Bagging a mature buck on your land starts long before the hunt begins.
It begins with managing the deer herd on your land. One management tool a landowner can use is to plant food plots.
On Saturday, Oklahoma State University will hold its second annual Wildlife Food Plot Day in Slaughterville, just south of Noble.
Sponsored by the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service with several state and national seed companies, the free event will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Participants will get a tour of several acres of a variety of food plots and learn from experts about the best management practices and products.
In essence, the discussion will be about what to plant, when to plant and how to plant.
“We are going to the cover all of the broad range of things that folks need to know,” said Heath Herje, of the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension in Cleveland County.
While food plots will provide only a small part of a deer’s daily diet, they can offer additional nutritional value to help keep a deer herd healthy through the winter and enhance antler development.
But the most vital thing they do for Oklahoma landowners who are trying to manage their deer herd is to attract does, Herje said.
“We (Oklahomans) need to harvest more does, and food plots can bring more does in front of hunters,” Herje said. “I think that is a real important aspect of it (deer management).”
Planting food plots in the fall not only will create more hunting opportunities for does, but it also can increase the chances of harvesting a mature buck. Where the does go, the bucks often follow.
Food plots also can attract other wildlife, including doves, turkeys, quail, waterfowl and non-game birds. Hunters are not the only people to benefit from food plots. Anyone interested in wildlife photography or just viewing more wildlife on their land should consider planting a food plot.
More wildlife also increases the value of the land, Herje said.
Herje recommends planting food plots on 5 to 10 percent of the land available. Even if a landowner has just an acre or two, a small food plot will attract wildlife, he said.
The cost of planting food plants can be as low as $100 to $150 per acre or several hundred dollars per acre depending on the quality of the soil, Herje said.
Experts on Saturday also will be speaking on how to manage native habitat including the use of controlled burns.
The event is free, but participants must register in advance by emailing Cherry Slaughter at email@example.com or calling the Cleveland County Extension Office at (405)-321-4774.