Perfectly created food plot plantings aren't really that perfect, if they are peaking at the wrong time of the year. It pays to take a brutally honest look at the true impact of your food plotting efforts because beautiful fields of green do not guarantee success for you or the local herd.
Here is the When, Why and Where your food plot plantings can have the highest impact, this year!
When should your food plot plantings be peaking?
In particular within the habitat-rich portion of the North 1/2 of the Country, there is only one time that you can truly make a difference in the herd that you hunt. Whether your goal is overall herd health, to build a herd or to just plain shoot a monster buck, your land needs to be at it's best, during the heart of the hunting season.
Why does it matter when your plantings have the greatest impact?
Folks, just because your plots are perfectly planted, perfectly fertilized and could start on the cover of some of the greatest deer publications, doesn't mean that they are doing much good for you or the local herd. When your food plots are at their best during the heart of the hunting season, your ability to have a great hunt is only a slice out of the pie of whitetail goodness. Food plots that carry an extremely high impact during the heart of the season allow you the potential to accomplish 4 critical and popular deer goals:
1. Influence populations levels
2. Protect and advance bucks to the next age class
3. Improve sex ratios
4. Have a great hunt!
Which is the most important of those 4? I personally am greedy when it comes to whitetails, so I choose "all of the above". However, regardless of what you want, having a food plot program that is rising quickly during the early portions of the season and then peaking during mid-season, creates the opportunity for you to have it all.
Where should your food plots be at their best?
This may seem like a silly question, but your plots need to be peaking during the hunting season, and that means that they can not be located where you have the potential of spooking the deer that feed within them, every time you enter or exit your land. Along with being secluded and hidden, your plots should be in a position on your land that maximizes the depth of cover that you have to work with. If you keep in mind hidden, adjacent to deep pockets of unpressured cover and easy to access around, you are on the right track!
Are your food plot plantings as high-impact as you would like them to be? I personally like to see my food plots beginning a steady climb in atttraction throughout the first month to two months of the season, and then leveling off in attraction into the months that follow. While Summer food sources are spread far, wide and full of lucious volume, Fall food sources are not.