansas today.  In fact, they’ve shut down I-70 throughout most of western Kansas.  It is turkey season in that region, but if you plan to hunt there take your warm deer hunting clothes!  If you’ve already planted food plots in that area, pray for a rapid warming trend!

It’s cool and very windy at The Proving Grounds today also (no snow thankfully).  Although all of my food plots have been sprayed and fertilized, I haven’t planted any crops yet this spring.  It’s a good thing as seed that is moist and cold can rot or germinate and then die easily.

This is why I dislike the maps on seed bags that show customers when to plant based on where they live.  These data are based on averages over a number of years, and are usually accurate when comparing one region to another.  However, they are rarely accurate when considering exactly when to plant at a given location.  This is because soil temperature and soil moisture levels usually vary significantly at the same location from year to year.Seed label map for food plot planting dates

I like to plant each crop as early as practical during the spring.  The chances of drought stress (which is caused by a combination of air temperatures and lack of soil moisture) are greater as the temperatures increase.  However, each farmer should monitor the local conditions and the weather forecast before deciding when to plant.

Hunters should know this lesson well as they often attempt to use long-term forecasts to plan vacation days to hunt.  Then as the date for them to hunt nears, the weather changes and it is 85 degrees and very few deer are moving during daylight hours.  The same is true for when to plant food plots.  I use the past data (like bag maps) as a guide for when to have the seed and equipment ready to plant.  However, I wait until the local conditions are correct before placing valuable seed in the ground.  Bag maps are good for general planning, but for site-specific data, they aren’t worth much more than the paper they are printed on.

Growing Deer together,