Protect Your Food Plots

By Tony Hansen writes Brow Tines and Backstrap

A few days ago, I wrote a piece about food plots and shared my thoughts on the matter of using them in areas of the country where security cover trumps food.

That piece generated some interesting comments and, despite the notion offered by one reader that I'm living in a fantasy world where I have my pick of prime hunting areas and giant bucks routinely seek me out to be slain, the facts of the matter paint a picture that's a bit different.

I will spend about half of my time hunting whitetails on public land. The other half will be spent hunting very small pieces of ground in areas that are heavily hunted. The vast majority of those pieces will be "private" land -- which means I'll be sharing the ground with a number of other hunters, many of whom I don't know.

I have a couple of areas where I'm allowed to plant small food plots. And, per my earlier piece, I'm taking a much different approach to those plots this year. I've sworn off brassicas after lackluster results over the past several years and am, instead, focusing on establishing plots that feature crops designed to draw deer in bow season and are located in areas of security cover.

I know deer in my area love soybeans. In fact, it was the soybeans that kept drawing deer right through the winter -- even after they were cut. The deer marched right through my plots filled with turnips and sugar beets to scrounge in those cut fields.

Well, if you can't beat them, join them. I've planted soybeans in two of my areas. But, since I'm not a farmer and I don't have access to big pieces of machinery, my plots are small and I'm a little worried about keeping deer out of the beans long enough to let them establish and produce enough forage to last into bow season.

And then I watched the above video about food plot enclosures and the Hot Zone fencing system. Whitetail Properties' Paul Sawyer gives a terrific step-by-step tutorial on installation and the reasons for using one. It's worth a look if you're looking to protect your food plots from being browsed too heavily, too early.