Your Connection to Successful Habitat

Wildlife

Welcome to Improved Habitat!  By entering this section you have just made the first step to improving the wildlife habitat on your hunting property.  Let’s talk food plots.  By planting the correct plants the right way, you can assure that you will begin growing bigger, healthier animals as you attract and hold this wildlife in a specific area while allowing your natural habitat to improve, benefiting all of the wildlife species within your property.

When talking food plots, most refer to the needs of the whitetail deer.  While many only concentrate on providing quality forages in the fall and winter months for attraction and cold season feed; it is equally important to provide a necessary protein source in the spring and early summer months to assure maximum antler growth and rebuilding muscle and body mass.  If protein levels of the browse are low, the body conditioning of the whitetail buck will get first dibs and antler growth will suffer.  Same is true for the whitetail doe.  Rather than antler growth, the whitetail doe has to equal the protein requirements of the developing fetuses and later nursing fawns. Whether it is lablab in the sandy soils in the Delmarva area or Ebony deer peas in the cool soils of New York, warm season forages are an important part of this cycle.  A popular management program for the serious manager in the Northeast is to base your management plan around a premium perennial clover / chicory mix such as Monster Mix from Tecomate Seed.  This type of mix will provide the necessary protein throughout the year.  The use of premium annual legumes such as Ebony deer peas and lablab within a solid rotation plan will assist with weed control and disease.

During the cold season, the energy requirements for the bucks and does accelerate to keep up with the rutting activity and to ward off the winter’s cold.  Otherwise, deer will burn muscle and fat and untimely consume body reserves.  It is imperative to supply forage that will assist in retaining more body mass entering the spring to provide larger antlers and healthier fawns.  The ultimate purpose for cool season plots is to both attract deer for hunting and provide lots of energy.  The use of cereal grains, such as oats and triticale are favorites and excellent sources of energy.  Brassicas, i.e., turnips, rape, and kale; though not very palatable in the spring summer months, are a whitetails favorite treat after “frost cured” and their sugar levels increase.  Unfortunately, if you only plant brassicas or cereal grains, the nutritional value is limited to the fall and early winter, with little carry over into the spring.  We here at Improved Habitat, with the support of our suppliers strongly feel that it is very important to include clovers, winter peas, and chicory along with the fast growing annuals to assure that we not only get the attraction that we hope for but also include the essential nutrition in late winter / spring.

Please feel free to explore the Improved Habitat website.  Here you will be able to find some beneficial facts on animal nutrition, food plot establishment, food plot management, and crop rotation.