How to Manage Small Food Plots for Monster Bucks

How to Manage Small Food Plots for Monster Bucks

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.

INCREASED ACTIVITY


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.

CLOSE-RANGE SHOTS

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.

Jeffrey Osborn killed this 12-point buck while hunting near Bolivar, Tenn., on Nov. 25, 2013. The deer sported a 10-inch drop tine.

— Krista Osborn

I took this buck during gun season 2013 in Roane County, W.V. It is a 12-point with three drop tines. I used a .270 WSM.

— Lindsay Lesher

Mike Myers of Isleton, Calif., and Jerry Penick of Rio Vista, Calif., shot these nice forks on opening weekend X7A, 2013.

— Mariah Myers

Matthew Richards of Chicago harvested this splendid 8-pointer the opening day of the 2013 Illinois gun season. Three does bedded down within 20 yards of his stand before this buck came rushing into the area.

— Mark Adduci

Ethan Terry, 10, took this nice buck — his first kill — using an NEA 20-gauge single-shot with a BRI sabot at 50 yards in Lawrence County, Ind.
This was my 9-year-old son Connor Watson's first year hunting and he took this 3x4 blacktail with one shot from his Savage 7mm-08, one week after his 9th birthday! Connor was getting ready to shoot a small spike when I spotted this buck coming through the brush directly at the spike. Needless to say, it was a no-brainer for Connor to decide which buck he wanted! The buck is now at Natures Way Taxidermy before making its way to Connors bedroom wall! We live in Graham, Wash.

— Matt Watson

My girlfriend, Nicole Allan, shot her third deer this weekend. She was hunting on her parents' farm in Osage County, Okla. She is from Broken Arrow, Okla. She was so proud of this 11-point buck! I think I was just as excited as she was!

— Nick Kincaid

My girlfriend, Nicole Allan, shot her third deer this weekend. She was hunting on her parents' farm in Osage County, Okla. She is from Broken Arrow, Okla. She was so proud of this 11-point buck! I think I was just as excited as she was!

— Nick Kincaid

Twenty-one-point non-typical buck was killed opening day of youth season in Franklin County, Ohio. Killed with a Benelli 12-gauge at 40 yards.

— Noah Goodwin

Jeff Wagenhauser with a 140-pound doe taken in Albany County, N.Y., on Nov. 30 using a Remington 1100 passed down to him from his grandfather. He was shooting Remington Premier copper sabots.

— Pete Wagenhauser

Allie Irving, 9, of Virginia Beach, Va., shot her first deer, a doe, with her dad, Rick Irving, on youth day 2013 in Accomack County, Va.
Allie Irving shot her first buck with father Rick Irving on Nov. 16, 2013, in Accomack County, Va.
Rick Davis of Kingsport, Tenn., took this 10-point buck during muzzleloader season in November 2013 in Hickman County, Tenn.
I shot this buck this season in Colorado using a muzzleloader for the first time ever! I live in San Bruno, Calif.

— Rob Deckman

Aaron Sylvain took his first muzzleloader buck, which boasted a 150-plus-inch rack, in Fulton County, Ind.
Cody Smith was 8 years old when he shot his first buck on Thanksgiving Day 2013. The Hardy County, W.V., buck was a 9-point.

— Henry Smith

Cody Smith was 8 years old when he shot his first buck on Thanksgiving Day 2013. The Hardy County, W.V., buck was a 9-point.

— Henry Smith

Jacob Dalton, 10, with his first deer, Sept. 13, 2013. Killed with his crossbow on private land in Rockingham County, N.C.

— Jason L. Dalton

Jacob Dalton, 10, tagged out with buck No. 2. It was taken on Nov. 23, 2013, on private land in Rockingham County, N.C., with his Rossi .243.

— Jason L. Dalton

Got him the last day of gun season in Kentucky 2013 with .30-30.

— Robert Horne

Parker Simpson, 11, hunting with his dad made a perfect shot on his first deer in Floyd County, Ga.

— Robert S. Simpson

Wesley Belbot, 10, of Martinsville, Ind., took his first deer, an 8-point buck, on Nov. 16, 2013, in Morgan County, Ind.
Thanksgiving morning green field Lamar County, Ala., 220-pound 10-point taken with a .338 Federal Styer.

— Rusty Smith

His first deer, a large doe, for this 9-year-old taken on Dec. 1, 2013, in Dickson County, Tenn., with his Mossberg .243 at approximately 60 yards with his first ever shot at a deer as well. Very happy young man and and very proud daddy as well! This is what the outdoors is all about!

— Ryley Forster

New York hunt with my T/C Venture .270. Opening day, 60 yards away and dropped him. Six-point with kickers.

— Precious Kaczor

Cassie Swartwood, 14, of Newport News, Va., took her first buck on Nov. 30 during the 2013 gun season with her dad, Sam Swartwood, while hunting in Ft. Eustis, Va. Sam Swartwood writes, "Cassie is an avid archery hunter and decided to give gun hunting a try. Now she is hooked!"
Shawn Barylski of Thompson, Conn., took this 230-pound 9-point buck with one shot from Remington .270 while hunting private land during first week of rifle season.
Shawn Barylski of Thompson, Conn., took this 230-pound 9-point buck with one shot from Remington .270 while hunting private land during first week of rifle season.
Trevor Richards first buck. Nine points, 21.5-inch wide spread, 185 pounds. Killed in Lee County, S.C., on Oct. 19, 2013. Thanks Mr. Britt for the use of your rattling horns.

— Sonya Roper Richards

Eight-point buck killed by William Buckles Jr. from North Tazewell, Va., on Nov. 21, 2013, at Falls Mills, Va., with a .30-06 rifle.

— Terri Keene

Terry Galloway took this 275-pound buck during an October bow hunt in southern Illinois.
Grandson and I went hunting for the first time. Now he has a gun so keep your fingers crossed.

— Tharon Creech

Connor Fruge from Iota, La., killed his first deer while hunting with his father on their hunting lease in St. Landry Parish, La.

— Todd C. Fruge

Tommy Cauthen took this 165-pound cactus buck on Nov. 25, 2013, in Elmore County, Ala.
Edward Hall took this buck on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, while hunting in the Osceola National Forest in Florida.
Gary Bowlen of Uniontown, Pa., shot this 17-point non-typical whitetail with a 17-inch inside spread on the first day of the 2013 gun season.
James Noles sent in this photo of Lainey Noles, 12, of Lanesville, Ind., with her first deer.
After a long deer season hunting harder then I ever have, I finally scored on this 128-inch buck in Pink, Okla., on Dec. 4, 2013! Great season!

— Michael Landers

Stephen Shed of Edmond, Okla., took this buck on the opening day of gun season in Kay County, Okla.
Garrett Schrantz, 11, of Virginia Beach, Va., shot this 6-point on youth day with a 20-gauge slug gun.

— Tom Schrantz

Tom Schrantz of Virginia Beach, Va., shot this 10-point buck during the Virginia gun season.
Walker Smith, 12, of Wellsburg, W.V., killed his first deer, a button buck, in Brooke County, W.V.
Matthew Fritz, 15, of Upper Moreland Township, Montgomery County, Pa., shot his first ever deer Nov. 4 in Montgomery County with a crossbow.

— William M. Fritz

Brian Clevenger of Green, Ohio, shot this nice 9-pointer with his Horton crossbow on Nov. 9, 2013. The buck was taken on private property in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and field-dressed at 177 pounds.
My granddaughter, Michaela Wilson, 14, of Hillsborough, N.C., killed her first deer, a 6-point, on Nov. 23, 2013.

— Dan Kimball

Here is a photo of my 16-year-old daughter, Madison, with an older 7-point buck she shot with me on Thanksgiving day. We were hunting on her Uncle Jim and Aunt Karen's farm in Roanoke County, Va., when this buck stepped out at 180 yards away in a clear-cut, and Madison dropped him with one shot from her .30-06.

— John Scott

A 6-pointer that I got in Brunswick, N.Y., in the morning on Nov. 24, 2013, during regular season. The deer weighed 145 pounds.

— Kerry Armstrong

A 6-pointer that I got in Brunswick, N.Y., in the morning on Nov. 24, 2013, during regular season. The deer weighed 145 pounds.

— Kerry Armstrong

Michael McDermott of Wrentham, Mass., shot this 9-point buck during first week of the Massachusetts shotgun season.
Hunter Crouch, 14, of Corning, N.Y., shot his first buck with his .243 rifle in Steuben County, N.Y., in 2013 while hunting with his mom and dad. Family fun and all smiles.

— Robert Crouch

Shelby (age 14) and proud Dad Joe Guffey of New Castle. They shot matching 8 pointers late shotgun season of 2013 in Jefferson county. This is Shelby's first deer.
Jeffrey Osborn killed this 12 point buck while hunting near Bolivar, Tennessee on November 25, 2013. The deer sported a 10 inch drop tine.
Cody Smith from Hardy County West Virginia was 8 years old when he shot his first buck a nine pointer on thanksgiving day 2013.
Fourteen year old Alex Vance Liles of Victoria,Va killed this wallhanger on November 23 while still hunting with his father, Vance Liles and grandfather Terry Liles of Keysville, Va on private land in Buckingham County. The deer weighed 182 lbs. It had a 23 3/4 spread and 17 points.
16 year old Julia Weber of Carthage Mississippi harvested this 21 point monster on opening day while hunting by herself for the very first time. The deer was killed in Leake county near Walnut Grove scoring 157 by B and C!

chris-reeder-il

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.
Left to right, Kim Vickers, Clint Jones, Ryan Bruce, Steven Miller, Parker Jones killed this nice select of deer whilst dog hunting in Sturgis MS on the Noxubee River.
This great 10 point buck was shot by Taylor Knelange, age 14, on his grandfathers farm in Crawford County, MO. with his 270 caliber rifle during youth season. This was his first deer.
Mark Byrne took this big buck in Freedom Indiana in October 2014.
Brent Honaker killed his first buck in Calhoun County AL. on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014. It had 11 points (double brow tine on one side) with 16 inch spread. Brent was hunting with his father, Clay Honaker.
Eleven year old Kurtis Leonard killed this 7 point Brooke County WV. buck during the 2013 firearm season.
12 year Tyler Hilgar shot this nice 9 point hunting with his Dad on the first day hunting season 2013 in Port Matilda, PA.
Dave DiLullo of Mahoning County Ohio shot this big 13 point buck in November 2013 with his crossbow.
Kirk Bartholomew of Stewart TN. in Houston County killed this nice 11 point buck on January 3rd 2014.
Bo Holcombe of Bibb County Alabama shot this 8 point buck on Dec 3, 2012 weighing in at 230lbs.
Dale Haude shot this 10pt buck in Trinity County Texas this year. The buck weighed 180lbs live weight.

Check out your state's deer forecast for this hunting season!

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