Part 1: Deer Inventory & Food Plot Planning
Are we ever really done chasing whitetails? Over the final weeks of the season, I can honestly say that I am almost as excited for the off season as I am for opening day. I truly appreciate and enjoy the process of building a better property and creating a place where the deer WANT to be. It's also an exciting time to start creating a list of target bucks for October!
Now is the perfect time to have your trail cameras and feed stations in place! Many hunters will pull their cameras due to the harsh conditions, but if you have a good food source or feed in place it is a great time to collect pictures of what target bucks you will have for October. We often run our cameras up until frost seeding begins (Early-Mid February) and then return them back to the woods in late May/June.
If using feed, we recommend a balanced feed source such as our Ultimate Deer Feed rather than a corn pile. Often times corn alone can cause more harm than good during the tough winter season due to lack of resources to help digest and breakdown the corn. Keep in mind, does are currently carrying fawns and bucks are still regaining strength from the rut. High quality food is important for your herd during a time when it is very hard to find!
Food Plot Planning
We currently have about a 9-12'' of snow on the ground here in Indiana but we are already planning for our spring food plots! In approximately 4-6 weeks we will begin the frost seeding window for our perennial plots. It wont be long until we will be spraying and getting prepared for getting our spring plots in the ground. What plots worked well for you in 2018? What improvements could be made? Here is a great checklist for food plotters to go through as we get into preparing for our 2019 October hunts:
- Soil Samples: The earlier the better if you haven't taken one in the last 2 years. You should receive a lime and fertilizer recommendation with your results.
- Rotations: Just like farmers, food plot rotation is key. Repeating the same process for many years mines the soil of key nutrients and invites plant disease. Crops like corn and some brassicas absorb a lot of nitrogen. Consider planting clover or a soil building crop with buckwheat to help fixate the nitrogen taken by your corn planting.
- Spraying: Spring seems to sneak up quick here in Indiana. Be sure you have a plan in place to hit those weeds as soon as you see them! We recommend 2 qt per acre of 41% Glyphosate as early as possible. The earlier you hit the weeds, the easier they are to kill. If the weeds have the opportunity to go to seed, you are looking at a long term battle for 2019.
- Planting Dates: Clover can be planted fairly early in the spring while crops such as Sunflowers and Sorghum need at least 65 degree soil temps. Knowing the proper time is key for success!
- Seed Depth: Knowing the proper seed depth is key! Generally the smaller the seed, the less depth you need. Clovers are 1/8'' max while Sorghum is around 1/2''.
Remember the quote: Fail to plan, plan to fail!
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have!
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will discuss Habitat Planning!