This past weekend my buddies and I planted seven food plots into various blends of brassicas, turnips and deer radishes. We also mowed a few clover fields and brushed out some access trails to tried-and-true treestand locations. But No. 1 on our priority list was placing an 8x8-foot ice-fishing house on one of our best food plots.
Here’s the deal: A bowhunting friend of mine built the ice house about 20 years ago, and because he’s a fan of all things John Deere, he painted it JD green and yellow, and he even stenciled a few John Deere logos on the sides. We’ve caught a lot of fish from this house through the years, but lately we’ve been using our portable ice shacks exclusively, which meant his wooden ice house was neglected year after year.
So this spring he asked if it’d be OK to covert his ice house from crappie killer to deer slayer and then place it on one of our food plots (my property), and of course I said “yes!”
He cut six new shooting windows in the house, covered the few existing windows that wouldn’t work for hunting, added tin to the roof to keep out the rain, and removed the floor to eliminate the possibility of squeaks and creaks when hunting and moving in the house.
The only thing we didn’t accomplish last weekend was installing shoot-through mesh over the windows. While the local deer will certainly get used to the blind’s presence on the clover field (including the “black holes” caused by the open windows), I prefer to have mesh in place for close-range bowhunting, especially when youth hunters are in the blind and moving a bit more than is ideal.
As the photo above shows, we had “all hands on deck” for placing the deer blind and working on food plots. It takes a lot of muscle and machine to work for whitetails year-round. From left to right, we relied on Yamaha, Ford, Honda, Toyota and John Deere (Gator). As the saying goes, “big toys for big boys.”