Brad, Hunter, Nathan, and I scouted some areas for new Hidey Hole food plots today. Hidey Hole plots are small plots that are usually less than an 1/8th of an acre in size. I usually create them by using hand tools – no tractors or mechanical equipment. The ideal location for a Hidey Hole plot is an area where:
- Deer frequent
- Hunters can access without being detected by deer
- Wind direction usually remains constant (like a ridge top)
- It helps if no large trees need to be removed
We like to locate these areas this time of year to limit disturbance to the deer herd closer to season. In addition, we begin killing brush, etc., now with a herbicide so when we remove saplings they don’t sprout back. We kill any grass or broadleaf weeds with a herbicide so they will dry up before planting season.
Just before planting the forage crop, I add ample fertilizer to help the forage crop grow rapidly and taste palatable to deer. For example, one 50 pound bag of 19 19 19 fertilizer applied to 1/8th acre is equivalent to applying 76 pounds of N, P, and K (400 pounds of 19 19 19) per acre. That’s usually enough to get a forage crop like wheat up and tasty for a month or two of great forage production. I plant the crop roughly three weeks before I anticipate hunting or the first frost. I also hang my Muddy stands and secure my Muddy SafeLine well before hunting season.
I try to avoid the area from when I plant until I hunt to allow deer to become conditioned to feeding in the area without being alert to two-legged predators. This is a critical step in creating a successful Hidey Hole food plot. In addition, I only hunt this location when the wind direction is appropriate. I don’t waste the effort spent creating the hotspot by allowing the local deer to associate the spot with human (predator) activity.
This is a great technique to see and harvest mature bucks that can be used on properties from ten to 1,000 acres. Hidey Hole food plots are not designed to increase the quantity of nutritious forage in an area, but to allow hunters to observe and harvest mature bucks at close range by providing high quality forage with minimal equipment and expense. Hidey Holes are a great tool to harvest mature bucks.
Growing Deer together,