The Food Plot That Attracts More Deer

The Food Plot That Attracts More Deer


GRANT: During the summer of 2018, Clay, the
summer interns, and I visited a property about an hour and a half east of The Proving Grounds. GRANT: The property owner, Mr. Tom Free, recently
purchased 755 acres and wished to develop a habitat improvement and hunting plan. They hoped within a few years to be seeing
some good bucks and have some great hunting opportunities. Their goals were realistic and with some sweat
equity could be achieved. GRANT: One of the first places Mr. Free and
David showed me was a food plot where the timber had been recently cleared. GRANT: We’re out here in a food plot they
just had cleared with timber, really haven’t done a lot with and as soon as they cleared
it someone gave some probably ill advice of ripping the soil and what that did was serve
to bring a bunch of weeds up in this area. I’ve recommended taking care of the toughest
weeds, the thistle, behind me here; we’ll take care of the thistle and then we’re going
to spray everything with RoundUp and the next day drill in soybeans. Of course, soybeans are RoundUp-resistant. And we’re gonna need to use that for a year,
or maybe two, to get the weeds under control; then we’ll be able to switch to a true Buffalo
System. GRANT: This plot served as a great example
of why it’s always important to disturb the soil the least amount possible when creating
or maintaining a food plot. And I promise you, they won’t allow anyone
to rip future plots on this property. GRANT: The best thing to do and I know it’s
labor… TOM: Is to come chop ‘em out. GRANT: Chop ‘em out. TOM: Okay. GRANT: Rather than mechanically ripping the
soil, hard pans can be fractured by planting the appropriate crops in a rotation. GRANT: As we continued touring the property,
we came to some areas where eastern red cedar had invaded what was once high-quality native
species habitat. GRANT: Quality native grass and forb species
were growing in the few gaps between the cedars, and I knew, based on experience, that if these
cedars were felled and followed with a prescribed fire the entire area would be a lush native
grass feeding and bedding area. GRANT: I’m not stopping my glade cut here. As far as I can see down through there is
useless for a deer. Look. Come here and look through this hole right
here. DAVID: I was sitting here looking at that
one (Inaudible). GRANT: There’s nothing in there. So, you and I walk through here and are going,
“Oh man, it’s thick; it’s cover.” But get down where deer, quail, and turkey
live, there’s nothing. It’s a biological desert. Whack it. GRANT: By felling the cedars and following
up with prescribed fire I knew we could make some openings where hunters could see deer
moving, but the cover would be two, three, four feet tall which would make deer feel
extremely comfortable using these areas. GRANT: As we continued touring the property,
it was obvious quality food sources was a huge limiting factor at this area. GRANT: We studied the map, walked the land
to confirm and strategically located some larger plots. Not only adding more food but creating travel
corridors that could be hunted when deer were going to food, cover, water in any wind direction. GRANT: I toured Mr. Free’s property a few
months later. He had hired a chainsaw crew and they had
already felled most of the cedars allowing sun to reach the ground. GRANT: David had also planted the food plots
with Eagle Seed’s Fall Buffalo Blend, and it was already feeding deer and working to
protect and improve the soil. GRANT: I was very impressed with the amount
of work Mr. Free and David had accomplished in a few short months. GRANT: Last week, Daniel, Clay and I returned
to Mr. Free’s property to follow up on the projects we designed. GRANT: I’m back with David. We’ve become friends. We laid out a management plan for Mr. Free
and David a year ago; is that correct? DAVID: Yep, right at a year ago. GRANT: And they have worked so fast it seems
like it’s been longer. GRANT: When we were here, standing right here,
this was a field that had been timber cleared out, and it was full of thistle, and Johnsongrass,
and sericea lespedeza – a bunch of bad nasties. And I recommend they clean that up and plant
Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans that turn it into a great food source. And you can see, David has done an incredible
job and they’ve been extremely successful in their plan. GRANT: The program we had designed had worked
extremely well at controlling the weeds in this plot. What I didn’t expect to see was the definitive
line right through the plot. Now, there was no fence line or anything else
there, but deer clearly preferred browsing on one side of the line versus the other. GRANT: David had explained that the previous
fall he had planted clover on the left side of the line and the Fall Buffalo Blend on
the right side of the line. And then this spring he planted beans right
through the entire field. GRANT: The difference in the amount of browse
on the line where the clover met the Fall Buffalo Blend was so obvious that it seems
the Fall Buffalo Blend made the soil a bit better and the beans on that side more palatable. GRANT: The fall Buffalo Blend did exactly
what it’s supposed to do. It served to pull more nutrients out of the
soil, and, clearly, these beans taste better because you can see a definite line. Now, I need to make this clear. All these beans were planted at once. This whole field was just the same treatment,
correct, David? DAVID: Yep, they were. GRANT: You did it, right? DAVID: I did it. GRANT: You’re the tractor guy. DAVID: I know. Yeah. GRANT: Yeah. You planted all of this at once, but there’s
not near the browse pressure over here as there is over here. DAVID: Right. GRANT: And there’s a line right through the
middle of the field. There’s no reason for the deer to be on this
side than this side right here. I mean, right here they’re browse to what,
maybe a foot tall give or take? DAVID: Right. GRANT: And over here they’re a foot and a
half, two-foot-tall, a little bit of browse but not much. Every bean has been browsed on here. They clearly tasted better and that’s what
I’ve been talking about is recycling nutrients through the proper plant rotation – different
species bringing nutrients up and then decomposing on the soil. And the Fall Buffalo Blend worked exactly
right in just one year. One year’s progress right here. GRANT: David, did you think when I came here
a year ago that you’d see this much progress in one year? DAVID: Absolutely not. It’s amazing how it’s just – well, we put
the product in and just followed directions. It blew up. And every field is blowing up like that, so
it’s really exciting. This was our worst one, so I’m glad to see
our worst one looking this good. GRANT: Yeah, I mean, there was thistle, and
sericea and Johnsongrass. GRANT: The gentleman that had cleared the
timber for them talked them into, “Oh, I need to rip the soil.” And he had two or three-foot-deep rippers
on the back of the dozer. When I got here, I said that’s a bad thing
because that’s bringing up weed seeds from decades ago. And they’ve had to fight it and there’s still
some weeds they’re fighting. DAVID: Right. GRANT: As I tell people, disturb the soil
the least amount possible, and you’ll get the best results. GRANT: Look at all these flowers. GRANT: These are all future bean pods. I mean, I don’t know, there’s dozens. Even though this plant has been browsed. DAVID: Yeah. GRANT: This is incredible browse pressure. It would’ve killed a normal soybean. DAVID: Right. GRANT: This is feeding deer, still putting
on – here we are in late August – still putting on new leaves, dozens of flowers getting ready
to make pods and adding a whole bunch of nitrogen to the soil. DAVID: It’s perfect. GRANT: Deer are extremely selective on what
they choose to eat. Typically, they choose higher nutrition, higher
palatability and this is a perfect example. A different practice, planting clover versus
the Fall Buffalo Blend, made a difference in a field that otherwise had been treated
exactly the same. GRANT: David was preparing to plant the entire
field with the Fall Buffalo Blend; he’ll simply drill through the standing beans. This will result in about 50% of the beans
standing and producing pods while forage is growing between all of those mature beanstalks. Perfect. On the cold days, deer will select the pods. And on the warmer days, they’ll eat the green
forage. ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by
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and Redneck Hunting Blinds. GRANT: As we continued the tour, we noticed
several mature white oaks that were loaded with acorns. GRANT: Deer love white oak acorns and hunting
near where they’re dropping can be an extremely effective strategy. GRANT: During our first visit, when we were
creating the habitat plan, we found these mature oaks and designed a food plot to go
along the edge leaving plenty of room for travel corridors between the plots. GRANT: Dave and I are out looking around some
more and come across a white oak on the edge of a food plot he’s developed, and it is loaded. So, right past me, there’s a big food plot
and David, you, left this corridor through here with a bunch of really mature nice white
oaks – they’re loaded. This is gonna be like little Iowa. GRANT: This is going to be an incredible travel
corridor now, especially pre-rut and rut. They’re just going to be blowing through here. Bucks will be going through here scent checking
these fields for does and a great stopping point because there’s a gazillion of these
white oaks coming on here. GRANT: This is why it’s so important not to
just create a food plot. Don’t just say, “Well, let’s cut some trees
here,” or whatever, but to lay out a plan. And the plan is not only based on where the
soil is appropriate but how to hunt the property. GRANT: So, wind direction, layout, travel,
bedding – back here where we cut a bunch of cedars – everything feeds in to make this
a very huntable property. GRANT: Approximately a year ago, I stood right
here with the landowner, Mr. Free, and David and talked about this being a biological desert. There just wasn’t any cover or food. They had all the cedars felled based on that
recommendation. And, even though we haven’t burned yet, there’s
tremendous amount of forage out here, and obviously cover, but forage in this area. GRANT: We talk a lot about felling cedars;
we usually talk before. This is a great opportunity to return one
year after cedars have been felled and see the results. GRANT: Short of coming out here and doing
test plots, I don’t know how to quantify the massive improvement of habitat quality by
felling these cedars. And there’d be an even larger jump in habitat
quality once we put a fire in here, stimulate that native seed base to cover the area. GRANT: Mr. Free already has plans to put a
couple Redneck Blinds in strategic locations, once we complete the fire, and I promise you
they will see and harvest many critters out of this area through the years. GRANT: David, when I first toured this property,
I talked about I want to be able to slap it, and a bunch of needles fall off. And you can see I’m slapping pretty hard and
a few are shattering but not many. It’s clearly not dry enough to have a really
good quality fire. It would burn, but it would burn the drier
needles off, leave all the little limbs, be kind of messy, to be honest. So, one more year, when you slap this baby,
they’ll shatter. And when we get that it’s time to drop a match
and make better habitat. GRANT: Many people fail, and they don’t want
to look at this, so they burn in one year and that’s a mistake. It needs to dry at least a year and a half,
two years, to get a really good fire that not only will consume this but stimulate that
native seed base to really grow and express its potential. GRANT: But we’ve got all this fuel growing
wherever sunshine is hitting so it will carry the fire. In another year it’s even easier. You need a lot of fuel to carry the fire from
cedar tree to cedar tree. DAVID: Right. GRANT: So, man, this is perfect. It’s doing exactly what I wanted. In one more year this will be a fun fire to
watch. DAVID: Yeah, it will, won’t it? GRANT: Better to watch than work but a fun
fire. And then we will have tremendous habitat. DAVID: Awesome. GRANT: We’re still on Mr. Free’s property,
and I designed this cedar glade to be cut, let it lay for two years like I always do,
and then burned. But there’s a wildfire that came through about
May and burned this a year ahead of schedule. The results are awesome. GRANT: There’s tremendous native species diversity
in here. It’s looking great, but I want to point out
a couple of things. What I’m at looking at when I look back through
here is these cedar skeletons. If we’d waited a year more moisture would’ve
come out of the cedar skeletons and there’d been more consumption of those. GRANT: This isn’t necessarily positive or
negative. But the positive is, and you can see it right
behind me, the vegetation is a little thicker right in this skeleton. They kind of act as a utilization cage. GRANT: Because there’s food all over in here,
deer don’t want to stick their head right down that skeleton and that permits really
desirable plants to mature and make a seed base and make sure the areas repopulated with
desirable plants. So, the skeletons aren’t bad but now, because
they’ve been charred, it will be several years before they break down. GRANT: This is now – and going to be – a tremendous
bedding, nesting, and feeding area. And I’m going to prescribe to Mr. Free that
we put a Redneck Blind right up here – it doesn’t have to be very tall; just tall enough
to see over the roll of the slope and we’ll catch deer traveling through this bedding
area and feeding area. GRANT: I’d also like to share that Clay and
I were here filming when the crew was felling these cedars. There’s some large cedar trees in here, 60,
70, maybe 80 years old; very large cedars. They had shaded out this area. GRANT: So, all this tremendous native vegetation
we see in here – those seeds have laid dormant for decades in the soil. And that’s an advantage of clearing the invasive
eastern red cedar because native species will take over, recolonize the area providing very
productive and natural habitat. GRANT: I’m going to suggest to Mr. Free he
name this the test burn area. This wasn’t a planned burn. Again there was a wildfire come through, but
it’s a great test to show to him, give him confidence, of the rich native species component
that was under those cedars. GRANT: This is a small area; there’s 100 more
acres where the cedars have been felled and we’re waiting until next spring to burn them. So, this is just a little test of what’s to
come. GRANT: An aerial view tells another very interesting
story. The fire had ripped through the cedars consuming
most of them, killing the residual standing hardwoods that were in the area the cedars
had been felled. GRANT: But once it reached that contiguous
hardwood forest, that closed-canopy hardwood section, the humidity obviously was much higher
because the fire laid down, crept through the leaf litter, and barely scared the trees. GRANT: I often receive a lot of comments about
the dangers of using prescribed fire. I think that’s because the media shows these
massive wildfires on the West Coast. But there’s a big difference between the Midwest,
of course, the Southeast and the West. GRANT: Here in this part of the United States,
humidity levels rarely drop below 40 or 50%. But in the West, it’s common for them to get
down in the teens or even lower. And when the humidity gets that low fire can
jump up into the crown of trees and run like crazy. That simply doesn’t happen when the humidity
is much higher, keeping those fine fuels very moist. GRANT: The quality of habitat that resulted
from this wildfire is what Mr. Free can expect when he uses prescribed fire to treat the
other areas where cedars were felled. GRANT: I’m extremely impressed with the amount
of progress that’s been made on Mr. Free’s property. They’re already getting some pictures of high-quality
bucks and seeing lots of critters when working in the area. Mr. Free, his family, and guests will have
many great hunts due to the results of this work. GRANT: You may know we offer internships through
GrowingDeer and I want to take a moment and talk about one of our recent intern graduates. GRANT: Owen Zimmer was from Pennsylvania. I met him while giving a seminar there and
Owen had just graduated high school. He had a huge heart for being a property manager
and did not want to spend four years in college. GRANT: After conversations with Owen and his
parents, I offered him a year-long internship. He recently completed that internship, got
lots of great experience and has already landed a great job in Oklahoma as a property manager. GRANT: During Owen’s internship he got lots
of hands-on experience at planting and maintaining food plots, different TSI techniques, prescribed
fire, trapping, and many other techniques that are necessary to be a property manager. GRANT: Owen also learned how to film hunts
and laid down some great footage for the GrowingDeer Team. Owen learned many professional skills, and
I hope some life skills, during his internship with GrowingDeer. I’m extremely proud of Owen and know he’s
off to a great start in his professional career. GRANT: If you’re interested in being a GrowingDeer
intern, check out the internship tab at the bottom of our website. GRANT: I’ll be speaking at several locations
during the next few weeks and, if one of ‘em is close to you, I hope you come by so we
can talk about hunting and habitat management. GRANT: I still reflect on the horrible events of 9/11 and to the many men and women that lost their lives. The GrowingDeer Team’s hearts go out to those that mourn their loved ones and we’re very thankful for those great men and women that protect and keep us safe daily. GRANT: To learn more about how to improve the habitat where you hunt, check out our habitat management playlist. And if you enjoy content about hunting and habitat management, please give us a thumbs up and share a link with your friend. GRANT: Here at The Proving Grounds walnut
trees are starting to shed a few leaves, and that’s a sure sign fall is just around the
corner. It’s a great time to get outside and enjoy
Creation. GRANT: But more importantly take time every
day to slow down, be quiet, and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.

26 Replies to “The Food Plot That Attracts More Deer

  1. Love seeing the before and after videos and all the trail cam footage. Super excited for bow season doc cleared me to draw my bow and I shot today for the first time since my injury and managed to be consistent for a few shots before I got tired! Very grateful I’m healed up with some time to practice archery with my 4 children.

  2. When I was out there about this time last year I had the pleasure of meeting Owen. He was eager to learn and I have no doubt he'll be a great property manager!

  3. If your only option for food plots is a hand fitler (spreader), can you still achieve success of the beans early season and fall buffalo in the fall?

  4. Wow, seeing what can be done by employing proper techniques is a real eye opener. I knew it worked but seeing that property blew my mind. Also noticed no hinge cuts:) a practice that is too often employed IMHO. I also love how you teach soil conservation by the buffalo system.

  5. I have a lot of eastern red cedars on my place. Why would you cut the cedars (leaving the stumps) rather than dozing the trees? Btw, I am in Central Texas. Thanks.

  6. Awesome video. Question on the controlled fire. In an area as large as he had with Cedar trees do you rake out a fire break on the downwind side edge and then back burn to that fire break before you burn rest of property?

  7. I see people hesitant about fire as well. It certainly is a tool that should be used with caution…but with experience (& the right layout/scenario) is not as scary as most people think. A short clip in one video is certainly not meant to cover the how-to's of prescribed burning…but one thing that viewers should realize is that burning in the middle of a 700 acre property is different than burning cedar slash on the edge of a 40 acre tract. I've purposely burned higher risk cedar slash within a year of being cut BECAUSE I knew the dead cedar wouldn't be cured enough for full consumption…which resulted in more manageable fire behavior & a safer burn. Knowledge, a good plan, & advanced prep work make all of the difference!

    Also, what a dramatic visual on that plot!

  8. Loved this one! Seeing a property being managed like that is wonderful We need more of it! Too many sub-divisions going in….

  9. I have a similar 3 acre patch of these useless cedars. I went through this year and cut some of them down to act as barriers so you couldn't see directly through them but I'm open to trying this as well. My question is what do you do with the cedars once they're cut? How low should I cut them? I dont have access to a dozer but can definitely prescribe fire.

  10. Why not plant the beans in 2 sections 2-3 weeks apart that way when one section turns yellow and deer ignore it, they go to the next section (green) and keep browsing on the green beans.

  11. We have a small 30 acre land in Florida and I have been watching your program and we decided to do prescribed burn through the Florida Department of Forestry this upcoming fall. Through your videos on burns have been informative.

  12. Good for owen. College is not paying off for lots of students and saving him self from college debt and earning a income at a young age should benefit him. Save it and earn it owen.

  13. I have a question what could you do if you have 50 acres how would you make it something good to get more deer and better hunting??

  14. New subscriber. What reconyx model camera do you currently recommend? (Price not an issue, looking for the one you feel is best) – thank you – western PA area.

  15. Grant check out TED Talk "How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change | Allan Savory" 100% ties into your buffalo blend

  16. wouldnt matter if they are round up resistant if they have not germinated yet.. round up is a post emergent. unless youre talking about spraying again once beans are established..

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