Outdoors: Getting the jump on deer and turkey with spring food plots

Deer plot

Quality food plots in the spring through the summer help hold deer on your hunting property.

Quality food plots during the spring and summer provide much needed nutrition during times when does are carrying or nursing fawns.

Bucks need extra nutrients for antler development. Turkeys benefit from the insects attracted by the flowering plants and the poults have a place to hide from predators.

Selecting what seed to plant for spring and summer plots can be a chore. There are many different types of seed varieties from peas, beans, clovers and other plants. Do you plant a single variety of seed, or mix it up? What seed varieties work well together and which ones do not?

These can be tough questions planting the wrong seed or amount can lead to a less than successful food plot. And your time and money will be wasted. The folks at Wildlife Management Solutions in Eutaw has already solved this problem with different seed blends specifically for spring and summer food plots.

“Spring and summer plots are needed to provide as much nutrition and tonnage as possible," said Daniel Bumgarner of the WMS. “Leafy type plants are one way to achieve this goal and a blend of different seed types provides a constant supply of forage as the plants mature.”

One blend Bumgarner says wildlife managers has had success with is the WMS Pea Patch. This is a blend of late growing soybeans, three different types of cowpeas, buckwheat and sunflowers. WMS has already worked out the best ratios of each seed type to ensure maximum growth of each plant species.

Buckwheat is a forb with broad leaves that grows fast. The fast growth of buckwheat gets above the peas.

“The three different types of cowpeas have different blooming dates.,” Bumgarner said. “The plants are more attractive and palatable when blooming. Pea number one will bloom in around six to seven weeks. Pea type number two will bloom out in about 9- weeks and pea three in approximately 12 weeks.”

Bumgarner also has a solution for bowhunters who are restricted to small areas of less than one-half- acre for planting food plots. WMS Summer Spot is the perfect seed blend for smaller areas. This blend offers American Joint Vetch, Alyceclover (not a true clover) and buckwheat.

WMS Summer Spot can last well into the archery season providing bowhunters ample opportunity for a special spot to hunt. The plants can be nipped down to the ground and rebound with continued growth.

The cowpeas used in the WMS Pea Patch are drought tolerant and not needy as to fertilizer and soil pH balance. The blends can be broadcast or drilled at around 40- pound per acre. With the drought tolerance of WMS Pea Patch, the blend can be planted on into June and July.

Bumgarner advises your spring and summer food plots size should be based on the deer density in your hunting area. He recommends a minimum of one acre but make the plots larger if possible.

For more information on spring and summer food plot seed contact WMS at seedsource@bellsouth.net.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at charjohn@cableone.net.