Big Fall Food Plots – Little Equipment Needed

You can have the big fancy equipment and that’s great for planting corn, beans and larger seeds in the spring but the most effective food plots we have on our farms are our fall green food plots which require little to no equipment at all. Here’s what you need to plant an effective fall food plot.

Step 1 -Mow

This can be a big fancy Bush Hog or all the way down to a weed whacker. The goal is to open the plant so when you spray it kills the plant and root structure. As simple as it sounds just mow your entire food plot area and wait a week to allow the plants to pop back up through the thatch.

Step 2- Spray

Next come in after that week and spray your entire plot heavy with about 2oz per gallon with 41% glyphosate, (Disclosure, make sure you read the label before application of any chemical). I use the cheapest version of 41% glyphosate I can find. Usually from a farm store.

Step 3-Spray Again

Come back two weeks later and spray again. This is a must for two reasons. First this will kill any new weeds popping through and any stragglers you missed the first time. Second, when you till the dirt you are planting and stirring up lots of weed seeds. If you can skip planting the weeds and killing all the established weeds a second time you should have a beautiful crop of just what you sow.

Step 4- Plant

Anytime within two weeks you can start broadcasting your seed into the dead weeds and thatch. The most important part of this is to wait right before rain is forecasted. The goal is to have all the tiny seeds on the ground or in the thatch get hit by water and barely push them into the moist ground and knock them through the thatch. Your thatch layer that is lying on top will hold moisture just like mulch around a tree and continue to hold the ground with its dead root structure until your crop establishes root structure to pop through it on its way to its friend, the sun.

Variety Matters

Deer have a buffet pallet meaning they like variety. Your crops are going to have different tastes at different times and you want them continuously coming to the same spot every day to eat, regardless what they are hungry for that day. One thing I want to bring up is the variety of the seeds you are planting. For example just because you get turnip seed doesn’t mean it will be the same as the next turnip seed. I use to buy turnips from my local co-op and the deer wouldn’t touch them until they froze, now I use a specific seed variety from, Real World Wildlife Products. These grow four times the size and are palatable way before it freezes. Here’s everything I use for green fall food plots without tillage. Remember two things, don’t over seed and second put in about 30% clover as that puts nitrogen back into the soil and will be available right away in the spring for your turkeys, recovering deer herd and milk producing mommas.

Forage Collards & Impact Forage Collards
Purple Head Turnips
Crimson Clover
Oil Seed Radish & Tillage Radish
Sugar Beets
-All of these are found in Real World Wildlife Products- Plot Topper.

Winter Hardy- Forage Oats
I use Real World Wildlife Products –Whitetail Forage Oats

I’ve had the best luck with Real World Wildlife Products, Plot Topper and Whitetail Forage Oats, for non-tillage options, in my side-by-side tests against other seeds. (I literally planted five acres in strips right outside my front door of anything I could get my hands on to make sure I knew when and what the deer were wanting).

Food plots can be a blast or a nightmare. Looking back on all I’ve learned the past few years I would have started smaller without tillage and would have added equipment and acres later. My biggest frustrations in food plots have come from weeds, tillage equipment breakdowns, moisture, and over planting. Start small with your food plots, perfect that small plot first then add to it. Don’t try to build Rome in a weekend.

Planting Time Period- August to the End of September. Try to back off 45 days from your first frost, as a rule of thumb.

This blog post comes from Shanyn Hart.

Winner of  ‘Miss Wildgame’ on and Previously on the Outdoor Channel.

Shanyn is an Iowa based hunter who turned her obsession for whitetail deer into a lifestyle dedicated to big game. After helping guide whitetail hunts in Buffalo County, WI for three years, Shanyn got back to hunting the majestic animals herself and has dedicated this last year to finding a hunting ranch which she now resides on. 400+ acres in Iowa, that holds world class Boone & Crocket bucks. She now dedicates her time to making her ranch the best Whitetail Habitat.

Birdchick – Castle Birding

A White Stork with a nest on a church in Trujillo photographed with Swarovski ATX 65mm scope, iPhone 7 and PhoneSkope adapter.

When birders get together and talk about their favorite places to go see birds you usually hear Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador…but me? I like Europe. Don’t get me wrong, going south of the Equator has lots to offer but if you sometimes travel with a non-birding spouse who isn’t a huge fan of the outdoors, Europe can be a great compromise. And as cool as it is to be on top of a volcano after a five hour hike up uncountable switchbacks in high humidity to glimpse a guan or warbler, there’s something to be said about wandering centuries old streets where you can stop for a quick coffee and pastry watching Eurasian Kestrels and listening to the haunting song of a European Blackbird echo off of city walls. And all towns are full of rich history to add flavor to stories learned long ago in history classes.

The luck of the draw with some of my work commitments has put me in Europe twice this year. Some of my time was spent in Austria and some of it was in the fabulous Extremadura area of Spain.

While you’re birding around Hohenbregenz Castle make sure to take in the view of the town and Lake Constance. You might see some kites or buzzards.

Austria offers alpine birding as well as some great shorebird and marsh opportunities. I spent some time in Innsbruck and then headed over to Lake Constance. After we finished our meetings, the man who organized the trip knew that a few of us were birders and there was one particular European specialty we really wanted: a Wallcreeper! When you get into birding, you will scan field guides for birds you’d like to learn about and see. Some birds just pop out at you and you know in your gut you need to see one before you die. In American field guides these would be Indigo Buntings, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Scarlet Tanager—you get the picture.

Check out those flashy pink wings of the Wallcreeper on Hohenbregenz Castle

In European field guides, it’s the Wallcreeper. Imagine a sleek looking nuthatch covered in silver with bright pink wings that likes to crawl up and down the sides of castles. I’ve tried for it more than once and every time failed. This time, our organizer knew a local bird guide who had a solid lead on a Wallcreeper spending the winter on a castle in Bregenz.

So on my final day in Austria, we found ourselves heading to Hohenbregenz Castle to look for the elusive bird. It took some time, but the Wallcreeper was found and put on quite a show on the castle walls. It started up high while foraging for insects and then worked it’s way down where we were all able to digiscope it. I even got some video and posted it to Facebook Live because really, there’s nothing quite like trolling your friends who are stuck in an office while you are watching one of the birds of your dream. Here’s a video of the Wallcreeper:

About a month later, I spent some time birding in Extremadura in central Spain. Most people think birding involves being up at 4am and trudging out all day. Things are much more relaxed in Spain. We would have a lovely breakfast and then head out to Monfragüe National Park to climb up to a castle to watch Griffon Vultures soar by.

After a leisurely hike up a mountain, you can rest at Monfragüe Castle and watch Griffon and Black Vultures rise up with the thermals. There’s also a coffee stand nearby to keep you alert for photos.

Griffon Vulture nest.

It’s not a bad uphill climb and you can take your time to see other species like European Serin and Great Tits as you go. Once at the top you get a gorgeous view of the landscape and vultures and there is a little coffee cart ready to caffeinate you while you take vulture photos in perfect sun. The birds show up late morning because they need the sun to warm up the ground to create warm currents of air they can soar on to get their large bodies floating high in the sky, on the look out for carrion. As a bonus perk, there’s a tiny cafe where you purchase snacks, coffee and a beer to fortify yourself as you spend the day photographing the birds and gorgeous landscape around you. There are plenty of other areas to explore in and it’s a great opportunity to view Spanish Imperial Eagle and find Griffon Vultures on nests.

Towards the end of my trip we spent time in Trujillo. The fortified castle in that town is supposed to be part of the set in an upcoming episode of Game of Thrones. When you’re at the top, you can see so much of the untouched countryside. The town dates back to 600 B.C. and includes stunning residents built by Spanish Conquistadors using their newfound wealth after returning from their colonization quests. We were on a history tour and I brought along my spotting scope and PhoneSkope kit. Every time I take along my kit and a guide says, “You won’t need that,” my response is, “I always regret when I don’t have my digiscoping set up, never when I do have it.”

Besides birds, you can use your scope to study the art and architecture of the buildings.

And even if birds aren’t part of the official agenda, I like to use the scope to focus in on architectural details. Sometimes you find great scary faces carved in homes or in some cases a sneaky restoration professional will incorporate their favorite football team’s logo. But time in towns with a scope might also allow me a chance to get a great shot of a bird that is very common for a person who lives there but new and special for me. For years I’ve wanted a photo of a stork nest but the birding trips I’m on rarely get me to where they are nesting in good light. And as luck would have it, as we were walking around Trujillo we found a beautiful stork nest from the castle walls and I was able to get photos and video.

Don’t forget that while you are birding in a city, there are plenty of ways to celebrate from coffees, cheeses or beers.

Celebrating European life birds with a beer from Budvar, the original and more flavorful Budweiser made in the Czech Republic.

Taylor Albrecht

My Phoneskope has changed the way that I share my scouting with our clients. While scouting I can quickly put my phoneskope on my spotting scope or binos, take and send a picture. Within minutes or even seconds our clients can see what we are seeing. There is no more waiting to put the pictures or video on the computer to email to clients it all right there in the palm of your hand. Best of all the design is quick, Quiet and Simple to use.

Bill Schmoker

My PhoneSkope rig is an indispensable part of my birding kit, a natural compliment to my scope and binocular.  It is the easiest and most elegant way I’ve found to seamlessly record, document, and share my sightings!

David La Puma

My motto has always been “The best camera is the one in your hand, right now”. As a result, I sold off my DSLR and big lenses years ago because I just wasn’t using them enough. Cell phones now carry excellent camera components, and when coupled with premium optics, can achieve large-print-worthy results. I have tried all of the phone adapters on the market and PhoneSkope is the one that works best for me. PhoneSkope is modular, so when I upgrade my phone, or if I decide to use one of the older Leica Televid scopes, I only need to switch out the phone chassis, or the scope tube, respectively. That reduces waste and reduces cost, two things that are very important to me. PhoneSkope has allowed me to document rarities, help me bone up on bird identification, and create lasting pieces of artwork that allow me to relive the experience each time I look at them. Thanks PhoneSkope!

David Virostko

From preseason to post season scouting and everything else in between, I rely on PhoneSkope to capture those once in a lifetime moments. I have been in this industry a long time and nothing compares to the ease of use and availability at filming wildlife than the PhoneSkope. Thanks PhoneSkope for making my job a whole lot easier!

Wyatt Bowles

PhoneSkope has revolutionized the way I scout big game. PhoneSkope allows me to spend more time on the mountain. In the past, I had been driving all over to download footage and pictures. I spent so much time looking for a place with Wi-Fi to be able to share photos and videos to hunters and other guides. With PhoneSkope times have changed, it’s so simple now.  I can take pictures or record video and send it right from the mountain within minutes of taking it.

Drew Weber

My Phone Skope adapter has changed how often I am able to ‘get the shot’ because my phone is always on me and ready to slap on my scope. It lets me spend more time birding and observing, and less time fumbling to get a photo or video.

Kelly Cox

I always have my smart phone with me and I keep my PHONE SKOPE in my glove box or backpack while I’m hiking, so that I never miss those once in a lifetime picture or video opportunities. This adapter is simply: the easiest to use, most cost efficient, and highest quality digi-scoping product on the market. I never leave home without it. “Share Your Obessions”!