by Travis Faulkner
Wait a minute! Don’t put in those last-minute fall food plots just yet. There’s something you need to know first.
Planting high-quality crops can do more than attract whitetails onto your property. If you put a little extra thought into the locations of the plots, they can steer big bucks directly to your stand–from the pre-rut through the post-rut.
Here are three planting plans that’ll have you into deer all season long.
#1 – Make a Food Plot Funnel
During the early season, when bucks are on a predictable bed-to-feed pattern and will be hitting your property’s larger plots or agricultural fields of soybeans or alfalfa, roll out the green carpet for them. That is, grow a narrow strip of clover leading from the staging area into the main feeding area. With a little forethought, you can often design this stand setup so that you have the wind in your favor, the sun at your back, a good entry and exit route, and an aisle of groceries that will guide bucks right in front of you–broadside.
#2 – Feed the Does in Bed
Doe bedding areas are among the hottest spots to tag a lovesick buck, but you don’t want to set up so close that you bump the resting does. So plant a small, isolated plot of shade-tolerant clover or commercial blend just off the sleeping area. It will lure does from their beds and into the open, and bucks will soon start cruising the edge of the plot to find estrous females. What’s more, a mature buck will often lie down with a receptive doe and follow her wherever she goes. If the doe leaves the safety of her bed for a midmorning snack, she’ll lead that buck right to you.
#3 – Plant a Security-Cover Plot
After the rut, when pressured bucks are recuperating and desperately need to conserve energy ahead of winter, they seek a thick-growing refuge where they don’t have to travel far to fill their bellies. You can give them exactly what they want by planting a small plot of winter wheat, rye, or oats along the edge of dense low-lying cover. Hang a stand nearby, get in it around midday before a snowstorm, and you’ll have a great shot at tagging a mature buck that was savvy enough to survive the earlier parts of the season.