When to Plant Deer Food Plots: Ultimate Guide for Maximum Results

When to Plant Deer Food Plots

Creating and maintaining food plots is a great way to attract and support deer populations on your property. Deer food plots provide a consistent source of nutritious food that can help improve the health and growth of deer, especially during times when natural forage is limited. If you’re considering planting your own deer food plots, it’s important to know when to plant to maximize your chances of success.

Early Spring

Early spring is an ideal time to start preparing your deer food plots. This is because the soil temperature begins to warm up, allowing seeds to germinate and promote plant growth. By clearing the area of unwanted vegetation and tilling the soil, you create a favorable environment for the seeds.

When choosing what to plant for your deer food plot, consider crops like clover, chicory, or oats. These plants are highly attractive to deer and provide the necessary nutrients they need for healthy development.

Late Spring

Late spring is the optimal time to sow your deer food plot seeds. By waiting until the soil has warmed up, the seeds will have better chances of germinating successfully. The increased moisture and longer daylight hours also contribute to the growth of the plants.

It’s crucial to ensure good seed-to-soil contact when planting your deer food plots. You can achieve this by raking or tilling the soil lightly before spreading the seeds. Afterward, lightly roll or pack the soil to ensure the seeds have proper contact, which aids in germination.


During the summer months, your deer food plots should be well established and actively growing. This period is characterized by hot and dry conditions in many regions, so it’s vital to provide additional water if rain isn’t sufficient.

As your food plots flourish, consider incorporating warm-season plants like soybeans, sunflowers, or sorghum. These crops not only provide excellent nutrition for deer but also offer cover and bedding opportunities.

Early Fall

Heading into early fall, it’s essential to monitor the condition of your food plots. If the plants show signs of excessive browsing or significant wilting due to heat stress, it may be necessary to take action.

One option is implementing a strategic mowing technique, which provides fresh regrowth and stimulates the plants to become more palatable to deer. By doing this, the food plots remain attractive and continue to support deer during the hunting season.

Late Fall

In late fall, it’s time to consider planting cool-season crops like cereal grains, brassicas, or turnips. These options offer high carbohydrate content and become even more desirable to deer as winter approaches and natural food sources decline.

Remember that deer patterns change throughout the year, and it’s essential to provide a year-round food source. A mix of both warm and cool-season food plots can ensure sustainable nutrition for deer throughout the various seasons.

Frequently Asked Questions For When To Plant Deer Food Plots: Ultimate Guide For Maximum Results

What Are Deer Food Plots?

Deer food plots are designated areas planted with specific crops to attract and provide nourishment for deer populations.

Why Should I Plant Deer Food Plots?

Planting deer food plots can improve the health of deer populations and increase hunting success by attracting deer to specific areas.

What Is The Best Time To Plant Deer Food Plots?

The best time to plant deer food plots is during late summer or early fall, about 60-90 days before the first frost.

Which Crops Are Popular For Deer Food Plots?

Popular crops for deer food plots include clover, alfalfa, wheat, soybeans, turnips, and other nutritious forage options.


Knowing when to plant deer food plots is crucial for ensuring a successful and sustainable food source for deer on your property. By following the recommended planting times for each season, you can create an attractive and nutritious environment that supports a healthy deer population.

Remember to choose a variety of crops that provide different benefits, such as nutrition, cover, and bedding opportunities. These factors will help to maximize the overall effectiveness of your deer food plots, increasing the chances of attracting and keeping deer on your property for years to come.

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