When pondering a food plot, we often think of acres of open land where farm equipment can be easily used to produce a bumper crop. However, if you enjoy hunting in the big woods, don’t discount the possiblity of a succulent sweet spot that will attract bucks to your location. Aside from prompting deer to visit, a trail camera can give you a heads up to the quality of headgear in the area. A monster buck could easily be cruising your stand undetected. Planting food plots in the big woods requires special tactics. Scott Bestul covers the basics in this post from the Whitetail Institute
The old saw about ethics being “the things you do when no one is watching” rang true for my friend Jeff VanDoorn two years ago. Jeff, who with his brother Tom owns a beautiful little deer camp in Wisconsin’s North Woods, had arrived at their cabin the day before the state’s firearms season opener. Jeff was busy with the usual routines to open up the camp — fueling the generator, hauling groceries, restocking lime for the outhouse — when he glanced past the front lawn. Standing in a food plot not 40 yards from the cabin door was a buck that Jeff and his family had hunted for several seasons. The monster 12-point — a buck that had been as elusive as a ghost during any open season — fed contentedly on clover, unconcerned that it was early afternoon and a human watched him.
Such times can try a man’s soul. With no legal hunting method available to him (Wisconsin had a two-day moratorium on hunting prior to the firearms opener) Jeff had to content himself with watching a trophy-class whitetail feed like a dairy cow for several long minutes. Naturally, the buck never showed himself to Jeff or any member of his hunting party, for the duration of their hunt.
BIG WOODS BUFFET
That story always serves as Exhibit A when I think of the power of food plots in the big woods. I’ve had the pleasure of deer hunting from this camp, and the nearest agricultural holding — a poorly-tended hay field baled twice a year to feed horses — is nearly 20 miles away, and serious farm country doesn’t begin until you’ve logged an hour in your truck.