El Cheapo Food Plots

It's no national conspiratorial secret that the nation's economic recovery is as sluggish as Animal House character John "Bluto" Blutarsky after an all-night toga party. Few of us have ducked the bullet and the pull back has yet to see an end. If you're not flush with extra cash to plant a food plot this year, consider these quick-fix options to put a trophy buck in front of you.

NEGOTIATE WITH LANDOWNER

If you're lucky enough to have hunting access on an active farm, inventory the standing crops and see if any crops are in good positions for an ambush. Look at corners where fields back up to woods, crops up against mature hedges and flooded crops that may not mature before the fall harvest. Study up on market prices and then sit down with the landowner and make a deal to leave some crops standing. You never know; the landowner may be a forward thinker and already considering wildlife habitat and food with your suggestion sparking action.

RAKE YOUR WAY TO A MINI PLOT

Push up your sleeves, don the leather gloves and hand plant your own food plot. If you live in a moist area of the country you can plant small hunting plots by hand simply by scratching moist earth with a rake, sprinkling clover or another seed of your choice and covering it back up. Look for a woodland opening that receives sun, yet isn't arid and start farming. You can also use an ATV with a small drag to save on blisters. Oh yes, there is one more step; pray for rain.

HUNT NEXT TO THE NEIGHBOR

Finally, if you don't think either of these plans will work you can always hunt the neighbor's fence. If your property is refuge rich, but food poor, scout for the closest food source on the neighbor's side of the fence. The key to making this strategy work is to create a sanctuary on your side of the fence where the deer feel secure when they bed. Don't go in there and only hunt the perimeter. You can even stack limbs and branches to make denser cover. Your property will be a safe haven for deer and you can ambush them as they cross over to feed on the neighbor's.

Food plots are a major investment, but you can get some of the same results with innovative thinking until the economy shakes off this Bluto-like characteristic.