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The author used his handheld GPS to calculate the acreage of this irregular shaped wildlife food plot. He used that information to determine the proper amount of lime, fertilizer and seed, resulting in a lush plot.

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A handheld GPS was used to determine the acreage of a wildlife food plot. In this case, the plot measured two-tenths of an acre.

Photos by Bill Marchel • Special to the Star Tribune,

Calculate acreage using a handheld GPS

  • Article by: Bill Marchel Special to the Star Tribune
  • July 5, 2013 - 10:50 AM

– Planting wildlife food plots to attract deer and other wildlife to landowners’ acreage for hunting and viewing has grown vastly in recent years.

When planting a wildlife food plot, or even a large garden, it’s important to know the acreage of the land. That knowledge will help you determine the proper amount of lime, fertilizer and seed needed to produce a quality crop.

Guessing at the plot size is not a good idea because overestimating the size will waste money on excess chemicals and seed, and underestimating the size will result in insufficient applications of the same, ultimately compromising the quality of the plot.

An acre is approximately 209 feet by 209 feet. So, calculating the area of a square or rectangle is relatively easy. Unless, like me, you wiled away math classes dreaming about being outdoors.

Did you know you can use your GPS to calculate the acreage of a food plot or sprawling garden? Acreage calculation via GPS might not be news to modern farmers, but most recreational landowners I have spoken with were not aware that handheld GPS units feature this time-and-money-saving option.

I used my Garmin GPS to determine the accurate acreage of each of the 13 wildlife food plots on my property. None of those food plots is a square or a rectangle.

To accomplish the undertaking, I simply picked a starting location on the perimeter of a plot, pressed a few buttons on my GPS, then walked the outskirts of the opening.

As I strolled along I watched the screen on my GPS. Like magic, my track was plotted. When I completed the loop, I pushed another button and presto, I had the precise acreage of the interior of my route. In a notebook, I jotted down the name of the plot and the acreage so I could access the information at planting time. Then I repeated the procedure for each of my wildlife plots.

If you don’t know whether or not your GPS is capable of area calculation, review your owner’s manual or contact “Support” at the company’s website.

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