Food Plotting for Wildlife
I really look forward to spring each year in eastern Kentucky. Not just for the unending photo ops and tremendous turkey hunting that the area is known for, but for another opportunity for me to be able to assist Mother Nature in some small part. By providing a little extra nutrition to some of her critters. For me, food plotting has become as large, or a larger part of spring than chasing the wary ol’ gobblers! Deer seem to benefit the most from food plotting, but everything from wild turkey to field mice derive some positive calories from it. While my overall contribution to the natural food stocks is relatively small, I still believe I am able to provide some much-needed nutrition with specific vitamins and minerals for the local wildlife. For instance, deer fawns drop at this time of year. Stressed does try to provide milk for their young — typically twins. A couple acres of planted clover, with vitamins and minerals, can provide the necessary nutrition for the does to properly care for their young.
We food plot an average of 12-15 acres of ground a year. We plot in small, 1/2 to 4 acre plots and try to balance out the needs of the local wildlife with keeping the ground in as good a condition as possible. Ground condition or health is very important to ensure successful food plots. Rotating crop locations and their varieties keep the dirt in top shape. Any given year, fields are some combination of corn, soybean, oats, clover, alfalfa, chicory, winter peas, canola, rape and turnips. Each requires a specific set of nutrients to keep wildlife healthy and in peak condition.
Being a photographer first and foremost, I can’t work in the fields without having some sort of camera available to me. Typically, the answer is in an OtterBox Defender Series protected iPhone. Spending hours and hours prepping the ground, hanging the fences and driving the tractor can easily destroy an unprotected device. But the safety and piece of mind derived from the OtterBox case allows me to have a camera at my fingertips at a moment’s notice. I have caught a lot of my favorite images, which I would have otherwise missed, by having an encased phone/camera.
There are too many facets of food plotting that are image worthy to be able to include them all, but I have selected several of my favorites from this past spring and the previous year. I hope you enjoy them and can see some of the beauty that I find working the ground within them.