How to Manage Small Food Plots for Monster Bucks
November 14, 2013
I'm talking about small food plots (an acre or less) that are ideally located just a short distance into the cover from a larger feeding area.
These are my new favorite stand sites and they have everything going for them.
Micro-plots are the last places monster bucks visit before going to bed in the morning and the first areas they come to after rising in the afternoon. This means you will experience lots of daylight activity — a fact that becomes quickly (and happily) apparent during the whitetail rut, when these satellite plots become the social hubs for a 20-acre area.
Most food sources don't produce good morning hunting because the deer are already back in the cover, but these plots are just as productive in the morning as they are in the evening.
Most of the time, when a buck makes his way into a deer food plot, he ends up in range. Again, these spots really shine during the rut because monster bucks often work the entire area, checking for does and freshening scrapes. If you are hunting with a bow, guaranteeing close shots is especially important. Large plots can be frustrating to hunt when your maximum range is just 40 yards.
EASY EXIT ROUTES
Deer pass through these plots and are generally gone shortly after dark as they make their way to the larger feeding area beyond. This gives you the needed opportunity to climb down and sneak away without educating any deer — a luxury you rarely have when hunting larger feeding areas.
SIMPLE TO MAKE
To establish satellite plots on your land, look for openings just inside the cover that's adjacent to larger feeding areas. Often, in agricultural country, farmers using big equipment don't mess with the very end of a narrow, pointed field. Eventually, these areas start to grow over. This is the perfect setting to create a small food plot tucked in close to bedding areas but directly in line with the primary food source — the perfect place for deer to gather.
My property had a number of these spots. All I had to do was remove some brush and trees with a chainsaw and I was ready for the Roundup and tiller. You may even be able make satellite plots on land where you've gained permission to hunt because you'll not be disturbing larger fields.
If your property doesn't have such areas and you have the ability to create them, it's definitely worth it. Find areas where the wind, terrain and proximity to bedding and feeding areas all work together to your benefit. In fact, planting micro-plots may be the single most important thing you can do to improve your hunting area.
It took years for me to figure out how to best utilize satellite plots, but now that I know, I'm making up for lost time. While they work well during all parts of the season, when the rut comes, I'm glued to these perfect hunting locations.
Chris Reeder of Bunker Hill shot 23 1/2 inch wide nine point opening day of gun season at thirty five yds from a ground blind in Macoupin County Illinois.
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