Editor’s Note: Hunters want to attract the most deer to their hunting areas, and many are diligent about planting green fields and fertilizing. You can use your ATV’s spreader that holds about 100 pounds of seed or fertilizer to spread seed evenly and then fertilize.
Simply planting a green field doesn’t ensure you’ll have numbers of deer in that green field just because the deer will find available food during a period of time when the woods have a shortage of food. According to retired wildlife researcher Dr. Keith Causey formerly of Auburn University, “Our studies have demonstrated that if you plant a green field and fertilize only a portion of it, the deer will feed heaviest on the fertilized portion.” Causey’s research shows that deer will walk through the unfertilized portion of a field to reach the fertilized plants. In the fertilized section, the deer may eat the plants down to the ground but hardly feed at all on the unfertilized area. Apparently, the deer can detect and seem to prefer the foods with the highest nutritional value and protein level.
If you’ll recognize the importance of this research, you’ll have the best green fields that attract the most deer. As with any other crop, the more fertilizer you use throughout the season, the more foliage the plants will put on, the bigger crop you’ll have, and the better the nutritional level of each plant. However, heavy rains may wash away most of the fertilizer, requiring reapplication to ensure good production. That’s why your ATV spreader is so handy. You can reapply fertilizer to ensure your green field has the most-nutritious plants. Also with this fertilizer, as rain washes it to the edges of the field, plants and also the hedgerows there will benefit.
To double the effectiveness of your food plot’s ability to attract deer, scatter some of the fertilizer along the edges of the field when you plant the green field. Then the deer can feed on native plants before entering the green fields. Even if they eat the entire crop from the green field, naturally-occurring, fertilized plants on the edges of fields will continue to attract the deer. With ATV spreaders and deer feeders, we all can more effectively legally bait deer.
To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book on “Bowhunting Deer: Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” available at https://www.amazon.com/Bowhunting-Deer-Mossy-Pros-Bucks-ebook/dp/B013F0T58O.
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