It’s common knowledge that planting food plots does wonders for attracting and keeping wildlife on a piece of land. Food plots not only attract animals but nourish them, so you can grow your wildlife populations in numbers and in quality. With food plots, access is an important, and often overlooked, factor. If you have a food plot that has been planted but not used for quite a while, you may need an edge — a well-defined edge to the food plot, that is. Mark W. Thomas, certified wildlife biologist, explains the how and why of caring for your food plot’s edges.

“When evaluating properties and making recommendations to landowners, I am often confronted with a situation that is common to many older, well-established food plots. With the sunlight able to penetrate the edges have closed in over time, and are so thick with brush, blackberry, and many non-native species like Chinese privet, that it impedes whitetail deer and other wildlife from entering. In some instances, the only access to a food plot is via the road system utilized by equipment; the edges of the food plot are impassible. In other cases, there may be one or two access trails for an entire food plot.

“Mature bucks stop using food plots during daylight hours where this has occurred. When I encounter this I always ask the landowner, when was the last time that they saw a mature buck in the plot?” The answer is usually “five to seven years ago.” Many landowners have never wondered why older-aged bucks stopped utilizing their food plots, and may incorrectly surmise that it is due to hunting pressure. That certainly can be a factor, and can be the leading cause on properties with very high hunting pressure. But, on properties where the hunting pressure is low to moderate, and mature bucks have stopped utilizing your plots, you must evaluate your edges carefully to determine if access may be the problem.”

Photo by: Natural Resources at Mississippi State University