Brantley: Food Plot Fine Tuning

Rut Reporter Will Brantley of Murray, Kentucky, knows the region well. He spends 40 to 50 days each season in the Mid-South whitetail woods. Brantley shot his first deer at age 10 with a sidelock muzzleloader. States covered: KY, TN, WV, VA, NC.

Opening day of Kentucky's bow season was blistering hot, with a high heat index well above 100 degrees. But with a massive cold front--and some rain--in the forecast, we decided to put in a little last-minute tractor work and sow a big food plot in one of my favorite spots on the family farm.

We've planted a bunch of food plots here over the years. We're not farmers or land management experts, so I'm sure they could be better--but they've always grown, and our hunting success as a result of them has been outstanding.

Obviously, location is critical for a good food plot. The ground must be accessible for equipment, but it needs to be in a high-traffic area as well. This plot, one of the largest on our farm at about an acre in size, is smack-dab in a natural funnel with cover on all sides, ample water sources nearby, and plenty of spots for hanging stands. It's around 120 yards long, but narrow--ideal for getting a shot when bucks are chasing does. It doesn't get much better during the rut.

Another big consideration is what to plant. Some seeds and blends are better than others at a given time of year. We plant turnips, for example, but the deer don't mess with them until after the rut's over. Other plants are also more expensive or difficult to grow than others. So day in and out, we have our most consistent luck with large ladino clover plots oversown with winter wheat that first fall. With a little care, the clover lasts for several seasons, while the wheat provides great attraction the first year, as the clover establishes. Take a look at the video for a little more.

Oh, and by the way--the long weekend ended on a high note. That front came in, pouring needed rain on the new plot. Temps dropped, too, getting the deer on their feet. We're having young-doe backstrap for supper tonight.