Importance of Exclusion Cages
How do you know if your food plot died down after it came up or if the deer and turkey just ate everything in sight? What would the plant look like if mature but not allowed to mature because of browse? Would the plants show nutrient shortage or be in great health?
Exclusion cages tell you the answers to all of the above questions. Exclusion cages can let you know if the food plots you planted last year that were enough is still enough for the population growth that has occured since you started managing your wildlife habitat. It also tells you how well the plantings are doing as you increase the fertility of your soils.
Exclusion cages for winter crops can be made from readily available tomato cages with a chicken wire added to the outside. We use concrete tie wire to apply the chicken wire. Large staples can be used to pin the cages down. We can sell you a few if you can’t find them in a landscape supply store.
Larger cages are needed for summer mixes due to the size of the plants. For this use fencing wire tied to T-posts. Put a roof on the cage. Deer will eat from over the top if not. Four foot diameter circles work well.
Put the cages out just a few days after planting and pick an area where the different species of crops have emerged. Putting cages on bare areas will not tell you anything.
Notice how much higher the clover is within the cage than outside the cage. The whole field was browsed down outside the cage by spring greenup in early April.