By Kevin Tate/NEMS Daily Journal
As deer season enters its last days – closing for the final time in north Mississippi comes Monday – it’s never too early to begin planning for next year, and for working to keep your deer herd in the best of health in the meantime.
Todd Amenrud, director of public relations for BioLogic, the West Point-based company that innovates plantings and supplements for wildlife, says it’s time to lay the groundwork for the season ahead.
“If your purpose in planting food plots is to attract deer to hunt, now is a good time to look back over the past season and recall in which time periods the hunting was best, and which time periods you were most able to hunt,” Amenrud says. “Compare that to how your planting performed at those times and, this year, make sure to plant things that will be available to deer during the times when you most want or are most likely to hunt them.
“The needs of deer change relative to the weather, to the average temperatures and to the rut, and what you plant should be calculated to deliver what they most need at the time you’ll want to hunt them.”
With that in mind, here’s a short list of things Amenrud says whitetail hunters can start doing today:
– Now is the time to create bedding areas and thickets to offer cover to the whitetails. By planning ahead, you can fell trees with the deer travel corridors in mind. By cutting lanes and piling brush, a few strategic moves – in coordination with an area’s prevailing wind direction – can allow you to direct the deer’s likely paths of travel.
“Just like people, deer and other wildlife will generally take the path of least resistance from one point to another,” Amenrud says.
If you’re creating a new food plot from scratch, Amenrud says online tools like Google Earth are invaluable.
“You can pick the tree for your stand before you ever build the plot this way,” he says.
– Any planting can be optimized by the right mixture of fertilizers and soil supplements, and choosing those correctly depends on a good run of soil tests. Running these tests now can let you know what and how much your plot needs and you can, in turn, get on the books for delivery at your local Co-Op or farm supply store.
“Most food plot planters are only using a tiny fraction of what the cash crop farmers will use,” Amenrud says, “so it’s not hard to imagine how likely you are to get timely deliveries of your stuff if you wait until the stores are servicing the big customers to order it.”
– Whether it’s bucks growing antlers or does making milk for fawns, the over-all health of whitetail deer hinges on having a host of key minerals in their diets. Land and wildlife managers can supplement these nutrients with products that provide minerals including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.