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Food plots are not that difficult to create

My son, Damon, and I were discussing the placement of a dual purpose food plot. We wanted one that would provide high quality feed for deer during the winter and make a good hunting area for spring turkey. If nothing else, we do try to provide well for our wildlife.

Damon suggested a place just into a narrow 20-acre patch of timber that seemed to be a major travel route between two larger sections of woodland. It seemed to be a perfect spot with heavy cover on one end and water on both sides.

I could see only one problem with planting in the timber. There is no place to plant grain because of all the trees. I knew there were no open areas in this timber. I should have known better than to even ask about the whereabouts of a clearing.

"We will make one on top of the hill," was his immediate reply. One thing I must say about my younger son is that he has never let a few hours of back-breaking labor stop him from accomplishing a goal.

Not wanting to appear ungrateful for his idea or assistance, when he grabbed his chain saw, I picked up mine and we headed off to cut a few hundred trees. We briefly described boundaries where the food plot should be and started cutting. A few short hours later, we had all the undesirable trees felled. Any tree that looked like it would fit nicely into my wood stove also went. Brush and saplings were clear cut. What remained on more than an acre of fertile black dirt were a few straight and stately oaks in the middle of an oasis in the forest.

We cut a path into our opening large enough to drive the tractor. We dragged all the trees out to cut for firewood and placed them in nice neat rows. By the time we were done, the sun was setting and I thought I was going to die. A little physical fitness is a good thing. Most of a day, working like our lives depended on the completion of this project is enough to almost kill a person. The ground in our soon-to-be food plot looked as though it had been plowed and tilled after having several trees dragged over it.

The next day, I called our local Crop Service to inquire about some wheat seed. John said that yes, he did indeed have some wheat seed in stock. He had almost five hundred bags in stock, just in case I called in along with a few other people that needed some seed. He then asked how much I wanted. I hate it when people ask me a question I do not even have a good guess at the answer. "One bag," was my immediate answer. I did not know how much area one bag would cover, nor did I have a good guess at how much area I was planting. One bag seemed reasonable and I could always get more if necessary. When he asked which bag I wanted, I knew he was pulling my chain. I told him I wanted the one on the bottom. Not to be outdone with chain pulling, he turned to his employees and yelled, "Get the bottom sack from that stack for Walter."

My grandson Zane wanted to help me plant. I never turn down an offer to help. Walking around turning the crank on a hand seeder eventually becomes serious work. It takes some serious cranking to go through 50 pounds of wheat seed. Zane and I were both tired of the whole project before we got done. One bag seemed about right. A little thicker in some places and thinner in others, but it was close enough for the work we do.

Last Sunday Damon, Zane, and I went out to check our food plot. The wheat stood almost two inches tall. Parts had been grazed off by deer and other places has been scratched out and eaten by turkeys. A squirrel scampered up a tree, fresh green shoots of wheat hanging from his mouth as we approached. I think the wildlife like their new dining area.

With the passage of time, the muscles are less sore and the memories dim of how much work the food plot was. Seeing the results and the immediate response from wildlife made us realize, it really was not that difficult.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.