Reasons to increase plot size

Jerry D

What are some reasons to increase food plot size?

I've got a plot that is 0.25 acre with room to expand this plot to 0.5 acres. Right now for costs and simplicity I've stuck to rye / ladino clover combination. I have deer on camera multiple times everyday in the clover. It never gets browsed below 6". In the 0.25 acre plot I have pictures of up to 4 and 5 deer at once.

What are the reasons to expand this to
0.5 acres? I know clover is very productive and browse tolerant.
For my purposes it is to see if I can keep food in front of them until spring green up...if the deer wipe it out by December I 1. Either didn't have enough plot or 2. Didn't get enough's usually 2...
How does it look in winter?

That's a good question. After the November rifle hunt I dont normally make it up to the property until the early spring.

I will leave a camera out after the hunt to monitor usage over the winter.

What would a deers typical response be to a clover food plot buried under snow from say December to the end of February?
If the clover seems to be doing fine then expanding it may not really be needed. Clover will go dormant come winter....and thus not be as attractive to deer even though the deer will dig thru snow to get anything they can. If you want to feed deer in the winter I would suggest expanding your plot, but planting the expanded portion in a dense stand of brassica and/or rye to provide a food supply during that time.
If you are only using it as a kill plot and not as a part of a feeding program to assist through the winter there probably is no need to increase the size...
Thanks for the feedback guys.

How good are brassica to hunt over in November? I'm getting a feeling they are more for late season blackpowder in our area or for the January February months?

I have a huge area that is along the neighbors that I was hesitant to plant anything that could be a draw for them instead of us in the area so I have position the kill plots in secluded areas inside our property lines
"Them vs. Us" is not a good approach to habitat management, although I recognize it's often a necessary part of the hunting success formula, especially when neighbors consider property lines to be "suggestions".

The first question you have to ask yourself is why you're planting the food plot at all. If the (honest) answer is strictly to improve your hunting success, that's fine, but if it's to improve the overall habitat on your property, the answer to whether or not you should expand the plot becomes much more complicated. In general terms, 1/4 acre of clover will feed a lot of deer. Since you stated it never gets shorter than 6" tall (not being over-browsed) you clearly don't have too many deer for the amount of clover you're growing. However, you're in a part of the country where your focus should be on generating cold-season browse, not adding to the ocean of warm-season food supplies.

To that end: What is growing in that huge area next to the neighbors? Could you create an extremely dense area, with high stem counts of plants that generate woody browse for deer during the worst parts of winter? Another thought might be to turn it into a bedding area, with the occasional spruce or cedar, mixed into an area of warm-season grasses.

If you just want to kill deer, it sounds like your existing plot is fine. If you want to make better habitat, there are many other questions that need to be asked, the answers to which are far more challenging. But, that's what makes it so enjoyable, in some ways. :)
The big area is probably upwards of 10 acres. It was planted with white pine on the west edge (1/4 field) which thrived and are 20ft tall now.

The east 3/4 was planted in white spruce and 90 percent died. This ground is lower as the west edge is higher.

Prior to the tree planting it was a meadow and prior to that it used to be farmed.

Might be worth planting an 1/2 acre of brassicas and expanding as the years go on.

Could do this as summer work.

I will leave cameras out over the winter this year to see as well how the habits change come snow
Bigger and better food plots are always better for the deer herd health wise.
I took a 3 ac cattle pasture out of service 5 years ago to plant into a food plot.
1.5 ac is clover and the other 1.5 ac is radish-turnips and forage oats.
I feel if I feed the deer year around there is no reason the does will show up in the fall around rut time. Where the does are the bucks will come looking. A looking they do.
I notice deer feeding in my clover 12 months of the year. There is no slowing down during the winter.
My farm borders a 110 ac horse hay baling operation with plenty of brush areas. When I see deer walk out of the brush and walk non-stop across the hay field to my food plot and feed. I know I have a great drawing food plot.
Keep the deer coming to your property year around and they will show up during deer season.