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#3287438 - 07/10/13 11:51 AM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: redheadshooter]
Good time Charlie
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Registered: 10/08/99
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I just let mother nature take care of things ..I do not know this for certain ..but I bet deer frequent a growed up field as much as a food plot.I know they are more secure and feel safer.
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#3287449 - 07/10/13 12:04 PM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: Good time Charlie]
Football Hunter
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Registered: 10/22/07
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Nope.especially late season,easy way for me to thin does if I choose,and not neccesarily sitting right on them,I rarely do that.
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#3287497 - 07/10/13 12:46 PM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19343
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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 Originally Posted By: BSK
"And, in my personal experiences, food plots are as overhyped as a Tom Cruise movie."

I've been saying this for years.

x 2

 Originally Posted By: BSK
On a priority list of time and expenditures for managing a deer hunting property, I would place food plots low on the list.

While I agree on a personal level, this is not necessarily the case in terms of managing a hunting club, as most club members are "expecting" some pretty food plots, and "believing" much of the hype about them.

What I'm saying is that many hunt clubs are "happier" having some food plots vs. no food plots, never mind the outcome in the deer management might be better should those funds spent on cultivated food plots simply not be spent. In many clubs, not having the expense of cultivated food plots could allow the club to operate with fewer members, i.e. resulting in better ongoing buck age structure (fewer members killing fewer bucks). As an absolute choice, I'd prefer more older bucks instead of food plots.

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#3287519 - 07/10/13 01:08 PM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: Good time Charlie]
MUP
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Registered: 08/01/07
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 Originally Posted By: Good time Charlie
I just let mother nature take care of things ..I do not know this for certain ..but I bet deer frequent a growed up field as much as a food plot.I know they are more secure and feel safer.


Same here...just wish I had a grown up field tho. All wooded on my place.
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#3287527 - 07/10/13 01:11 PM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: Boll Weevil]
Wes Parrish
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 Originally Posted By: Boll Weevil
. . . . the benefit (assumed of cultivated food plots?) to an overall wildlife management plan seems pretty different in my mind. For me, manipulating and improving native groceries + providing food, edge, in the right size/location, etc does great things for all sorts of wildlife big and small alike.
. . . . will certainly continue to plant going forward.

Couple thoughts here:

1) "In my mind" --- I really think we hunters have been conditioned by seed sellers (ATV sellers, tractor sellers, equiptment sellers) to think planting stuff matters more than it really matters. It is more "in our minds" than in reality.

2) Yet, it is NOT a contradiction to believe that "manipulating and improving native groceries + providing food, edge, in the right size/location, etc does great things for all sorts of wildlife big and small alike."

What I'm saying is that "cultivating & planting" are the most costly ways of "manipulating and improving native groceries". I'm speaking in general terms, and know there are specific circumstances which are exceptions. Meanwhile, most landowners believe their circumstances are the exceptions.

Generally speaking, for both one's time and his money, you will get more bang for your buck by simply altering the habitat so that more sunlight hits the ground. (Of course, you wouldn't want to clear-cut nor mow 100% of your land, everything should be done in a certain balance.)

For many, this simply means if you spent about 90% of the time & money you spend on cultivating & planting food plots, instead, that time and money on mowing and liming ---- Mother Nature would generally provide you greater forage benefits to the wildlife than you were providing by what you plant. Put in monetary terms, 40 hours of personal labor + $400 of cash = more forage gain all spent on mowing (and/or liming) a relatively large acreage vs. planting food plots on a relatively small acreage.

That said, I'm not opposed to food plots, and do spend lots of time and money on them personally each year. Just saying they are relatively expensive and not as great a benefit as most people seem to think.

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#3287538 - 07/10/13 01:18 PM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: Wes Parrish]
MUP
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Registered: 08/01/07
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Good post Wes.
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#3287546 - 07/10/13 01:30 PM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: Wes Parrish]
Boll Weevil
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Registered: 06/26/11
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 Originally Posted By: Wes Parrish
Generally speaking, for both one's time and his money, you will get more bang for your buck by simply altering the habitat so that more sunlight hits the ground.

Yep; this activity alone is probably the greatest consumer of my resources (esp. time, sweat, and sore muscles) rather than planting/maintaining plots. It's definitely laborious, time-consuming work but I'm completely sold on both the habitat and economic benefits.

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#3287558 - 07/10/13 01:39 PM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: MUP]
BSK
Jerkasourous of the non-typical kind
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Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying food plots are worthless. As I previously stated, in some circumstances food plots can be a powerful management tool.

What I'm saying is, the value of food plots has been incredibly overhyped, especially on TV hunting shows and in hunting magazines.

I place food plots low on a management priority list because manipulation of the habitat to produce NATURAL food sources is far, FAR more important than planting a couple of small food plots. Nature designed deer as weed eaters. In summer, many native weeds can be as nutritious and digestible as soybeans. And these weeds are naturally drought resistant and don't have to be planted or limed or fertilized (although lime and fertilizer will grow more, bigger, and better weeds!).

Of course, everything comes down to a matter of scale. For the average hunter who wants to plant a couple of 1/2-acre food plots, how much are those small plots really doing? Not much. Now on a scale like landman is talking about--tens of acres of food plots equaling 10% of a property--that's a whole different ballgame. Of course, even in that scenario, I would want three times as much acreage in natural food sources as food plot. Food plots can fail for a wide number of reasons. The natural habitat is extremely resilient and rarely if ever fails.

As a side note, also read the article in question closely. One of the author's main points is that, for many hunters, a lack of security cover is usually far more of a problem than a lack of food. I agree with this. I see an awful lot of money/effort being throw at "food" through food plots, and not much money/effort being thrown at a much more important factor from a hunting perspective, and that is security cover.
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#3287580 - 07/10/13 02:00 PM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: MUP]
Football Hunter
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Registered: 10/22/07
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 Originally Posted By: MUP
 Originally Posted By: Good time Charlie
I just let mother nature take care of things ..I do not know this for certain ..but I bet deer frequent a growed up field as much as a food plot.I know they are more secure and feel safer.


Same here...just wish I had a grown up field tho. All wooded on my place.
That's a GREAT idea,unfortunatly,at least in my area,a field left to "mother nature",would mostly be invasive grasses,especially Johnson grass.

I would love to have a field full of beneficial weeds,just doesn't happen around my place,mostly invasives,that deer don't eat.
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The best day to plant a tree,IS TODAY!

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#3287582 - 07/10/13 02:01 PM Re: Are you wasting $ on food plots? [Re: BSK]
Wes Parrish
16 Point


Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 19343
Loc: Knoxville-Dover-Union City, TN

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Superb post, BSK! \:\)

 Originally Posted By: BSK
. . . . . the value of food plots has been incredibly overhyped, especially on TV hunting shows and in hunting magazines.

I place food plots low on a management priority list because manipulation of the habitat to produce NATURAL food sources is far, FAR more important than planting a couple of small food plots. Nature designed deer as weed eaters. In summer, many native weeds can be as nutritious and digestible as soybeans. And these weeds are naturally drought resistant and don't have to be planted or limed or fertilized (although lime and fertilizer will grow more, bigger, and better weeds!).


BSK was the first manager to bring to my attention that deer commonly prefer native wild ragweed over my cultivated, lush clover plots.

Ragweed is but one example of a native forb (particular broadleaf weed that deer value). Where these native forbs trump most things we might "plant" is with their diversity and ability to flourish under unpredictable upcoming weather. Will the summer be dry or wet? While we might plant only a single species or small mixture of seeds, nature has more variety, some of which will be continuously "peaking".

Often, all we have to do is mow & disturb the ground to cause an increase in the growth of native forbs, ragweed being a great example in Tennessee.

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