Attract Florida deer with right forage food plots

Attract Florida deer with right forage food plots

Hunters, plant the right forages in food plots to help attract deer and wild turkey.

With deer hunting season under way in Florida, University of Florida Extension Agent Derek Barber has some tips for North Florida hunters on planting the right forages in food plots to help attract deer and wild turkey.

Barber holds several seminars each year to help hunters plant the right forages in the right areas during the right seasons. It is common for hunters to plant things like corn, soybeans and rye to attract wildlife to an area before hunting season even begins, making sure the animals get accustomed to the spot.  During hunting season, hunters maintain those food plots, with the exception of corn; it is illegal to hunt deer feeding on corn. 

“Food plot variety or mixes available at stores might not work in our sandy soil,” explained Barber, who works at the UF/IFAS Extension Columbia County office in Lake City. “And if you’re going to have a dry winter, you should rethink your planting.”

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife recreation in Florida generates $9 billion annually for the state, with six million residents engaged in hunting, fishing or wildlife viewing.  In 2014, more than 318,000 deer hunting licenses were issued, garnering nearly $13 million for the state. 

Hunters 18 years old or younger do not need a license. Some rural families still depend on venison for food, while some people prefer venison, which is free from antibiotics and pesticides, over beef.

UF researchers also recommend planting turnips, winter greens, oat, wheat, rye or small grains, and cold-season legumes in some areas. Recommended cool-season forage blends include:

Best Buy for your Buck:

  • 50 lb (2 bu) oats
  • 50 lb (1 bu) wheat or triticale
  • 6 lb red clover
  • 15 lb crimson clover

Double Treat (for well-drained sites)

  • 10 lb red clover
  • 15 lb crimson clover

Triple Treat (for wet or poorly drained sites)

  • 4 lb white clover
  • 12 lb red clover
  • 4 lb arrowleaf clover

Tetra Treat (for medium-drained to wet sites)

  • 15 lb crimson clover
  • 6 lb red clover
  • 4 lb arrowleaf clover
  • 2 lb white clover
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