Category Archives: Guest Articles

“SMALL TRACTS and SMALL PLOTS FOR BIG BUCKS”: Guest Entry by Plotmaster’s Blaine Burley

In the past, we were taught that you needed large tracts of land (over 5,000 acres of contiguous land) to effectively and consistently produce quality whitetails.  However, many of today’s wildlife managers and biologists have realized that you can consistently produce trophy-class bucks on small tracts of land if you manage these tracts properly.  One of the keys to managing small tracts effectively is to provide everything that your deer needs within the boundaries of your property.  This includes having adequate amounts of food (year-round food plots and/or supplemental feeding), water, and cover.  Most small tracts of land lack one or more of these three components.   As a wildlife manager and landowner, you must provide these three key ingredients in order to attract, grow, and keep quality bucks on your property.

Blaine Burley, President of Woods-N-Waters, Inc. and Inventor of the PLOTMASTER™, have been growing and harvesting BIG BUCKS on small plots and small tracts of land for over two decades now.  In November 2007, while filming for “The Bucks of Tecomate” TV Show for VERSUS, Burley harvested one of his largest bucks ever.  This MONSTER 16-point buck (see photo) was harvested on a small 80-acre hunting tract in Central Illinois.  This small hunting tract contained numerous year-round food plots, a small pond, and numerous bedding areas (large downfalls cut to provide cover) which are used to grow and attract big bucks each year.  This past fall (Jan. 2010) Blaine’s son (Brock – age 8 ) harvested his first deer ever (a BIG 10-point buck) on a small ½-acre food plot in Alabama (see photo).

One of the key ingredients for Burley’s success in producing BIG BUCKS over the years is planting small, year-round food plots.  There are many benefits of planting year-round food plots.  Not only can food plots provide a high quality food source for you deer herd, they can also serve as an effective means of concentrating and attracting deer on your hunting property.  Plus, your deer do not have to travel as far to feed which decreases the chances of them being harvested by your neighbors.  This also increases your chances of maintaining a good population of older-age class bucks on your property.

Traditionally, wildlife managers and sportsmen have used farm tractors and farm implements for planting food plots.  However, many sportsmen cannot afford nor have access to farm tractors and/or implements.   In recent years, many sportsmen have discovered a much easier and cost-effective means of planting food plots-using ATVs and ATV implements.  Today’s ATVs are much larger and more powerful than ATVs of the past.  Today’s larger ATVs can pull ATV implements such as the PLOTMASTER™ by Plotmaster Systems, Ltd with ease.  Today’s ATVs are being used for recreation as well as being used to plant food plots and manage recreational properties for wildlife.

Traditionally, food plots have been planted in areas that are easily accessible to tractors and large equipment.  One of the benefits of using ATV implements is that it enables hunters to plant food plots in the isolated, “hard-to-get” places.  This enables sportsmen to plant food plots in the areas that are closer to established bedding areas.  By locating food plots near established bedding areas, deer do not have to travel as far to get to these food sources.  Mature bucks tend to feel more secure and travel more, especially during daylight hours, in these isolated places.  Therefore, hunters have a better chance of harvesting trophy class bucks during legal shooting hours.  In other words, sportsmen can now bring the “food” to the deer using their ATVs and ATV implements leading to more successful and enjoyable hunts.

The PLOTMASTER™ is a multi-use ATV implement designed specifically for planting food plots.  This all-in-one unit comes with an electric system, adjustable disc harrow, plow attachments, cultivator, seeder, cultipacker and drag.  Due to its compact design, the PLOTMASTER™ is ideal for planting food plots in rough, hard-to-get places such as firebreaks and small openings in planted pines, cut-overs, swamps and wooded areas.  The PLOTMASTER™ has a one-point hitch as well as a three-point hitch which allows you to operate the PLOTMASTER™ with your ATV and/or small tractor.  The PLOTMASTER™ is also very economical.  It can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of a tractor and multiple pieces of larger equipment.  Food plots can also be planted in a single pass using a single of equipment rather than making multiple passes using multiple passes using multiple pieces of equipment.  This single pass planting system can save an enormous amount of time, fuel and money.  With today’s high fuel prices, this can be a huge savings in itself.

Many companies such as John Deere and Frontier Equipment have also recognized the value of using ATVs, tractors, and the PLOTMASTER™ to manage recreational properties and to plant food plots for wildlife.  Frontier Equipment currently distributes a full line of Frontier PLOTMASTER™ units for ATVs and tractors through the John Deere dealer network.  Plotmaster Systems, Ltd also distributes a New Hunter line of PLOTMASTER™ products through Independent Territory Distributors.  For more information on the PLOTMASTER™, call 240-687-7228 or visit the www.patriotlwmoutdoors.com.

Drought-Proofing Your Food Plots – Guest Entry from Plotmasters Blaine Burley

No matter what size property you manage, if you want to consistently grow trophy-class bucks on your property, you must provide quality, year-round nutrition to your deer herd. In most cases, foodplots (when properly planted and managed) can be the most cost-effective means of providing this year-round nutrition. Even though deer hunting season is over, don’t forget about your deer during the spring and summer months. This is when your deer herd needs nutrition the most! This is the time of year when bucks are growing their antlers and does are feeding their fawns.
With today’s ever-changing climates and rainfall often in short supply, it is very important for land managers to be prepared for the worst. Certain steps can be taken to effectively maximize the production of your food plots even during drought conditions or periods of limited rainfall during the hot, dry summer months. Limited rainfall and droughts (especially during the summer months) can be very detrimental to your food plots if you are not prepared. Proper soil preparation, planting methods, site and seed selection are the keys to providing year-round forage production during these dry periods.

Plot preparation is one of the first steps in conserving and maximizing your rainfall and soil moisture. For example, it is of the utmost importance to have your soils deep-tilled well in advance of your warm-season plantings. In most cases, you can effectively deep-till your plots with a chisel plow,moldboard plow and/or subsoiler. As a deer farmer, depending on your soil types, you may need one ormore of these implements to effectively break up your soils and maximize your soil moisture. Warm-season food plots should be deep-tilled in the early fall to allow the plots to rest and bank moisture for the upcoming spring/summer plantings. If rain comes during the fall/winter, then it will be capturedin the soil. You want your plots to act as “sponges” this time of year in order to collect rainfall for theupcoming spring/summer months. It is also very important not to allow the encroachment of unwanted plants (grass, weeds, etc) in the food plots during this resting/rainfall collection period because these invaders will steal the moisture and nutrients you are trying to save.

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