Food Plots for Bird Hunters: How Should I Plan My Covey Garden?
Wildlife food plots are an integral part of many a deer hunter’s strategy, especially on smaller acreages where a few...
Wildlife food plots are an integral part of many a deer hunter’s strategy, especially on smaller acreages where a few small food plots can make a big difference in your hunting success. But what about bird hunters, or, for that matter, gundog owners looking to improve bird habitat on their land or training grounds?
Now, obviously, planting food and/or cover plots on large public WMAs or hunting preserves is fairly routine, but what about those of us small landholders who are just looking to get a few more birds around our houses or small acreages? Could a few small, upland bird specific food plots make a noticeable increase in the birds you hunt or train on?
The folks at Pheasants and Quail Forever think so, which is why they’re selling food plot seed designed specifically for bird hunters.
From the Quail Forever website:
_Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever has launched the expanded Signature Series of food plot mixes for spring. PF/QF biologists across the country have developed a tremendous variety of grain and green-browse mixes to meet the food and cover needs of pheasants, quail and wildlife. These proven, field tested mixes will now be more readily available to chapters and retail customers throughout pheasant and quail country. High-energy grain food plots are an essential wildlife management practice. When designed and placed correctly, these areas reduce bird mortality and help bring hens through the winter in peak condition for breeding. The nine Signature Series grain mixes include sorghum blends (Blizzard Buster, Covey Rise, Winter Shield, etc.), and diverse recipes like Winter Survival Mix, Rooster Booster or Dove & Quail Mix (blends of corn, sorghums sunflowers, buckwheat, millets, and more) that fit almost every planting situation.
Since many of our members are active big game hunters, we have also developed an expanded line of five Bird and Buck Green Browse Mixes. These forage offerings are irresistible wildlife magnets that attract and hold big game. They also create a leafy, insect rich structure that provides high quality brood habitat for upland birds. PF/QF Clover & More, Whitetail & Gamebird Mix, Deer Kandy and Whitetail Forage Brassica Mix make great bugging areas for pheasant and quail chicks, while hauling the deer and turkeys under your bow-stand._
The folks at QF tell me all the varieties are selling very well. Intrigued, I recently ordered a 25-pound bag of Quail Forever’s “Covey Rise” seed mixture and I’ll be planting it around my house and on my in-laws’ quarter-section farm in the hopes of luring and holding a few more quail this fall, not so much for hunting, but for the enjoyment of having more of my absolute favorite bird hanging around the yard, as well the opportunity and convenience of being able to let the pup get into a few more wild quail prior to the season.
It will be an interesting experiment. I have absolutely no experience planting anything other than a vegetable garden, and I have no powered implements with which to plant, so I’m soliciting advice. My half-baked plan for a couple small one-acre plots is to chain an ancient, rusty, seized-up discer to the back of my truck, weight it down with some scrap iron, put it in four low and simply drag it around and around until I’ve sufficiently loosened the soil, then broadcast the seed by hand. A real farmer I ‘aint… I’ll also have to build some temporary fences to keep out the cows, but that shouldn’t be too much trouble.
And if all goes well, I’ll have some nice cover later this fall in which to run the dogs and maybe shoot a few birds out of. But it’s me we’re talking about here, and when I’m involved things seldom all go well… See any potential pitfalls with this plan, aside from destroying my transfer case? Any suggestions? Anyone else ever planted a food plot for the birds and dogs rather than the deer? Have any of you ever used the ATV-based ag implements? How did it all turn out?