Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Fast, Last-minute Food Plots

Hidey-hole plots are short-term, but can be well worth the effort. In most case you may only gonna hunt it once, but it’s the first time prey meets predator.

By Bob Humphrey

Imagine this scenario - for a lot of us it’s not hard to do.  It’s a week or two before bow season.  You’re doing a little last-minute scouting and you come upon a real hotspot.  It has all the right ingredients save for one: a concentrated food source, like a food plot. 

You have three choices.  You can log it into your GPS and put it on next year’s food plot plan.  You can set up a stand, hunt it anyway and hope for the best.  Or, you can build a food plot now - in under an hour - and hunt it within two weeks. 

Food plot pioneer Dr. Grant Woods calls them his “hidey-hole” plots.  You can buy all the materials you need at the local feed store for under $50, and carry it into the woods on your back, though it’s easier if you can haul it on an ATV.  Furthermore, you can build them almost anywhere, in under an hour.

You should position your plot in a prime location such as a funnel, where natural deer movement is concentrated.  It can be as big as a saddle between ridges, or as small as a fallen tree.  “The next thing I look for is a natural opening in the forest,” says Woods.  This allows more sunlight to reach the forest floor, which is critical to plant growth.  

Begin by clearing the area with a backpack leaf blower - if you have one - or simply a rake.  Then simply spread your seed and fertilizer.  Woods generally figures on an area of 400 (20 x 20) square yards.   “That calls for one (50-pound) bag of 19-19-19 fertilizer, and three to four pounds of seed.”  Then spread a fast-germinating, fast-growing seed blend.  There are several on the market, though winter peas, buckwheat, oats or winter rye will do fine.

Broadcast materials by hand or with a hand-held spreader. Walk over the area a few times to tamp down the soil (which provides better seed to soil contact to enhance germination), then pray for rain.  The whole thing takes between 15 and 30 minutes; and in two weeks you can hunt it.