Spring Food Plots for Deer

Written By John VanDerLaan 

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spring food plots

Now is the time to begin preparing spring food plots for the upcoming deer season!

It may seem a little early, but with the warm weather that we have been having, now is the perfect time to begin preparing your site for a food plot.

While it is a good time to begin preparing the site, you may want to wait a bit before actually seeding, depending on your area of the country.

Food plots are one of the best ways to get deer to come out during the day.

Seeds for Spring Food Plots

Imperial Whitetail Clover – Our favorite seed for spring food plots is Imperial Whitetail Clover. Developed by the Whitetail Institute, Imperial Whitetail Clover is high in protein and resistant to heat, drought and disease. It is inexpensive and also tolerates cold winters and is perennial for 5 years or more with very little maintenance. It is one of the best deer attractants available today.

Click here for more information about Imperial Whitetail Clover. Be sure to read the reviews!

Competition from weeds and grasses is virtually eliminated by applying the herbicides Slay and Arrest, making for a very thick, lush food plot that the deer absolutely love!

spring food plots

You can see how thick and lush the clover is in this spring food plot!

Eagle Seeds RoundupReady Soybeans – These are perfect for spring food plots and the deer absolutely love both the leaves and the actual soybeans! As the name implies, these soybeans can be sprayed with roundup and remain unharmed, while the weeds and grasses competing for nutrients are killed, making for an unbelievably lush food plot that you can’t keep the deer out of!

Keep in mind that these soybeans should be planted after the last chance of frost for best results. You do have to fill out some paperwork and be approved to buy these seeds, but the process was very simple and all done online , so don’t let that scare you away.

Click here for more information on Eagle Seeds RR Soybeans!

spring food plots

Here are the Eagle Seed soybeans shortly after germination.

Spring food plots

This young buck couldn’t resist the Eagle Seed soybeans in this spring food plot!

Tips for Successful Spring Food Plots

  • Get a soil test – One of the biggest mistakes people make is not getting a soil test. This is very simple to do if you follow the recommendations in the test report, you are almost guaranteed success.Click Here to See the Whitetail Institute Laboratory Soil-Test Kitspring food plots.
  • Make sure your site gets plenty of sun – All spring food plots need plenty of sun. Now is the perfect time to get in there and open up the canopy to ensure enough sunlight is reaching the ground.
  • Size doesn’t matter – While it can be beneficial to have a large plot, the small, more remote plots often make better hunting plots. The bottom line is, don’t be discouraged because you only have a small area. It may be the perfect place for a buck to grab a bite to eat in the daylight.
  • Spray herbicides before the weeds get too big – This is another mistake that many first timers make. Follow the instructions on the herbicide. If it says to spray before the weeds reach 4 inches tall, then spray before the weeds reach 4″! If you allow the weeds to take over, you are going to have a weed plot, not a food plot.
  • Plan your tree stand locations in the spring – Plan and hang your tree stands now, before the deer are even using your food plot. The last thing that you want to do is go in and hang a stand in the fall because, all of a sudden, you have pics of a big buck using the plot in broad daylight! A mature buck will know exactly what you’re doing and will change his pattern to only visit after dark.
  • Consider fencing your spring food plot – This may not be feasible if you have a large food plot, but a temporary deer fence, to protect your young plants while they are becoming established can help your plot tremendously. My spring food plots that I have fenced while they are young, are much more lush and can handle a lot more heavy browsing. You can see that in the food plot progress post.
  • Stay out of your food plot – Believe me, I know it is difficult, but if you want the deer to use your plot during the daylight hours, you’ve got to stay away. It is so tempting to want to go everyday and check on the growth of your precious plants, but remember that you are growing them for one of the wariest, most nervous animals on the planet. I have many plots that I can watch from a distance with binoculars and that can be very exciting in itself! I also have cameras set up in all my plots, so I visit every so often to pull the SD cards, and that is a great time to check the growth in the plot. I also always wear scent proof rubber boots when I visit the plots and try not to touch anything. I want to leave as little scent as I possibly can while I am there. You can also do some long range scouting by glassing your food plots from a distance.

You could also consider adding mineral blocks or a watering hole to keep the deer used to visiting your food plot.

For many of us that are serious deer hunters, deer hunting is a year round obsession and planting and maintaining spring food plots is just one piece of the puzzle.

One of my favorite hunting setups is in a food plot with a deer decoy in early November. The bucks seem more comfortable coming in to investigate when it is in a food plot that they have visited many times.

There are so many hunters out there that look at a successful trophy hunter and think about how lucky that hunter is. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. Use this one the next time somebody says to you, man you sure are lucky!

You know, it’s funny, the harder I work, the luckier I get.”

RELATED: Different Types Of Deer Mounts

Please leave your comments on Spring Food Plots below.

Click here to learn how to attract deer to your property.

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John VanDerLaan

John VanDerLaan is the managing editor here at DeerHuntingGuide.net. He oversees a team of editors, writers and pro staff that are subject matter experts in hunting and hunting gear. John's expertise includes thoroughly testing all types of hunting gear, as well as hunting all over the U.S. and Canada. While his hunting expertise includes game birds, small game and large game, his favorite game animal is the whitetail deer and he loves to share the knowledge that he has gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail with both archery gear and firearms. John is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

1 thought on “Spring Food Plots for Deer”

  1. Another great post, John! The clover is our go-to for sure. In Kentucky it grows large and full throughout our food plots and the deer love it! Thanks for sharing and happy hunting!


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