A Message from RAY SCOTT A Food Plot “Subculture”

 A number of years ago my son, Steve, made the observation that food plotting and whitetail management had become a virtual lifestyle for many outdoorsmen. Considering the time, money and commitment involved, that is not hard to understand. Successful management and food plots require not just seasonal attention but year-round planning and activity.
That conversation has always stuck with me and reminded me that about 25 year ago I met prolific author, Hampton Sides when he was writing a book called “Stomping Grounds.” The book was a perceptive view of what he considered to be some unique American “subcultures” from Tupperware salespeople to Harley buffs… and professional bass fishermen. Since I was considered by many to be the granddaddy of modern bass fishing and bass tournaments he wanted an interview and I was happy to oblige. I was intrigued by Sides’ definition of subcultures as ways of lives and “tribes” of people who “shape their lives around private passions and form national families or communities of kindred spirits.” That sure described my pro anglers at the time. And as far as I’m concerned in many ways it describes today’s loyal Whitetail Institute customers who engage in food plotting and whitetail management. I especially like the word community because one of Mr. Webster’s definition of community is “groups of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” That’s a pretty good definition of the food plotters scattered from small towns, large cities and rural areas who put on camo and work boots or climb on a tractor or ATV or handcrank a seed spreader to plant or hunt or manage for whitetail. While there is not (as yet) a large membership organization or an enthusiastic annual get-together described by Mr. Sides, (hence the title “Stomping Grounds”) these days, I think the author would find whitetail managers and food plotters an all- American subculture in spirit if not in formal organization. I especially agree with Mr. Sides’ premise that diversity of interests is alive and thriving in the U.S. and I appreciate his definition of subcultures as national “families” because we really do think of our food plotters as family or a community. But I will add something important to the understanding of “subculture” as far as outdoorsmen go, i.e. anglers and whitetail hunters, and that is, there is a very deep-seated desire to not only protect and preserve our culture but also to enhance it for the generations to follow. That is a very unique distinction for our “subculture.”