Question: “We own about 450 acres in Texas and are managing the place for better bucks and improved deer hunting. We are looking for some ideas for a winter food plot this year. We have planted forage oats over the past couple of years, but it just seems like it’s time for something new for the deer to eat. We are thinking about planting winter wheat for whitetail. The food plot areas are all about 200 yards long by 50 yards wide. Any food plot ideas for deer would be appreciated!”
Response: Always keep in mind that there is some difference between an attractant and a nutritional food plot for whitetail deer. It sounds like you are definitely in the nutrition camp, especially since you are planting large areas. I always recommend that hunters plant a seed mix. This typically ensures that at least something grows since plants require different moisture levels, but also provides a variety of nutrients for whitetail.
For food plots in Texas, I would look at a mix of wheat or oats or winterpeas or even singletary peas along with some clovers that are suited for your area. These plants are hardy and can often establish on food plots as large as those found on your property. Peas will have trouble on small food plots since deer will usually not let them establish. They simply browse down the small area planted and the plot is done.
Of course, it never hurts to talk to a seed dealer in your area to to get their input. People tend to buy what works. Dealers can tell you what others in the area have been buying. If it’s working for them, chances are it will work for you. In addition, get your soil tested if you want to produce the highest quality food plot possible. A soil test will tell you what you need to do also as well as what plants will grow best.
After testing, apply the correct amount of fertilizer and your food plot should be good to go if you get moisture at the right time. There is no need to get fancy when it comes to food plots for whitetail deer during the winter, especially for folks that simply want to attract deer. Whitetail deer do not necessarily need super high protein foods during the fall. Wheat, peas and clover will all provide 15% or more protein levels, with peas and clover offering much more.