Native Food Plots for Deer
When it comes to white-tailed deer in Texas, most hard-core hunters think of south Texas, which they should, as south Texas has always been able to consistently produce large numbers of quality deer per acre. This is due to a variety of factors: the rich history of deer herd management, superior native genetics, and the native habitat supports a wide diversity of quality deer forage in the form of forbs and brush…better referred to as native food plots for deer.
Our job as wildlife biologists is to bring the best out of the native forage, year-in, and year-out, so we can consistently provide superior resources to these deer. Deer that reside in an area that consistently provides a high-quality diet maintain sufficient body condition which allows them to produce maximum antler growth in bucks and for does, leads to high fawn survival and health. One of the best tools available to us to use on the native vegetation is the dozer in combination with an aerator or drum roller (i.e., roller chopper). This creates native food plots for deer.
A dozer in combination with an aerator or roller chopper physically breaks down the native vegetation. In response, the native vegetation begins to regrow. The actively growing tips of any plant provide the highest nutrition, the more of this we can create the better. Typically for those properties in south Texas, this active growth occurs in the spring in conjunction and response to rainfall. Our job is to create this same amount of mass growth during the late summer (end of July, early August). If we can do this, we once again provide these deer (and a plethora of other game and nongame animals) with an abundance of quality forage during a time when the quality of native forage would generally be less than ideal.
In addition to stimulating native food plots for deer to grow, a dozer and aerator/roller chopper combination creates divots in the ground. These hundreds of thousands of small depressions in the ground expose new seed to the elements thus stimulating growth and act as rainfall catchment locations as well, puddling the water, holding it in place, and making it available for the plants to use versus allowing the rainfall to runoff.