mastering the art of whitetail food plot placement

For avid hunters and wildlife enthusiasts, there's an unwavering fascination with whitetail deer. These majestic creatures captivate our imagination and fuel our desire to be immersed in nature. As hunting strategies evolve, one approach that has gained considerable traction over the years is the establishment of food plots specifically designed to attract and sustain whitetail populations.

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A well-planned and strategically placed food plot can significantly enhance your hunting experience by providing a consistent and reliable food source for deer throughout the year. Not only does it improve their nutrition, but it also increases the chances of attracting mature bucks during the hunting season. However, proper food plot placement is key to maximizing its effectiveness and increasing your chances of success.

setting food plots for whitetail deer

Planting Food for Whitetail Deer

Food is one of the 3 necessities that a whitetail requires for survival, the other two being water and cover. Whitetails tend to bed in areas that are close to these resources so that they don’t have to travel very far. Now, that’s not to say they won’t travel a mile or further for a specific food source, because there is plenty of proof and scenarios where that has been the case!

If you are fortunate enough to own, lease, or have permission to hunt private land, you may have the opportunity to plant a food plot for your deer. This is definitely a luxury opportunity and sometimes can be taken for granted. I know that I sometimes have to remind myself that some people can only hunt public land and don’t have this privilege.

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Placing the Food Plot

Let’s talk about placing your food plot. If you have free range and can create or place this food source wherever you like, there are some things to take into consideration. Such as:

  • Where are the deer bedding?
  • Which way are the deer traveling?
  • Where is the closest water source for deer in the area?
  • Where do you plan on having a tree stand?
  • What’s the most common wind direction in this particular location?
  • How do you plan to enter and exit this location when hunting?

The list could go on and on but when you’re hunting whitetails, you need to cover all of these bases. They are extremely smart animals and there’s a reason they are able to survive year after year. Whitetails may travel a specific direction when the wind is only blowing a particular direction. They might circle downwind of the food source which can dictate where and how you place your treestand or blind. Not all areas are set up perfectly for multiple scenarios, so sometimes you just have to go with your gut and make an educated decision. 

In a perfect world, if you can place a food source on the edge of a bedding area that borders a water source, that would be the best scenario in my opinion. Fortunately, I have that type of exact setup and I’ve had numerous sightings/encounters with a lot of deer. The first thing deer like to do is eat or drink after getting up out of their beds. My treestand is about 15 yards from the edge of the food plot, now the food plot is probably 100 yards long, so not every deer that comes in is an easy target. This is why I plan to plant a more fall oriented food type that is closer to my treestand. Examples of this range from turnips, radishes, corn, or soybeans to name a few. I generally tend to the turnips and radishes because they are easy to grow in a variety of places. 

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Food Plot Placement Summary

Food sources are definitely a trial and error process sometimes. Weather conditions, soil type, and location can definitely play big roles into whether or not it turns into a success or not. As long as you manage your weeds, follow the instructions provided with your seed, you should be well on your way to having a good food source. There are a wide variety of companies that provide very high quality food plot seed, such as Antler King, Frigid Forage, Domain Outdoors, just to name a few. As long as you put in the time and effort your work will pay off!