An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 8-7-2013

First Food Plot

Hello friends,

The following plan was born when my daughter and I shot a couple of tom turkeys on a piece of private property near my house last April.  Selina has been showing a lot of interest in becoming a bow hunter and since she is twelve, I figured I had better get her started before she is too old and scheduled.

The only problem that I had was, that I do not have a reliable place to hunt deer with a bow and arrow, and where I hunt, in the Meadow Valley Wildlife Area, is very difficult to see a deer much less kill one with a stick and a string.

To make a long story short, I offered my neighbor my services as far as cutting firewood for heating his house and in exchange, Selina and I can hunt on his land and even better yet, I can put in my first food plot.

Monday, July 29th
High 74, low 56

First and most importantly! I had no idea what I was getting into as far as putting a food plot in which would include the work, the knowledge of how to prepare the soil, and what to plant.

Accepting my lack of knowledge, I reached out to Scott Christensen who is the plant manager at Allied Cooperative in Adams.  Not only is Scott Christensen the plant manger at Allied but he also has a lot of knowledge on food plots, which includes a couple on his own property.

The property that Selina and I will be hunting is made up of an oak and pine forest, which recently had a logging job done on it. Sometime in the past, someone dug a hole that is about the size of two dump trucks. That hole, which is about ten-feet deep, has some of the only water in the immediate area.

The water is adjacent to an old field which I have no idea how long since it has been planted, but this year Selina and I would be putting just over a half acre of soy beans, oats, turnips, brassica and rape into it.

One of my first realities was equipment or my lack of it.  I would mow the field with my riding lawn mower.  The next step in this process is to let the mowed vegetation grow a couple of inches and then spray it with Round Up or Cornerstone Plus.  I paid $58.00 for two gallons of this weed-killing product and used about a quart of it.  Back to the lack of equipment, I used a two-gallon sprayer and it took me a total of six hours to spray my half-acre (next year I will have a better plan)

The most important part of this process is a soil test and in my case I need a lot of lime.

I purchased a ton of bulk lime and will buy another 1000-pounds in the morning.  For fertilizer, I purchased three bags of 17/17/17 this was spread with a lawn spreader, Selina spread the lime with a feed scoop, and it was big job (another investment for next year)

My plan is to plant a row of soybeans that are mixed with oats in the middle of the plot. This will give the deer and hopefully turkey some green feed in mid-September and October.

Scott recommended turnips, rape (canola) and brassica. The brassica and turnips create green feed and once there has been a couple of hard frosts, sugars are created in the brassica and turnips that attract the deer pretty much until everything has been consumed in December.

I was fortunate that I have so many good friends and instead of using my rototiller this land is being turned over for $30.00 and a case of beer.

The land is being worked in three days and that night (the 5th) Selina and I will plant it.

After we hand broadcast our seed, I will lightly drag it and finish the job by packing it down with my four-wheeler.

Once the planting is over, all you can do is pray for rain. We just put a trail camera on the pond. Selina shoots her bow at the plot and we will finish this job by building a couple of ladder stands, which I will also have Selina practice from

I was really impressed with Scott Christensen and his fellow employees at Allied, most of them seemed to be outdoorsmen and all of them had a good work ethic.

It may seem crazy to go to all of this trouble for a quality place to hunt deer with my daughter, but in my opinion we are going to have a blast, create some excellent memories, and make some meat.

Enjoy your day!  Sunset

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative