Planting and caring for smart food plots makes the process far more effective.
In nature, food wins. In the world of deer hunting, food is king, both early and late in the season.
Food plots have become a trend for the latest generation of hunters, more or less because the amount of hunting ground per hunter is shrinking. This being said, you can never stop improving or learning how to do better.
Here are three key tips to creating new plots that will not only bring in deer, but help you hunt them too.
1. Go With the Land
Study the land (that means without leaves or snow cover) and consider how new food will affect your current hunting situation. Topography is key to deer movement, so studying maps and combining this with your knowledge from previous hunts will guide you to choosing best location.
For lots of us, it's as simple as finding ground that is level enough to plant. Either way, your choice will influence deer behavior. Capitalizing on this behavior with your new food plot is one way to be more successful in the woods.
2. Build Around the Tree
The window just after deer season can be great for hunters. Experiences are fresh in your mind and deer sign is still very visible.
When the woods are bare, finding travel corridors and rub lines is much easier. Once you've located your general area, the next step is the most important: tree selection.
Stability, entry/exit path, seasonal wind direction, shooting lanes, and yardages should be considered before selecting the tree you'd prefer to hunt from. It will affect all aspects of your hunt, so getting this right is crucial.
From here, build your food plot with the tree in full consideration. Deer can be manipulated, because their natural instincts are to take the easiest path and burn the least amount of energy. Use this to your advantage by blocking trails that may be too far and opening up new ones closer to the stand.
Shape the plot itself around your comfortable shooting yardage or scrape limbs. Be conscious of wind directions and use them in your favor if possible. Your entry and exit route should also be considered, as you will likely deal with deer around the plot close to dark.
Carefully considering these types of factors will make a huge impact on the success of your new plot.
3. Soil Testing and Seed Selection
Don't overlook the importance of soil testing. Random tests from your new plot will help determine the condition of your soil, or if you may new to rethink your choice of location. This information will be key in deciding what exactly you want to plant the following season.
Wheat or rye are great for less-than-ideal soils, and clover is a protein-packed perennial that can be blended with these to hold the soil for seasons to come.
For those lacking access to equipment, this blend is also easy and effective with the right maintenance. It's all about how you care for what you plant and the effort you put in.
If you have the ability to go with the grains, corn or soybeans can be huge benefactors early and late season. Play to your soil conditions and develop a blend that works for you, determine whether it's a staging plot or true area that can support wildlife in tough weather conditions.
These pointers can help you be successful and a better hunter in upcoming seasons. Considering these factors in your decision-making will help guide you to better days in the woods.