Creating food plots specifically designed for the needs of deer is a great way to attract deer onto your land. Once they are there, you can enjoy viewing them and, if you would like and your state laws allow, hunting them while they are in season. Because food plots are not considered bait, you can legally hunt deer when they come to feed there. Even non-hunters sometimes create food plots because they like seeing deer on their land and the area does not have natural growth appropriate for deer to eat. Making a food plot is not easy and it can be an investment to start, but it will last for many years with minimal upkeep effort or costs.
Your food plot needs to be at least one acre to effectively provide a space where deer feel safe eating and where there will be enough food available to attract them back throughout the year. The location should be at least 1/2 mile away from your home, garden, ornamental trees, and anything you do not want the deer to eat. It should also be at least 1/2 mile from all roads so you do not put the deer in danger. Design the plot so it is long and slender, with as much space on the edge as possible. Deer prefer to not feed in the center of a large food plot. If you plan to hunt deer that come to the food plot, it should be near cover to make hunting easier.
In general, you should plant a mixture of different food types in your food plot. This gives the deer plenty of variety so they can choose the foods that they most need. You should plant things that are not readily available in the wild in your area. Some of the best options include soybeans, buckwheat, millet, sunflower, clover, forage oats, wheat and rye. You should also plant some corn or grain sorghum, which do not bend over in the winter and provide food throughout the year. In general, the easiest option is to buy a seed mixture that is suited for your climate.
In general, you should plant a food plot in the spring to give it plenty of time to get established before the next winter arrives. Clear the area for your food plot by removing all other plants and tilling the soil so it is loose and ready to receive seeds. Prepare the soil for planting by performing a soil test and adding lime to change the acidity level of the soil as needed. Scatter the seed on your food plot and cover it with the recommended amount of soil, which varies depending on what type of seed you are planting. If your area does not receive enough rain, water the soil when it is dry an inch below the surface to help the plants grow. Maintaining the food plot is generally quite simple, but you will likely need to plant additional annual plants each year to keep the food supply high for the deer.