Food Plots Key Deer Hunting Success

Now that deer season is winding down and winter is upon us, food plots are more important than ever for the whitetail deer.

Food Plots Are A Key Factor

A great place on your deer hunting property to harvest late season big bucks is food plots.

buck taken hunting food plots

Hunt trails leading to and from food plots for late season success.

Learning the whitetails feeding habits can help you figure out where to set up to get a shot at one of the big bucks after the rut is over and food becomes critical for the deer to survive the harsh winter.

I like to look for trails leading to and from food plots or crops and set up down wind of these trails. I like to get close to what I believe is the bedding area, but not too close that I let the deer know that I am there. That is why it is important to make sure the wind is in your favor and be as quiet as possible to avoid being busted by the whitetails.

Deer Hunting Transition Areas

Yesterday was the last day of rifle season here in Kansas. But I still plan on doing some serious deer hunting. I haven’t been able to harvest a whitetail this deer season but I’m not giving up just yet. I plan on setting up on the trails that I have found leading to the corn fields where I am deer hunting. If you have crops on your property just find the trails leading to and from them and get close to the bedding area in the transition area. The big bucks can lose up to 30 percent of their body weight during the rut. So once the rut is over they start feeding like crazy to replace the fat they lost to get ready for the tough winter months ahead. If your property doesn’t have food plots or crops look for acorns or grasses, if the frost has taken it’s toll on the grasses and the acorns are gone the whitetails turn to browsing on maple, red and white oak, cedar, sumac, basswood, apple.

It may be late deer season, but that doesn’t mean it is over yet. If you are having a tough time harvesting a big deer like me, don’t give up just yet.

It only takes one hunt to make a great season, if things haven’t worked out for you this year the way you had hoped, don’t let it get you down. The main thing is to keep trying and be persistent. Persistence pays off, hard work pays off. I have a friend that harvested the biggest buck of his life many years ago on the last evening on the last day of the season. It was New Years day and I had already given up on getting a trophy whitetail that year but he hadn’t, he was in his stand right before dark on the last day of the season and just before dark he shot the biggest whitetail of his 55 years of hunting. So even if the rut is over and my chances don’t look too good I’m not giving up just yet. I look at it like each time I go and don’t see anything the better my chances get at harvesting that buck of a lifetime. And food sources are going to be the way I plan on getting that monster.

 

Food Plots Improve Property

Do you want to improve your food plots for deer hunting?

If you want to improve your deer hunting doing these five things will help your property tremendously.

If you want to improve your deer hunting doing these five things will help your property tremendously.

If you lease or own your land there are some things that you can do to improve your deer hunting tremendously. Here is a list of 5 things you can do to improve your deer hunting property.

Food Plots

1.Food Plots- In my book having food plots is the number one thing you can do to improve your hunting property for big bucks. Whitetails eat five to eight pounds of food every day for each one hundred pounds of body weight.

food plots

One of the best ways to improve your deer hunting property is to add food plots.

Food plots provide quality nutrition at the times of year when the deer need it the most. During fawn bearing, antler growth, and winter when food is scarce. Providing good nutrition will improve the overall well being of your deer herd.

2.Control burn- Every year around February or March we control burn our hunting property. We plow fire breaks and clean the brush out from around our deer stands, then we wait for the conditions to be right and then burn. We have to obtain a permit to be able to burn. You need to make sure you have the proper permit when burning. Each state may have different requirements so be sure to check with the proper authorities in your location.

3.Plant trees and shrubs- Some of the popular trees and shrubs are saw tooth oak, wild plum, crab apple, persimmon, honeysuckle, Hawthorne, dogwood, apple, pecan.

4.Supplemental feeding-High protein is very good for antler growth. During the winter supplemental feeding can help deer survive the harsh winter. We have three feeders on our hunting property. They are a great place to set up trail cameras. You can see that trophy buck up close and watch him grow. We’ve had a nice 150 class buck on camera for several years. He has outsmarted us so far though.

5.Managing the herd-Buck to doe ratio is important. With a one to one being ideal. One to three is acceptable. Increase your doe harvest and decrease your buck harvest depending on the ratio of your herd. Protect your yearling bucks. Let bucks grow to three and a half years old at least, with five and a half being preferred. Impose size restrictions on bucks. Set a width and number of points restriction. A lot of clubs have restrictions of as wide as its ears and eight points or better.

You can really improve your hunting property by doing these five things. If you hunt public land then you don’t have to worry about this stuff. In some states the public land is being managed very well to ensure a healthy deer herd. With some really nice bucks being harvested.

 

Scent Control Wind Direction

Scent Control is a very important part of deer hunting.

Scent Control

Scent Control is very important when deer hunting.

Although I know hunters who smoke and don’t pay any attention to the wind or scent control and they have taken several nice big deer. But you know how the saying goes, a blind squirrel gets a nut every once and a while or something of that nature. I just believe if you are serious about  harvesting mature trophy bucks on a consistent basis you must pay attention to wind direction and scent control.

There are many good products on the market to help you with scent control.

There are many good products on the market to help you with scent control.

There is one noise that makes a hunter cringe when in the woods (other than a nearby gun shot) a deer blowing at you is a bad feeling. Although no matter how hard you try to control your scent sometimes it is damn near impossible to keep deer from smelling you when deer hunting. Especially if the wind direction is shifting. Even if it is shifting I feel much more confident if I take a few steps to control my scent. I wanted to list a few things that I do to keep my scent at a minimum.

  1. The first thing I do is wash my hunting clothes in some type of liquid clothing wash for hunters. I like the way the  autumn blend smells.
  2. Store your clothes and boots in scent proof bags and maybe throw in a few pine needles or scent wafers or some plain old baking soda.
  3. Take a shower before going hunting using a scent eliminator soap
  4. Use a scent away anti-perspirant deodorant. I like the Hunters Specialties brand.
  5. Keep your boots in a scent bag until you arrive at your hunting property and are fixing to go hunting. Don’t ever pump gas in your hunting boots.
  6. Use scent eliminator spray and cover scents
  7. Pay attention to wind direction and use it to your advantage
  8. Don’t smoke or dip while hunting. This one is a hard one for me, I do dip in the woods even though I know I should not.
  9. Wear light clothing when walking to your stand to avoid sweating and put on more layers once you are at your stand or in your stand.
  10. If the wind shifts and is not to your advantage you will be better off to change stand locations. This is a tough one it can be a tough call to get up and leave a location once you are in the stand but if you are serious about harvesting mature trophy bucks you must pay attention to wind direction.

By paying attention to wind direction and doing your best to control your scent you can put the odds in your favor for a mature trophy buck.

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