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    Deer Food Plots

    The Importance of Planting Spring Food Plots on your Property

    Provided by Antler King

    Although my ultimate focus is to have food available on my property 24/7/365, it’s essential to also focus on the often overlooked importance of spring food plots.  Highly digestible nutrient rich food sources in the Spring and Summer are vital for the overall health of your entire deer herd.  Offering bucks a high protein diet as early as February 1 and having that high protein/high energy food source available the entire antler growing season will make a huge difference in antler and body growth.  Protein is the catalyst for both body and antler growth as 80% of a velvet antler consists of protein while the other 20% consists primarily of calcium and phosphorus.  

    Many studies have shown that bucks that have been offered a high protein diet of 16-20% protein will have as much as 20 inches more of antler growth than their same age class brethren on a low protein diet.  Does and fawns will also greatly benefit from a highly nutritious food source as well, showing the results with increased body mass and an increase in overall health.  

    Clover Plot

    Antler King Trophy Products Inc. offers several food plot seed mixes that can be planted in the Spring and provide highly palatable and highly sought after protein sources to maximize the health of your deer herd.  TROPHY CLOVER MIX and GAME CHANGER CLOVER both have special clover varieties that will offer your deer 20-35% protein, and because they are perennials after the initial year’s plantings, they will be one of the first plants to start growing in February or March to allow your deer herd a high protein diet, to help satisfy the nutrients required to maximize antler growth.  If plant growth requires it, mowing your clover plots a few times throughout the summer is vitally important. 

    Mowing your plots will help keep weeds from taking over the clover AND when clover plants are mowed and start to regrow, that is when the plants are at their highest level of digestible protein and energy and are also the most palatable.  As a rule of thumb, when you see the clover plants flowering out, or when the plants are 18 inches tall, it is time to mow them back to approximately 6-8 inches.

    An added benefit with planting the TROPHY CLOVER MIX is not only are you getting 4 different highly sought after clover varieties but also a special variety of chicory.  This special variety of chicory is a hardy, weather tolerant perennial species AND has a tendency to retain more minerals so that when deer feed on this chicory plant, they are able to attain more minerals necessary for antler growth and overall health.

    Another option for a Spring planting would be Antler King’s Red Zone mix of forage soybeans, forage peas, buckwheat and sunflowers.  This is a Spring planted mix that is also very high in protein, energy and palatability and produces literally tons of forage.  If you are not able to mow your clover plots or have the acreage to give your deer another Spring food source planting Red Zone will offer similar benefits and you will be happy that you did, as it can provide important nutrition from Spring all the way through Winter.

    Deer Clover

    Over the last 30 years we’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources towards research on deer, deer nutrition and deer forage and just recently we completed some cutting edge research on some of the special plant varieties we use in our food plot mixes.  In mid-February, we tested the “greens” from the canola, turnips, and radish plant varieties we use in our HONEY HOLE, SLAM DUNK, and LIGHTS OUT seed blends.  Although these 3 are best planted in late summer or early Fall, I want to share with you how important these plants are as a late winter food source or early Spring food source to offer the whole deer family what they need.

    A variety of nutrient tests were completed on these plant varieties at an independent lab throughout the course of a week and we were extremely excited after the sifting through the test results!

    Over the last 30 years we’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources towards research on deer, deer nutrition and deer forage and just recently we completed some cutting edge research on some of the special plant varieties we use in our food plot mixes.  In mid-February, we tested the “greens” from the canola, turnips, and radish plant varieties we use in our HONEY HOLE, SLAM DUNK, and LIGHTS OUT seed blends.  Although these 3 are best planted in late summer or early Fall, I want to share with you how important these plants are as a late winter food source or early Spring food source to offer the whole deer family what they need.

    A variety of nutrient tests were completed on these plant varieties at an independent lab throughout the course of a week and we were extremely excited after the sifting through the test results!

    The turnip, radish and canola plants in the test were planted in Wisconsin in July and August of 2016  and had stopped growing in early December due to freezing temps that were below 20 degrees for many consecutive days.  In essence, the leafy “greens” from these plants that were tested in February 2017 had not been growing for about 2 months and when tested they still offered over 25% protein AND the energy content was nearly as high as corn, with a higher digestible energy level.  

    These results are awesome for someone who is serious about managing deer and maximizing the health and growth of their deer herd!  So if you are able to have some of these greens available for your resident deer herd, they will be able to access all their protein and energy needs as early as February 1, AND If you have  TROPHY CLOVER MIX, GAME CHANGER CLOVER, and or RED ZONE plots planted, they will offer  the deer the protein rich nutrients they need the rest of the Spring , Summer, and Fall, and  you will have your food plot program dialed in for ¾ of the year, offering a nutrient rich diet to maximize antler growth and overall health! 

    Planting at least ½ of your available food plots in nutrient-rich protein packed food sources like Trophy Clover Mix will not only condition deer to come to your property for food, but it will help keep them there all year and provide vital nutrients for overall health and maximum antler growth.