It might surprise you to learn that creating food plots without the use of a tractor can be done successfully and be extremely effective at drawing in deer and holding them. But it's the truth. In fact, I own a tractor and I still choose to use an ATV for a lot of my food plots, because of how convenient and effective they are. Not only is this method super effective, but it also is much less expensive if you're on a budget. Hunting property owners and land managers are often trying to be as efficient as possible. With the right set up and a little bit of sweat equity, you can have the perfect early and late season food plot with the use of an ATV and a few other attachments.
One of the most important pieces of equipment you'll need is a sprayer. More than likely you'll have some unwanted weeds in the area you want to plant in, so having a tool to spray some type of weed killer is a must. Chapin and Fimco both make great ATV-mounted sprayers that are affordable, and I have had tremendous luck with both brands. I opt for the 25-gallon option, but depending on the size of your food plot, you can go smaller or bigger.
A lot of people will tell you to go for an ATV roto-tiller instead of a drag, but don't listen to them. I have used both and the value you get with a drag harrow is hard to beat; it's usually good for those heavy duty jobs. They're less expensive and do the job just as well. Field Tuff and Titan are popular choices for drags, but there are also tons of options on Amazon for less than $300.
I have done without a cultipacker on my food plots in the past, and I almost always regretted it. Seed-to-soil contact is extremely important for germination, so this is one step that shouldn't be overlooked. If buying a cultipacker isn't an option for you, using the tires on your ATV to pack the soil down and help the seeds get better contact is always better than nothing. If you're looking for a reliable ATV cultipacker, Black Boar makes a great model that sells on Amazon for around $300.
Optional Seed Broadcaster
I listed the seed spreader as optional because I personally use an over-the-shoulder broadcast spreader, solely because I feel that I can ensure that seeds are spread out evenly, whereas this can be difficult to do using an ATV. However, if your food plot is on the bigger side, and you don't think a shoulder bag spreader would be as efficient, there are great options for ATV spreaders. Boss Buck makes a great ATV broadcaster for less than $300.
Adding up these ATV implements and your devotion to getting it done, you can create an awesome food plot that will attract and hold deer for $1,000 or less. Not to mention that you will be able to use this equipment for years to come, making it a great option for someone who doesn't want to buy heavy equipment such as a tractor.
An ATV food plot strategy does take a little more effort, but the food plot implements mentioned here will go a long way in helping out. Even small food plots can benefit from an ATV's assistance, and can usually leave a smaller hypothetical footprint in the whitetail woods allowing for more deer comfort with the area.
One final disclaimer: When planting your food plots, make sure to get a soil test to determine any nutrients that your soil might be lacking. Pick a spot that has at least a few hours of sunlight per day, and one that drains well. I prefer food plot plants that have high germination rates and maximum tonnage such as clover, chicory, turnips and radishes.
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