How to Make the Best Hunting Spots: Small Food Plots (Episode 339 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: I received an email this morning from a disabled veteran, sharing how much he enjoyed GrowingDeer since he couldn’t get out much anymore. And it really reminded me, what a blessing it is to live in the USA. And a big part of that blessing is all the veterans that have fought on foreign lands and preserved the freedoms we all enjoy here in the United States.

GRANT: As we come up on Memorial Day, remember that so many families experienced a tragic loss so we can enjoy the freedom we have today. I want to take this moment to thank all veterans and hope each of ya’ll thank a veteran this Memorial Day.

GRANT: We’ve shifted gears from primarily chasing gobblers to working on improving habitat. This week we want to share some techniques to make those small food plots your best hunting locations.

ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops, Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester, Dead Down Wind, Antler Dirt, LaCrosse Footwear, BloodSport Arrows, Flatwood Natives, Morrell Targets, Non-Typical Wildlife Solutions, Hook’s Custom Calls, Montana Decoys, Summit Treestands, Drake Non-Typical Clothing, Howes Lubricator, Genesis No-Till Drill, LEM Game Processing, Fourth Arrow, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.

GRANT: Last week, Adam, Matt and I planted some of our hidey hole food plots with the new Genesis no-till drill. In past years, I’d used the no-till drill that was tongue mount and it took about a five point turn to turn it around. This was amplified in our smaller plots.

GRANT: The Genesis is mounted on the three point hitch system. So, we simply pick it up, back the tractor up where we want it and take off planting. Get to the other end, do about a two point turn and go the other way.

GRANT: In the small plots, we cut our planting time in about half by using a three point hitch mount versus a tongue mount drill. It’s been wicked dry here at The Proving Grounds – we’re about eight inches behind normal – but we received a quarter inch of rain last night and more in the forecast, so it’s the perfect time to put some seed in the ground.

GRANT: Because we’re so dry, the best chance for success is making sure that seed is placed at just the right depth. Of course you can’t accomplish that with discing it in or even broadcasting. So, we’re gonna use the Genesis no-till drill. It’s designed to allow us to get the seed at the right depth and the right rate per acre. You know, too many seeds per acre is too much competition for nutrients and moisture and not enough seeds will allow weeds to grow up in between or the deer to wipe out the plot before hunting season.

GRANT: This morning we’re planting Eagle Seeds Game Keeper blend. I really like that blend because it’s got a big portion of the Whitetail Thicket in there. Whitetail Thicket’s a viney type soybean that handles browse pressure better than any soybean I’ve ever tried.

GRANT: We’re gonna put some seed in the hopper, do some calibration and go plant.

GRANT: It’s always important before you start planting, not to simply just pour some seed in the hopper but calibrate the drill.

GRANT: Calibration required a lot of time with our old drill ‘cause we had to lay tarps or quilts down on the ground – try to catch the seed, weigh it, and put it back in. But the Genesis has a built-in calibration tray.

GRANT: Seeds in the hopper and the next step is calibrating the drill. That’s easy with the Genesis. As I remove two bolts, turn this over and it becomes a seed tray, catching all the seed which makes it easy to weigh and adjust the drill for the right calibration. I’m ready to calibrate.

GRANT: With the calibration tray, we simply add seed to the hopper, turn the ground wheel the appropriate number of times, pull the calibration tray out, dump that in the bucket, weigh the seed and adjust the drill.

GRANT: I weighed a smaller container – subtract out the weight of the bucket – so I know the weight of seed that was planted per thousand square feet. Multiply that times 42.3 and that tells me how many ounces I planted per acre. Divide that by 16, tells me how many pounds I’ve planted per acre.

GRANT: We calibrate each year because seed size can actually change a little bit. A wet growing season will result in larger seeds. And a dry growing season – seeds will be smaller, changing the amount of seeds per pound.

GRANT: A couple of easy ways to adjust the amount of seed coming out of a Genesis drill. This knob controls the seed hopper, basically the amount of space open as seed can come through. And each meter, seed meter, can go between one and four – again, opening this way. So, we adjust the hole size this way and this way and that controls the amount of seed dropped per square foot.

GRANT: A step that’s really important when planting soybeans – especially this rocky, poor environment like here in the Ozark Mountains – is using inoculant. Inoculant is a living bacteria that attaches to the seed, and actually to the plant, and helps that plant take nitrogen out of the air – called fixing nitrogen. That’s a huge cost savings, makes better plants, healthier deer.

GRANT: I simply take a little inoculant – and there is usually a scoop provided that will tell you how much to use per bag – evenly spread that across the seed. The inoculant is very fine, so it will settle down, get on the side of the seed drill. Just takes a microscopic amount for each seed.

GRANT: Now, here’s the thing – a lot of people use what they call a stick ‘em. Something liquid to stick the inoculant to the seed. That’s not necessary. In fact, some people use soda pops, which are highly acidic, and that will kill the inoculant. If you’re applying inoculant with soda pop, you’re probably doing more damage than good.

GRANT: The drill was last used where there’s really high quality soil, so we adjusted where the seed wouldn’t be too deep. But here in the rocky soil of The Proving Grounds, we’re gonna move the pin, which is really simple to do, and allow the drill to place the seed as deep as it can.

GRANT: It’s a small hidey hole food plot we call Prickly Pear. We’ve harvested a lot of deer and turkey out of it during years past. Getting ready to plant it again and I think a lot of folks would say, “Why are you planting in this mess?” Well, this was Broadside planted last fall, we’ve just sprayed it – it’s terminated. And we want it to just fall over and make mulch.

GRANT: The drill will go right through here, so even though it looks messy this is actually ideal planting conditions. Right here I’ve got a rotten turnip – which is a nutrient release package, just like slow release fertilizer. Drill came right through here, deposited seed right here. These nutrients are gonna decay, be ready for that root system.

GRANT: This is perfect versus discing up and putting too much oxygen in soil which allows all this to decompose quickly. Slow release fertilizer through vegetation is what built the Great Prairie that helps us grow better deer.

GRANT: Using a no-till drill has been a huge part of this process. Minimal soil disturbance means minimal erosion. And by only terminating the cover crop and drilling right through it, means that vegetation decomposes slowly right on top of the food plot, converting into black dirt.

GRANT: We’ll keep you posted on these small plots throughout the summer – hopefully showing you some germination next week and even more exciting – some great hunts over these plots this fall.

GRANT: Vegetation during the spring usually has a really high moisture content. That means deer get a lot of water as part of their diet. To remove that excess water, they need a lot of sodium and other trace minerals in their diet.

GRANT: That’s one of the many reasons we keep Trophy Rock’s Four65 out throughout the year, but especially make sure all of our stations have plenty during the spring. In fact, we’re already getting some great Reconyx footage of bucks using our Four65 stations.

GRANT: We’ll keep a couple of our Reconyx cameras on the Four65 stations and share with you antler development as it progresses here at The Proving Grounds. And just as exciting, when those fawns are following does around the property.

ADAM: Turkey season is officially over here in Missouri. So, today we’re gonna fight back the tears and do a little preventative maintenance with our shotgun to make sure it’s ready for next turkey season.

ADAM: We’ve carried this shotgun from Florida to Alabama to Kansas and back. So, it’s important today that we take it apart piece by piece and make sure that we get out any dust or grime that’s built up during those miles. When you’re taking your gun apart it’s important to read the manual and follow the step by step process that they recommend.

ADAM: So, the first step we’re gonna do, of course, check and make sure it’s unloaded. I don’t see any ammo in there. Okay. Go ahead and lock that out.

GRANT: We put our shotguns through the ringer this year – crawling through pastures, climbing mountains and huntin’ during rainy days.

ADAM: First thing we’re gonna clean on this gun is the barrel. Of course we got a cleaning rod, cleaning patch, but most importantly – the high quality oil. This is Howe’s Lubricating and Penetrating Oil. Unlike a lot of other oils on the market, this one actually leaves a protective film that’s not gonna attract dirt and dust. So, we’re cleaning the gun, but we’re also protecting it for many hunts to come.

GRANT: It’s not enough just to wipe off the grime but we want to use a high quality lubricant to make sure rust doesn’t set in on one of our most valuable tools.

ADAM: Oh yeah. If you do find a spot that’s a little more difficult – you can’t just wipe it down with the oil, you do have to do a little bit of scrubbing. We’ve got a Scotch pad here that will help take that residue off. I mean you can see now it’s just clean as a whistle. It’s pretty much bare gun now – most of the guts are all out here on the table so we’re gonna start cleaning them piece by piece.

ADAM: That’s the great thing about the Howe’s Lubricator is it actually dries on there fairly quickly. Unlike a lot of other oils that stay wet for a long period of time, if not the whole time, this dries on there. I don’t have to worry about it collecting dust. I don’t want to use that; that’s what I’m looking for.

GRANT: After a tough season, it’s really important to clean shotguns inside and out.

ADAM: Fresh cloth here.

ADAM: Now that the gun’s been wiped down with Howe’s Lubricator, we know it’s good to go. It’s time to put it in the safe and wait on next turkey season.

GRANT: I hope you join us this August 12th and 13th for our next Field Day. We’ll be sharing with you our food plot planting techniques, our hunting techniques, why we place stands where and how we use trail cameras to pattern mature bucks.

GRANT: I’m gonna wrap this one up quick this week because here at Studio A, I’m getting wet while the boys are standing under an umbrella. But the spring rains are just another great example of Creation and the blessings from the Creator. Hope you take a chance to get outside and enjoy Creation this week. But more importantly, take time each day and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.