Winter Food Plot?

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Winter Food Plot?

Postby SpinnerMan » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:48 pm

So what can I plant to attract the deer in January in northern Illinois?

I have a small area and have some small food plots that do a good job of attracting deer in November, but after that they have no interest in my area.

I've read some suggestions online, but I'm wondering if anyone has any success attracting deer in the late season on to small food plots.
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Re: Winter Food Plot?

Postby berettaguy17 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:44 pm

corn...

but really. in the winter deer go after things that are still green so go for non-invasive that are non-native. maybe some things that keep berries longer. they like things like black locust but those have to mature before they like the bean pods. evergreen or shrubs of some type. like the nice bushes people have in their yards. and plant some tall buffalo grass or something to keep them in the area, you know as cover for them
Why not shoot all 3 shots, they make more shells everyday.
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Re: Winter Food Plot?

Postby SpinnerMan » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:25 am

Thanks for the comment on cover. I actually already plan to work on that. I'm definitely going to plant some evergreens and tall grass. Looking out over the area from my treestand with the snow on the ground, it is a lot more open then I thought it was.

I'll look into the black locusts and I was already thinking about what other kind of everygreen shrubbery I could plant.
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Re: Winter Food Plot?

Postby berettaguy17 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:27 pm

basically anything ornamental that people use for like shaping and stuff will work good. i was out today watching deer and they went right from the grass to the evergreens
Why not shoot all 3 shots, they make more shells everyday.
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Re: Winter Food Plot?

Postby Bill Herian » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:51 pm

Small cedar shrubs become goldmines after the snow gets deep but thats a 5-10 year plan. If you plant young ones and leave them exposed the deer will eat them down to nothing in the first winter, they even kill or severely impede growth of larger shrubs. I would look into whitetail institute's winter greens. Since you said its a small plot it should be relativley inexpensive as planting multiple acres gets rather pricy if you dont shop around. I've seen great results using whitetail institute. In northern Il you should have no problem with soil quality. I wouldnt worry about cover, if the food is there deer will come, even if they have to travel a bit. Also consider turnips. The deer will begin digging them up as soon as the forst turns them to sugar but they should last into the winter, at least to the end of hunting season. Plant cedars if you want, but that is long term project that wont pay dividents for some years, even then the payoff is minimal.
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Re: Winter Food Plot?

Postby SpinnerMan » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:13 pm

I have huge problems with soil quality. It's an old strip mine. There is some good soil and mostly crap. The food plots are not nice neat plots, they are where the decent dirt is. I got a chainsaw this winter so I can clear more of the brush that is sitting on top of decent soil.

I do plan on planting some trees. I made the mistake of planting a few apple trees the other year without protecting them. The deer ate them from the top down and the rabbits ate them from the bottom up. I learned my lesson, at least they were clearance trees at Home Depot that cost me almost nothing.

I expect that I will be hunting this same area 20 years from now, so I am definitely thinking long term as well as short term.

I have some areas that the deer use as a bedding area in the summer and fall, but seem to abandon in the winter. I don't hunt this area and I'm not going to clear any of it for food plots, but I think I can improve this cover over time without screwing things up for me in October and November. It's possible that they just leave the area because there is no winter food for them, but it seems to open up a lot by the time the leaves are off of all the brush.

Thanks for all the advice.
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Re: Winter Food Plot?

Postby berettaguy17 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:27 pm

i know what you mean about no good soil. i hunt an old sand mine and cedars grow in sand. if you can find some halfway decent sied ones. but what i have notices is that they will not eat them until they are adult trees. they love cacti too. if i think of anything else i will pm you
Why not shoot all 3 shots, they make more shells everyday.
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Re: Winter Food Plot?

Postby Bill Herian » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:15 am

Try planting a few hostas and see how they do. Deer love them. They are pretty tolerant but like anything deer will eat them right down to nothing.
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