When to Plant Fall Food Plots

October 25, 2021 3 min read

large crop field

Planting a fall food plot is an excellent way to draw in the local deer population and liven up your hunting experience if you own enough property. When planned properly and planted at the right time, fall food plots provide food to keep the deer on your property well fed while increasing your opportunities for a satisfying hunt. When planning your fall food plot, consider factors such as what to plant in the plot, where to set the plot up on your property and when is the best time to start planting. Once you’ve got the food plot in place, you can focus on how to use the food plot to boost your chances of bagging a buck. 

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When to Plant Fall Food Plots

Growing theultimate deer food plots to attract and fatten up the local herd is a seasonal task. If you plan on using food plots this fall, you’ll need to know when to start planting the plots. Planting times vary based on the region you are in and the crops you choose to plant. Generally, planting times by region are as follow: 

Northern Region

The northern region, which comprises states such as Maine, Alaska, Vermont, Ohio and North and South Dakota, does best when fall crops are planted before the autumn rains begin and typically 30 to 45 days before the first frost. 

Transitional Region

The transitional region, which includes states such as Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, portions of New England and northern areas of the U.S. northeast, follows the same rule as the northern region regarding planting fall plots. Typically the time to plant is in late August or early September; however, someplants like sweet corn need to be planted in the spring

Southern Region

The southern region includes states like Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Fall plots should be planted in early fall in this location, typically between mid-September and the end of October. The higher temperatures in the south allow hunters in these areas to plant a bit later and still have good growth for the deer. 

What to Plant in Your Fall Food Plot

In the fall, deer shift from a high-protein diet to food high in carbohydrates to fatten up for the winter months ahead. Following this natural change in the herd’s diet, choose high-carbohydrate, hardy crops to plant in your food plot. Ideal crops include:

  • Cereal grains (wheat, oat, rye)
  • Kale
  • Turnips
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower 
  • Alfalfa
  • Sorghum
  • Beans
  • Millet
  • Corn

hunting blind in a field

Where to Set Up Your Food Plots

The location for your fall food plot is based on a few variables, such as where the deer already track, what they avoid and what they naturally eat. When choosing a location for your fall food plot, choose a spot that:

  • Is in an isolated location away from human traffic
  • Is near existing shrubbery and bushes that provide some coverage

Also, consider putting your plot near live oak trees. In the fall, deer eat up to28% more hard mast like acorns. So planting your plot close to dense oak forest encourages deer drawn in by the acorns to stay for the food in your plot. 

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How to Hunt Using Your Fall Food Plot

One of the best ways to hunt deer in your food plot is byusing a professional-grade deer blind. Ideally, you should set up your deer blind early in the season before planting the food plot. This makes the deer blind blend in as part of the area and is less likely to spook the deer who visit your plot. Shadow Hunter Blinds offers several high-quality deer blinds that you can use to make the most of your fall food plot. TheMarksman 6X6 Octagon Combo Hunting Blind is spacious enough for several people and crossbow and gun hunting. TheOutdoorsman 4X6 Combo Hunting Blind is a solid option for smaller spaces. This option would be perfectly placed near trees close to your food plot for a good shot. TheMarksman 6x6 Octagon Archery is ideal for hunters who enjoy bowhunting deer because of its tall, vertical windows. 

isolated hunting blind

Liven Up Your Deer Hunting Experience This Fall

Using a fall food plot to bring in deer is a savvy strategy to lure deer away from over-hunted areas. You can stalk the deer from a stationary vantage point and create exciting ambush points within the plot, all while providing food to the local population. This means more fun hunting and a healthier deer harvest.

Shadow Hunter Blinds has a wide selection of deer blinds and accessories for you to choose from as part of your food plot hunting strategy this fall. Browse our deer blinds online orfind a dealer near you to get your hunting equipment.