Beyond The Food Plot (Episode 184 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: We’re at the back of what we call Rifle Range food plot. Beans typically have a little problem growing here because there’s a lot of deer pouring out of a bedding area. I want to share with you a management plan we did to help this food plot reach its full potential.

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GRANT: The steep topography of The Proving Grounds doesn’t allow for many large feeding food plots. We basically make food plots anywhere it’s level enough. We call this Rifle Range because it’s long and narrow but the narrow point ends up right next to a large bedding area. Traditionally, deer pour out of that bedding area and limit these beans from expressing their potential because they over browse this area.

GRANT: You can tell these beans aren’t browsed off yet and they’re off to a great start. And the reason is it’s not just a bedding area behind us, but the fall prescribed fire we did last year.

GRANT: Just like we plant food plot crops, they’re young and lush to attract deer; we can burn native vegetation, setting it back to early succession or new growth and produce a tremendous food source of high quality forage for deer.

GRANT: Plants that we often might consider weeds can be tremendously high quality forage crops for deer when they’re young and are just starting to grow. This native vetch is very young and tender and you can just tell how soft and juicy it is and I’m seeing signs of browse here and right past the vetch I see other native species that are actually providing quality forage, serving as a buffer, allowing these beans to get up larger, produce more leaves so they can handle a browse pressure that will come later in the summer as the native vegetation becomes a little drier and not as attractive.

GRANT: You can see the different colors going up the mountain and that represents little communities of different types of native forage. There’s literally dozens of different types of forage all coming in at peak palatability, or attractiveness to deer, at slightly different times. The quality may go up on one and drop on the other as it gets a little bit more mature and are new plants coming on. Even though I’m a huge food plot fan, don’t overlook native vegetation. It could be a tremendous buffer to your food plots, allowing them to get up, especially in the early spring, and very drought resistant should we have another drought like we’ve had in the last couple years.

GRANT: This diversity of native vegetation was totally brought about by prescribed fire. We’ve burnt in the spring a couple of years ago, burned in the late summer last year and changing the rotation of that fire actually causes different species to germinate and fill in the gaps, providing this smorgasbord for white-tailed deer and other forms of wildlife.

GRANT: By using techniques such as prescribed fire or timber stand improvement, I can improve the quality of native vegetation on 90% or so of my property where I can’t put food plots. That’s a tremendous tool and it adds tons and tons of quality forage for the deer herd. Job one of a good deer manager is always ensuring there’s more food than there is deer so you can have a healthy deer herd that can be sustained for years.

GRANT: Another technique to improve the amount of quality nutrition is supplemental feeding. Tracy and I used to live on a smaller piece of property and because of where it was located, I could not implement all the native vegetation management I do here at The Proving Grounds. A lot of my fellow hunters are the same way. They may be on a lease or on their grandmother’s property or whatever, and they don’t have permission to do prescribed fire or timber stand improvement.

GRANT: Supplemental feeding is simply taking crops that someone else has grown and providing them in areas where you can’t produce those crops, especially at strategic times of year.

GRANT: Of course, quality is a huge issue. I want to use a really high quality feed, not just shelled corn or something else, that’s based on a balanced ration and has all the nutrients deer need to express their full potential.

GRANT: I want to provide that feed in a feeder where I can keep it clean and move it easily, not just pour it on the ground in the same place for months at a time. It’s a great tool to help during tough situations, or allow your food plots to get that extra jump they need during the spring.

GRANT: This time of year when the native vegetation, or the soybean food plots, have a lot of moisture in ‘em, deer are gonna readily seek out sources of salt. You can see this front Trophy Rock is about all consumed. I just put a new one out and it’s critical this time of year.

GRANT: Unless it’s illegal in your state, putting out a Trophy Rock is an excellent part of your management because deer need sodium and the other trace minerals that are in a Trophy Rock. This is all natural, mined in Utah and deer will get exactly what they need from your mineral rock station.

GRANT: There are plenty of habitat management projects to keep me busy throughout the summer. But, while I’m out here enjoying creation and working on the land, I want to always slow down and take time and listen to the Creator. I hope you do the same thing. Thanks for watching

GRANT: I’m calling it done.

ADAM: You may know Redneck for their awesome hunting blinds, but they just started coming out…

ADAM: this…this guy right, oh you’re rolling right now?

ADAM: The thing about this feeder right here is you can attach it to a tree or a T-post.

ADAM: These feeders hold a max of 75 pounds which is perfect to empty a whole— just perfect to use a 50 pound bag of feed. That work?