Summer Struggles & Solutions| Deer Food Plots

For the uneducated to land management, you may look at summer as a great time to be a deer. Things like high temperatures, droughts, and long days can make summer the worse time to be a deer because your summer food plot isn’t doing what it needs to.

In most of today’s environments, without supplementation, most whitetails will never grow as large as they physically can. Combine that with the problems already mentioned about summer and the deer hare left struggling through the months of July-August. The misconception that seeing green means the deer have food is what really gets inexperienced land managers.

Luckily, landowners have known about these struggles for decades. As well as have found solutions to these problems, or at least ways to mitigate them. Here are 5 tips we found to help keep the whitetail on your property happy and healthy!

  1. Hinge Cuts

While you may associate hinge cutting with the winter months, it can also help supplement nutrition through the summer months. Hinge cutting a few of your lesser valued trees down to deer level is a quick and efficient way to provide susitance.

It also helps bring in more sunlight, which deers generally appreciate. If you think your food sources are low, hinge-cutting trees in the summer can really help.

  1. Plant MORE Shrubs

A great way to offset summer malnutrition is to give the deer more options! People might not think of shrubs when they hear the words “deer food plot,” but it is a great way to add things to their diet. Some of the options you have would be

  • Rasberry
  • Chickasaw Plum
  • Strawberries
  • American Beautyberry.

The best practice would be to plant them along the borders of your tree lines. Which in turn makes the animal more comfortable eating the plant. If you are dealing with the dryness and drought of summer, these shrubs may need to be watered independently.

  1. Sprinkler System

Going off of the shrubs needing watering, you may need to supplement in water depending on the climate. Now, it is almost unreasonable to think that you can water all of your food plots with a sprinkler system. This is why landowners more commonly practice the method of focusing it on a few smaller spots.

The spots you do water will become lush and the go-to spot for deer. Additionally, it takes the pressure off of the spots that you are unable to use the sprinkler system on.

There are multiple companies that offer systems that you can pump water from ponds or streams. If you are not ready for a big investment, renting systems is also a viable option and available in most states.

  1. The Time you Fertilize Your Food Plot.

If you plan on adding fertilizer to your ground win the summer, you may be throwing money away. The dry heat of summer added with fertilizer can effectively kill your plants.

There are times when it is helpful, but it is important that they are getting the proper amount of moisture first. Fertilizer in the summer should only be used as a boost to your summer food plot; if the conditions are not right, then skip this step.

  1. Summer Fruit Trees for Your Food Plot

It should be no surprise that planting more fruit trees can help address the nutrition problem. They are rich in vitamins and minerals and are a great carbohydrate source for the deer.

Things like pears can ripen in July and August, as well as these varieties of fruits.

  • Carnes
  • Jubilee
  • – Harvest Queen

These are great in addition to the fruit trees you already and the other plants that are great for summer food plots!