Weekend rain should help with deer food plots _lowres

Photo provided by JIM BREAUX Austin Bizette, a young angler from Youngsville, shows off the two largest bass from the five-bass limit he caught in Henderson Lake during the Junior Southwest Bassmasters' October tournament held from the Basin Landing. Bizette won the 7-10 year old age group and earned big-bass honors with a 2.8 pounder. Of the 40 young anglers in the tournament, 19 brought in five-bass limits.

Unless it’s a life-threatening deluge, rainfall is a topic that rarely surfaces among Louisiana hunters.

But it has in the past month: Whitetail deer hunters getting ready to take to the fields and forests in the next weeks are finding the late-August work they put in for food plots going to naught in the recent weeks-long drought.

With as much as a one-inch rain forecast for this weekend across the state’s major deer range, former state Wildlife Division chief David Moreland said hunters need not lose too much sleep.

“Hunters should wait and see what happens after we get rain,” Moreland said. “If they planted seed — and they needed to cover it to keep it away from birds eating the seed — then the rain should help germinate seed already in the ground.”

Moreland said he planted in late August right after a summer rain. While his food plots aren’t as lush as he’d like them to be, the plants have had enough moisture from morning dew to survive.

“If the plot is already planted, it should come back,” Moreland said. “But if there are bare spots, and I have some areas that are bare, hunters can simply top dress with more winter wheat, or use crimson clover then come back in with turnips and mustard.

“There are some no-till seed packets on the market that can help them take care of these areas.

Moreland added a note about yet unseeded plots, explaining that properly prepared August plots should be free of weeds because of the drought and winter wheat, clovers, turnips and mustard can be used to complete the plot.

“Hunters need to keep in mind that reports are coming in about another good mast crop, and hunters need to concentrate their efforts in those areas,” Moreland said. “I was in DeSoto Parish and the bucks I saw did really good. There’s a bumper crop of water oaks there, and Morganza is loaded with striped acorns from nuttall oaks.”