Managing Whitetails: The Best Food Plots For A Cold WinterFebruary 7th, 2014 by Adam Keith
If you look outside today in Branson, Missouri you’ll see a blanket of snow. We received 4 inches of snow Sunday and a few more inches Tuesday. This winter has certainly broken the trend set over the last few years. We have had numerous snowstorms that have left southern Missouri covered with snow. There are areas of the country that have received much more snow than we have!
Winters like these can be very stressful on wildlife. With a good portion of an animal’s food source covered with snow they have to resort to browsing on food sources above snow level or digging through the snow for food. Recently Grant and I took a walk to try and learn more about what our food plots were providing during the snow.
As we approached the food plot of standing beans you could obviously see the bean pods above the snow, with several deer tracks around. The deer had found the beans and were using them as a food source. Next, Grant and I stepped into a part of the food plot that was only wheat. The only thing you could see of the wheat was the very tip of the wheat which was covered in ice. Looking at this we also noticed there were not very many deer tracks in this section of the field. Probably because the deer would have to dig in the snow for food, while a better source of carbohydrates could be found not far away with the soybeans. Next, we moved to a section of the field that was planted in Eagle Seed Broadside blend. There were deer tracks in this part of the field but certainly not the amount of sign that was in the 100% bean field.
After all this walking around we pieced the information together to see what we could learn from these observations. First, on snow covered days the standing beans are hands down the most attractive thing we have provided. Second, a field of straight wheat isn’t going to provide much forage for deer when there are multiple inches of snow on the ground, although wheat can still be a great attractant when there isn’t snow. Finally, when considering the entire hunting season a food plot that provides both greens and standing beans can have the greatest attraction for deer. By planting Eagle Seed beans in the spring and then drilling back through them in the fall with the Eagle Seed Broadside blend we have the best combination food source that I have ever laid eyes on – a food plot that can provide year round forage and the most ideal forage during hunting season.
Daydreaming of whitetails,