Are deer food plots a good idea? Absolutely! Deer food plots may or may not increase the amount of deer in your area, but they will contribute to maintaining healthier deer. If you’re a hunter or wildlife photographer, creating a deer food plot may increase your chances of seeing a deer or two in your area. If you are a homeowner who lives in deer territory, creating a deer food plot may actually help to keep the deer from eating your ornamental or vegetable garden plants.
Deer food plots are very easy to create and require virtually no maintenance. Whether you plan to make a deer food plot deep in the woods or at the edge of your property, the methodology is the same. You’ll need a fairly open area that gets a good amount of sunlight during the summer and early fall. (Food plots won’t work well under a dense forest canopy.) Relatively flat areas work better than steep slopes, because there’s less soil erosion from summer storms and the ground will hold moisture better.
During the spring or early summer, clear any dense weeds or turf from the area that will be your deer food plot. Weeds and grasses can be eliminated by covering them with plastic for a few weeks, or by using a non-selective herbicide like Roundup. While many gardeners shun the use of “chemicals” in the garden, the proper use of a non-selective herbicide will have minimal effect on the environment. Roundup, for example, kills grasses and weeds, but quickly breaks down, with virtually no residual impact on the soil.
In July or August, you can plant your deer food plot in a couple of hours. The Mantis XP 16″ Tiller is ideal for this part of the project. It’s rugged, easy to start and use, and weighs a mere 34 pounds. You can even use the Mantis XP to clear an area that has turf or weeds growing on it. You can transport your Mantis XP to the food plot in a car, truck, or via an ATV. You can even “walk” it to the site by simply starting the Mantis Tiller and gently squeezing he throttle so that the tines will slowly propel the tiller forward.
The Mantis XP is ideally suited for deer food plot preparation. With its 16 inch tilling width, you can prepare the soil in 100 ft. by 100 ft. plot in about a half hour. The patented serpentine tines will kick rocks out of the way. They’re so strong, they’re guaranteed for life against breakage. After tilling, add fertilizer, if required, and simply seed the plot. Use a garden rake to gently work the seeds into the soil and let nature supply the water.
Popular crops for a deer-attracting food plot include winter hardy oats, clover, buckwheat, and turnips. Turnips are especially good for deer as they can eat the tops in the fall and still have roots as a good food source in the winter. Of course, you can experiment with different crops and combinations. It won’t be difficult to determine which crops the deer prefer.