Food plots are popular among deer hunters, with the majority of food plots at or less than 1 acre in size. Establishing a successful food plot of this size battles a whole new set of elements from deer overbrowsing to hunter pressure. In this first installment of the “Small Food Plot” series, The Buck Advisors’ Weston Schrank discusses his plan and preparation for this year’s small food plot.
Each and every year the number one question coming across our platforms seems to be in regards to food plots, even more specifically small food plots. Small food plots or the poor man plot is the norm for food plots among most deer hunters. These are 1 acre or less in size and usually result in a pretty sparse plot with little growth, little attractiveness to deer, and even less of a hunting opportunity. This year get your small poor man plot right by following this 3 part series on the how to of small food plots.
Usually not much planning comes into small food plots. Hunters pick a spot, buy some nonsense bag of small food plot mix, and pray for rain, unfortunately there is much more to do here. The site is extremely important. One advantage small food plots or poor man plots do have over larger feeding food plots is the ability to be an excellent staging area/kill plot. Deer go in and out fast briefly stopping to take a snack before going out into larger food sources after daylight. Planning the area adjacent to, on the way to, or strategically in line with larger food sources marks key advantages for the hunter. Once you get to be very close to an acre, a decent food plot becomes established and with particular species, you can create a significant food source. Which species and how to plant will be covered in part 2 of this series.
I was lucky enough to have already hunted this plot, I know how it works, how to hunt it, and exactly what I need to plant in order to be successful. Figuring out food pot placement, wind direction, entry and exit routes, and human pressure restraints all need to be considered.
Once the planning is done, you need to prepare the small food plot, first step is clearing, this might entail bush hogging, spraying roundup (-glyphosate), and disking or tilling. Whatever species of choice you are planting in the plot, it will require its own specifications for planting. More importantly is getting the soil of the plot right. Food plots fail in two ways more often than not, one the seed is not planted right or does not get enough rain/seed to soil contact, and two the soil/pH/ and nutrients were not prepared.
Most small food plots will lack access for equipment, you may be lucky enough to get a four wheeler in there but most of the time it seem food plotters are creating food plots with hand tools. In this arsenal comes the backpack sprayer. Backpack sprayers are perfect for small poor man plots, they work with herbicides, and they can now work with raising your pH of your food plot. PlotStart by DeerGro featured in this video raises the pH of the soil in your food plot, releases nutrients, and creates the soil that produce results in small food plots.
This is step 1 of the process, part 2 will be on which species to plant, and how to plant small food plots, followed by part 3, how to increase attraction of your food plot, monitor, and eventually hunt it.
To watch the episodes for the 2015 season, and the hunting that took place on this food plot click here.