Food Plot Success - An Interview with Wildlife Biologist, Dr. Grant Woods.
Author: Mike Schoby
The BioLogic expert, Grant Woods, tells us what it takes to create a successful food plot on your hunting property that will grow, as well as attract, magnum size deer.
Some would say that planting food plots, and attracting deer are as easy as going out and tilling up a small section of ground and planting a food source such as corn or soybeans. Those folks wouldn’t be wrong, either. Deer and other wildlife will benefit from most food plots; however, some food sources are far superior to others when it comes to keeping deer feeding on your property year around, not to mention helping them develop the antler mass you are looking for.
To be honest, I had always subscribed to planting stands of corn and soybeans as main food plots, but when I decided to write a feature article about "how to do it", I decided it might be best to ask an expert in the field. After making one phone call to Grant Woods PhD, the resident Wildlife Biologist for Biologic, I was glad I did! I was completely in the dark when it comes to scientific management of deer food production.
Mike: Most people’s goals when planting a food plot are simple - create a source of food that deer find attractive and will come to and frequent often. Is it really as simple as this? Grant: Yes and no. Sure everyone’s goals are the same, as a hunter you want your property and/or hunting area to have big deer on it. But here is where it gets a bit more complicated. How does one go about planting the right crops that ensure that not only will there be deer there during the hunting season, but also create good pre and post season food as well as provide deer with enough protein and minerals to grow large racks - as you can see it quickly becomes a more in depth issue then "plant it and they will come".
Mike: Is that why BioLogic has so many different products? Grant: That is part of the reason. We make products that are designed to perform under different environmental conditions as well as produce differently throughout the year.
Mike: What is your most versatile and widely used product? Grant: That is tough to say, but Summer Management and Fall Attractant are two great products that cover all the deer’s food needs from summer through winter.
Mike: Why do these work so well over standard foods, such as corn and soybeans? Grant: The key is in our main ingredient, which is large-leaf, forage Brassica. BioLogic Blends also produce forage that yield over 34% crude protein, compared with corn that averages 7-8%.
Mike: What is Brassica? Grant: Brassicas are in the same family as broccoli, and have the characteristic large green leaves that are so often associated with BioLogic products. The exciting thing about Brassicas is that not only do they provide excellent nutrients for deer, but until they ripen they are bitter to taste and are avoided by deer. Since there are several varieties that all mature at different times, only then becoming palatable to deer, we can manipulate the different types in a blend to produce a product that will have food the is readily sought from the beginning of summer throughout the hunting season.
Mike: What other products do you recommend in addition to Summer and Fall Management? Grant: Depending upon your region, our Clover Plus is ideal as an additional attractant for deer. The nice thing about Clover Plus is that is can be grown in less then ideal conditions. It requires only a small amount of nitrogen and a relatively moderate supply of Phosphorous and Potassium.
Clover Plus is a nutritious blend of New Zealand red and white clover and BioLogic’s choice chicory. It is great summertime forage for deer and turkeys alike and will regrows for up to five years.
Mike: On a different note, how does BioLogic Full Draw differ from other blends? Grant: Full Draw as the name implies is a great product for bowhunters to be used in their season. It can be planted anytime after mid-August in the south and as late as mid-October. It is characterized by rapid germination and is very palatable and nutritious during the first month of growth. It performs really well as an early, mid and late fall attractant. Another nice feature about Full Draw is that it can be broadcasted onto an existing Premium Perennial or Clover Plus stand to increase the forage produced and early fall attractiveness of these perennial stands.
Mike: Aside from choosing the right product to accomplish your given food plot goals, what other factors should prospective users consider to ensure their food plot success? Grant: Soil suitability and moisture content is the key. We sell a pH test kit to determine if your soil has the right pH content to promote adequate growth. Depending upon the actual BioLogic Blend used, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium may have to be added. As far as moisture content, most areas in the Midwest and southern regions of the United States that are suitable for agriculture should be adequate for many or our BioLogic Blends.
Mike: I see you also make BioLogic Full Potential - it seems to be a mineral supplement - can you give me more information on what this is used for and how much should be used? Grant: You are correct, in order to really develop the "Full Potential" of bucks in your area, the correct amount of minerals, nutrients and vitamins need to be present in their diet. These items not only create a healthy deer but they encourage good antler growth as well. Using BioLogic Full Potential is really a simple three step affair - we recommend one 32.5 pound kit for every 80 to 160 acres.
After talking with Grant, I realized there was much more to food plot science then I ever imagined. Now, armed with the right information, it is time to head afield and get busy!