THE OTHER FOOD PLOT
submitted on: 7/6/2010
When bowhunters think about food plots, most instantly think about fields full of green clover or a field full of corn or sugar beets. There is another kind of food plot that doesn’t get discussed often that is as just as effective at drawing deer in from miles around as a clover plot. The plot I am thinking about doesn’t require seed, fertilizer or money to build. I am talking about water. Water isn’t a food plot but it is something that deer need to consume to survive. They need it more often than any type of clover or corn.
If you have a parcel of land that you hunt on that doesn’t have a water supply, the deer that frequent your property regularly leave to find water. Providing deer with a water source on your property can increase the amount of time they spend there. If there isn’t water on your property or many of the adjacent properties now, adding a water source could make a big difference in the number of deer you see on your property.
When most people think about a water source, they think about a large pond, stream or a lake. Although these examples are great water sources, there are easier and less expensive ways to provide water for deer than digging a pond or buying waterfront property. Digging a hole in the ground and letting it fill with rain water is one fine example. Another is cutting a 55-gallon plastic drum in half and filling the halves with water or letting the rain fill it up. Over time, the rain water in the drum may smell bad and look awful, but the deer will drink from it. As an experiment, my cousin filled a 55-gallon drum with water and put it in the woods about 75 yards from his house to see if deer would drink from it. To our amazement, within a few weeks, deer, turkeys, squirrels and hawks were stopping by the drum to get a drink. To this day, that drum is still in the woods filled with stagnant water and the deer continue to drink out of it.
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(Photo coutesy of: texasbowhunter.com)
You might think because there is a fresh source of water a short distance from your property that adding a water source is a waste of time. This isn’t always the case. Some studies show that deer prefer nonmoving water to a fresh moving stream. Maybe it’s because they can hear better and be on alert when drinking from a quiet drum as opposed to a noisy stream.
A friend of mine in Wisconsin had a few low areas on his property. With a shovel and some elbow grease, he dug a large depression in the ground and let the rain fill it up. During the early archery season, this makeshift pond is a deer magnet.
Adding an inexpensive water source like a drum filled with water to your property attracts deer and can be a great place to hang a treestand. My friend in Wisconsin often hunts near his waterholes during the early season. He sees bucks and enjoys watching the wildlife that uses the pond.
After you provide a water source, hang your scouting camera nearby to find out if bucks are frequenting the water source. If there isn’t a good tree nearby for hanging your scouting camera, purchase a Pine Ridge Archery AT-5 Camera Support. The support holds your camera and can be easily attached to a stake that you put in the ground near the waterhole.
Adding water to your property can increase your chances of tagging Mr. Big. The best part is it doesn’t take much money to add a waterhole the deer will love to drink from.
To learn more about the author, visit www.tracybreen.org