I recently reached out and asked folks to bring up topics or raise questions they were curious what my thoughts were on. One such follower brought up the incredibly important topic of people choosing food plots over bedding, and if I had any thoughts on it?
Boy do I ever! You have already no doubt read the title of this post, so I’m sure you know the general direction of my thoughts, but why? Let's discuss the 3 main reasons I feel everyone overstates the importance of food plots and ignores how pivotal constructing (or protecting) cover and bedding is.
#1 Hunters are lazy
We say it all the time about deer, but the same can be said about the hunters that pursue them; on a grand scale we are by nature a fairly lazy bunch. We finally obtain a property either by purchase or lease that we have full habitat manipulation rights to…what’s the first piece of equipment most folks will fire up? The brush hog.
We set about carving out our awesome acre or bigger food plots just the way we desire, and put a killer micro/kill plot or two in for good measure. We stand back, crack a cold one and smile at the fruits of labor; albeit for possible failure. It is most likely we just destroy some of the best early successional and herbaceous vegetation on the property with our brush hog.
You will provide more food if you spend time focusing on encouragement of herbaceous vegetation and early successional growth. Give me one acre of that, over two acres of food any day with a ‘y’ at the end its name.
For when you do this, you have provided the deer most likely with cover to bed in, feed in and survive in. Not to mention when the temps drop, crops have long been out and your food plots are bare; these spots rich with woody brows will be the very sustenance that dream buck needs to make it to the spring green up after a long rut and harsh winter.
#2 Hunters are selfish
Food plots are for us, not the deer. I would say nearly 90% of all the food plots I’ve ever seen in person, on social media or seen from clients have been solely placed and planned with the hunter in mind. The deer is merely a hopeful effect of the implementation, not the driving force behind them being done. Does that not seem wrong to anyone else?
It should make perfect sense however to us, as again not only are hunters lazy by nature we are selfish as well. Food plots can be incredibly hunting spots however, consider for a moment have you ever given the deer food sources which you don’t plan on hunting them over or in? If the answer is no, then I would strongly encourage you re-evaluate your plan and mindset to your habitat plans.
#3 Hunters want instant gratification
Let’s be brutally honest with this final thought. Hunters nowadays don’t want to go a hunt, and especially not a few without seeing deer. So, food plots give that instant gratification whether it be through trail camera observations or from stand sites. Plots simply, on average, will yield sightings IF implemented well and on a property with decent numbers and deer feel safe.
However, seeing deer doesn’t mean seeing THE deer you desire to. If all I wanted to see was yearlings and does food plots would be my primary focus as well.
While there is much more to be said on the matter, that however is my quick 3 reasons why I feel food plots get far too much attention in comparison to bedding areas. Clearly there is a time and place for food plots, I have many scattered amongst my property; however they will never be the soul focus of providing food to the deer.
Stay tuned to Small Acre Hunting in 2019 as I tackle these topics more in depth whether it be through written posts, videos or even a few podcasts sprinkled in.