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Thinking about planting food plots at my place

2times2times AlvaPosts: 161 Deckhand
Anybody here have food plot where they hunt?  What do you plant and how effective is it at attracting game?
We had planted about 1/2 acre of corn years ago at our place years ago and it was great at attracting deer until hogs came in and rooted up the whole place.
I was thinking of planting some perennial clover at two locations about 400 yards apart with one about 1/3 acre and second one about 1/2 acre one near the edge of hardwood hammock and second at the edge of pine rows.  If I see it's working I can enlarge them in future.
Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.       


  • cracker4112cracker4112 Posts: 900 Officer
    Assuming you are near Alva, the hogs make it tough.  I can't think of anything that you plant that they won't destroy at some point...
  • MissedMissed O-townPosts: 457 Deckhand

    I have a 50# bag of mixed seeds - soybeans, peas, hemp, etc. that I bought last year for an archery plot and didn't get around to planting due to flooding.  Box it came in has not been opened.  Not gonna use it - free to a good home.

    Can pick up in Baldwin Park.
  • jdipietrojdipietro Posts: 91 Deckhand
    Missed, I'll take it if it is not already claimed
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 4,192 Captain
    Your biggest hurdle is the poor soil in most areas of Florida. Not conducive for most food plot staples. 

    Deer Vetch/Aeschynomene. There is nothing like it for Florida woods sand. Its a legume so if you plant it with the inoculant it will put about 100lbs of nitrogen in the soil per acre. Its a Florida native and hard to find. Expect to pay about $250 a bag for it dehulled or $125 with the hulls. It needs to go in the ground right now. 
  • cracker4112cracker4112 Posts: 900 Officer
    Aeschnomene is great, agreed. Pretty easy to grow and deer love it. Hancock Seed usually has it in stock.  Same problem though, if you are going to spend $150-$250 per 50# bag, better have some way to keep the pigs off it...
  • WhitetailedWhitetailed Central FloridaPosts: 27 Deckhand
    Aeschynomene is a great recommendation. I've been planting it for years. The deer love it. The seed goes a really long way though. You may not need a 50# bag depending on the size of your plot. It also needs a host grass to let it get taller before they wipe it out. We'd typically seed and fertilize a plot, then come in and mow it to knock the tall stuff down as a cover crop. GIve it a couple of weeks, and the deer will be all over it. Hancock has about the best price on the innoculated stuff. You do need to mow it to keep it short. If it gets leggy, it will be too woody for them to eat it. If you get it established, all you have to do is sweeten it up every spring. You should be a good reseed for 2 or 3 years. Good luck!
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 4,192 Captain
    If dehulled, a 50# bag can be stretched out to cover about 10 acres. Which is a lot of planting. 
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 599 Officer
    edited June 10 #9
    What Whitetail said.

    Never had a hog problem in my plots. A little rooting here and there from the few that would pass through the area (no feeders close by)…. but that can easily be solved with lead poisoning. 

    It’s important to do a soil test and amend the soil as directed by the lab and to plant your seeds at the proper depth. 

    Plot size is one of the biggest reasons (if not THE biggest) for failure of a plot to keep growing as it should. You can do everything else right and still fail, if your plot isn’t properly sized for the number of deer that are using it. Plots the size you mentioned won’t withstand the browsing pressure of more than a half dozen or so deer. Expect to have more visitors than that on a daily basis. Start with something over an acre per location and expand from there, if desired. If you’re planting more than a few acres, split the planting into more than one location, to spread the benefit and to spread your risk of flooding causing a stand failure.

    Stake a small 2’x2’ fenced exclosure in the middle of your plot that the deer can’t eat through and watch the difference between what grows inside it and what grows outside it. That will tell you how much browsing pressure is effecting the success of your planting. What you hope to see is tall growth inside the exclosure fence and moderate height outside it. That tells you they are eating it well but that it’s growing fast enough to keep up with the browsing pressure it’s getting. If it’s tall inside and nubbed off outside it, your plot is too small for what you’re trying to grow. If it’s tall inside and tall outside, they either aren’t eating it or they are and it’s just growing faster than they can eat it (if you’re growing several acres of browse they like, you can sometimes see that and should consider splitting the planting to more than one location).
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 902 Officer
    I planted this plot on a farm I hunt this past season.  While there are not a lot of deer in this particular area, I figured this plot would be attractive to them.  While I did kill an 8 point off it, the deer usage was never more than what there was prior to planting it.  I even put out a water trough and kept corn on the ground and in the feeder at the far end of the plot all year.  I also kept my feeders full all year at my other two places.  This year I am not planting a plot and will mow this one is all.  It is about 6 feet high at the moment.  We limed and fertilized heavily as well.  I think I am going back to what the neighbors all do and seem to pull deer from the feeders that have remained full all year.  Just throw a bag of corn on the ground a day or two before the season seems to work as good or better than what I did last year and is a lot less $$$...
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 4,192 Captain
    I like the freedom food plots give where baiting becomes an issue. Such as in turkey season. I’d rather plant something the turkeys like I can hunt in than run a feeder 100 yards away. 
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 4,192 Captain
    But yes, corn is king. Its unreal how much deer stopped using my property in the fall and turkeys in the spring when I stopped corning them. 
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 902 Officer
    My place has a ton of turkeys and I quit filling feeders after deer season is over.  My turkey spot is only 13 acres so I do not run any feeders on it during season.  This year we had a little different situation as a mile north of me the landowner cut 400 acres of mature pines and the state park to my south burned a few hundred acres.  The turkeys had it good going either way this year...  I still got lucky and bagged my 2 but it was a very different season with the landscape changes.
  • zimmy4209zimmy4209 Ocala FloridaPosts: 1,248 Officer
    But yes, corn is king. Its unreal how much deer stopped using my property in the fall and turkeys in the spring when I stopped corning them. 
    I'd be interested to see how much of a magnet growing soybeans would be, although probably very difficult if you didn't get steady rain. For the next 3 months back home deer won't leave the soybean fields. Thats where you find all the bachelor groups every single night until they shed their velvet. Then they abandon the beans and go to the corn until it gets brutally cold then back to the beans again. 
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 902 Officer
    I once grew a plot with iron clay peas.  We fenced it until they got 3 feet high.  The plot was only about 10 feet wide and 50 feet long.  It was a bow stand.  When we took the fence down the peas lasted about 2 weeks until they were all gone.  It was hot for those 2 weeks though!  Plots to me are a lot of $$$ and a lot of work.  Not sure if they pay off.  I also fed Big N J blocks last year.  Probably put 50 out over the year.  Deer loved them, but I never shot one at a block.  The neighbors had as much luck as I did last year and I bet they didn't spend $30 on corn...
  • Florida BullfrogFlorida Bullfrog Posts: 4,192 Captain
    I planted aeschynomene this season. I’ve never planted it on the farm before, only the family hunt club. I believe it will
    be as big of a draw as corn based on how it performed in the hunt club. It is also fast growing, faster than the deer will browse it. I believe it is the best crop for deep south food plots with poor soil that there is. 
  • joelunchbucketjoelunchbucket Posts: 599 Officer
    Aeschynomene americana is top of the list for FL warm season deer forages. Make sure you don’t get Aeschynomene evenia (luckily it’s not that common to find this variety anymore). Nothing likes to eat it…. including deer. 

    Clovers are good cool season forages but, once the nematodes establish in them (one year tops), you won’t be able to do well with
    it any longer on the same site until it’s been gone for a number of years. There are some varieties that are nematode resistant but none that are nematode proof. Where frost is common, nematodes will be less of a
  • Ruff OneRuff One HomosassaPosts: 2,153 Captain
    I know this is in Missouri, but it is crimson clover. A southern clover. This is my favorite. I love to look at this plot. I think I would plant it even if the deer didn't eat it. But they love it. It is reseeding but I plant it as an annual.
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