By Mark Kenyon

I’m a voracious reader. Over just the past five months, I’ve probably read more than 15 books, 30 magazines and hundreds or thousands of internet articles. Of all that reading, probably 80% of it is related to hunting. Suffice to say, I’ve read a lot a of hunting material. But of all those hunting books and magazines and stories, there’s just a small handful of material that stands out to me as both unique and impactful.

Firmly entrenched in that small collection of the best material I’ve read recently is the newest book from Jeff Sturgis, “Food Plot Success By Design.


I first came across Jeff and his work several years ago while looking for whitetail habitat management advice online, and after reading his many contributions to online forums and articles on his website, I eventually discovered his book “Whitetail Success By Design.” After reading that first book and finding it so incredibly helpful, I struck up a relationship with Jeff that continues today.

Since then I’ve continued to learn a lot from Jeff, who in addition to being an author is also a highly sought after whitetail habitat consultant and the 2004 QDMA Deer Manager of the Year. This past fall, while chatting through some questions regarding a few upcoming hunts, Jeff asked if I would be interested in getting an early look at his new book in progress “Food Plot Success By Design” and then write a foreword for it. I of course said yes!

That said, over the last few months I’ve had the privilege to get a behind-the-scenes look at the development of this book, and even was able to contribute in a small way with the foreword, which I was honored to do.

Below are my thoughts on the book, now that it’s completed, published and available for purchase.


In short, this is one of the absolute best books on food plots I’ve read yet, and if you already do or plan to use food plots on your hunting properties – this is an absolute must-read.

What I’ve come to enjoy most about Jeff’s work is that he looks at habitat improvements as pieces of a puzzle, that must all work together. This mindful approach to improving a property and all of its interconnected parts makes so much sense – but not very many people talk about this idea. While this overall concept was explored in Jeff’s first book, in this second book he applies this approach specifically to food plots, and the implications are fascinating.  For that reason, this book stands out from all others, as the most strategic view of food plotting I’ve seen yet.

In the foreword, I elaborate more on this topic.

In his first book, Whitetail Success By Design, Jeff detailed how to improve your property for whitetails and hunting success by looking at habitat improvements, not as random, isolated projects – but as integrated pieces and parts of a larger system, all working together to improve a property for whitetails and hunting.

And now, in “Food Plot Success By Design”, Jeff has taken this proven system-based approach and applied it in more depth to how we plan and execute food-plotting strategies. It is said that a whitetail’s life revolves around food, so it only makes sense that a whitetail habitat improvement plan revolve around the same. And in this book Jeff takes us into a depth of food plot understanding that is far more complex and fascinating than anything I’ve seen before in the hunting media….

Food Plotting Success By Design, of course, discusses the nuts and bolts of growing successful plots, but far more compelling is how this book details the where’s, how’s and why’s of food plotting. Why do certain food plot designs work better than others? How can you develop systems of plots that encourage daylight activity from mature bucks? If I place a food plot here, how will it affect an entry route over there? If I plant this crop, will it impact my ability to hunt this property? Is it possible to influence bedding habits based on what and where you plant plots? Will my food plot plans influence the buck to doe ratio on my property? Can food plots, in some circumstances, cause more harm than help? All of these questions, topics and more are covered within this tome of food plot wisdom…”

Detailed in this book are in-depth and uniquely strategic looks at concepts such as food plot structure, food plot placement, developing and defining movement between food plots and other habitat features, balancing food, food plot sanctuaries, critical seasons for food, no-till plotting ideas, kill plots and much more.

In addition to the incredible detail of insight provided within “Food Plot Success By Design”, Jeff helps us digest this wealth of knowledge by weaving it in and out of personal stories and experiences from his own hunting career. Incredibly, despite the amount of content packed into these pages, because of Jeff’s narrative style you’ll feel like you’re reading a great novel, rather than an education filled resource.

Final Verdict

There’s not a whole lot more I can say about this book, other than this. Buy it.

I really truly believe this is a book you’ll find both fascinating and incredibly helpful. If you’re planting food plots, take your game up a notch or two by checking out “Food Plot Success By Design”

…The end-result of reading such a book as this is not that you’ll just know how to plant a good food plot, but rather that you’ll be able to understand how to best develop and incorporate mindful systems of food plots, along with other habitat features, that will work together to improve the natural environment for whitetails on your property, while also improving your chances of growing, holding and hunting them.

For more information or to pick up a copy of “Food Plot Success By Design”, click the link below.

Food Plot Success By Design by Jeff Sturgis