Best Food Plots for Deer in Minnesota: A Comprehensive Guide

Best food plots for deer in mn – Welcome to the ultimate guide to creating the best food plots for deer in Minnesota. In this comprehensive exploration, we’ll delve into the secrets of attracting and sustaining these majestic creatures on your property.

From selecting the perfect plant species to mastering plot design and management, we’ll empower you with the knowledge and strategies to establish thriving food plots that will become a magnet for deer in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Types of Food Plots

Food plots can be a great way to attract and hold deer on your property. There are many different types of food plots that can be planted, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. The best type of food plot for you will depend on your specific property and goals.

Some of the most common types of food plots for deer in Minnesota include:


Clover is a high-protein forage that is very palatable to deer. It is also relatively easy to establish and maintain. Clover can be planted in either the spring or fall, and it will typically produce forage for several years.


Alfalfa is another high-protein forage that is very attractive to deer. It is more difficult to establish than clover, but it can produce forage for many years. Alfalfa should be planted in the spring, and it will typically require more fertilizer than clover.

Brassicas, Best food plots for deer in mn

Brassicas are a group of plants that includes turnips, radishes, and kale. Brassicas are a good source of carbohydrates and minerals, and they are very attractive to deer in the late fall and winter. Brassicas should be planted in the late summer or early fall, and they will typically produce forage for several months.


Corn is a high-energy food source that is very attractive to deer. However, corn can be difficult to establish and maintain, and it is not as palatable to deer as some other types of food plots. Corn should be planted in the spring, and it will typically produce forage for one year.

Plant Selection

Choosing the right plant species is crucial for creating a successful deer food plot in Minnesota. Consider the nutritional value, palatability, and planting recommendations for each species to ensure you provide the best forage for your deer.


Clovers are highly palatable and nutritious for deer, offering high protein and energy levels. They are easy to establish and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. Plant in spring or fall, using a seed rate of 8-10 pounds per acre.

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Alfalfa is another excellent choice for deer food plots, providing high protein and calcium content. It is a perennial plant that can last for several years, but requires well-drained soil and a pH of 6.5-7.0. Plant in spring at a rate of 15-20 pounds per acre.

For those seeking to attract deer in Minnesota, establishing the ideal food plots is crucial. Consider incorporating montresor deer , known for their hardiness and adaptability, into your deer management strategy. By optimizing food sources and habitat, you can enhance deer health and increase their presence on your property.


Chicory is a deep-rooted plant that provides excellent forage in late fall and winter when other food sources are scarce. It is highly palatable and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. Plant in spring or fall at a rate of 4-6 pounds per acre.

Brassicas, Best food plots for deer in mn

Brassicas, such as turnips, radishes, and kale, are fast-growing plants that provide high levels of energy and nutrition. They are especially attractive to deer during the fall and winter months. Plant in late summer or early fall at a rate of 2-4 pounds per acre.

Plot Design and Management

Designing and managing food plots effectively are crucial for maximizing deer attraction and utilization. Careful consideration of plot size, shape, placement, and management practices ensures optimal results.

Plot Size and Shape

  • Plot size should align with the deer population and available habitat. Smaller plots (1-5 acres) are suitable for localized feeding, while larger plots (10-20 acres) cater to larger deer herds.
  • Irregular shapes provide more edge habitat, increasing deer visibility and security. Avoid creating long, narrow plots that limit deer movement and accessibility.

Plot Placement

Selecting the optimal location for food plots is essential. Consider the following factors:

  • Proximity to deer bedding and travel corridors ensures accessibility and utilization.
  • Avoid placing plots near human activity or areas with high hunting pressure.
  • Choose sites with well-drained soils and adequate sunlight.

Management Practices

  • Planting Techniques:Proper planting techniques ensure seed germination and establishment. Use a no-till drill or disk to prepare the soil and plant seeds at the recommended depth.
  • Weed Control:Control weeds through herbicides, mowing, or hand-pulling to prevent competition and maintain forage quality.
  • Soil Amendments:Soil testing and amendments, such as lime or fertilizer, can enhance soil fertility and support plant growth.

Soil Preparation and Fertilization

Plot experts blend

Proper soil preparation is essential for successful food plot establishment. It ensures optimal seed germination, root development, and nutrient uptake. The first step involves conducting a soil test to determine the pH level, nutrient content, and organic matter. Based on the test results, pH adjustments may be necessary.

Lime is commonly used to raise the pH in acidic soils, while sulfur is used to lower it in alkaline soils.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Fertilization is crucial for providing essential nutrients to deer food plots. The specific fertilizer recommendations will vary depending on the soil test results and the target plant species. In general, a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) of 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 is a good starting point.

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Nitrogen promotes vegetative growth, phosphorus supports root development, and potassium enhances overall plant health. Additional nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, may also be required depending on the soil conditions and plant needs. It is recommended to consult with a local agricultural extension office or a qualified soil scientist for specific fertilizer recommendations based on your soil test results and target plant species.

Companion Planting and Cover Crops

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Companion planting and cover crops are essential for enhancing the productivity and wildlife habitat of deer food plots. Companion planting involves growing multiple species together that complement each other, while cover crops are planted to improve soil health and provide additional food and cover for wildlife.

Benefits of Companion Planting

Increased yield

Different species can utilize different nutrients and sunlight, maximizing overall productivity.

Improved pest resistance

Certain plants release compounds that repel pests, protecting the entire plot.

Enhanced nutritional value

Different species provide a variety of nutrients, creating a more balanced diet for deer.

Examples of Compatible Species

Corn and soybeans

Corn provides carbohydrates, while soybeans add protein.

Oats and clover

Oats provide early-season forage, while clover fixes nitrogen for soil health.

Sunflowers and millet

Sunflowers attract pollinators, while millet provides high-energy seeds.

Benefits of Cover Crops

Soil improvement

Cover crops add organic matter, improve soil structure, and prevent erosion.

Weed suppression

Cover crops compete with weeds for resources, reducing weed pressure.

Wildlife habitat

Cover crops provide food and shelter for a variety of wildlife species, including deer.

Examples of Cover Crops

Crimson clover

Provides nitrogen and attracts pollinators.

Winter rye

Improves soil structure and provides early-season forage.

Daikon radish

For the most effective deer hunting experience, you need the right tools. While the best youth deer gun will depend on the individual shooter, creating the best food plots for deer in MN is crucial. By planting a variety of nutrient-rich forage, you can attract and hold deer on your property throughout the hunting season.

Consider a mix of clover, alfalfa, chicory, and brassicas to provide a balanced diet that will keep deer healthy and coming back for more.

Breaks up compacted soil and attracts earthworms.By incorporating companion planting and cover crops into deer food plots, landowners can increase productivity, improve soil health, and create a more diverse and beneficial wildlife habitat.

Hunting Considerations

Best food plots for deer in mn

Strategic placement of food plots is crucial for maximizing hunting success and enhancing the overall hunting experience. By understanding deer movement patterns and strategically positioning food plots, hunters can increase their chances of encountering deer and harvesting a trophy buck or doe.

Food plots can be used to attract deer from surrounding areas, creating a concentrated feeding zone where hunters can set up stands and wait for deer to come within range. By placing food plots near natural deer trails, bedding areas, or water sources, hunters can increase the likelihood of deer visiting the food plot during their daily routines.

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Deer Movement Patterns

Understanding deer movement patterns is essential for effective food plot placement. Deer typically follow established trails when moving between bedding areas, feeding areas, and water sources. By observing deer movement patterns, hunters can identify high-traffic areas and position food plots accordingly.

Deer movement patterns can vary depending on the time of year, weather conditions, and hunting pressure. During the rut, for example, bucks may travel long distances in search of does, while during the winter months, deer may stay closer to bedding areas and food sources.

Food Plot Placement

The ideal location for a food plot depends on several factors, including deer movement patterns, topography, and vegetation. Food plots should be placed in areas where deer are likely to feed, such as near natural deer trails, bedding areas, or water sources.

Topography can also play a role in food plot placement. Food plots located on slopes or ridges can provide deer with a vantage point to survey their surroundings, while food plots located in low-lying areas may offer more protection from the elements.

Size and Shape of Food Plots

The size and shape of food plots can also impact hunting success. Larger food plots can attract more deer, but they may also be more difficult to manage and maintain. Smaller food plots can be more manageable and can still attract a significant number of deer.

The shape of a food plot can also affect its effectiveness. Irregularly shaped food plots can create more edge habitat, which can be beneficial for deer. Edge habitat provides deer with a variety of food and cover, and it can also serve as a travel corridor.

Environmental Impact and Regulations: Best Food Plots For Deer In Mn

Food plots can have both positive and negative environmental impacts. On the positive side, food plots can provide food and cover for wildlife, improve soil health, and reduce erosion. On the negative side, food plots can attract pests, compete with native plants, and contribute to the spread of invasive species.

It is important to carefully consider the potential environmental impacts of food plots before establishing them. Best practices for minimizing these impacts include:

  • Choosing a site that is not environmentally sensitive.
  • Planting a variety of native plants.
  • Using organic fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Managing food plots to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Regulations and Permits

In Minnesota, there are no specific regulations or permits required for establishing food plots. However, it is important to be aware of the following regulations:

  • The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recommends that food plots be planted at least 100 feet from any water body.
  • The DNR also recommends that food plots be no larger than 10 acres.
  • Food plots should not be planted in areas that are heavily used by livestock.

Conclusive Thoughts

Best food plots for deer in mn

As you embark on this exciting journey of creating food plots for deer in Minnesota, remember that the rewards are immense. Not only will you enhance the habitat for these magnificent animals, but you’ll also create unforgettable hunting experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

Top FAQs

What are the best plant species for deer food plots in Minnesota?

Soybeans, corn, alfalfa, clover, and chicory are all excellent choices for deer food plots in Minnesota.

How big should a food plot be for deer?

The ideal size for a deer food plot depends on the size of your property and the number of deer you want to attract. However, a plot of at least one acre is recommended.

How often should I fertilize my food plot?

Fertilize your food plot according to the soil test results. In general, you’ll want to fertilize in the spring and fall.

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