Planning, Planting & Managing Food Plots

It can be extremely rewarding to effectively plant and manage a food plot and see the results of your efforts: improved visibility and quality of wildlife! However, growing and maintaining quality food plots demands a lot of hard work, dedication, time, energy and money. There is no single planting of one magic food plot mix that will provide year-round attractiveness and quality nutrition for wildlife. The most successful food plots are well thought out with considerable planning given to the variety of items planted and when, plot size(s) and location(s), moisture needed, soil condition, seedbed preparation, fertilization, etc.

For example, it is often necessary to plant multiple times during the year to provide both cool and warm season forage. And concerning plot size and location, which will largely depend on the condition of the native habitat and finances available, but where possible, establishing long narrow food strips in a "wagon wheel" fashion can be the most effective food plot strategy. There are many wildlife food plot resources available on the internet with recommendations and guidelines. Most of these guides or studies do not include information on sugarbeets, since they are a fairly recent candidate for foodplots. When looking at these guides, you may consider sugarbeets most similar to chicory, rape or turnips. The following list includes food plot guides we found useful:

Website Description

Kentucky Fish & Wildlife: Food Plots

A guide for deciding if food plots fit into your overall wildlife management plan for the state of Kentucky. It includes planning and design, site preparation, planting, management and a quick food preference of common species.

Mississippi State University: Wildlife Food Planting Guide

A guide for the southeastern United States that covers several wildlife habitat and food-planting management techniques. It includes information on how to increase natural food production, supplement the diets of game species, improve recreation and manage populations.

Noble Foundation: Think before planting food plots

A short article addressing how to determine when a food plot is a good choice for wildlife habitat management.

Ohio State University Extension: Establishing Wildlife Food Plots

A well summarized fact sheet that includes goals of the food plot, preparing the site, sizing the plot, what and when to plant, where to get seed, equipment needed and common errors. It also includes a table of crops used for wildlife food plots, planting dates and seeding rates.

Purdue University: Food Plots for White-Tailed Deer

Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources' detailed guide that discusses deer nutrition and food plot design and establishment.

Quality Deer Management Association: List of Food Plot Articles

A list of articles related to food plots and wildlife habitats.

University of Tennessee: Growing & Managing Successful Food Plots

An extensive (40 page) manual for growing and managing food plots in the mid-south. Topics include cool season and warm season forage, plot preparation, maintenance, planting guide, deer preference and nutritional information, managing old logging roads and inoculating legume seed.

Texas Parks & Wildlife: Food Plots in the Cross Timbers of Northern Texas

How, when and where to plant deer food plots in the Cross Timbers of Northern Texas.

Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries: Plantings to attract deer

A description of the value a food plot can add to habitat management activities. Also includes what to do before planting a food plot, what and when to plant, how to maintain a plot and a list of forage species for deer in Virginia.

Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources: Putting Pen to Paper - Developing Your Wildlife Management Plan

A detailed, well illustrated guide to creating a plan for developing wildlife habitat and food plots.

If you have found other helpful food plot resources on the web you would like to share, please send us an email and we'll add it to our list.