Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Tips for Hunting Food Plots

Harvest time is here.  The work is done and it’s time to reap the benefits of your labor.

Harvest time is here. The work is done and it’s time to reap the benefits of your labor.

By Bob Humphrey

In previous installments we’ve covered planning, locating, establishing and troubleshooting food plots.  Now it’s time to reap the benefits of all your hard work.  Below are a few tips on how you can be more effective at hunting your food plots.


It’s usually better to hunt food plots in the afternoon.  That way you can get in early and set up before the deer start moving.  Going into them in the morning, you’ll scare off any deer that are already there.  That leaves you hunting only the stray latecomers.  


Now, it’s better to set up back in the woods.  You can get in to your stand without clearing the plot of deer, then intercept them as they leave the plot and head off to bed. 


This is also a good ploy for afternoon hunting if you’re after mature bucks.  If you hunt food plots for a while you’ll begin to notice that it’s mostly does and young bucks that use them during daylight.  The big boys often wait until almost dark, or later to step into the open.  Some may even wander downwind and scent-check the does while never setting foot in the plot.  Set up back in the woods and downwind of your plot and you may catch sight of one you’d never see hunting from the edge of your plot.  


The temptation is strong to over-hunt a food plot.  Don’t.  Just like anyplace back in the woods, the more time you spend around your plot, the more you’ll alert deer to your presence.  Never hunt a plot when the wind is wrong, and try to limit the time you spend there even when it’s right.


Another big no-no is to shoot too many deer on your plot.  Food plots are often part of a management plan that may also include culling does.  Try not to do this on your plots.  After you’ve dropped a couple does, the others soon wise up, and begin visiting the plot only after dark.