Will a food plot work in Montana and what should I try? ph levels are high 7.7. Alot of crop ground near by wheat and barley. Have good genetics working on increasing age class. Adding food plots should help?
I have a friend in Montana that is an outfitter there. Montana is prone to mid-summer droughts, especially lately. His attempts to grow clover and alfalfa failed due to lack of rain. You'd probably have to irigate it to get consistant growth. He had some good luck planting plots of oats during late summer. I hunted over a few of them and they really drew in the deer.
Hit what the deer need the most. Often there is a bounty of food during the spring through early fall months, so that period of time is one of the most unecessarily overplanted period in the north. You may find that TS's suggestion of oats planted during the late summer is a good one, and the addition of wheat will carry that field through early spring. I'd be curious enough to see how brassicas would do I'd have to try a planting in late July, and if it fails due to overbrowsing or drought...just follow up with a broadcasting of wheat and enjoy the season.
You'll also find by going with the cool-season forages you might have a greater influence on your ability to attract, grow, hold, and build a better deer herd, including your property's buck age structure potential. Remember that once the frosts set in and freezing temps are common, perennials will fade quickly.
You might need a balance of both cool season forages and perennials, but if spring through summer food sources are plenty, including from the local habitat, concentrating on cool season forages will allow you to have the greatest impact on your ability to hold and grow a quality herd, as well as to positively impact your hunting season enjoyment.
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