Page 1

Volume 17, No. 1


WELCOME DR. WAYNE HANNA The Institute’s New Director of Forage Research Page 8


New Food Plot Product Offers One-Two Punch

n TRANSFORMATION Page 12 Page 12

Weekend Managers Create Wildlife Paradise Page 70 Page 70


CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED 239 Whitetail Trail / Pintlala, AL 36043 Phone: 334-281-3006 / Fax: 334-286-9723

Whitetail Institute of North America



In This Issue… F 8







Meet Dr. Wayne Hanna: The Institute’s New Director of Forage Research


New Pure Attraction Offers Rapid Growth and Attraction for the Early Season and Prolific Forage during the Late Season


After exhaustive research, the Whitetail Institute introduces Imperial Whitetail Pure Attraction. By Jon Cooner, Institute Director of Special Projects


Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus: For the Ups and Downs of Food Plots

My Food-Plot Success: Two Years of Patience Pays Off

Improve Native Food Sources for Complete Nutrition



Improve Herbicide Action


Arrest and Slay… Don’t Delay!


Frankie’s Deer The author and his son love hunting and preparing for the season. By Frank Till


Imperial No-Plow…The Name Says it All!


A Change of Plans: Big South Carolina Buck Taken Halloween Eve

Tiger Ridge Experiment Showcases Small Tract Management Backyard Bucks: Close Quarters Call for Special Strategies Food plots help you score close to home. By Bill Winke


Mineral Products fill the bill for Oklahoma hunter 30-06 Plus Protein Mineral Supplements help an Oklahoma field tester. By Alex White


Creating Amazing Food Plot Funnels Food-plot placement can help you funnel bucks. By Brad Herndon

70 Imperial Chicory Plus… An Ally in the Drought Wars

Food Plots and Family – Building a Work Ethic in Kids

By Hugh McAloon

Hunters often overlook the importance of native foods. by Neil Dougherty


To Roundup or Not Roundup – That is the Question

Planting food plots can help kids develop a solid work ethic. By Brad Herndon

The Author watched the buck “Lefty” for years before that fateful morning. By Brad Larson



By Whitetail Institute Staff

Alfa-Rack Plus works well in varying soil conditions.



Transformation! Virginia Hunters Credit Hard Work, Self-Education and Whitetail Institute Products for Wildlife Paradise Managing land for wildlife became a rewarding endeavor. By David Wachter


Friendship, Whitetails and a Sunny Afternoon Combine for a Classic Hunt An Alabama afternoon illustrates why hunting transcends sport. By Bart Landsverk, Whitetail News Senior Editor

If you plant it, they will come. By Michael Hutchins


Passing on the Tradition: World Champion Archer Jeff Hopkins and Son, Scott, Have a Memorable Hunt By Jeff Hopkins


Vol. 17, No. 1 /



In This Issue… D E P A R T M E N T S 5

A Message From Ray Scott


Welcome Dr. Wayne Hanna as our new agronomist and Director of Forage Research

42 6

Deer Nutrition Notes All ruminants have the same basic digestive components, but there are major differences between large and small ruminants By Matt Harper, Institute Deer Nutrition Specialist


Ask Big Jon


Whitetail Institute Record-Book Bucks How I Do It By Captain Michael Veine


Fall Planting Dates


First Deer: The Future of Our Sport

Should we add a cover crop to Imperial Clover? By Jon Cooner, Institute Director of Special Projects


Turning Dirt Part II: Plows for Food-Plot Tractors By Mark Trudeau, Institute National Sales Manager

Customers do the Talking About Institute Products Photos and testimonials from across the country.

It’s a year-round passion... Page 44


Fall Planting Dates for Imperial Winter-Greens

More tractor advice.... Page 32


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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

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Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 FAX 334-286-9723


A M E SS AG E F R O M R AY SCOT T Founder and President Whitetail Institute of North America

Welcome, Dr. Hanna



Vice President of Operations .........................Wilson Scott Vice President............................................................Steve Scott Operations Manager:....................................William Cousins Agronomist & Director of Forage Research...........................Wayne Hanna, Ph.D. Nutrition Director....................................................Brent Camp Deer Nutrition Specialist.....................................Matt Harper National Sales Manager...................................Mark Trudeau Wildlife Biologist....................................................Justin Moore Director of Special Projects...............................Jon Cooner Whitetail News Senior Editor....................Bart Landsverk Whitetail News Managing Editor...................Brian Lovett Contributing Writers ...Charles Alsheimer, Tom Fegely, Jim Casada, Brad Herndon, John Ozoga, Bill Winke, Monte Burch, R.G. Bernier, Bill Marchel, Judd Cooney, Michael Veine, Steve Bartylla , Dr. Carroll Johnson, III Product Consultants .............Jon Cooner, Brandon Self, John White, J.B. Smith Dealer/Distributor Sales......................................John Buhay, Greg Aston, Jon Cooner, Shawn Lind Accounting & Logistics ....................................Steffani Hood Office Manager................................................Dawn McGough Internet Customer Service Manager.............Mary Jones Shipping Manager .................................................Marlin Swain Copy Editor ................................................................Susan Scott Advertising Director........Wade Atchley, Atchley Media



s you may have read in the last issue of the Whitetail News, we bid a sad farewell to our wonderful agronomist Dr. Wiley Johnson, innovator of our original, ground-breaking Imperial Whitetail Clover. Being the responsible person he was, Dr. Wiley left us on a steady course, and we could have rested on our laurels for a long time as far as nutrition and forage research. But we all knew it would be the greatest tribute to him and his work to search for the absolutely best qualified successor to fill his very large shoes and to continue the research he loved. So it is with great pleasure that I welcome our new Institute agronomist and Director of Forage Research, Dr. Wayne Hanna. I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Hanna this spring and was impressed, not only by his credentials, but also with him as an individual. I could almost hear Dr. Wiley say, “Ray, he’s the one.” Wayne grew up near Flatonia, Texas, halfway between San Antonio and Houston, working on a family farm. When he wasn’t working hard, he was hunting, fishing and looking for arrowheads after rains — three of my own favorite pastimes.

His resume is awesome. Very briefly, he received his B.S. (agricultural education), M.S. (plant breeding) and Ph.D. (genetics) from Texas A&M and went on to become a USDA Agricultural Research Service leader in cooperation with the University of Georgia in Tifton, Ga. where he also served as a part-time professor after his retirement in 2003. In 2006 he was inducted into the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service Hall of Fame. This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as his activities and especially his numerous awards go. Like Dr. Johnson, Wayne loves a challenge and is eager to continue developing better forages for deer and wildlife, especially white clover. There’s no doubt in my mind he fully understands our mission. Someone with a better grasp of scientific research will enlighten you about Dr. Hanna’s exciting plans. All I want to do right now is welcome him to the Whitetail Institute. Dr. Hanna, we’re glad to have you on board!

Ray Scott

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D E E R N U T R I T I O N N OT E S By Matt Harper, Institute Deer Nutrition Specialist

Analysis of the Ruminant Digestive Systems – Part 2

Large Ruminants vs. Small Ruminants


ay close attention when you are traveling between Wichita and Emporia, Kansas and you will have a good chance to see some very impressive bucks. A few months ago, I found myself in this particular part of the country driving up I-35 in the waning hours of an October day. As I typically do at this time of the day, I was glancing at the field edges looking for roving whitetails when I happened to catch movement next to a clump of river-side oaks. Closer scrutiny revealed three or four does and an impressive 10-pointer browsing on woody brush at the edge of a cattle pasture. Out in the pasture, a herd of cows leisurely grazed away at shin-high grass. The image brought my mind back to a conversation I overheard some time ago while visiting with a feed-andseed store manager. A customer was standing at the counter talking to one of the employees about purchasing food plot seed and mineral supplements for his deer lease. The conversation went something like this. (Customer) “My lease is basically a cattle operation — grass pasture, some hay and little row crop. I want to plant a couple food plots, but I would guess that the deer are getting all they need. I mean, the farmer knows his stuff about cows and makes sure his pastures, hay and other crops are top notch.” (Employee) “Well, you’re right about Bill — he does run a good cattle operation out there.” (Customer) “Tell you what, just give me whatever seed Bill is using for his pasture mix or his hay crops and I will plant a couple spots with that.” Honestly, I could see how this could be a logical thought process. That is, if you’re unfamiliar with the differences between large ruminants such as cattle and small ruminants such as deer. Seeing these Kansas whitetails feeding along the woodline while the cattle grazed the tall grass was a perfect example of the different preferences and needs of small ruminants vs. large ruminants. Undoubtedly, the deer were working on some highly digestible browse while the cattle were very content with the mature and somewhat rank

grass pasture. In part one of this series, we learned about the ruminant system, how the various parts function and how the ruminant digestive system works to derive nutrients from food. While all ruminants have the same basic digestive components, there are major differences between large ruminants and small ruminants in terms of food source preference and utilization. In order to put together an effective nutritional management program for deer, it is vital to understand these differences.

that live in a synergistic relationship with the animal. When food enters the rumen, these microorganisms begin to break down the food particles, changing the food composition to useable and digestible components. The difference between large ruminants and small ruminants is the physical size of the rumen sack. Large ruminants such as cattle have a rumen many times larger than that of deer. This larger size means more interior rumen surface area along with a larger population of microorganisms. This combination enables large ruminants to utilize harder-to-digest foods and derive nutrients that small ruminants are unable to. Examples include mature vegetation and heavily stemmed forages with high lignin content. Small ruminants can not efficiently digest heavily stemmed, mature vegetation and therefore are forced to search out vegetative forages. In general, vegetative plants are those that are in the early stages of growth and are pre-bloom or have not reached the reproduction stage of producing seed. Typically, the farther away from seed production a plant is, the more digestible it will be. Vegetative forages require far less microbial fermentation to extract nutrients and are therefore better suited to small ruminants like deer. A good example of this is hay-variety alfalfa. If you observe deer usage of an alfalfa hay field you will notice that the largest percentage of feeding occurs when the alfalfa plant is young, maybe less than a foot tall. As the alfalfa grows, the stem thickens to support weight, and digestibility, especially to small ruminants, decreases. Once it has been mowed and baled, deer again begin using the field heavily as the young, tender shoots begin to re-emerge.

EATING HABITS OF DEER VS. LARGE RUMINANTS Deer are considered concentrate selectors or browsers. What this means is that they pick and choose the food sources they consume. They may even select a certain part of a plant such as the leaf or bud while ignoring the rest of the plant. As we learned in part one, the shape of a deer’s mouth aids in this as it is pointed with a long tongue that enables deer to selectively consume food. Large ruminants such as cattle on the other hand are considered grazers, and are mostly non-selective in their eating behaviors. Once again, the muzzle is indicative of this eating behavior, being much wider than that of a deer.

THE ANSWER LIES IN THE RUMEN So why are eating habits different between small ruminants and large ruminants? The answer to this question can largely be answered with a close examination of the rumen of each classification of animal. First, as you can probably deduce, large ruminants have a much larger rumen than small ruminants. As we discussed in the last issue, the rumen is the “heart” of the ruminant digestive system. This is the part of the digestive system that is responsible for the microbial fermentation and subsequent breakdown of food consumed by the animal. This “paunch” makes up the largest percentage of the stomach structure and contains millions of microorganisms

THE NUTRIENTS Another major consideration in nutritional management of whitetail deer is nutrient requirements. In general, small ruminants require much higher nutrient levels in their diets than large ruminants. This is especially true for deer due to various physiological functions such as antler growth.

Whitetails are small ruminants while cattle are large ruminants. While all ruminants have the same basic digestive components, there are major differences between large ruminants and small ruminants in terms of food source preferences and untilization.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

Whitetail Institute

PROTEIN Protein is the building block of muscle and bone. Over the years, protein has received a lot of press in the deer world as a vital nutrient for antler growth, doe lactation and fawn development. When you realize that up to 80 percent of a growing antler is protein you’ll know why it is so important. In most cases, cattle require only 12-14 percent protein in their diets. There are some exceptions, such as lactating dairy cattle, but this is a good rule of thumb. Deer, on the other hand, require 16 percent to 18 percent protein in their diets for optimal antler growth and milk production. It is important to keep in mind that these percentages are for the overall diet. In other words, if a deer consumes a total of eight pounds of food per day, at least 1.28 to 1.44 pounds of this food needs to be protein. Many natural foods are quite low in protein making it vital that forages planted for deer be much higher than the 16 percent to 18 percent needed to create a balance and collectively


Exclusive from the

achieve the desired total protein level. Couple this with the previously mentioned digestibility needs and it is easy to see why forages for cattle may not work all that well with deer. In fact, this philosophy is reciprocal. Forages designed for deer are often not a very good choice for cattle as they are too high in nutrients and are digested too rapidly in the rumen, causing problems such as bloat.

Whitetail Institute

MINERALS As with protein, mineral requirements of deer are much higher than those of cattle. This has less to do with rumen size than it does with the physiological differences between the species. The yearly production of new bone (antlers) requires a greater need for mineral. Furthermore, the mineral content of deer milk is much higher than that of cow’s milk, making a doe’s mineral requirement higher than that of cows. So what does all of this have to do with developing a nutritional management program for your deer herd? First, you must take into consideration that deer are small ruminants, which requires you to examine your food plot choices wisely. We have learned that small ruminants require a more highly digestible, vegetative food source. In fact, they will search them out, which sheds some light on food source preference. We also have learned that nutrient needs are typically higher for small ruminants. When taking in these considerations, the characteristics of the forages you select are vital to derive the results you are looking for. It is this very thinking that is the core of food plot development at the Whitetail Institute. One of the best examples is Imperial Whitetail Clover. Imperial Clover was genetically selected to stay vegetative for a very long period of time and also be a low-seed-producing plant. This combination increases the nutrient content of the plant and at the same time ensures high palatability and attractiveness. In the third and final issue of this series, we will continue to examine how the deer’s ruminant stomach affects a nutritional management program. Specifically, we will look at rumination, how it affects deer behavior and how it can be used when designing food plots. We will take a deeper look into how food plot selection is affected by the ruminant system as well as the role rumen function plays in the formulation of nutritional supplements and minerals. (To see the first story in this series see Volume 16 # 3 of the Whitetail News at www.whitetailinstitute.com.) W

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Vol. 17, No. 1 /




fter a long and exhaustive

Meet Dr. Wayne Hanna

search, The Whitetail Institute of North America

is pleased to introduce the newest member of the Whitetail Institute team, Dr. Wayne Hanna, our new Director of Forage Research.

The Institute’s New Director of Forage Research

Chosen from a long list of potential candidates, Dr. Hanna is exceptionally qualified to assist the Institute in its continuing quest to provide its field testers the highest quality for-

Dr. Wayne Hanna, the Whitetail Institute of North America’s new Director of Forage Research is a worldrenowned expert in agronomy and plant genetics.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

Whitetail Institute

age products in the world. Since its very beginning, the Whitetail Institute has sought out the best scientists available to assist in its research and development efforts. In 1988, the Institute’s first product, Imperial Whitetail Clover took the deer hunting and management world by storm and established itself as the benchmark for the entire industry. Since then, there has been no looking back. The backbone of Imperial Whitetail Clover and the Institute’s first proprietary clover variety, Advantage, was developed by world-renowned plant geneticist Dr. Wiley Johnson, who preceded Dr. Hanna as Director of Forage Research for the Institute. In developing Advantage, Dr. Johnson cross-bred the best candidates from over 100 different clover varieties from across the globe, eliminating all but the best offspring and then repeating the process until he had developed one clover variety that met all of the Institute’s goals for whitetail food plots. At the time, Advantage was the only clover ever developed specifically for whitetail deer. That changed several years ago when Insight, a second, highly drought-resistant clover genetically developed by Dr. Johnson for deer, was added to the Imperial Whitetail Clover blend. The success of Imperial Clover and other Whitetail Institute products is largely due to the exceptional diligence with which the Institute conducts its plant breeding, research and development. With the passing of Dr. Johnson in 2006, the Institute began an intensive search for the best candidate to take up the reins as Director of Forage Research. The pool of candidates was narrowed to a short list of the top scientists in North America, and after an intensive process, one scientist’s name stood alone at the top of the list — Dr. Wayne Hanna. To say that Dr. Hanna’s resume is impressive would be a gross understatement. Without question, he is a worldrenowned expert in agronomy and plant genetics. In 1990, he was named Outstanding Scientist of the year by the United States Department of Agriculture, and in 2003 he was named Inventor of the Year by the University of Georgia Research Foundation. In 2006, Dr. Hanna was inducted into the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service Hall of Fame. Dr. Hanna is a Fellow and past board member of both the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America, and he has served as Associate Editor for both Crop Science and Journal of Heredity. Dr. Hanna is an active participant in numerous professional societies, including the American Genetics Association, American Forage and Grassland Council, and a long list of other www.whitetailinstitute.com

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The competitor’s 2 3/4" 12-gauge slug’s accuracy plummets right along with the temperature because the wad turns brittle and breaks apart (right).

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organizations of national and international scope. The success of Dr. Hanna’s research and his efforts to apply it around the world have brought international acclaim to Dr. Hanna, the University of Georgia and the United States Department of Agriculture. As a plant breeder, Dr. Hanna has developed and released over 46 parental lines, inbreds, improved germplasm and/or cultivars, and he is internationally recognized for his research of a natural form of clonal reproduction through seed. Widely recognized as a foremost authority on genetics, cytogenetics and breeding of pearl millet, Dr. Hanna’s research concerning pearl millets has played a major role in producing the first commercial pearl millet hybrids released in the U.S. These hybrids have had a major impact on a broad range of industries, including beef, dairy, poultry and wildlife. Another especially significant area of Dr. Hanna’s career is in the development of environmentally friendly turfgrasses that have been readily accepted and are in use in the U.S. and around the world. These turfgrasses have become standards in the industry. Their impact has been huge in the U.S., and in the tropics where they have revolutionized the beef and dairy industries. Dr. Hanna is quick to give credit to others who have had a major impact on his career. These include his highschool agriculture teacher, Mr. Leon Kainer, and Dr. Keith Schertz, a USDA-ARS geneticist at Texas A&M under whose tutelage Wayne pursued his Masters degree and PhD. It was Mr. Kainer’s influence that initially set Wayne on his course toward agronomy. Wayne says, “If it hadn’t been for Dr. Kainer, I would not be in a position to work with the Whitetail Institute today.” Of his post-graduate work, Wayne recalls, “Research was serious business to Dr. Shertz, and it had to be done right. He taught me the system that I follow to this very day — plan, work the plan, and then complete the scientific process.”

After earning his PhD, Dr. Hanna had no shortage of employment opportunities, ranging from Oregon and California to Mississippi and Florida. He had hoped for employment with the USDA-ARS (United States Department of Agriculture — Agriculture Research Service) in Tifton, Georgia, but when no opening appeared there he accepted a position as a white clover breeder for the University of Florida. Shortly thereafter, he was surprised by an offer from the USDA-ARS in Tifton to fill a position being vacated by Dr. Jerrell Powell, who had accepted new employment in Washington, DC. “The call was quite a surprise,” says Wayne. “I had the utmost respect for Dr. Powell, and I knew he loved his position at Tifton.” At Tifton, Wayne worked as a USDA-ARS research geneticist and part-time professor with the University of Georgia, and he remained in that capacity until his retirement in 2003. He remembers those years fondly. “My career with the Agricultural Research Service was challenging, productive and rewarding. It was pure joy. Plus, I had the opportunity to work with over 160 scientists around the world during my career. Our research on forages, turf grasses and pearl millet allowed me to travel to over 35 countries, which proved extremely valuable in my continuous efforts to become a progressively better scientist.” Dr. Hanna has served as an invited consultant to 30 countries and given over 80 invited national and international presentations. He is the author or co-author of over 565 journal papers, book chapters, proceedings, abstracts and popular articles. All of us at the Whitetail Institute have enjoyed getting to know Dr. Hanna, or “Dr. Wayne” as he is quickly becoming known at the Institute, and we can already tell that the association will be a very good fit. Certainly we have the utmost respect for what he brings to our company from a professional standpoint. But, perhaps it is also that in some ways Wayne reminds us of Dr. Wiley Johnson, his predeces-

sor as the Whitetail Institute’s Director of Forage Research. I first met Wayne a year or so before he joined the Institute. Even then, he reminded me in many ways of “Doc Johnson.” Wayne is highly professional, but in a strong, gentlemanly way; I have yet to see him present anything other than a smile, a firm handshake accompanied by a steady eye and a kind word for everyone he greets. Wayne also freely shares his abundant knowledge without considering it proprietary, a characteristic for which I also admired Doc. Also like his predecessor, Wayne is a man of faith, which he attributes to a life-altering event that occurred in July, 1974. “That’s when I heard Jerry Clower say something that changed my life and keeps changing it even today. He said that when he wakes up in the morning and looks in the mirror, he says, ‘Lord, I am going to work for You today; here I am. Use me.’ I suddenly realized that while I had been doing all the right things, I had been doing them for all the wrong reasons. Since that day, He has been my boss. He’s the one thing in this world that doesn’t change over time.” The professional respect between Doc Johnson and Dr. Wayne was mutual. Dr. Johnson knew Dr. Hanna and held him in high regard, both personally and professionally. Likewise, Wayne is aware of the contributions of his predecessor. “I am beginning the newest chapter in my life — working with the Whitetail Institute of North America to develop the best possible forages for wildlife. As I start my journey here, I remain aware that I follow in the footsteps of Dr. Wiley Johnson, a highly regarded legume breeder who developed such highly-respected varieties as Advantage and Insight, the core perennial clovers in several Whitetail Institute forage blends. Dr. Johnson’s are big shoes to fill. He set high standards and then lived up to them. But, I like a challenge, and I will do my best to continue to meet the high standards set by Dr. Johnson.” W

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Research = Results. The Whitetail Institute



2 3 9 W h i t e t a i l Tr a i l

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1


Pintlala, Alabama 36043 / 8 0 0 - 6 8 8 - 3 0 3 0 / w w w. w h i t e t a i l i n s t i t u t e . c o m


PURE ATTRACTION blend offers rapid growth and attraction for the early season, and prolific forage during the late season too By Jon Cooner, Institute Director of Special Projects


hen our field testers asked us to develop a fall forage blend that would provide rapid growth, attraction and abundant forage in the early and late seasons, the Institute was listening. After exhaustive research, development and testing, we are proud to announce our newest product, Imperial Whitetail Pure Attraction.

We are often asked, “What makes the Whitetail Insti-tute different from other food-plot and deernutrition companies?” There are a number of reasons, but they all go back to one thing: our business is built on research, results and relationships. As I have heard Ray Scott say many times, “The only way a company can prosper over the long term is to provide only the highestquality products, and then back them up with the best customer service in the business. That way, once a customer honors you with his business he comes back again and again.” In that way, we see our company as a service company in a sales industry, and that’s one of the biggest reasons for our continuing success. It is as much the quality of our follow-up service as it is our diligence in developing products tailored to our customers’ needs that sets the Institute

Whitetail Institute


apart from other companies. In fact, everything the Institute does is customer-driven, even including how we choose many of our research and development projects. Pure Attraction is a great example. The main reason we even started to develop Pure Attraction was because our customers asked for it. As part of our commitment to customer service, the Institute provides a toll-free line that is manned by highly trained consultants to answer questions about our products and anything else related to deer and deer hunting — and this is a free service. Several years ago, our consultants noticed a trend in requests from Field Testers all across North America. They wanted a forage blend that would establish quickly in a broad range of soil types and climates and provide exceptionally high attraction and nutrition during both the early and late hunting seasons. That prompted our R&D team to create the finest possible blend to give our Field Testers what they had asked for — something that that would deliver a “one-two punch” of rapid growth and attraction in the early season and prolific forage availability in the late season. That blend is Pure Attraction. WINA-Brand Oats and Winter Peas for Early Season: The backbone of Pure Attraction’s early-season attractiveness and nutrition is WINA-Brand oats. These oats are winter-hardy, drought-resistant, and their high sugar content makes them exceptionally attractive and palatable to deer. These early-season plants establish and grow very quickly. And here’s the kicker: after exhaustive, side-by-side testing, the conclusion is clear: WINA-Brand Oats outperform all other forage-oat products available. Period. WINA-Brand Forage Brassicas for Late Season: By now, the word is out that Imperial Whitetail brassicas outperform all others on the market. Our Winter-Greens brassica blend, introduced just last year, has been an overwhelming success with deer hunters even in the southern United States where winters are comparatively mild. Whitetail Institute forage brassicas are also included in Pure Attraction to provide abundant forage during the coldest months of the winter. Once our R&D team had found what it thought was the ideal answer to our Field Testers’ requests, we still weren’t ready to introduce Pure Attraction to the market. As with all our potential new products, Pure Attraction first had to

The backbone of Pure Attraction’s early-season attractiveness is WINA-brand oats.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1


The foundation of Pure Attraction’s early-season attraction and nutrition are WINA-Brand oats which are winter-hardy and droughtresistant.Their high sugar content makes them exceptionally attractive and palatable to deer.WINA-Brand Oats outperform all other forage-oat products available.WINA-Brand forage brassicas are also included in Pure Attraction to provide abundant forage during the coldest months of the winter. Read the early reviews from all over the country:

• From Maine:“Pure Attraction is awesome.The blend seemed to click with my soil and the deer.Another great product.” • From Missouri: The Pure Attraction blend was “among the most attractive I have ever planted.” • From Alabama:“Deer completely mowed the Pure Attraction plot down.Even so,it continued to provide forage and grew well all through the winter.Deer were in the plot every night.” • From Vermont: “In our experience in testing a broad range of oat products currently available on the market,it is our belief that deer heavily prefer the oats in Pure Attraction over all other oat products we have ever tested.”

• From Virginia: “The Pure Attraction blend is extremely winter-hardy and lasted through the winter.It really grew well the whole time too.Even though it was heavily grazed,it continued to provide food for the deer during the cold weather.” • From Michigan: “The deer ate the Pure Attraction like crazy.The WINA-Brand oats and winter peas came up first and then the brassica.The deer hit the WINABrand oats and winter peas first.As of Nov.18,both plots had been grazed low, but the plants were still green.”

Plant Pure Attraction during the same dates as the fall-planting dates for Imperial perennials. Since Pure Attraction does not require the sort of deeper ground tillage required for planting some perennial blends, it is even easier to plant. Looking for a product that will establish quickly and give your deer the one-two punch of both early- and late-season attraction…? Give Pure Attraction a try!

Research = Results

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 1-800-688-3030 www.whitetailinstitute.com


prove itself to its harshest critic — The Whitetail Institute itself. It had to convince us that it would be the top performer in a wide geographic range and in a broad variety of soil types and climates — and do so convincingly — before we would allow it to bear the Whitetail Institute’s name and logo. During exhaustive testing in-house and through our extensive system of Certified Research Stations throughout the U.S. and Canada, it did just that. Here are a few examples of the many excited reports we received from our Certified Research Stations during the testing phases of Pure Attraction: A Certified Research Station in Virginia wrote, “The Pure Attraction blend is extremely winter-hardy and lasted through the winter. It really grew well the whole time too. Even though it was heavily grazed, it continued to provide food for the deer during the cold weather.” Similar results were reported by a Certified Research Station in Michigan. “The deer ate the Pure Attraction like crazy. The WINA-Brand oats and winter peas came up first and then the brassica. The deer hit the WINA-Brand oats and winter peas first. As of Nov. 18, both plots had been grazed heavily, but the plants were still green.” In Maine, a Certified Research Station reported, “Pure Attraction is awesome. The blend seemed to click with my soil and the deer. Another great product.”

These spectacular results were mirrored in the Midwest. A Missouri Certified Researcher reported that the new Pure Attraction blend was “among the most attractive he had ever planted.” And these results were not limited to the North and Midwest. In Alabama, the results were similarly impressive. “As you can see from the attached photo, the deer completely mowed the Pure Attraction plot down. Even so, it continued to provide forage and grew well all through the winter. Deer were in the plot every night.” One of the strongest reports we received came from Ken Eastman of Wildlife Habitat Consultants in Vermont. “In our experience in testing a broad range of oat products currently available on the market, it is our belief that deer heavily prefer the oats in Pure Attraction over all other oat products we have ever tested. Even the turkeys ate the WINA Brand oats before they seeded out, which they did not do with the other oat products. Pure Attraction is going to blow all existing oat products right out ofthe market.” With testing completed, the answer to our Field Testers’ requests is now ready and available. Pure Attraction is designed for fall planting during the same dates as the fall-planting dates for Imperial perennials, and it is even easier to plant since it does not require the sort of deeper ground tillage required for planting some perennial blends. Optimum soil pH for Pure Attraction is 6.5 or high-

er, and if lime must be added to raise soil pH, it needs to be tilled only into the first inch or two of soil. Also, smoothing the seedbed prior to planting Pure Attraction is not as critical as it is with many perennial blends. Just leave the surface of the soil loose, and once you broadcast Pure Attraction, drag over the seed very lightly to seat it into the soil. Fertilize Pure Attraction with 400 pounds of 17-17-17, 20-20-20 or equivalent at planting, and if possible hit the plot again 30-45 days later with an additional application of 33-0-0, 34-0-0 or similar high-nitrogen fertilizer to further boost forage growth. Also, be sure to place an exclusion cage in the plot when you plant. You’ll be amazed at how quickly and hard the deer will hit it. Thanks again to all our Field Testers who let us know they needed an annual blend that would perform well in both the early and late seasons. Thanks also to the folks at our Certified Research Stations and our Field-Tester researchers across the U.S. and Canada who helped us test and fine-tune Pure Attraction. To all of you, keep the suggestions coming. In return, we promise to keep our serviceoriented philosophy. In the meantime, if you are looking for a product that will establish quickly and give your deer the one-two punch of both early- and late-season attraction, give Pure Attraction a try. W

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1


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ASK BIG JON By Jon Cooner, Institute Director of Special Projects

Common Questions — Straightforward Answers We have a hunting club in South Georgia and are going to plant Imperial Whitetail Clover next fall. Should we add a cover crop? Some people occasionally do, but it’s usually unnecessary. That’s because we already have plants in the Imperial Whitetail Clover blend that serve the function of a cover crop. These “Golden Jumpstart” plants establish quickly, making the field attractive and also helping to protect the perennials in the blend from early overgrazing while they establish. As you may know, the perennial clovers in Imperial Whitetail Clover are unique in the world, in that they were bred over many years from clovers we gathered worldwide for the specific purpose of breeding the best possible year-around forage plants for whitetail food plots. The results were Advantage and Insight clovers, the only clovers ever bred specifically for whitetail food plots. One of the characteristics we sought in breed-


ing Advantage and Insight was to keep them as high in nutrients and energy as possible all year long. Whenever a plant has to create seeds, it robs the plant of nutrients and energy. Accordingly, we bred Advantage and Insight to grow from their root systems and not rely on re-seeding. In order to do that, they have to establish comparatively extensive root systems underground, and they do that before they appear in force above ground. That’s why we put the Jumpstart into the blend — to get your plot up and going quickly while the perennials establish underground. Once the perennials start coming up well, the continued presence of the Jumpstart in the plot is largely irrelevant. Once I plant Imperial Whitetail Clover, how can I tell if what I see coming up are the annual Golden Jumpstart plants or the perennial plants in the blend?


With Imperial Whitetail Clover, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference by looking at the plants. Generally (and provided Imperial Clover is planted according to directions and Mother Nature cooperates), you’ll start seeing the Golden Jumpstart plants coming up in only a week or two. Often this appears as a broad-coverage stand of green, but a bit thin. Once the perennial clovers in the blend establish their root systems, which is usually only a week or two after the Golden Jumpstart plants break ground, the plot simply thickens up. Since all the plants in the Imperial Whitetail Clover blend are clovers, the transition is not as obvious. However, with our other perennial blends, you may be able to tell. This is especially true of Extreme, since the Persist forb and WINA-100 Brand Perennial Forage Chicory that comprise the perennial component of Extreme don’t look like clovers. W


The powerful appeal of Magnet Mix is now available in a handy, 4-part block. Just break apart the block and place the sections wherever you want the deer to gather. In addition to being enormously attractive to deer, the formula in the 4-Play block contains a combination of essential vitamins and minerals. Four times the attraction in the block; four times the deer activity on your property. Because of the Magnet Mix line’s incredible attractiveness, some states may consider it bait. Remember to check your local game laws before hunting over Magnet Mix products.

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1


Imperial Alfa-Rack PLUS… For the Ups and Downs of Food Plots


s the soil in your plot good, but flat in some places and sloped in others? Imperial Alfa-Rack PLUS can be the answer in such varying conditions. Imperial Alfa-Rack PLUS is one of the Institute’s longest-running and most-successful products. Originally called Alfa-Rack, the blend contained the Institute’s first proprietary clover, Advantage, and the best grazing alfalfas available. As with all its products, though, the Institute was not content to rest on its existing successes, and several years ago, Alfa-Rack was improved with some impressive upgrades. First, Insight, the second proprietary clover engineered by the Institute specifically for deer, was added to the blend, adding even more versatility, attraction and drought resistance. We also added the same WINA-100 brand perennial forage chicory included in Chic Magnet, Chicory Plus and Extreme. The final change is perhaps the most exciting. The alfalfas included in Alfa-Rack Plus are now the newest X-9 technology strains. These new alfalfas are especially cold tolerant, easier to establish, last longer, re-grow more quickly and provide more forage production for deer than other alfalfas, even other grazing varieties. In areas that receive at least 30 inches of rainfall a year, Alfa-Rack PLUS is a superb answer to plots that are flat in some areas and sloped in others. In plots that tend to undu-

late in that way, the perennial clovers tend to establish in the lower, flatter areas. The higher spots are favored by the alfalfas and chicory, whose roots can go down as far as several feet to find water. The result is full coverage throughout the plot, even in transition areas between the lower and higher spots. Alfa-Rack PLUS is heat- and disease-resistant and cold tolerant, and like all Whitetail Institute products it comes ready to plant. It’s already pre-inoculated and coat-

ed to minimize the risk of false germination. We also offer regional blends to ensure optimum performance, whether you are planting in Georgia or Canada. So, if you have been looking for a perennial blend for a plot with good soils that have both flat and sloped areas, look no further than Alfa-Rack PLUS. It has proved itself with Field Testers from the southern U.S. to Canada. The Institute has raised the bar once again. W

n What you need to know about Imperial Alfa-Rack PLUS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> • Alfalfas include X-9 technology strains which are cold-tolerant, easier to establish, last longer, regrow quickly and provide more forage production. • Advantage and Insight clover included. • WINA-100 chicory included.

Getting big bucks with big racks takes an exceptionally nutritious forage, and that can be hard to grow in hilly areas with lighter soils. Alfa-Rack Plus solves this problem. The extensive root structure of Alfa-Rack Plus allows you to grow this high-protein forage in areas that might otherwise be inhospitable to the foods deer like best. Alfa-Rack Plus includes our special blend of alfalfas, chicory, and Imperial Whitetail Clover. When the buck you are after is King of the Hill, make sure the hill is planted in AlfaRack Plus.

F R E E Trial Offer! - Call 1-800-688-3030 Offer 1- only $ 8.95 ( s h i p p i n g a n d h a n d l i n g ) FREE all new video or DVD / FREE N0-Plow TM / FREE Imperial Clover TM FREE Extreme TM / FREE Alfa-Rack TM PLUS / FREE Chicor y PLUS TM (each sample plants 100 sq. f t . )

Offer 2- only $ 19.95 ( s h i p p i n g a n d h a n d l i n g ) Same as Offer 1 PLUS F R E E 3 0 - 0 6 TM M i n e r a l ( 5 l b s . ) F R E E C u t t i n g E d g e TM Supplement (5 lbs.)

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Hope Hull, AL 36043 w w w. w h i t e t a i l i n s t i t u t e . c o m

Research = Results. www.whitetailinstitute.com

Vol. 17, No. 1 /



Customers do the talking about Phillip Duke – Alabama

Donald Leach – Kentucky

I used No-Plow on a 1 acre hideaway spot on our 240 acre farm in Blount County Alabama. I harvested a very heavy 8 point that year. I also have used 30-06 Plus Protein for 2 years. The racks I am seeing on the bucks are by far the best I have seen on our property in 10 years. I believe in these products 100%. I took my best buck to date with my bow last year and that includes gun also. Since discovering Secret Spot this year I have seen more mature bucks in 1 year than in the past 10.

We first planted Imperial Whitetail Clover in 1999 and we have more deer, turkeys and bigger bucks. See photo.

Peter & Jacob SeeHusen – Maine

James Skelton – Arkansas I took this 138 inch buck about 40 yards off an AlfaRack plot I planted over 4 years ago.

Justin Kochler – Illinois I had a hunt on Imperial Whitetail Clover where I saw 26 deer. 17 of them were bucks. Never before had I seen that number of deer in a 2 acre spot. The deer in the photo is working scrape on a 2 acre Imperial Whitetail Clover plot. He is 1 of 4 trophy bucks caught on film at that same scrape.

Last year was the first year we tried a Whitetail Institute product. Up to this point we’ve relied on 35 acres of timothy and other grasses to try and sustain a good, healthy deer herd throughout the year especially during hunting season. We saw a pattern of deer leaving the property around October every year due to the lack of food. Our property offers plenty of cover and water but lacked the nutrition so we decided to try Imperial Whitetail Clover. We planted about 1 acre in June and had tremendous results by mid July. Germination was fast and the clover was thick and deep green in color. The deer loved it. By late August we had 10-12 inches of growth in the containment cages and 6 inches outside. We also planted Extreme on one of our logging roads and had good success with that too. The moment of truth was October when in the past the deer slowly left the property for better food. Well, it definitely kept them around and in better numbers than we had ever seen. Our buck activity was heating up by mid October. I was glassing bucks I would have never seen before. On the morning of November 4th I watched a doe enter the clover plot that was acting very nervous. Right on her trail marched this large 8 pointer. There was no doubt this was a shooter. He offered me a good standing shot so I took it. He ran about 200 yards and fell. He dressed out at 205 lbs. My son and I were very excited and are definitely hooked on Imperial Whitetail Clover. The deer stayed throughout the remainder of the fall and my father harvested a beautiful 8 pointer the next to last day of the rifle season. Whitetail Institute products definitely made for an exciting summer and fall.

problem. The deer was only 60 yards away and any sudden moves by me would have alerted the buck to my presence. After what seemed like an eternity the buck turned away to scratch his head. At that time I took advantage of it and raised my 270 rifle to take the shot of a lifetime. This deer scored 170-5/8 gross and 161-7/8 net.

Dave Lewis – Michigan I can’t say enough about your Imperial Whitetail Clover. Deer love it! I have only 20 acres but the number of deer on my property has increased. Lots of rubs and scrapes along the edge of the clover. Nice healthy deer. Turkeys love it too. I’ve finally killed the buck of a lifetime for me. A 12 point that grossed 143.

Ron Godi – Missouri Mo Kinser has been hunting with me for 24 years. And he’s killed a dozen or so nice bucks but this past year he got his best ever, an 140 inch 8 point. Our property gets a lot of hunting pressure especially around our Imperial Clover food plots. As we all know this pressure keeps the mature bucks away from the plots during daylight hours. Mo made the


Richard Gadd – Mississippi On the cold morning of January 5, this past season I decided to go deer hunting in north Mississippi over a field of Whitetail Clover. About 7:05 a doe came out to eat, then proceeded to go into a thicket. After two hours of nothing, I heard a noise in the field beside me, turned to look and the doe came back with this big buck with her. The deer was on my right side, while I was facing left which created a


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1


Institute products… Honey Hole. Thanks Whitetail Institute! I’m proud to be a field tester for you.

Mike Flanagan – New York

2 decision to set up a few hundred yards off one of our plots and between it and a bedding area. It paid off nicely as you can see in photo 1. Another friend of mine, Doug also killed a great buck (mid 140’s) (photo 2) a few hundred yards from where Mo killed his. Our Imperial Clover, Extreme and No-Plow plots continue to produce tons of great food and we continue to see great bucks each year. Thanks and keep up the good work.

Jeff Hopkins – Maryland I harvested this deer, December 1st on one of my Imperial Whitetail clover plots! I've got hundreds of deer on the clover at this point.

areas for food plots and introduced Imperial Whitetail Clover. At first we thought that it just might be another gimmick, but how quickly our minds changed! One year, the deer population was incredible and the quality of the bucks increased tremendously; this made us a little more patient because of the numbers. Since then I try to plant a little more clover every year. I agree after reading some of the letters from your field testers that the more plots you can have, the better chance you have at harvesting a mature buck. You can visit my food plots at any time of the day, and you will always see deer feeding away on the clover. Enclosed you will find two pictures of deer we have taken, after we started planting Whitetail Clover! The picture of my gate will show you the difference it has made with the increase in antler growth. The picture of the food plot will show the Imperial Whitetail Clover at its best. The food plot in the photo was planted in the spring of 2005 and has been a magnet for the deer ever since. We just wanted to send these photos to the Whitetail Institute to encourage other readers that we feel there is not a better product on the market. Once again thank you for the work and research you have done.

Zachary Schmidt – Missouri We have 200 acres in Eastern Kansas. In the spring two years ago we planted our first food plot with Imperial Whitetail Clover and had fantastic results. The next fall we planted 2 acres of Alfa-Rack

Dale Merkel – Nebraska I have hunted whitetail deer my entire life. I have always obtained permission on some private land or somewhere along the Missouri River Breaks. In the fall of 1994 my wife and I had an opportunity to purchase some ground of our own. The size of the property was 107 acres. I realized with larger properties surrounding us, we would have to make improvements to keep the deer coming and staying on our property. The first couple of years, my son, Luke, my friend Randy, and myself were just happy to have a private place to call our own. We had good success, but that is when I realized we had to do more to enhance the quality of deer that we were harvesting. We then cleared some


and again got fantastic results. Sometimes we saw as many as 10-15 deer at one time on the plots. This past fall we also put in a plot of Extreme. Deer and turkey sightings on this property are fantastic. I feel that this is largely due to the Whitetail Institute Products we have been using. Even though it is small acreage, this property has become a real

For ten years we have been planting Imperial Clover and various other products from the Whitetail Institute and these pictures do not show even a small percentage of the large trophy bucks that we have taken. With a strict 6 point or higher rule, soon to be eight for the next seasons, we have harvested some very large nice bucks

Rodney Pettit – Indiana I started the first year with a small one acre food plot of Imperial Whitetail Clover and have since planted another 3 acres and plan to keep planting. I have also started mixing your 30-06 minerals with soybeans and the deer love it. Thanks a bunch for improving my hunting experiences. This is the 13 point monster I shot last year. He grossed 181 and had a net score in the 160’s.

Mike Dyer, DVM – Ohio We started using Whitetail Institute products in 1999 and my first experience was with a plot of Imperial Whitetail Clover. The deer ate it so fast I had to rethink the size and number of my food plots. I learned the concept of two types of plots, some for bulk nutrition and other smaller plots to attract and funnel deer for hunting opportunities. We planted a variety of No-Plow, Whitetail Clover, AlfaRack and Extreme. We built a shooting box which allows the kids to move because they have to move, but also shields sounds and scent. Plenty of snacks, hand and feet warmers, grunt tubes, binoculars, bleat cans, rattling antlers (Continued on page 52) Vol. 17, No. 1 /



My Food-Plot

Success Three Years of Patience Pays Off By Brad Larson, Wisconsin


Brad Larson

think there’s a misconception in the hunting industry that quality deer management can only be achieved if you own lots of land or your neighbors implement QDM. Many folks believe they cannot manage deer if they only have a small tract or that they cannot hold and grow mature whitetails in those smaller tracts. My experience has been different.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

I live in a fairly populated area and own less than 30 acres. In 2002, I started to invest in the property to attract, hold and grow mature whitetails. Our property is about half wooded and half-tillable farmland that had not been farmed for years. There’s a pond on the property for a water source. In Summer 2002, I started researching food-plot seed options and chose Imperial Whitetail Clover. I ordered enough to plant about five acres. Because it was already late summer, I decided to do a fall planting. The crop came up fine and was about three or four inches high when hunting season opened. Instantly, the plot was a deer magnet. Although the crop was immature, deer seemed to love it. Some evenings, I would videotape 13 or 14 deer in the field. On Oct. 18, while hunting the plot, I shot a beautiful 11-pointer that scored 164-3/8. Obviously, the food plot was not responsible for growing the deer, but I believe it held the does the buck was chasing. The next spring after speaking with one of the Whitetail Institute’s advisors, I decided to do a soil test. The soil needed more lime and fertilizer. Because our soil is somewhat sandy and rocky, and because we live in an area with harsh winters, the advisor also recommended that we plant Imperial Alfa-Rack. We got an early jump and did a May planting. The crop shot up like gangbusters and looked beautiful the first year. The Alfa-Rack field has remained healthy and continues to attract many deer. The next couple of years, I really saw the effectiveness of the food plot. I was beginning to believe that even with the small tract of land and no QDM participation from neighbors, I could hold and grow trophy deer. One of the deer the plot helped attract and grow I named Lefty. I first noticed him in 2003, when I got trail-camera photos of him in early September. That year, I captured the buck on camera more than 30 times. I also videotaped it chasing does in our Alfa-Rack plot. On Nov. 5, I had my chance to kill Lefty. I was sitting on a stand on a travel route between a bedding area and one of my food plots. I got to the stand early, hoping to see some rutting activity. I started to see deer right away. As dusk approached, some does under my stand were getting nervous. I had a good feeling a buck was nearby, and within minutes, he showed himself. It was Lefty, and he was quartering away from me toward the does. I grabbed my bow and drew it back within seconds. He had no idea that I was there. I aimed, put my pin on his vitals and released the arrow. The arrow missed its mark cleanly. I was in shock as Lefty jumped and trotted about 10 yards farther, wondering what had happened. However, he stopped and looked back, so I quickly nocked another arrow. After a two- or threeminute stare-down, he started moving back into my shooting lane. Unbelievably, he was going to give me a second chance. My nerves were calm, and I was in harvest mode. I was not going to let a second chance go to waste. This shot was even easier: a 15-yard broadside chip shot. I drew my bow and took my time placing the pin right on Lefty’s heart. I hit the trigger again — only to see the same result. That was enough for Lefty. He bolted up the tree line and chased the does into the main woods. I climbed down from my tree, stunned as I picked up my arrows. I could not believe I missed the buck twice one day at such close range. I didn’t sleep well that night, as I relived the misses, trying to figure out what caused them. The next day, I discovered my gloves were too thick, and the top of the index finger was over the grip on my bow. When I released my arrows the previous day, the fletching hit the top of the glove, making the shots miss their mark. Soon, Lefty started showing up on deer-cam photos again. He was nocturnal, though. During the 2003 deer season, I photographed Lefty more than 30 times. I also saw him a few times by shining him with a spotlight as he fed in www.whitetailinstitute.com

Early season, and it’s still warm. You spot the buck you’ve scouted for weeks. As he closes the distance, you feel the heat and the nervous sweat more than ever. Relax; take the shot. He doesn’t even know you are in his world. You can thank Scent-Lok® gear for this close encounter. The more you sweat and the faster your heart pounds, the more you need Scent-Lok technology. Let Scent-Lok technology work to trap the human odors your game could use against you.

G E T C LO S E . G O U N D E T E C T E D .

s c e n t l o k. c o m © 2007 Scent-Lok Technologies, a division of ALS Enterprises, Inc.

In September 2005, Lefty became nocturnal. It wasn’t until November that he began to show himself again.

than the other. Could it be Lefty? I noticed his brow tines shooting up, I became confident it was him, so I started videotaping the bucks at every chance. Soon, I knew it was Lefty! I was amazed at how he’d grown. I estimated him somewhere in the mid-180s. In early September, Lefty became nocturnal. I logged many hours in the tree during September and October, but it wasn’t until early November that Lefty began to show himself again. At 1:30 p.m. Nov. 12, my neighbor, a good scout who had agreed to keep Lefty a secret, called me and said he had spotted Lefty walking through his yard at midday. I waited patiently for my wife to get home so I could hunt. At 2:30 p.m., I climbed into a stand that was right for

Brad Larson

my Imperial Clover fields at night. However, it wasn’t until the last week of the late bow season that I would get my third chance to shoot him. I live in what the state resources department considers a metropolitan deer hunting unit, in which the season is extended through January. The last week of the 2003 bow season was the coldest of the year, with lows lower than minus 20. I was beginning to pattern Lefty’s movements pretty well. As the snow cover got deeper and temperatures dropped, Lefty started showing himself in daylight. That week, I saw him twice during daylight, and I thought my time was coming. When I climbed in my tree stand, it was minus 22. I arrived at 2 p.m., thinking I’d be plenty early. I had watched Lefty move through the area the previous day and felt good about my chances . After watching a few does travel past, I finally saw Lefty coming through the sumac. I was glad he was moving slowly, as it took me a few minutes to get over the shakes and back in harvest mode. By the time Lefty was approaching my shooting lane, I was settled down. However, I was concerned that daylight was dwindling quickly, and Lefty hadn’t presented a shot. Soon, he stopped and stood behind a split elm tree, seemingly knowing something was up. He wouldn’t move. He never offered a shot. In 2004, I couldn’t spend any serious time hunting Lefty, but an increasingly mature Alfa-Rack food plot, numerous does and a lack of hunting pressure helped ensure that he would stick around. In 2005, I planned to put as much effort as possible into hunting Lefty. When our Alfa-Rack food plot shot up in spring, many deer frequented the field. About mid-June, I noticed a couple of bucks in the back field. I saw them regularly that year. As the bucks continued to grow, I noticed one grew faster

the south wind. A small 8-pointer walked by at 3:30 p.m., which made me confident. Daylight was fading quickly, and I didn’t think I would see Lefty. Then, out of nowhere, he appeared about 75 yards from my stand. However, he laid down and watched for does to appear on the food plot. I was pinned down. I couldn’t climb down from my stand because he would see me. Luckily, Lefty spotted a doe and moved, letting me escape. The next morning the wind switched to the northwest. I arrived at a new stand plenty early, but I didn’t see much deer movement until about 8:30 a.m., when a doe and fawn walked by on the main trail. My eyes remained glued to the trail in hopes Lefty was following. At 9:10 a.m., I saw some movement in the thicket. It was Lefty! He was walking slowly on the same trail the does had taken — and headed my way. I had plenty of time to stand and grab my bow. As he got closer, he veered off the trail and stayed in the thick brush as he walked past. I could not believe it. The buck of my dreams was 25 yards away, and I had no shot. He continued on, and I never got nervous until I left the stand. After my heart stopped pounding, I started planning my next opportunity for a close encounter. I decided that if my stand would have been 10 yards farther along the trail, I probably would have had a shot. It was about 10 a.m., and the wind and rain had increased. Figuring Lefty was probably bedded, I took a chance and re-hung the stand. The move took two hours. By noon, I was ringing wet and extremely tired. I left, planning to return that afternoon. However, it wasn’t meant to be. My wife saw Lefty in our field along the highway, following a doe. The good news was my risky move had gone undetected. The bad news was Lefty didn’t take the same route that evening. As I left my stand that night, I saw Lefty about 10 yards off our driveway.


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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1



squeezed the trigger, and the shot shook the woods. Lefty jumped and tried to run away, but he only made it about 40 yards before going down behind a group of trees. “I did it!” I whispered to myself. “Checkmate. Game over!” After a bit, I started to evaluate the situation. I thought the shot had been good, and Lefty was struggling as he fled, but I could not see him, so I did not know for sure he was dead. I reached into my pocket for my cell phone to call my wife, Lisa. After hearing the news, she began to cry. I said I would play it safe and stay in my stand until I

The author captured Lefty’s image on deer-cam photos many times through the years.

Brad Larson

I hunted the final four days of the early bow season with no more close encounters. The firearms season arrived, and I decided to stay home to hunt rather than going to my lease in Buffalo County, Wis. On opening day, Nov. 19, the wind was northwest, so I headed for my favorite stand on the eastern side of my property — the stand I had moved that windy, rainy day. The temperature was about 35 degrees, and the expected high was about 38 degrees, with overcast skies. I was at the base of my tree at 5:30 a.m. After hooking up my safety strap and hanging my backpack, I settled in and waited for daylight. As the daylight arrived, I heard a snort in the brush behind my stand and could sense movement. As I tried to slowly turn on my seat, I noticed a young 6-pointer smelling the scent wick I hung downwind from my stand. The buck didn’t seem nervous, nor did he smell me. He left soon, and another 90 minutes passed quickly with no deer sightings. At 8:30 a.m., I decided it was time for a hot cup of coffee. I stood, pausing for a few seconds to stretch, and then reached for my thermos and poured a cup. But as I tightened the cap and hung the thermos back, I looked to my left and could not believe my eyes. It was Lefty, and he was 50 yards away — coming right toward my stand. Conveniently, I was already standing. I remember thinking that the wind was perfect, and that Lefty didn’t detect my presence. The buck with which I’d had an incredible three-year chess match was walking right at me. I reached for my gun and brought it to my shoulder. Lefty walked slowly on the trail, stopping periodically to scan the woods. I knew it would only be minutes before he presented a shot. I watched him as the trail turned, presenting his left side to me. As Lefty cleared the heavier brush and stopped at 25 yards, I placed the cross-hairs of my scope behind his left shoulder and prayed that my shot would be true. I

was sure he was dead. After hanging up the phone, I reached for my binoculars and started scanning the woods. After 10 minutes, I detected a small patch of Lefty’s white belly hair. He was on his side and not moving. The match was finished. Turning around to gather my gear, I noticed I’d forgotten my coffee. I enjoyed it like no other. When I was finished, I gathered my gear, lowered it down and climbed down to make the recovery. After just 40 yards, I saw Lefty’s incredible antlers sticking up from the ground. Soon, I was standing over him. I gave him a quick nudge and knelt down next to him. Tears of joy began to pour from my eyes as I knelt motionless, gazing at the magnificent whitetail. All the effort, studying, preparation and stress had paid off. After gathering my thoughts and tagging Lefty, I again called my family. I walked home and was greeted by smiles and hugs from my children. I made a few phone calls and called my good friend Brian to help me get Lefty out of the woods. With digital and video cameras in hand, we headed back to the scene. After many photos and some video to remember the moment, we removed Lefty, registered him and then hung him in my shed. The moral of the story: you can be successful with food plots, even if you have a small tract of land. But you can’t cut corners. You only have so many acres to work with, so you must strategically select the right locations for your plots. If you don’t have a water source, create one. Provide enough woods for an adequate sanctuary, and don’t go there. Hunt only the edges. Get your soil tested, and do exactly what is called for. Finally, be sure to choose a quality food plot product such as Imperial Whitetail Clover, AlfaRack or others from Whitetail Institute. Without hard work and great products, holding and growing Lefty would not have been possible. Follow this plan, and you might be surprised at your success. W

Vol. 17, No. 1 /



Improve Native Food Sources for

COMPLETE NUTRITION By Neil Dougherty First off, let’s get one thing straight. Deer are eating machines. Each whitetail will consume between one and 1.5 tons of food annually. Let that sink in for a moment. The 10 deer you just saw on your food plot are consuming in the ballpark of 24,000 pounds of food annually. It’s no wonder

Neil Dougherty

Logging is one of the most effective ways to dramatically increase the amount of food produced at the forest floor level.

that most deer landscapes suffer from overbrowsing. It’s important to understand that most of a deer’s food exists within six feet of the ground. Deer feed on forbs, leaves, grasses and browse stems. Hard masts like acorns are also a favorite, as are soft masts like apples, lichens and mushrooms. The first one to three inches of new growth on a branch or twig provides the best browse; the first inch provides the most digestible protein, and the farther down the stem the deer eats the poorer the food quality. Stemmy browse contains a high percentage of hard-to-digest lignin; that is of little benefit to deer. Although deer require browse, the average protein level is quite low for most forms of native food. For example, red maple is a highly preferred browse species. Based on plant analysis from our New York research facility, the average protein content of red maple browse is around five to six percent. That’s a far cry from the 16 to 18 percent protein deer require in their

Neil Dougherty


s a professional wildlife consultant I am faced with the task of improving the quality of deer on land across the country. Looking back at hundreds of thousands of acres of properties, one universal problem can be found on most of them — too many deer for the amount of food produced within the property. One solution that most land-owners recognize is to plant food plots to increase the amount and quality of food. However, although food plots are one of the best management tools, they alone are not the answer when it comes to managing a property correctly. Most landowners fall short when it comes to producing or enhancing native food sources. Native foods represent half of a whitetail’s diet. One often overlooked key to successful property management is to dramatically increase the quality of native foods. Not only will it make your deer healthier it will also enhance your hunting.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1



browse consumed during the summer months will more than likely be much lower in protein than the daily average needed to generate large healthy deer. In this scenario of over-browsing, planting more high-quality food plots and

reducing deer numbers will pay huge dividends in a relatively short period of time. Wildlife habitat should be thick enough to make it difficult for people to walk through, and almost impossible to

Neil Dougherty

overall diet. Think back to the 10 deer on your food plot. Some 12,000 pounds of their diet will average below 10 percent protein. This protein deficiency more often than not results in reduced capability of maintaining above-average body weights and antler sizes. When limbs within reach of deer are repeatedly browsed off, trees shift their growth energy elsewhere, and new growth sprouts above the deer’s reach. The food source disappears or worse, dies. To see this condition in the extreme, examine woodlots where livestock have fed. Virtually nothing is left at ground level. When you see condition like this in the woods, you have real herd management problems: too many deer, too little food. Natural regenerating brambles and young tree stems are all very good food sources, but they grow at ground level and require lots of sunlight to prosper. Sunlight is the key, but an over-abundance of deer can eliminate browse in even the sunniest areas. You can keep track of browse impact on your own property by erecting a browse enclosure in the woods. Fence off, with a six-foot fence, a 25-foot by 25-foot area of woods that has recently been opened up. Be sure the area around it is in the same condition. Deer will browse around it, but the inside will be untouched. If your deer density is high, in a matter of months you will begin to see the difference and in a matter of years the cage will be thick with brush while the areas outside of the cage will remain “brush bare.” If your deer numbers are “under control” the outside of the cage will not be dramatically different from the inside. Constant monitoring of the deer’s impact on the forest is one way to develop a doe harvest strategy for a property. If your deer are negatively impacting your forest then it’s time to harvest a few does. Keep in mind that every time a doe is harvested nearly 4,000 pounds of food will not be consumed the following year. If you find that a few of your camp buddies are reluctant to shoot does, try locating the woods exclusion-cage where all the hunters can see it. This will make them aware of the impact deer make on native habitat and can motivate even a reluctant shooter to get with the doe harvest program. Evaluating browse use helps estimate the amount of food available in your area. The next time you are in your woods, measure the amount of browse consumed by your deer. Look at a plant and see if the one-inch tip is browsed off or if three or four inches of stem or twig are torn away. The entire stem might be consumed by deer during a severe winter or during a severe drought. If you find gross browse consumption, you need fewer deer and/or better food sources. Increasing the amount of deer browse helps correct the problem. When you produce enough browse tonnage and other sources of nourishment such as food plots, your deer will begin to use only the tips of the stems of woody plants growing in the woods. Growing-season browsing is often an indication of too many deer or not enough low-lignin food sources like Imperial Whitetail Clover. Planting more food plots and/or logging roads will often help correct this problem. Remember, land managers want their deer eating high-protein food sources during the developmental months, March through August. The best time to evaluate browse impact is at the end of the growing season. Woody plants browsed during the growing season typically start to rot at the site of browsing. As the tip of the plants dies, it starts to dry and rot back to the main stem. The more time that expires after the browsing event, the more stem rot is in evidence. Nipped stems dry at different rates across the country depending on temperature and moisture. The following can be used as a rough guide in most parts of the country. Nipped stems dry rot at one-quarter inch in 30 days; one-half inch in 45 days; one-inch in 60 days. Use this scale to determine when a stem was nipped. If you find heavy mid-summer browsing, you should be concerned as deer normally are light browsers during spring and mid-summer. The tons of

Open forests like this one will have a very low food-per-acre number and can’t effectively hold deer. This landscape produces less than 200 pounds of food per acre.

Vol. 17, No. 1 /



sneak through. Brambles and underbrush hide deer and make noise when people move through, allowing deer to slip out the backside unseen. Concealing cover can be anything from timbered treetops or underbrush near a small rise or ridge, to a dense stand of pines or spruce. A quick escape route helps deer feel comfortable in these areas. From past experience deer prefer to stay within sixty yards of thick cover so they can disappear in two or three seconds. Native food also plays into a hunting strategy. Deer, like fish, are drawn to structure. The fish structure analogy is helpful when thinking about deer. If you have a wide-open, one-dimensional forest or woodlot, you must drop trees and create structure. Plants will grow where daylight reaches the ground, producing different levels of growth and cover. When creating structure, first consider creating areas around natural or existing food sources. Mapping out a structure plan will allow land owners to enhance deer movement patterns on their property. If laid out correctly, the plan will help you pattern bucks as they move from cutting area to cutting area and then to your food plot. Many hunters experience success hunting directly over areas where trees have been cut down. Newlyregenerating growth in freshly-timbered areas represents important food sources for whitetails. Aggressive cutting creates what I like to call “browsecuts.” These are akin to clearcuts, but because clearcuts have developed a bad name, I prefer to call them browsecuts. Browse-cuts are also smaller than clearcuts, which got their bad name because they often cover 100 acres or more. It is difficult to remove too many trees in a browse-cut. More often than not, landowners are too conservative with the saw, and leave too many trees, which shade the ground after a year or two of growth. I prefer to drop almost all the trees in the cut, from 18 to 20 inches in diameter down to small saplings. Many trees can be converted into saw logs or firewood but we always leave some cut trees behind, especially treetops. It might be more important to get structure into the area than to harvest every stick of firewood. Leaving treetops in the cutting area is the quickest way to create ground structure. Tree tops also keep deer from browsing young and tender regenerating shoots. By the time the tops rot, young trees have established root systems and are better equipped to handle heavy deer browsing. Another technique used to thicken up an area is to create living brush piles. Living brush piles are created by dropping small trees or shrubs without cutting them clear through. This is done by felling small trees with a cut that doesn’t sever it from the stump. The tree will lie on the ground and remain alive for perhaps a few years, providing thick cover and nutritious browse. Shrubs and small trees in the 2-4 inch range respond better to this treatment than do larger trees. This technique is often referred to as hinge cutting. Hinge cutting is a great way to maximize the amount of food tonnage and provide cover for wildlife. Native food plays a critical role in developing the ultimate deer property. As a consultant I look at a forestscape and develop a number that represents the amount of food available to deer per acre. Poor properties with dense, sun-robbing tree canopies can have as low as 150 pounds of food per acre available for deer at ground level. Deer are forced to spread out to neighboring properties in order to find enough food to survive. Even with food plots, this type of terrain will struggle to maintain higher-than-average body weights and antler sizes and will maintain lower than average deer numbers. On the other hand, by using some of the above listed techniques the amount of food per acre in managed sections can increase to well over 1,000 pounds of food per acre. Food-per-acre numbers that high, coupled with food plots will hold more deer on a property and help ensure that animals have the best types of food sources available. Bigger healthier deer with smaller home ranges will result, and that’s a recipe for better hunting. W 26

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1


Imperial Chicory Plus… An Ally in the Drought Wars


re you looking for a way to keep your Imperial Whitetail Clover going all year even through the hot, dry months of late summer and early fall? If you are planting in a flat or slightly sloped area with heavier soils, you need look no further than Imperial Chicory Plus. Field Testers in many areas of North America were very unhappy with Mother Nature last year, and that was certainly the case here in central Alabama. Last year, we received abundant rainfall through early spring. Thereafter, though, it just didn’t rain, and by August we were in a severe drought. Thankfully, Imperial Whitetail Clover is exceptionally drought- and heat-resistant. And, it even has a built-in defense mechanism that can help it survive hot, dry weather that could kill other clovers outright. In hot, dry conditions, Imperial Clover can slow forage production to protect itself. Usually, it returns to vigorous health as soon as cooler weather and rain return. Over the past few years, many Field Testers in different areas of North America have been hit with those same conditions. To make matters worse it happened in late summer and early fall, right when natural forage availability is at one of its lowest annual points and the natural forages that are still available are usually stemmy and of little utility to deer. To help our Imperial Whitetail Clover customers keep their plots at high production even during times that

approach drought conditions, the Institute developed Testers’ plots full of highly attractive and nutritious food Imperial Chicory Plus. The main component of Chicory Plus during one of the critical periods when natural forages are is WINA-100 Brand perennial forage chicory, which as we scarce and of little utility to deer. said earlier is highly drought-resistant and vastly more So, if you have enjoyed Imperial Whitetail Clover and palatable and attractive to deer than chicories traditionally are looking to provide your deer with both variety and planted for deer. Also included in Chicory PLUS is Imperial additional drought resistance, look no further than Imperial Whitetail Clover, featuring the proprietary Advantage and Chicory Plus. It has proved itself a worthy ally in the Insight clovers engineered by the Whitetail Institute specifdrought wars of recent years. W ically for deer. For many of our Field Testers, Chicory Plus has been the answer to Mother Nature’s tantrums of late summer and early fall. When Mother Nature is kind, the clovers and WINA-100 chicory in Chicory Plus offer exceptional palatability, nutrition, attraction and variety. • Main component is WINA-100 perennial forage And when she decides chicory. to turn up the oven • Contains Imperial Whitetail Clover. and shut off the water • Highly drought and heat resistant. in late summer and • Creates variety within the same plot. early fall, the chicory helps keep our Field

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Another Sign of Superior Research and Development. Chicory Plus is the latest in the Whitetail Institute’s continuing effort to develop products that are both nutritionally superior and exceptionally attractive to deer. Chicory Plus contains the only chicory developed especially for whitetail deer and it is blended with the number one clover in the world, Imperial Whitetail Clover. Chicory Plus is designed to provide the high protein of chicory with a more palatable and attractive texture than other chicory varieties. Chicory Plus is an excellent perennial for areas with heavier or moderately drained soils. It will provide you with 3 to 5 years of high-protein forage from a single planting. You can be sure that it is the perfect blend for whitetail – the deer think so, too.

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Vol. 17, No. 1 /





erbicide adjuvants are defined as additional materials added to a spray tank that improve herbicide efficacy. Confusion abounds in knowing the basic differences among the adjuvants, which to use, and whether herbicide adjuvants are needed. There are two main reasons for this confusion. One reason is the lack of standardized terminology among agriculturists regarding adjuvants. This makes it difficult to know what is what. Another reason for the confusion is the incredible number of proprietary brands of spray adjuvants. There is no confusion in the universal truth: herbicide adjuvants are a critical factor that may directly affect herbicide efficacy. Herbicide adjuvants can be grouped into five broad groups. 1. COMPATIBILITY AGENTS – used to help pesticides applied in combination overcome chemical or physical incompatibility 2. DRIFT RETARDANTS – alter the spray droplets to reduce drift 3. SUSPENSION AIDS – help non-water soluble pesticides stay in suspension 4. SPRAY BUFFERS – alter pH of spray water 5. SURFACE-ACTIVE AGENTS – help spray droplets spread, stick, or penetrate the leaf cuticle. The commonly encountered spray adjuvants used in food plots will be spray buffers and surface-active agents. These are used mainly with postemergence herbicides, and a few are used with soil-applied herbicides. SPRAY BUFFERS: Minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium) are present in water as salts in varying concentrations. The degree to which they are present is commonly called water hardness. Water with dissolved minerals < 50 ppm is soft-water; 50 – 100 ppm is medium hard-water; >100 ppm is hard-water. Some herbicides are formulated as a salt to improve their stability and handling properties. Examples are Slay®

(ammonium salt of imazethapyr) and Roundup® (potassium salt of glyphosate). When these herbicides are added to hard-water, the large amount of dissolved minerals in the water will bind with the parent herbicide molecule and form an insoluble salt. This reduces herbicide efficacy. Spray buffers help negate the adverse effects of water hardness. A common spray buffer is ammonium sulfate (AMS). Sprayable grade AMS reduces hardwater antagonism of certain herbicides in two ways. First, the sulfate portion of AMS combines with the hardwater minerals in solution, reducing mineral interference with the herbicide parent molecule. Second, AMS is an acidifier that alters the pH of the spray water such that the herbicide parent molecule is in a chemical state that is efficiently transported through the leaf cuticle. AMS does not replace the need for a surface-active agent. They are often used together. AMS will be found at agrichemical/fertilizer dealers. Sprayable grade AMS is available as a dry material (mixed at a rate of 17 lbs./100 gal. of spray water) or a liquid concentrate (1 to 2 gal./100 gal. or spray water). SURFACE-ACTIVE AGENTS: The term “surfactant” is derived from “surface-active agent”. A common type is a non-ionic surfactant (non-ionic refers to the surfactant having a chemically neutral charge). A non-ionic surfactant will have two distinct components: a water soluble portion and an oil soluble portion. The proportion of the water-soluble component to the oil-soluble component affects the utility of the surfactant with different types of herbicides. Most surfactants tend to be weighted toward the water soluble portion and these perform better with water soluble herbicides. This is an example of the need to follow herbicide and surfactant use instructions since substituting spray adjuvants does not always work. A waxy leaf cuticle repels water and causes beading of the spray droplets on the leaf surface. In extreme cases, spray droplets can bounce or roll off a leaf, greatly reduc-

Figure 1. A cabbage leaf with a single spray droplet with water and blue spray dye. The waxy leaf surface of cabbage prevents the droplet from uniformly spreading. This affects herbicide efficacy.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

ing herbicide efficacy. Non-ionic surfactants reduce the surface tension of spray droplets allowing the droplets to spread over a larger leaf surface area (Figures 1 and 2). By spreading over a larger area, more of the leaf surface is in contact with the herbicide. In addition, surfactants tend to add “sticking” properties to the sprayed herbicide, somewhat protecting the herbicide from wash-off. Another type of surface-active agent commonly used with herbicides is a crop oil concentrate (COC). A COC is a blend of paraffin-based petroleum oil (80-90%) and a surfactant (10-20%). The paraffin-based oil facilitates herbicide penetration through the leaf cuticle, while the surfactant portion increases the sticking-spreading properties on the leaf surface. COC are commonly used with postemergence graminicides. There are some herbicides (example — Slay®) that allow using either a non-ionic surfactant or a COC. In these cases, the COC tends to make the herbicide more active compared to using a non-ionic surfactant. This may be useful for controlling some weeds that are marginally sensitive to the herbicide or if weeds are a bit too large. However, forage injury from Slay® tends to be greater when a COC is used, compared to using a non-ionic surfactant.

USING SURFACE WATER FOR HERBICIDE SPRAYING. Surface water (water from streams, creeks, ponds, or lakes) has significant amounts of dissolved solids and organic particulate matter (soil, clay, algae, and decayed vegetation). These dissolved particles in spray water will decrease the activity of herbicides, particularly Roundup®. In addition, the dissolved particulate matter will accelerate the wear on spray pumps and nozzles, not to mention plugging the spray tip orifice. Antagonism caused by particulate matter cannot be corrected by adding ammonium sulfate or any other adjuvant. Always use clean water in a sprayer. Using potable water will ensure clean spray water. It is worth noting that whenever filling a spray tank directly from a garden hose, use extreme caution to prevent back siphoning from the spray tank, through the garden hose, and back into the potable water source. In addition, herbicide spills next to a well can contaminate ground water. These potential problems can be avoided by filling the spray tank from a portable nurse tank, away from the water source. If the volume and accessibility of clean spray water is a complicating issue, a possible strategy is to replace spray tips with others that have a smaller orifice. This will reduce sprayer output (gallons per acre) and increase the acreage covered per tank. It should be noted that the sprayer needs to be re-calibrated to determine the new output and the herbicide dilution revised. W

Figure 2. A cabbage leaf with a single spray droplet with water, blue spray dye, and a non-ionic surfactant. The addition of a surfactant breaks the surface tension of the waxy leaf, allowing the the spray droplet to be more uniformly dispersed on the leaf surface.


Arrest and Slay… Don’t Delay!

Arrest is a selective grass herbicide that controls many species of grass and that can be sprayed on any Imperial perennial, and any other clover or alfalfa. Slay is used for broadleaf weeds in Imperial clover and any other clover or alfalfa.

Whitetail Institute


ou’ve made the effort to maximize the results of your planting efforts by working up a seedbed and planting an Imperial perennial. Now make sure that you protect your investment by controlling grass and weeds. Maintaining your perennials just makes sense. If you want them to last as long as they were designed to last, you’ll need to fertilize once a year, consider adding additional lime to the surface of the plots to maintain soil pH, and control grasses and weeds. When it comes to controlling annual, upright weeds, mowing is a great option. By preventing such weeds from having the opportunity to flower (create seeds), you can break the cycle on many weeds that rely on reseeding to maintain their presence in your plot. Plus, mowing will keep your Imperial perennial even more lush, attractive and nutritious. Grasses, though, and other weeds that don’t reproduce by seed or that grow low where a mower can’t reach them, may need other control measures. In many such cases, you should consider including herbicides in your control efforts. Arrest is a selective grass herbicide that controls many species of grass, and that can be sprayed on any Imperial perennial and any other clover or alfalfa. Arrest is designed to work best on seedling grasses that have not matured

(that have not reached more than 6-12 inches in height). If you have broadleaf weeds in your Imperial Whitetail Clover plot, Slay, when used in combination with Surefire surfactant, can offer you control. Slay is appropriate for use on Imperial Whitetail Clover and any other clover or alfalfa. Slay even contains a residual that can help protect your plot from new weeds that are introduced later in the spring and summer. If you planted your Imperial Whitetail Clover this year, just be sure to wait until your clovers are three inches tall and have all their leaves unfolded before you spray Slay. If you are going to spray Arrest and Slay, be sure not to mix them in the same tank, since doing so will greatly reduce the effectiveness of Arrest. Instead, spray Arrest, and then wait at least three days before spraying Slay and Surefire. Also, do not mow within two weeks before or after spraying, and do not spray during excessively hot or droughty weather. As with any herbicide, it is critical that you determine precisely what species of grass and weeds you are trying to control, and then check the herbicide label to make sure the herbicide is approved for use on your forage and will control the grass or weeds you are facing. The Arrest and Slay labels are available on line on our website, www.whitetailinstitute.com. If you have any questions after reading the label, be sure to call our consultants at (800) 688-3030, ext. 2, BEFORE you spray. W

Ensure the success of your food plots. Our line of herbicides protect your investment by making sure that the plants you have so carefully planted can compete with grasses and weeds for nutrients and water. Arrest kills most grasses, but won’t harm clover, alfalfa, chicory or Extreme. Slay eliminates broadleaf plants and weeds, and is safe for clover and alfalfa. Both herbicides are extensively field-tested and can be easily applied by 4-wheeler or tractor sprayer. Easy and effective protection for your crop.

The Whitetail Institute / 239 Whitetail Trail/ Pintlala, AL 36043 / 800-688-3030 / www.whitetailinstitute.com



Research = Results.


Vol. 17, No. 1 /



Frankie’s Deer By Frank Till


y son, Frankie, and I are best buddies, and we spend a lot of time doing the things we enjoy. One of our favorite activities is preparing for deer season. We build deer stands, make clearings and paths and scout for the season. Planting and maintaining food plots has proven to be an important part of that. Frankie is nine, and this is his third hunting season. He has taken a deer each year, his first being a button buck at 70 yards when he was only seven. He is quite a shot for a little guy. The button buck was eating in a small plot of Imperial No-Plow I had planted at the edge of the timber behind our house. Last year, he shot a nice doe grazing in a lush Imperial Whitetail Clover field. This year, Frankie got his first antlered deer. The night before Missouri’s youth firearms season, we were talking about the next morning’s hunt. Frankie said, “This year, I hope I get a buck, but I hope I don’t get buck fever, though.” Last year, when a nice buck presented himself, Frankie started shaking like a leaf. The deer never gave him a good shot, and he passed on the buck (showing more restraint than a lot of men I know). I thought Frankie was going to shake the tree stand out of the tree. It was really neat to see him get so excited. The first morning of the youth season was uneventful. It was really cold, and the wind was blowing hard. Frankie gave up early, and honestly, that was fine with me. We did not get to go hunting again until the next afternoon. The weather had cleared up, and it was a beautiful evening. I told Frankie I thought the deer would move, and I was right. We had not been in the stand 15 minutes when we saw our first deer. Two does came running through the edge of the timber just north of the food plot we were hunt30

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

ing. I told Frankie that a buck couldn’t be far behind. A few seconds later, a decent buck ran down the same path. However, he was running so hard that I couldn’t count his points. Before the evening ended, we saw two more bucks hot on the trail of does. As the evening progressed, does began to congregate at the food plot. They were big, healthy deer. Frankie’s patience was getting short. He told me, “I think I am just going to shoot a doe.” I told him we only had about 20 minutes of shooting time left, and that if he could just hold on for a few more minutes, we might see a buck. Just a few minutes later, he told me he saw something run across the pond but didn’t know where it went. I started looking at the pond area but saw nothing. Then I looked at the does that were beneath us, and to my surprise, there was a little 8-pointer next to them. I directed Frankie’s attention to the buck. He asked if he could shoot it, and I handed him the rifle. He began to sight in on the deer, waiting for it to give him the right shot. At about 40 feet, the buck turned and gave Frankie a perfect quartering-away shot. Frankie fired, and the deer ran about 35 feet before

dropping like a rock. Although the buck was a small 8-pointer, it might as well have been a world-class monster. Frankie turned to me with a smile as big as his face. He gave me a huge hug and said, “I got him Daddy, I got him!” We loaded up the deer and took it to show Frankie’s mom and sister. It was an awesome conclusion to some quality father-and-son-time. This hunt occurred at the same Imperial Whitetail Clover field from which Frankie shot the doe the previous year. When Frankie shot his buck, there were eight does in the food plot. I have conducted deer management on my property since 2000. I am blessed to live on 208 acres in northwestern Missouri, most of which consists of heavy timber and multiflora rose. If you’re unfamiliar with multiflora rose, it’s a thorn-covered bush with no flowers. It’s everywhere and makes the timber nearly impassable (for humans). Most of my timber consists of hedge and thorny locust trees. We have about 90 acres of row crops we rotate between corn and beans. Although we have 90 acres of row crops, that’s not enough to provide deer with all the nutrients they need to get as large as they can. That requires the added protein and nutrients provided by specially designed Whitetail Institute Products. I have tried many food plots through the years. I spend a lot of time observing my plots and have placed game cameras to see which plots deer visit most. I’ve found that the best plots are those planted with Whitetail Institute products. Because deer always seem to key on Whitetail Institute plots, I switched all my food plots to Imperial Whitetail Clover and Imperial Alfa-Rack. Food plots don’t do any good if deer won’t eat them. However, I know food plots alone do not guarantee a quality deer herd. We use an aggressive doe harvest and shoot only bucks that meet my minimum standards. The exception, of course, is for my son. I believe a young hunter should be allowed to shoot any deer for which they have a tag. That keeps them from becoming bored or discouraged with hunting. Most young children lack the patience to sit in a tree for hours in complete silence. Therefore, I let Frankie bring snacks and a silent video game with him. People ask me, “Does all this deer management really work?” I think the proof hangs on my wall. There aren’t any world-class deer there, but I can clearly see the difference in the body and antler size of deer since I began planting Whitetail Institute products. I’ve included a picture of Frankie and his buck. Good nutrition makes a difference! Thanks for making a difference. W www.whitetailinstitute.com

Imperial No-Plow… The Name Says It All!


n 1988, Ray Scott started the food plot and deer nutrition industries with the creation of the Whitetail Institute. Immediately, the Institute’s first product, Imperial Whitetail Clover, took the hunting world by storm. Shortly thereafter, many Field Testers asked for a product that would provide abundant nutrition and highly attractive forage even without preparing a seedbed as is required for Imperial Whitetail Clover. The Institute answered that need with Imperial No-Plow. A staple of many Field Testers’ food plot efforts for years, No-Plow continues to be one the most popular annual food plot products available. A high-quality blend for use with or without ground tillage, No-Plow is perfect for areas such as logging roads, pond dams and clear-cuts. And at up to 36 percent protein, it provides a huge nutritional boost over natural food sources, most of which are very low in protein. No-Plow is designed to provide deer with a vigorously growing, highly attractive food source whenever they need it. Cereal grains included in the blend establish and grow first, providing exceptional attraction. Later in the season, when cold temperatures can leave other food sources lacking, No-Plow’s brassicas sweeten and provide a prolific lateseason forage. But that’s not all — No-Plow also contains clovers, which provide a high-protein food source throughout the life of the plot.


No-Plow can be planted in the spring in most areas, another with lime and the third with fertilizer. Planting and in the fall throughout North America. It is also a great roads with No-Plow is an excellent way to make roadbeds companion for PowerPlant customers, many of whom mow work for you by providing a source of nutritious, attractive strips through their PowerPlant in late summer and plant forage for deer. No-Plow in them, providing an excellent hunting setup for No-Plow establishes quickly, grows rapidly and like all early season and extending the useful life of the plot past Whitetail Institute products comes ready to plant. It’s coatthe first frosts of fall and on into the winter. ed and pre-inoculated to maximize seedling survivability. Since no tillage equipment is required, many Field Available in one-half-acre and larger quantities, No-Plow is Testers have reported excellent results using No-Plow to the answer for larger areas, regardless of whether ground plant ATV roads in unstable soils. In the Deep South, for tillage is an option or not. Either way, No-Plow will provide example, establishing roadbeds in grey-clay soils, which your deer with an attractive, nutritious food source. W can become extremely unstable when wet, is often a difficult proposition. And once a roadbed is established in such areas, the last thing a landowner wants to do is loosen • For use with or without ground tillage. the soil by disking. For •`Provides up to 36-percent protein. those customers, a • Cereal grains grow first. Brassicas sweeten great option is to travel the roads during later to provide late-season forage. Clover planting seasons with provides nutrition throughout the season. three ATVs, one loaded with seed,

n What you need to know about Imperial No-Plow >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Vol. 17, No. 1 /



T U R N I N G D I RT By Mark Trudeau, Agriculture Expert

Part Two: Plows for Food-Plot Tractors


n the last segment, we discussed how to approach buying your first tractor for food-plot use. Once you have your tractor, you’ll need to attach implements to it to do the work you want it to do, and as food plotters, our first physical step in preparing a proper seedbed will be to do our initial groundbreaking. There are basically two kinds of implements designed to do that job: plows and discs. In many instances, initial ground breaking “can” be done with a combination of discing and, when appropriate, herbicides. In tougher situations, though, breaking ground with a disc can be a time-consuming and expensive proposition, since rougher ground may require repeated passes with a disc and still may not work the soil to the optimum degree. In some of these cases, plowing can cut the work load and give a superior result.

TO PLOW OR NOT TO PLOW From the outset, you need to understand that while plowing may be a great option in some cases, in others

A moldboard plow lifts the soil and inverts it in a column.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

it may not. For example, let’s say that your existing food plot is several years old and nearing the end of its life cycle and you are going to replant it with Imperial Whitetail Clover. Since Imperial Whitetail Clover grows in only the top few inches of soil, there’s no reason to turn the ground below that depth — discing just the top few inches of soil will probably be sufficient to work in lime and otherwise start preparing your seedbed for replanting. Consider also what effect plowing might have if you are in an area that receives low or seasonal rainfall. Plowing in such conditions may not be advisable since it can speed up the rate at which the soil loses what little moisture it has. And what if your ground has shallow topsoil? If your topsoil is only two or three inches deep, plowing may be something you actually want to avoid. An example that immediately comes to mind is an assignment the Whitetail Institute’s consulting arm, “A Team Consulting,” recently completed in central Florida. Most of the topsoil on the property had been decimated by years of overgrazing by cattle. To make matters worse, it was only 23 inches deep, and below it was nothing but sand. It can take decades to recreate even one inch of top soil, and what little that landowner had left was as precious to him as gold. Since plowing would have destroyed the remaining top soil by mixing it with the sand below, we advised the landowner to avoid plowing at all costs. My point is not to tell you that you should never plow. I just want you to approach the issue in an informed manner. Make sure before you invest in a plow that you really need to plow and that it won’t end up causing more problems than it solves.

If you do decide that plowing is appropriate given your soil and weather conditions, you’ll likely find it an effective and efficient way to do hard, initial groundbreaking. Let’s say, for example, that you are in an area that receives the sort of regular, abundant rainfall common throughout most of the eastern half of the United States. Let’s also say that you are going to be preparing a seedbed in a site that has either never or not recently been worked, and that you are planning on planting a deeply rooted forage such as Imperial Chicory Plus, Alfa Rack Plus, “Chic” Magnet or Extreme. In such cases, plowing can really speed things up, save you money and maximize the quality of your planting results.


Whitetail Institute

In this series of articles, The Whitetail Institute’s agricultural expert, Mark Trudeau, passes along his decades of real-world experience in farming and related matters to our Field Testers. In his last segment of “Turning Dirt,” Mark provided his insight to help firsttime tractor buyers shop for the right tractors to fit their needs. In this segment, Mark discusses plows, when they should and should not be used, and how to choose the right plow for different applications. In later segments, Mark will discuss other tractor implements for working soil and doing other food-plot work.

Let’s start out with a discussion of plow types. There are basically three: disc plows, moldboard plows and chisel plows. Disc Plows: In earlier days of mechanized agriculture, most plows were disc plows. These are pretty simple implements. The cutting tool in a disc-plow assembly is basically just a big, round disc similar to the cutting tools on disc implements. Disc plows usually have either one or two discs mounted to the implement’s main frame. Moldboard Plows: Also commonly referred to as “bottom plows” and “breaking plows,” moldboard plows are the next generation of plows after disc plows. The most immediately recognizable difference is the shape of the tool that actually turns the soil – the tool on a moldboard plow is longer and shovel-shaped instead of a disc. Moldboard plows consist of four standard components. They can also be had with optional features that are very desirable, but the basic components are: 1. The “moldboard” — a shovel-like curved blade that actually turns the soil, 2. The “plow point” or “plow tip” — the bottom of the moldboard that cuts the bottom of the plow furrow and can be replaced as it wears out through use, 3. The “plow shear” — the front edge of the moldboard that cuts the side of the plow furrow and can be replaced as it wears out through use, and 4. The “tag wheel” or “slide” that runs along inside the plow furrow as the implement is pulled. One optional component available for moldboard plows is coulter blades. If you are working up an existing food plot for replanting, you can usually do fine plowing without coulters, but if you’re plowing new ground, coulter blades can reduce the time and horsepower it takes to do the job. Coulters are essentially round blades like discs, but unlike discs which are concave, coulters are either flat or wavy. On a coulter-equipped plow, the coulters are mounted with a bearing to the implement’s frame directly in front of the moldboards, or more specifically in front of the plow shears. Their purpose is to make an initial slice in the surface of the soil just ahead of the moldboards, in effect pre-cutting the surface of the ground before the moldboards arrive. Coulter blades can be had with either smooth or


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keep a chisel plow from clogging. A Note about Subsoilers: Subsoilers are really only appropriate for large, agricultural farms and have little purpose in food plotting, and I only mention them here because you may have heard of them and wanted to know what they are. They’re very similar to chisel plows, but the shanks on a subsoiler are longer, usually 24-36 inches long, and can break ground as deep as 18-24 inches. Plowing with a subsoiler allows more moisture to go deeper into the ground. However, plowing to that depth is rarely if ever necessary when planting food plots. Also, they require a lot more horsepower to pull — about 35-40 Hp per shank, which may be above the power limits of most compact and utility tractors.


Chisel plows have long, curved shanks with replaceable points.

disc first. Chisel plows are curved with the concave toward the front. As a result, they tend to collect vegetation, sticks and other such surface debris as they move along. Discing first to chop up surface debris can help


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notched cutting edges. Smooth blades work well for plowing areas covered in grass, turf or other tenderrooted vegetation, but notched-edged blades are much more effective for slicing through briars, heavy roots and other woody matter often encountered when plowing fallow ground in the woods for the first time or old fields. Another optional item available for moldboard plows is “turnouts”. These mount at the top of each moldboard and are VERY effective in helping get a better turn on the soil, especially in sod. A third optional component available for moldboard plows is a “trip” function. I have found these to be of great value. If you hit a big underground rock or root with a plow equipped with a trip, the force will trigger the trip, allowing the plow to pop up instead of breaking or becoming lodged under the impediment. If the trip is triggered, all you have to do to reset the plow is back the tractor up a little until you can lift the plow implement, back the tractor up a little more, lower the implement back down onto a relatively hard surface (often the very thing that caused the trip to spring), and then back the tractor up a little more. This will reset the plow and the trip to their operating positions, and you can then resume plowing. Not all moldboard plows come with a trip feature, but take it from me — it’s a highly desirable option. Moldboard plows come in various sizes, the most common being 12, 14 or 16-inch models as measured off the plow’s tip. For food-plot tractors, you’ll do fine with a 12-inch model. Chisel Plows: Chisel plows are simply long, curved shanks with replaceable points on their ends. If you decide to chisel plow, here’s a tip: if the surface of the ground is covered with debris, it can be a good idea to

Disc plows, moldboard plows and chisel plows all break ground to a maximum depth, which is determined by the size of the cutting tool on each plow assembly on the implement. However, as I mentioned earlier, each uses a uniquely shaped tool to actually move the dirt. As a result, each leaves the soil in a different position (for lack of a better word) after it passes, and that is the most critical issue when deciding what type of plow you need. Again, it is absolutely crucial that you understand what each type plow does to the soil if you are to choose the correct kind of plow for your particular application. Let’s look at what each type of plow does to the soil between the moment the plow makes its initial cut and when it finishes its work Disc plows basically do the same thing a discing implement does, just deeper. The tool that the plow assembly uses to cut the ground is a disc that rolls the

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Vol. 17, No. 1 /






Whitetail Institute


Moldboard plow.

soil over (but not in a column the way a moldboard plow does) to a given depth (the radius of the disc blade) and then mixes it together. Moldboard plows do not mix the cut soil the way

disc plows do. Instead, they lift the soil as a column, invert it (turn the entire column upside down as a unit) and set it back down on its head in an adjacent plow furrow. As a result, surface soil is placed at the bottom of

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the column, the lowest soil lifted is placed on top, and the soil in the middle of the column is returned to about its original depth. A moldboard plow is absolutely great for turning over new ground covered in sod or other shallow-rooted vegetation. In such cases, a moldboard plow lifts the soil as a unit and then flips it, putting surface vegetation far below the surface and bringing up lower soil. As a result, existing surface vegetation is eliminated in one pass, and nutrients that have washed into lower soil levels are returned to the surface. In that way, a moldboard plow can do in one pass what would likely take multiple passes with a disc, perhaps even in conjunction with herbicide applications, to accomplish — to clear the plot’s surface of vegetation and leave only loosened soil on top. Chisel plows also do a great job of breaking hardpan, but they neither mix the disturbed soil as thoroughly as disc plows nor invert it as a column the way moldboard plows do. Instead, they just break up compaction, leaving the soil looser but pretty much where it was. A chisel plow is an excellent choice if you want to break up hardpan to allow more moisture to get into the ground, even if you’ve already had a food plot growing on the site for a few years. It’s also a great option for loosening lower layers of soil if you are planning on planting deeply rooted forages such as Imperial Whitetail Chicory Plus, Alfa-Rack Plus, “Chic” Magnet or Extreme. So, in basic terms, you need to remember that a disc plow breaks and mixes the soil, a moldboard plow breaks, lifts and then inverts the soil, and a chisel plow breaks up the soil and leaves it pretty much where it was.

PLOW TERMINOLOGY: BOTTOMS, SHANKS AND INCHES Now that you know what types of plows are available and what each does to the soil, let’s cover how different types and sizes are commonly referred to in conversation. Basically, all plowing implements consist of a main frame to which varying numbers of separate plowing assemblies are mounted. Each type of plow is described by its number of attached ground-turning assemblies. With moldboard plows, this number is described in “bottoms” and with chisel plows in “shanks.” The size of the shovel on a moldboard plow is further described in inches as measured from the plow’s tip. For example, if someone says that he has a “12-inch, two-bottom plow,” you’ll know he has a moldboard plow with two separate plowing assemblies mounted to its main frame, and that each moldboard is of twelveinch size as measured from the moldboard’s tip. You’ll also know that as the implement is pulled through the ground, it will simultaneously cut two furrows and invert each furrow’s soil into an adjacent furrow. Likewise, you’ll know that a “six-shank plow” is a chisel plow that will simultaneously cut six furrows as it passes. You’ll also know that as the implement is pulled through the soil, it will break up the hardpan and leave the soil pretty much where it was instead of mixing or inverting it.


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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

Plows and other implements that tractors pull attach to tractors in one of two ways — they are either “three-point-hitch mounted” or “semi-mounted.” Three-point-hitch is the common attachment method for two- and three-bottom plows, which are best suited for food-plot work with compact and utility tractors. Three-point-hitch-mounted implements attach to a tractor’s lift arms. Implement height is adjusted by the lift arms and an adjustable top link on the tractor.


Three-point-hitch implements have either a smaller tag wheel or a flat, steel slide that is attached to the rear of the implement and that runs inside or along the edge of the plow furrow as the implement works. Semi-mounted implements are larger and better suited to commercial farming operations than foodplot work. They also attach to a tractor by way of the tractor’s lift arms, which connect to the front of the implement’s main frame. Implement height is adjusted separately in the front and back. Front implement height is adjusted with the tractor’s lift arms, and rear height by a separate hydraulic cylinder that raises and lowers the tag wheel. The tag wheel on a semimounted implement is much larger than the tag wheel on a two- or three-bottom plow; it’s usually an air-filled tire, and, unlike the smaller implement’s tag wheel, a semi-mounted implement’s tag wheel runs beside the implement on level ground.



TRACTOR HORSEPOWER The biggest variable that will control how large a plow implement you select is the ability of your tractor to pull it. As we discussed in the last segment of “Turning Dirt,” a tractor’s ability to do work is expressed in horsepower, which is measured at either of two places depending on the type of work the tractor will be doing. The tractor’s capacity to turn rotational implements such as brush cutters and post-hole diggers is expressed as its “PTO Hp” (power-take-off-unit horsepower), and its ability to pull implements such as plows and discs is expressed as its “engine Hp.” Here, we are concerned with engine Hp. Broadly speaking, it takes 18 – 20 engine Hp to pull each plowing assembly on a moldboard plow implement, and 10-12 engine Hp per plowing assembly on a chisel plow. Be sure you read that carefully — I said “18 – 20 engine Hp to pull each plowing assembly on the implement,” not to pull the whole implement. For example, it will take a tractor with 3640 engine Hp to pull a two-bottom plow (18-20 engine Hp per plow assembly on the implement). Most tractors in the compact and utility categories produce engine Hp in this range. Remember also that we mentioned in the last segment of “Turning Dirt” that you should try to avoid the temptation to get an implement so large that your tractor has to continually operate at peak output to pull it because such constant, repetitive strain will prematurely age your tractor.

Working ground with an ATV just got a whole lot easier with the Till-Ease Model 543 Chisel Plow / Field Cultivator. Break hard ground and prepare deeper more productive seedbeds with ease. = Up to 6 inch depths, 43 inches wide. = Cutting coulters for cutting light trash. = Electric lift with ATV controls. = Rigid shanks for easy penetration in hard ground. = Weight racks. = Optional equipment.

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Quickly and easily maintain trails and food plots with the AcrEase rough cut mower. = Wide 57 inch heavy duty deck. = 20-22 HP electric start engine options. = Deck height adjustment from 2-8 inches. = Twin blade design for added mulching. = 4 tires for added support and close trims. = Capable of cutting 2 inch dia. brush and saplings. = Pull directly behind or fully offset to the side.

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CONCLUSION Now that you’re an expert in food-plot-tractor and plowing-implement terminology, capabilities and functions, I’ll talk to you as the expert you are. Assuming that you have a compact or utility tractor capable of delivering at least 18-20 engine Hp per plow (again, not per implement, but per plowing assembly mounted to the implement’s main frame), you will likely be best served with a 12-inch, two-bottom or three-bottom plow if you want to break the hardpan and invert the soil, or a two-shank plow if you just want to break up the hardpan. Smaller implements such as these usually attach by threepoint-hitch and are commonly available in a price range of $250 - $500 for a used model in good shape. (You can read Part One of the “Turning Dirt” series by going to www.whitetailinstitute.com and clicking on “Whitetail News Volume 16, No. 3.” ) W


Vol. 17, No. 1 /



A Change of Plans:

Big South Carolina Buck Taken Halloween Eve By Michael Hutchens ’ve had a Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot


for about five years in a creek bottom surrounded by cover. Deer feel safe there. Some deer bed in this area, and that attracts bucks during the rut. Plus, Mr. Buck can grab a quick Imperial Whitetail Clover snack while on the prowl for a date. I’ve noticed that deer will mow Imperial Clover like a lawnmower late in the season. I’ve also noticed there are a lot more deer in the bottoms since the Imperial Clover patch has been there. Every year, a buck moves into the area during the rut and stays there until late January or February. I took three 8-pointers the previous three years since starting the Imperial Whitetail Clover plot. It attracts does, which attracts the big boys. Believe me, this clover attracts deer. I have counted as many as 19 deer in the field at one time. The Imperial Clover helped me kill a huge buck on Halloween Eve 2006. At about 6 p.m. that cool, crisp October evening, I parked my Dodge Ram 4x4 at our normal hunting-club parking spot and unloaded my equipment. I was running late, so I decided not to walk a half-mile to my normal tree stand on the creek bottom. Instead, I started across a hillside on my way toward a grove of pines. I planned to use these trees as a sneak area so I could slip across a ridge where I could overlook a bottom. As I approached the pines, I detected the strong smell of a rutting buck and deer urine. I stopped and surveyed the area, almost scared to move for fear of spooking a deer I knew was very close. I had located that buck a couple of weeks earlier and knew he was a quality deer. He seemed to know the area like you know your living room. He had a sixth sense, so I had to be very careful as I continued toward the stand. I had a feeling the deer was in the area that evening because the rut had started, and he was the boss. As I started to my stand, a flock of turkeys appeared, and I thought the birds would give me away. But luckily, I stopped and stood very still until they passed. By then, it was getting pretty late, and I knew I would never make it to my original stand destination. So I decided to go to a lad-


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

der stand about 100 yards from my normal tree stand. After climbing in and strapping on my safety belt, I sprayed myself with antibacterial spray and pulled up my rifle. I had finally settled in, and the sun was setting through the pines. It must have been about 6:30 p.m., and I was thinking I was too late. Then, however, some does appeared. I sat very still and glassed the area. I saw several small trees that had been rubbed and a very large — I’ll bet it was 36 inches in diameter — fresh scrape about 50 yards from where I had set up. “You lucky dog, this might be your evening,” I said to myself. I sat still and watched two young does. One kept looking into the adjacent thicket, and after about 10 minutes, they became nervous. The

young does scattered and played around the area as though they were playing tag. Soon, the other deer came to attention and looked toward the adjacent thicket. I glassed that area, and there he was — a majestic buck. He was just standing like a guard on duty, and I suddenly knew why the young does had become nervous. With my binoculars, I watched the buck walk down the hill and through the thicket. I knew if he walked into the opening, he was mine. As he approached, my heart was pounding, and I had a feeling like I never had before. The buck — a nice 13-pointer with two droptines — came toward the opening while the two young does watched. As he passed through the opening, my scope was ready, and I fired as soon as I saw hair. The buck kicked high into the air, and I knew it was a deadly hit. I fired a second round, and the buck hit the ground. However, he was up in a flash, and I needed to stop him before he reached the thicket, so I fired a third shot. That took him down for good, and he was mine. My heart was about to jump out of my chest, and my knees were jerking. I was a nervous wreck. I sat for about 15 minutes, trying to regain my composure and calm down — and also to make sure the King was down. It was almost dark when I climbed down and stood on the ground. I regained my composure and kneeled down to thank my Lord for the exciting evening and majestic buck. As I approached the buck, the first thing I saw was antlers. He was a magnificent South Carolina buck, with 13 points, two drop-tines and about a 21-inch spread. He weighed 248 pounds. I had finally taken the big boy. It was a great day. Some times, lastminute plans pay off. Plant Whitetail Institute clover, and deer will come — I promise you. It’s honestly the best deer-attracting food plot I’ve had. Whitetail Institute has great products, and I advise any deer hunter or wildlife photographer to plant Imperial Clover. If you plant it, they will come. W


Since itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s introduction in 1988, Imperial Whitetail Clover has become the standard by which other food plot products are judged. Imperial Whitetail Clover changed deer nutrition forever. Now after years of painstaking research, the Whitetail Institute has added newly developed Insight clover to our super-nutritious blend of clovers. Insight is genetically formulated specifically for whitetail deer. With the highest level of protein available, up to 35%, Imperial Whitetail Clover provides optimal nutrition throughout the year for the entire herd. Whether your deer are producing and feeding their young or building antlers, Imperial Whitetail Clover provides them with the nutrients they need to do it well. And when the deer get what they need to maintain healthy herds and grow big healthy bucks with impressive racks, you increase your odds of bagging record-setting deer. For decades now, deer hunters all over North America have enjoyed the results of our innovative and aggressive approach to deer nutrition, and have planted over a million acres of Imperial Whitetail products. All those years of research continues to produce results â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in the fields and in the record books. We do the research. You see the results.

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Passing on the Tradition: World Champion Archer Jeff Hopkins and Son, Scott, Have a Memorable Hunt By Jeff Hopkins


’ve been hunting since I was a little boy. I started going with my Grandpop many years ago. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of hunting whitetail deer across the country, and I’ve killed many really nice deer. That passion for hunting extends to other areas. In 1993, I got involved in 3-D competitive tournament archery and have won 54 national titles, including nine World Championships and 10 Shooter of the Year titles, all of which were in the Professional Men’s Division. In other words, shooting a bow and hunting whitetails have been big parts of my life for a long time. Near home — Maryland’s Eastern Shore — I hunt properties with lots of hunting pressure on neighboring farms. So to grow quality deer, you need good food, water and cover. There’s plenty of food in agriculture areas, and the Eastern Shore is a haven for wildlife because of the abundant water and tributaries. But because of high hunting pressure, I need quality food-plot products on my properties to attract deer from other food sources. After years of testing products, my favorite food-plot choices are those from the Whitetail Institute of North America. I hunt deer by getting between a food source and bedding area, hoping to intercept deer. Otherwise, I hunt near food areas. That was my plan when I took my 8-year-old son, Scott, out of school 30 minutes early one Monday afternoon. He didn’t have a clue why his father was getting him

out of school early. When we reached the truck, I told him we were going hunting, and he was really excited. I’ve helped him work with his .243, and it has been great to see him start to shoot with confidence. He had shot a doe two weeks earlier, so we knew he was proficient with his rifle. On that beautiful Monday afternoon, we didn’t have any grand plans or expectations. We just hoped that Scott could shoot another doe. If a nice buck came by, great! It’s a 20-minute ride to our hunting location, which provided a great opportunity to be with my son. I saw the excited anticipation in his eyes. The look your child gives you when you’re about to share something special is worth more than all the trophies in the world. And on that day, Scott and I were just happy to be together, heading to our box-blind treestand. We hunted together out of the stand, which overlooks an Imperial Whitetail Clover plot. We sat there for 40 minutes, talking and having good father-and-son time. We enjoyed the ducks and geese flying over our heads, and also watched a few does step out soon after we got settled. As the sun started to hit the woodline, Scott noticed it first — a herd of deer coming through some unharvested beans. There were five does and a monster buck with a 150-inch rack high off his head. As the deer got within 150 yards, they started to angle to the right. Scott and I were very excited.

Although we had practiced shooting, I believed 80 to 100 yards was the maximum range for Scott to effectively shoot a deer. With my range-finders, I figured the big buck was 150 yards, so I believed it was too far for Scott to shoot. He would have been greatly disappointed if had he missed. Remember, he is only eight.

It was the memory of a lifetime for both Jeff Hopkins and son Scott when the eight-year-old took a majestic buck on Maryland’s eastern shore.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1




2:15:40 PM


The author uses quality food plots like Imperial Clover to attract deer from other food sources.

As the deer disappeared into the woods to our left, our hearts sank momentarily. We thought it had been a good opportunity missed. About that time, Scott said, “Dad, look out here, coming across the field.” It was another buck on the same path but more in line with our tree stand. Scott spotted the buck at 180 to 200 yards away. The deer came right toward us, just perfectly. The entire time, I whispered to Scott that I thought the deer was coming right at us, so he needed to squeeze the trigger. We went through the proper shooting technique of taking a deep breath, relaxing, placing the cross-hairs behind the buck’s shoulder and squeezing the trigger. I kept repeating these steps again and again. As I said that, I noticed Scott was shaking. In fact, so was I. As the buck stepped closer, he shifted his pace to — I’m guessing — catch up with the other deer. I told Scott I would whistle to the deer and hopefully get it to stop. I said that when the deer stopped, Scott should put the cross-hairs on the buck’s shoulder and make a good shot. The deer was 40 yards away when I whistled. The big bruiser stopped, and my 8-year-old son put the smack down on him. The deer jumped as if he had been hit well and then disappeared into the woods. We got down after about 15 minutes. We probably should have waited a bit longer, but we couldn’t take it anymore. We looked in the woods where we last saw the buck, searching for blood. Scott jumped up and down when we located the blood trail. He continued that excitement as he followed the blood-trail highway for 30 yards, and then he yelled that he’d found the buck. It was a special moment, for sure. We were high-fiving, hugging and admiring the beauty of the deer. For a hunter, it’s a moment a father looks forward to — an amazing experience that made me reflect on when I was the son with my father. Now I’m able to share the same experience with Scott. Words can’t describe the chill you get as you watch the big, wide eyes of your child look at a majestic buck. Scott had no problems getting out of bed on time for school the next day. He practically had the picture of the buck glued to his hand. He hopped in the car, and when Mom dropped him off out front, one of the teachers opened the car door for him. Scott popped out and said, “See my deer!” He didn’t say, “Good morning!” Instead, it was, “See my deer!” I heard his entire school day was like that. He held court at his desk first thing, as all the other children in class came to look at the picture. He was very proud. W C









Vol. 17, No. 1 /




Since 1988

Whitetail Institute

Sam Castleman – Illinois I have been using Imperial Whitetail Clover since the early 1990’s. I have lots more deer on my property and starting to get a few more turkeys. The first day of gun season last year I let my friend Wade VanZee hunt the woods next to an


Imperial Whitetail Clover field. The good thing about Wade is that he will not shoot anything small. The first buck he saw was a 150 inch 10 point. His hunt was over in 30 2 minutes. Photo 1. We did not have many acorns that year and the deer were really in the Imperial Clover. This past season, man did I have the deer in the Imperial Clover. The first time I hunted the stand on the Imperial Clover I saw 9 bucks and 4 does on a morning hunt. They would leave the corn fields and stop in the Imperial Clover before bedding. They also would come back and check for does later in the mornings. This area was HOT this year. Lots and lots of deer. Well I never got a shot during bow season at a mature deer. The first day of gun season I saw 15 different bucks, but no shooters. The Monday after gun season I thought the big deer I had seen earlier in October surely had to show up. Well he did at 4:30 p.m. Chasing 2 does. He had just come out of Imperial Clover field with the does when I slipped an arrow thru him. He was a real good 8 pointer that grossed 152. Photo 2. Without the Imperial Clover that spot would not be near as hot. Thanks.

Troy Westrum – Iowa

The deer are utilizing Winter-Greens much earlier in the fall than they did the other brassica products that I have used in the past. I also have a 4 acre plot of Imperial Whitetail Clover that was 42

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

planted in 1999 and it looks as good, if not better, than it did after the first year! It that seems since I started using Whitetail Institute products, along with managing our 750 acres “ie” harvesting a lot of does and not shooting bucks less than 140”, we are seeing more and bigger bucks and the body weights are increasing somewhat. Two of the bucks that I harvested in the last 3 years have weighed 242 lbs and 245 lbs! (That is dressed weight!) Enclosed are photos of 3 bucks my friend and I took during the 2006 Bow Season in Iowa.

Todd Wilson – Kansas I see a lot more deer on my Imperial Whitetail Clover plot. See mostly does but during the rut this year it made for an exciting season. I harvested this nice 10 point (142 7/8) after watching him hog the Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot 3 nights in a row. He chased two 170 class deer away and then returned to eat on two separate occasions. Thanks for a fabulous season and my first Pope & Young deer. By the way the Producing Trophy Whitetails Video was very helpful.

maintenance. I will be planting more Imperial Whitetail Clover this spring. I have seen bigger deer and an increase in antler development along with more doe’s and fawns. I also planted No-Plow. I have seen a two to three fold increase on buck scraps and rubs in that area. I put down a bag of 12-12-12 and a bag of lime roto-tilled then seeded with a 9 pound bag of No-Plow in an 80 X 120 foot spot, and within 10 days it was up and the deer were in it. The total prep time 1 hour which is nothing compared to the hours of enjoyment I get from watching the deer feed in pre-season scouting.

Dwayne Donaldson – New York Before 1995 I would be lucky to see three deer at one time, now it’s not unusual to see up to twenty deer in the I m p e r i a l Whitetail Clover fields. I am 40 years old and an avid bow hunter. Prior to 1995 the biggest buck I ever shot was an average main frame 8-pointer and lots of scrub bucks on my 150 acres. I and my hunting partner now shoot quality bucks every year. Two years ago my dream came true, I shot a Pope & Young with my bow that scored 125 3/8. My neighbors also take advantage of my clover fields. Last year a 12-point buck was taken leaving my clover field just off the property line. Thank you and good hunting. Enclosed is a photo of the 9-point Pope & Young.

Eddie Priddy – North Carolina

Philip Meloche – Michigan I have been using Imperial Whitetail Clover since 1990. It is the finest product to bring in the does to feed that brings in the Big Boys. I have enclosed a picture of my Buck from 2 years ago. He is a 9 point with 20 inch spread and was taken with a Bow. I also had 4 different does in the field that morning. Last year’s

buck was a 12 point with a 22 inch-spread taken during shotgun season. Both were shot in the same Imperial Whitetail Clover field. I have tried other products with little success. They may last two years. Yours has lasted up to 7 years with the proper


My Imperial food plots keep deer, (and turkeys) in them all times of the day and all times of 2 the year. The proof is in picture one. These two deer that were in the clover field and were killed 45 minutes apart following does that were coming to eat in the field. The deer on the left, which was taken by my hunting buddy, Brandon Robertson, www.whitetailinstitute.com

RECORD-BOOK BUCKS… (who is also a field tester for the Institute) scored 154 inches net. The one I took on the right scored 148 inches net. Notice how high the clover was and this was in November, the third week. In picture number 3 2 is a Pope & Young buck that I took 20 yards out in my Imperial Alfa-Rack field. It scored 132 inches with bases that were 6 inches around. Also in picture 3 is another Pope and Young that scored 128 4/8 I shot the same season as deer number 2. That’s 4 bucks that scored between 128 4/8 and 154 inches in just 2 seasons. Thanks go to your Imperial Whitetail Products for helping us grow and harvest all of them. These are excellent deer in our part of the country and our neighbors are not killing deer that are anywhere close to this size. My hunting buddy Brandon and I will ALWAYS keep Imperial food plots planted. Because the deer stay in them, it’s a no-brainer!

always see some bucks that have not been seen earlier in the season at this time. Before using Imperial Whitetail products we had killed zero bucks that qualified for Pope & Young. We have killed 3 since. I shot this buck November 1st while hunting the Imperial Clover. The buck chased a doe and a fawn into the field just as the sun started to go down. The green score is 129 Pope & Young and he dressed out at about 176 pounds. Estimated age 3.5 years.

Stan Toennies – Illinois 1

We have used Imperial Clover and have tried other types in the same fields and most of the heavy activity takes place in the Imperial. I have seen increased body size


Tony Casagrande – Ohio I planted a small plot on 50 acres located in a suburban area with small farms and increasing residential development. The deer have many food sources and seem to concentrate in the Imperial Whitetail Clover in January when the other food sources dry up. Last year I had six bucks in that plot every night during the last two weeks of January. I harvested a 135 Pope & Young on the last day of the season.

Jeffrey Yoder – Ohio We planted last spring and this fall we’ve seen lots of bucks. I harvested my biggest deer yet. Gross score of 161 6/8.

Randy Statz – Wisconsin With the aid of a deer management program, which includes Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack, we have definitely seen more big bucks in our area. Body size and antler size have noticeably increased. During the rut the trophy bucks are always checking the food plots for does. But what is even more impressive is how the deer just flock into the food plots after the gun season in December. That makes for unbelievable late muzzleloader and late archery hunting. We


in all deer, does and bucks included. Antler growth has also increased. I have taken 2 trophy bucks off the same set up. Both have 15 scorable points one was 176 the other was 166 both using a bow. Here are photos of both bucks. I took the 15 point buck in photo 1 in late December on the food plot in the late bow season. He scored 176. The buck in photo 2 was taken on October 14 following several does onto a food plot. He had 15 scorable points and scored 166. The best part of the hunt was my 14 year old daughter, Lacy was along which made it extra special.

Mike Persell – Missouri I have been using Imperial Whitetail Clover for almost 10 years now and I have no intentions of using anything else. Since starting with this product I have been able to attract and hold many deer on my small 40 acre farm. I have also been taking my son hunting on this property since he was 6 years old. Unfortunately he was unable to harvest a deer his first year, but not because they were not there. However, he has been fortunate to harvest 3 deer to date on our small farm – 1 doe and 2 bucks. These have not been large deer but we did see larger ones, and as many people know, the big ones do not typically stand still and wait for a young boy to get situated. No matter what, I am so proud of him and his accomplishments to date and I look forward to our rivalry of who gets the biggest one. I have enclosed a picture taken on Nov. 5, last year of a buck that is standing on the edge of a 2 acre Imperial Clover field that I first planted 8 years ago. This buck is still running in the area and I hope to be able to send a picture

of me holding his antlers. I used Imperial Extreme for the first time last year on an 80 acre piece of land I have hunted for several years. This piece of land is heavily wooded and has 25 acres of CRP switch grass on one section of it. We have hunted this property several times before with not much luck. There have never been food plots on this land. We’ve seen a few small bucks and a few does every year but nothing big enough to shoot. In July of last year my hunting partner and I cut trails through the switch grass and disced the ground and fertilized and then planted Extreme. We also disced another section of ground on the far side of the property and planted Imperial No-Plow. On opening day of gun season, at 7 a.m. a small buck and doe came 10 yards from our stand. I knew this was going to be a great day! The weather was warm and windy but the rut was on and I knew something could happen at any time. My son, now 10 years old, was sitting next to me in our deer stand and we decided to make a few doe bleats. Within one minute I heard a buck grunt. I asked Justin (my son), “did you hear that, that was a buck”? He said he did, and I started looking around to see where the sound came from. The difficulty in this task was made more difficult because the switch grass in this area is about 6 feet tall and if a deer is not moving you will never see him. I slowly searched the area with my binoculars trying to find an ear, horn, eye or something that looked like a deer. Then when I thought I had dreamed of hearing the sound, I scanned a draw about 80 yards in front of us and saw an antler of an 8 pointer. I picked up my Winchester 30-06 and looked through the scope and found his shoulder and squeezed off a round. The deer took off and I lost site of him. As I scanned the area I could tell he never went through the grass, so he MUST BE DOWN. Justin and I crawled out of our stand and went to look. We found no blood and after 10 minutes I started to get depressed because I knew I hit him. Then I decided to make circles with my son and cover the area. Within 3 minutes we found him. The buck had only run 30 yards and the tall switch grass was hiding him. When we got up to him I was amazed. Again, thinking I was dreaming, I had no idea he was as big as he was. What I thought was a heavy 8 pointer turned out to be a very heavy 17 pointer. He green scored 196 gross and has 6 1/2 inch bases. When weighed, the deer field dressed at 245 lbs. Needless to say I was very happy, but not as happy as my son. I do not think we would have had these 2 large bucks on this ground if it had not been for the great products of the Whitetail Institute. I have already put out 30-06 mineral licks getting ready for next season. I look forward to great things next year. Thanks for helping my son and me make great memories together. W

Send Us Your Photos! Do you have a photo of a buck that qualifies for the Pope & Young, Boone & Crockett or your state record books that you took with the help of Imperial products? Send it to us and you might find it in the Record Book Bucks section of the next issue of Whitetail News. Send your photo and a 3 to 4 paragraph story telling how you harvested the deer and the role our products played to:

Whitetail News, Attn: Record Book Bucks 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043

Vol. 17, No. 1 /



H OW I D O I T By Captain Michael Veine

Deer Hunting Evolves into Year-Round Passion Thanks to Whitetail Institute Products those bucks have been adult specimens with big bodies and some nice racks. During the past decade, as my education on deer management has increased, my deer hunting philosophy has changed. Instead of focusing primarily on antlers in my deer hunting pursuits, now the focal point of my harvest strategy is on older, big-bodied bucks and does. If they have high-scoring racks then that’s just a bonus. This past season I bowhunted every day for a full month before an opportunity at a big buck finally came my way. I was hunting in one of my favorite U.P. stands on Nov. 4. That tree stand is situated along a stream that’s flooded by beavers. Two narrow ridges come together at the spot and that terrain feature, along with the funneling effect of the beaver ponds, focuses three major runways right in front of my stand. It’s a classic funnel that I season with a heavy dose of 30-06 Plus Protein Mineral Supplement for added attraction. Two adult does and a fawn passed by my stand at 1:30 p.m. One of the does lingered and sniffed around by the 30-06 Plus Protein. Suddenly she swung her head towards the west with both ears forward and alert. Turning slowly, I spotted a good buck heading towards the two other deer; he was grunting all the way. The doe and fawn scurried away and the buck stopped about 40 yards from me. Spinning around, the buck took notice of

The author has killed a Michigan limit of two adult bucks every year since he started using Whitetail Institute products 10 years ago.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

the other doe standing 15 yards in front of me and came charging in. She trotted away as the buck came busting in with dirty thoughts certainly on his mind. I came to full draw and as if on cue, he stopped giving me a broadside-shot opportunity. The shot was perfect and he only made it about 50 yards before slowing to a stagger and falling over dead, all within sight of this very happy hunter. The chunky 8-pointer was butterball fat and provided me with 90 pounds of boned venison.


Michael Veine


ood plots have been a part of my overall deer nutrition and hunting strategy for 10 years. I remember my first food plot back in 1997. I divided that first plot up into six sectors, each planted with different seeds. One of those seeds was Imperial Whitetail Clover and the rest consisted of various commercial deer-plot seeds along with some cheap stuff from a local farm supply store. The results were dramatic as the Imperial Whitetail Clover outperformed the rest of the competition hands down. Since that humble beginning, my total acreage of food plots has more than quadrupled. I have taken a keen interest in seeing that “my” deer get a complete package of nutritious forage and minerals. Ten years of using Whitetail Institute products has helped my deer hunting evolve into a yearround passion. My home state of Michigan has a long, rich deer hunting heritage. Unfortunately Michigan’s deer hunting has been declining in recent years. With a shrinking deer population and fewer bucks to go around, deer hunters in Michigan certainly need an edge to be consistently successful. Despite Michigan’s deer hunting problems, since I implemented my complete deer nutrition program on my properties, my hunting success has skyrocketed. I have taken my Michigan limit of two bucks per season every season for the past 10 years and all of

My U.P. property consists of 160 acres of mixed high and low forest lands with a stream running through it. About half of the property was intensively logged in 1996 and 1997. I have one large food plot that encompasses an irregular four acres and another mediumsized two-acre Imperial Clover plot. I’ve also installed six smaller plots that range in size from one acre on down. Three of the plots were cleared from the forest with a dozer and the other ones were installed in natural, semiclear areas and are managed as no-till plots. My soils are very heavy loam to clay in consistency and are very acidic. I live 420 miles away from my U.P. property and my work schedule as a Great Lakes charter captain limits my available time to work on my property during spring and summer. The most important thing that I’ve had to accept about my U.P. food plots was to have lots of patience. Good things come to those that wait. My small, no-till plots were fairly easy to install. Working from natural openings, I used a chainsaw to clear the area, piling all the removed brush and trees into strategic spots to help funnel deer. All the remaining vegetation was then killed using a glyphosate herbicide like Roundup. Spraying the plots with three applications of herbicides at a rate of two quarts per acre did the job. The first application was during the spring when things were growing good. The second application was during late summer. Liming was done during the summer as well. The final Roundup application was done the following spring right before I planted. Prepping those plots for an entire year was necessary to properly adjust the soil pH and to get rid of all the unwanted, competing brush, weeds, grasses and bracken. After that final spring herbicide treatment, it was just a matter of roughing up the ground to prep the seed bed. I raked the ground by hand on the smaller plots or used a homemade drag on the larger plots. The drag consists of a chain-link fence wrapped around a pallet weighed down with sandbags. The drag is easily pulled behind my ATV. With the soil roughed up, I then broadcast the seed using a hand-crank spreader. I’ve had great success using Imperial Whitetail Clover on my no-till plots. The small seeds will slip though the litter well and they have a very high germination rate. The seeds are packed into the ground either with the back of a shovel or by running them over with my ATV, all depending on the size and location of the site. A generous amount of potassium and potash are added during the spring and late summer and I mow them once a year using a large, commercial-grade weed whacker during the summer. Selective herbicides like Slay and Arrest are


debris rots down. I have found that Imperial Whitetail Clover will grow halfway decent in my 5.5 pH soil especially if you fertilize it real heavy. It wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t grow like gangbusters, but it will fill in quite thick, but just not very tall. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve applied lime by shaking it from bags or shoveling it from a trailer, but when you have to add the tonnage that I require, those techniques, while doable, are very labor intensive. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll also pay a premium for bagged lime. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be doing some heavy liming in a couple years and plan to rent a bucket/tractor with a lime spreader and have bulk lime delivered to my site. My disk is designed to be pulled behind an ATV, but I can also pull it behind my truck too, which is actually my preference. After disking, I level and compress the dirt with a drag then fertilize it, drag it some more with the heavy fence-covered pallet, then seed it with clover. Then I drag it once again with just a piece of fencing. After adding the lime, the Imperial Clover will grow about twice as tall as before and will feed a lot more deer and other critters. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hunt right over my larger food plots. Rather I have stands set up at least 100 yards away around the perimeter of them, near deer funnels and staging areas. My stand access routes are also planned very well so I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t spook deer from my plots while entering or exiting the stands. This strategy keeps the deer pouring into my food plots and gives me consistent action all season.


From trial and error, the author favors Imperial Whitetail Clover as his choice for most food plot plantings.

Michael Veine

used annually to keep weed and grass competition at bay. Prepared and maintained in this manner, my no-till plots produce lush, knee-high clover for five or more years and draw deer like crazy, especially during the fall. I hunt right over these small kill-plots. My three larger plots were cleared with a dozer. Again the debris was pushed into strategic locations to help funnel deer. My ground is studded by a fair number of rocks, which I remove by hand. The freshly cleared fields were also littered with sticks, roots and other woody debris. Even after clearing the field of most surface clutter, those plots still contained too much trash just under the surface to work a disk through. Instead of disking I just leveled the freshly dozed fields with a heavy drag and seeded Imperial Whitetail Clover using a push-behind, Earthway Even-N-Spreader. Then a liberal amount of 20-20-20 fertilizer was applied. You might be questioning the nitrogen aspect of that fertilizing. The nitrogen supplement, combined with the nitrogenfixing qualities of the clover, really helps to break down the woody debris in the soil. I keep the nitrogen levels high for several years. By then most of the woody debris is rotted away and I can easily disk the field. I also mow these plots using a large lawn tractor once a year. I have found that used lawn tractors are the most economical way for me to perform mowing chores. I mow my yard, roads, trails and food plots with them. I fertilize using a broadcast spreader pulled behind my ATV. My larger plots also receive regular treatments with selective herbicides to keep out the trash vegetation. Because my soil is so acidic and those larger plots require such a large amount of lime, it is not practical for me to apply it until I can disk it in properly. Since it is impossible to disk those fresh plots, I have to sacrifice some forage production for a few years until the woody

I own and live on 39 acres in Southern Michigan. That property consists mostly of a large swamp with some ridges. My property is boarded by fertile farmland, so my food plots are all strategically located and carefully set up for optimal ambushes. My property serves as

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attract bucks like a magnet right to perfect spots for a shot. Those rub-poles and meticulously maintained, overhead licking branches along the perimeter of the small plot creates the ultimate buck magnet. In fact I’ve had opportunities to kill dozens of dandy bucks off that plot and it gets so much use that by the end of fall about one-quarter of the plot is pawed out from buck scrapes. I have another plot located right in the swamp, which dries up during the summer and early fall. I dug a water hole there several years ago and planted Imperial Whitetail Clover on the elevated dredge spoils. I also cleared about one-quarter acre of brush around the dredge spoils and planted that too. Since that ground floods about eight months out of the year, it requires annual plantings. I use Imperial No-Plow for that application. For the No-Plow planting, I spray it during the spring with Roundup and then plant and fertilize a week later. I just drag the plot with chain-link fencing to pack the seeds, and presto, I have a thick lush plot to hunt over by fall. You wouldn’t believe the activity that water-

Planting trees is also a part of the author’s habitat and deer nutrition strategy. He has planted more than 10,000 trees in the past 15 years.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

hole and food plot get. The trails leading to it look like cow paths.

1503 East Hwy. 13, Burnsville, MN 55337 (888)267-3591


Michigan has some funky laws concerning the baiting and feeding of deer. Minerals are considered either bait or feed by Michigan’s letter of the law. Placing bait is only allowed during deer season and feeding is only allowed near dwellings. To comply with Michigan’s laws and still provide the deer with good nutrition, I have developed an effective, legal mineral supplementation method. Deer use of minerals peaks during the spring and summer, however they will also visit the sites during the fall and winter primarily out of habit or social curiosity. At the tail end of Michigan’s deer season, I fill in the holes excavated by the deer at my mineral sites with clay. I then apply a full bag of 3006 onto the clay. Then I mound up a thick layer of ant hill dirt over the minerals. The ant hill dirt will shed water off the minerals preventing them from leeching into the ground. Ant hill dirt is freeze resistant, so the deer can easily dig down to the minerals during the early spring, when the rest of the ground is still frozen solid. I maintain four mineral supplement sites on my U.P. property. I have one mineral site right behind my house for both nutritional purposes and for recreational viewing. That site also has a lush patch of Imperial Whitetail clover around the minerals. You just wouldn’t believe the deer we see there. Last summer we had two big bucks coming in regularly. It’s a blast to watch those deer and my family is always looking out the back windows to see what might show up. That’s how I do it. W


Michael Veine

a sanctuary for a bunch of whitetails. It’s largely a bedding hideout. I’ve installed two small plots in heavy cover close to those bedding areas. My strategy is to attract the deer during the daylight in route to the agricultural fields where they feed primarily at night. One of my plots is about one-quarter acre in size and was cleared of brush and small trees with a chainsaw, cutting everything very close to the ground. I mowed it for two years before planting to let the small stumps rot down. The plot is not easily accessible with an ATV, so I just used an old garden roto-tiller to prepare the seedbed. The soil had a neutral pH and did not require any lime. I’ve had that plot planted in Imperial Whitetail Clover for seven years now, but will be replanting it this spring. I just spray it annually in the late spring with selective herbicides and mow and fertilize twice a year. Every year during the late summer I bury two fresh pine trees in the plot using a post-hole digger. The trees are about 4-5 inches in diameter. Those rub-poles


To Roundup or Not To Roundup That is the Question By Whitetail Institute Staff

Spraying with Roundup before planting can be a good idea, but not always.


o doubt about it, the world of food plots has evolved tremendously. Gone are the days of people asking what a food plot is. Also gone is the question of whether food plots are a viable tool in habitat management and improvement. Over the past few years the questions our consultants are asked have shown a trend — today more than ever before, our field testers are asking questions that are much more advanced. One example of this is the relatively recent increase in the number of questions we receive about the uses of herbicides in the planting and maintenance of food plots. The Whitetail Institute, in keeping with its leadership role in the 48

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

industry, introduced the first ever line of herbicides designed for food plots. Two years ago, Arrest (grass control) and Slay (broadleaf weed control) burst onto the market with incredible fan-fare. Even with the tremendous success of these two products, there is still little debate about what herbicide the Institute is asked about most of all — Roundup. Roundup, a Monsanto product, is a broad spectrum herbicide that for years has been well known to farmers, gardeners, homeowners and literally anyone with a green thumb. Roundup can be found at nearly every store that has anything to do with growing plants and is arguably the most widely used herbicide on the market. Roundup is a “non-selective” herbicide, which means that it kills indiscriminately. The questions our consultants handle have also shown that there is still quite a bit of confusion about Roundup and how it can be effectively and safely used in a food-plot application. In this article we will examine the what, how and when of Roundup usage and hopefully answer some

questions you may have. And, as always, feel free to call our in-house consultants if you have additional questions. The call is toll-free, and the number is (800) 688-3030, ext. 2.

ACTIVE INGREDIENT AND MODE OF ACTION The active ingredient found in Roundup is “glyphosate.” Glyphosate kills plants by inhibiting a specific enzyme that is needed by plants for growth. This enzyme is called EPSP synthase, and it is essential in the production of proteins needed for normal plant growth. When this enzyme is inhibited by glyphosate, these growth proteins are not produced, and the plant will begin to yellow and slowly die over a period of days. Glyphosate is effective on nearly all green vegetation as this same enzyme is used by most plants.

APPLICATION Glyphosate is considered a post-emergent herbicide. www.whitetailinstitute.com

“Post-emergent” means that it is for use on plants that are “already growing.” But be sure you understand — it means that the plants to be CONTROLLED must already be growing — it does NOT mean that it should be used on FORAGE PLANTS that are already growing. Remember, Roundup controls to varying degrees any growing plant it touches. One important characteristic to understand about glyphosate is that it does not have a soil residual — once it is taken in by the leaf of a plant, it controls that plant and does not leave a soil residual. That means that it will not prohibit you from planting for more than a matter of days. On the downside, though, it won’t control weeds that grow from seeds after Roundup has been sprayed either. The leaf of a plant is the principle means by which Roundup is absorbed. Therefore, adequate glyphosate-toleaf contact is important. The efficacy of some glyphosate herbicides may be increased by adding certain adjuvants such as surfactant or crop oil. There are a host of glyphosate herbicides on the market these days, and while some may benefit from the addition of adjuvants, others may not. That question, and any others you may have about the use of a particular herbicide you are thinking of using, may be resolved by reading the herbicide label. If an adjuvant is called for, two common types are generally referred to as “surfactants” and “crop oils.” A surfactant is a chemical that helps an herbicide spread on the leaf, stick to it or penetrate its cuticle. This is why you may have heard surfactants called “stickers” — they generally help the herbicide stay on the weed’s leaf and get into the plant better. Crop oil (also sometimes called “crop oil concentrate” or “seed oil”) is another kind of adjuvant, and it increases the rate at which an herbicide is absorbed by the weed’s leaf. Crop oil is often used when spraying some selective grass herbicides to control hard-to-kill grasses like fescue or Johnsongrass.

WHEN TO USE A GLYPHOSATE HERBICIDE IN FOOD PLOT APPLICATIONS Glyphosate can be a very effective tool when preparing a seedbed for planting, and understanding its characteristics and relating them to the appropriate application will give you better results. The most common use of glyphosate by food plotters is in preparing a seedbed in a fallow field, or when preparing to replant an existing food plot that has been overtaken by weeds. When planting a food plot in an area that has not been planted before, or at least not recently planted, it will more than likely be over-grown with weeds and/or have a heavy sod base. In situations where breaking the ground is appropriate, it can be a beneficial step in creating a good seed bed. Unfortunately, this can be the hardest step for some food plotters to accomplish, especially if they are trying to turn the soil with ATV implements. The root structure of existing vegetation creates a tight, dense layer in the top few inches of soil. If you are using light equipment such as a 4-wheeler implement, the initial breaking of the ground can be an arduous task because these implements usually do not have sufficient weight to efficiently break through the sod base. Breaking heavy sod with light equipment will take some time and will more than likely not kill the entire root structure of the plants. In these cases, spraying Roundup before you try to break the ground can make your lighter tillage equipment much more effective. The reason is that glyphosate kills the entire plant, including its roots, and when the roots die they release their grip on the soil, allowing you to disk it much more effectively with light equipment. If you find yourself faced with this scenario, first examine the existing vegetation. Are the existing weeds tall or mature? If so, you may want to mow the area first. This will help you in two ways. First it helps to break down the heavy

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ground cover, allowing your equipment to operate more efficiently. Second, it can help the weeds take in the herbicide better. When a plant is mowed, it goes into shock for a week or so. Once it recovers from the shock of mowing, it will start growing vigorously to try to replace the foliage it lost when it was mowed. Spraying after this re-growth starts can help make the herbicide application even more effective. So, if you do mow, wait until you see new growth appearing again (usually a week or two after mowing) before spraying. Most glyphosate herbicides take 10 to 14 days to completely kill the plants, so you will need to allow about two weeks between spraying and breaking the ground. If you have heavy equipment such as turning plow or PTO driven tiller, you will likely not need to use Roundup before you break the ground since the equipment you are using will cut through the roots, killing the vegetation. However, repeated or deep tilling may not be as effective at killing some grasses, which grow from their root systems, as they can be in controlling weeds that rely on reseeding. Also, as we mentioned earlier, glyphosate will not kill the seeds in the soil. The Institute has fielded many field-tester questions asking why grass and weeds reappeared even after they had sprayed Roundup and tilled the plot. The answer is that there can be literally millions of plant seeds in the ground, and some can survive for decades in dormancy just waiting for the right conditions for germination. Spraying kills the weeds on the surface, but if you till the ground again after spraying Roundup you will likely bring dormant seeds to the surface and reinfest the plot To try and help with this predicament, here is a method that may be the best way to get as close to a weed-free seed bed as possible. The key is to not turn the soil again after the second RoundUp application so that you don’t bring up more dormant weed seeds. 1. If needed (existing thick, tall and mature vegeta-

SOIL TEST KITS Now available through the

Whitetail Institute

Soil testing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your plantings — of any kind. The Institute is pleased to now provide soil test kits and results for all Imperial products or any other type seeds. (Complete instructions and all related information will come with kits.) Test results include pH, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Fertilizer and lime recommendations for maximum performance from your plantings will be provided. The average turnaround time is 24-48 hours after our lab receives the sample. The charge for the kit and results is $9.95. If ordered alone, add $2.00 shipping and handling for unlimited number of kits. If ordered with other Imperial products there is no shipping charge. Please send ______ soil test kits at $9.95 each. Add $2.00 shipping and handling for each order regardless of number of kits desired. (There is NO shipping charge if kit is ordered with other Imperial products.) Cost of kit includes test results.

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City _____________________________________ State ________Zip _____________ Phone _____________________Email _______________________________________ o Check or Money Order enclosed Payment: : Charge to: o MasterCard o Visa o Discover Credit Card # ______________________________________ Exp. Date ____________ Signature ______________________________________________________________

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Vol. 17, No. 1 /



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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

tion), mow weeds to a height of about 6 inches, Wait until you see grass and weeds starting to put on new growth (usually after a week or so), 3. Spray Roundup or another glyphosate herbicide as recommended on the herbicide label, 4. Wait approximately 10-14 days for a complete kill on existing vegetation. 5. Till the soil (adding any lime needed to raise soil pH before you till), and smooth the plot with a drag or cultipacker (roller). a. Example: Planting Imperial Whitetail Clover i. Disk the ground several times. ii. Run a drag over the ground to level the seed bed. iii. Go over the seed bed with a cultipacker to further level and firm the seed bed. 6. Wait approximately 2 weeks for new weed seed to begin growing. 7. Apply Roundup or other glyphosate herbicide again. 8. Wait 5-10 days for new weeds to begin dying. 9. Without doing any further tilling, seed the food plot and go over it with the cultipacker for good seed-to-soil contact. (But, do NOT drag over Imperial perennial seeds or otherwise cover them.) Without question this method requires planning and time. The process can take up to four to six weeks to complete. But with a little patience and planning, you can produce as close to a weed-free seedbed as you can get. This method is especially effective on fields that have a history of being very weedy. 2.

SPRAYING ROUNDUP ON EXISTING FOOD PLOTS In the past couple of years, there has been much talk about using a very low-concentration, or “watered-down”, Roundup application on perennials such as Imperial Whitetail Clover to kill the weeds but not kill the clover. There are several reasons why the Institute does not recommend this practice. First and foremost, this practice is contrary to the instructions on the Roundup label. You should always read, understand and follow all herbicide label directions — on Roundup or any herbicide. Failing to follow an herbicide’s label instructions can reduce the efficacy of the herbicide, kill your plot, harm the environment or have other negative consequences. The label instructions are there for a reason, and in the case of Imperial Whitetail Clover and any other plant you want to save, one reason is this: Glyphosate herbicides can damage or kill any plant they touch. There is no standardized science to using watered-down glyphosate for applications not specifically listed on the herbicide label, and there are quite a few variables that will affect it. Some of these variables include sprayer calibration, ground speed, wind, rainfall, plant maturity, improper mixing and host of others. A problem with any one of these variables can cause your beautifully green Imperial Clover field to turn brown and die. With that being the case, and with selective herbicides available that ARE appropriate for controlling grass and broadleaf weeds in Imperial Whitetail Clover, there seems to be little reason to run the risks associated with using glyphosate off-label. A far better approach is to use herbicides for their designed purposes, and there are selective herbicides available, such as the Institute’s Arrest and Slay herbicides, that are designed to control grass and broadleaf weeds in Imperial Whitetail Clover. Without question, Roundup can be an extremely effective tool in preparing seedbeds for planting food plots. Realizing how it works, when to use it and how to use it will help you maximize your efforts. THE WHITETAIL INSTITUTE DOES NOT RECOMMEND ROUNDUP FOR GRASS OR WEED CONTROL IN ANY EXISTING FIELD OF ITS IMPERIAL WHITETAIL FOOD PLOT PRODUCTS. W www.whitetailinstitute.com



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Customers do the talking about (Continued from page 19) and hand-held video games have all been a part of the hunt. My motto is, “Keep them warm, dry, fed and busy.” On the rare occasion that we don’t see deer and the kids get bored, we quit. We never force a kid to sit miserably in a stand for a sport that is supposed to be fun. Forcing them to sit is the best way to get a kid to grow up hating hunting. When it stops being fun,

we stop doing it. This past Ohio youth hunt is one of our many success stories. Not only did all 5 kids get deer, the one 8 pointer was Bradley Endicott’s first deer ever and what a trophy. I heard yahoos and screams of jubilation from Brad and his dad from a 1/2 mile away. Thanks to Whitetail Institute and quality deer management we have seen an increase in buck numbers, rack size and hunting opportunities for our youngsters. Thanks for allowing me to share our story.

Jason McDiffett – Kansas

We also use 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein and we have noticed an average of 40-50 inch larger bucks for their age class now compared to 5 years ago. Enclosed is a picture of a 16 pointer shot on the farm during shotgun season this year, 22-1/2-inch inside spread with its 4th mass circumference of 4-1/2 inches. Figure it will score around 210 inches.


Corky Kelsey – New York I have used Imperial Clover and Alfa-Rack for about 4 years. After clearing 1 acre of an old field I seeded half with your clover and half with Alfa-Rack. Deer sightings were a daily routine. The deer averaged 23 lbs heavier field weights dressed

than before I planted. I am a meat hunter and have found it hard to pass up young bucks and adult does. Thanks to Whitetail Institute products, the sizes of the bucks’ racks are very respectable. Enclosed are pictures of my son Clint and camp member Dave Beens with nice bucks. The only problems I have with Whitetail Institute products is they need to come with warnings! #1) Your taxidermy bill will triple #2) Tree stands should be equipped with hemorrhoid donuts – deer will show up any and all times of the day! Thanks for great products.

the good work guys. Thank you for all the work you have done.

Ken Dusek – Texas We planted Imperial Whitetail Clover for the first time in 1993. We had three different plots that grew great and got established very well. The deer would sometimes lay in it while eating. They loved it and still do. Over the years the deer have gotten bigger in body size and horn size. We hunt in East Texas. I shot this 144” 10 pointer chasing a doe right through one of our clover plots. He was aged at 3-1/2 years old.

Shawn Connor – Virginia This buck was taken by bow going back to a bedding area from the Chicory PLUS food plots.

Richard Kennedy – Pennsylvania

Deer love Imperial Whitetail Clover. The deer in the picture grossed 175 Boone & Crockett. Too bad he wasn’t a ten point. This deer frequented the Cutting Edge and Extreme.

Jason Helle – Iowa We started with Whitetail Institute products in 2000. We see a greater concentration of deer on the I m p e r i a l Whitetail Clover plots. 52

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

I started with Whitetail Clover the first year and it did so-so. I skipped the soil test (big mistake) the next year I did the soil test and the pH was low so I added lime. After that boy what a difference, every product I used did fantastic. I also use 30-06 Plus Protein from the end of February to mid summer. It is great stuff; I firmly believe in your products. Before using your products I was harvesting 2-1/2 year old bucks like in picture #1. After establishing a good field of clover and using 30-06 Plus Protein for about 3 years, I am seeing and harvesting like in picture #2. The proof is on the wall! It extends my season all year long. I started hunting at age 12 years old and now I’m 49 years young. It feels good to give something back to the animals I love. Keep up

C.G. – Virginia


The buck in the enclosed photo was shot on Dec 13 during the beginning of the post rut on an Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot. The deer pounded the food plots until late October. We had a warm and dry fall so the acorns fell late and a lot of them. The deer abandoned the food plots for most of November but when the acorns got scarce the bucks came back. It was the best late rut ever for me. I passed up between 35 and 40 bucks this year on our 450 acre lease. At least ten of those were 3-1/2 and 4www.whitetailinstitute.com

Institute products… by an Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot. The buck had 11 points with a 19-1/2 inside inch spread. Thanks for the clover product.

Phil Nichols – Michigan Attached are two bucks taken from the Evergreen Deer Management Cooperative. The beautiful 8 point was taken

Steve Rutland – Alabama

1/2 years old. There is a big 20" plus 8 point with approximately 13" g3's 12"g2's and serious mass I saw the first day of bow season and late November but never could get a shot at him and he was in the same 5 acre food plot I shot this buck in and makes this buck look small. The bucks are putting on more weight and antlers are growing bigger with more mass at younger ages. I talked to my neighbors after the season and they said they didn't hardly see any bucks, I lied and told them we saw a few small bucks we let go but it was a slow season also. The fact is I've sucked them all on our place. They don’t plant food plots and to my knowledge no one does for miles around us. Imperial Clover and Alfa-Rack Plus are magnets. Once I learned that plowing, disking, liming, spraying, fertilizing, are all important I have some beautiful plots. I tried ladino and other clovers but there's something magical about Imperial products. Thanks.

Scott Klapperich – Wisconsin We have 3 food plots of Imperial Whitetail Clover that are approximately 2 acres each. It is interesting that the deer almost always come to the clover first. We do an informal QDM program on the property and have definitely noticed larger antler

growth and also larger body size of the deer we have taken the last few years. My best deer was taken just last week (Nov 25th) in one of the food plots. He was chasing does that were in the food plot. We have owned and hunted this property for all of my life and I’m 50 years old. We have never had as many quality deer as we now have. I truly believe that the Imperial Clover is a big part of our recent success. Hope you enjoy the pictures enclosed.

Lane Glasbrenner – Wisconsin Enclosed is a picture of my wife with a buck she shot www.whitetailinstitute.com

Imperial Whitetail Clover has increased the number and size of the deer on my property North of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. Also the number of deer trails into my property has doubled. I watched the far wood line as the young bucks chased does around and sparred back and forth over them. Just before dark all of the bucks in the field scattered. I knew this would happen for one of two reasons. A predator (human or animal) will make the deer scatter, but the does didn’t leave. The second was a large or dominant buck. This convinced me that the old man of the woods was probably making his presence felt. I peered back into the woods and noticed what I thought was a deer looking out. For a few minutes I kept talking myself out of believing that it could really be a deer that big. Then the deer leaned his head over and back up. I got to my feet as quickly as I could. I had been sitting there for hours watching and ranging the distance. I knew that it was 289 yards to my stand. The pucker factor was pushing 10 plus at that point. He got up and eased out into the edge of field to rough up the scrape the young bucks had been working. He was standing broadside to me. I leaned against a tree and squeezed out a round from my 7MM Mag. The bullet hit under him and sprayed him with dirt. He immediately flung his body around looking at the ground. To my complete shock he did not run away. He turned completely broadside once again and went back to working the scrape. I chambered another round. I managed to pull the trigger and he dropped in his tracks. So did I. I had to sit there for a few minutes to let my brain and body adjust the chemical imbalance created from the previous few minutes. After I was able to walk and think straight I went back to the truck and got the 4 wheeler and a buddy to go with me to pick the animal up. As I approached the deer I just could not believe the body on this animal. He was pushing 275lbs. He was the largest deer I had ever seen in the woods. I attribute this to genetics, wheat, corn, soybean fields and the Imperial Clover and NoPlow that I had planted. The best part of the whole experience was that I had my two best hunting buddies, Mike and Tony Rubel of Florida, were there with me. My 12 year old son was there the following weekend to kill his first deer ever, just 45 yards from where I dropped my deer. My 5 year old daughter asks me everyday when she will get to go hunting with me. I tell her this Christmas. I look forward to her going out there with me and seeing the excitement in her eyes.

by Rocky Colavito and the 10 point is mine. The 10 point was taken off a field with a combination of Imperial Clover and Alfa-Rack (3 year old planting). The buck wasn't grazing at the time but was chasing a doe. Not too many bucks graze this time of year. They seem to have something else on their mind. Rock's buck was taken just West of the NoPlow field. They have just hammered that field this year too.

David Jones – Minnesota We absolutely have more deer on my property since we planted Imperial Whitetail Clover in 2003. Also body size and antlers are improved. The photos enclosed are all the deer taken since planting. Imperial Whitetail Clover has a big impact for deer on my property. W

Send Us Your Photos! Do you have a photo and/or story of a big buck, or a small buck or doe that you took with the help of Imperial products? Send it to us and you might find it in the Field Tester section of the next issue of Whitetail News. Send your photo and a 3 to 4 paragraph story telling how you harvested the deer and the role our products played to:

Whitetail News Attn: Field Tester Response 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043

Vol. 17, No. 1 /



Food Plots and Family –

Building a Work Ethic in Kids By Brad Herndon On the flip side, when the farmer I worked for was in a bind for help, he would occasionally hire one of my friends who usually stayed as far away from work as he could. I can remember the farmer often saying these words: “I would like to see a race between John and molasses going uphill to see which one would win.” No, my friend John wasn’t a fireball when it came to picking corn, tomatoes, cantaloupes and other vegetables. And that carried through into his adult life. Oh, he was able to feed himself, but he never accumulated much and his enjoyment of life was limited by his attitude. Without doubt, most of us who are adults have spent time talking about and admiring hard workers. And we’ve also spent time discussing the shiftless, lazy people who only seem to want — no, demand — a handout from society, and contribute little to their own family, friends, and others around them. Without doubt, each of us wants our children and grandchildren to have a good work ethic and to be success-

ful and happy throughout their life. In addition, I’m sure each of us wants them to contribute to society in a positive way. Well, whether you are a family with young children, a family with a teenager or two draped around the living room furniture, a single parent, or even a grandparent, you will find some valuable information in the rest of this article that you can successfully apply to your children and grandchildren.

WORK ETHICS AND THE COUNTRY Yesterday I dropped by the country church my wife, Carol, and I attend. I had to pull in the south entrance because the north entrance was blocked by a high flat-bed truck. Standing at the back of the truck shoveling crushed rock into the church driveway was Darrell Peters. “Darrell,” I asked. “Where did you get your work ethic?” Darrell leaned on his shovel momentarily before answering, “Oh, from the time I was little my dad had me

Cutting and stacking firewood together builds a great work ethic in children and strengthens family bonds. Popcorn around a toasty warm fire on a cold winter night is a great reward that can be shared by the whole family.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1


Brad Herndon


hen I was in seventh and eighth grades, I worked from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days per week on a truck farming operation. The pay? A buck per day. It was killer work, and the pay was meager, yet the dollar per day was a lot of money to a kid who had nothing. I could complain and say I was underpaid, which I was, but instead I’ve looked back on the backbreaking work as a positive in my life since it helped instill in me a great work ethic that has been instrumental in the successes I have been blessed with in life.

dren, by the way, so she has experienced what other famiwork — at least initially — being done together with your feeding the hogs, shucking corn or something else around lies have. She has some sound advice relating to work child. If you work hard, your children see this and they too the farm. There was always something to do.” ethics. will work hard. I might add here that Darrell is about 6-foot 2-inches “In my practice, I’ve noticed that conflict about chores This is why I see the value of giving your children the tall, thin and strong, and straight as an arrow. He’s 72 years comes up with almost every family; the only exceptions are chance to participate in hunting and food plot work. Both young and still farms about 700 acres with his brother, most of the local farm families. On the farms, the kids work are activities you can do together and both will present you Empson, who is six years older than him. Darrell has been a and work hard. Generally these kids feed animals, muck out with numerous opportunities of passing on a good work hard worker all of his life and I might add he has enjoyed life stalls, help with the fields, and still do their homework and ethic to your offspring. to the fullest and is a fun guy to be around. participate on sports teams. Why is it that their in-town But Darrell is not a space scientist. Gary Moore, howevFOOD PLOTS AND FAMILY friends can’t find the time to or motivation to take out the er, is a space scientist. In fact, he analyzes Space Station garbage?” she said. “I think it comes down to this: On the requirements with the research scientists whose experiReading is one of the most important aspects to sucsmaller farms, work is clearly valued, it is done routinely by ments are performed on the orbiting laboratory in space. cess in life since it opens a whole new world to both chileveryone, and the consequences for not doing it are obvi“Growing up in the country and working hard on the dren and adults and enables them to learn at a rapid rate. ous and clear.” farm,” Moore relates. “I never dreamed of space travel or Advertorial #2_0306 4/6/06 9:42 PM Page 1 Reading can inspire and motivate young and old alike. As Her remarks, my own life observations, and numerous being part of the country’s space program.” we all know, though, not all children are as interested in interviews I have conducted all reveal the importance of Still, Moore will quickly tell you that he is proud of his rural roots and believes that boyhood chores of working with cows and working in the fields were vital to instilling a good work ethic in him. Today, Moore still has an enthusiasm for challenges as he plays a vital role in our space program. By Mike Strandlund Along these same farm lines, I often give slide shows in various locations. At some locations in towns I’ll get pats on the back and people will tell me how much they enjoyed ucceeding at cold weather hunting begins with the show. Rarely, however, does anyway help me carry in choosing and using the clothing best suited to the my equipment and set it up. conditions. Bow hunters who hunt from stands or If I show up at a country location, though, to present a blinds need the most effective and efficient clothing possible slide show for an FFA or 4-H group, I’ll have an entirely different experience. As soon as the young people see me, to keep them warm and loose without restricting their they have the projector, screen and extension cords in their movements or shooting ability. I can all too well remember, hands and help me set it up. They help with teardown, too. in a former life, frost bitten extremities, always cold, I always enjoy being around these helpful, upbeat young shivering and miserable in stands in Wisconsin, many times people with good work ethics.



WHAT THESE ILLUSTRATIONS HAVE IN COMMON I’ve used these three examples because farming and food plots are tied closely together, and this situation presents you with the perfect opportunity to help your children develop into responsible citizens in our society. One important aspect of the farm community must be pointed out, however, because it is the key to developing excellent work ethics in children. That key ingredient is togetherness. For instance, I might have grown bitter at the farmer who worked me so hard except for the fact he was always right there with me, working just as hard as I was. He fed me well, and we cranked out homemade ice cream when we were shining tomatoes in the afternoon. After I went home, the farmer drove almost two hours to a wholesale farm market and often it was 2 a.m. when he arrived back home. Yet the next morning he was right beside us again, working as hard as ever. Likewise, those 4-H and FFA kids have had parents who stood beside them and taught them the proper way to do things. It could have been how to operate a sewing machine, groom a calf, or replace the generator on the old John Deere tractor. Regardless, the work was completed together, and the advice was given in a helpful, instructional way. Tell a kid to do chores, or else, without ever lifting a finger yourself and you will create a recipe for resentment. As an example, we have an eight-year-old granddaughter named Jessica. After we eat, she loves to help wash the dishes by hand. Almost always, when Jessica is washing the dishes “Grandmom Carol” is right beside her helping out. If we told Jessica to wash the dishes after supper every time, while we sat in the living room and laughed and played games, it would only be a short time before she rebelled. And rightly so, I might add.

BE A GOOD EXAMPLE Marie Hartwell-Walker is a licensed psychologist who has helped many families. She has a husband and four chilwww.whitetailinstitute.com

hunting in below zero weather, sometimes as low as -20° F. My most profound find, which ended all of those nightmares, was the Heater Body Suit, a zip-up (sleeping bag with legs), is how it might be described. Like many hunters, I looked at it and deemed it too big and clumsy for bow hunting from tree stands. Then, I finally tried it, and couldn't believe how warm it kept me, how much more effective a hunter I was when I stayed toasty, and how much more enjoyable it made winter hunting. As for being too visible and clumsy, I finally realized that it helps keep me more still on stand and conceals my hand and arm movements because they are inside the bag. It is very easy to slip out of and get a shot with a minimum amount of movement, even with a bow. These days, if it's below freezing I won't hunt without one. The Heater Body Suit is a one garment solution for those days from early October when a chill is in the air to the days in December when the thermometer is on the wrong side of zero. If you are a serious cold weather hunter, a Heater Body Suit is worth its weight in gold. Heater Clothing even offers a black and white warranty that says, “Buy it, wear it, and if you get cold we will give you your money back!”



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Vol. 17, No. 1 /





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reading as they should be. Pitching them a couple of books on history and literature to read probably won’t bring forth any enthusiastic response. Conversely, a copy of Whitetail News or another good hunting magazine might immediately capture their attention. So while the snow is flying outside, use this time to read about various food plot products you could plant on the property you hunt. Let your children take an active role in this decision because it will encourage them to read. Winter is also a good time to take them to the local Natural Resources Conservation Service office. Someone there can explain to them how many types of soil there are and the importance of lime and fertilizer in plant growth. They will also have soil maps there, another form of reading they can get started on. Being proficient with both aerial and topographical maps leads to increased hunting success, and you will be surprised how quickly kids can grasp what is shown on the maps with

n More Helpful Hints To Create A Good Work Ethic >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 1. Don’t let your children spend excessive amounts of time watching TV. Too much TV is bad for the body and bad for the mind. Studies reveal even educational TV has a negative effect on the mind. The same goes for the Internet and video games. Keep them to a minimum. 2. Giving your child a weekly allowance for small chores will help instill a good work ethic in them. It will also be instrumental in teaching them the value of money. 3. Having big families isn’t common today, but if you have more than one child, having them work together can help build a good bond between them. When I was young, my brother and I couldn’t stand each other. However, in order to keep warm in the winter we burned wood and often cut it with a two-man crosscut saw. Even when we didn’t like each other, I could endure my brother helping me out on the other end of that crosscut saw. Because of our work together, I think we both grew closer to each other, not an easy task at the time. 4. While farming and food plots have been featured in this article because they are ideal situations for teaching work ethics, the same methods can be used if you live in towns or even large cities. A simple chore such as feeding a dog or cat is an excellent way to get kids involved in helping with work that needs to be done. Even a small child can understand that if an animal isn’t fed it will die. 5. Teach your children to take pride in their work. If a child wants to do a job or sport well, this will motivate them to work hard. 6. Always be on the lookout for new interests in your child. For example, many children enjoy cameras. Photography works into food plots perfectly. Having a ground blind where your child can photograph deer, turkey and other wildlife provides them enjoyment and may lead into a career for them. 7. On a serious note, avoid being a workaholic and not spending enough time with your family and friends. The undesirable habit of working too much is also passed down to children. Balance work with play.


Brad Herndon

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proper instruction. You can even draw in where your food plots will be and the size of them. This, in turn, can lead to another form of learning.

MASTERING MATH Studies have proven that no subject produces better critical thinking skills than math. Yet math is despised by many young people. I think this is true because those teaching it, including parents, do not keep it simple enough. Even complex math can be broken down into simple parts, and this can lead to math being fun. What you teach, of course, will depend on the child’s age. Let’s assume, for instance, that you are going to plant a three-acre food plot and that each bag of seed you are buying will plant one acre. How many bags of seed should you buy? That’s simple. Kicking it up one step, let’s say you are laying out a one-acre food plot. One acre contains 43,560 square feet. What dimensions should the plot be? This is more difficult, of course, but when you are planting seed that can cost up to $35 to $80 to cover an acre, you want to be accurate. This is an enjoyable way to teach math because you can go out in nature and measure your food plot together. Along about now you may be wondering why I’m talking about teaching math and reading. I’m stressing this because overall, a work ethic is taught to a child, not learned on his or her own. Plainly and bluntly put, you as a parent — single or married — are the teacher. What you teach is, with a few exceptions, what your children will become. By showing a good work ethic in all aspects of life, including reading and math, you will pass down to your child these same important work ethics. Do, however, be careful of how you teach. It’s a fact that excessive permissiveness to children usually results in a poor work ethic. Likewise, being unfairly

critical of a child often results in low self-esteem which in turn leads to unhappiness both in youth and adulthood. This is why it is vitally important to be both firm and at the same time fair. Stand firm in making your children complete a project, regardless of how hard it is at first. We all know it’s easier to do a job ourselves rather than battle a child over it. In a similar vein, be sure to say “Thanks, or thanks for helping me” when the job is done — even if the job isn’t perfect. And when a job is done so poorly that it has to be addressed, be patient and kind in explaining to a child the proper way to do it.

WORKING THE DIRT TOGETHER When the vibrancy of spring covers the land, it’s time to go outside and get into the physical aspect of the work ethic. And believe me, there is plenty of work to do together. If your child is big enough, having them load and unload bags of fertilizer will be a big help to you. And if you have some small plots where you spread the fertilizer by hand with a whirligig spreader, those young, strong legs will come in handy in spreading the fertilizer. And where ATVs are used to work and plant food plots, this is a perfect situation for older kids to enjoy working out of doors with their mom or dad. Riding an ATV is just flat out fun. This is an ideal opportunity for a parent to teach the importance of spraying, working the soil properly, and the correct seeding methods. Later on in the summer the amazing results of mowing a tall plot can be seen by both parent and child. Those of you with smaller kids can let them help on a smaller scale. They could pour smaller bags of seed into the seeder, or perhaps they can help carry a small cooler of drinks or the lunch for the day.

REWARDS ARE IMPORTANT In the farm community where I grew up and still live, most of the farmers are of German descent with an amazing work ethic. Not to be overlooked is their equally enthusiastic approach to having fun. I’ve always noticed that while they work hard, they also take time to reward their kids with lots of fun activities, from sports to hunting and fishing. We should do likewise, and what better way to do so than sitting in a deer blind or tree stand with your child waiting for the monster buck to show up that you worked together to grow? The same goes for exciting turkey hunts near your food plots. And don’t forget to share small game hunting with them. Kids just love to hunt small game such as dove, squirrels, rabbits and quail. A lot of shooting action is involved that they will really enjoy. And speaking of shooting, target practice with both archery gear and firearms can be enjoyed together throughout the year by all members of the family. This could be archery shoots, or trap or skeet shooting. Both boys and girls love the shooting sports. And don’t forget those family outings, such as family vacations, day trips to a ball game or other event, or even a picnic; all are rewarding activities that the entire family can enjoy. In closing, remember this: Working together with your children can produce great food plots. And this work together may also produce some great trophies and memories. But keep in mind that the most important aspect of all of your hard work is that a loving, strong family bond will be created. This will be a blessing not only to you and your generation, but to future generations as well. Passing on a great work ethic to your children is one of the most important gifts you can give them. W

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Vol. 17, No. 1 /



Tiger Ridge Experiment Showcases Small Tract Management By By Hugh Hugh McAloon McAloon


verything happens for a reason.” “The right place at the right time.” “It’s better to be lucky than good.” Take your pick, because all these old adages apply to the best buck of my life. (At least it was the best buck for three weeks.) My job as the group publisher for Deer & Deer Hunting magazine and producer of D&DH TV allows me great opportunities to travel the United States chasing whitetail deer. However, I’d argue that when it comes to bow-hunting, central Wisconsin near my office is awfully difficult to beat. The launch of D&DH’s Tiger Ridge Experiment had me excited as work began on the property in 2006. But wow, was I disappointed to be taking a stand at one of the best Tiger Ridge food plots the evening of Oct. 10, 2006. 58

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

Let’s flash back to the start. The beginning of Tiger Ridge Experiment was in 2004, when D&DH staffers came up with the idea to take a piece of “worthless” deer habitat and try to build it into a whitetail mecca in five years. The plan was to take no more than a 200-acre parcel and show the world how — with proper management, food and nutrition — you could create a whitetail nirvana. We didn’t want anything larger then 200 acres because we wanted to illustrate why you don’t need thousands of acres to manage deer. Rather, the plan was to show hunters how to work with neighbors (cooperative and uncooperative), and illustrate how proper placement of food sources and sanctuaries will hold deer on small tracts. The final requirement was to find a piece of land with very poor habitat. We wanted to start with the worst of the worst to show that Tiger Ridge-like success was possible anywhere. We found ideal land just 20 miles from the D&DH office. And we were lucky to find the perfect source of information in Whitetail Institute. The land we chose had been in a managed forest program for more than 100 years and hadn’t been logged for at least 40 years. It had 150 acres of rolling mature hardwoods with a 50-acre swamp through the middle. During good years, scattered white oak

trees produced a few acorns, but there was very little food to hold deer. The last thing that made this parcel perfect for our plan was it had been open to public hunting for the past 100-plus years. Public land in central Wisconsin is hunted very hard, assuring us there were few deer inhabiting the property. The first year, we mapped, planned, studied and logged. We marked where we wanted food plots, where we wanted sanctuaries and what areas needed to be logged. We did everything but hunt the property the first year. The real work began in Spring 2006. Loggers took care of the cutting, but we cleared five food plots ranging from one to three acres. We also selected several smaller locations on old logging decks and roads. Honestly, we bit off way more then we could chew the first year. We attacked it hard and solicited the help of the local highschool baseball team, which was trying to raise money for a spring trip to Florida, to pick rocks and clear debris. The cleared areas were then limed and fertilized, and it was time to plant. I’ll be the first to admit that we rushed into the project, and the soil preparation was not ideal. However, we were running out of time. The Whitetail Institute staff again www.whitetailinstitute.com


chose the best seeds based on soil, sunlight and the period of fall we wanted to hunt the various plots. We â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and I use that word because my 16-year-old son, Dustin â&#x20AC;&#x201D; actually did all the planting â&#x20AC;&#x201D; planted Imperial Whitetail Clover, NoPlow, Extreme, Chicory Plus and Whitetail Instituteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new blend, Winter-Greens. It was a smorgasbord that would let us see what seeds and plants adapted best to our soils and which deer preferred. But then a drought came. I would classify Spring 2006 as one of the driest on record for central Wisconsin. We didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t receive a raindrop for three weeks after we seeded our plots, and I was prepared for the worst. Much to our surprise, after finally getting some rain, our plots began to grow. Our ground preparation of the two plots on the northern side of the swamp was the best, and not surprisingly, those plots produced better then those to the south. As the plots began to green up and produce forage, I can only imagine what deer were thinking. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Where did these big openings full of great-tasting food come from? This used to be wide-open mature hardwoods.â&#x20AC;? OK, maybe I try to think too much like a deer, but it had to be a shock for them. Our most pleasant surprise came from our trail cameras. In fact, the first picture we saw was one of the largest 8-point bucks Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d ever seen. It was later killed on a neighboring property and scored 156 inches. That photo was followed by pictures of buck after buck after big buck. You might argue these deer were already there, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll argue that the food plots attracted them to the area. This was not supposed to happen after only two years. However, the proof was in the pictures. We had CuddeBack photos of at least five bucks in our Whitetail Institute plots that measured more than 130 inches and two more that topped 150. Wisconsinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2006 bow season opened Sept. 16, and we were greeted with unseasonably warm 80-degree weather.

Opening morning produced a blank, and we saw only a few does and fawns that night. The next night educated Dustin about how difficult it is to kill a mature whitetail on film, as a deer we called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Pretty Boyâ&#x20AC;? caught scent or movement from our double-occupancy tree stand. Pretty Boy became our pet. He was the most photogenic buck Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever encountered. The buck was in the Horseshoe food plot almost every day, and we have 30 CuddeBack photos of him. We also filmed him several times. He finally made a mistake and became the best buck of Neil Bretlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brief hunting career, at 130 inches. September and early October passed with deer sightings during every Tiger Ridge hunt, but we just couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a shot at one of the big boys. So, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re probably asking yourself, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why was he so disappointed to be hunting there Oct. 10?â&#x20AC;? Was it the October lull? Actually, with our new food plots, we never saw a lull in deer movement at Tiger Ridge all fall. Weather? Moon? Nope. I was scheduled to hunt Missouri Oct. 9 through 12, but my host ran into some scheduling conflicts, and we had to reschedule my visit for the end of the month. I was stuck with an open work schedule and Tiger Ridge for the next four days. The moon was actually perfect, having been full Oct. 7, so Oct. 10 was the third day after the first full moon of October. Wind direction had dictated that our previous evening hunts had occurred at the two food plots north of the swamp. But Oct. 10, the wind was from the north, and I was chomping at the bit to take a stand overlooking a food plot on the southern side of the swamp. We had some great CuddeBack pictures of a 4-year-old near that stand, but I hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t planned to shoot anything. I was just eager to see what would appear at our southern plots. Halfway through the 15-minute walk to the stand, the wind switched and was again coming from the south. I could hike to the northern side or just go home. It was an easy decision.


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 1  /


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

*" Â&#x153;Ă? ÂŁxĂ&#x2021;


I covered the half-hour walk in less than 20 minutes but still bumped several deer from the horseshoe plot. By the time I settled into Dustinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s favorite stand, I was sweating and wondering if anything would â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or could â&#x20AC;&#x201D; possibly go right. I had spent numerous hours at that stand with a video camera in hand. However, Dustin had done 100 percent of the work at the stand. He did all the food plot work, picked the stand location, hung both stands and placed and checked all the cameras. It was the stand where we had encountered Pretty Boy. There was no way I was going to shoot anything from Dustinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stand, and the sweat pouring off my brow reinforced that. Not five minutes after I was on stand, a mature doe moved into the plot from the north. Certainly, if the chance had arisen, I would have shot her, but she was straight downwind and still 100 yards out, so my bow stayed on the hanger. As I watched and waited for her to wind me, a red squirrel was running around behind me. Then, he made one heck of a racket running up the loosebark birch tree behind me. Wait? Squirrels typically stay away from birch trees, especially when their bark is loose and peeling. I looked over my shoulder to see a big buck tearing the birch to shreds only 15 yards behind me. Great! Fortunately, the stand provided lots of cover, and when the buck looked away, I removed my Mathews bow from the hanger. The next time the deer looked back, I moved the arrow around the double tree and got the bow pointed in the right direction. The next time, I repositioned my feet. The buck never moved from the birch. He needed to take two more steps for a 12-yard broadside shot. Finally, he scent-checked the entire area before moving toward the food plot. The shot was perfect, and the big buck went crashing back into the swamp. I was positive the shot was fatal. The only doubt I had was that the arrow didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pass through the deer. I waited as long as possible and picked up the blood trail. The swamp is pretty wet, with dense cedars and full of black mud. It was very difficult to see blood on the cedarroot islands. I went only 25 yards and decided it would be best to come back in the morning. There was no sense risking it. I made the half-hour drive home and told my friends, neighbors and father that I had just arrowed the biggest buck of my life. I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get in touch with Dustin on his cell phone, but I finally caught up with him at home. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go get himâ&#x20AC;? Dustin said. I wanted to wait, but the Weather Channel predicted severe thunderstorms moving in at midnight. So back we went. Dustin and my 70-year old father joined me for the track. It was fairly difficult tracking the buck through the swamp, but I knew he was headed toward a nearby island. After we were on the island, the blood trail was pretty easy to follow, and my dad quickly yelled, â&#x20AC;&#x153;There he is.â&#x20AC;? Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m a firm believer in â&#x20AC;&#x153;act-like-youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve-been-therebeforeâ&#x20AC;? behavior, but we yelled, screamed and high-fived to celebrate the best buck of my life. The 9-pointer, which we later nicknamed â&#x20AC;&#x153;Brow Tineâ&#x20AC;? for obvious reasons, scored 155 inches. So, take your pick of any of the old adages at the beginning of this story. They all apply. The last huge piece of luck is to have been blessed with such great friends and family, who share in and support my passion for hunting. To recover the best deer of my life with my father, who taught me to enjoy hunting, and my son, whose company I enjoy more then anyone else, combined to make great memories. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m truly lucky. Speaking of lucky, on Halloween night in Missouri, I shot a 160-inch 10- pointer. Spooky. W

7> Ă&#x152; i Ă&#x20AC; ÂŤ Ă&#x20AC; Â&#x153; Â&#x153; v ]  Â&#x153; Ă&#x2022; Â&#x2C6; Ă&#x192; Â&#x2C6; > Â&#x2DC; > Ă&#x2021; ÂŁ Ă&#x17D; Ă&#x2021; x


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BACKYARD BUCKS Close Quarters Call for Special Strategies By Bill Winke


Bill Winke

ven though my family owns more land, the best hunting on our farm the past three seasons has occurred in the 40 acres around our house. It’s almost bizarre how many big deer we have seen and shot in that small area, even though we live in the house and have two young children who play in the yard almost every day during summer. The biggest shed from the farm, the largest deer I’ve ever seen from a stand and the biggest buck my highschool buddy Mike Sawyer has ever shot came from that 40-acre block. Unbelievably, I spent the better part of two

seasons hunting that measly 40 acres and was there almost every day. It never went bad. I think there are four reasons why it has been so good.

FOOD, FOOD AND MORE FOOD Because I spend so much time around the house, working from a home office, I naturally see the most — and often the biggest — deer in this area. It’s because I am looking every day. I guess I tend to concentrate food in the places where I have been seeing big deer, so naturally, the cream-of-the-crop food plots end up in my back yard. When we moved into the house and bought the farm (so to speak), there was only a small two-acre plot in this 40-acre area. It was played out by early November — just

enough to give deer some idea that they could occasionally find food there. The first thing I did was add another 21 acres of food. Every open field on the 40 acres had standing crop or Imperial Whitetail Clover planted the next fall. That really pulled the deer the first winter, and they definitely knew they had found something special. I knew that, too. One thing you quickly notice about deer when you start planting food plots is how much their lives are governed by habit. It is interesting how the same family groups use the same trails and feeding areas from one year to the next. You can put in a new plot, and they seem to miss it the first year, even though it’s only 100 yards from other plots they have used heavily in the past. But by the second year, you will notice they are hammering it just as hard as others. In most areas, it takes about a year for the deer to fully incorporate a new food plot into their daily movement patterns. But after they do, deer will flock to that area every year at certain times. I was talking with a friend about that recently when he smiled and said, “I used to feed the deer shelled corn on one of the properties I owned. I did it during the winter after the hunt-

Mike Sawyer shot this buck 150 yards from the author’s home during the 2005 season.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1


ing season so they would be using the farm more during antler-dropping time. They would flock in there every December and stay through March. Then I stopped feeding them there. They still flocked in and stayed until March for two more years before they gradually stopped showing up.” I am getting to an important point: They will learn to come to your back yard gradually through a couple of seasons, but after that becomes a part of their routine, they will come as much out of habit as for the food. You can create a captive audience of deer simply by making your back yard the center of their universe. You do that largely with food. When I increased the acres of food in that area, it fully ingrained this pattern. Even after I started to plant food on other parts of the farm, deer still used the area around the house consistently. I’m going to come back to what I think you should plant and where you should plant it in a bit. First, let’s discuss the other two reasons why I think the back yard is so good.


BETTER HUNTING STRATEGY When you only have a small area on which to focus, you tend to hunt it smarter. If you don’t, you soon see nothing. When we bought the house, we had a limited amount of acres, and I learned to hunt them very well. I spent dozens of hours during the off-season trying to figure out the best places for my stands and the best entry and exit routes so I could get in and out of that small area consistently without spooking deer. I used ditches, tree lines, the levee of the pond below the house, the children’s swing set — you name it — to cover my comings and goings. I remember telling my friend how to find one of my stands, and he started laughing. It went something like, “You sneak around the end of my shop, get down low and keep the LP tank between you and the corner of the yard ... .” You get the picture. It is much easier to come up with the ultimate hunting strategy when you’re focusing on a small area. In other words, if you want to have great hunting in your back yard, you must hunt it very carefully and spend the time needed to devise a foolproof plan. They are still wild whitetails, and they still react to intrusion by changing their behavior. As long as they are moving naturally, you have a great chance of shooting one, but after they become defensive, the jig is up, and deer become nocturnal. Most hunters know how to play the wind when hunting a stand, but many make the mistake of not paying nearly enough attention to the route and method they use to get in and out of that stand. When hunting a small area, the entry and exit is much more important than the stand location. You must learn to hunt the stand so as few deer as possible — zero is best — ever realize you’re hunting them. Sometimes, you must be creative. I use ditches a lot to sneak in and out of my backyard honey hole, and I use the nearby county road a lot because deer are used to some activity in that area and ignore it. By creative, I mean you must find ways to use normal human activity patterns — ones deer have come to accept as nonthreatening — to camouflage your travels. Deer get used to these disturbances and don’t pay them any mind. Though I hunted several areas of North America, including some great spots, I saw the biggest buck of the 2003 season within 200 yards of our house. When he showed up, the children were fighting in the back-yard play area, and my wife, Pam, stepped out on the deck to yell at them. The buck never even looked that direction. I almost laughed. So much for the pristine hunting experience. Unfortunately, the buck’s movement that day didn’t bring him within bow range, but it was an important lesson. Deer ignore disturbances after they get used to them. I guess the www.whitetailinstitute.com


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Two blocks of timber straddle our house. We rarely hunt these, so they serve as minisanctuaries within the 40 acres. Although they don’t hold very many deer, they hold a few, and they produce security for other deer that come and go. I’m not sure why. Maybe they like to keep an eye on us, but the biggest bucks often show up very close to homes. Possibly that’s just a matter of common sense. People usually don’t like to have gun-hunting near their homes, so these blocks of timber go almost unhunted and undisturbed. We try to use the property, but the children have been young enough until now that they didn’t roam the woods much during summer, so the deer had those areas to themselves. I have even seen bobcats when hunting the edges of those sanctuaries, so they are like little pockets of wilderness within an otherwise tame world. As the children get older, I expect these woodland pockets to be infiltrated by pirates, cowboys and bank robbers. Then, the hunting will suffer, but that’s fine, too. I’ve done a lot of timber-stand improvement in the areas around our house. I figured that if the deer were lying there looking at us every day (and us looking at them), they wouldn’t hang around for very long. So I hired a small crew, and we cut down all the junk trees in those woods near the house. That was four years ago. Now, those areas have the thickest cover on the farm — and some very productive oak trees. That provides much improved security for nearby deer. The back yard is also good because we don’t have a roaming dog. In fact, we don’t have a dog at all. If we get one — and our son is asking for a puppy — it will not be the roaming variety. We might use underground fencing to keep it confined to certain areas, but it will not roam the woods. That would be a surefire way to keep deer out.


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children fight often enough in the back yard that the buck could ignore it. Hmm, maybe these deer know more about our children’s habits than we do. Here’s another example: Suppose a neighbor goes out every day at a certain time to cut firewood on the property bordering you. He might often mention seeing deer that trot away from his approach. No doubt, they drift back quickly after the chainsaw grinds to a stop and the truck or tractor pulls away. It’s routine, so why shouldn’t they? If you could ride with him when he goes to cut wood, there’s a great chance you could climb into a sensitive stand in a bedding area that you would otherwise never be able to hunt. Let him bump the deer out naturally, and when he leaves, you will be there to greet their return. Stuff like that is fun to devise, and it works amazingly well. Anything you can do to match normal human activity works great. After all, it is a back yard. Deer have patterned the people. Put that to good use. Also, consider exactly where you sit when hunting your food sources. Because everything is compressed, you don’t necessarily need to sit right on the food. In fact, it makes sense not to in most cases. Instead, set up on travel routes where deer will be past you and out of sight when it’s time to climb down. Otherwise, you must arrange for a diversion to move the deer off the field naturally so you can sneak away. You might be thinking that a diversion — such as someone driving up on an all-terrain vehicle — that nudges the deer off the food source so you can sneak out is the best strategy. It is, but only if used very sparingly. Deer might tolerate a little of that without changing their patterns, but you can’t get away with that every evening. They don’t like to be disturbed, and if it happens regularly, they will simply wait until after the ATV comes and goes before they step out to feed. It’s better to hunt the deer far enough from their food so you can get out of there quietly and

undetected when it’s time to quit.

WHAT TO PLANT AND WHERE TO PLANT IT I could write a book about this if I were smart enough. It’s a vast subject. But I’m going to sidestep the blizzard of sophisticated options here and just focus on the basics. You need summer food and winter food. As long as you have both in good supply, you will turn your back yard into a feed trough. Again, keeping things simple, Imperial Whitetail Clover is an ideal summer food. Deer will flock to its tasty, high-protein leaves. When it comes to winter foods, a combination of Imperial Winter-Greens and basic agricultural crops — such as corn and soybeans — are great choices. Just a word of caution: Don’t plant corn unless your plot is big or your deer density low, because deer will wipe it out in midsummer, and you won’t get any winter food for your investment. By the way, Imperial Clover is way better for deer than corn during the critical summer antler-growing months. Now, let’s tackle the question of where to plant. The simple answer is any place you can. Your back yard is only great if there is food there. The standard equation is to plant up to 10 percent of your hunting area into food plots, but if you can plant more, you will be rewarded — especially during the late season, when neighborhood deer have few other options. I probably have about 20 percent of my back yard in food plots right now. Some years, it’s as much as 30 percent. When we bought the place, I put 50 percent of those 40 acres into deer food — every acre of open ground I could get. No wonder the place became a deer haven within one year. If you have limited acreage, the best way to overcome that disadvantage is to plant tons of food. Ideally, you will have something very attractive for deer to eat all year without a day when the grocery shelves are empty. I would plant 1/3 -1/2 of my acreage in Imperial Clover — and 1/2-

2/3 with winter foods, such as a combination of WinterGreens and other winter sources. If you have enough open acreage that you can choose where to plant, focus some of your most attractive food sources in hidden corners where deer feel safe coming out in daylight. Otherwise, just plant everything you can. It is a very good use of your deer-hunting budget.

HERE’S THE KICKER The ideal whitetail world doesn’t have to be confined to your back yard. You can create it anywhere. In fact, if you break your hunting property up into 40-acre units and then manage and hunt them in the focused method I’ve described, you will learn that every part of your property can be as good as your legendary back yard. In fact, you will soon have far more great stand sites to hunt than you have time to hunt, which is a good situation. Unfortunately, human nature suggests that we often take the easy way out when we think we can get away with it. We tend not to do this much work on a large scale. We might go to the ends of the earth to keep deer from detecting us when hunting 40 acres around our house, but we might walk to and from stands by the easiest route when we think we have the luxury of burning out that stand and moving to the next. That’s fatal thinking. It produces sloppy hunting and sloppy deer management. Sloppy hunting rarely results in trophies. Much of the reason that our back yard has been so good is all the food deer have learned to find there. It’s the neighborhood breadbasket. However, it has also been good simply because I have hunted it more carefully than other areas of the farm. That’s a lesson I will take to heart and apply everywhere I can. My back-yard success might be a good lesson for you, too. W

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1





have always hunted at the Salt Plains Lake here in Oklahoma. From the time I was old enough to get up with my grandfather and beat him out to the pickup, I have hunted this land. It’s our family heritage and is handed down from generation to generation. The land I hunt, our homestead, was passed on to me from my grandfather as it was to him from his father and so on. Hunting has always been an important part of our family—a way of bringing together generations for fellowship and remembrance of those before us. On our particular piece of ground we are fortunate to have both whitetails and turkeys, as well as squirrels, rabbits, fox, bobcats, coyotes and you name it. The Salt Fork River borders me on the east and to the west is family land and land owned by the state. The entire area is a sanctuary for wildlife. There is no genuine need to feed the animals, however as a young boy hunting squirrels, I noticed that the ones hitting the feeders most often were the better ones to take when hunting. So we began to experiment with different kinds of feed, ranging from millet to wheat and rye mix to sorgo sudan crosses for the deer and turkey. The deer really startwww.whitetailinstitute.com

ed to flock in for the grazing, but it wasn’t until I talked to a fellow from farther north that I understood that racks, and really great racks, were being grown by deer that had maintained a healthy mineral level. My grandfather already knew this from hunting mule deer in Colorado. The different kinds of forage and particularly the mineral content of the ground up there entitled the deer to larger racks. So I fooled around with some different ideas as to how to get the minerals into our deer, ranging from vitamin/protein blocks to molasses protein tubs to loose minerals. It wasn’t until I put out the 30-06 Protein Plus Mineral Supplements that I could actually see the deer really go after mineral. It all started by stirring it in with the top soil and then just adding a little bit every now and again. Right away the deer started to make a hole, digging and pawing the ground to get to it. What a sight. It was a warm, sunny day on Nov. 26, 2006 with a better than average wind blowing out of the south. I had not had the time to do any real prep work this year because I had just finished moving a couple of weeks earlier. So I went to my “old faithful” standby, arriving about 2 p.m. I honestly thought to myself “it’s just too warm and windy today; I

won’t see any deer.” I had been visited by a spike buck on his way to the ponds by 3 p.m. and by 3:30 p.m. I was enveloped in turkeys. I lost count at about 73 or so and estimated there to be about 90 turkeys with eight toms in the group. Soon after the turkeys had left the field I found myself too comfortable and fighting sleep. I have no explanation for waking up other than to think my grandfather must have given me a nudge as if to say “look there.” I slowly opened my eyes at 4:30 p.m. and just walking onto the southeast corner of the field was a big buck. I have shot nice deer in my life and been with others who have harvested nice deer, but this bruiser was magnificent. He walked about halfway up the fence in the field where I was, completely unaware of my presence. With careful aim and one hold of my breath, he was down on the spot. What a day, what a deer and what luck. I have never mounted a deer, but he’s going on the wall. Needless to say in the future we will continue to put out the 30-06 Plus Protein Mineral Supplements. They really make a difference. W

Vol. 17, No. 1 /



Creating Amazing Food Plot Funnels


ood plots are planted primarily for two reasons: One, to provide a high-quality food source so the whitetails can maintain their maximum health; and two, to serve as a deer attractant. While these are both important factors in a quality deer management program, hunting strategies should also be considered. It doesn’t do you any good to have the greatest food plots in the world if you can’t kill the deer using them. Moreover, when implementing a quality deer management program, most of us don’t give enough thought to food plot placement. This is why we should plan carefully before planting food plots. As an example, let’s suppose a hunter owns land in a flat region and has a brushy area on his property that is a hot bedding spot for whitetails. Adjacent to it is an open field that offers a low-impact entry to the stand. By planting a food plot near the bedding site, the hunter — if care-

Pasture Deer Bedding Area

ful — will be able to pick off doe, fawn, small bucks, and possibly even a mature buck when they come out into the plot to feed. As productive as the location seems, there are drawbacks. For instance, on an evening hunt, the hunter may be getting out of his stand site while the deer are still in the food plots. Pull this a few times, and the older bucks will instantly avoid this food plot during daylight hours. Even does and fawns will get smart quickly. Let’s further examine this hunter’s property. Map # 1 reveals an inside corner that is within one-half mile of the bedding area. If the food plot is positioned on the east side of the bedding area as shown, in the evening the deer will naturally travel through this inside corner while moving from the bedding site to the plot. The opposite is true of a morning hunt. This allows them to move, yet remain unseen inside the timber. By waiting for the perfect northwest wind, a hunter could go to the inside corner stand early in the afternoon and deer should travel through the inside corner while there is still shooting light. This includes trophy whitetails. And because the wind is so ideal, and the entry isn’t near a feeding region, the hunter can come and go without being noticed. It’s the type of ideal food plot placement we should always strive for.

Hunter Stand Location, Southwest Wind

Food Plot

Hardwood Timber

This finger is a great place to put a food plot since it is hidden from any road. Only one wind direction can be effectively used here, however, so it’s a perfect spot to place a ground blind in the CRP field.

Deer Trails

Plowed Field


“The Inside Corner” MAP NO. 1 — With a bedding area on one side of an inside corner, and a food plot on the side, the odds are in the hunter’s favor.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1


Brad Herndon

By Brad Herndon

FOOD PLOT SHAPE Before discussing plot location to a greater degree, food plot shape also needs to be considered since ingeniously shaped plots can kick your success rates up a notch or two. Once again, let’s use generally level land as an example. Physically, flat land is easy to hunt, plus the wind can be effectively used to the hunter’s advantage. Add in the fact many choke points in the terrain may be found, and it seems hunting flat land might be a piece of cake. Believe me, this isn’t always the case. Let’s take as an illustration a 400-acre rectangular woods in a flat bottom, such as might be found in many of our nation’s states. This is not one of those tracts of timber that doesn’t have a creek flowing through it, nor does it contain any elevation changes or choke points within or near its borders. Trying to kill a trophy whitetail out of such a location is a major chore, even for the best of deer hunters. This is the exact situation a friend of mine found himself in a few years back. Corn and soybean fields and some adjacent pastureland bordered his woods. In firearm season, an orange army virtually surrounded his woods. He needed to do something to hold the deer near the center of his woods, plus he needed something to pull deer close to his stands, especially in bow season. This is when he came up with the field-funneldesigned food plot. Actually, he already had a small field near the middle of his tract. He simply enlarged this field to the north, leaving a 30-yard wide opening in the timber between the old and new parts of the field. He then placed permanent stands on each side of this field funnel. When deer were out in one part of the field feeding or browsing, they would oftentimes meander to the other end of the plot. When they did, they moved past one of his stands, giving him a perfect bow shot. This worked especially well on mature bucks that were in the plot checking for a hot doe. By using this unique design, he’s consistently harvested more trophy bucks from his property. Keep in mind that he hunted this field funnel only when the wind was ideal. He hunted it sparingly as well, keeping the hunting pressure low so the older deer felt comfortable coming out into the plot during daylight hours. Of course the fact the food plot was surrounded by thick timber also helped to keep the deer relaxed. Another design that works when a food plot is located completely within a timbered area is the outside-corner plot. Once again, this design’s advantage plays on the deer’s curiosity and natural movements as it feeds. When going from one end of the plot to the other, whitetails will most often cut close to the outside corner, right where the archer is waiting for them. This design, by the way, takes more patience to hunt since there is less than a 90-degree area where the wind is perfect for the hunter. And speaking of the wind, the wind needed for a successful hunt should always be considered before picking a plot location or design. The wind, without doubt, is still your biggest enemy when it comes to outsmarting whitetail deer. These food plot designs, incidentally, may not be necessary if you firearm-hunt only, and live in a state where you can use a high-power rifle. Most of you, though, are probably like me. I like to hunt with a gun, but nothing matches the thrill of putting an arrow through a buster buck. That’s why I suggest these up-close-and-personal food plot shapes to you.

tion, a converging-hub food plot will suck deer right to your stand location. Here’s how it’s done. Starting in the middle of the grown-up area, place a small food plot and make it your best-maintained one. Onehalf acre in size may be sufficient. Next clear a series of “fingers” extending from this hub plot. They can vary from four to six in number. These finger food plots should be long and narrow. They will work best for you when all of the fingers are kept within a half-circle. This enables you to use more than 180 degrees of wind directions without whitetails in

the plots smelling you. The strategy in this case is twofold. First of all, the finger food plots will bring deer out into the open and hold them there for some time. Secondly, as they feed in the finger plots, they will naturally gravitate down to the main course of their meal, the hub food plot. Of course that’s where the hunter will be sitting. This design has been utilized in Kansas and other states. Cost isn’t prohibitive in this design since we aren’t talking about planting many acres. If need be, an elevated stand can be placed at the hub

MANAGING GROWN-UP FIELDS There are a few cases I know of where landowners have fields grown up in high weeds or grass. Deer can go hither and yon in these conditions, with seemingly no predictable travel pattern. While these conditions aren’t common, they are encountered from time to time. In this situa-


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food plot. Natural ground blinds and turkey blinds (leave them out all year) also work well in this situation. This past firearm season, my wife Carol and sister Margy hunted one lease with me. We killed six deer off this tract, and five of the whitetails were taken while we were hunting from ground blinds. Ground blinds are great for youngsters and new hunters, too.

MAPS HELP IN DETERMINING FOOD PLOT LOCATIONS I’m a map man. I use topographical and aerial maps extensively in all my hunting adventures. The same goes for determining food plot locations. Topo maps are my favorite because they contain contour elevation lines and allow me to “read” the lay of the land. They reveal inside corners and other funnels in flat land, plus in hilly regions they show me where strategic saddles are located, as well as converging hubs and hilltop field funnels. The aerial maps, meanwhile, show things as the human eye sees it from above. Aerial maps excel in showing mature timber, brush, heavy fencerows, and that sort of thing. While it seems you shouldn’t need a map to help determine food plot locations, I haven’t found that to be the case. By putting up an aerial and topo map in your den or other gathering place, you and your hunting companions can study the maps together. Seeing the overall layout of the property you hunt will help you make intelligent hunting decisions, even if you’ve hunted the land for years. On both flat and hilly land I first of all look for the previously mentioned inside corners. They are a super place to kill whitetails, yet are often underutilized by most hunters. In some instances inside corners can become hotter simply by placing a food plot on one side of them, such as in the example I shared at the start of this story. At other times it’s best to locate a food plot on each side of an inside corner, some distance from each other.

During the rut, a mature buck will search for a hot doe even during the daylight hours, especially during the tail-end of the rut. Because he knows doe hang out around food plots, he will travel from plot to plot to visually check, and scentcheck, the plot areas. When going from plot to plot, he will oftentimes walk through the inside corner. It’s dynamite hunting! The same two-plot strategy will also work in many other terrain situations. Any narrow strip of timber that connects two larger tracts of woods will carry even more traffic if a food plot is located on each end of it. Food plots can be used to manipulate deer movement in swampy regions as well. Sometimes a swamp will bulge out toward a field, forming a narrow travel corridor between the swamp and farm field that deer will naturally use. Add a small food plot on each side of this swamp-formed funnel, and deer traffic will substantially increase during daylight hours. That’s what we’re after. In some cases, food plots can even be located some distance apart on each side of a river crossing. This crossing then makes for some outstanding midday hunting during the peak rut.

location. Movement can be great in any season. When it comes to saddles, don’t overlook any slight dip in a ridgeline, since a slight depression can carry deer traffic. One CRP field on our lease runs over a small hill, and then dips down out of sight onto a small finger ridge. It gets very narrow as it reaches a low spot. From there the field raises slightly before stopping at the edge of the woods. Deer use the hillsides adjacent to this field, and even cross the slight dip in the field fairly regularly. Using the wind in this type of formation is extremely difficult because no matter where we would put a stand, we never had the wind completely in our favor. I finally figured out what to do. I planted a one halfacre food plot right in the middle of the miniature field saddle. As this plot grew, I put a low ground blind in the grass in the CRP field, roughly 40 yards from the plot. Although this stand can only be hunted with a west wind, it has turned into a deathtrap for deer. Now, instead of the deer using the side hills by the finger field, they pop right up into the saddle and feed, or cross over. Certainly this isn’t the perfect funnel like some setups are, but the food plot being planted there did make it a frequently used travel corridor.



In the hills, caution should be exercised anytime you decide to place food plots in low areas, such as gullies. The wind can swirl in spots such as this, spewing your scent in all directions. Be careful. One of my favorite hilly locations to kill deer — including monster bucks — is in a saddle. A saddle, simply put, is a low spot in a ridgeline. Whitetails naturally use this terrain feature because it’s the easiest way to go from one side of a hill to the other. The wind is easy to use in a saddle since it’s located up high. By placing one or more food plots on each side of a saddle, you have created a terrific ambush

Don’t overlook this one if your hunting property is located in a hilly region containing fields or pastures on top. A hilltop field funnel is formed when a small stream peters out at the top of the hill adjoining a grain field or pasture. When moving about, deer will avoid the steep hillsides adjoining the stream and go to the top of the hill and cross there. Obviously this is a natural and productive funnel in its own right. Putting a food plot up high on each side of this hilltop field funnel turns it into a real deer factory. This is pretty much a guaranteed deer location if you hunt it patiently.

Extreme conditions call for extreme measures. And Imperial Whitetail Extreme is powerful enough to overcome the worst your property has to offer. Thanks to Extreme, dry, hot locations and soil with low pH no longer prohibit growing a successful perennial crop. Extreme requires only 15 inches of rainfall a year, is both heat and cold tolerant, and will grow well in pH levels as low as 5.4. Extreme is ideal for challenging growing conditions, but will also do great when conditions are kinder. An extreme response to extreme conditions.

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Another placement which will crank out deer is to find where several ridges come together in the hills. This is a natural converging hub for deer. Place a nutritious food plot in this hub, taking advantage of deer trail locations, and you’ll have some outstanding hunting. Sometimes small open fields will already be in these locations. If not, it doesn’t take much work to clear out a small field, even if the region is timbered. Overall, the places where food plots can be located to

increase your odds of success in both flat and hilly terrain is unlimited. It would take a book for me to detail them all, but we don’t have book space in this issue. With inspiration, study, and hard work, you can increase the number of funnel locations you have on your property with proper food plot placement and shape. If fact, you may find it amazing what you can do to bring that monster buck past your stand. W

The author’s wide, Carol, killed this buck out of a field funnel.

Brad Herndon

n Additional Food Plot Funnel Tips >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> • Anytime food plots are placed completely within timbered regions, the opportunity exists for a deer to wander downwind of you. Piles of brush constructed with cedars or limbs can help solve this problem. Start at your stand and angle these piles of brush outward and downwind of the stand for a distance. This essentially “guides” deer away from you so you don’t get picked off as often. • If you have property you are going to log, you might have the timber harvester create a converging hub for you in or near the center of the woods. The main plot would be, of course, the hub. The logger could clear this when he creates his yarding area. The narrow logging roads he establishes by dragging out logs would become the fingers, of course, and they would join the hub. Both the hub field and the fingers could be planted in Whitetail Institute products. • If you’re a turkey hunter, field-funnel food plots, as well as the hub-shaped and outside-corner designed ones, are all awesome places to kill long-whiskered toms. • You can center your topographical and aerial maps directly over your hunting property by logging on to the Internet and going to www.mytopo.com. Simply type in the name of your town and state, and follow the directions. These are extremely detailed maps and are even waterproof. Cost is minimal. • Topographical and aerial maps also can be obtained from: USGS Information Services, Box 25286, Denver, CO 80225, phone 888-275-8747, fax 303-202-4693, Web site www.usgs.gov. Digital maps can also be purchased from this same address and phone number. Digital maps, incidentally, are those on CD-ROM, which can be viewed on your computer screen. • Regardless of your interests, you will find a weather radio to be useful. They will inform you of weather conditions, and give that all-important wind direction for each hunt. Most electronic stores and major catalog stores carry them.

Putting out the welcome mat for deer is as easy as pouring from a jug. Deer are so attracted by the smell and drawn to the taste of Magnet Mix that they will come from miles around – and keep coming back. Just shake and pour (no mixing required) and wait for the deer to show up. Just seconds of preparation provides gallons of attraction. Because of Magnet Mix’s incredible attractiveness, some states may consider it bait. Remember to check your local game laws before hunting over Magnet Mix.

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail / Pintlala, AL 36043

800-688-3030 www.whitetailinstitute.com

Research = Results.


Vol. 17, No. 1 /



TRANSFORMATION! Virginia Hunters Credit Hard Work, Self-Education and Whitetail Institute Products for Wildlife Paradise By David Wachter


amily obligations during weekends and work during the week prevented me from driving the 185 miles to hunt my family’s property in October 2006. Muzzleloader season opened in November, and despite having no time on stand in October, I felt relaxed and confident about my chances. For the first time in 35 years of hunting, I was hunting one deer: a 10-pointer in a specific area of our property. I would not have been so confident about my stand location if it were not for the variety of high-quality products from Whitetail Institute and good trail-camera photos taken during several years. As I sat in my stand during the pre-dawn Nov. 6, I thought about how it had taken me and my brother, Don, several years to finally have a chance to hunt mature deer. For the first time, we were knowingly hunting significantly larger deer on our property. To help you understand how we arrived at this point, let me share how we began, why I was so optimistic and where we’re heading in further developing our wildlife paradise with the help of Whitetail Institute products and services. Some of you know what I’m talking about when I say prayers are sometimes granted, and dreams sometimes come true. I believe it was not coincidence that while visiting our family farm during Thanksgiving 2000, I saw a neighbor who had spoken to a non-resident who inherited land adjoining our family farm and was planning to sell. Upon hearing that, I called him. Six long months later, my brother and I held the deed to 243 acres of cutover hardwoods — not the prettiest property but all ours. Our life has not been the same since, and we couldn’t be happier. There’s something special about owning your own land. The new acquisition, combined with the old family farm, gives us 358 acres. Our family farm, as well as other small farms in the county, raise cattle and grow loblolly pine trees for additional income. Land belonging to Mead Westvaco, a global packaging company, borders the longest side of our property. The corporation owns and grows thousands of acres of straight-rowed loblolly pines. If you are not familiar with the piedmont area of Virginia, try to visualize small ridges and plateaus 500 feet above sea level that slowly regress in elevation until reaching creek and river bottoms 300 feet below — sometimes referred to as “hollers” in our part of Virginia. From the ridges and plateaus, you can see rolling foothills many miles away, often veiled in a light-colored blue hue. The fall colors on hillsides are simply spectacular. Three of our country’s founding fathers said this area was pleasing to the eyes with a climate agreeable to the body. It’s my intention to follow in their footsteps and retire there. Before purchasing the additional acreage, my brother and I had never heard of the Whitetail Institute of North America. To us, food plots were corn and soybean fields. Lime, minerals, herbicides, deer nutrition, soil testing, high70

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

protein food and numbers on fertilizer bags were subjects about which we knew little. We were ill-equipped, uninformed rookie landowners with no experience in food plotting or land stewardship. We could barely tell the difference between an oak and a hickory tree, much less the difference between a white pine and a Virginia pine. Living near Annapolis, Md., on a quarter-acre lot with sidewalks, curbs and streetlights, and working next to the White House in Washington, D.C., for the federal government has not prepared me for transforming a mono-habitat into a diverse wildlife paradise. I suspect the same could be said for my brother, who lives near me and works for a trenching company. You might classify us as two city people who drive to the foothills of the Blue Ridge once a month and act like we are locals. An article written by Charles Alsheimer in Deer and Deer Hunting eventually led me to the Whitetail Institute of North America. A review of its web site and a phone call to the late Wiley Johnson changed my natural doubting-Thomas instincts about claims of seed perform-

than flesh and blood. In the process, I had my flannel shirt ripped and stripped off my body — literally. When I left the first big, thick patch of briars, blood was dripping from my fingers, earlobe, arms and back so bad you could have blood-trailed me with no problem. I was so wrapped up in the briars that I just gave out a yell and bull-rushed my body out. The briars refused to release my flannel shirt, and I gladly relinquished it. I wish I had a picture of the flannel shirt dangling off the briars, but I suspect some of you might have witnessed a buddy doing something just as stupid. I have now found a better way to lay out access roads: standing atop a bulldozer, pointing to a tree and telling the operator where I want the road to go. To this day I have a love-hate relationship with briars. I passionately hate them, and they purposely and relentlessly seek me out and lovingly prick me every chance they get. Before I leave this prickly subject, I confess that every time I snip a briar whip, some strange euphoric feeling comes over me. A heavy equipment operator lives only two miles from the farm. Checking with the neighbors, who know everything about everybody two generations back, I couldn’t find a negative word about the man. We met, and I presented him our vision of what we wanted to create from our mess of briars and immature trees. It would require thousands of hours of work and years to complete. According to my field diary, we began building access roads Jan. 26, 2002, and by Aug. 25, 2003, had made a full circle around the entire 243 acres. Four fields and two cul-de-sacs were added along the way. Names were given to each field, such as Beaver Field, Spring Field, Hilltop, Frankie Field, and First and Second Cul-De-Sac. Some people thought this naming of fields was bizarre, but when I shared the logic of being able to keep working notes by field name and give verbal directions to the bulldozer operator about additional work at a field, they usually nodded in understanding. The only equipment we owned at the time was my brother’s all-terrain vehicle. As the access roads and fields were under construction, I was on the phone with Whitetail Institute, ordering 50 pounds of Imperial Whitetail Clover and three soil-test kits. This was our first of many phone calls. A visit to the local Southern States to purchase a ton

Trail cameras record remarkable journey of urban-dwelling brothers turned successful whitetail managers.

ance and attractiveness to deer and turkeys enough to try Whitetail Institute products. But first, I needed to create roads and fields and, according to Johnson, take a soil test. Anyone who has seen a large tract of land void of most trees taller than 20 feet knows what an ugly and unnatural sight it is. The thought of a biological chemical like Agent Orange or some natural disaster always comes to mind when I see clear-cut areas. If you have ever walked through a five-year-old cutover or clear-cut, you know a little something about briars. Our new acquisition had a bumper crop of briars. To build access roads to reach new fields, we had to lay out a trail of survey tape for the bulldozer operator to follow. In the beginning, I was so full of adrenaline and lacking in country smarts that I tried to plow my body through these patches of briars as if I were made of something other

of pelletized lime was also done in advance. When I received the 50 pounds of Imperial Whitetail Clover, I also received a video, Producing Trophy Whitetails. I watched the video several times but then undervalued some of the advice offered. Who knew that when they warned you not to plant clover too deep, they weren’t kidding. To someone who knew nothing about planting clover and the importance of having the proper soil pH, the tape was invaluable. Four years later, I still watch the video. Seeing how Johnson prepared his food plots, I purchased a small pull-behind spreader that held 200 pounds of lime, a 500-pound water-filled roller and a chain-link fence to scrape the ground and loosen the soil. By Spring 2002, about one mile of access roads, a one-fifth-acre field and a one-quarter-acre field had been cleared of stumps, briars www.whitetailinstitute.com

and large rocks. Soil samples were taken the day I dispersed all 40 bags of lime. The analysis indicated a soil pH of 4.3 to 4.6. I dragged the chain-link fence over the soil and dispersed all 50 pounds of Imperial Clover seed, ignoring the proper recommended rate of dispersal. I managed to follow the instructions on rolling the seed into the soil for good seed-to-soil contact. I wish I could report that every Whitetail clover seed germinated and grew lush and thick, but that wasn’t the case. Although the partly shaded roads turned out beautifully, one field had only patches of Whitetail clover, and the other field was choked out with weeds. Where the weeds came from was a mystery to me. Little did I realize there was a free seed bank of weed seed dormant just under the surface soil. When the soil was disturbed by the bulldozer and the seeds exposed to sunlight, they couldn’t wait to germinate and choke out everything. Again, I was back on the phone with Johnson, asking for an explanation and advice. I was clueless as to what had happened to one of our fields. Johnson suggested spraying the field with a glyphosate herbicide, and I said, “What’s that?” To Johnson’s credit, I never detected a hint of frustration with my lack of knowledge about things he had probably learned 50 years earlier. He suggested that I spray the field several times until all plant life was dead and limit my disturbance of soil when reseeding in fall. With additional time to add more lime to neutralize the acidity of the soil, the second seeding of Whitetail Clover in fall turned out nicely. From my initial mistakes, and by taking advantage of the wealth of staff knowledge at Whitetail Institute, I was slowly transforming into a budding food-plot farmer. By Spring 2003, the Imperial Clover was looking even better where planted the previous year. Timely spreading of phosphate and potassium, with a light spraying of herbicides, surely helped. I wasted little time in setting out trail cameras to see what might be attracted to the plots. That


was more out of curiosity than anything else. To my delight, I was not only attracting deer but bears, turkeys, rabbits, bobcats and ground hogs. Several of the photos showed I had a few 2-1/2-year-old bucks feeding in the clover, which encouraged me. Though I was initially surprised at the variety of wildlife feeding on the Imperial Whitetail Clover, the more I realized those critters had never seen, smelled or tasted anything like Imperial Clover, and they were loving it. Aerial photos of the surrounding farms and MeadWestvaco property revealed that there weren’t any food plots within the normal home range of deer feeding on our property. Without fully knowing what we had initially accomplished, I realized we had created a situation where the critters were coming and staying near our food plots. Some were staying 24/7 and becoming camera hogs. In 2004, my brother and I continued to clear land for food plots. We built interior access roads and reopened old skidding roads with the help of a talented bulldozer operator. To that point, cutting our Imperial Whitetail Clover was a chore we never undertook because deer and other critters were devouring the tender clover as fast as it could grow. For the second consecutive year, all the clover was consumed down to the dirt by November. That was obviously an indication we did not have enough groceries to adequately feed the local deer herd and the new visitors flowing onto the property from surrounding hunting pressure. As each food plot was created, we called the staff at Whitetail Institute and ordered additional soil-testing kits. Just about every field we tested came back with a 4.3 to 4.6 pH reading. And with each ton of pelletized lime, the soil pH usually bumped up about a full point or more. Normally, two good treatments of pelletized lime neutralized the soil enough to make it habitable for Imperial Clover. With three food plots in Imperial Whitetail Clover, another field in Extreme and large sections of access roads in clover

and looking good, I began to earnestly set out trail cameras to help me determine age structure, antler size, doe and fawn populations and anything else I could learn. I had five film and three digital cameras out almost year-round. Developing the film and replenishing batteries was become a line-item expense on my ledger. The information I gleaned from these photos was invaluable to my effort to create a wildlife paradise and killing mature bucks. During this year, I really started to take notice of a 9-pointer I estimated to be 3-1/2 years old. It was the second year I had him on film, and a pattern was beginning to emerge. Several other bucks were showing great promise in antler development — something my brother and I weren’t accustomed to seeing on the family farm. It had been three years since we began building access roads and planting Imperial Whitetail Clover. Two years earlier, we began providing 30-06 Plus Protein Mineral Supplement. About that time, I read an article about plugging the holes in a leaking bucket. [The article is available at www.whitetailinstitute.com] As each hole was plugged from the bottom up, the water level rose. It was an overly simplistic analogy, but I saw how it could be carried to antler development in whitetail bucks. There was no doubt our improvements in nutrition were paying off in antler growth, body weight and the number of twin fawns that were born and surviving. Based upon the deep holes in the ground, minerals and vitamins were getting into the diet of deer, and our “bottom holes” were beginning to be plugged. By Spring 2005, I decided to give Imperial PowerPlant a try on a small field. PowerPlant is a warm-season annual capable of producing tons of groceries per acre — something we sorely needed. Moreover, PowerPlant is more tolerant to grazing than some other soybean and pea products. Based on the way our Imperial Clover fields looked in late October, I knew I would need to try and help the graze-

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tolerant Imperial PowerPlant as best I could. I decided to install a white ribbon sprayed with deer repellent 30 inches off the ground around the field. I kept the ribbon up and activated as best I could for 10 weeks. The PowerPlant field was about four to five feet tall and looked thick and green when I finally removed the white ribbon from the field. When I revisited the PowerPlant field the next month to bowhunt, I was frustrated to see the entire field eaten to the ground. Trying to find something positive to dwell on, I reminded myself that the deer had received a good dose of protein while their antlers were still developing. In addition to trying PowerPlant for Spring 2005 planting, I began adding Chicory Plus to all our new fields and lightly seeding the older Whitetail Clover fields. By Spring 2005, the local deer and other critters had Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus, Extreme, PowerPlant, 30-06 Mineral and 3006 Plus Protein. Compared to the groceries available to other deer down the road, the deer we were hunting were well fed and didn’t have to work hard to fill their stomachs with high-protein groceries. By Fall 2005, my brother and I had identified three bucks that we would shoot if we had an opportunity. Although we saw numerous deer, none of the big bucks showed themselves during hunting hours. We knew they were there, but they were only moving after dark. These bucks had turned nocturnal without any pressure. When hunting season ended, I left my cameras out to determine which bucks were still on the property and which had been killed or left the property. To my delight, the big 9-pointer was still alive, and again I was only picking him up on two or three cameras to the left of the property. As more photos of this buck were captured, the pattern was becoming more obvious. When Spring 2006 arrived, I had already e-mailed and called Jon Cooner, who stepped in to answer questions normally handled by Johnson. Jon encouraged me to try three additional products: Secret Spot, Imperial No-Plow and

More trail camera evidence.

Imperial Winter-Greens. Imperial No-Plow provides deer with high-protein forage during late summer and early fall. Secret Spot consists of a blend of small grains; legumes, such as clover; canolas, of the brassica family; and chicory during fall and early winter — something that we were sorely lacking. Winter-Greens is a late-winter forage consisting of a variety of brassicas that become sweeter to deer with each new frost. The addition of No-Plow, Secret Spot and Winter-Greens helped plug another hole in the bucket by feeding deer later in the year. We planted Imperial No-Plow in Spring 2006. After the deer had done their best to eat this field clean, I tilled the field, fertilized it accordingly, and replanted half the large field in Winter-Greens and the other half in Secret Spot. By November 2006, I had several tons of the most beautiful groceries you have ever seen. Showing off the large field of Winter-Greens and Secret Spot made me feel like maybe I had arrived as a food-plot farmer. When August 2006 arrived, I was getting some beau-

tiful trail photos of several large bucks I’d love to shoot because they had reached 5-1/2 years old. Of all the bucks photographed, one 10-pointer — formerly the 9-pointer of the previous two years — continued to favor one part of the property more than any other. He had a favorite bedding spot atop the ridge facing southwest and was just off one of my main access roads. From his bedding area, he could smell anything coming from his backside and see everything in front of him while taking advantage of the warm sun. I knew if I could slip into a treestand I had placed in a nearby oak, I might have a good chance at seeing him early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Little did I realize I would only need to sit in the treestand for about 75 minutes. As I was sitting in the tree, thinking about how far my brother and I had come with the development of our property, I was distracted by movement 50 yards to my left in the large 10-acre food plot. How that 10-pointer made it halfway across the open field before I noticed him is a headscratcher. As always, because I’m a left-handed shooter, the


for Imperial Whitetail® Clover, Chicory Plus™, Alfa-Rack™, Alfa-Rack PLUS™, Extreme™, Secret Spot™, No-Plow™ and “Chic” Magnet™

Call for planting dates Do not plant in fall Aug 1 - Sept 1 Coastal: Sept 1 - Oct 15 Piedmont: Aug 15 - Oct 1 Mountain Valleys: Aug 1 - Sept 15 Aug 10 - Sept 30 Sept 1 - Nov 1 North: Aug 1 - Sept 15 South: Aug 15 - Oct 15 North: July 15 - Aug 20 South: July 20 - Aug 25 Aug 1 - Aug 31 Aug 1 - Sept 15 Sept 15 - Nov 15


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15 North: Aug 25 - Oct 15 South: Sept 5 - Oct 30 North: Sept 5 - Oct 15 Coastal: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Oct 15 Coastal: Sept 25 - Oct 15 Piedmont: Sept 1 - Oct 5 Mountain: Aug 25 - Oct 15 North: Sept 15 - Nov 15 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 25 South: Oct 5 - Nov 30 Aug 1 - Sept 1 Aug 20 - Sept 30


buck came to my left side. As slowly as possible, I swung my muzzleloader across my body and sighted through the scope, and I finally positioned myself to take the shot. As if on cue, the 10-pointer stopped to nibble on the newly planted Chicory Plus. I used the railing on the stand to steady my aim and fired. A cloud of smoke blinded my view through the scope. I lowered the gun from my shoulder and saw the buck running across the field like I had hit him well. I waited in the tree stand for an hour before leaving and then picked up the blood trail at the woods edge. It led me to my biggest buck ever. The neat thing was that I had followed the deer for the past four years â&#x20AC;&#x201D; mostly from home, 185 miles away. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no doubt the Whitetail Institute products my brother and I planted help grow that buck and kept him living within 358 acres where he had food, water and cover. With no other food plots around, it wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make sense for the buck or a few others Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m watching to wander off the property to eat. Barring the rut, I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be surprised if this buck never left the wildlife paradise Don and I continue to enhance. Five years after purchasing the 243 acres, we have 13 food plots ranging from 1/6 acre to a whopping 10-acre destination food plot. We have more than seven miles of access roads reaching every part of the property. We are planning the construction of a 5-acre pond this year. More food plots are on the design table as soon as the money becomes available. We have bought tractors, tillers, rakes, rear blades, a spreader, a brush hog, a cultipacker and a finishing mower. This equipment lets us keep up with road maintenance and field preparations each spring and fall. We could not do the work we accomplish in a weekend without this high-quality equipment. We are weekend warriors, often rushing to the farm late Friday and heading home late Sunday afternoon, tired, hungry and always with a satisfied smile on our faces. We continue to improve in our ability to produce high-quality food plots and diversify our property for wildlife. Through continuous reading, we try to learn from others. My brother and I have made so many mistakes along the way. Hopefully, we are getting better at what we do and reducing errors, thereby becoming more efficient in time and performance. You cannot be a good food-plot farmer without educating yourself about every facet of food plotting. Herbicides are an important tool to a food plotter, and I encourage you to familiarize yourself with products such as Slay, a broadleaf weed killer, and Arrest, a grass-killer. Although there are other products available, Slay and Arrest work well for me and come in smaller-volume packaging. Most people who own land or have access to land can begin to create food plots for better hunting and wildlife. With resources available to novices and the experts at Whitetail Institute of North America, everyone can grow and share information to become better Wintergreens 05 WN farming 6/22/06 2:22 PM food-plot farmers.Half Food-plot is addictive, andPage I hope1 you catch the fever. W






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Once again Research=Results at the Whitetail Institute. We are proud to introduce, Imperial Whitetail Winter-Greens, our new annual brassica blend designed specifically for late season food plot sources and hunting opportunities. Winter-Greens blend of brassica is extremely attractive, and during tests was preferred 4 to 1 over other brassica products. Winter-Greens stands tall and stays green, even in the coldest winter weather. The colder it gets the more sweet and attractive it becomes which creates perfect food plots for late season hunting. So this year plant our highly drought resistant Winter-Greens and give your deer a valuable source of nutrients for the winter season.

FREE Trial Offer! - Call 1-800-688-3030 Offer 1- only $ 8.95 (shipping and handling) FREE all new video or DVD / FREE Winter-Greens TM / FREE Imperial Clover TM FREE Chicory PLUS TM / FREE Extreme TM / FREE Alfa-Rack TM PLUS FREE N0-PlowTM (each sample plants 100 sq. ft.)

Offer 2- only $19.95 (shipping and handling) Same as Offer 1 PLUS FREE 30-06 TM Mineral (5 lbs.) FREE Cutting Edge TM Supplement (5 lbs.)

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043 www.whitetailinstitute.com


Vol. 17, No. 1 /



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Mail To: Whitetail Institute of North America • 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 Or Call Toll Free: 1-800-688-3030 • Fax Orders To: (334) 286-9723

The Future Of Our Sport

BENJIE HODGES – GEORGIA I was skeptical of your claims when I ordered your Imperial Clover but I decided to give it a try on my farm anyway in 2003. I limed the plots and got the pH where it needed to be. The clover came up in a short time. I also planted a cold-hardy oat product and other plants next to the clover to see for myself what the deer liked the best. I have a condo stand near a large plot and was able to watch the deer feed. The deer hardly ever stopped in the other plants. The clover was by far the favorite. The deer had to pass thru the oats and other plants in order to get to the clover. They wouldn’t even slow down until they reached the clover. My son, Benjamin, killed his first buck in the clover plot last night, so I decided to send in these photos. He just turned nine this year and loves to hunt. I am seeing bigger deer and more deer since using the clover. I only have 120 acres and the clover keeps the deer close by. The other photo shows a 3 year old eight point killed in 2003 before the clover. My son’s nine point is on the right. He was also a 3 year old buck. Can you tell a difference?

KELLY LOVEGROVE – INDIANA We own and hunt a small piece of land – just 20 acres. My 12 year old son, Logan hunted for the first time during firearms season last fall. We set up a buddy stand overlooking the Imperial Whitetail Clover. Opening morning of gun season at 9:30 A.M. two bucks approached the clover and my son Logan shot one – a 4 pointer. Not only did my 12 year old son, deer hunt for the very first time ever, and shoot a deer, but a buck! He was so excited and now wanted to get a doe. We went back out that afternoon. We were in the buddy stand for all of fifteen minutes that afternoon when a nice doe came into the clover and Logan shot her too. Wow, a first time hunter getting both a buck and a doe on opening day! What a thrill! Unheard of in our area! I had the best opening day I have ever had and never fired a shot! Now that’s a great way to get youngster hooked on hunting! Thank you and we will be planting more plots. 76

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 1

DYLAN BROWN – KANSAS This is my 10 year-old, 5th grade son Dylan with his first deer. It sure would be nice if everybody got to start out with a deer of this size. We bought 410 acres in southeast Kansas and this was his first time to hunt the farm this last fall. I called Whitetail Institute to ask a few questions about their products. They were very helpful to answer any questions I had. We planted around 4 acres total in AlfaRack, a 3 acre plot and a 1 acre plot. My son and I decided to hunt the 1 acre plot on his first morning hunt. We saw a nice buck right at daylight, but could not get a shot. Over the next hour we saw 4 does come and go. Then a single doe walked out in the plot and right behind her was this nice 8-point buck. It was nice to be with my son on such an occasion to see him harvest his first buck. I would like to thank Whitetail Institute for the products and for all the help. We also planted 3 acres of No-Plow last fall and the deer have just eaten it up too. I have also ordered 30-06 Mineral/Vitamin and 30-06 Plus Protein to try this spring.

STEPHEN DELPH – MARYLAND For several years now, I have used your Imperial Whitetail Clover product in a food plot at my favorite hunting spot in Glyndon, Maryland with very positive results. I have enclosed a picture of my 11 year old grandson. The top picture is of Austin and me when he was 1-year old in 1995, after I had a productive day of deer hunting. The bottom picture is of Austin and his first deer 10 years later. How proud a Pap Pap was I! I recommend your products every deer season to all my hunting friends. Every year Austin looks forward to planting food plots, and helping me out. Finally his year came and all his and my hard work paid off! Thanks for your quality products!

JIM WELLS – MICHIGAN My name is Jim Wells and my son’s name is Alex Wells. We live in the southwest corner of Michigan and we put in our Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot last spring. This was my first experience planting a food plot, but I followed your instructions step by step and it turned out absolutely awesome. I have been hunting this field for the last 20 years. It has always been an average place to hunt, but now it is our favorite place to hunt. We saw deer every time we hunted. In fact, we had a hard time not over hunting it, because we always saw deer and always wanted to go there. It took an average stand and made it our best stand. It not only

attracted deer it also brought in the turkeys. I never saw a turkey strut in this field until this year. It was not uncommon to see both deer and turkeys in the food plot at the same time. Last fall, Alex shot his first deer (a six point buck) over the food plot. Like I said we had been seeing a lot of deer and my son finally got a chance and made it happen. This was his first deer season, and using Whitetail Clover sure made it a great experience. This spring Alex also took a record- book turkey. I also took a buck over the food plot, but my enjoyment was sitting next to my son watching him get both animals. I am not sure who shook more, him or me. We put a camera in last fall and have had a blast watching all the deer and turkeys. This fall is looking very promising. We are now watching a couple of bucks that appear to be growing really nice racks. The only regret that I have is that I did not put the food plot in several years ago. Alex and I both thank you very much for providing us with an awesome product and hunting experiences that will last A LIFETIME!!!

KATIE EASTMAN – NEW YORK As the sun slowly began to rise on a cold November day, the wind was blowing out of the north. My dad and I sat in one of the best stands on our land for the peak of the rut. It is located about a hundred yards in the woods from where we planted Imperial Whitetail Clover, Alfa-Rack, and Chicory PLUS. Little did I know this day would bring more than another great experience, but my first deer. I’ve been hunting since I was twelve, mainly turkeys and waiting to turn sixteen so I could shoot a deer. It was a very quiet morning, except for the squirrels scurrying through the woods. I was beginning to wonder if we were going to see something. It was five minutes to seven when my dad heard a buck grunt, so I moved my gun in the lane toward that direction. Then I caught a glimpse of him walking through the woods coming to the lane. I took off the safety, I had barely any time to admire him. From my tree stand this nice high rack six point buck stood 75 yards away. I squeezed the trigger. As I climbed down from my stand I found him 30 yards from where I shot him. I was so excited. It was an experience that I shared with my dad that I’ll never forget as we brought my first buck out of the woods. W

Send Us Your Photos! Do you have a photo of a relative or friend who killed his 1st deer? If you do, send it to us with a 3-5 paragraph story about the hunt and the emotions involved with the hunter and mentor. You may find it in an upcoming issue of “Whitetail News.” Readers of the “Whitetail News” love these stories. Send them to:

Whitetail News, Attn: First Deer 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043


By Bart Landsverk, Whitetail News Senior Editor


n retrospect, I guess nobody ever really experiences a “hard” hunt because by definition hunting is a recreational endeavor. In comparison to what our soldiers are facing in Iraq and Afghanistan or what our police officers and firemen face every day, it should make any respectable hunter blush when they refer to their passion as a “tough” thing to do. If it is tough to do, then I suggest they get a different hobby and passion. With that said, I spend plenty of time in the woods during the deer hunting season and many of those days are spent in the fine state of Alabama overlooking food plots of Imperial Whitetail Clover and Imperial No Plow. A recent hunting season was one of the most frustrating I’ve ever faced. I’m sure you have had a similar season — where every big buck shows up just after the final glimmer of orange plummets underneath the tree line. I wasn’t that concerned, however, because I was spending some great quality time with friends of mine like Gordy Krahn, North American Hunter editor, Brian Lovett, Gun List editor, Dan Schmidt, editor of Deer & Deer Hunting, and Dave Larsen, sales manager of CORE Resources which makes Gamehide and Mountain Prairie camouflage clothing. I was blessed enough to work with all of them at Krause Publications more than 10 years ago, and quite frankly without their friendship and guidance, I would have never had the opportunity to become editor of the Whitetail News. I’m a perfect example that it’s much better to be lucky than good, and part of my luck is having the opportunity to work with some of the greats in the hunting industry. Hunting is a passion of all of ours, but it doesn’t supercede friendship and enjoying the bond that happens during deer camp. As soon as we show up for a hunt, the jabs start flying. Then the manly, quick hugs. We didn’t used to hug, but now we do. I think that is because we are older and are starting to realize our mortality, or better said, our lack of immortality. Yes, hunting is great as a solitary venture, but it is also important and necessary to be able to share hunting experiences with people who are considered great friends. Dan and Dave had already each bagged a buck a few days prior to the final Saturday of this Alabama hunting season. With that in mind, I suggested to Dave that we hunt together over a food plot that we call “Lakeview” and have a contest to see who could shoot the most antlerless deer on the last afternoon. (Alabama allows a hunter to shoot up to three antlerless deer per day on the DMAP program.) The food plot is planted on a hill that drops off to a timberline and a lake. It is just a great place to sit, especially since it was a sunny, cool afternoon with hardly a whisper of wind. Dave and I used to see each other nearly every day and, as the story goes in life, we now see each other just a couple of weeks per year because time never stands still. Dave and I are both very competitive, so we couldn’t www.whitetailinstitute.com

wait to show each other how to harvest antlerless deer. That competitive nature quickly left us however after we settled into the large hunting house. We only had the curtains opened a tad as to see the field, but not to be noticed by the whitetails coming out to fill their bellies. Besides hunting and working, I think Dave and I enjoy talking more than anything else. And since we hadn’t seen enough of each other during the previous year, we started quietly conversing like two schoolgirls. As is often the case when you get together, the conversation progressed from superficial to serious as the time too quickly ticked off of our hunting and visiting clock. It is true that time goes too fast when you are truly enjoying something, and Dave and I were having a great time relaxing and watching two button bucks eat on opposite sides of the food plot. The healthy, plump little bucks were quite content to feed without any other critters bothering them. There’s no question that hunting is as much about time spent in the woods as it is strategy. You can’t shoot bucks sitting on the couch. And so I guess the deer gods were treating me that afternoon when a beautiful 5-year-old buck marched onto the field. He was king and his gait reflected that. Dave quickly nudged me in the knee to see if I was looking at the same thing he was gazing at. I slid my eyes over toward him and slowly nodded in the affirmative.

Whitetail Institute

Friendship, Whitetails And a Sunny Afternoon Combine for Classic Hunt

We hadn’t expected this turn of events — a heavyantlered 8-point buck walking in the middle of the food plot with 20 minutes of light left. The buck took his antlers and bumped one of the buttons to let him know who was boss, as if the little buck didn’t already know. Dave and I smiled as we watched this big bruiser strut his stuff, and then we quickly went from gabby schoolgirl mode into hunting mode. I slowly raised my rifle, slid it underneath the curtain and put the crosshairs on the front shoulder of the quartering-away deer. I whispered to Dave to get his Knight muzzleloader zeroed in as well, just in case this Wisconsin hunter choked. He quietly assured me that I would make a great shot, but he added that he’d be ready if needed. That’s the great thing about true friends; one minute you can be picking on them because they are actually Minnesota Viking fans, but the whole time you know that they would walk across fire to help you or your family out. I steadied on the front shoulder a bit more, and then as is the case when you make a good shot, I slowly breathed, squeezed the trigger and watched the buck flip off his feet and onto his side. I hadn’t been overly nervous until after the hunt was over, and then suddenly I got the chills and shakes. I guess it was because I had spent plenty of hours in the woods already, and it’s always good to cash in after that time spent. I think I also knew instinctively that this was a special hunt that would never be repeated again. First, because Dave and I had never hunted in the same stand before and probably never would again. And second, because it was a time in both of our lives where we just needed to vent about our lives and what was going well and what wasn’t going so hot. There is no question in my mind that God put us together in that stand that afternoon because he knew we both just needed a friend to talk to and that hunting was the perfect backdrop for that friendship. The deer, by the way, had 5-1/2-inch bases and scored 129 inches, which is darn good for an Alabama 8-pointer. It was a great buck, a great hunt and I am thrilled that it happened with a great friend of mine. This hunt is just one example of why hunting transcends into more than a sport, but into a passion and lifestyle. And I know that Dave, Dan, Brian, Gordy and I will never lose that passion. W

Bart Landsverk’s Alabama 8-pointer had 5-1/2-inch bases and scored 129 inches.

Vol. 17, No. 1 /



At impact, SlipCamTM initiates... the blades slide back, deploying from the rear... and are fully deployed before they enter Sleek, aerodynamic, field-tip-like profile

... Blade “shoulders” catch, slip down shaft...

... Blades cam out, deploying from the rear...

... Blades are fully deployed before reaching hide...

vs. the competition... These images, taken from high-speed footage, show you exactly what happens as a broadhead enters hide...

Fixed-blade broadhead

1 inch diameter entry hole

Compared to “over-the-top” mechanical broadheads, RAGE expandables with SlipCam rear blade deployment give you 3 Big advantages... TM


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Because RAGE’s blades are fully deployed on impact they penetrate like a fixed-blade head. Over-the-top expandables lose kinetic energy due to deployment during entry and deflection.

With a fixed-blade broadhead, you know what you’re going to get... a fixed cutting diameter and the bow tuning and in-flight hassles that come with permanently deployed blades.

Over-the-top expandable Blades NOT fully deployed

the head’s full cutting diameter!

Available in 2-Blade or 3-Blade

3. Eliminates

Stainless-steel instant-cut tips

deflection An angled hit with an over-thetop expandable can result in the leading blade grabbing first and throwing the head off line… RAGE’s rear deploying blades will not grab or deflect and give you full cutting diameter on impact!


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3/4” in flight diameter (flies like a field tip)

Body machined from aircraft quality aluminum

3/4” in flight diameter

3/4 inch diameter entry hole

(flies like a field tip)


HexFlat design for exceptionally stable flight


Traditional “over-the-top” expandables fly like a field tip but, as this image shows, they penetrate much like a field tip, too. The blades literally deploy as they enter.




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Two .035 Stainless steel blades

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2 inch+ diameter entry hole (2-Blade shown)

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101 Main Street, Superior, Wisconsin 54880 (715)395-0020 • www.ragebroadheads.com

Profile for Whitetail Institute

Whitetail News Vol 17.1  

Whitetail News Volume 17 issue 1

Whitetail News Vol 17.1  

Whitetail News Volume 17 issue 1