What could possibly be the greatest food plot tip of all, as it relates to the potential of your hunting land? That daytime food plot use is critical to your hunting and herd success!
This is a great time for you to evaluate the potential of just how many deer, use your food plot(s) during the middle of the daylight hours, and even more importantly: How many mature bucks? Each and every year an incredible amount of focus is placed on exactly what to plant and how to plant it, in a never ending strive for the perfect food plot planting. But is every "perfectly planted" food plot perfect? Not likely, because the process of planting a perfect food plot should be the last step in the process, and not the first.
*Establishing patterns of deer movement with food plots is extremely important for future hunting success, the video above describes how to develop and encourage those feeding movements.
Critical Food Plot Tips
Of course this is not the case with all food plot plantings on all parcels of hunting land, but in general I have experienced that you can break food plot use into 2 types: Daylight and Darkness. What type are yours?
Food Plot Tips for Daylight Use:
1. Adjacent high quality bedding opportunity for doe family groups
2. The impression of zero hunting pressure
3. Sufficient food plot diversity and volume to last the majority of the entire season
Food Plot Tips to Avoid Deer Use During the Dark
1. Eliminate all human scent, sound and site from the deer's senses
2. Create hunter access routes well away from both the food plot itself, and especially the adjacent bedding area
3. Eliminate multi-variety, high quality food plot plantings adjacent to or within, heavy human traffic areas including roads and cabins, during the hunting season.
*Important Food Plot Question for You: Do you capture more pictures during the middle of the night, or within (or close to) shooting hours?
Deer are browsers, and they also both need and appreciate variety. Unless a hunter has huge food plot plantings and a budget to match, it is nearly impossible to attract even a majority of a deer herd's feeding activity during at 24 hour period. Deer feed 5 times in a 24 hour period. When it comes to realizing your ultimate herd management and hunting potential, your ability to control a deer herds midday and afternoon feedings is critical to your success. The best hunting parcels with food plots that I have personally seen or experienced, have all had one thing in common: They controlled the afternoon feedings of the local deer herd.
Think of daily deer feedings as time slots of activity. Deer will typically feed twice during the daylight hours within their bedding areas, which is why it is critical to have enough moderate quality natural browse available for them to do so. But after they have spent the majority of the daylight hours within their bedding areas, the next time slot is during the afternoon and evening hours. This is also the time when deer seem to appreciate the highest quality levels of forage as well; or at least a major leap forward when compared to their bedding area daytime browse! This sets the table perfectly for your food plot program concerning the most important food plot tip of all: Daytime food plot use.
*Although the afternoon times slot is the most important feeding time to control, it can't typically be done without making sure to offer enough daytime browse within deer bedding areas. To make sure that you have enough food for your deer bedding areas, check out "Deer Browse For Daytime Bedding".
Controlling the Afternoon Feeding Slot
I could be wrong, but I do not believe it is possible to control a deer herd's daily feeding activities through a food plot program. A majority of their feedings? Maybe. But most food plot programs can't possibly come close. However I have experienced that you can control the afternoon time slot to a very high % and WOW, that is "prime time" when it comes to the daily needs and movements of the local deer herd! Why is the afternoon time slot so important? Check out these important food plot tips for controlling a deer herd's "prime time":
1. Where a deer herd beds during the day, relates directly to where they feed during the afternoon.
2. If you control the majority of the daytime bedding to afternoon feeding slot movement, you will realize the greatest amount of potential to not only control the harvest of the local deer herd, but to mold and shape the quality of the local deer herd.
3. Deer should forage during their afternoon, high quality feeding slot for a couple of hours and move on. It is typical that a deer's afternoon feeding begins 1-3 hours prior to dark, and then the clock is continually reset to establish their 5 daily feedings from there. During a rising full moon you can expect the afternoon slot to be pushed back later, as deer seem to place an even greater importance on the safe, bright, moonlit, social feeding conditions well into the night.
Where do deer move to following their afternoon feeding slot? Typically to their midnight, social "darkness" food sources where they typically spend the majority of their nighttime hours. But in the end does it really matter where the local deer herd ends up after dark? As long as you control the highest % of a local deer herd's daytime bedding and afternoon feeding slot movements it shouldn't really matter where the deer spend their hours under the cover of darkness.
*A great way to make sure that you offer enough bedding opportunity on your land to compliment your afternoon food plots is by creating daytime sanctuaries with a chainsaw. For the complete strategy for creating chainsaw sanctuaries, please read "Hinge Cut Bedding Guide".
Do your food plots feature more afternoon time slot feeding use, or do your food plots seem to attract the majority of deer movements under the cover of darkness. It is a very important question to ponder because the health of your hunting and herd management opportunities depends on it.
*If you enjoyed these food plot tips, you will greatly appreciate my latest book titled, "Food Plot Success By Design".