One of the great benefits of planting food plots is the feeling of accomplishment you get. You’re not just oiling your gun or pounding the 3-D target; you’re actually preparing for hunting season in a meaningful way. Once the crop sprouts, you can anticipate lots of visits from wildlife and media cards full of animal action. One caution: If you plant the wrong varieties, deer may consume them as soon as they sprout, especially if you have a small plot. Rather than wait until just before deer season or try to scare deer away from the fresh sprouts (exactly the wrong approach), you can sew plants that deer may browse but not eat seriously until cold weather and the hunting season arrive. Varieties such as brassica, rape, and other cold weather plantings have a somewhat bitter taste until frost changes their starches to sugars, and suddenly the candy store is open.
Hollis Ayres does a great job of covering these plants offered by the Whitetail Institute:
Perennials are considered by many to be the backbone of a food plot system, and Whitetail Institute perennials are designed to attract deer and supplement what nature provides for deer on a year-round basis. If you utilize perennials, Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers can be the “icing on the cake” for deer during fall and winter. And if you don’t plant perennials, Winter- Greens and Tall Tine Tubers can be the whole cake.
The cake analogy isn’t by chance. Nutritionally speaking, deer are primarily concerned with energy during the fall and winter, and Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers provide plenty of carbohydrates. When the weather turns cold, an enzyme in the plants converts starches to sugars — and once that happens, nock an arrow or load your gun because they’re coming.