DIY: Build Your Own Whitetail Field of Dreams


Thinking about clearing ground to add a food plot to your property? Here’s how to get started.

By Jeff Johnston / Game & Fish Magazine

Back in the not-too-distant past I thought all land-clearing was detrimental to deer and wildlife populations. No doubt I inherited some of this attitude from my father, who took a natural approach to land management. He figured wild animals prefer wild habitat, and so, with the exception of mowing trails from time to time, he never touched it. For 20 years, neither did I.

But then after finding an aerial photo of our family land from the early 1980s, I realized it was almost unrecognizable from what it is today. Back then it was broken ag land: crop fields with brushy draws running alongside them and hardwoods in the creek bottoms. There was good deer hunting then, as there is now, although there were certainly more quail then. Today this parcel in central Oklahoma is basically a huge tangle of Osage orange, acacia, persimmon, cedar, lespedeza and native grasses, plum thickets, briars and broomsedge. The hardwoods surrounding it have crept in until there are virtually no open spots. To my eye it looks good for wildlife, but it’s almost impossible to get around on foot, much less a vehicle.

I wanted to know if clearing some land would be good for deer. Would deer be better served by crop fields than by their native foods? I had no idea. For farmers, clearing and planting land is easy—it’s what they do. But I’m not a farmer and so I know jack-all about this stuff. Just getting started was intimidating. CONTINUE READING ARTICLE

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