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#3085396 - 12/18/12 02:42 PM Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read
woodsman87
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This question has probably been through here a million times, and the major answer is they are obviously eating something else.
And I do have some background in plant science, did turf management for many years and know about the lime and fert. and soil and chemicals and that stuff.
Well here goes. They are not hitting my food plot like anybody would think. And never have since I have been planting it.
Every year I tell myself that after the acorns are gone they will start hitting it, or when it gets cold enough they will start. But it never happens. First of all, I don't have the ability to plant more than one plot because of acreage and we have cows. Another bizarre thing is my friend that owns the land bodering me, has a food plot not far from mine and they tear it up. We always plant ours the same day, buy seed at the same time at the same place and together. but his is much more productive that mine.
Would yall think that there is something in the soil that makes the plants in his more desirable than mine?
We both plant oats, wheat, crimson clover, white clover, red clover, alyce clover, rape, and austrian winter peas. My oats have seed heads on them. The rest is just real tall like a spring time hayfield.
But there is more. Other than just hitting his food plot over mine, it seems as if they eat the fescue and poa anna grass in the pastures and hay fields bordering are land moreso than they do the food plot intentionally for the deer. They also love the ryegrass that we plant in select pastures for cattle grazing.
And I also do not think it is hunting pressure. I killed one deer in it out of 5 years. And I don't hunt it because, I don't see deer!!
Sorry for long read, but please give me some suggestions. Thanks.

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#3085403 - 12/18/12 02:48 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
BlountArrow
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 Originally Posted By: woodsman87
Would yall think that there is something in the soil that makes the plants in his more desirable than mine?


Yeah, I think there has to be.
I've had similar experiences. You need to plant something else other than what your neighbor is planting regardless of what the deer next door seem to be eating. Also, I really HIGHLY doubt your seeing deer feeding on fescue and other perennial grasses. They're probably picking up little bits of this and that in between all the grasses that you aren't seeing (maybe some sort of small forbs or clovers or something). Keep experimenting.
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#3085409 - 12/18/12 02:53 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BlountArrow]
woodsman87
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Yea I guess it is probably clovers or something, and I would think that eat poa but probably not this tough nasty looking fescue. But I do know for sure they are eating the rye grass we planted, it is the first time we have planted rye grass for the cows and it has suddenly become the almost always see some does field for us.
the food plot part is just kinda irritating. and I don't know what else to use? They work for his so I always think it will work for mine. And he hunts the piss out of his and kills bucks and does in it every year and they still want move.
I am not really complaining because he lets me hunt his place too, just confused on why. Reading the standing beans thread has made this question come up to me. I may try that next year, may do half beans, half corn, and then throw wheat in it when it has turned.
Just dont know. Wish had more land to experiment but just dont.

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#3085419 - 12/18/12 02:59 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
BlountArrow
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I can tell you that I have planted several things in several places for deer and it is different everywhere I go. For the first time in 5 years, this year, I planted a solid acre roughly of chicory. Chicory is expensive. And, the deer on my place in South East TN absolutely tore it up from Summer until about 3 weeks ago. But, I planted some turnip and rape in the same places last year and the deer NEVER touched them. It's just different and you just have to keep trying different stuff. I have a place in North East TN that I can plant rape and turnips and come December it will look a lawnmower has ran over them. Like, I mean, it is all gone, every bit of it by December. Go figure, I'm convinced from talking to BSK and others the soil and nutrients in the soil must play a role in how these plants taste and you of course must factor in what else is around that is available for them to eat besides my food plot which is assuredly at least somewhat different in NorthEast and SouthEast TN.
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#3085430 - 12/18/12 03:03 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BlountArrow]
woodsman87
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Obviously they have my neighbors food plot that they get killed in all the time, and I know of another neighbor a good piece away that has some with I think just the big buck blend stuff, mainly wheat, but other than those plots there is nothing else. It is not a very agriculture area, no corn fields close, wheat, beans, whatever. The deer just have acorns in the fall and when they are gone, as far as I know, they have our three food plots and the rest is hardwoods/cedar thickets/ and cow pasture hay fields or horse pastures.
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#3085442 - 12/18/12 03:10 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
BlountArrow
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There are a multitude of things for deer to eat, various forbs, browse, saplings, weeds, dead leaves, briars, all sort of things - so don't think that just because you're not in the typical Agricultural area that the deer don't have a whole lot to eat when the acorns are gone. Like many have said before me, don't think you're doing much for the overall "dietary health" with a food plot either. Personally, I just want to attract deer to my property. I very rarely hunt over my food plots. And, if I can give the deer something they like through the winter then that is a big bonus. Try some chicory next year, try a few different things that no one else is planting...even if you have only enough space for one food plot split it up into different sections, offering different things, put out some cameras or put out some cages and see what the deer gravitate towards.
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#3085467 - 12/18/12 03:29 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BlountArrow]
woodsman87
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Yep variety is the spice of life. All of those plants I mentioned are in the same plot mixed together. I like planting the legumes because it helps the others get nitrogen plus clover is great for deer and turkey.
have any ever had luck with alfalfa down here? This is in giles co.

And I'm not so concerned with giving the deer nutrients because it's just too hard to do with little land. I just like attracting them so I can shoot em.


Edited by woodsman87 (12/18/12 03:30 PM)

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#3085469 - 12/18/12 03:30 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: woodsman87
Would yall think that there is something in the soil that makes the plants in his more desirable than mine?


Yes. I have seen this type of situation more times than you would imagine. I have seen deer pound a particular plant in one food plot and not touch it in another food plot just a few hundred yards away. Why? I have no idea, other than something about the soil. Surprisingly, this situation you describe is far more common than you would think, even between plots on the same property, maintained and planted by the same people.
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#3085491 - 12/18/12 03:46 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BSK]
woodsman87
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I just got to get a soil test done. I am not sure it will work but it is worth a try.
Would the same thing go with white oaks you think? Some particular oaks the eat em as soon as they fall, while other white oaks they just let them rot.
And would you think the location of plot could hurt? Mine is bordered by hackberry woods in three sides, and cow pasture on one. His is bordered with oak/hickory woods on four sides.
Another confusing thing is that his house is on one of the ends of his plot. Solve that one for me.

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#3085513 - 12/18/12 03:59 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: woodsman87
I just got to get a soil test done. I am not sure it will work but it is worth a try.


Honestly, I'm not sure that "what is so different" about the soil from plot to plot will show up on a standard soil sample results. I suspect the difference is something very subtle.


 Quote:
Would the same thing go with white oaks you think? Some particular oaks the eat em as soon as they fall, while other white oaks they just let them rot.


My deer must be hungrier than other people's deer, because if a tree produces acorns in my area, the deer eat them. The only time we see a lot of acorns going to root is if a lot of trees produced a lot of acorns (a volume thing, not a specific tree thing).
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#3085898 - 12/18/12 07:52 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BSK]
BlountArrow
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I'd like to try Alfalfa next year but I know nothing about growing it. I think there are several altered varieties of it. I used to hear that bugs were bad about destroying Alfalfa but I have never attempted to grow it and need to do some serious research on it.
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#3086311 - 12/19/12 06:00 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BlountArrow]
Football Hunter
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Maybe some to do the the proximity to cover?Still should hit it at night though.
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#3086370 - 12/19/12 06:52 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: Football Hunter]
richmanbarbeque
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Registered: 07/17/03
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Do you have exclusion cages set up? What about cameras?
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#3086464 - 12/19/12 08:03 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BlountArrow]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: BlountArrow
I'd like to try Alfalfa next year but I know nothing about growing it. I think there are several altered varieties of it. I used to hear that bugs were bad about destroying Alfalfa but I have never attempted to grow it and need to do some serious research on it.


Alfalfa is a great plant, but very tough to grow. I tried to talk one of my clients out of converting many of his perennial plots into alfalfa, but he wouldn't listen. I just got a call from him the other day wondering why his plots were performing so poorly (growth-wise). I tried to warn him...
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"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3086532 - 12/19/12 08:44 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BSK]
woodsman87
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Cameras in it, not much action. Just a doe every other night or so. No exclusion cages, but you can tell how tall it is that it is not getting hit. It has to be something in the soil. I think I just need to plant something different next year, I just don't know what. I will probably try some chicory, but I want to always have clover in it for turkeys, nutrition for deer and cows(we let the cows eat it down the day afer season) and the clover helps the wheat and other grasses grow.
but I will have to try something else. May do half of it in corn next year. I don't know. Thanks for the advice though.

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#3086794 - 12/19/12 11:55 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
BSK
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 Originally Posted By: woodsman87
No exclusion cages, but you can tell how tall it is that it is not getting hit.


Perhaps, but without exclusion cages, you never know. I've seen landowners be fooled about food plot usage more times than I can count. Put up exclusion cages and suddenly they gain a new perspective.
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"Know where you stand, and stand there" --Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan

"There is no reasoning someone out of a position he has not reasoned himself into." --Clive James

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#3088077 - 12/20/12 07:27 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BSK]
Football Hunter
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 Originally Posted By: BSK
 Originally Posted By: woodsman87
No exclusion cages, but you can tell how tall it is that it is not getting hit.


Perhaps, but without exclusion cages, you never know. I've seen landowners be fooled about food plot usage more times than I can count. Put up exclusion cages and suddenly they gain a new perspective.
Yep,and what could be easier or cheaper to do?
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#3088125 - 12/20/12 08:08 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BSK]
Hunter 257W
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Woodsman, I wonder if the cows migh have something to do with your deer not using the plot. I sold my cows about 5 years ago so have some perspective regarding how cows can influence deer. While we had cows, we practically never saw deer in any of our pastures. The deer just seemed to want nothing to do with the cows. Once the cows were gone, I started seeing lots of deer movement in pastures. And it's not because the pastures grew up either as they are still being cut for hay several times a season.

I was going to suggest that you might be lacking cover but I see you said your food plot is surrounded on 3 sides with woods so lack of cover shouldn't be a problem. Unless again the cows are allowed in those woods or very close to the food plot on a regular basis.

On the soil test, I agree with BSK that a standard soil test will tell you how much lime and fertilize you need but when we are talking about why deer use one well prepared food plot but not another seemingly identical plot, I doubt the soil test will show the difference. There are a lot of trace minerals in soil that I don't know how to determine....or even if you could, how would you know what amounts of each is desirable? I've run into the same thing with mineral licks. One site will have a hole dug out that looks like a bath tub while another - using the same minerals - will get only moderate use. I THINK I see some connection with areas with a lot of cedar trees and heavy mineral useage but not sure that's always true.

From the variety of plants you have been planting, it seems that you would have hit on something the deer like by now if your problem was just a matter of taste preference.

I've posted several times on here my recommendations and reservations for alfalfa. (I have a soft spot for the stuff since selling alfafla hay paid for my college!) Since you have cows, I assume you have hay equipment. My experience with Whitetail Institutes "Alfa Rack" is that it grows fast and falls over on itself and needs to be mowed at least twice a Summer. If you want the hay then 4 cuttings can easily be had. The problem with this food plot shoice is that the mowed vegetation needs to be removed somehow or it will cover the plants to the point that your whole crop will die. IF you can bale it for hay then you will have no problem with that. Establishing Alfa Rack is the same as clover. You have to pulverize the soil good and use a cultipacker. A near neutral pH is important as you already said. And obviously you don't want a hay alfalfa. I have 4 acres that is really too open(too little cover) to hunt over but I planted it mainly to feed deer. I want the does fat and healthy to give a lot of milk to the fawns!

Bugs were a problem with our hay alfalfa years ago but I haven't had any significant problems with them on the Alfa Rack. I did have a bad broadleaf weed problem the 1st year and ended up killing all the chicory (approx 10% of total Alfa Rack mix) with the herbicide I used to kill the broadleaf weeds.

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#3088210 - 12/20/12 09:00 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: Hunter 257W]
woodsman87
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I think the cows may have a lot to do with it. I have stated on this forum before that the first two years we had this place we saw deer every where, but we only had three cows for just fun. Now we have several, and I think that may be the problem, but I do not want to get rid of them. The profit we make of off them we actually use to pay for our farm equipment/food plots and such. And no, I do not have any hay equipment, we aren't big time cattlemen, so we just buy our hay. but the cows also are not allowed to go into the woods around the plot. We let them eat our food plot for a couple of days after deer season is closed, then pull them off until growing season and rotate them on and off during summer.
This is what to makes it harder to plant corn or beans during the spring, because we use it for grazing during the summer months. I just dont know if we can block it off to plant a spring crop that needs a long summer to grow.
Another thing I would like to do is get rid of the cows, and plant pine trees for an extra income. I think that would help out tremondously for deer hunting.

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#3088285 - 12/20/12 09:38 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
Hunter 257W
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 Originally Posted By: woodsman87
I think the cows may have a lot to do with it. I have stated on this forum before that the first two years we had this place we saw deer every where, but we only had three cows for just fun. Now we have several, and I think that may be the problem, but I do not want to get rid of them. The profit we make of off them we actually use to pay for our farm equipment/food plots and such. And no, I do not have any hay equipment, we aren't big time cattlemen, so we just buy our hay. but the cows also are not allowed to go into the woods around the plot. We let them eat our food plot for a couple of days after deer season is closed, then pull them off until growing season and rotate them on and off during summer.
This is what to makes it harder to plant corn or beans during the spring, because we use it for grazing during the summer months. I just dont know if we can block it off to plant a spring crop that needs a long summer to grow.
Another thing I would like to do is get rid of the cows, and plant pine trees for an extra income. I think that would help out tremondously for deer hunting.


I certainly understand the reality of having to compromise the use of your land because of financial reasons. Mine is mostly a working farm for the same reason. If I were rich, the whole place would be woods, overgrown fields and food plots.

With no hay equipment then I would stay away from alfalfa. The only thing that might let it work for you would be if there are enough deer to keep it eaten down so that it never grows tall and falls over. I had a 1/4 acre plot of Alfa Rack near the house that I couldn't get hay equipment into and it grew way more than the deer could eat and the alfalfa eventually died out but the clover survived. IT's a pure Imperial clover patch now and you can tell from a distance that it is getting heavy HEAVY useage. There are probably 1/3 of the plants right now that are just stems with no leaves.

Back to the cows. Just throwing this out there. What about possible deer travel routes from your neighbors land to yours that deer may not use as much because of the cows presence? If that was a problem maybe you could rotate the cows to another area maybe a month or few weeks before deer season? Are there any other areas you could have mini food plots?

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#3088314 - 12/20/12 09:48 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: Hunter 257W]
woodsman87
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My neighbors plot that the love so much is probably 300 yards away on the same ridge top with nothing but hickory/oak hardwoods inbetween. I have made a mini plot before, on probably like a 100 square foot area in the woods that is kinda open for I dont know what reason, but I do not think it did anything.
The cows cannot get into any woods that we have, their shade just comes from a few isolated trees and fence lines.
Could Alfalfa work if I were to plant it, and rotate on and off grazing on it with cows during the summer?

And If I were rich enough and have enough land I would be same as you. all pasture would be food plots or grown up into thickets, undiserable woods will be logged and planted with pines or beneficial trees. I cannot see anything benificial with all my hackberry trees other than knocking down my fences and blowing over my four-wheeler trails!

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#3088426 - 12/20/12 10:48 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
Hunter 257W
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I talked to Whitetail Institute a couple years back about using their Alfa Rack for hay. They said it would make great hay but not to let horses ever graze it. I don't recall exactly why - I'm not a horse person. \:\) I see no reason why the cows couldn't be let in there to eat it down though. Might be a problem keeping them out once they find out what you have there. \:\) One thing I do recall about cutting it for hay was that it shouldn't be cut shorter than 6 inches. That's not practical because if it's laying down when you cut it, the entire plant may not be more than 6 inches tall. Mine gets cut about 2 or 3 inches tall and that's probably why it seems to thin out if not re-seeded lighty every February/March. If you are grazing it, you can just check it every other day and run the cows out when they it down to about 6 inches.

Hackberry's are also good for hanging a disk harrow on and breaking a disc off. And bending the entire frame so that you have to spend a day with a welder and torch to fix it..... \:\(

Wouldn't it be great to be excessively rich so we could make out own little high fence deer paradise?


Edited by Hunter 257W (12/20/12 10:51 AM)

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#3088442 - 12/20/12 10:58 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: Hunter 257W]
woodsman87
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I may try some alfalfa, I just scared it want do anything around here. It seems like you have had good sucess but Im still scared to try. I will still atleast have my clover it it doesn't work though.
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#3088465 - 12/20/12 11:22 AM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: woodsman87]
Hunter 257W
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The Whitetail Institute Alfa Rack that I am talking about is 60% alfalfa, 30% clover and 10% chicory to give you some variety already.
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#3098251 - 12/27/12 08:28 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: BlountArrow]
Boone 58
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It seems they wont really touch brassicas here in this area until late january and feb......i have a 90 yard plot that looks awesome but the deer arent touching it again for two years in a row. Friend has the same issue nearby here but 30 miles from there. I wont be planting brassicas again. Wheat/oats/white ladino clover for me!!!


Edited by Boone 58 (12/27/12 08:37 PM)
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#3099142 - 12/28/12 02:48 PM Re: Question about not hitting a foodplot; long read [Re: Boone 58]
BigAl
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My dad had cows on his place for years and we rarely saw deer. He got rid of them and all of a sudden the deer appeared out of the woodwork. He got cows again and once again the deer disappeared.

As a suggestion, and I don't know how expensive it would be, but has anyone every bought topsoil and/or humus and tilled it into the soil to try and improve it?
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