Looking for a new way to make your property more attractive to deer? Turn your shooting lanes into food plots.
If you followed Part 1 of this series, you now know how to clear and prepare your shooting lanes to get them ready for planting into productive linear food plots.
As previously mentioned, we’re doing this at the same time as you, so you’ll still have time to get out this season and do the same thing on your land. This phase 2 article will focus on the physical planting procedures to get you on your way, in real-time.
We were fortunate to have Frigid Forage partner with us on this effort. They were as interested as us to show everyone how planting small trails and shooting lanes can lead to productive micro food plots and make your property more attractive to deer.
After conversations with Frigid Forage founder and owner John Barsody, we decided that his clover blend would do well with the conditions of our shooting lanes: shady, loamy clay soils of northern Minnesota with very little soil preparation.
If you’re in a different part of the country, Frigid Forage has plenty of other seed blends to get your desired food plot this fall.
Pure Trophy Clover is a mixture of only perennial clover seeds, as the name indicates, including ladino, mammoth red, medium red, white Dutch, and alsike clovers. But more than that, it’s a blend of clover varieties that is proven for northern soils.
Many of the food plot seeds on the retail shelves were developed for warmer climates and don’t persist well through the brutal winters of our northern states. What’s the point of planting a perennial plot that won’t last until next spring?
Planting Your Shooting Lanes
After roughing up the soil with a steel garden rake, there was enough soil exposed to easily allow clover seeds, which are very small, to settle into the cracks. You don’t need these lanes to be spotless – just make sure there aren’t too many leaves or branches covering the soil.
For these shooting lanes, we used a common garden seeder to disperse the fertilizer along the plots. Since we are planting clover that can produce its own nitrogen, we chose a fertilizer with a low first number (the “N” of the N-P-K). We scattered the Pure Trophy Clover seeds by hand at a ratio of 8-10 pounds per acre.
After spreading the fertilizer and food plot seeds, we simply walked up and down the shooting lanes a few times to pack down some of the soil without burying the seeds too deeply. If you rake too aggressively after planting, the small seeds might get buried too deeply to germinate.
Now the only remaining step you’ll have is to pray for some rain to help your seeds germinate and grow to be ready in time for fall.
In terms of food plots, it’s the fourth quarter and time is running out. Let’s get them done!
Look for Part 3, Hunting Plots, this fall to check in on our results.
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All photos via Ryan Lisson