A Visit to Deer Creek Seed

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

Author: alcambronne

Real estate & architectural photographer. FAA-licensed Part 107 drone pilot. Author of DEERLAND: America’s Hunt for Ecological Balance & the Essence of Wildness.

4 thoughts on “A Visit to Deer Creek Seed”

  1. I have not used they’re seed yet but this year now that I am aware of them I plan on stopping in for some seed since we own a place less than 1 hr from Ashland. We have been food plotting for some time now and have been following the guide lines created by the Quality Deer Management Association that can be found in they’re book “Grow em Right”. I really take offense at the statement that food plots are to privatize deer, no one can do that unless they can afford to put up miles of fence that would result in an inbred deer heard. In order to hunt Deer first you have to have Deer and thats where my food plots come into play, 75% of my plots are in perannuals so that in early spring even though I am miles away Deer can access the nutrition they need to help them recover from winter. Healthy does mean more fawns and I believe fawns that will have a better survival rate, I was told long ago that you should never take without putting something back! I don’t believe that food plots should be restricted to just hunters, anyone with a intrest in wildlife can participate and it dosen’t have to be on a large scale either. If you live in an area where a food plot could make a difference, even on you’re 2 acres, you might be able install a plot say 20 ft X 150ft for wildlife .Not only may you’re work have an impact, but may give you some real enjoyment.

    1. You’re right, Neil. To truly “privatize” deer, you’d have to take all this several steps further. Still, you don’t have to be a total idealist to have a few concerns when people plant food plots, get a few trailcam pictures, and start calling them “my” deer.

      Since I wrote that post, however, I’ve also talked with people at Biologic, the Whitetail Institute, and the QDMA. I now have a whole new perspective. Even if hunters do have ulterior motives, those food plots can be good for deer–especially when people do as you have, and don’t just plant so everything will peak right at hunting season. And I have heard a few stories about non-hunters who planted them, too. Seems like foodplotters get a lot of enjoyment out of what’s become a whole new hobby, one that’s only partly about hunting. And if that helps them reconnect to the land and reconnect to nature, than that’s a good thing.

      Anyway… Other companies’ seed might be good, too. But Deer Creek seems to have a good product, and I always like to support the smaller local companies. And if mail order is more convenient, I think they do sell from their website.

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