Last week I shared why I prefer soybeans for food plots. I also plant food plots during the fall I call Hidey Holes. These are small (often a ¼ acre or less) plots usually tucked in the woods where there’s never been a food plot or recent hunting pressure. I plant these plots to attract mature bucks.
I frequently share with hunters that the largest motivation for a mature buck is not food, cover, water, or even a receptive doe. The strongest motivation for a mature buck is fear. Let a mature buck smell or spot you while he’s chasing a doe and he’ll usually forget about the doe and put some distance between the threat and him!
Hidey Hole plots combine the attractiveness of quality forage and an area bucks don’t associate with danger. I simply find an opening in cover where there hasn’t been any hunting pressure recently and ensure the location receives at least ½ day of sunlight. I remove any duff (leaves, debris) from the soil and add plenty of fertilizer and seed. Since I’m broadcasting seed I like to plant just before or during a rain. Rain helps the seed have seed to soil contact by splashing dirt on the seed and ensures there is ample soil moisture for germination. The wet and warm seeds will rapidly germinate thus reducing the amount of seed lost to birds, squirrels, etc.
I prefer to plant a blend of soybeans, radishes, forage wheat, and bulb and non bulb producing turnips. Deer will be attracted to the soybeans first. They will likely have all the soybeans consumed before it frosts. Bucks usually go after the radishes next. Unlike turnips, deer usually readily consume the radishes before it frosts. About the time of the rut deer tend to favor the forage wheat. By this time the wheat has produced enough tonnage that it is rarely damaged by over browsing. Once the weather turns cold bucks seem to prefer the forage turnips – the ones that don’t produce a bulb. And during the late season bucks are attracted to the bulb producing turnips – both their forage and bulbs.
I’ve been tweaking this blend for years and finally have it balanced to provide attractive forage throughout deer season! Eagle Seed now offers this blend. I usually use 3 bags of 13 13 13 fertilizer since I rarely can add lime to the remote Hidey Hole plots. So with one bag of seed, some fertilizer, and a hand rake or other hand tool, I can have a Hidey Hole food plot! This has proven to be an effective tool to attract and harvest mature bucks! Next week I’ll share how I hunt Hidey Hole plots.
Growing Deer together!