Dave Lindsey moved from Georgia to south-central Iowa to farm and to hunt the Hawkeye State's trophy whitetails. His 2,750-acre farm is lush with corn and soybeans come harvest time.
After Lindsey's combines have finished their work, his fields look as though he had been drinking on the job. Scattered throughout his farm are 15- to 20-acre plots of standing corn and beans.
Before severe winter weather hits, the whitetails are content to feed on leftovers in Lindsey's cut fields. That changes in December and January when the ground is buried beneath snow and ice. This is when the whitetails flock to the plots of standing corn and beans where high-energy food is easy to access.
"It's like turning on a switch," Lindsey says.
Lindsey and his son Jeff usually fill their bow tags earlier in the year. However, the standing corn and bean plots have bailed them out many times during the late season.
From scouting, hunting, and trail cam photos earlier in the season, Lindsey often learns the habits of the bigger bucks that frequent his farm. So much so that he names them. Two years ago, he dubbed a non-typical that would score over 200 points "Goliath."
"I've determined that some big bucks like corn better and some prefer beans," Lindsey says.
Lindsey puts trail cams over corn piles in the summertime so he can see and gauge the size of the bucks on his property. Goliath never visited the corn. Whenever Lindsey spotted or photographed Goliath, it was in a bean field.
When cold weather pushed deer to the standing food plots that year, Lindsey knew he would find Goliath in the beans and not the corn. Unfortunately, another hunter killed Goliath on a nearby property. Goliath grossed 239.
The following season, Lindsey still had a buck tag after New Year's Day. That's when one of his trail cameras captured Space Boy in a plot of standing corn. Space Boy was an old 140-class, 7-point buck named for the wide space between the tines on one of its antlers.
The next day, Lindsey climbed into a box blind overlooking the standing corn and arrowed Space Boy at 30 yards. The buck was at least 5.5 years old.
As effective as standing corn and beans are during the late season, this strategy doesn't work everywhere. If the deer density is high, the whitetails will devour a 10-acre plot of beans long before the late bow season begins. If deer densities are low, and deer have access to other plentiful food sources, even a 5-acre plot cannot lure a trophy buck into bow range late in the season.