July 06, 2012
Shoot Me Down: Big-Woods Food Plots Are Butt-Ugly
By Dave Hurteau
Why not do back-to-back SMDs? Being called an idiot is funny and may even build character. So for the most part, I don’t raise any loud objections to food plots. They are absolutely not unethical; luring deer to shoot for food is morally permissible just about any way you slice it (even if you slice it thickly and against the grain, which is so wrong in a different way). But there are some special places where a plot really bugs the heck out of me, not because it’s wrong or unethical or unfair but because it’s hideously incongruous. Butt-ugly. An affront to good taste. (And if you ask David E. Petzal, he’ll tell you that good taste is everything.)
I’m thinking of a plot planted in a wilderness setting. One of my best friends has a hunting camp in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. To get there, you drive about 20 miles into the hinterlands on “roads” only passable if you have a chainsaw and a come-along. Some years ago, a few of the younger members decided to put in food plots. I haven’t been back. I don’t need to see them to know that their “improvements” spoil what makes the place special.
A food plot in farmland—where man’s hand is everywhere—is reasonably in keeping with the land’s character. In the big woods, it’s a sore thumb, with a fungal nail infection. It’s a plastic stock on a Winchester 94. It’s an escalator up Pike’s Peak.
When you plant a food plot to “improve” the wilderness, you lose. When you make it easier to hunt wilderness bucks, you lose. When you kill a backwoods buck that comes to your food plot, you gain a deer and lose the sublime aesthetic of a wilderness hunt.
So, I say food plots don’t belong in the backwoods. You know the drill: Stand with me or shoot me down.