How to Manage Family Farms for Deer Hunting

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

Do You Hunt on a Family Farm?

Prepare Equipment

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1 | Prepare Equipment

The blades must be scoured before they’ll break the dry ground; below the soil’s surface is a web of roots connected to brush and weeds. This must be broken up if a food plot is to have a chance.

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Break Ground

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2 | Break Ground

Breaking ground that’s been fallow for years with a 30-year-old diesel tractor and rusty two-bottom plow isn’t easy.

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Spread the Fertilizer

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3 | Spread the Fertilizer

Back and forth, sowing seed and broadcasting fertilizer. Now, we need rain.

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Sow the Seed

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4 | Sow the Seed

With the ground finally plowed and disked, it’s time to plant. Clover for the long haul; wheat for immediate attraction, and turnips for the winter.

 

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Pray for Rain

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5 | Pray for Rain

A few weeks later, rain comes. We see green growth in the fields — and deer tracks.

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Re-Work and Re-Sow If Needed

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6 | Re-Work and Re-Sow If Needed

Behold, the first few weeks of life for a young turnip green. At this point, deer are eating them like crazy. If the plot doesn't take off, re-work and re-sow if there's enough time left.

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Watch for Weeds

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7 | Watch for Weeds

Bow season’s well underway now, and some of our food plots are growing like crazy. The deer will largely ignore the brassicas now, at least until later this winter. But watch for weeds. And understand that what you plant in your food plots will dictate whether or not you can spray for weeds post-emergence.

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Meat for the Freezer

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8 | Meat for the Freezer

Filling some doe tags and getting meat in the freezer is priority No. 1 for the early season.

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Fill More Tags

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9 | Fill More Tags

Compared to buying beef at the store, doe tags are cheap.

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Scout for Buck Sign

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10 | Scout for Buck Sign

Late October brings with it some promising signs in a few favorite areas.

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Fill That Buck Tag

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11 | Fill That Buck Tag

And come November, gun season, a much-anticipated family tradition, begins. Following a trail like this is a great way to kick things off.

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Brow Tines

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12 | Brow Tines

Obviously the source of some of those rubs.

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8-Pointer

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13 | 8-Pointer

That’s my dad, Larry Adams, with a nice 8-pointer. He’s been managing and hunting our family farm for years.

Editor's Note: This was originally published September 17, 2010.

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Work the ground. Fix the tractor. Work some more. Plant the seed. Pray for rain. Hang the stands. Take the shot. Fill the freezer — it’s the story of managing family farms for whitetails.