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Kill Plots The Other Food Plot

by Dan Schafer 6. July 2011 18:31
Dan Schafer

When someone mentions a food plot, one’s mind tends to think about a one to five acre area with lush greens full of deer foraging on high protein brassicas or grains.  While these plots are great for feeding deer, they tend to be destination areas and not great spots to hunt mature bucks.  Lets take a look at these big plots’ little brother, what I call, the kill plot.

A kill plot has one purpose, just like the name implies, for killing a mature buck.  Unlike big brother, these plots are small.  In fact, size is the least of your concerns; in this case location is all that matters. 

This past winter, while scouting a newly acquired piece of land, we located a major buck bedding area and not far away, a perfect spot for a kill plot.  Within 100-125 yards of this bedding area was a small grassy opening, about 1/5 of an acre in size.  Not only was this spot close to the bedding area, it was also close to a large beaver pond that the deer travel around when heading to feed in the larger fields about 500 yards away.  Because of its proximity to the thick bedding area and the travel routes, we determined that this would be a spot that a mature buck would feel comfortable getting a snack at during light before he heads to the larger fields to feed for the night.

You can see the location of this Kill Plot is key.  Its close to the buck bedding, a thick area and in a perfect travel corridor heading to the larger fields at night.


Had this small opening been in another spot, I probably wouldn’t have given it a thought to put a kill plot in here.  I have a number of spots on this property that look like potential locations for a kill plot, but they are just not in the right area.  Doing your off season scouting and really mapping out your deer herd will go a long ways to help you pick the right spot for your kill plot.

Before we started on the Kill Plot, it was a grassy area that was going to need a lot of work.

 

Besides not picking the right location for a kill plot, another mistake a lot of hunters make is not preparing the area like they should.  I do all of the same preparations on these small plots as I do on the larger ones, including spraying, discing, liming and fertilizing.  This particular plot will be planted with a turnip, rape and lettuce mix.  I’m not a big fan of heading to the local hardware store and picking out a throw and grow type of plot seed and hoping for the best.  That little extra work to make sure your plot grows to its full potential and picking the right seed will pay huge dividends when the season rolls around.

We were fortunate enough to be able to get an ATV with a disc into this area.  Had we not been able to, we would have made the extra effort and used a rototiller.

Proper soil preperation is also key to growing a quality Kill Plot.  Liming and fertilizing are essential.

With the discing and liming done, this Kill Plot will be ready for one last light discing, planting and fertilizing in Mid-July.


You picked the spot, worked your tail off in 90-degree heat during the summer getting the kill plot ready, now its time to hunt it.  Like any hunting spot, how and when you hunt your kill plot is going to be key. 

During the early season, I will only hunt the kill plot during the evening.  I’m not looking to catch a buck on his way back to the bedding area, only trying to catch him on his way to the fields to feed for the night.  On this particular plot, there will be only one stand.  There won’t be options for different winds; it will only be hunted if all conditions are perfect.  Being this close to the bedding area, extreme caution is also going to be needed when getting in and out. 

During the rut, I will actually sit on a kill plot all day.  Not only are bucks going to be using this plot throughout fall, but does will too.  Again, with the location of the plot close to the bucks bedding area and them feeling secure in the plot, they will be checking for hot does during daylight hours. 

It's still early July, so if you’ve thought about giving a kill plot a try for this fall, I highly encourage it, there’s plenty of time.  They may be small in size and hide in the big food plots’ shadow, but their location gives them an edge big brother doesn’t have.

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