Often, the best way to draw deer to a single central location, especially if you have deer living on your property, is to plant and till your own cheap and effective food plot.
Food plots can serve many purposes for nearby whitetail populations, all of which are good. Not only can food plots function perfectly as a means for trapping a deer in your sights, but they can also help assure that the deer on your property are healthy and well-fed, in turn assuring that those deer choose to stay on your property for the foreseeable future.
However, "planting and tilling a new food plot" is easier said than done.
While inexperienced planters view food plot creation as little more than throwing a few seeds in the ground and watching as they grow, the actual process is significantly more work-intensive - as well as significantly more expensive - than that.
Luckily, maintaining a decent food plot is not impossible to do on a small budget or with limited resources. You may need to ask for some favors along the way, but with some ingenuity and innovation, you can get the job done and then watch as the deer flock to the feeding frenzy.
Let's start with scope and equipment: while some of the most effective food plots are sprawling, multi-acre set-ups, not everyone is going to have the land to spare for that or the resources to maintain it.
If this is your first food plot, stick to a single rule for success: start small. Restrict yourself to an acre or less, pick a crop to plant - Google around for different arguments on which crops are best for drawing deer in your area - and then determine your target budget for the project. This budget may change along the way - unless it can't and you only have so much money to spare - but it will help you to decide which equipment you can afford for tilling and maintaining your new crop.
As you start work on your food plot, you may be envisioning expensive farm equipment as something you will need to be successful. In reality, you don't need a full-sized tractor to till your food plot, especially if you are sticking to a small acreage.
If you or a friend has an ATV, you can purchase attachments for tilling or weed spraying, and the vehicle can become your own compact tractor. If ATVs are out of the question, you can also work with a push rototiller to turn up the soil of your plot, or if your budget is especially narrow, a high-quality gardening rake. These methods are certainly not as efficient or sexy as an ATV or tractor, but they get the job done.
One of the keys to making sure your food plot gets return customers from the local deer herd is assuring that the plot is purely stocked with the crop they want to eat. This means making sure you don't have weed growth breaking up the plot or suffocating your actual crop.
You can purchase manual backpack sprayers from your local outdoor store and then use them to distribute weed killer to your crop.
Whatever equipment you decide on using, and whatever your budget may be, the hope is for you to establish a go-to plot of food for deer in your area. Think of a food plot as a more sophisticated feeder, and one that is legal in every state.
With these basic instructions and the motivation to bring in the bucks, you'll be establishing a food plot sure to attract the kind of trophies you've been dreaming of during the off-season.