Foodplot Layout

Turkey Creek

5 year old buck +
I know for sure we will be putting in some small plots of varying types on the new place and am contemplating layout. Just a random thought here.... so we are bowhunters primarily in this family. So obviously being able to have deer within comfortable shooting range is a priority. Anyone ever layout food plots with your stand locations as the starting point for narrow plots that originate from it? Like the hub and spokes of a bike wheel. Thinking in my mind that perhaps if the deer are particulary focused on one food source or another would travel that plot and possibly come into range.

Other thoughts on food plot layout for archery hunting? Honestly thinking of 4 narrow plots, soybeans, corn, a greens plot (clover, brassicas, etc) and a fallow plot (weeds). Will also have a few soft mast trees in the mix and a few DCOs that we will be adding to our already existing oak population.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
All of my small kill plots were created with stand selection first. I consider wind direction and approach to the stand. Once I've selected the stand site, I create the plot. It is important to consider back cover. I walk through the future plot before it is created and look back at the stand site. to make sure I'm not silhouetted or something. I like sort of a boomerang shape with my stand in the crook, but a lot depends on terrain and vegetation. Generally my kill plots are small enough that I can cover about 75% with a bow from my stand. I generally position my kill plots between my larger feeding plots and bedding. Deer move from bedding to feed in my larger more open plots at night once pressure is on. They often get there by way of my kill plots for an appetizer during shooting hours.

In general, I keep my small kill plots in perennial clover. The are distributed around the property. It is pretty inefficient to plant them annually. Sunlight can be an issue in smaller plots especially when irregularly shaped for hunting purposes. Clover does pretty well. I'll often drill GHR into a few of them for fall. Usually one or two need rotated, so I'll plant a fall mix with a WR base and then buckwheat in the spring before rotating back to perennial clover. With this method, I'm only planting a couple each year.

Thanks,

Jack
 

DRG3

5 year old buck +
All of my small kill plots were created with stand selection first. I consider wind direction and approach to the stand. Once I've selected the stand site, I create the plot. It is important to consider back cover. I walk through the future plot before it is created and look back at the stand site. to make sure I'm not silhouetted or something. I like sort of a boomerang shape with my stand in the crook, but a lot depends on terrain and vegetation. Generally my kill plots are small enough that I can cover about 75% with a bow from my stand. I generally position my kill plots between my larger feeding plots and bedding. Deer move from bedding to feed in my larger more open plots at night once pressure is on. They often get there by way of my kill plots for an appetizer during shooting hours.
100% agree. Well said.

One thing I learned the hard way- when considering cover- think about what it will be with the vegetation off if you may be hunting it at those times. I speak that from unfortunate experience.

I will do a few annual plots each year as well, just because my deer seem to like oats and brassicas really well and I'm competing in a crowded area.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
100% agree. Well said.

One thing I learned the hard way- when considering cover- think about what it will be with the vegetation off if you may be hunting it at those times. I speak that from unfortunate experience.

I will do a few annual plots each year as well, just because my deer seem to like oats and brassicas really well and I'm competing in a crowded area.
Good point. Winter and early spring are great times to identify the stand location. That is the low point in vegetative cover.
 

Turkey Creek

5 year old buck +
Oh for sure, going to be a fun year just seeing what potential the property currently holds, learning wind patterns and then scheming for the future. First piece of property that I can manage as I see fit, so it will be a fun process.
 

SwampCat

5 year old buck +
I have found it is easier to move stands than try to build food plots based upon desired stand positions. In my area, does are often fairly easy to predict where they will enter a plot. Our bucks often enter at odd places, often on much less used trails. I have many stands that were in a hot place for several years and now, for whatever reason, deer dont enter or exit there anymore - even though the area was hunted very lightly. I have some food plots it is almost impossible to see a buck - and when I built it, falsely predicted it was going to be a honey hole. Yep - just moved a stand five days ago - took about 30 minutes. I would wait and let the deer decide where they wanted to come in and out, figure out where the good cover is - and figure out where the deer most like to feed in the plot. You may even have bucks scrape along the edge. Did I say stands are easily moved.
 

Turkey Creek

5 year old buck +
I have found it is easier to move stands than try to build food plots based upon desired stand positions. In my area, does are often fairly easy to predict where they will enter a plot. Our bucks often enter at odd places, often on much less used trails. I have many stands that were in a hot place for several years and now, for whatever reason, deer dont enter or exit there anymore - even though the area was hunted very lightly. I have some food plots it is almost impossible to see a buck - and when I built it, falsely predicted it was going to be a honey hole. Yep - just moved a stand five days ago - took about 30 minutes. I would wait and let the deer decide where they wanted to come in and out, figure out where the good cover is - and figure out where the deer most like to feed in the plot. You may even have bucks scrape along the edge. Did I say stands are easily moved.
Good point.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
I have found it is easier to move stands than try to build food plots based upon desired stand positions. In my area, does are often fairly easy to predict where they will enter a plot. Our bucks often enter at odd places, often on much less used trails. I have many stands that were in a hot place for several years and now, for whatever reason, deer dont enter or exit there anymore - even though the area was hunted very lightly. I have some food plots it is almost impossible to see a buck - and when I built it, falsely predicted it was going to be a honey hole. Yep - just moved a stand five days ago - took about 30 minutes. I would wait and let the deer decide where they wanted to come in and out, figure out where the good cover is - and figure out where the deer most like to feed in the plot. You may even have bucks scrape along the edge. Did I say stands are easily moved.

Yes, moving stands is much easier than creating a food plot. I think the assumption here is that a new property lacks food either for attraction during hunting season or for QDM purposes. So given we are creating a small kill plot, we best go about it by selecting a stand location first and designing the plot around it. We can control where we place the stand and clear for a small kill plot. We can not control terrain, prevailing winds, and such.

Having said that, there is a balance. We also have to consider plot maintenance efficiency. I've go a number of small kill plots. I generally manage them with perennial clover, but the small distributed nature of them makes maintenance quite inefficient compared to my larger feeding plots. I often spend as much or more time transporting equipment to the plot than I do working in it.

You are quite right to point out that we often think we know how deer will use a plot before we create it and are surprised how they relate to it after it is created. We have a fairly firm grip on general deer behavior, but that changes with locality and individual deer can often behave quite differently than the generalization.
 

Telemark

5 year old buck +
The problem of a hub and spoke layout is that you effectively sit in the middle of the plot system with your scent blowing into one or more of them. I think a better option is to build a plot or series of plots where you have good access, and then see how the deer relate to the food and hunt accordingly. I also prefer to have as many stands and blinds as possible in order to avoid moving stands during the season.

I like your idea of having a variety of food sources, especially high quality food sources. Even a fallow field can be a good summer attraction. And you can always plant an beneficial annual cover crop to supplement the weeds.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
The problem of a hub and spoke layout is that you effectively sit in the middle of the plot system with your scent blowing into one or more of them. I think a better option is to build a plot or series of plots where you have good access, and then see how the deer relate to the food and hunt accordingly. I also prefer to have as many stands and blinds as possible in order to avoid moving stands during the season.

I like your idea of having a variety of food sources, especially high quality food sources. Even a fallow field can be a good summer attraction. And you can always plant an beneficial annual cover crop to supplement the weeds.
A hub and spoke systems work best for firearms on fairly gentle topography. You don't need spokes all around the hub which allows for proper approach. More importantly, this doesn't fit with creating a small kill plot you want to cover with a bow. High recovery rate bow shots are in the 20-30 yard range depending on the shooter. Beyond that too much can go wrong and recovery rates drop significantly. Much will depend on the chosen weapon.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
Jim Brauker's book is the most helpful thing I've read to conceptualize various layout ideas. The only thing with his ideas that I likely cant get on board with is he has a lot of access across areas with frequent deer travel and he practices insanely stringent scent control practices that he believes helps with associated problems. I don't see myself going to the extent he does with scent control so would rather elect to have fewer stand sites that are less likely to cross frequent deer travel paths.

A couple illustrations from his book:
inside out.jpgPicture3.png
 

Turkey Creek

5 year old buck +
The problem of a hub and spoke layout is that you effectively sit in the middle of the plot system with your scent blowing into one or more of them. I think a better option is to build a plot or series of plots where you have good access, and then see how the deer relate to the food and hunt accordingly. I also prefer to have as many stands and blinds as possible in order to avoid moving stands during the season.

I like your idea of having a variety of food sources, especially high quality food sources. Even a fallow field can be a good summer attraction. And you can always plant an beneficial annual cover crop to supplement the weeds.

I would agree that a blind in the middle of plots all the way around it would be problematic. I was thinking of more of a half circle layout, I could approach the blind/stand out of sight from the food plots.
 

Telemark

5 year old buck +
I would agree that a blind in the middle of plots all the way around it would be problematic. I was thinking of more of a half circle layout, I could approach the blind/stand out of sight from the food plots.

What about turning it inside out and having curved plots terminating at two poles? Then you have two spots so you're not as limited by the winds?
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
Looking at your other thread about the new property, it looks like the majority of the west side is timber or hay ground?

My arm-chair input - The obvious location for a food plot to me is along your northern property border against the tree line. Just going off aerial, Id make the treeline unpassable (or close) AND uninviting for bedding where it touches the food plot and then hunt the treeline on the east and west ends of the food plot to catch deer using it as a travel corridor from the bigger blocks of cover to the east and west. In a south wind, you would have to make sure you can access from north end of treeline heading west without disturbing deer in the NE corner block of cover. Would have to screen the south side of food plot or use topography (posted aerial doesn't show topo) to access it on a north wind. An upside down trapezoid or triangle shaped food plot would allow you to hunt better on NE or NW winds without your wind blowing into the plot.
 
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buckdeer1

5 year old buck +
I never liked the spoke plan.If that is your food plot and you have good access to stands then put a couple in for different wind directions.If you don't have good access then they are useless stands.In the spoke drawing you have sanctuary on all 4 sides so you are going to blow your wind through at least one of them anytime you go in.Another issue with enclose plot is it has to be a big enough size that you can get sunlight so round is the worst shape you can use.
 

yoderjac

5 year old buck +
I never liked the spoke plan.If that is your food plot and you have good access to stands then put a couple in for different wind directions.If you don't have good access then they are useless stands.In the spoke drawing you have sanctuary on all 4 sides so you are going to blow your wind through at least one of them anytime you go in.Another issue with enclose plot is it has to be a big enough size that you can get sunlight so round is the worst shape you can use.
Sun is a good point, but it depends on what you are working with. With mature canopy it can be difficult. If you are in an overgrown clear-cut, you can get a couple of spokes that run mostly east/west and use clover and be effective.

I've been able to create a similar hub and spoke effect with a stand on the edge of a large food plot. I like to think of it as making a large food plot seem like several smaller plots. What I did was plant a mix of sunn hemp and buckwheat in the spring. This particular year, I tried adding sorghum as well. This covered my summer stress period from a QDM perspective. When it came time for my fall plant, the sunn hemp was 6 to 8 feet tall and the sorghum had heads. The buckwheat was completely done. Sunn hemp has no real food value for my deer at this point, but it is great cover to break up the field. I used a bushhog to mow spokes from the stand in the sunn hemp. I then did a T&M of my normal fall mix of WR/PPT/GHR/CC in the open strips. Deer did use the sorghum heads, but it probably wasn't worth planting since much of it got mowed before the head were ripe. This technique worked pretty well for me and could be repeated the next year. There are other things you could use like Egyptian Wheat as the cover strips depending on location and objectives.

I did something similar with a mix of forage beans and corn one year and I took pictures of it: Designer Beans and Corn

Thanks,

Jack
 

Turkey Creek

5 year old buck +
Looking at your other thread about the new property, it looks like the majority of the west side is timber or hay ground?

My arch-chair input - The obvious location for a food plot to me is along your northern property border against the tree line. Just going off aerial, Id make the treeline unpassable (or close) AND uninviting for bedding where it touches the food plot and then hunt the treeline on the east and west ends of the food plot to catch deer using it as a travel corridor from the bigger blocks of cover to the east and west. In a south wind, you would have to make sure you can access from north end of treeline heading west without disturbing deer in the NE corner block of cover. Would have to screen the south side of food plot or use topography (posted aerial doesn't show topo) to access it on a north wind. An upside down trapezoid or triangle shaped food plot would allow you to hunt better on NE or NW winds without your wind blowing into the plot.
You are correct it looks like the most secluded bedding area is to the west. A couple of blocks of timber on our property but they are either next to roads or the house, so hypothetically I would think they would be the less preferred bedding spots. Possibly, but as of this time I have no idea if the neighbor to the north hunts, and then on top of that hunts ethically. I think all the trees in the fence line are actually on my side of the fence, which is a plus. I guess I dont necessarily want to put a food plot next to a fence line only to tempt someone who doesnt have permission to kill a deer on my side of the fence.
 

SD51555

5 year old buck +
@Wind Gypsy I set mine up so I don't ever or at least minimize the amount of places I may cross a deer trail of any kind. If I've got a northerly wind, I hunt south. If I have a southerly wind, I hunt north. 80% of the time, the wind is reliably out of the west, so I'm off the east corners of my plots, and set back about 20 yards into the heavy brush.

camp.PNG
 

buckdeer1

5 year old buck +
I think your first idea with narrow plots is along the right lines.If you have more than 1 food plot close together how do you know they aren't just out of sight at the other one?I will have to go back and look at your other thread.This the fun part when getting new land.I haven't heard of the author of the book you refer to has he written anything else.
 

Wind Gypsy

5 year old buck +
You are correct it looks like the most secluded bedding area is to the west. A couple of blocks of timber on our property but they are either next to roads or the house, so hypothetically I would think they would be the less preferred bedding spots. Possibly, but as of this time I have no idea if the neighbor to the north hunts, and then on top of that hunts ethically. I think all the trees in the fence line are actually on my side of the fence, which is a plus. I guess I dont necessarily want to put a food plot next to a fence line only to tempt someone who doesnt have permission to kill a deer on my side of the fence.

I get the concern when treelines are split on the property line but if it’s all on your side of the fence and they don’t appear to have anywhere to hang a stand or even any notable habitat on their side of the fence to set up on it would have to be pretty egregious trespassing.

I’d concerned about the neighbor to the west setting up right next to your NW property corner.

Not sure on scale of the property but I think you could have deer bedding on the NE (near the road) and in parts of the wood lot by your house if there isnt active human or dog intrusion. I think they’d get used to a certain level of human activity around the house and traffic on the roads as long as people and dogs aren’t stomping around in there. Not a perfect scenario but I bet it could work.

edit: looked at other thread again, I bet you could have deer bedding in each of your 3 chunks of woods if you set em up for it. That must be about 20 acres of woods by the house, wouldn’t need to have to set the ideal bedding up directly adjacent to the house. You have some great access options.
 
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