When we started planting food plots, we picked a thing or two about what usually works with whitetails (or in standard terms, deers) and what doesn't! And, when it comes to planting food plots for hunting, you can't beat clover. Hence, it is important to know when and how you should plant clovers for hunting deer.
I am a huge fan of hunting as well, it has its own charm that nobody can match. However, it wasn’t until a lot of years in the field that I understood the ins and outs of hunting. I had to face a lot of failure when I first started hunting.
As per reports, most hunters do not catch a deer every year. So if your number is not very impressive, there is no need to feel bad since you are not alone in the race.
According to this report by the Ohio Wildlife Department, during the 2011-12 season, a total of 157,726 hunters were able to hunt successfully in a year in the state. And a total of 73% of this population consisted of hunters who could harvest just one deer during the season. The rest of the data is:
- 2 deer: 19%
- 3 deer: 5.4%
- 4 deer: 1.8%
- 5 deer: 0.57%
- 6 or more deer: 0.29%
While the numbers reflect only a state, the overall condition is not very different. Around 10 million hunters try their luck in the US each year, killing a total of 6 million deers every year.
Hence, if you are not able to create records in deer hunting, there is no need to worry or feel dejected. A huge population is as good as you, if not worse. But how do you improve the numbers? One of the best ways, as mentioned earlier, is growing clovers as they help hunt deer.
The trick is simple, you make your property more attractive to deer so that you can harvest easily. And since deer seem to love clovers, there’s no reason why you should not try your luck with these.
In this article, we will share a real-time around-the-year experience on how and when to plant clover for hunting.
How to Grow Clover
Clover is quite easy to grow compared to other food plots and is packed with high nutritional value, which deers absolutely love. A good clover plot will produce roughly around 2 to 4 tons (per acre) of easily digestible food that attracts whitetails like crazy.
Clover can be grown in almost any easy and straightforward food plot environments. It grows best when a proper seedbed is prepared so that the seeds firmly come into contact with the soil.
Clover seeds are very tiny and should never be planted into the ground through disking or some other way that might cover them with more than a ¼ inch of soil. Remember, buried clover seeds are always dead seeds. Unless you are using a roller or similar tool for pressing seeds into the soil, it is always best to spread them and walk away. The rain will then take care of the rest and nature will play out its course.
When to Grow it
Clover bears wet conditions well but has a high tendency to go dormant in either hot or dry conditions ― typically found during mid summer.
Adding chicory plant to a clover plot will help as chicory goes along well with the hot and dry conditions of summer. Perennial clover plots, a type of clover used to plant clover for hunting deers, grows early in the spring, when deer need them the most and generally will produce well into the winter season too.
Our whitetails will work their way to clover plots all through the winter and will dig, if need be, to get through 8 to 12 inches of snow just to get to the clover plant.
Something You Should Know before Planting Clovers
The average whitetail can eat about 6 pounds of forage per day which totals up to roughly a ton every year. It's very tempting to save a few dollars on clover seed by buying them from the local feed stores. Putting it simply: don't! Most of the clover feed sold by agricultural feed stores is produced to be fodder and fed to livestock.
Long, tall clovers look good only in the field because they contain a very high percentage of stem-like material and whitetails do not digest that well.
Clover is a very versatile plant to grow. Their ability to produce during any season is what makes them an ideal plant for hunting (plus, whitetails love to eat it too). So, you don’t have to think twice before planting a clover plot for hunting deers. Just go with it and enjoy the view as well as your hunting escapades.