Posts tagged with Deer

Turnip Food Plots

Posted on January 14, 2016 by Leave a comment

Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

Purple Top White Globe Turnips

Purple Top White Globe turnips make a great fall and winter food source for whitetail deer. We have grown these for several year and have developed some expertise in growing them. We have been involved in turnip food plots in both western New York State and northern Georgia. In both geographies, the turnips are grown as a fall and winter food source, planted in the fall. The timing of planting depends on the geography. In NY State, they are planted in mid July – mid August. In Georgia, they can be planted anytime from about September 1st through November 1st. Always follow the planting dates listed on the seed source label. Turnips can be grown as a nurse crop for clover with fall seeded turnips, a brassica mix, radishes or with winter killed oats.

Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

Turnips need light to grow but will grow with some shade in the early morning and late afternoon. As with any food plot, it is important to pick a spot where the deer will feel comfortable coming out into the plot during the early morning, before sunset, or even during the day. Turnips germinate quickly once they have moisture for germination and will grow quickly once germinated. We do not normally use a herbicide in turnip plots because they grow so fast that they dominate other weed species. Grass weeds are the easiest to control with a post applied herbicide like sethoxdim or clethodim. Always follow label directions when using herbicides.

A great location for a turnip & brassica food plot located in a clearing with good sunlight penetration

A great location for a turnip & brassica food plot located in a clearing with good sunlight penetration

The turnips can also be grown separately as an individual crop. When seeding alone or with other food plot varieties, it is important to use the correct amount of seed. Using too much seed results in too many plants, small tubers and if planted with a clover, will shade out the clover resulting in a poor stand of clover.

This plot was planted with too much seed resulting in overcrowding and small turnip globes

This plot was planted with too much seed resulting in overcrowding and small turnip globes

Turnips, Brassicas, Radishes, and winter killed oats all require fertilizer to attain their full potential. A fertilizer application prior to planting is required to achieve this goal. If this is a new plot or you are unsure what your fertility levels are, a soil test will be a great help. When you get the soil test results, it will also indicate if lime is required to adjust your soil pH. If you don’t have time to do this, an application of a basic NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) fertilizer will get you in the ball park. Sixty pounds of Nitogen should provide a season long supply of basic plant nutrients for an average food plot crop.

Fertilizer Required per Acre to Apply 60 Lbs. of Actual NPK (Nitogen, Phosphorous, Potassium)
10-10-10 – 600 lbs/a
12-12-12 – 500 lbs/a
13-13-13 – 460 lbs/a
15-15-15 – 400 lbs/a

A Feast of Turnips!

A Feast of Turnips!

If given space and nutrients to grow the turnips can grow to be quite large. Don’t forget to eat a few yourself. Purple Top White Globe turnips for deer food plots are the same as you would buy in the grocery store and much fresher!! My favorite way to eat them is raw right in the field. Just pull up the turnip, cut off the surface layer with a pocket knife, cut into slices like an apple and enjoy!! Turnips have a great slightly sweet flavor. You can also take them home and cook the diced globe, with the chopped green tops, along with a little ham, for a nice side dish of Turnip Greens & Ham.

Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

Purple Top White Globe Turnips in New Seedling Clover

The deer will start to feed as the weather gets cooler. The deer usually start by eating the best part of the globes and then coming back for more as food sources diminish. The cool weather helps preserve the globes from rotting as long as it doesn’t get too warm for too long. If there is no snow and the temperatures get extremely cold the food value of the turnips will be destroyed. If there is snow cover or more moderate temperatures, the food value will be preserved longer.

Beginning Feeding on Turnips

Beginning Feeding on Turnips

As winter approaches spring, if there is any food value left, the deer will eat the frozen turnips like ice cream, only leaving a white cup in the ground. At other times the whole turnip will come out of the ground so they can eat the whole globe. When there are enough globes left at the end of winter it is a good source of food when the deer come back in the spring from herding.

Spring turnip in fall seeded clover eaten to the ground

Spring turnip in fall seeded clover eaten to the ground

We have tried to grow turnips and Daikon Radishes together in NY State but we have observed that the radish flesh is destroyed by cold temperatures easier than the turnips. Sometimes the food value is mostly gone by gun season and no longer an attraction to the deer. For this reason, we are no longer planting radishes in food plots in NY State. The daikon radish plots in Georgia are normally very successful due to the milder fall and winter temperatures.

Feeding on Daikon Radishes and Turnips

Feeding on Daikon Radishes and Turnips

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Small Wildlife Pond

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Leave a comment

Over 50 years ago, just before my father bought this property, the previous owner created this small pond in what was a field at that time. This is a spring fed pond about 60 feed long, 30 feet wide, and about 3 feet deep. Most likely it was made for horses or cattle and possibly for wildlife as he was an avid deer hunter. Over the years it started to become filled in and no longer much of a pond. About three years ago we had it re-dug for about $300.00. It has been fun to see it being used by wildlife. The pond is also near our apiary and it makes a close source of water for the honeybees. The muddy water in the photograph is where deer have recently come to drink.

Small Wildlife Pond South View

Small Wildlife Pond South View

The pond is at the edge of a field where our deer food plots are located, which also makes this spot attractive to the deer. Deer require a water source and this is specially helpful to them in dry periods of the year. It is the only site for quite a distance that has a permanent pool of water that can be used by our local amphibians to lay their eggs in the spring. We have a variety of toads, frogs, and newts which utilize this location.

Small Wildlife Pond North View

Small Wildlife Pond North View

The pond does require some maintenance. Since we have re-dug the pond, we have made an effort to control the vegetation that wants to grow up around the pond. We do this with a combination of herbicide use, a bushhog (rotary cutter), and a string trimmer. We are certain that a lot of additional wildlife species use the pond, they are just more difficult to observe during a casual walk by.

Frog Tadpoles Just Hanging Out!

Frog Tadpoles Just Hanging Out!

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Growing New Whitetail Antlers

Posted on July 21, 2015 by Leave a comment

We have been trying for several years to capture whitetail deer anger growth during the summer with the camera. It appears we are having some success this year. Antler growth is influenced by age, genetics, and the quality of the nutrition on which the deer feeds. In this field, the deer are eating Whitetail Institute Whitetail Clover, which is specially developed for white-tailed deer. We can see that the main beams, and brow tines are forming and additional points are beginning to form. It is difficult to tell at this point how many additional points will form prior to the completion of growth for this year.

Growing New Antlers - Mid July - front view

Growing New Antlers – Mid July – front view

The antler growth starts at the pedicle where the antler is attached to the skull. The antler is made of bone. The antler growth is regulated by hormones and controlled by day length (photoperiod). The antlers will harden off and the velvet will be shed prior to the breeding season in the fall. Then in January or February the antlers will fall off and the process will start again next spring.

Growing New Antlers - Mid July - back view

Growing New Antlers – Mid July – back view

On this particular deer we can observe that this set of antlers is developing on an animal that is probably 2 years and 4 months old. The deer is of medium weight and condition and the antlers are nicely formed but somewhat thin and not very big. It appears that it will be a 7 point buck. Deer in this location have an abundance of food choices, between forest browse, abandoned farm fields, cattle pastures, dairy hay fields, and deer food plots. If we are lucky, this deer will re-visit our camera site and we can continue to watch his antlers grow.

Antler Growth by August 21st

Antler Growth by August 21st

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