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Author Topic: The Value of Sunflowers??  (Read 9607 times)
Missourihunter85
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« on: July 16, 2008, 08:43:48 AM »

I was wanting to get some input from you all about the food value of sunflowers for quail and deer. We plant two food plots every year, and plant them in milo. It works great for the deer. We just started habitat improvement for quail, so haven't seen much but hoping within a few years. I was wanting to plant sunflowers instead of milo for some dove hunting but don't know the effects it would have on the deer and the quail to come. Any input would great, Thanks
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CharlieHorse
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2008, 09:35:05 AM »

I do know that the deer like the plants themselves, they ate every last one of mine.  :x

I think any kind of crop like that is good for the gamebird habitat, it provides cover, a place to run around, etc.
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Pheasant Hollow Farm
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2008, 10:20:04 AM »

CharlieHorse,

Ya. the deer ate all my sunflower as well. They did the same thing to my tomato plants, and ate the flowers off the pumpkin plants as well. Rabbits ate the Bush Beans. My wife was standing on the back deck yelling at the rabbits lastnight s020 They looked at her as to say, Get-a-Life, what do you think your going to do???

I now have a resident Ground Hog that lives under the I.H.O.P. and comes out around 6pm and roams around the back yard less then 50 feet from the deck. The dogs have even given up chasing it.

Missourihunter85,

Planting any type of millet along with Sorghum and Milo is the way to go as far as a food source on Quail, Pheasant and ducks. The only time the deer will start hitting the Milo, since this is a hybrid of the Sorghum family and grows 3-4 feet is when it produces a seed head.

The Forage Sorghum which will grow in height of excess of 6 feet have somewhat a better chance to fully seed out. The only thing you have to do is knock it down for the birds to eat. If the Milo has been eaten, the deer will cut the stalks of the Sorghum and then consume the seed heads as well.

I plant the Sorghum, Milo and White Pearl Millet. The first year I started, I used the Brown Top Millet which is like the stalks that you buy at the pet stores for Parakeets. This is a hard item to find locally. The seed is cheap enough, last check. $30-40 per 50lbs certified, but they wanted $50. for the shipping.

Corn around these parts don't even get a chance. Just make sure you get good soil samples where you are going to make the food plots and get it tested.

Winter Wheat is another good food source as well. Plant wildflower seeds within the area of the food plots.

The Mourning Dove will hit any of the above food source. When I was seeding the food plots this past spring, I had more doves and crows then you can shake a stick at, hitting the newly seeded area.



Steve
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2008, 01:24:40 PM »

Be sure to check the Federal Hunting regs before hunting doves over a sunflower field..unless certain things are done to it so many days before the season opens it could be considered hunting over a baited field..and as I am sure that you already know...THAT IS A NO  NO...
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Pheasant Hollow Farm
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2008, 01:33:15 PM »

Be sure to check the Federal Hunting regs before hunting doves over a sunflower field..unless certain things are done to it so many days before the season opens it could be considered hunting over a baited field..and as I am sure that you already know...THAT IS A NO  NO...

Oh yes, the Federal Hunting Regulations pertaining to Migratory Birds, along with the State Hunting Regulations.. So much restrictions..... and to think,  the dove I have here, are WV Residents s020

Steve
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2008, 01:40:58 PM »

Steve, do ya`ll have those Big ringneck doves in your part of the country??? They came in here from Texas about 5 years ago..They are twice the size of the morning doves and just stay here all year and they like to nest under sheds and in barns...
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Pheasant Hollow Farm
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2008, 01:57:49 PM »

Steve, do ya`ll have those Big ringneck doves in your part of the country??? They came in here from Texas about 5 years ago..They are twice the size of the morning doves and just stay here all year and they like to nest under sheds and in barns...

No slider, the only doves around here are the Mourning Doves. They seem to enjoy nesting in the barn, in the Pheasant area of the barn and in a Pine tree right next to the house.

These  s53 are all over the place. I have a resident Mourning Dove that has nested 2 years in a row in that Pine tree. The nest height is only 8 foot from ground level. She doesn't spook when you walk under her or even shake the limbs of the tree.

They even eat out of the dogís food dish. They (WV) should have these reclassified as rats. s020 meaning the same as crossed bred pigeons found under the bridges and train trestles. They are as bad as the resident Canadian Honkers s020


Steve
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2008, 02:07:12 PM »

Steve we are starting to get those Honkers down here year round..seems like every farm pond you pass has a group of them around it...
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Pheasant Hollow Farm
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2008, 03:02:47 PM »

Steve we are starting to get those Honkers down here year round..seems like every farm pond you pass has a group of them around it...

 s020 s020 s020 along with the school yards and golf courses. It's funny watching someone slicing the ball as they slip and fall on the arse in goose chit.

Steve
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« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2008, 09:28:12 AM »

Man that stuff is as big as a dog pile.... s020
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Missourihunter85
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2008, 09:33:00 AM »

Charliehorse,
We try to keep a good management program in place, so the deer population shouldnít be much of a factor. But now that Iíve said this, whatever I plant will probably be eaten up in the first week. Thatís just my luck.

Steve,
You seem to think pretty highly of this sorgham. In your opinion if I already have a field planted in either sorgham, or milo, and wanted to plant a field mostly for dove, but also for quail would you plant sorgham, or sunflowers? I have not messed with it before, so Iím clueless, and if itís a better alternative to sunflowers that would be great.

Slider,
Hunting over a planted field doesnít constitute a baited field in Missouri, we can even go as far as to bush hog the field down right before season opens to ďsweeten the potĒ but it is illegal to add additional seed. So we canít bush hog a bunch down then go back with a bag of sunflower seed and spread it out. It works very well to bush hog most of the field, but leave several strips of standing sunflowers to sit in. Thatís what a lot of the conservation areas around these parts do for their dove draws.
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CharlieHorse
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2008, 01:30:05 PM »

   In my opinion any crop, seeded, or just plain cultivated and mowed land contributes to gamebird habitat, whatever the crop/row crop may be.  They are mostly a by-product of farming in which is now being shipped here from overseas by an increasing rate.   s47
   BW's would rather run and hide or sit still than fly, even the wild ones so I understand/observed? So they need some easy traveling ground to live in, they don't like nor live in hay feilds.  Without dogs one rarely if ever sees one around here....... they are around, but that's another thread.

  I cut paths in feilds into checkerboard squares/long strips/etc., plant some in the same fashion, and disc/cultivate in the same fashion.

If I where a BW, I'd want some easy walking/hiding ground.

Good Luck!
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wildergamebirds
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2008, 03:21:28 AM »


  I think this has been more than covered, but will add a little.

  Sunflowers are more a cover plant for Quail, than food source.  Except for the use of them combined with other plants.  The more variety of plants, the more insects.  Especially grasshoppers, and crickets.  Birds that use the upper parts of the plant can also act as lookouts for ground birds.

  Charlie, if possible plant in "serpentine pattern" that will handicap predators, a little.
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Pheasant Hollow Farm
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2008, 08:46:42 AM »

Charliehorse,
We try to keep a good management program in place, so the deer population shouldnít be much of a factor. But now that Iíve said this, whatever I plant will probably be eaten up in the first week. Thatís just my luck.

Steve,
You seem to think pretty highly of this sorgham. In your opinion if I already have a field planted in either sorgham, or milo, and wanted to plant a field mostly for dove, but also for quail would you plant sorgham, or sunflowers? I have not messed with it before, so Iím clueless, and if itís a better alternative to sunflowers that would be great.


Slider,
Hunting over a planted field doesnít constitute a baited field in Missouri, we can even go as far as to bush hog the field down right before season opens to ďsweeten the potĒ but it is illegal to add additional seed. So we canít bush hog a bunch down then go back with a bag of sunflower seed and spread it out. It works very well to bush hog most of the field, but leave several strips of standing sunflowers to sit in. Thatís what a lot of the conservation areas around these parts do for their dove draws.


Missourihunter85,

I stick with what works best for me since I only raise pheasants. Bobwhite Quail are far and few around my area, the dove are abundant. Ragweed works well for wildlife, although it is considered a noxious weed.

Different Millets and the Sorghum family have more of a chance where I am located. I planted the Black Oil Sunflower within the Forage Sorghum and the deer just capped the 2 foot high sunflower plants. To me that was a waste of money.

You can try a seperate area with the sunflower, but if you have a lot of deer you may be disappointed from the outcome. Then again, if you were to plant 5 ac or more it may work out. Remember, the dove and quail are a ground feeding bird, and you will have to knock the plants down, and as wildergamebirds quoted:
Quote
Sunflowers are more a cover plant for Quail, than food source.  Except for the use of them combined with other plants.  The more variety of plants, the more insects.  Especially grasshoppers, and crickets.  Birds that use the upper parts of the plant can also act as lookouts for ground birds.
Steve
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CharlieHorse
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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2008, 08:01:24 PM »

I have sorghum, millet, millo, and field corn still growing. The sunflowers where eaten before they even got a good start, the wheat grew good and easy, but the deer wiped it out the minute it ripened. They will clean the millet, milo, and sorghum before it's all over. The Coon and the deer will more than likely do the corn in too.  I already have a buck that enjoys going through the middle of my 10' tall corn feild, knocking it down with his antlers.   s16  I'll probably be quite ruthless and non-selective by the time deer season rolls around.

 c110

I had sowed some thistle that was collected last fall, but it didn't come up. I hadn't realized that it needed to be stratified until afterwards.  Thistle will survive the deer, coons or any other critter and is very hardy.  What I planted this spring may come up next spring, I will plant more this fall and see how it does in the spring.  Also, if anyone wants to plant thistle, do not try to plant store bought thistle, it has been heated to the point that it will not germinate.......so I am told.

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