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Warm Season Food Plots

Year-round nutrition for wildlife is a key component to maximizing their overall potential, health, and helping them build a routine to be on your property year-round as opposed to randomly showing up in the fall when their patterns change.


Summer buck eating forage soybeans
Summer buck eating forage soybeans

The late spring and summer months are a critical time for a buck to recover from a tough winter and prepare his body for the coming fall. It's also a pivotal time in the antler growth process. Lack of forage can limit him from reaching his full potential, both antler wise and health wise.

This is also a critical time for does carrying and supporting fawns and gamebirds like turkeys, quail, and pheasants that need cover, seed producing plants, and brood rearing ground for insects.


Sorghum (milo) and Millet Mix
Sorghum (milo) and Millet Mix

Depending on what your goal is, there are multiple food plots you can plant to accomplish the biggest need you are trying to fill:

Forage:

  • Having available forage for big game is important for their recovery from the previous winter and in building up for the coming fall. They also need plenty of nutrition in order to maximize their antler growth and meet their genetic potential. Perennial Legumes like clover and alfalfa are a great forage that grows early in the spring and can last into the early fall for early season food plots. Soybeans are also a great annual option that has a lot of protein for big game during the summer and fall months.

Brood Rearing:

  • In trying to grow your turkey and upland populations, it's imperative to have brood rearing ground for them. This is often habitat with open, bare dirt areas, oftentimes overhead structure, and plenty of insect attraction. The best brood rearing ground oftentimes comes from your native wildflower and clover plots. Bare areas or low growing clover plots, with lots of insects. Having areas like this next to nesting sites is crucial for the survival of poults so they have as little to travel as possible and can easier avoid predators.

Warm Season Annuals

  • Offering warm season annuals is a great way to increase your summer forage and cover while increasing your soil health. Planting a mix like Final Flush or Ranch Hand can increases your summer forage, offers great cover, and produces forgeable seed for birds. Other options that offer a good dual threat are a legume and cereal grain mix. Peas and oats can be a great protein and heavy tonnage forage that will feed deer all spring, summer, and fall long.

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