How to Plant a Food Plot with an ATV

Hunting season is no fun if you don’t see any deer! Encourage shy game out of the woods for the kill or simply provide a supplemental feeding area by tending a lush, fertile food plot using your ATV to do all the heavy lifting. The best time to plant your crops and cover is in early August to ensure that there’s plenty of time for vegetation to grow in. Before you can plant, you have to decide where and what to plant, and get the soil ready. Your ATV will save you from a lot of back-breaking labor and lead to a more enjoyable hunting season. Here is the step-by-step guide to creating a food plot using your ATV:

  Tools

Neccessary

  •  .25 to .5-acre plot
  •  Container for soil sample
  •  ATV Spreader
  •  Deer corn
  •  Perennials (i.e. alfalfa and clover)
  •  Annuals (i.e. turnips, kale and beets)
  •  Disk harrow

Optional Tools

  • Fruit tree
  • Push spreader
  • Drag harrow

  Steps

Pick Your Plot
1

Pick Your Plot

Choose a plot that is .25 to .5 acres – any smaller and deer might destroy your plot before it develops. Any bigger and it will require a lot of work to tend and hunt. Choose a spot near a wooded area, or one that’s surrounded by woods or brush. Deer prefer to frequent plots that are close to cover. Try to pick a plot that longer and skinnier – this will offer a better sightline and make deer feel more comfortable.

Test the soil
2

Test the soil

Take a sample of the soil to your local USDA office or agriculture supply store. Ideally you want pH levels in the 6-7 range. If the pH is lower, mix up crushed lime into your plot. You’ll get detailed instructions of what needs to be done with your soil sample results.

Clear unnecessary foliage
3

Clear unnecessary foliage

Focus on areas where you will be planting and use your ATV to do the heavy lifting by hauling away fallen branches and debris.

Prepare the earth
4

Prepare the earth

Hook your ATV up with an attachment like a disk harrow to really churn up the earth, and follow it up with a drag harrow (or a section of weighted chain link fence) to grade the dirt out.

5.	Blend your edges
5

Blend your edges

To help draw deer out from the denser bedding areas on the edges of your plot, use your ATV to haul in vegetation like brush and fallen tree limbs to create coverage.

Planting your plot
6

Planting your plot

Use an ATV spreader to fling seed across your plot. Deer corn planted in the center of the plot can be an attractive draw for shy game. Perennials like alfalfa and clover are hardy year-round ground cover that won’t require a lot of upkeep. Annuals like turnips, kale and beets can be planted in late summer, and in early fall wheat and oats will ensure a nice crop for hungry deer to seek out. Fruit trees are another option.

Tending your plot
7

Tending your plot

Use your ATV to bring in bags of fertilizer, brush clippings and other resources that will help you maintain the natural image and lush growth of your food plot. Be sure to weed regularly to ensure healthy crop growth, and conduct pest maintenance if needed.

Hunting your plot
8

Hunting your plot

Finally, time to reap your rewards! After all the hard work prepping and planting your plot, you should have a nice area that’s very respectable and appealing to deer – not to mention easier to hunt than the dense woods. Set up tree stands and ground blinds in optimal viewing areas, and make adjustments to your plot wherever you see fit, including using your ATV to haul in more “junk” fixtures to create perceived cover for deer.

With the right maintenance and tools, you can repurpose a well-groomed food plot year after year to make it a staple in your preparedness for hunting season. Happy hunting!