By Mark Kenyon

So you want to plant a food plot?

I’ve got one simple piece of advice for you. Slow down. Take a deep breath. And hold your horses.

If there’s any one most common food plotting mistake I’ve seen made, it’s this. Rushing.

A guy or girl gets inspired to plant a food plot. They see someone on TV or in a magazine or on the web planting food plots and killing giant bucks, and they say to themselves … that could be me! So they run to Walmart, grab a bag of seed and rush back to their hunting property looking for an open spot to start planting.

A few months later they might, if they’re lucky, have a green patch with some food – but more times than not they won’t be seeing all the whitetail dreams they had coming true. And they figure this whole food plotting thing isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. And if implemented in this kind of way, they’re right.

Food plots aren’t an easy, mindless fix for your whitetail problems. But, if thought through and planned properly – they can be incredibly valuable assets.

The key, in my opinion, is to slow down and think before food plotting.

Repeat after me …



food plotting.

Think about your goals for the food plot. And be specific. Are you trying to improve a certain location for hunting? Or maybe you’re trying to improve the health of the local herd at a certain time? Your plotting plans should be very different based on the answer to these questions.

Think through what kind of new food source is really needed to reach your goals. What kind of food plot can even be supported in the soil you have? (And please do a soil test!) What is the weak link nutritionally in this area? What gap can you fill?

Think through the location of your plots. Throwing some seed in the first opening you spot is a recipe for disaster, or at least missed expectations. Think through how that location might change deer travel. Think through how it might effect your hunting. Think through how it might effect your entry or exit into hunting locations. Or how about the design, shape and size of your plots? These are things you need to think about.


It’s a really simple and obvious piece of advice, but it’s powerful. And sometimes we need that reminder.

Food plots aren’t a quick fix. They aren’t an easy cure-all. They’re not the magic bean.

But if you think through it, put a plan in place and then work hard to implement your plots, they can dramatically change your deer hunting success. So this season get out there and put those plots in.

But please …

Think. Before. Food plotting.


Want more help with your food plots? Check out these other great resources

The Top 10 Food Plot Mistakes We Make

6 Tips for Food Plotting Success from Don Higgins

Food Plot Tools for the Budget Conscious Whitetail Manager

How Do I Choose What To Plant?

3 Food Plot Designs The Kill More Deer

My choice for food plot seed –> Whitetail Institute