Volunteers Adopt Food Plot At Dawson Forest WMA

Brad Bailey | August 6, 2005

There is a new food plot on Dawson Forest WMA, coming up lush and green after all the summer rain. The high-quality plot was planted not by WRD personnel, however, but by volunteers.

In late June, volunteers trailered in their own equipment to plant WRD’s seed and fertilizer.

“I had three volunteers with tractors,” said William Thacker, the area manager of Dawson Forest. “They brought in tractors and equipment from their hunt club, and they planted eight acres in corn, sorghum and iron and clay peas.”

The plot was planted on the upper end of the Amicalola Tract off of Afton Road. The beauty of the plot is that it is additional to the acreage planted each year by WRD, and it was accomplished without WRD having to spend man-hours supervising the job.

Food-plot-planting volunteers at Dawson Forest WMA: George “Cotton” Frady of Canton (left) and Charlie Andrews of Cumming stand in a lush plot of corn, sorghum and iron and clay peas. J.T. Jones of Canton and Gordon Ricketts of Tate also helped plant the 8-acre field in June, 2005.

“We don’t have a lot of time to spend supervising volunteers,” said William. “These guys knew what they were doing.”

The volunteers at Dawson Forest were George “Cotton” Frady and J.T. Jones, both of Canton, Charlie Andrews of Cumming, and Gordon Ricketts of Tate. The men are sportsmen who hunt the WMA.

The volunteers were first required to sign waivers. They were then provided a gate key to the road that leads to the plot, and they planted it when it was convenient to them within WRD’s required timeframe.

Dawson Forest WMA area manager William Thacker (left) admires the stand of wildlife food provided by volunteers like Georgia “Cotton” Frady.

“We have been planting food plots for at least 15 years,” said Cotton Frady. “We had been discussing with William the possibility of how sportsmen could help. The guys on the WMAs are pushed to get their plots planted in time. We think its a great thing that sportsmen can help WRD.”

“I am looking at this as a way to plant more,” said William. “If someone else just puts in the plots that I would plant, then the wildlife doesn’t benefit. These plots are in addition to the acreage that I plant each year. I wanted something that is the icing on the cake, not just someone doing our job for us.”

William is looking for opportunities to improve what he calls the Adopt-A-Food-Plot effort. The local National Wild Turkey Federation chapter is reportedly looking into the possibility of providing funding for seed for food plots.

The same group of volunteers plan to return to Dawson Forest to put in fall plots this year. Another group of sportsman volunteers is working with the area manager at Coopers Creek WMA to put in plots on that area.

“I have three other guys who want to plant plots on Dawson Forest if we can find a way to pay for it,” said William. “I think every WMA in the state has enough people who appreciate what’s going on who would be willing to put something back.”

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