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sticknstring

Late-Season Food Plots

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Lets talk about late-season food plots. Plots that start producing after frost and last into December. Once the crops come out, I'd like to have a good food source to switch to. I've been mainly running clover plots (low maintenance)that get hit hard early but seize up after frost. I'd like to plant something that really brings in the deer right now... late November and into December. You hear about guys having deer pawing through the snow to get at stuff. That's the stuff I want to plant. I've heard sugar beets can be deadly. How about pumpkins? Other than corn (haven't had much luck growing corn), what else could a guy put in that works great for this time of year?

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A guy on our county road plants some sort of stuff that stays lush and green all winter and the deer get very thick in his 5 acre field, I'm not sure what it is but the guy sells the seed as well, he seems to test out his seed in that field trying different things, but last late fall-spring the wintering herd went there, not sure if I can give you the guys name it is also the same as his business name, I don't even know the guy and he's practically a neighbor, he does advertise in the OutdoorNews, hope I don't get the boot or in trouble for this but his name is Robert Hunt out of Wadena,MN. I'd call him and ask him what was that food plot you had last winter south of your house.

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RJ Hunt seed company.

Thats the guy I get all the MDHA seed from that I have put up on here for the last 4 years.

I am guessing you are talking about his Cold Protein Blend. Its Austrian peas, King Annual Ryegrass and rape I believe. I dont recall off hand.

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My recommendation would be a winter rye (easy to plant and maintain) and any of the brassicas. The deer will dig down thru the snow for any of these. Right now I have some green turnips that the deer are hitting hard.

Pumpkins are another different option, I had some last year but the deer didn't really go after then until later in the winter - and then they devoured them!!

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Great info guys - I appreciate it. I take it most of these will be a late-summer planting... mid August-Labor day?

Anyone else still have deer coming into their plots?

blb- Do you have that cold blend on hand or do I need to deal directly through RJ?

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Yes, I've never seen a field so dug up, there were about 50-60 deer using it and they didn't care if cars were driving by or not, they just destroyed that field, something was very tasty under that snow. It is that R.J Hunt co. I'm sure there are many other good options.

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I plant rape and oats and clover/chicory. That rape seed grows like mad! I spread it in the end rows of the corn and it grows great to fill in where the corn/beans is short. A little snow, and the deer tear it up! Its too easy not to plant really. I get my stuff through Albert Lea Seedhouse. They have a great HSOforum and ship fast, great seed. Check them out.

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Some of the best choices for a fall and winter food plot here in MN are,

1 - Brassicas (mix of rape and turnips)

2 - Soybeans

3 - Corn

4 - Austrian Winter Peas

5 - Winter Rye/Wheat/Triticale

6 - Grain Sorghum also known as Milo

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Ok back to that RJ Hunt, over x-mas I drove by his same field as a year ago and the deer were digging up his field like crazy again. I'm sure he planted that field in the fall, I didn't think it would have enough grow time to get lush enough, but the herd of deer in it every night proves something is good under that snow. It was interesting watching a fawn sniff a trailer that said Hides for Habitat on the side, hope that fawns mother wasn't in it. He parks that along his food plot field. Don't know him, should, but RJ Hunt has the recipe.

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musky, why don't you call RJ and find out exactly whats in that field that the deer are so interested in, curious minds would like to know. Could be a mix, or rye, or brassicas, only one way to find out. And being in the sales business, I'm sure he'd tell you exactly what it was - and how much it would cost you to get the seed.

Actually hes a nice guy, I've talked to him and bought stuff from him (he even delivered it!), thats why I'm curious whats in that field. Nothing better than first hand evidence.

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I will Blackjack. There are a lot of deer in it every night. The only reason I have some different ideas about this guy is he writes a lot of letters to the editor in our local newspaper and some of them are bizarre to say the least. Every town seems to have that writer, but I will swing in and see what he has to say. Doesn't mean he's not a good guy. If any of you talk to him ask him about that deer herd, that herd isn't even in the best cover in that area, there isn't much cover at all, one side of the road is city limits and a housing project, his side is technically country.

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I talked with him last week in fact.

This year he has only seen up to 25 deer in the field. Last year he had 41 at one time for his top day... CRIPES!

I asked if he has trail cams to catch those sneaky late night bucks, but he said he doesnt, but probably should get some.

I dont recall for sure what he said was planted. Too busy yakking about everything under the sun, I forgot.

I believe it was the Cold Protein mix(rape, austrian peas and king annual ryegrass).

Super nice guy. Too bad the MDHA isnt getting their food plot seed from him any longer. frown

I know I am still going to buy from him, regardless of the MDHA going elsewhere. His seed has been too good for me to start trying other seed blends.

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I was going to say about 25 deer in his field thus far, last year I counted 53 one night. He ends up mainly with does and fawns, yes some bucks probably make it out after dark, but seems like in that area the bucks are about a mile further south farther from town but none the less he has great MN seed.

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This year I also had the same questions on late season plots. Mine were gone too early in the season.

For these food plots that the deer are pawing at through the snow, are they planted spring or late summer? I would think that planting in late summer wouldn't provide enough growth to sustain many deer for any period of time.

I would like to create a muzzleload/late seaon bow food plot. Sure would be nice to have a stand site or food plot not hunted until after the gun season.

Jason

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I have deer hitting my Rapeseed plots hard right now. Third year I've planted it and they know where to find it. They are digging through 2 feet of snow to get at it. I bought the seed at my local Crop Services store, it's called Dwarf Essex Rape Seed. Planted in late May. The deer didn't touch it until late season,and they will eat every single stalk down to the ground and keep digging. Be careful not to plant it too thick or it gets stunted. Thinner planting allows the plants to get a lot bigger.

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Moonshine, I am from northern MN and I have planted brassicas (rape and turnips) for about 7 years now. Both spring and late summer and I personally prefer a late summer (late July or early August) planting. Depending on weather conditions and proper fertilizing I have always gotten at least 12" and as much as 24" of growth by October when planted in late summer. The main reasons I prefer a late summer planting is younger more tender plants and very little weed competition. I have been told that a younger plant does not make a difference when it comes to

brassicas because it is the sugar that is extracted out of the plant after it has had a couple of hard freezes that attracts the deer to it (which is true) but I personally believe that they still prefer the younger plant over a old stalky plant even when it comes to brassicas. Depending on how hard of freezes you have in the fall will determine when the deer start feeding on them but normally the deer won't start hitting them really hard until mid to late October and will continue to eat them until they are gone, depending on the size of your plot and the deer population. I have seen as many as 35 deer in my 3 acre plot during a evening muzzleloader hunt. There are many brands of brassica seed but probably one of the cheapest premixed brands you can get is made by Evolved Harvest and is called Shot Plot and it is a 10 lb bag for under $40 which plants 2 acres and it is available at many sporting good stores or you can go online at www.alseed.com or www.welterseeds.com and order individual seeds and mix them yourself. So all this said brassicas are a very good late fall and early winter food plot choice where you get cold weather.

Jody.

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Turnips and rape sound like the way to go, I'll have to try that this coming season.

I haven't had luck with pumpkins--the deer have no problems kicking holes and eating the ones in my garden, but for some reason, they don't like the ones I plant for them out in the woods/openings.

I tried sugar beets a couple years ago (about an acre) and the deer ate all the tops off before the beets had a chance to grow.

Soybeans grew great(the ones I got from the elevator), but they were eaten to the ground by the end of August. I planted MDHA soybeans last year and got about 10% germination. The ones that grew didn't have any beans in the pod.

I've planted rye in August, and it was up about 3-4 inches by the time we had a hard frost, but there were NO deer that were in it after it snowed (no tracks whatsoever).

I've heard great things about Alsek (sp?) clover, but have yet to try it first hand. I acquired up a bag of it this winter, so it will be planted this year.

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