Stand placement and hunting
There’s no golden rule when it comes to placing a tree stand or blind for hunting deer food plots. Each plot is a little different, and will vary year to year based on what you plant, the growing conditions, the local forage available, and other factors. But you can use these to help guide your choice and improve your odds.
Know the travel corridors near deer food plots
As much as we may want it, deer’s lives don’t revolve around food plots. When they are traveling to your plots, they will be coming from bedding, water, or other food sources. Get to know the local movement patterns near your deer food plot. If you understand where the deer are naturally moving, you can position yourself closer to those areas to see more deer.
Do some scouting
A game camera is a wonderful tool for scouting food plots. With a wide angle shot of the plot, you can get a good idea what part of the plot the deer are entering first and hanging out in. You’ll also be able to tell if bucks are entering the plot during daylight hours or during the evening.
Hunting directly on deer food plots can leave you quite exposed visually. If you’re going to hunt close to the plot, make sure you find a tree with a profile that will help break up your silhouette. Large oak trees can be great for this. If you can’t find a large tree, look for one with enough branches, leaves, and needles to help conceal you. Remember, you may have many sets of eyes in the area when you’re trying to get a shot off.
It’s a lot easier to find cover further off a plot. In addition, many bucks will hang back and enter the plot later in the evening than does. We like to place our treestands about 100 yards off of plots, on large trails entering the plot. We like to have the plot in sight, but not be so close that we get busted for any little movement.
Play the wind
This goes for any treestand. What is different in hunting deer food plots is that you have to consider both where the deer come from, and where they will congregate. If the entrance trail is up wind of you, but the plot down wind, you will have a tough time getting deer to stay in the plot. This may be fine if you’re trying to put meat in the freezer, but a buck will rarely be the first to enter a plot. You need the does to get past you and stick around in the plot to make the buck comfortable. Try to find locations where the wind will be perpendicular to the travel lanes and plot.
Go to the ground
Sometimes there aren’t good trees available around your deer food plots. Sometimes we have very open plots. A well-concealed ground blind can be a great way to get close. We prefer hand built, dug into the ground blinds. These can take a while to build, but give great concealment and are quickly accepted by the deer.
Time it right
Each food plot seed has a different time of peak attraction. For any specific plot, your best bet to get a deer is to time it when it is most attractive to them. If you have multiple plots, plant multiple varieties so you have different attractions through the year.
There’s nothing like in-the-stand scouting. We’ve moved stands hundreds of yards after a few sits sometimes. In other instances, we’ve moved them 20 yards. You’ll get an idea quickly if the deer are in the area.
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