Twelve Acres and a Plan
Sam was happy the plan came together for the Funky 10.
For many years I dreamt of having land that I could manage and hunt. That dream became a reality in 2019 when I purchased 12 acres near my home in Northwest Pennsylvania. I had hunted this property for ten years and finally bought it at an auction. I had a plan in mind of how I could improve the property a little at a time. After two years of work, I have seen excellent results.
In May of 2019, I was able to purchase the 12 acres I had been hunting. Immediately I started working on cleaning up some of the trails on the property. Next, I strategically hung a few treestands and then made a half dozen mock scrapes. Lastly, I placed multiple SpyPoint cameras near the scrapes to do an inventory of the deer accessing my land.
During the fall archery season, both of my children harvested great bucks on the property. My son Samuel killed a beautiful 7 point, and my daughter Abigail killed a 6 point. Thanks to the mock scrapes and the SpyPoint camera intel, I knew the bucks were frequently visiting the property. That was a good season, but I knew there was more work to be completed.
During the Spring of 2020, everything shut down due to the global pandemic. Since everything was closed down, I had plenty of time to work on the property. The first thing I did was plant fifteen hybrid oak trees. I purchased these trees from Lake Erie Chestnuts that is owned by my friend John Sangl. My wife and I planted the trees and made sure they had plenty of sunlight to feed them.
As the pandemic continued into early summer, I put part two of my plan into action. My wife, Gwen, helped me dig a hole for a 110-gallon water tank. I wanted to provide some fresh water for the deer on my property. After a few hours, we dug the hole, place the tank in the ground, and fill it up. Grateful, I thanked my wife for all she did to help.
After a few hours of work the water tank was in the ground.
Deer loved the new waterhole! My SpyPoint camera sent hundreds of pictures of deer coming in for a drink. Even though the water was drawing deer into that spot, I knew that a food plot around that water source would make the site better. I began to research seed companies that had a product that would grow well in the woods. A quick call to my buddy Noel Evans gave me the answer to my search.
Noel and I talked on the phone about his success with Killer Food Plots seeds. He informed me that they had a product called DeepWoods. He believed that it was well suited for what I wanted to do around the water hole. I thanked Noel for his help and went on a mission to find some KFP DeepWoods.
Locally, I was unable to find any stores that offered Killer Food Plots seeds. Turning to the internet, I quickly found everything I needed on the Killer Food Plots website. The Deepwoods mix thrives in harsh conditions. One 8 pound bag will cover 1/2 an acre, and there are various hearty seeds in this mix: KFP Winter Rye, KFP Winter Wheat, KFP Rape, KFP Radishes, and KFP Crimson White Clover. I ordered a bag of the DeepWoods and waited for it to arrive at my house.
While I was waiting for the seed to arrive, I contacted Scott Spaid to see if I could borrow his Mantis tiller. A few days later, he brought the tiller to my house. The next day, the Deepwoods arrived, and I was excited to get the seed in the ground. Checking the forecast, I was a little disheartened as there was no rain in the five-day outlook.
In the afternoon of August 12th, Samuel and I went to the property. We took a few rakes, lime, the Mantis tiller, and the bag of DeepWoods. Samuel began raking away leaves and sticks that were on the forest floor. As he finished an area, I let the tiller break up the soil. August had been dry, but the ground seemed to have plenty of moisture in it. The tiller made the work more manageable than I had thought.
After tilling up the ground, I had Samuel spread the lime. As he scattered the lime, I opened the bag of DeepWoods and spread it around. After applying the lime and the seed, we raked the plot to cover the seeds up. The last thing we did was pack down the soil so the seeds would have an excellent bed to grow. Both of us were excited to see if the deer would like the seeds mix.
Over the next few weeks, we had little rainfall. I was worried that the seed wouldn't germinate and that we would have to replant the plot. The DeepWoods bag's description said it needed very little moisture to grow, and they were right. After one week, the food plot was growing great. I had numerous trail camera photos of deer coming to the food plot every day. I was excited to see the growth and continued to pray for some rain.
As August turned into September, we finally had some significant rainfall. The seeds blew up after the moisture hit the ground. Deer were hammering the DeepWoods and drinking from the water tank. My kids and I enjoyed looking at trail camera pictures daily. I was nervous that the deer would eat the entire plot before archery season started.
Once October arrived and we were able to hunt, I was no longer worried about the plot. Even though the deer enjoyed eating the food plot, they never cleaned it out. Samuel hunted his stand that overlooked the food plot many evenings. He loved watching the deer come in to feed and also drink from the tank. Many legal bucks came to the food plot while Samuel was hunting, but they all got a free pass. He was hoping for a chance at a buck we called the Funky 10.
The Funky 10 at the food plot before the PA Rifle season.
Archery season came to an end, and even with some snow, the DeepWoods was still bringing in deer. As the rut started to cool down, bucks were looking for food to replenish their bodies. Five days before the Pennsylvania gun season, the Funky 10 made a few visits to the DeepWoods plot and posed for the SpyPoint camera. Samuel was excited to see that nobody killed him during the archery season.
Saturday, November 28th, was the first day of PA rifle season. Samuel sat in my stand that overlooked the Deepwoods plot, while Abigail and I sat in the double treestand. The deer didn't move much that day, and we saw very few deer on their feet. Both kids were hoping that the Funky 10 would show up the next day.
Sunday, November 29th, would be a day we all remember. It was a historic day for PA rifle hunters as we could hunt on a Sunday. I had the kids up early for breakfast before we headed to the property. As we walked to the stands in the dark, the kids hoped they would see more deer today. Samuel headed back to my treestand again, and Abby and I sat in the double stand again.
Abby and I whispered as the sun began to rise. A loud boom grabbed our attention. The shot came from the direction of my treestand. We could hear a deer running, and then it crashed to the ground. Samuel texted us that he had killed the Funky 10. The buck appeared out of nowhere and started walking towards the DeepWoods food plot. With a well-placed shot from his Savage 308, the deer never made it to the food plot.
Abigail and I headed over to see Sam's buck. We watched as he tracked his deer. When he finally reached the Funky 10, he couldn't quit smiling. Samuel thanked me for putting in the water tank and the DeepWoods seed from Killer Food Plots. I had to agree with him that they got the job done. My mind is now full of ideas for improving my property and creating some more successful plots. I know that I will be trying more of the Killer Food Plots seed blends next year.