Food plots are labor intensive, time consuming and expensive. I get the question often on the need for food plots in the Spring. By now, most folks realize the value of Fall food plots, but Spring seems to bring about varying levels of support.
The answer, in my educated opinion, is that it depends. This qualifier means that it depends on the size and health of your local herd. The health of your herd largely depends on the available food sources locally for deer to forage upon.
The Spring is particularly important for doe nutrition when pregnant and then for fawn as they develop. This is the first thing I analyze when visiting a property. Does the local habit contain enough high quality forage for the does to produce strong and healthy fawns. This does not mean a field full of oaks or a picturesque pasture of coastal. The best deer forage isn’t always the prettiest to look at. Greenbriar, beautyberry and blackberries as some at the top of the list.
To find out if a Spring food plot is needed, simply plant one and place a screen box in the plot like the one pictured. If the crop is growing equally well inside and out, that says you have ample food supply for your population. If the crop is largely browsed while inside the box is intact, you need more high quality food.
I will say that this test could give poor results if the overall deer population is low in your area. In this case I always recommend Spring plots and working with nearby landowners to manage their deer harvests.