Small sweet-potato plots work wonders

It’s too late this year to employ one of Bob Watson’s favorite early season buck-hunting strategies, but there’s no doubt you’ll want to put it to work for you next year.

For Watson, early season bow hunting is all about hunting sweet potatoes.

“As soon as you can get your hands on some, or even buy them out the store — something with eyes on it that will grow — you can plant those things in a clearing surrounded by thick cover and create your own little sweet spot,” Watson said.

Most years, Watson plants his sweet potatoes in May or June, but they’ll take hold and grow succulent green shoots all the way up to first frost.

To create his sweet-potato spots, Watson first bush-hogs and tills up about a 15-foot-long stretch of dirt, and mixes in some fertilizer, chicken manure and maybe a little bit of lime to get a really rich soil.

“Then, all I do is dig me a little trench about as deep as the potatoes the length of this freshly mixed dirt,” he said. “I push each potato into the trench and just barely cover it up with dirt.”

Watson then builds a shield by driving half-inch pipe at 45-degree angles along the sides of the potato plot that he then covers with chicken wire to form a protective covering.

“Chicken wire is good because they can’t stick their noses in there,” Watson explained. “I’ll finish up by covering up each end to keep the rabbits out.”

A little rain sends the sweet potatoes into a frenzy of growth characterized by lots of green vines growing out of the cage. Deer eat the tender shoots without harming the sweet potatoes sending them out.

It doesn’t take long for deer to find these potato plots, either. They’ll already come investigating the smell of the fresh dirt, and it doesn’t take long for those shoots to start growing.

“One of my favorite places to do this is on the edge of a young pine plantation so the potatoes can get good light,” said Watson. “I’ll bush-hog a few of the pines down close enough to a tree on the edge where I can hang a stand.

“When they figure out what’s going on, any deer around will come and wolf them down.”

About Chris Ginn 778 Articles
Chris Ginn has been covering hunting and fishing in Louisiana since 1998. He lives with his wife Jennifer and children Matthew and Rebecca along the Bogue Chitto River in rural Washington Parish. His blog can be found at