Ensure You Have a Bow Hunting Food Plot to Hunt Over Even in a Drought!
If it’s been a hot, dry summer you’re feeling the effects probably just as much as your deer, or even worse your wilted crops and food plots. But, not having anything to hunt over is not an option for you. Your success this season heavily depends upon bow hunting food plots. Your last hope is planting late summer or early fall food plots. So what can you do despite a dry season to still be successful in your bowhunting food plots…besides praying for rain? Preparation, the know-how, and taking extra precautions can ensure you have a food plot to bow hunt over…even in a drought!
There is no absolute way to make a food plot completely drought-proof, unless of course you go as far to irrigate or water it. The goal is to strategically place, prepare, and maintain your bow hunting food plot to ensure you have the food source and attraction that is so critical to your success.
The first step is selecting a location that can handle a drought. Yeah that ridge is the best area to hunt for that big 10, but the reality is you’re in a drought, you have to select another area like a bottom, a north slope, or somewhere with more ability to hold moisture. Soil always plays a big part in food plot success, especially in a drought year. As far as selecting a site check out the USDA soil survey to see what areas on your property that will most likely hold moisture (clay soils vs. sandy soils) were moisture is more prone to being held. This will help, but a big mistake and blow to your bowhunting food plot can simply be made from planting.
If you’re not expecting rain for at least another week, two, or longer you need to hold off as long as possible. Waiting for the rain or as long as possible will ensure your food plot for the fall will have a good start. Don’t just throw the seed to dry soil. If you’re broadcasting you have to wait for the rain. If you’re needing to get a seed in the dirt don’t till or disc if you can. Using a no till drill will conserve soil moisture. Fertilizer and getting the pH always helps but is vital in a drought. Adding organic matter will help retain water while also supplying nutrients.
Finally planting a more drought tolerant plant for your bow hunting food plot will ensure your hunting over something during the fall. You are already limited by planting in the fall (sticking to fall/winter annuals and perennials), add something that’s also has drought tolerance, will narrow your options. Luckily your normal fall/winter annual food plot seeds like radishes or turnips work perfect given both restraints. They send deep tap roots to get to the water below not normally available to other plants. Once frosts hit your bowhunting food plot will be covered with deer.
Overall droughts are hard on everyone, farmers, food plotters, land managers, and the deer. You have to take the extra time and precautions going at your bow hunting food plot during a drought, but if you do you’ll be paid in a great reward.