Food Plots Poll

The poll is closed. Thanks for all the great comments. The results will be posted in the Feb/Mar 2018 issue.

The Dec/Jan 2018 issue has an article, Food Plots: Should We or Shouldn’t We? with Ryan Theiler and Ron Rohrbaugh giving opposing views. We decided to also get your point of view. Results will be published in the Feb/Mar 2018 issue. This poll closes November 15, 2018.

Comments are welcome below, but we will not tolerate any bashing or arguing. Thanks, Webmother.




  1. Tim Eastman II October 16, 2017 at 8:28 am - Reply

    I’ve been planting food plot for 5 years now. My favorite are carry over plots that hold food for the deer until green up!

  2. Samuel Eaton October 16, 2017 at 8:59 am - Reply

    I’m just an old man,my comments don’t really matter. Just another example of the haves and have nots. I notice far too many buying their hunting success (haves). While the rest continue to earn it the old fashioned way. As long as it’s legal and ethical, let’s not tear each other up over it. Good plots tend to lead to limited access land which leads to fewer hunters. Remember, there’s strength in numbers.

  3. Melvin Edwards October 16, 2017 at 11:22 am - Reply

    My food plots provide good habitat and nutrition almost year round. Not only for deer, but turkey, quail, rabbits, dove, and non game birds. They are not intended as places to shoot deer. A rifle hunter might have some success, but bow hunting them is not very productive. They do serve to increase the carrying capacity of my property, and makes hunting mast, trails. Scrapes and rub lines more productive. And, I enjoy watching them grow, and viewing animals attracted during off season.

  4. Kevin Winkler October 16, 2017 at 7:17 pm - Reply

    I have a 170 farm and don’t rent out any crop ground anymore. I just restored 110 acres back into wetlands with 25 acres of grasses and wildflowers. I have always planted some type of food plots, but they are mainly for winter survival food sources for pheasants, turkey and deer.

    I don’t have what some would consider “kill plots” most of my hunting is done on routes to and from food sources and bedding areas………not right on the food plot.

  5. John DICKMON October 17, 2017 at 5:48 am - Reply

    I don’t see where there’s anything wrong with a food plot.
    Guys have been hunting over standing fields of corn, soybeans, various other grains for as long as there has been agriculture.
    I just fail to see where there is any comprehensive difference.

    • John DICKMON October 17, 2017 at 5:54 am - Reply

      Some will say food plots are bait piles, and therefor unethical. You can’t tell me that you have never hunted the edge of a cornfield. It’s the same thing, IMHO. Same with setting up under a stand of oaks. You are taking advantage of a food source. Period.
      Where do you draw the line? A few square feet? A few square yards? Half an acre? Full acre? Multiple acres?
      It’s not a “one size fits all” approach, and I would argue that you STILL have to beat the EYES and EARS of your prey.

  6. Roy Grimes October 18, 2017 at 8:51 am - Reply

    I’m a retired wildlife biologist. I’ve recommended food plots to hunters and non-hunters alike for almost 40 years. I don’t have any on my farm…yet, but I hope to in order to increase the farm’s carrying capacity (replacing old, non-native fescue fields with food plots (admittedly, also non-native) is a boon to all kinds of wildlife, most non-game. Six people hunt my farm, before it was mine, only 3 did.

  7. Mike Bolin October 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    I maintain a 70 acre property for my brother in-law and in return for keeping the “nature trails” mowed and the access road graded, I get to hunt it. He had it logged a few years back and the logging company left the access road in a rutted mess that washed out with the spring rains . They didn’t grade the skidder trails and they started washing out. The loggers took every mature hardwood, leaving only Sycamore and Tulip Poplar. Deer sightings went from several deer a day to only 10-12 deer sighted all season. Turkey sighting for two springs were at zero. No mast and the roost trees were gone. A 2 acre hayfield was used as a staging and load-out area and the logging company did nothing to clean it up. A local farmer had been cutting it for grass hay, but it was so rutted and full of limbs, bark and cutoffs that he refused to cut it.

    I spent most of my free time for the last 3 springs and summers on my little 23 horse tractor grading and leveling and trying to get some drainage to stop the washouts. I planted some native grasses and winter rye mixed with white clover on the access road and skidder trails to slow down the erosion. I used my grader box and a landscape rake to clean up the hayfield. This summer, the farmer walked the field and decided to sew it in a pasture mix and cut it for hay again. I cut up some of the tree tops for firewood and piled the limbs up for cover for small game. I also went into the thickets and cut the Poplar and Sycamore saplings back away from the young oaks and wild cherry to let them get some sunlight.

    This month I have been hunting there 4 times and have seen at least 4 deer each time and 2 out of the 4 times I’ve seen turkeys. Last night I kicked up a couple of rabbits and I had not seen a rabbit there in years. Shot a doe for the freezer on Monday night and missed a turkey. Bumped a covey of quail back in early September. and I’d not seen quail on this property in 20 years. Yes I planted “food plot” trails and it does help my hunting, but the critters are back and sure seem to be enjoying it! Just because you plant something doesn’t mean you have to set a stand on it. The doe was at least 200 yards away from the nearest planting. No matter how many deer I see, I will only shoot one doe and one buck, or maybe one or the other…or neither.

    Farming today has changed a lot since I was a kid. Harvesting equipment/method is much more efficient and what used to be ten 20 acre fields is now one 200 acre field. Fence rows are bulldozed, taking away cover and browse. Very little grain is left on the ground after the harvest and winter chisel plowing is now the norm. Food plotting/habitat improvement done properly is A LOT of work. It’s not a matter of throwing some seed on the ground, hanging a stand and shooting a deer.

  8. Scott Votava October 18, 2017 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Food is food. The consternation here appears to be over effort employed by the hunter. Whether the effort is employed scouting travel routes to God arranged food or planting God given crops is a fabricated argument looking for one group or another that is offended. The argument is artificial not the food.

  9. John Arter October 19, 2017 at 6:00 am - Reply

    Do your own thing and leave others alone…

  10. Dave October 25, 2017 at 8:29 am - Reply

    If I had property, I would probably provide food plots for the animals. I guess everyone benefits from healthy animals even if we do not have the pleasure of hunting directly over food plots.

  11. Larry D. Scarborough October 27, 2017 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I Plant large fields of food for Deer, Quail, Doves Rabbits, Turkeys as well as Wet Areas for Ducks, Geese and other Wild Life that can use the Cover and the Food. I to have had to clean up behind Loggers that do not clean up their messes. I no longer allow Loggers to Cut on my Property without a Contract stating that they will repair Roadways, Skidder Trails, and all Staging areas as well as excessive piles of Tops and Limbs.

    Hunting is restricted to certain Areas of the Farm with certain Areas designated as “REST AREAS ONLY”!!!!!! Also Harvest Numbers are determined by Wildlife Biologist(DNR/Fish & Game) Studies. This is working “VERY WELL” for Myself and the Wildlife.

  12. Buck50 October 27, 2017 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    I agree w/ Samuel Eaton above. In addition,the landowners put a lot of time and effort into developing habitat for wildlife on their properties. My dreams may be small compared to any one of theirs but I’m as happy in that moment in time when it all comes together as the next guy…regardless how much cash value I have invested in that dream. It’s all good.

  13. Mike Theis October 31, 2017 at 7:43 am - Reply

    I had a 40 acre place in WI with two 8 acre fields. A 80 foot deep ravine with woods separated the fields. Multiple properties surrounded mine with a mix of ag crops and woods. One of my fields was a mix of alfalfa & grass for beef cattle. The other, grass & multiple food plot strips. The perimeter of the food plot field was a mix of clovers, sweet peas, turnips, etc i.e. Lots of variety. The interior was made up of seven 8-10 row strips of field corn, sweet corn & soybeans. These strips were left up all winter & worked down in the spring. Long grasses filled in everything in between and were harvested for beef cattle once a year. These strips served as a training area for my bird dogs as I raised a few pheasants to keep them sharp. The plots supported a variety of wildlife through the winter. My neighbors commented on how the turkey population doubled with a reliable winter food source. All the wildlife that I supported did not stay on my property, but dispersed to adjoining properties for cover and food at various times of the year. In my case, the only time I had concentrations of wildlife was in the winter, when they were not being hunted. Everyone in my neighborhood benefitted from my small plots. It can work, but size and mixed terrain matters. Both for your property and for your neighbors. I sold this property two years ago due to health issues, and the land layout and setup helped. We sold it within one week of when it was listed. My setup was a case where it benefitted myself and the neighbors.

  14. Drew November 3, 2017 at 10:33 am - Reply

    I have zero problem with folks planting food plots on their property, but hunting them is not the experience I seek. I prefer public land forests and hunting deer on foot trying to learn their habitat and habits, not changing it to suit my needs. So I’m not a fan of state forest food plots or baiting which alter deer behavior & movement, but I totally understand improving the habitat on degraded private land, and then hunting that improved habitat, which can include food plots. Hence my answer of “it’s complicated.” #huntyourhunt

  15. Ron Rohrbaugh November 7, 2017 at 8:31 am - Reply

    As the author of the “we should” portion of the TBM article, you might be surprised to know that I chose “it’s too complicated” for the poll.

    Food plots can be done in such a way as to improve habitat and ecosystem function, but they can also be a scar on the landscape. Similarly, they can change our hunting experiences in both good and bad ways.

    Check out the article and let me know what you think.

    Keep the Traditional Spirit Alive!


  16. George November 11, 2017 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Food plots are on private lands. That means the average hunter has no access. No hunting on the King,s land. Hunting Sherwood forest is punishable by the Sheriff of Nottingham. Deer hunters have become greedy. It is the ruination of sport hunting.

  17. David W. Coulter November 12, 2017 at 10:40 am - Reply

    There are some good thoughts here. The turnoff for me is that the guys I met were planting crops they could and would spray with herbicide and pesticides. I really don’t want wildlife exposed to that stuff. Some of the posts here are more in line of restoration and improvement like A Sand Count Almanac. There’s a lot of men and women working hard to make improvements and that’s honorable.

  18. Lester Dumm November 15, 2017 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I don’t know how it applies to the hunter who can only hunt public land. I have land in Southeastern Ohio. It’s 55 acres and mostly wooded. There is 8 acres that I like to keep in some kind of browse for the deer. The problem is, is that I can’t ever get back there to hunt it. My family, who lives there, has a great time roaming the farm and hunting the property. There is some big bucks that go through there. I live in Laramie, Wyoming. There is some very good hunting here on US forestry and Parks land. It just a little harder to hunt in that you have to find those areas that have deer coming through it. I think the land owner does have some responsibility to try to keep healthy herds of deer and elk moving in and around them. Farmers and ranchers that I know do this, not just for themselves, but for those who can only hunt the public lands around them. Hmmm…I may have answered my own question in the first sentence.

  19. Danny Pyle November 15, 2017 at 9:31 am - Reply

    I really can’t give a good explanation of why I don’t agree with food plots but to me I don’t feel it’s fair chase not to mention the expense just to kill a deer. And no I don’t hunt the edge of farmers fields either.

  20. Larry Booth November 15, 2017 at 10:16 am - Reply

    I don’t have a problem with food plots themselves as long as they are not over-concentrating the wildlife, which can result in the spreading of disease.
    I try to improve the habitat overall for multiple species.
    If people are hunting on the plot, it won’t take the deer long to figure that out.

  21. Ken Perrault November 15, 2017 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    My dictionary states the definition of baiting is “Placing any substance to entice or allure fish or other animals with a view to catching or killing them”.
    It would seem to me that placing food plots would certainly fall into this definition. To argue that food plots aren’t used to attract deer to kill them by the majority of hunters who use them is ludicrous.
    I’d like someone to explain why someone who dumps a truckload of carrots in the woods and hunts over them should be strung up by his thumbs, but hunting over a purposely placed food plot is pure and holy. Same thing. Same outcome. Some of the food plot people say they don’t hunt over their plot, but hunt the trails coming into it. This makes it OK? Alright: then hunting the trails into the pile of carrots ought to be alright too.
    I’d say baiting is baiting, no matter what you use, whether it be the carrots, Walmarts’ Consumption Blocks or tubs of Buck Butter, or Sportsmen’s Mineral Blocks, or Sugar Beet Crush Mix from the sporting goods stores. Or the 50 pound bags of food plot seeds with the picture of the big buck on the bag.
    I’m not passing judgment on baiting one way or the other even though I don’t believe in it. God knows enough hunters do it, and from what I see on the store shelves, it is becoming more prevalent all the time. It would make me happy to see everyone just admit what they are doing and end this argument once and for all. Because hunters are not going to stop “placing substances to entice deer” anytime soon.

  22. Jerry Trepanier January 12, 2018 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    We have just 17 acres of mostly hardwoods and manage another 44 of mixed hardwoods, scrub and a pond. I don’t have an active food plot. I probably will next year. We like to see animals. My wife and I spend days and days “cleaning up the woods” making habitat for small game, cutting trees, piling tops, controlling invasive plants, cleaning up after beavers, etc. I don’t hunt over a bait pile but in my part of MI it’s currently legal. It’s just not what I want to do. If someone else does, that’s their choice. I also choose to hunt mostly with a recurve, again my choice. I’ll probably hunt close to my food plot, just like I’ve hunted close to a field. Around here we don’t have large tracts of public land and forest to wander in, it’s mostly private. That’s just the way it is. Sure I could drive for several hours and spend a day or weekend doing just that, and sometimes do, but not all the time. I might shoot a deer, maybe a turkey and a rabbit or two, but compared to the vast number of animals that use our lands, or their land we call ours depending on your perspective, I think the animals are way better off with us helping to provide a food source and habitat than without. That’s based purely on the numbers of animals we see. Geese, swans, deer, turkey, coyotes, foxes, rabbits, ulues of birds, muskrats, ducks, beavers, all running around where we saw very few before. Urban sprawl has taken up much of the land they used for food before, as well as the safe havens. Baiting or not baiting, food plots or not food plots, these are not the biggest threat to hunting and our heritage. Watch almost any hunting show on TV from the perspective of a non-hunter, an anti-hunter or like minded individual. Way bigger threat. Respect the land, respect the animal and respect your neighbor. Enjoy the hunt.

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