Tip 19: Benefits-Cool Season Plants Whitetail Deer

Those plants that are planted in later summer, early fall or spring.

  • Great for whitetail deer, mule deer, turkeys etc.
  • Provide fall and winter deer food when the deer are under a significant amount of stress during the rut.
  • Those plants that are planted in fall but emerge in the spring are great for giving does additional support during lactation.
  • When considering using cool season deer forage in your food plots, generally all legumes should have a grain, annual ryegrass or rapeseed (brassica) mixed with them.
  • The cool season grass (annual ryegrass) and grains (wheat, oats, and rye) have multiple functions in a food plot.

*help prevent erosion

*can compete effectively with deer food plot annual weeds

*grow quickly and therefore provide quick food supply for deer

* are a cover crop for the legumes which means they protect the legume through the winter and early spring when frost risk is high and allow for a good stand in the spring


*  Commercial seed mixes for whitetail deer food plots generally have legumes, small grains, grasses and/or brassicas in them.

* It is not essential to use a mix.

*  You can buy seed at a local distributor as well and mix the combinations yourself.


Just remember if you are going to use low till or no till strategies you have to stay with the small seeds as these are the ones that need very little soil coverage.

With these small seeds the soil coverage is generally 1/4 inch or so, which lends itself to using a rake (if you are covering manually) or a drag behind an ATV.


Very small seeds can also be mixed with sand in your seeder to help with even spreading, especially if they are to be planted as a monoculture (by themselves).

When planting your food plot feel free to premix as mentioned above, mix your own and spread it that way or plant as single culture patches.

The advantage of planting several types of plants together is especially evident when you need a cover crop for your legumes. I have planted both ways though and had success in either strategy depending on the plot and the deer pressure.

The deer don’t care how the feed is presented so much as they care about their safety when getting to the food and also that it is tasty when they arrive.

Deer Foot Plot Oats and Wheat

Food Plot Oats and Wheat

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One comment on “Tip 19: Benefits-Cool Season Plants Whitetail Deer

  1. mort scott on said:

    i have goo success ysing feed s grasns i get at the feed stoor, i would like to try other seed crops but the cost is much too high. i’m under a low budget and incom and can’t buy any seed at a low cost so i can try something diffrent.

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