deer. The package sizes and coverage for each blend are respective with my recommendations. Whichever product you choose make sure you clear the area enough to expose the soil to allow good seed-to-soil contact.”
reap the benefits when hunting season arrives. The instructions are incredibly user-friendly, and the results are outstanding.”
Hunters often misconceive that planting attractive food plots requires big equipment — the minimum being an ATV with a disc. Although bigger equipment reduces the manual labor, many blue-collar folks cannot afford to own, maintain and store them. It’s a dilemma that keeps many hunters from improving their land with food plots. This is where Whitetail Institute’s No-Plow, Secret Spot and BowStand shine. “These products can be planted with minimal effort,” Scott said. “Obviously the bigger equipment you can use the easier the job will be, but a tool as basic as a garden rake can be used to expose the soil. Then, you can broadcast fertilizer and seed with an inexpensive handheld spreader.” There you have it. ATVs or large implements are not required to put in an effective food plot. It’s inexpensive and practical for anyone willing to invest some effort with basic hand tools.
It’s understood that creating large, multiple-acre fields and clearings requires equipment, ample planning and hard work. And although large food sources can be dynamite and suck deer in from long distances, they’re usually out of the question late in the game. Your best bet is to design smaller plots that require minimal ground preparation (more on that later), and use Whitetail Institute’s easy-to-grow seed blends. Scott mentioned some metrics hunters should use to determine what constitutes a good location, and a few locations he recommends. “These three seed blends require a minimum of three to four hours of broken or direct sunlight per day,” Scott said. “Remember that as autumn progresses, the leaf drop will allow more sunlight to reach the forest floor. Any type of site that gets that bare minimum of sun exposure will allow these products to work. Ideal spots are old home sites, fire lanes, logging roads, log-landing areas, rims of pond dams (be mindful of erosion) or really any small opening that allows sufficient sun exposure.” The types of areas Scott suggested often occur in locations that encourage daylight visits from deer. In other words, they can create awesome stand sites. Think of locations that are closer to bedding areas than large destination food sources often are. As Scott mentioned, don’t overlook old logging roads. Deer are like humans in that they often travel paths of least resistance, especially when they connect a destination food source and a bedding area. Deer will use logging roads more when those paths feature tasty forages. The plus is that logging roads are generally one of the easiest locations to prepare for planting. And because deer often use logging roads as thoroughfares, the paths make great ambush sites for a top-pin, broadside archery shot. Further, playing the wind is easy, and accessing and exiting such stand locations creates minimal impact because you’re far from bedding areas and destination food sources.
The Procedures Now that you know which products and locations are ideal for lastminute planting, let’s get down to the complex part: preparing the soil and planting. Actually, it’s so simple it’ll surprise you. “If I were caught in a situation where I needed to put in a plot at the last minute, I’d acquire some piece of equipment to help me do it,” Scott said. “Whether it’s a hand tool or an ATV with some type of basic disc, I’d go in and break up and expose the soil with that tool. If there’s enough time to do so and there are abundant existing weeds and grasses, I’d suggest first spraying a herbicide product over the area to kill off existing plants. Once everything dies off, raking everything away to expose the soil will be far easier.” Next, you should spread some fertilizer before planting. “I recommend following the detailed directions listed on the bag of whichever Whitetail Institute product the consumer chooses,” Scott said. “These instructions and more informative materials are also available at whitetailinstitute.com. You’ll get solid information on how to prepare your location, plant the product correctly and then you can
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No Implements? No Problem
Credit Roll Now that we’ve discussed the products, locations and procedures for creating effective last-minute food plots, get busy, and redeem lost time before deer season opens. Too many hunters overcomplicate things when they’re actually simple. Take the leap, and plant one of the Whitetail Institute products mentioned, and you’ll get far better results — despite your lost time — than if you plant nothing. The extra effort will bolster your property’s deer necessities, which will facilitate greater deer traffic. It could also be the ticket that puts a mature buck broadside at 20 yards this fall. Scott agreed. “If you find yourself at the last minute and haven’t planted anything, don’t panic,” he said. “There’s good news. Whitetail Institute has a very effective way to solve the problem. It’s inexpensive, easy to do, and it works if you’re willing to put in the work that’s required.” ^ You don’t have to have large implements. You can create a beautiful kill plot by exposing the soil with a cheap garden rake and some hard work.
Photo by Darren McDougal