Skip Navigation

Golden Rules for Great Food Plots for Wildlife

Golden Rules for Great Food Plots for Wildlife

If you want to help wildlife through the winter, food plots can help. But there are a few key rules you should follow in planning and planting the plots to attract and aid your favorite wildlife species.

Plant food plots near escape cover. Food plots will tend to concentrate wildlife, both the species you want and the species you don’t. If you’re planting the plot so you can find pheasants, you can bet that fox and other predators will also be looking in the prime feeding area for them. So put food plots near escape cover so that the food plot isn’t a cruel trap for your favorite species.

Several small food plots are better than one larger one. You’ll get more diversity of species when food plots are scattered in more locations. When several smaller plots are planted, the escape cover can also be closer to feeding wildlife. Larger food plots may be needed if you have heavy deer populations that wipe out the food supply before the winter is over. You want the food supply to be available to your favorite species all winter.

Guard against soil erosion. Steeply sloping soils that are plowed or disced for planting are exposed to water and wind and will erode if precautions aren’t taken. See the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to be sure the land is protected against erosion.

Plant food to attract and support the wildlife species you want. Along with other recommendations, the NRCS office has information on the best foods to offer various wildlife species. The three common types of food plots are annual grain plots, green browse plots, and fallow areas.

Corn, grain and forage sorghum, millet, wheat, and barley are favorite grain plots for pheasants. Green browse plots with pure stands of high-protein legumes and grasses are used by hungarian partridges, turkeys, songbirds, and others. Winter wheat, rye, millets and buckwheat are favorites of migrating waterfowl. Fallow plots are disced or otherwise disturbed croplands that are tilled but not planted. These plots encourage new annuals and weeds to grow, which are essential to habitat for young pheasants, turkeys, and many songbirds.

For more information about conservation practices that can improve wildlife habitat on your land, stop at the local NRCS office.

Wildlife Ways

Did you know....
It’s a myth that raccoons dip food in water to wash it or clean it before eating. The purpose is to moisten the food before eating.


If you encounter any problems with the file provided on this page, please contact Technical Resources at 406-587-6822.

The following documents require Adobe Reader.

Specification 645: Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (PDF; 191 KB)