Quality spring food plots for deer and turkey provide much-needed nutrition during times when does are carrying or nursing fawns. Bucks need extra nutrients for antler development. Turkeys benefit from the insects attracted by the flowering plants and the poults have a place to hide from predators.
When hunters and land managers think of food plots most don’t consider a spring or summer food plot. However, spring and summer food plots can be just as important as ones in the fall and winter months. These spring food plots for deer and turkey continue to provide forage and help keep them on your hunting property.
Quality food plots during the spring and summer provide much-needed nutrition during times when does are carrying or nursing fawns. Bucks need extra nutrients for antler development. Turkeys benefit from the insects attracted by the flowering plants and the poults have a place to hide from predators.
Selecting what seed to plant for spring and summer plots can be a chore. There are many different types of seed varieties from peas, beans, clovers, and other plants. Do you plant a single variety of seed, or mix it up? What seed varieties work well together and which ones do not?
These can be tough questions, planting the wrong seed or amount can lead to a less than a successful food plot. And your time and money will be wasted. The folks at Wildlife Management Solutions (WMS) have already solved this problem with different seed blends specifically for spring and summer food plots.
The Great Days Outdoors staff connected with Daniel Bumgarner at WMS for some seed suggestions and tips for creating beneficial food plots for deer and turkey during the spring and summer.
Different Seed Blends
Bumgarner mentions how spring and summer plots need to provide as much nutrition and tonnage as possible. Leafy type plants are one way to achieve this goal. He recommends a blend of different seed types. The blends provide a constant supply of forage as the plants mature.
One blend Bumgarner says wildlife managers have had success with is the WMS Pea Patch. This is a blend of late growing soybeans, three different types of cowpeas, buckwheat, and sunflowers. WMS has already worked out the best ratios of each seed type to ensure maximum growth of each plant species. The late growing soybeans provide more leafy forage longer. And when the plant matures, deer and turkey will continue to feed on the seed pods.
The three different types of cowpeas have different blooming dates. The plants are more attractive and palatable when blooming. Pea-type one will bloom in around 6- to 7- weeks, pea-type two will bloom out in about 9- weeks and pea-type three in approximately 12- weeks. Even after blooming, each type of pea continues to grow and provide forage.
Buckwheat is a forb with broad leaves that grows fast. The fast growth of buckwheat gets above the peas. Deer love buckwheat and will feed on it while the other seeds continue to grow. Turkeys will feed on the seeds.
The sunflowers are a F2 Hybrid that provides structure to the spring/summer plot. The Sunflowers will support the climbing / trailing cowpeas. Bumgarner says it is best to get the peas growing vertically. With the plant growing vertically there are leaves 360-degrees around the stem providing more leafy forage. If the peas are running on the ground, the leaves grow only in one direction.
Bumgarner also has a solution for bowhunters that are restricted to small areas of less than one-half- acre for planting food plots. WMS Summer Spot is the perfect seed blend for smaller areas. This blend offers American Joint Vetch, Alyceclover (not a true clover) and buckwheat.
American Joint Vetch, also known as aeschynomene, is an annual legume. It can withstand heavy grazing pressure from deer and other wildlife. Alyceclover is a warm season legume that has broadleaves and produces good forage. We have mentioned the attribute of buckwheat above.
WMS Summer Spot can last well into the archery season providing bowhunters ample opportunity for a special spot to hunt. The plants can be nipped down to the ground and rebound with continued growth.
Bumgarner suggests WMS Summer Spot and WMS Pea Patch be planted after the threat of frost for your area. The soil temperature should be around 60 degrees F and up. He states that May is a good month to plant any of the above blends.
The cowpeas used in the WMS Pea Patch are drought tolerant and not needy as to fertilizer and soil pH balance. The blends can be broadcast or drilled at around 40- pound per acre. With the drought tolerance of WMS Pea Patch, the blend can be planted on into June and July.
Bumgarner advises your spring and summer food plots size should be based on the deer density in your hunting area. He recommends a minimum of one acre but makes the plots larger if possible.
Spring food plots for deer and turkey are beneficial for not just them, but for other wildlife as well. Hunters and land managers will benefit from the improvements to their land. WMS provides the perfect seed blends to ensure healthy wildlife throughout the year.