I visited just such a cutting-edge small tract in Middle Georgia owned by my friend Steve Grinnell. His 400-acre farm is loaded with big bucks and boss turkeys…all because of food plots.
What’s his program? About 15 percent, or 60 acres, of his farm is in year-round food plots ranging in size from 1 to 10 acres. Most are 3 to 5 acres. As with any serious quality buck program, he lets his bucks live long enough to get big, meaning he holds off the trigger until they reach at least 3.5 years of age. He works hard to provide year-round nutrition.
To meet the high-protein needs of spring/summer, the antler-growing and fawning time, he plants Tecomate Monster Mix, Lablab and Lablab Plus along with alfalfa and various clovers. His place is a smorgasbord of high-protein delights.
During the cool-season, he plants Tecomate Max-Attract and various other grain/legume combinations for attraction and to meet the high-energy needs of fall and winter and to provide early protein the following spring. Much of his hunting centers on food plots. He really enjoys taking friends and young hunters out for an afternoon on the plots, knowing they are probably going to see more and bigger bucks than they have ever seen before!
How well has it worked? He is carrying an amazing deer per 5 acres, and bucks scoring 130 to 150 and weighing over 200 pounds are common. There is NO high-fence, and he has plenty of hunting pressure all around his farm. So, what keeps the deer… and the droves of turkeys…on the property and out of the neighbor’s sights? The year-round food plots hold them in tight!
Old-school thinking will claim that carrying that many deer will hurt the habitat. Not so…because of food plots. His place is covered with greenbriar, honeysuckle and other preferred browse plants that are the first to go with too many deer! I have not seen so much preferred native browse as his since back in the late 70’s, when the Middle Georgia herd was still expanding.
Not only is his place teaming with deer but the quantity and variety of other wildlife species is amazing. Turkeys seemed to be on every food plot. Dove, quail and non-game birds are everywhere, and small game, such as grey and fox squirrels, raccoons and cottontails, prospers in the broken countryside. As expected, predators, like foxes and bobcats, are present in force to take advantage of the bounty.
Now let’s see, more and bigger bucks…that stay close to home… on quality habitat… along with loads of turkeys and other game and non-game birds and animals…on a tract once thought to be too small to manage! That’s a win-win combination…all made possible through food plots! And, you can do the same thing on your land!
Next time, we’re going to look at the number and size of food plots that are right for you. I’m David Morris. I’ll see you then.