An Evaluation of North Carolina's Free Wildlife Planting Materials Program

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's (NCWRC) free planting materials program was evaluated using interviews and field inspections. Cooperators were conscientious in planting and caring for the wildlife plots. Seventy percent of the plantings were fertilized. Seventy-four percent of the distributed units of annual seed mix resulted in successful plantings. Poorer success was noted with the perennial mix. Effectiveness of the planting materials in increasing carrying capacity was not determined. Cooperators felt that the plantings benefitted wildlife (96%) and hunting (85%). Concern had been expressed by NCWRC biologists that a preoccupation with food plots prevents landowners from recognizing other habitat problems. However, 46% of the respondents practiced other habitat management techniques. A well established free planting material program can result in successful wildlife food plots; however, the question of how much or how often these plantings benefit wildlife populations remains unanswered.

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