Deer Creek Seed is one of many companies selling seed and other products to hunters who hope to attract deer by planting food plots. Some seed companies are much larger, but are actually more marketing companies than seed companies. One of America’s largest lawn seed companies, for example, is just four guys in a strip-mall office park. If you visit Deer Creek Seed, you’ll actually see seeds.
Although this is only one part of their business, they’re the very first seed company I wanted to visit as I began researching DEERLAND. They happen to be right here in northern Wisconsin, and with a name like Deer Creek Seed… How could I resist?
That morning I learned a lot about the seed business, and then got a fun tour from Deer Creek’s Tim Bauer. He knows seeds. He’s an avid deer hunter himself, and in his spare time he does a little product testing on his own food plots. He’s not alone; over the past decade or so, millions of dedicated deer hunters have begun planting food plots with special blends specifically tailored to better please the palates of deer.
In response, an entire new industry has sprung up almost overnight. In addition to seed, hunters are buying fertilizers, sprays, and entire arsenals of miniature farm equipment that can be pulled behind ATVs. These implements include mowers, spreaders, sprayers, tillers, disks, drags, harrows, cultivators, rakes, plows, and scarifiers.
Critics fear that food plots, like feeding and baiting, are leading to a de facto privatization of deer, which are in theory a public resource. After all, the whole idea is to attract deer and keep them on your land rather than on your neighbor’s land. But it looks like fun, and hunters tell me it feels more sporting and less artificial than shooting deer over bait.
Tim is a great guy, and I really enjoyed talking with him. His enthusiasm was genuine and infectious. If my wife and I owned more than our two small acres, I’d probably be out working on my food plots next spring.
And that’s one thing I’ll have to say for food plots… Thanks to guys like Tim, dedicated deer hunters now have a whole new hobby that’s bringing them a lot of enjoyment and relaxation. In their spare time, they’ve become small-scale farmers. I’ve talked with many hunters who find great satisfaction in planting and tending their food plots; they seem to enjoy it as much as they do the hunt itself.
They love seeing more deer on their property all year round, and they generally keep a few trailcams aimed at their food plots to see who’s stopping by for a midnight snack. Come deer season, of course, these same hunters will be waiting nearby to harvest one or two deer as the deer harvest their final mouthfuls.
So I guess it’s true what they say. There’s no free lunch.
© 2011 Al Cambronne