Every hunter has an image in their head of their perfect deer stand, whether the it's over a big oak ridge, on the edge of a fresh cut corn field, or over a lush alfalfa, every hunter has the ability to improve their hunting experience without the incredible costs of planting large agricultural fields or paying for an over priced guided trip at a kill farm. Planting clover small plots is a cheap and effective way to draw deer into your hunting area and to funnel them into bow range. The deer will find these tender greens to be a preferable food source in the fall and your plot will be frequently visited. Many of us don't have the resources, equipment, or agricultural experience to build these food plots right away, this instructable can be a quick cheap solution to improving your favorite deer hunting spot.
Step 1: Find a Location to Build Your New Clover Plot and Improve the Ground
The first step involves finding a location not impeded with stumps and rocks, If there is brush and tall grasses the area should be brush cut close to the root as possible without in danger the brush cutter. Once the area is marked out, the ground can be begun to be tilled. In this picture we are using a two bottom plow to turn over the soil. I am of the opinion that these food plots should be kept smaller and non linear in fashion. Deer instinctively do not like not being able to see the other side of a food plot and will gravitate to the opposite and unseen portion of the plot. The plot should be strategically constructed around a significant sized tree that you plan to install a tree stand in. The plot can be tilled with a self propelled garden tiller with some effort, however having a tractor or ATV implement is invalueable.
Step 2: Spray the Plot With Roundup to Kill All Grasses and Broadleafs
In this step you will need to spray the plowed up plot with roundup concentrate or some other grass and broad leaf killer. This can be done with a Tractor/ ATV sprayer attachment or with a handheld spray bottle shown above. The most convenient tool for these plots would be a backpack sprayer that would hold more roundup solution than the handheld and would allow for easy application; just walk and press a button. This solution should be sprayed as evenly as possible on all invasive grasses and root structures, and must be left on the clover plot for at least 2 weeks.
Step 3: Disc the Food Plot Again
After Two weeks of allowing the roundup solution to go to work, the plot should be disced with an atv/ tractor implement in order to turnover any remaining sprouts that have started to grow, this will finally kill any grasses or any invasive broad leafs and prepare the ground for lime and seed.
Step 4: Lime, Fertilize and Seed the Food Plot
The plot needs to be limed and fertilized to insure large growth of clover stems. Following the instructions for proper tonnage of lime, fertilizer, and clover seed per acre is very important, and actually I have found that almost doubling the clover seed has increased the coverage. The easy solution for lime, is bags of lime pellets carried at any home store, or bags of typical fertilizer. However if your plot is large enough to justify the ordering of truck loads of both fertilizer and lime from your local co op, people can save an enormous amount of money and hard labor versus buying 40-50lb bags. Clover seeds are very small, and It is very difficult to spray the seeds evenly over the the plot so the use of a tractor/ ATV implement is recommended. However an over the shoulder broadcaster such as the one in the photo above is more than adequate to do this job well. Follow the seed yearly sowing regulations for best results. I like to begin this 1 month-2 month process in late August in order to have clover coverage for the fall hunting season. If you choose a perennial brand of clover, the plants will keep coming back for 4-5 years before having to be re planted.
Step 5: Hope for Rain
Try to plan the seeding of your clover plot to a day right before a good rain. The rain will press the seeds into the soil and insure proper seed to ground contact. You can expect the clover to start sprouting at 1.5 weeks-2.5 weeks (shown in first picture) depending on rain and soil conditions, and you can expect 2.5"-3.5" clover stems after a month (second picture). This will be the point at which deer will start to visit the plot pretty frequently, so put up your deer stand and get ready to enjoy your hunting stand.
Step 6: Enjoy Wildlife at Close Range!
Enjoy your hunting Season!