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Successful Food Plots By Gary Howey

  When it comes to food plots and mineral licks, some believe the best time to plant them is in the spring and there is no doubt that spring plantings are beneficial, as long as the wildlife does not eat or destroy it before the cold weather arrives.

  Any food plot, as well as mineral licks, no matter when they are established can be beneficial to wildlife, but it needs to be available throughout the year at those times, when wildlife most needs it.

  For me, I have tried both spring and fall food plots, but after several disappointing spring plantings that were devastated by deer, turkeys and other wildlife before winter, I decided that late summer or early fall planting, those put in late July and August worked the best for me.

  Just like any planting in order to do well, come up and used by wildlife when archery season opens, they need decent timely rains.  With good weather conditions, there is a good chance that at least some of it will be available after the rut on into the winter.

  There has been a lot said as far as the good and the bad when it comes to putting in food plots.

  On one side, there are those who believe there is no need for food plots, believing that there is plenty for wildlife to feed on and they do more harm than good, while on the other side, there are those who feel food plots are something important wildlife and needed, especially in our northern tier of states.

  To me there is no doubt that good food plots concentrates wildlife. Making it easier for predators to find the game, but their benefits, especially during our cold tough winters, after the rut when bucks are worn out and later when does are carrying their fawns, when other good food sources are gone, or unavailable, is when wildlife suffers. This is when wildlife needs a place to feed, when having established food plots outweigh the disadvantages.

  I feel that any food plot, whether it was planted in the spring or in the fall, if put in properly and established correctly serves its purpose, giving upland game, deer and other wildlife the help needed when other food sources are gone.

  The important thing is to establish your food plot in proper locations and that you put them in properly.

  Just like anything else from a business to food plots, the important thing is location, location, location. Food plot locations should be close by and easily accessed by wildlife, especially during the winter.

  They need to be in close proximity to the area where wildlife lives! During the winter, wildlife has very little energy to waste and if they leave cover and travel a long distance to get to a food plot they use up valuable energy, exposing themselves and more susceptible to attacks by predators.

  The closer a food source is to where wildlife beds down or roosts in winter cover, such as sloughs, CRP and wooded areas the better their chances of survival will be. [Read more…]

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IT’S SPRING TIME, TO GET YOUR MINERAL LICKS STARTED!

M.O.-Game Keepers (1)A very simple but favorite management chore of mine in the spring is establishing new mineral sites. The anticipation of what might show up that year as the antlers begin to develop is always super high. I have even found myself in the past few years putting out mineral rocks and supplements in urban landscapes and backyard woodlots just to see what deer frequent the area even though I have no intention of hunting there. Creating new mineral sites can be especially exciting when you have a new piece of ground to investigate and see what deer are living there and what the potential of the area is. Refreshing old mineral sites or creating new ones is also a good family and kid friendly management activity. It doesn’t require any heavy equipment or long hours, and can be a great way to help teach kids some woodsmanship along the way and why whitetails use mineral licks.

So how do you establish a productive mineral site? It may seem as simple as pouring it in a depression you dig up with your boot or throwing a Bio Rock out on the edge of a food plot. These scenarios will work to a degree, but I like to put a little more thought and effort into my mineral sites and try to get the most out of them in terms of attraction, utilization, and trail camera use for getting an inventory on the deer that are using the area as well as identifying bucks through unique characteristics. [Read more…]