Deer hunters sure are a dedicated group. We not only spend countless hours in a tree stand hoping to catch a glimpse of a bruiser buck, but we also spend nearly as much time working on the land. Managing whitetails and the habitat they need isn’t really work, though. Call it a labor of love.
Whatever you call it, seed producers, nurseries and even equipment manufacturers are giving us new reasons to spend time afield doing what we love so much. Whether it’s a new food plot product, a new management tool or a new plant that helps attract and grow healthier deer, there’s something out there for you.
Plotmaster Hunter 400 (pictured above)
Although the Plotmaster Hunter 400 isn’t new, the company added new features for easier use. One new feature allows it to be attached to tractors with a three-point hitch. The available conversion connector allows the Hunter 400 to be used with any 20- to 40-horsepower tractor for faster and more pulling power. The second new feature is a heavy-duty Linear Lift System, which allows users to raise the unit for transport and lower it for the perfect planting depth. The 4-foot-wide, all-in-one model allows you to disk, plant and cover in a single pass, shortening the time and money you spend working on food plots. It includes a double-gang disk assembly, an electric seeder that plants everything from grass seed to large corn seed and a flexible metal grate drag to cover seeds after planting. This sells for $5,299.
Whitetail Institute Fusion
Tired of planting every season? Whitetail Institute’s new Fusion is a fall-planted, perennial blend that can last up to five years. It includes Imperial Whitetail Clover and perennial forage chicory specially designed to attract whitetails. It provides up to 44 percent crude protein. Fusion is also cold and drought tolerant and disease resistant. Even better, Fusion is approved for use with Whitetail Institute’s Arrest Max herbicide, which kills grasses, but not the clover and chicory in your food plots. It’s available in half, 1½-and 4½-acre bags and sells for about $40 for a half-acre bag.
Whitetail Institute Ambush
Want to try something new? Whitetail Institute’s Ambush isn’t just a new blend of old products. It’s a mix of tried-and-true and entirely new food plot plants, ones that you’ve probably never planted before. It includes sugar beets, sweet lupine and a mix of early- and late-season annuals that keep deer coming back all season. The sugar beets produce a high amount of forage, including a large, sweet tuber that deer devour late in the season. The seed is coated with Rain Bond, which helps ensure a higher germination rate and a thicker, fuller food plot. A 10-pound bag covers a quarter-acre and sells for about $40. It’s also available in a 40-pound bag.
Whitetail Institute Power Plant
Believe it or not, summer can be a tough season for whitetails. Thanks to Whitetail Institute’s Power Plant, a blend of spring-planted annuals, your deer herd will have a jungle of high-quality, high-protein forage for healthy fawns and healthy antlers. It consists of a variety of plants, including forage soybeans and forage beans specially designed to provide a huge amount of highly-palatable plants. It also includes sunflowers and Sunn hemp to provide structure for the climbing peas and beans. All of the plants in Power Plant are high on the list of whitetails everywhere. A 25-pound bag covers up to an acre and sells for about $67. It’s also available in 50-pound bags.
Tecomate Lablab Plus
It’s tough to grow spring forage plants in a small plot. They often don’t last. Tecomate’s Lablab Plus solves that with a blend of lablab, white grain milo, cow peas, Ebony peas and forage soybeans. The blend produces an incredible amount of forage. The milo not only provides high-protein food, but it also serves as cover for bedding whitetails and a tower for the climbing beans. By itself, lablab is a deer magnet, but the combination of Lablab Plus’s other plants will draw and hold deer all summer and the beans will provide a food source into the fall. Just make sure you plant enough to withstand the heavy grazing pressure your plots are sure to get. Eleven pounds covers a half-acre and sells for $33.99.
Tecomate Deer Peas Plus
Food plots aren’t just a place to hang a tree stand. They are a spot to provide your deer with an abundance of high-quality, high-protein food throughout the spring and summer. Tecomate’s Deer Peas Plus is a spring-planted blend of annual climbing Ebony peas, forage soybeans and hybrid white grain milo designed for the northeast and midwest’s cooler climates. The beans produce a healthy crop of pods, providing forage after the plants die. All three plants are high in protein and are highly-palatable to whitetails. The mix also includes giant sunflowers. Deer Peas Plus doesn’t just provide ample food, it grows tall and thick enough to serve as a bedding area. An 11-pound bag covers a half-acre and sells for $31.99.
Chestnut Hills Persimmons
Whitetails don’t live on food plots alone. That’s why serious deer managers include fruit trees like persimmons in their management plans. Chestnut Hills Outdoors Deer Candy American persimmon trees produce fruit in as little as two years after you plant them. They’ll grow up to 50 feet tall and produce a bounty of fruit that drops in September and October, making them great early bow season hunting spots. Deer Candy persimmons are adapted to a variety of soils and will thrive in zones 5 through 9. Even better, they require virtually no maintenance. Plant them properly, feed them some fertilizer and watch them grow. Trees are one year old when shipped and 12 to 24 inches tall. It sells for $24.95.
Got a little spot tucked back in the woods that’s just right for a small food plot? BioLogic’s Hotspot is the perfect product for you. You don’t even need to squeeze a tractor or ATV back there to plant it. Simply clear the ground to get seed-to-soil contact and sow the blend across a quarter-acre. Hotspot contains a mix of Daikon radishes, annual rye grass, two types of brassicas and buckwheat. The fast-germinating blend requires a minimal amount of sun and draws and holds deer almost as soon as the seeds sprout. Even better, it will keep your deer coming back well into the winter. It’s a great product for hunting pressured bucks that refuse to step into larger plots during legal shooting hours. This sells for $12.99.
Why give your deer one food choice when you can give them several in a single location? Blends are a guaranteed deer magnet. Evolved Harvest’s AlphaPlot combines annuals and perennials to draw deer and keep them on your land throughout the seasons. It includes hybrid alfalfa and chicory, long-lasting perennials that are drought-tolerant and that withstand heavy grazing pressure. AlphaPlot also includes an annual clover and T-Raptor, a rape and turnip hybrid that combines the best of two late-season annuals. Plant this under your tree stand and you’ll have action from opening day of the early bow season to the final minutes of the last day of your late season. It thrives in virtually every planting zone, making it a great choice for deer hunters everywhere. A bag costs $24.99 and covers 1/3 acre.
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Tired of changing implements when you disk, seed and pack? The Firminator G-3 allows you to all those steps in a single pass. The G-3 now has an optional 16-inch diameter cultipacker to help get better germination in loose or sandy soil. The heavy-gauge steel disks are 18 inches in diameter and spaced 6 inches apart, ensuring good seed-to-soil contact on the first pass. Firminator’s AccuSeed system handles all sizes of food plot and habitat management seed and is adjustable for pinpoint seed density. It comes with durable three-inch tubing, stainless steel metering shafts, bronze bushings and adjustable chain tensioners. This sales for $5,500.
MonsterBuck Fall Kill Plot
Developed by hunters for hunters, MonsterBuck’s Fall Kill Plot is a fall-planted blend designed for one thing: To put big deer close to your stand so you can take the perfect shot when it presents itself. It includes radishes, turnips, brassicas and annual rye, which sprouts and grows quickly. The blend provides ample forage from the beginning of bow season to the end of gun season and grows in a variety of regions. Deer will even dig up the tubers and eat them after they’ve devoured the leaves. A 7.5-pound bag sells for $32.95 and covers a half-acre. The Fall Kill Plot blend is also available in 15-pound bags.
You can plant a white oak tree and wait a few decades for it to produce acorns, or you could plant a grove of Dunstan chestnuts and draw deer in as little as three or four years. A hybrid of American chestnuts, these trees are disease-resistant and produce a high yield of nuts that deer devour. In fact, a number of experts insist deer prefer them over acorns. Chestnuts have higher levels of protein and carbohydrates than acorns and they are sweeter than acorns. What’s more, they produce nuts every year, ripening and falling to the ground in September and October. Dunstan chestnuts grow in a variety of soils and climates in Zones 5 through 9 and grow rapidly. This sells for $24.95.