Food plots up in the ridges or down closer to the swamps?

Discussion in 'Food Plots for Wildlife' started by Novatrapper, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Novatrapper

    Novatrapper Member

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    I have a 130 acre property with no agricultural grounds within 20 miles. The property is forested land with hardwood ridges and spruce swamps as the low lands. All property surrounding for 20+ miles is also forested or young growth.
    I currently have a 2 acre clover plot in one of the hardwood ridges and am looking at putting in more food plots next spring.
    Looking for some advice as to clear more in the ridges or should I move down closer to the low lands? Also how many plots would be too much? Deer numbers are low here, typically see maybe 10 different deer over the course of the year on the property. At least that’s what I catch on camera.


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  2. Bullwinkle

    Bullwinkle Active Member

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    Hardiness Zone:
    4
    Which is easier to get in/out without bumping deer?

    If it’s a toss up I’d go with close to Swamp. If not I’d go with which ever doesn’t bump deer
     
  3. Mennoniteman

    Mennoniteman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Huntingdon Co. PA
    Hardiness Zone:
    6a
    Several things to consider; keep the food plots towards the middle of your property if possible, this keeps the neighbors from capitalizing on your hard work. A buck will preferably bed on the highest point of your property (or the neighbors) so if you keep the food plot down low you can hunt your bucks halfway between the bedding areas and the food plot. If you are planning to hunt right at the plot, position it so that you can get to your stand without being seen or winded (as per prevailing wind direction) so you might want to design your access trail and hunting blind first, then position the food plot accordingly.
     
  4. Gator

    Gator Active Member

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    Location:
    Virginia
    Are you going to hunt over the plot? Low land can be hard to hunt because of swirling winds. Consider all the above advice as well. I personally wouldn't clear a ridge of white oaks to put a plot in. How wet is the low land? How dry is the ridge? Lots of different things to consider.
     
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  5. X-farmerdan

    X-farmerdan Active Member

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    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia, USDA Zone 7b
    All the above, but you’ve gotta pick ground where your planting’s will grow. Down low drainage can be an issue. Up high you might be dealing with thin soils. Agronomically, there’s a lot to consider. We often think everything will grow anywhere and end up spending a lot of $$ while working like hello to get crops growing.
     
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  6. George

    George Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Pagosa Springs, Colorado
    Yep, it is easier to control where your stink goes up high.

    G
     
  7. Chainsaw

    Chainsaw Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    northern New York
    Hardiness Zone:
    literally on the line of 4b/5a
    Going back to the purpose of the food plot makes it easier to determine best locations. It is nice to have great soil in the spot you put them and that is definitely a consideration as mentioned. However there are probably two main hunting goals for food plots here that are location dependent;
    -To keep the deer on this property during daylight to keep them from running off to neighboring AG fields before dark.
    -To establish defined deer movement to make the deer more huntable. Here almost all of our bucks are seen not in food plots but we consider the plots necessary for holding the deer somewhat during daylight hours and helping with defined movement.

    And of course the exception--For the plots with the main goal of feeding deer during the winter the lowland locations due to usually being heavier winter cover are preferred here.

    To answer your question from my point of view--whether lowland or ridge I'm looking to keep the deer here and help make their daytime movements more predictable so lowland or ridge location question doesn't come into the food plot consideration here except for winter plots as mentioned. Note; while our land is not flat the soil fairly stable due to a less steep topography than most. Thus defining the purpose of individual plots as well as the individual topography of the property really determines the best locations for each plot.

    With that said as others have mentioned on ridges great soil areas are scarcer and swirling winds in lowlands make some plots not huntable so they could be strong or weak considerations on your property depending on your goals and your property.
     
  8. bigbluetruck

    bigbluetruck Active Member

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    Location:
    Nebraska
    My opinion is to let the deer tell you where to put the plots, then try and work with that the best you can. If they seem to spend more time in the swamps, then grow the best plots you can with what you have, you might have to pick different species than what youre thinking, same thing with the ridges. It also depends on what you consider swampy. "Here" a swampy area is something that holds water part of the time, but for part of the year its dry enough to cut hay on in a normal year, basically the only thing that grows well is Reeds Canary grass. You can usually grow a crop on marginal topsoil, we do it all the time on our yellow sh$t clay and beach sand, it just takes more fertilizers and work, but its very hard to grow something that basically drowns from underneath. All roots need O2, some just need more than others.

    Your plots will get more use if you put them where the deer want to be, instead of where you think they should be. Remember, they spend their whole lives out there, and if they avoid an area, it doesn't really matter if you've got the best plot, they wont use it much.

    But on the flipside, I have to deal with putting plots where I can, not always where I want. My main plot is in a small area of "waste ground" meaning its not pastured, but isn't farmed either, weve hayed it, but when the corn is up, you cant get there with the swather, and even if you could, you can only cut about 1/2 of the 10 acres because its too steep and has some trees. So Ive turned it into a food plot and experimental farming practices area, that way I can write it off on the taxes ;) lol. Its a funnel area that has always had decent deer movement between the bedding area in the corn, and a pond they use as water, but I cant throw a rock in my area without hitting corn, beans or alfalfa, so Ive started to go against convention and have been trying to plant things deer cant find in this area, like small grains and brassicas. But Ill still plant some beans and corn because the seed is free, and can give the deer some sense of security in things they already know. For instance, a lot of guys use switchgrass or MG as a screen, I use corn instead, it doesn't cost me anything and 6 rows of corn work just as well, and will provide some food as well. My point is, Ive found the only way to get deer to come to where you want instead of where they want is to give them something they cant find anywhere else.
     
  9. BobinCt

    BobinCt New Member

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    Location:
    Preston, Ct
    If your not seeing many deer on your property, also consider clearing an acre or more for bedding. There are many options you can do for bedding. Maybe you don’t have enough thick cover on your property. My advice if you were going to clear some for bedding would be to clear an area in the middle of your property for bedding since it would be much easier to hunt different winds.
     

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