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Food Plot Architecture 101

by John Mueller 21. June 2009 13:47
John Mueller

            Hunting deer around food plots has been going on for a long time. But planting the food plots specifically to make hunting them easier is fairly new to the bowhunting world. I think the Drury’s are one of the leaders when it comes to designing food plots specifically with bowhunting in mind. By planting certain crops next to one another they can somewhat predict where the deer will use the plots the most.

 

I plan on taking a few pages from the Drury’s book this year and see if I can make it work on my property.  I have constructed what I hope will be a 5 acre food plot that I can use to control the deer movement and set up in the right spot to bag  a couple of the big bucks that call my farm home. My field is located on top of ridge with many smaller ridges and ditches leading up to it with a lot of timber surrounding it. Last year I just had a couple of small plots in it, but this year I have the whole 5 acres planted and will be planting some fall plots later. The deer were very hard to pattern last year, they came from any direction. If I set up on one ridge where I saw them enter the field last time, they would enter the field 50 yards away the next time. So I really need to try and get them to be more predictable where they enter the field or be able to predict where they will end up once in the field. 

 

Here is a pic of my food plot with what I hope will be a killer design.

 

 

I marked up a picture of my food plot to show what I planted where.

 

1. The light green area in the very Northern corner and kind of in the middle of the plot is planted in Biologic Hot Spot. The deer really   

hammered this last fall.

2. The area outlined in dark green is planted in corn.

3. The area outlined in orange is a clover chickory mix.

4. The white areas are just clover.

5. The yellow is wheat.

6. The red is Antler King Red Zone.

7. The black is sunflowers and climbing beans.

8. The purple to the South is milo and millet.

9. The pink is where I plan on planting turnips this fall.

10. The red dots are either stands already there or spots cleared for climbers.

 

You notice I have my corn planted right next to my clover and have created some corners/funnels by doing this. The deer like to travel next to the security of the taller corn while feeding on the clover which will be one of the last green food sources in the fall. By creating these corners as ambush points I hope to up my odds of getting a bruiser in bow range.

If that strategy hasn't worked by late season I will have turnips planted where the red zone is and also in the Eastern end of the plot. Since I didn't have much luck intercepting the bucks back in the woods before they entered the field last season, I plan on setting up where the end up feeding in the field. By setting up with the wind coming off of the field and blowing my scent back into the woods(hopefully not where the deer enter from) I can let them come to me. Last year the deer really loved the turnips once the weather turned cold. First they ate the tops and then they finished off the bulbs.

 

I also plan to mow the wheat off and disc over it lightly. This should reseed the wheat and I'll have another green food source for the winter months. The deer really love something green to eat in the winter, and wheat will stay green right thru the coldest of winters.

I have also dug a small waterhole in a narrow point of the field. Late in the summer the small creek on my place dries up and I have no water supply to keep the deer there. So I dug 2 small water holes for the early season that may be the best spot to sit during the warm evenings in the early bow season.

 

 

One problem with hunting this field is entering and exiting the stand. I used to have to walk around the whole field to hunt the East side which spooked some deer getting there and especially leaving in the dark. You could hear deer blowing all around you walking out at night. So I created the red trail to get to the back side of the field without having to scare the deer out of the plot every time I hunted it.

Another thing I did along the Northwest edge of the field to funnel deer movement was to cut down a bunch of small trees and push them into piles along the field edge. I left a 10 yard opening at the end of a ridge to allow the deer access to the plot. If not hunted too ofen and with the right wind it could be a killer spot. You can see where this is by the white hash marks.

This is what some of the crops look like now. Most of this was planted on April 25 after I killed my turkey. It has really taken off since the weather heated up in the last couple of weeks. That combined with all of the rain lately is making for some good growing weather. Hopefully I can find the time to sit out there a few evenings soon and see what comes out for a bite.

 

Biologic Hot Spot.

 

Clover Chickory mix.

Clover planted next to taller corn, leading to one of my pinch point stands.

Milo and millet.

 

The corn is really putting on the growth right now.

Sunflowers and climbing beans should make good food and bedding cover.

Antler King Red Zone between the wheat and corn.

Hopefully I'll be making some posts this fall about how well my food plot architecture worked for me.

For more foodplot information check out www.foodplots.com

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