There is little you can plant that draws bucks during the summer like soybeans. Beans provide plenty of protein, but the plants must also taste good because they often outdraw nearby clover that is even higher in protein.
Soybeans are also good at extracting minerals from the soil that are then utilized by deer. Also, during the summer the deer only eat the leaves. Soybeans are resilient plants that can take a lot of this kind of grazing pressure and still put out pods. And, when the beans in the pods dry down, deer will feed on them heavily during the fall and winter. Soybeans are also fairly easy to establish and are reasonably drought tolerant.
As a perfect food plot planting, beans have two downsides. First, they won’t yield as many tons of food per acre as alfalfa or even clover. Second, the plants are vulnerable when young. The growing point is above ground and if deer or turkeys snip off the plant at the two-leaf stage it won’t grow back. Ideally, beans should be planted early enough to get past the deer while the does are fawning. Also, with the advent of Round-Up Ready beans you can plant into residue and let the growing weeds hide your beans until the young plants are well past this critical stage. Then you can simply spray the field and wipe out the competition. Beans should be strongly considered for our five-acres.