Easy-To-Plant Plots Instrumental in Pope & Young Bucks

By Bart Landsverk

I’ll never forget the day in 2006 I had to watch a trophy- class deer walk down a cornfield edge, past my stand at 10 yards and into the timber — never to be seen again. Wade Atchley, Advertising Director for The Whitetail News, and I had hung the stand the previous day, and just as we secured it to the tree, lightning, thunder and pouring rain had us running for the truck.
Of course, we never had a chance to trim any lanes from my stand to the cornfield setup we call the “Silver Dollar Stand.” After watching the deer disappear, Wade and I decided that things needed to change on our Illinois lease. The first step was to implement Imperial products into our game plan. We asked one of the farmers from whom we lease if he’d leave a few rows of corn standing. He agreed. After the rest of the field was picked, Wade planted Imperial No-Plow between the picked corn rows. The No-Plow grew quickly, and deer were soon browsing in the picked cornfield on our newly planted food plot.

The No-Plow did two things: It attracted deer to the field but also kept them on the field longer. Instead of bucks cruising the field, scent checking and then leaving, they used the field to browse and check for hot does. Fast-forward to early November 2007, when I was sitting on the stand for the second consecutive day. The previous day, I had seen a 160-inch bruiser chasing three does 100 yards from the stand, but the quartet never got closer. Of course, I was excited when I climbed into my stand overlooking the corn/No-Plow field. The wind was in my face as I considered all the potential scenarios that could unfold during the hunt. Previously, I had paced out shots into the field so I could quickly determine if a buck was in range. I had also drawn my bow in every possible direction to make sure I wouldn’t have any limb problems. Been there, done that. 

My failures had made me a better hunter. I don’t know how trophy bucks just appear, but they just know how to surprise even the most vigilant bowhunter. Suddenly, I saw the beautiful 10-pointer to my left, eating No-Plow without a care. He was headed toward me. The big buck walked to within 60 yards and then started looking to his left, which was the wrong direction. Rather than wait for his next move, I flipped over my doe-in-heat can and listened to the “bawwllll” it let out. The buck snapped his head my direction and stared for what seemed like an eternity. Then he started feeding on the No-Plow and walked toward me. I was relieved. The buck stopped 50 yards from my stand, and it looked like his attention would again take him into the middle of the field, away from my stand. I decided to turn my back to the field and deer to grunt softly. My maneuver worked again, and the deer walked within 35 yards of my stand. He stopped, quartering away to feed on more No- Plow, which gave me the perfect opportunity to draw my bow and fire. My Rage-tipped arrow flew perfectly, and five steps later, the buck tipped over in the middle of the field. The buck measured 125 gross Pope & Young inches. My first Pope & Young buck I may not have shot this buck without planting No-Plow after the cornfield was picked. The next day, friend John Jacobs shot a deer that scored 133 near where we had planted Secret Spot. Two Pope & Young deer were taken off our easy to- plant food plots.