Is Food Plotting for you?
If you’ve made it here, it means you’re thinking about getting started food plotting. And if you’re an avid deer hunter or sportsman, why wouldn’t you be thinking about it? Bigger deer, more deer, more wildlife, better hunting. These are all benefits of a well-managed food plot program. But these benefits aren’t without a lot of hard work, a modest monetary investment, and a well-formulated plan.
As you consider food plotting, keep in mind that it is a process, not a yes/no decision. Our goal isn’t to convince you to food plot, or not to food plot, but to be aware of what it takes to have success in food plotting. Before getting started, you should ask yourself a number of questions. Based on your answers, you can determine what approach is right for you as you begin your food plotting journey.
What are my food plotting goals?
Your aspirations for food plotting will have a large impact on what time and investment are required to accomplish those goals. Creating small food plots to attract deer in the fall is a fairly manageable task for any plotter. It can be accomplished with minimal resources, and there are a number of seed options that offer easy growth in many conditions. Creating large food plots to feed and sustain deer through all seasons is a different task. And it requires a well-defined plan, access to a tractor and implements, significant acreage, and financial investment. If you’re just getting started, focusing on fall hunting plots is a great way to go.
What resources do I have available for getting started food plotting?
A number of different resources are required to get into food plotting. You should scale your plans based on which are available to you.
This is a base requirement, but there is more to it than just ‘do I have property?’. Ask yourself a few questions. How many acres do I want to plant? Do these acres need clearing or brush or rocks? Have they been planted before. Virgin ground or tucked away areas can be great food plot options, but require more work to get them going the first year.
There is no such thing as not having equipment for food plotting. If you can get your hands on a backpack sprayer, a hand seeder, and a garden rake, you can plant a food plot. But if you have a 70 hp 4wd tractor, a 6′ tiller, a 10′ boom sprayer, and other tools, you will be able to handle a lot more acreage. Do an assessment of what resources you have access to. Remember, you may be able to borrow some, and you can always rent.
Time and Money
As with any venture in life, we are limited by how much time and money we can invest. A small fall hunting plot is a low investment option on both fronts, but a large scale program will run you in the thousands of dollars. If you’re buying equipment too, it can easily be in the 10k’s.
What growing conditions am I working with?
Your ability to grow plots will be largely impacted by your climate and soil quality. If you’re in the corn belt, you have a lot of opportunity. But if you’re in south Texas or Canada, there may be fewer options when it comes to seed varieties, planting times, and growing seasons. Keep this in mind as you formulate your plan and assess the plotting potential of your property.
There’s no formula to tell you how many food plots to plant, what acreage is right, or what seed varieties are perfect for your property. But keep your answers to the above questions in mind when you are reading other articles on food plotting. They will help you make more informed decisions and have better outcomes more quickly as you build your own food plotting knowledge. Getting started food plotting is an exciting time!
Look through our Beginner’s Checklist to learn more
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