The Story Behind the Most Awesome Food Plot Ever

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There are dedicated QDMA members who go all out to help promote the QDMA mission and grow our organization.

And then there’s Steve Elmy.

Steve, who lives in Ontario, Canada, wears all the badges of our most dedicated supporters. He’s  a Life Member. He’s a Level II Deer Steward. He’s also a volunteer leader in his community and serves as president of our Eastern Ontario Branch. Stop sorting there and you’re down to an elite group of hunters and QDMA supporters. But Steve has now added a new top category in the QDMA honor guard, and he’s the sole occupant.

It’s the category for members who have grown food plots in the shape of a King Kong-sized QDMA logo to help promote our organization to passing astronauts.

elmy_rs_logo_2The idea took shape in 2013 when Steve first tried his hand at food plot art. He used herbicide to kill a 140-foot-long section of a food plot to form the logo of his company, Rack Stacker of Canada, which sells deer feed, minerals and food plot blends. Then, he hired a local pilot to take him up for photos of his creation. You can see his 2013 artwork on the right.

It took a lot of time and effort, but it must have been an addictive pursuit, because Steve decided to do it again in 2014, this time using the QDMA logo, and this time he went bigger. He planned a logo reproduction that would be 176 feet long by 142 feet wide, or 25,000 square feet – over half an acre in size!

“This year I decided to reverse the image,” Steve said. “I sprayed the outside so the logo would be green and would really pop.”

You’ve already seen the result in the photo above, which Steve captured with a drone-mounted camera. But how did he re-create the QDMA logo in actual deer forage?

It started on August 1 when Steve planted the 1-acre field with Rack Stacker’s Field Edge blend, which includes five different varieties of brassicas.

“That field has always been very productive for whitetails,” Steve said. “It’s where I shot my largest buck to date. It’s where my obsession with QDM started, it’s where I decided to start Rack Stacker. Everything started in that one field, and it’s in the middle of my farm.”

Once the field was planted, Steve printed the QDMA logo on a sheet of 8.5 x 11-inch graph paper representing the field, with each 1/16-inch on the grid representing a foot on the ground. Rain fell for five days following the planting, so Steve and his wife Selina worked quickly as the plot began to germinate. First, they drove stakes in the ground to mark a grid of 16-foot squares in the field, corresponding to 1 inch on paper. Then, they used rocks and orange spray paint to mark the lines of the logo within each grid square.

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“It was a lot of fun, but it was a constant anxiety attack because from the ground it didn’t look like anything,” Steve said.

Steve solved that problem when he made the decision to skip the hired pilots and buy a drone, which he used along with a GoPro to take aerial photos of the progress. In the photo below, you can see Steve guiding the remote-controlled drone, and you can see the orange lines of paint on the ground

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As the crop began to germinate, Steve and Selina used Roundup in a hand sprayer to trace the outline of the logo, then the rest of the open spaces were sprayed. Steve snapped a few more photos with the drone as the crop grew.

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On September 28, a clear day, he sent the drone up 350 feet to take a final portrait of his work.

“Between Selina and I, we have close to 80 hours tied up in the project, but it was a ton of fun,” Steve said. “I was certainly anxious about the outcome throughout the summer, but now that it’s done, I’m really pleased with how it looks.”

As you can imagine, we are too! Thanks to Steve and Selina for their hard work and dedication to QDMA. As a reward, they can see deer in their food plot every hour of the day.

Below are a couple more shots Steve took, including a close-up look on the ground at the buck’s right antler:

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And here is an even closer look at the Rack Stacker Field Edge blend. In the photo, left to right, are Steve and Selina’s kids Ashlyn, 8, and Logan, 7, along with friend Adalyn Goodfellow, 13:

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About Lindsay Thomas Jr.

Lindsay Thomas Jr. is the editor of Quality Whitetails magazine, the journal of QDMA, and he is QDMA's Director of Communications. He has been a member of the QDMA staff since 2003. Prior to joining the staff of QDMA, Lindsay was an editor at a Georgia hunting and fishing news magazine for nine years. Throughout his career as an editor, he has written and published numerous articles on deer management and hunting. He earned his journalism degree at the University of Georgia.