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A hunter’s guide to awesome food plots

Gear for your food plot.
Gear for your food plot. ( Peter Neumann via Unsplash/)

Right now, serious hunters everywhere are thinking about improving the wildlife habitat on their hunting properties with food plots. If you want to grow a field that’s green and good for deer, this is the list for you.

This is made for breaking dirt with an ATV.
This is made for breaking dirt with an ATV. (Amazon/)

A four-wheeler is never a substitute for a tractor and real farming implements, but not everyone has the budget for that. This compact disc (not to be confused with your favorite late-'90s soundtrack) attaches to a 2-inch receiver hitch on an ATV or UTV, and can be carried in a transport mode between spots. It uses the weight of the machine and the rider to cut, and it’s just about perfect for creating small hunting plots in those hard-to-reach areas.

This giant ladino variety is highly nutritious to whitetails.
This giant ladino variety is highly nutritious to whitetails. (Amazon/)

The original seed from the Whitetail Institute was one of the first commercial food plot plantings available, and it’s still among the best. Yes, it’s expensive but a well-made stand of this perennial forage will last for years with regular maintenance, and deer simply hammer it. Stock up on it now so that you’ll have plenty to plant later on.

Living up to its name, this stuff grows about anywhere.
Living up to its name, this stuff grows about anywhere. (Amazon/)

If you’re just looking to green up woodland trails and small openings with minimal equipment, this blend is about as easy as it gets. It’s heavy on the rye grass—stuff that will grow almost anywhere—but it includes some clover and brassicas, too. You can clear a quarter-acre spot with a rake, water it with a backpack sprayer, and expect to see deer activity on it within a month.

Create a natural food plot with a small-scale prescribed fire.
Create a natural food plot with a small-scale prescribed fire. (Amazon/)

The eco-friendliest way to manage land might be to clear away old leaf litter and duff with a controlled burn. Be smart, be careful, and ask for help—but don’t be afraid, because fire is good for the ground, and a steady rain following a burn will leave a flush of green growth that attracts wildlife of all sorts. No extra planting, fertilizer, or chemicals required.

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