Whitetail Deer Articles/Newsletter


Warm season plots are the most neglected consideration in deer management! There are two stress periods for whitetails: late winter and late summer. There are two ways to supply critical nutrition through food plots during the most critical summer stress period. First, you can plant fall crops that have a perennial or near-perennial nature that will last through the summer. For example, red clover is a re-seeding annual that many times persists through the entire summer and stands up to heat much better than the often tauted white clover. Another example is chicory, which is a 5-7 year perennial that is best planted during cool, wet conditions (fall or spring), and puts down a deep taproot the first year. Second, we have found cowpeas in the South and soybeans in the north to make excellent warm season deer forages. The Institute recently developed a new cowpea (Dr. Deer Summer Peas) that has a small seed, but grows as much or more volume as iron-and-clay cowpeas. You can get these peas through senderoseed.com. We also plant peas and soybeans in the same plots with corn or a low prussic acid millet to give the peas something to climb on and provide additional carbohydrate. We always suggest using our three strand electric fence or our new netwire fence to protect your summer crop until the deer need it. In so doing, you can develop a "rotation grazing" system for your summer plots, by letting your deer into the plots until half the forage is consumed, then closing the fence to allow the forage to regenerate (about two weeks). 

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