The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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Prepping the Best Food Plot Area

When we at Shotem and Caughtem started to think about building food plots on our property we knew it would not be an easy task.  However, one thing we wanted to make sure we did was create a plan before we ever started digging or prepping.  One of the first things we needed to check is where the best place to put a plot and where on the property we had the most traffic.  In other words, you don't just build a plot, then decide where to place your stand. You take stand placement into account before you build the plot.

You must separate "hunting plots" from "feeding plots." Hunting plots are small, maybe just 1/4-1/2 acre in size. They are irregular in shape and seeded with plants that will attract deer during the hunting season. In a hunting plot you want irregular shape. There may be a peninsula of cover jutting out into the plot, positioned in such a way as to take advantage of the wind. Just a nice little plot in the woods that fits into the landscape.

Finding the right place for your Food Plot


The first step in building a hunting plot is to decide where you want it. In the spring, scout the area for trails, and always, always pay attention to the wind. Know where the deer bed. Also consider whether it will be hunted in the morning or evening or both. Determine how you will get to the plot, and when you've taken all these factors into consideration, then decide where you want the plot.

Food Plot Shape and Design


There are various designs for hunting plots. One that really intrigued us is the "hourglass" design, where the narrowest (the neck of the hour glass) is only thirty yards across. If you know the prevailing wind, where deer bed, and build the plot near thick cover, putting your stand at the narrow portion of the hour glass can be dynamite during the rut. We recommend building licking branches and mock scrapes at the neck of the hour glass. Interesting concept..



Other shapes such as boomerang and "s" shaped plots.  Then there is the corner plot that is built adjacent to an existing field. This is really a "food" plot, but is small and is a great place to set a stand.

You may have some small openings in the hardwoods that you hunt that may be adapted to a hunting plot. If so, now is the time to get it ready for the fall. Depending on the terrain if you only need 1/4 acres, you may be able to get by with some chain saw and small equipment tilling to build your own hunting plots.  Next in this series we will talk about what to plant to attract the most animals or specific ones to hunt.  But we always love to get your comments and ideas below.

We at Shotem and Caughtem typically do a seed mix from a local seed market to create the perfect wildlife food plot.  However, since we launched this site to inform people of products related to hunting and fishing we decided we would break from our normal routine and try some pre made products.  This year we traveled to Gander Mountain to see what our local store might have in stock and our options.  We were surprised that many of the products carried in stock were mainly for big bucks.  Though we love deer season, the amount of work it takes to install a food plot makes us want to attract more than just deer.  We like to make sure we have the opportunity to hunt all types of wild life and support our full ecosystem.  With this in mind we were disappointed that there was not a one solution option.  The company that provided the most options in stock that we decided to create our wildlife buffet was from Evolved Harvest.  We selected the four options above which we felt provided the most variety for the wildlife we intended to support but as you can see focused a lot on deer.  Again we only wanted to go off of what one can get on short notice since we like many farmers like to time planting to a good rain forecast like we had for this week.

We decided that these four products offered our best options with these criteria in mind.  A food plot that would keep a steady stream of wild life happy.  The soy beans, forage rape, turnip, clover would keep the deer more than happy.  The oats, sunflower, grain sorghum, and chicory for all things bird.  Granted we would have liked to have an option that would better cover the multitude of animals we love to see year round but this is what our options were in stock.  Cost was 90 dollars after tax.  

We wanted to give the product a less than ideal test bed to work from to really get a good test.  Since many food plots are created in less than ideal situations we wanted to do the same.  We choose a place that had never been used for this type of test.  It is a pasture that has raised cattle since it was stead ed in the late 1800's.  It had been grassland its whole life.  It did have some positives on its location as seen in the photos below.  It is right along a well traveled wildlife trail along a wooded creek in a small valley.  We did not test the soil.  But we wanted a good test of how good the product can preform in an untested rural area.  Places we like to hunt and enjoy the great outdoors.    

We first brush hogged the grass as low as possible.  Then because it was undisturbed ground we disc-ed the area several times to break the soil just enough for planting.  The more roughed up photo shows the soil conditions after we planted.  We broad casted the seed in separate strips so that over the next couple of seasons the crop would have room to grow.  In all the bags planted about half of the 3 acre patch we prepped.  It took us most of the weekend to get the ground to a point we were comfortable would be a good test of the products capabilities.  

We will keep you posted on growth and conditions as the season begins so that you to can make an educate decision on the products you choose and a true test of effectiveness.  Let us know the products you have used in the past and how they worked in the comment section below.  Or post your food plot photos to the gear section and let us know what you used and why.  

We at Shotem and Caughtem are starting to get things prepped for food plot planting season.  Any experienced hunter knows that a successful food plot can not only help lure game to their property but also provide conservation measures to ensure wildlife populations.  There are many products available that will help to create and manage your food plot, but we have also found some alternative seed sources and practices that might aid in creating a successful habitat source for wildlife on your property.  

First rule of a successful food plot, location, location, location.  All wildlife need the three basics.  Water, food and shelter.  They also like to have all these close to one another in order to avoid predators.  If a person plants a food plot away from any of these three factors it will more than likely not gain you anything when it comes to wildlife.  Therefore pick or clear a spot where your wildlife can take advantage of all three neccessities without having to subject themselves to stress from predators.  A quarter to half an acre food plot per 25 acres seems to be the going rule from what we have learned.  It should be located next to a shelter belt with good cover and close to a water source.

Monday, 25 February 2013 19:25

Whitetail Buck Deer Movements Research

Recently, we at Shotem and Caughtem were made aware of a great article on deer movements and thought we would share.  The article tracked Whitetail deer movements for a year and then discussed the results.  As you can tell by the photos the article picked an area with trees, pasture, water and tillable ground to show the best places to set up food plots, cameras and hunting stands.  As always please comment below on your experiences with deer movement and post photos to the galleries and start a discussion.