By: Jeff Larue
Many hunting shows show food plots the average hunter cannot get even close to having. They involve $20,000 or more of equipment and acres and acres of land to use for plotting food, plus unlimited time. With some hard work, very little money and time invested, though, you could possibly get the a buck of a lifetime on small food plots.
What you need is a 15x25-foot piece of land that gets full sun, a rake, leaf rake, and a tiller. The closer you can get a pickup to the plot, the easier it will be, and you will also want to put your deer stand in the near vicinity.
Start by raking the dead leaves, grass, rocks, and all other debris from where you’re going to till. Start tilling; if the ground hasn't been worked, it will take numerous passes, and it will get easier the more your work the dirt – three or four inches will work for the first time.
There are numerous seeds that will work for a food plot. Some are reasonably priced, some are not so much. Those that work for me are cheap and also good to eat. Beets, Purple Top Turnips, and Kale are simple to plant. Broadcast them by hand and lightly cover with a leaf rake 1/4 inch, and you’re done.
Check in a couple of weeks. If you have to replant, use a rake to break up the soil. A leaf rake to cover the seed will usually suffice. The best thing to happen is that the wildlife doesn't find it for a couple of weeks, and it’s given a chance to grow. A food plot is like the movie Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner – “build it and they will come.” Hang a camera and watch the wildlife. Most likely you will be amazed! The kale will be eaten by everything and won't make it to fall. If you have hogs, the beets and turnips won't make it either. Deer will eat the tops of the beets and turnips and usually leave some for harvest.
The nice thing about these small foods is the time it takes: not more than an hour or so for the hardest part, tilling, and just ten minutes to plant. The price of the seed is less than fifteen dollars, cheaper even if you buy bulk from a seed catalog or online. The small plots will not attract 50 deer from two counties over. The one that is behind my dad’s house usually has three or four does and their fawns, until the rut starts, and then you don't know what will show.
If you like to watch wildlife, build a food plot, hang a camera, and be prepared to see a lot of different animals: rabbits, opossums, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, eagles, hawks, crows, turkeys, and, of course, deer.