Scorching summers and freezing winters in Oklahoma are hard for everyone, including the state’s wildlife. Landowners can help wildlife survive Oklahoma’s extreme weather by planting food plots.
The Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service Extension is holding a free seminar Aug. 14 in Oklahoma City on wildlife food plots.
The seminar will be held at the Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension Service auditorium, 930 N. Portland, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Space is limited. People must register for the seminar in advance by calling 713-1125 before 4 p.m. on Aug. 13.
“Food plots can help supplement the food supplies for wildlife during out extreme winters,: said Ray Ridlen, Agriculture and Horticulture Educator for the Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension Service. “They can also help us increase numbers of wildlife in a particular area. We’re encouraging Oklahomans to create these plots.
“Anyone who lives on an acreage or even near an open area can provide food and forage for our natural wildlife inexpensively. It’s also a fairly easy project to undertake and establishing these kind of plots can be a great family activity or even a conservation project for someone.”
Urban sprawl is causing wildlife habitat to shrink while drought-stricken summers and harsh winters are destroying much of the food and forage still left for wildlife. Many people in rural Oklahoma are reporting that they are seeing fewer wildlife on their land, Ridlen said.
“After extreme weather conditions like the summer drought, it can sometimes take years before enough natural forage exists to sustain a healthy wildlife population,” Ridlen said. “That’s why it’s important for landowners to do what they can to make food available. No one really wants to live on land with no wildlife.”
Wildlife plots have been used by Oklahoma hunters for years to improve whitetail deer populations, but Ridlen said such food plots are beneficial to wildlife in general.
“Food plots planted to help increase populations of certain species like deer actually improved the health and numbers of all kinds of wildlife in an area,” he said.
“Even though hunters may have been some of the first in our state to make use of wildlife food plots, it doesn’t mean that these plots can’t benefit our wildlife in general or be used by our residents to simply improve the health and the abundance of wildlife on their own properties.”