If you are like most whitetail enthusiasts, you have started thinking about food plots. It happens every year; the spring thaw comes (at least in the North) and food plotters start thinking about what to plant for their whitetails.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed an increase in the use of “fall attractant” annual food plot products. It seems like every seed manufacturer has come up with a new whiz-bang seed mix to attract whitetails. The trouble is, some of them are just that–attractants–but they are annual plants that are designed only for one growing cycle. You plant them in mid-late summer or early fall, they grow a couple of months, peak when everything else deer eat peaks and are done. At best, they feed deer for a few months. If you are serious about helping deer, you need to round out your fall annual plantings with some perennials.

Perennials green up early with the spring thaw and feed deer when they need it most. A good old-fashioned clover-chicory blend will produce highly nutritious forage for whitetails just when they need it most–after a tough winter, when fawns are dropping, the does are lactating, and the bucks are growing antlers. A good perennial plot will produce from spring green-up through the summer and fall, often well into the winter. The best part is a well-maintained plot will last 3-5 years or more.

Now before you go off half-cocked and start burning up your keyboard, please understand, I’ve got nothing against planting fall attractants. I plant them myself and hunt them hard. But come spring, I’m out there making sure I have plenty of both, annuals and perennials (40% annual, 60%perennial).

Food plots should be planted first and foremost for the deer and should do more than attract deer to a hunting location. They should be an important part of your deer nutrition program. Plots planted in perennials will attract deer to your property, keep them well fed, and keep them there.

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Jason Ashe
Jason Ashe is an avid whitetail deer enthusiast and avid hunter from the finger lakes region of New York. A full time social media specialist in the outdoor industry and habitat specialist with Mid-Lakes Whitetails, Jason has been featured in such publications as Quality Whitetails numorouse times and been paired with hunting greats in Outdoor Life for his knowledge and passion for hunting mature deer. Turkeys, Coyotes also top the list of game that Jason pursues in any down time he has from whitetails. He consideres himself lucky to have whitetails and hunting be a part of everyday life. His wife Laura also shares in his passions along with their 2 children.