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


Volume 17, No. 3


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In This Issue… FEATURES 6

The Seed that Started It All The Whitetail Institute of North America Celebrates its 20th Anniversary. By Hollis Ayres



Clearing up the Mineral Mystery Understanding the differences between supplements and attractants. By Matt Harper


Haste Makes Waste

Kansas Hunter Finds Big Buck Success with Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus and Extreme. By Dave Stuewe

It takes time and planning to properly develop your deer property. By Charles J. Alsheimer


The Evolution of QDM A Michigan success story. By Charles J. Alsheimer


Son and Mother Shoot First Bucks on Imperial Clover Food Plot By Susie Marietta

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A Message from Ray Scott Deer Nutrition Notes Spring Nutrition: Be Ready for Wide Ranging Conditions. By Matt Harper

24 26

Field Testers Report Turning Dirt — Part Four Planting and Finishing the Seedbed. By Mark Trudeau


PowerPlant — The King of Protein Imperial PowerPlant is a high-protein forage tool that can help your bucks grow bigger racks. By Jon Cooner


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How Turkeys Use the Land Your calling always sounds better if you’re set up where a turkey wants to go. Here’s how these unpredictable birds use the landscape. By Brian Lovett


Preserve the Memories … Start a Deer Camp Logbook Deer camp logbooks are a great way to journal your camp’s hunting history. By Tom Fegely



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First Deer — The Future of Our Sport

Vol. 17, No. 3 /



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

Celebrating Two Decades of Innovation

Whitetail Institute OFFICERS AND STAFF FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT: RAY SCOTT 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 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, Dr. Carroll Johnson, III Product Consultants .............Jon Cooner, Brandon Self, John White, Frank Deese Dealer/Distributor Sales......................................John Buhay, Greg Aston, Jon Cooner, Dave Petro 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


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3


t’s hard to believe we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Whitetail Institute. All I can say is… what a difference 20 years can make! It’s tempting to just talk about our products and all the ground-breaking advances we’ve made in the last 20 years in the field of deer nutrition. But I find my mind keeps going back to the very beginning. How the Institute started with one frustrated hunter — me. One great product — Imperial Whitetail Clover. And one great man — Dr. Wiley Johnson. Wiley was the agronomist who genetically developed the unique clover varieties that are the backbone of Imperial Whitetail Clover and other Whitetail Institute products and later became the Institute’s first Director of Forage Research. That’s all it took. From those little seedlings, a mighty new industry grew. I invite you to read Hollis Ayres’ comprehensive history on page 6.

Frankly we didn’t know for sure how many hunters and land managers would take the time, effort and money to become “recreational farmers” even if it did improve their hunting. But boy, did we find out. With the interest in nutrition the Whitetail Institute created and the undeniable benefits that followed, a dedicated group of field testers sprang up around the country and took their passion well beyond just hunting and into responsible whitetail management. And a great thing happened: as the management and nutrition improved, so did the hunting — beyond all expectations. That’s where we are today. With more great things to come. W

Ray Scott


Since it’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 – in the fields and in the record books. We do the research. You see the results.

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The Whitetail Institute of North America Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

The Seed that Started It All By Hollis Ayres


seed. There is perhaps no better symbol of the Whitetail Institute and its contributions to deer management as the company reaches a major milestone — its 20th Anniversary. The word “seed” is used in several contexts in the English language. An obvious use is to describe the seeds that we plant in the ground, where they sprout and grow into plants. But, the word also has analogous meanings — just as a seed is the physical body from which a plant grows, so too can “seed” describe an idea that is capable of growing into something great. Both meanings aptly apply


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3


Whitetail Institute

Ray has worked with sons Steve (L) and Wilson (R) to make the Whitetail Institute the leader in whitetail nutrition and product research. In this 1992 photo, a curious doe in the back checks out the decoys.

to the Whitetail Institute’s pioneering role and its continuing leadership in successful deer management.

The entire food-plot and deer-nutrition industries owe their birth to one thing: an idea that sprouted in Ray Scott’s fertile mind over more than 20 years ago. Ray believed that deer hunters could become deer managers and grow better deer by boosting nutrition. That idea was the seed that started the Whitetail Institute, gave rise to the food-plot and deer-nutrition industries, and played a major role in fostering the growth of what is now commonly described as quality deer management. It’s amazing to think that more than 20 years have passed since Ray Scott got the idea that forages and other deer-nutrition products could be developed to help deer hunters and managers everywhere produce better quality deer. It started simply. Ray had stopped by his local farm-supply store to pick up his customary load of cereal grains to plant in his green fields. As usual, he was a little frustrated by all the different advice he got on “the best planting.” It happened every year, and every year he was somewhat disappointed. As a favor to his friend and long-time customer the store owner tossed a bag of clover onto the back of Ray’s truck along with the rest of Ray’s purchase and advised him to try it. Ray planted all the seed in a buffet-style plot, and by pure chance, he just happened to plant the grains near the woods and the clover farther out toward the center of the field. The first time he hunted his buffet plot with the clover in the middle, he noticed that when deer entered the field in the afternoon to feed, they made a beeline straight through the grains and to the clover, and that they remained in the clover, feeding until dark. Ray describes what went on in his brain that evening. “When I saw those deer head straight for the clover, something clicked in my mind. I wasn’t sure what it was, but something just clicked. I went back the next evening, and the deer did the same thing,” he said. The next week, a friend visited to hunt, and Ray decided to use his friend for an additional test. “When my buddy got here, I sent him over to the plot that had the clover in the middle of it. I wanted to see if he noticed what I had, but I didn’t want to sway his comments, so I just said, ‘Hey, while you’re over there, see if you notice anything unusual about how the deer act.” When the friend returned after that afternoon’s hunt, he confirmed Ray’s observations. As Ray describes it, “When he got back to the house, I asked him if he’d noticed anything interesting about how the deer acted, and he said, www.whitetailinstitute.com

‘Yes! I don’t know what you’ve planted out there in the middle of the field, but the deer love it! When they came out of the woods, they walked a straight line to the middle of the field without ever putting their heads down, and once they got to whatever is planted in the middle, they started feeding, and they were still there when I got out of the stand.’” As Ray listened to his friend’s report, the click in his brain became an exciting idea. “That was all it took,” he said. “I was absolutely convinced that if I could get the message out to other hunters like myself, they too would be really interested in a forage planting that would help them not only attract and hold more deer, but also help them grow better quality deer. It was a win-win situation for the deer and the hunter.” THE SEED GROWS AND THE INSTITUTE IS BORN Ray clearly remembers the early days when he took the first steps toward turning his idea into reality. “I knew that if forages could be specifically developed to help deer hunters improve the quality of their deer, demand would be huge. When we started out, though, we had nothing other than the idea — no facilities, scientists or other personnel. I knew that bringing the idea to reality would be a tough job, and risky from a business standpoint, and I might never have gone forward had it not been for one thing: I believed in it. I believed in it so strongly that I decided then and there that nothing would stop me.” It wasn’t hard for Ray to decide on what his first step would be: he needed to find out all he could about the clover he had tried by pure chance in his buffet plot. He already knew firsthand that the clover was highly preferred by his deer, but that was all he knew about it. For assistance in further investigating the clover, Scott contacted Randall Rogers, a certified wildlife biologist in Auburn, Alabama. When Rogers reported back with the results of his investigation into the origins of the clover variety and the identity of its breeder, Ray got quite a surprise. “It turned out that the clover I had planted was a variety developed by an agronomist and plant geneticist less than an hour up the road from my home, Dr. Wiley Johnson, an agronomist and professor at Auburn University. Once I had the name of the man who had developed the clover I had planted, I set out to find out all I could about him as a plant breeder. As I continued to look into Dr. Johnson’s credentials, I became more and more impressed. Every source showed that Dr. Johnson was truly a world-renowned plant scientist.” Ray immediately did two things, and the Whitetail Institute of North America was off and running. First, he hired Dr. Johnson and assigned him the task of developing a superior forage specifically for whitetail deer— one that would not only attract more deer but also provide them abundant nutrition to grow and reach more of their genetic potential. Next he brought in William Cousins, who still serves as an Institute vice president and its director of operations. Ray recalls, “At that time, Dr. Johnson had his hands full developing our first forage blend. We knew, though, that just having a forage blend that performed well for deer wasn’t the whole picture.” Having spent a lifetime hunting across North America, Scott already knew that the climate and deer genetics vary greatly in different areas. “In those early days, there were so many questions that no one had really addressed yet in a scientific way. For instance, even though deer around Montgomery, Alabama. had been restocked by translocation from other areas of North America where deer are comparatively large, some of central Alabama’s deer were still comparatively small and scrawny. Quite simply, we wanted to know why. That was the only way we could go forward in a real way to help hunters make up the shortfall. That meant that in addition to our forage research, we had to go much further and extend our research into such things as deer biology.” With Dr. Johnson already working to develop the forwww.whitetailinstitute.com

age blend that would eventually become the Institute’s first and still the number one food plot planting in the world, Imperial Whitetail Clover, the rest of the newly expanded Institute team turned to the task of preparing the Institute’s first deer-research facilities. These initial elements included the purchase of property south of Montgomery, Alabama. and the construction of enclosures and other structures where deer could be observed, segregated as needed and periodically removed for the collection of scientific data. As one of its first research efforts, the Whitetail Institute obtained the necessary permits and transported 19 fawns from areas famous for producing big whitetails, including Montana and Alberta. Upon arrival, the fawns were ear-tagged and eventually placed with equal numbers of Alabama fawns in the Institute’s new research enclosures. The fawns were provided the same forages, consisting of free-range browse and a variety of plantings, including the Institute’s new experimental clover blend. It was immediately clear that the deer preferred the new clover blend over all other planted offerings.

Over the next years, the deer were captured in the fall, their antlers were removed and measured. Other vital research data was also collected. “The first year’s results were not that surprising,” says Scott. “The northern deer were notably larger and had bigger, heavier antlers. The next year, though, the gap began to narrow, and that trend continued in later years.” This was one of the first experiments of its kind in the deer-management industry. The study confirmed the importance of allowing deer to grow into maturity before harvest where maximum weights and antler sizes are the goal. Of most interest to Ray, though, was the role that nutrition played in the deer development. All the deer, those from the North and the native deer in the enclosures, showed huge gains when provided access to high quality nutritional supplementation. These observations only served to strengthen Ray’s conclusion that high-quality nutrition is critical in improving the quality of deer.

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QUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT — ANOTHER SEED IS PLANTED As testing of the newly finalized test blend continued in the Institute’s deer enclosures and a new 1,600-acre freerange facility, Ray began to develop the next stage in the product-testing system — the network of testers across North America that over the past two decades has grown into a network of tens of thousands of field testers, along with certified research stations across the United States and Canada. In selecting the very first field testers, Ray didn’t have to look hard. As he recalls, “I already knew where to find the toughest testers on earth. They were the professional bass fishermen and other dedicated outdoorsmen I had already been working with for years on other projects.” These early field testers included professional bass fishermen Hank Parker, Larry Nixon and Ken Cook. As Ray traveled the country conducting bass tournaments, he would package the new clover blend in unlabeled bags, mark each bag with “Formula X” written in heavy black marker, and give them to the fisherman, all of whom were also avid hunters. “Lay it on the line,” he said . “Tell me how it works or doesn't work next to your other plantings.” Ray knew that he had to be absolutely certain that the test blend would succeed with his new testers. One reason he cites is that he had a professional reputation to uphold. “In any business, you can develop a good reputation or a bad reputation. It’s hard to develop a good reputation. It takes a long time and consistency for people to accept that when you say something, they can count on it. And once you have their respect, you have to be extremely careful not to tarnish it. Even the best reputation in the world can be lost overnight if folks think that you’re not being honorable with them or that you’re trying to use them for something. I believe I had developed a reputation among my fellow bass fisherman as a man of honor and principle, and if I had 8

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

The late Dr. Wiley Johnson, here with Ray inspecting a research seedling, was a world-renowned plant geneticist and developer of Imperial Whitetail Clover.

any doubts that the new test blend would perform well, I can guarantee you that it would have never made it out of our warehouse.” Scott knew that failure of the new test blend would spell a quick end to the young company. “These guys, especially the professional fishermen, are approached all the time by people wanting them to endorse new products, and they really have to be convinced that a new product is great before they’ll say so.” But, he was sure that it would not fail, and the results these early field testers reported showed that he was right. Finally in 1988, after thorough research and testing, the small staff knew they had a product worthy of the Whitetail Institute. Randall Rogers named it Imperial Whitetail Clover. Ray Scott smiles when he’s asked about the early days of the clover. “I remember when the Institute first introduced Imperial Whitetail Clover to the public. I met with a big seed-industry executive and asked him how much he thought we’d sell in the first year. He said we’d be lucky to sell 100,000 pounds total in all of North America. I looked him dead in the eye and said that we’d sell over one million pounds. And we did. The demand for it was that high, and we knew it would be. People were hungry for it, and the product was that good.”

President George H. Bush visited the Whitetail Institute on several occasions.

Whitetail Institute

As a world-renowned scientist and plant breeder, Dr. Johnson began his work on developing the Institute’s first forage blend according to strict scientific methods. When it came to delivering the results hunters needed, he knew that the new product’s performance couldn’t be a gamble. It couldn’t just be a bag of seed. Instead, proper scientific procedure required that fixed goals be set and that product development be tailored to achieve those specific goals. And for the first time ever, the goals set for the new plant-breeding project would specifically concern whitetail deer. These included attractiveness and palatability to deer, high protein content, year-around availability, cold, heat and drought tolerance, early plant vigor, the ability of the forage to tolerate a variety of soil conditions and climates, and other factors. In developing the Institute’s first proprietary perennial clover strain, Dr. Johnson gathered 100 different clover varieties from across the globe. These included selections from the U.S. commodities market, Europe and Turkey. After initial testing for the characteristics mentioned above, he selected forty varieties, which he had found to be the best candidates of the lot, for use as breeding stock. The winners were then repeatedly crossbred, and each time only the offspring that best exhibited the target traits were retained for additional breeding. After seven years, a new hybrid was found to satisfy the specified target goals. That new hybrid, Advantage Clover, ultimately became the backbone of Imperial Whitetail Clover and remains an important part of the blend today, along with Insight, another perennial clover specifically developed by Dr. Johnson for deer. Imperial Whitetail Clover was the first food-plot product specifically for deer. It truly is the seed “seed” of the entire deer-nutrition industry.


Whitetail Institute


As business exploded, Imperial Whitetail Clover bags filled the warehouses that had been purchased along with the Institute’s new property. The small staff couldn't handle the volume of business and requests for information. By 1990, it was make-or-break time; the Institute could grow or stand still. To the great benefit of hunters and managers everywhere, it chose the latter course. Ray invited his sons, Wilson and Steve Scott, to invest and work in the Institute. Both were avid outdoorsmen and had business degrees and years of hands-on business experience under their belts. Fortunately for Scott, they were ready, willing and able to step up to the plate, and Wilson and Steve remain vice presidents of the Whitetail Institute to this day. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and once again, Ray found that he had made a good move. The business more than doubled in the first three years after the arrival of the Scott brothers, and it has doubled several more times since then. “I couldn't have done it without Wilson, Steve and William Cousins” says the elder Scott. “They put their hearts and souls into the business and built a reputation in the deer-nutrition business that is second to none.” From the very outset, the Whitetail Institute has maintained a unified understanding that started with Ray. “There is only one way to build a business that will be successful and continue to grow over the long term,” he said. “You have to provide the best quality products in the industry, and back them up with superb customer service. Once a customer honors you with his business, you owe it to him to give him his money’s worth. But if you want him to come back again and again, you’ve got to do more than that — you’ve got to give him the support he needs. Some customers need very little help. Others need a lot and will call you again and again with questions. You have to treat each one the same. You have to give each one full service every time he calls. If your products are the best available, and if you are there to help him when he needs you, every time he needs you, and you give him your best every time, he’ll be back again and again.” This philosophy is clearly evident in everything the Institute does, and it became evident early on that hunters weren’t just looking for information about Imperial Whitetail Clover alone. As use of Imperial Clover spread across North America, it became increasingly obvious to Scott that hunters were literally starving for nutrition and management information about deer, and that education would be critical to help them grow bigger and better deer and to improve their hunting experience. After the need to educate hunters was recognized, the Whitetail institute again took concrete steps to do what was necessary. One such step was the Institute’s publication of Whitetail News, the original journal of the whitetail and wildlife farmer, beginning in 1991. You can’t help but smile if you compare those early issues to today’s Whitetail News. The first issue of Whitetail News was an annual publication and only 12 pages long. Although the information contained in those early issues is solid, it’s also rudimentary compared to the information provided in current issues. And there’s a good reason why: Today’s hunters and managers are far more highly educated about what it takes to grow bigger and better deer. Today, Whitetail News is published three times a year and averages 80 pages. In its pages, the Institute educates hunters and wildlife managers, not only about Whitetail Institute products but also about other available plantings and a wide array of deer-nutrition topics. The Institute also provides advice on responsible and highly effective deer management techniques, including articles about selective harvesting, which includes letting young bucks walk and harvesting does. To further meet customer demand for information, a 20-minute how-to video on producing trophy bucks was www.whitetailinstitute.com

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

THE OFF-SHOOT OF QUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT As the first forage product specifically engineered for deer, Imperial Whitetail Clover changed hunters’ mindsets. No longer would they plant just for the fall. No longer would their planting goal be just to bring deer within shooting range. Now, they had a new goal: to actually improve the quality of the deer they hunted. No longer were they just planters and hunters. Now, they were becoming something else. They were helping create what are now commonly referred to as quality deer managers. As was previously mentioned, the founders of the Whitetail Institute knew before they started that the new company would not be a strictly “food-plot” company. Instead, they were determined to be the No. 1 source of scientific information concerning the entire deer-nutrition leg of the age/genetics/nutrition triangle, and they immediately set out to do just that by developing mineral, vitamin and other nutritional supplements as well. To that end, the Institute enlisted the assistance of Brent Camp, who brought to the table more than 25 years experience in the feed-and-supplement business for both livestock and whitetails. “At the time, products being marketed as mineral/ vitamin supplements for deer were little more than just glorified salt licks that did very little in the way of whitetail nutrition,” Wilson Scott said. Following critical research into the specific minerals deer need, especially during the critical spring and summer months when bucks are growing antlers, does are lactating and fawns are growing, the Institute introduced Imperial 30-06 Mineral/Vitamin Supplement in 1991 and Imperial 30-06 Plus Protein in 1995. Not content to rest on the successes of these supplements, though, the Institute pushed the envelope again with a revolutionary Seasonal Supplement System appropriately called Cutting Edge. The system provides three different formulations of nutritional supplements designed to match the specific nutrition needs of whitetail at different times of the year. And have the Institute and its efforts to help hunters had an impact? Judging by the records of the Boone and Crocket and Pope & Young clubs, the question can be

answered with a resounding, “Yes!” According to those records, the annual average number of record-book bucks taken each year has increased 500 percent. Without question, the huge improvements in the quality of deer all across North America can be credited, in large measure, to the continuing efforts of hunters and managers to learn and implement quality deer management practices. It had to start somewhere, and that somewhere was the Whitetail Institute of North America. THE FUTURE As the Whitetail Institute of North America enters its third decade of service, it can do so with great pride in knowing the leadership role it has taken in improving the quality of deer herds and hunting nationwide. The Institute’s efforts have led the way in educating hunters about good management as well as providing highly nutritious forages and other nutritional supplements for their deer. Ray assures us that the Institute will continue to maintain its high standard in product development and customer service in the future. “There’s a new breed of hunters and land managers out there, and they're doing one heck of a job. Our job is to continue to provide them the best deer nutrition products, information and support possible." With the recent loss of Dr. Johnson, who passed away in 2006, the Institute has brought to its team another world-renowned plant breeder and hall-of-famer, Dr. Wayne Hanna, whose impressive credentials and achievements were outlined in Whitetail News, Volume 17, No. 1. (www.whitetailinstitute.com) Dr. Hanna already has numerous research and development projects well under way. So, what will the next 20 years bring? Although nothing in the future is certain, our field testers can remain confident about several things. First, the Institute will be in tune with the wants and needs of hunters and managers. We always listen. Second, research will continue to be the No. 1 focus at the Whitetail Institute, with regard to new and existing products alike. We believe there is always room for improvement. Third, the Whitetail Institute will continue to back up the best deer-nutrition products in the world with the best personal service, education and other support. Those are the reasons the Whitetail Institute is the leader of the deer nutrition industry. And those are the reasons it always will be. W

The Whitetail Institute research facility includes a network of pens and enclosures as well as two larger fenced areas. The Whitetail Institute also tests products on free-ranging deer across the country with satellite research facilities.


Whitetail Institute

also created. And as is still the case today, the video is provided free to anyone who calls; all they are asked to cover are the shipping and handling costs. Over the decades, the video has been revised and updated eight times with the latest information available, and it now runs nearly a full hour. The eighth edition has just been completed and is now available. In keeping with the philosophy that still drives the Institute to go the extra mile in servicing the needs of its customers, the Whitetail Institute also began staffing a new, toll-free customer help line in the late 1980s. In hiring those first consultants, the Institute had three over-riding criteria that remain to this day: they had to be deer hunters themselves, they had to be eager to learn about the Institute’s products, and they had follow the Golden Rule — to treat customers the way they would want to be treated. The consultants relayed information from one customer to another and kept up with the field testers, and they built their own database of what worked best and where and when. That single act of providing Institute customers with immediate human contact has perhaps done as much as anything else to keep the Institute in its position as the industry leader. By making the extra effort to provide a source of free information to the public, the Institute realized an unanticipated benefit. It got something back in return: the Institute discovered the best Research and Development Department ever — its own customers and field testers. “The interest in nutrition and good management was amazing,” Ray said. “We found out there were hunters all over the country who were totally ready to go the extra mile for good deer herds and good hunting. They were willing to invest time, effort and money to improve their hunting environment. The unexpected thing, though, was that many of them told us of specific planting issues they had that they wanted us to address with new products. In other words, we had a precise way to measure customer demand for a product even before that product had made it to the drawing board.” In fact, more ideas for research and development projects have been generated by field tester comments and suggestions than any other source. It’s one of the most important links the Whitetail Institute has. Not surprisingly, some of the loudest voices were from the many recreational hunters who did not have enough land, time or equipment to engage in “farming.” “They needed what was essentially a ‘quick ‘n easy’ seed forage,” said veteran hunter Steve Scott. “And I can understand it. Many of our customers have very small hunting areas and no access to tractors and farming equipment. We needed to formulate a good seed blend that could literally be thrown on the ground and still provide a good quality forage.” This need was met when, after several years of intense research and testing, Imperial No-Plow Wildlife Seed Blend was ready for the market. It scored big with the hunters for both whitetail and turkey. “We were also hearing from folks who had soils that were drier,” Steve said, “which made perennial plots harder to establish. So we went to work again and, after six years of research and a lot of testing, developed Imperial AlfaRack. It’s a unique alfalfa-clover blend developed specifically for well-drained soils.” All of the consulting staff and researchers work extensively with experts within the company and outside consultants as well. Together, the research staff at the Whitetail Institute has more than 20 college and higher degrees and hundreds of years of combined experience in deer-nutrition-related work.

Stay Tuned…

Clover Research Continues


he Whitetail Institute has developed a number of outstanding plant species and plant species mixtures that you can plant to greatly improve the attraction and nutrition of the food plots that your deer graze. However, clover and in particular Advantage and Insight (main components of Imperial Whitetail Clover), developed by Dr. Wiley Johnson, can be considered the “kings” of whitetail forages. Deer just perform better (larger racks, larger bodies, better reproduction, etc) when they graze these clovers. That’s simply because they provide such excellent nutrition. Hunters and wildlife managers agree that Imperial Whitetail Clover is the gold standard when comparing clover for food plots. So, the question becomes should the Whitetail Institute be satisfied with the present clovers or see if even better clovers can be developed? Even considering the efforts Dr. Johnson spent on plant breeding over the past 20 years, we still think that there is potential for improving clover and providing superior cultivars for your food plots. Therefore, we are again making and evaluating a collection of clovers from around the United States and abroad, as well. These collections are coming from different climates, altitudes, soils, light conditions, rainfall patterns, grazing pressures, etc. We are evaluating these various collections and already see large differences and improvements in vigor of plants from the various collection sites. Some are not as good as what we already have and these are being discarded. But, a number of the accessions have exciting potential. An interesting observation at the research plots is that when deer graze the plots, they appear to prefer some accessions over others. This is great to know as we continue our improvement program. In the end, our goal is to make the best even better and to provide you with even better clovers that produce higher forage yields and more protein; clovers that are easier to establish; and are even better adapted to diverse climates. Our mission is ongoing as the Institute enters its third decade of service to hunters and land managers everywhere. W — Dr. Wayne Hanna


Vol. 17, No. 3 /




picked up the phone after the second ring. On the other end of the line, a voice said, “Charlie, I’m John Henry. Last spring I attended one of your seminars, and ever since, I’ve been thinking how I might improve my property for hunting. Do you have time for me to ask you a few questions?” “Go ahead,” I said. “I have a few minutes.” “I own 125 acres of woods that my son and I hunt on. The property is totally wooded and consists of about 75 acres of hillside and 50 acres of bottom land, which has a small stream running through it. The primary tree specie on our land is red oak, and when the mast is falling we have great hunting. But in years when there is no mast our hunting is poor. After reading various hunting magazines and hearing what you had to say about food plots, I thought I might try to create some food plots on the property. “Next week, I have a dozer and operator contracted to make three 1- to 3-acre clearings on the property for food plots. I know it is August, but I’m hoping I can get them planted so that I can hunt over them this fall. Do you think I can pull it off in 60 days?” “What are you thinking of planting,” I asked. “Well, I’ve heard a lot about the various clovers and thought I might try a good clover blend, and possibly some kind of brassica. What do you think, can I do it in two months?” I could tell by the tone in his voice that he was looking for a quick fix and was hoping I could give him the answers he was looking for. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was in over his head. He was clearly in a hurry, and based on what he was sharing, I knew he was headed for failure. He was under the assumption that he could have a dozer sculpt out a few clearings, plant the seed and have it grow into the food plot of his dreams in 60 days. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Great food plots and great hunting take not only time but also a well-thought-out plan. Through the years, I’ve encountered numerous people like this, and I’m convinced that if hunters were not in such a hurry to succeed, they’d fail far less often. Here are critical steps to keep you from failing when you think time is of the essence.

Haste Makes Waste Developing a deer property takes time and planning By Charles J. Alsheimer

GOALS “Failure to plan is a plan to fail.” The first thing a land owner/hunter needs to do is come up with realistic goals for his property. It takes food and cover for whitetails to want to call a property home, and quality is the name of the game when it comes to both. If you have great food and great cover, the table is set to have great hunting. Few landowner/hunters are schooled in what it takes to have great habitat, cover, and hunting setups. For this reason, it might be well worth the money to hire a consultant who can flatten out the learning curve for your hunting property. The thought of doing so might seem expensive at first, but in the long run, it's money well spent when you consider that a good consultant can help you reach your goals faster. Time is money, and in many cases, a good consultant can help you reach your goals five years sooner than you can by learning as you go. KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE Do you know what kind of food potential your natural habitat has at the present time? Do you know how many deer your property currently has? The number of deer you have will determine the quality of your natural habitat. Every deer using your property needs approximately 1-1/2 tons of food per year to survive, and it’s not uncommon for half of a deer’s food to come from natural habitat. Also, what kind of cover does your property have? The quality of the cover will play a huge role in determining whether deer use your property as a bedding area. The thicker the cover the more attractive it will be to deer.

The debris and tops left behind from a timber cut will create a great bedding area for a property’s deer herd and enhance the hunting opportunities.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

Charles J. Alsheimer

KNOW THE AIR Wind currents that blow across a property might be the most overlooked aspect of what it takes to truly know a property. In real-


ity, understanding how air moves is essential when it comes to food-plot layout and planning hunting strategy. Unfortunately, wind patterns are not always taken into consideration when laying out a food plot location for hunting. In most cases, a site is selected based on appeal to the hunter rather than how the wind blows through the location. The bottom line is that if you intend to hunt a food plot, the prevailing winds should be right.

No-Plow or Secret Spot, all of which can perform in soils with a pH less than 6.0. LIGHT, ANGLES AND TIME For food plots to be productive, they need light and time to reach their potential. In most cases, it takes a minimum of four hours of sunlight a day for seed blends to produce.

For optimum results, it is best that food plot sites not receive direct sunlight during mid-afternoon, when summer air temperatures are highest. Food plots that receive direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day do not grow as well because of very warm ground temperatures. In addition, elevated ground temperatures at such sites can suck the plant’s needed moisture from the soil. Therefore, it’s important to select food plot sites that are angled away from the sun in such a way that their soil can hold moisture

DON’T BE VULNERABLE Too often, landowners lay out their food plots too close to roads or property boundary lines. Think long and hard before you do the same. The last thing you want to do is grow ’em and have your neighbors or poachers kill the deer you’ve worked hard to feed and raise. Strive to make your food plots secure from road hunters and neighbors who might not think twice about shooting across boundary lines or harvest the deer you would pass up.

Always remember that plants are the delivery device for the nutrients in the soil. Before a food-plot location is selected, make sure that the soil has the potential of providing you the biggest bang for your dollar. The best way to determine this is by having a good soil analysis done by Whitetail Institute. For $10.00, you’ll be able to know what the liming and fertilizer requirements are. To grow great Imperial Clover, Chicory Plus and Winter Greens, the soil pH needs to be 6.0 to 6.5 or higher. By way of example, the fellow I described in the opening had pH levels of about 5.5 in the wooded areas where he wanted to create his food plots. For him, the three previously mentioned Whitetail Institute blends wouldn’t perform their best until he could increase his soil’s pH level through liming. However, his soil could grow Imperial Extreme, Imperial

Charles J. Alsheimer


Feeding whitetails 365 days a year can be a daunting task without the aid of food plots. Growing great food plots is a process made up of understanding soils, seed blends and weather conditions.

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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Vol. 17, No. 3 /



while having temperatures cool enough so the seed blend can perform as designed. Last, plants don’t grow as fast as most think. If adequate moisture is present it takes forages like clover, chicory and brassica about 45 days (in the North) to be big enough for deer to begin using them. In comparison, grain forages, such as wheat and oats, will generally begin to be used within 30 days of planting. So, when it comes to deer

forage nothing is quick; it takes time.

time gets you there. When developing a plan, make sure to calculate how much money and time will be required to accomplish your goals. If you don’t factor in both, you may be frustrated with your effort. For example, it takes approximately eight hours for a bulldozer to clear one acre of brush and timber for a food plot. After this is done, thought can go into planting the plot. If you hire someone to put your food plot in, it will take about four to six hours to plow, disk, lime (if needed), fertilize and seed the site. The costs of planting a food plot will vary by region and will largely depend on how much clearing is needed as well as how much lime and fertilizer will be required. Of course, developing food plots is only part of the equation, because creating natural habitat is as important as creating food plots. In reality, creating natural habitat is a time-consuming process. I’ve found that the best way to get a handle on this is to hire a good forester who understands what you want to accomplish and knows how to develop a forest-management plan for your property. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can destroy thousands of dollars of valuable timber in a day, so leave this to the experts. It cost me $1,000 in 2000 to have a reputable forester develop a forestry plan for our 200-acre farm. It turned out to be one of the best thousand bucks I’ve ever spent in my quality-deer-management journey.

DO YOU HAVE THE RESOURCES? It takes money and time to develop a successful hunting property. In most cases, however, it is not a lack of money that causes landowner/hunters to fail. The killer is time. Money may well be the fuel that fires the engine, but

If the soil in a food plot is acid (pH less than 6.5), liming will be required to bring the pH up to the needs of the forage you desire to plant.

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Charles J. Alsheimer

CONCLUSION As you contemplate ways to make your hunting land better, look at the big picture to ensure haste doesn’t make waste. Getting from the starting line to the finish is a journey made up of many parts, and when done right, it can reap great rewards. So don’t be in a hurry to fail. Plan for success, because if you do, you’ll be in a position to win every time. W

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Power Plant — The King of Protein! The High-Protein Forage Tool for Spring and Summer By Jon Cooner


y now, most folks know that protein is among the most critical nutrients for deer. That’s why the Whitetail Institute has spent the last twenty years working on increasing and improving the protein content in its forage products. To provide deer with all the protein they need right when they need it the most, you need look no further than Imperial PowerPlant. It truly is the king of Protein.

Some of the factors involved in the antler-growing process are relatively fixed. Let’s run down a few of these and get them out of the way so that we can focus on other things, specifically the variables we can change. Age: Most folks know by now deer don’t grow their largest antlers until they are mature. If you want to increase the odds of seeing bigger racks on your property, you have to let the young bucks walk. We can’t change the fact that a buck won’t grow his biggest set of antlers until he matures. Genetics: Improving the genetics of free-ranging deer is a difficult and timeconsuming prospect at best. If the deer in your area have the potential to grow a maximum of 150-class racks, they’ll never grow 200-class racks. Except for the occasional freak, deer genetics in a given area simply are what they are.

Percentage Protein Content of Antlers: The percentage protein content of antlers is also pretty uniform from antler to antler. Visible antler growth begins with the formation of the velvet antler, a soft, living structure that consists of about 80 percent collagen, a protein. Once the velvet antler is grown, minerals are then deposited on the velvet antler, eventually leaving only the hard, “mineralized” antler, which consists of about 55 percent minerals and 45 percent protein. If you chose any antler to analyze, these are about the percentages you’d find. Protein Requirements and Shortfalls of Spring and Summer: It is generally recognized that bucks need about 16 percent protein in their diets, does about 18 percent and fawns up to 20 percent or more, some of which of course they get from doe milk. In contrast, most natural forages are around 7-10 percent protein, and in some cases only 3 percent or lower. And, if the low protein content of many natural food sources wasn’t bad enough, native forages are often of limited palatability and availability to deer. Many quickly become too stemmy for deer to utilize, and availability starts to

Whitetail Institute

As we discuss protein and PowerPlant, let’s keep in mind that there are really only three keys to growing better deer. First, recognize what you can change and what you can’t. Second, focus on the things you can change — the variables. Third, once you have identified the variables, use the best tools available to get the greatest results from them. Now, let’s look at each key in a greater detail.



WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3


decline in summer in many areas. Certainly, the nutritional quality of natural forages can be improved, but rarely enough to provide all the protein deer need to “max out” and do so with superior attractiveness and palatability on a sustained basis throughout the entire antler-growing period. FOCUS ON THINGS YOU CAN CHANGE Now that you’ve identified and accepted the things in the nutritional antler-growth equation that you can’t change, you’re ready to take the next step in really improving the quality of the deer you hunt: identifying the variables that offer maximum potential returns, and putting your efforts there. When it comes to nutritional variables that you can change, none is more important than making up natural protein shortfalls of spring and summer. Spring and summer is when protein requirements are at their peak for the entire herd. Does are in the later stages of pregnancy, and later, they are producing milk for their newborn fawns. This coincides with the antler-growing period for bucks. Since the natural forages of spring and summer rarely provide enough sustained protein to allow deer to do much more than survive and reproduce, we have to find a way to make up the shortfall if we want to push deer farther toward the limits of their genetic potential. With our goal now clearly defined, our next step is to find the best tool to meet that goal. The identity of the best spring/summer annual blend for delivering massive levels of high-protein forage to deer is clear. It’s PowerPlant. And, here’s why: CHOOSING THE BEST TOOL Choosing the right tool for a particular job is not unique to food-plot blends. It’s the same thought process

we use every day in choosing what tool to use for any job. For instance, let’s say that you needed to re-roof your garage, and to do the job, you are offered a choice of either a standard carpentry hammer or a roofing hammer. Both are hammers, but you’d probably select the roofing hammer. Why? You know that you can do a much better job with it because its features are specifically designed for that particular job. And that’s why PowerPlant is the best forage tool for bombing your deer with protein during the spring and summer. Like the roofing hammer, PowerPlant is specifically designed to accomplish the job at hand. And really, that’s the same way you should evaluate any spring/summer forage blend — you should determine whether or not it is specifically designed to meet the goal of supplementing natural protein shortfalls of spring and summer for deer. How well a spring/summer annual can be expected to meet that goal — to perform that specific job — is actually pretty easy to evaluate up front. To “do the job,” it must perform well in three ways. First, it must be highly productive — it must deliver massive amounts of protein. Second, it must be highly attractive and palatable to deer. Third, deer must feel safe using it. And it must do all three to get the job done. For example, let’s say you planted a spring/summer forage that provided a lot of protein. But, let’s also say that it quickly became stemmy and unpalatable to deer, or that it died as soon as deer started eating it. Even if a forage provides high protein, it is of limited value as an antler-building tool if that protein doesn’t get into your deer’s bodies on a sustained basis throughout the spring and summer. That’s why PowerPlant is so superior. It excels in all three areas, and it does so with a vengeance. Let’s look at why PowerPlant is the king of spring/summer forage blends on all counts. PowerPlant Delivers Massive Amounts of Protein: If

you want your deer to have more protein, then the first obvious requirement for the tool you select is that it must contain high levels of protein. PowerPlant does. PowerPlant contains soybeans, forage beans such as LabLab and forage peas, which provide massive levels of high-protein foliage throughout the spring and summer. And when I say, “massive,” I mean it. Even unsolicited, independent university studies have confirmed that PowerPlant delivers more tonnage than any other competing product tested. PowerPlant is Specifically Designed for Deer: One major reason for PowerPlant’s superiority is the specialized nature of its forage components. Unlike products that rely on agricultural plant varieties to provide forage, the forage beans and peas in PowerPlant include true forage varieties. That’s what makes PowerPlant the roofing hammer of spring/summer annuals and gives it such a critical advantage over other spring/summer blends. Deer Feel Safe Using PowerPlant: Remember that our goal in planting spring/summer annuals is to get large quantities of protein into our deer on a sustained basis during the spring and summer. Also, remember that a product has to do three things well in order to accomplish that goal? Even if a spring/summer annual is high in protein, highly attractive and palatable, and graze-tolerant, it still won’t be of much use unless deer feel safe using it. That’s one of the reasons plot location and structure are so important when planting other types of food plots. PowerPlant, though, is unique in that it brings its own feeling of safety with it — that’s also a feature of the product. PowerPlant is designed to grow into a thick mass of high-protein forage as tall as five to six feet. It’s able to do so because of the structural plants we added to the blend. In addition to its excellent forage components, PowerPlant includes small amounts of sunflowers and a high-quality wildlife sorghum, which establish quickly and create a lat-

Making it greener Proper soil pH is the key to successful food plots.

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Vol. 17, No. 3 /



tice for the forage plants to climb as they grow. Our Field Testers regularly report that they jump deer out of their PowerPlant plots, because deer use PowerPlant not only as a food source but also as a bedding area.

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR POWERPLANT Now that you’ve chosen the best possible tool to meet natural protein shortfalls during the spring and summer, you may wonder how best to use it. PowerPlant is suitable for a

Whitetail Institute

Imperial PowerPlant is highly attractive and palatable to deer. It also delivers massive amounts of protein.

broad variety of applications, alone or used as part of a food-plot system in conjunction with other Imperial food plots. In a nutshell, you are limited only by your imagination. What if you’re in an area where the summer climate is too hot or dry for optimum growth of Imperial Whitetail Clover, or even Alfa-Rack Plus? PowerPlant can be a great option in such cases, often tolerating hotter, drier conditions quite well if it receives some rain during the first few weeks after planting. The key in such situations is to plant early enough to take advantage of the last rains of spring and early summer. (But don’t plant too early — never plant PowerPlant in cool, damp soils or when any danger of another spring frost still exists.). And what if you’re as guilty as the rest of us have been from time to time in putting off your spring planting so long that you’ve allowed your spring perennial planting dates to pass? Once again, PowerPlant is a great solution, since its planting dates start slightly later than the spring planting dates for other Imperial blends. PowerPlant remains highly productive, attractive and palatable from spring through the summer and, in most areas, well into the fall. In fact, PowerPlant is designed to perform well all the way until the first frosts of fall arrive. That makes an excellent hunting-plot forage for early deer season in most areas. And, even when frosts do arrive, that still doesn’t mean that your PowerPlant is done for the year. Here are a few tips for keeping your plot productive, attractive and nutritious all the way through the fall and winter. One way you can extend the active life of your plot further into the fall and winter is by replanting all or part of it in an Imperial blend designed for fall. If you decide to replant the entire plot, consider disking the PowerPlant in as part of your seedbed preparation. It is quite common in such cases for the beans and peas from the PowerPlant to germinate and grow into a cover crop for new fall forage. If you elect to till your standing PowerPlant into the soil, it can



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often be a good idea to mow it down a week or two before hand. PowerPlant is extremely thick, and allowing the clippings to dry on top of the ground for a week or so can make it a lot easier to till in. And, I’ll pass along some great tips I learned from our Field Testers. First, instead of completely replanting your PowerPlant plot in the fall, consider just creating narrow lanes through it. Cut the lanes straight out from a downwind stand site through the PowerPlant, and plant those lanes in Imperial No Plow, Pure Attraction or Winter-Greens. When I tried it myself, I found that especially during the early hunting season, deer bedded in the PowerPlant stepped into and out of the lanes to stretch and feed all through the day. Also, what if your land has areas of thick cover separated by fields or other open areas? Field Testers regularly report that they create funnels in such situations with PowerPlant. By planting PowerPlant across the open areas to connect the thick areas, you can provide deer with the sort of tall, thick cover that can help them feel safer as they cross the fields. That can help you pattern your deer and do a more precise job of selecting stand sites. PLANTING TIPS PowerPlant is easy to plant. Test the soil in early spring once the ground begins to thaw. Soil testing is always an important step anytime you’re preparing to plant a forage, and with PowerPlant you’ll still have plenty of time before your planting dates arrive. Once you get your results, add lime to the seedbed in the recommended amount and disk it thoroughly into the seedbed. Then, smooth the plot with a drag or roller. Again, you should have plenty of time to do this between spring thaw and the beginning of the PowerPlant planting dates for your area. Once the planting dates for your area arrive, broadcast your fertilizer onto the surface of the seedbed, and lightly


harrow it in. Then, broadcast your PowerPlant. Cover the seed loosely with a thin layer of soil. A great way to cover the seed properly is to make one pass over it using an ATV with a fence-type drag harrow with the teeth pointing down. Keep your speed low, and only pass over the seed once. If you pass over it multiple times or too quickly, you risk flipping the covered seed back up and onto the surface of the plot. It is critical to be sure that all danger of frost has

I What you need to know about PowerPlant >>>>>>>>>>>> • Legume-based spring/summer annual food plot planting • Designed for planting alone or as a companion to Imperial perennials and other Imperial annuals • Provides growth-enhancing protein and forage diversity • Blend of three legumes, including forage beans such as LabLab and forage peas for prolific forage growth • Combined with fast-growing structural plants which maximize tonnage, help protect legumes from over-grazing and provide other wildlife food sources • Rapid establishment • Easy to plant • More tonnage per acre than other spring/summer annuals • Provides exceptional bedding cover for deer and brood habitat for turkeys

passed before planting PowerPlant. That’s why our published planting dates for PowerPlant are later than the spring planting dates for other Imperial forage blends. This can be a real blessing in areas where excessive weed and grass competition is a problem. The ground in some areas of the country is heavily infested with dormant weed and grass seeds just waiting for a hard-working food plotter to come along and till the soil. Tilling can bring these dormant invaders to the surface where they can sprout and grow. Since natural green-up in many areas starts well before the planting dates for PowerPlant, a planter who expects unusually bad competition from grass or weeds can prepare his seedbed early, allow grass and weeds to start to grow again, and then spray the seedbed with RoundUp a few weeks before planting. And since it’s often possible to spray returning grass and weeds a few weeks before the PowerPlant planting dates even start, spraying first usually doesn’t cause much of a planting delay, if any. Again, spraying before planting is neither mandatory nor even necessary in most cases, but again, it can be a good move if you think you might have a high concentration of grass and weed invasion. A 50-pound bag of PowerPlant will plant between 1-1/2 and two acres. In areas of high deer densities, plant 50 pounds per 1-1/2 acres. In spite of its prolific growth, even PowerPlant can be overgrazed if subjected to extreme pressure in its very early stages of growth. In places where that might be a problem, plant larger areas and plant early (but again, not until you are certain your last frosts have passed). PowerPlant has continued to impress our customers, the public and independent university researchers ever since its introduction. If you’re looking for a spring/summer forage that will deliver the most tonnage of high-protein forage available and do so on a sustained basis, look no further than PowerPlant — the king of Protein. W

Vol. 17, No. 3 /



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

Spring can be one of the most stressful periods for deer in terms of nutrition. Having adequate amounts of perennials like Imperial Whitetail Clover or Alfa-Rack Plus will provide your deer nutritionrich vegetation shortly after green-up.


hen conducting research, unexpected results often occur, bringing about scientific advances that had little to do with the original research goal. Several years ago, when the Whitetail Institute was developing a winter nutritional supplement, it was realized just how much the nutritional needs of a whitetail deer vary depending on the time of year. This variance stems from the dramatic physiological changes a deer goes through in a year. A buck's nutritional needs change as they grow antlers and then shed them, and gain and lose body condition from spring through winter. Does undergo changes in nutritional requirements as they move through the cycle of gestation, fawning, lactation and breeding. In the next three issues of the Whitetail News, we will look at each season of the year and the specific nutritional needs of each. We will examine the determi-


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

nants behind these nutritional needs and what you can do as a deer hunter and manager to help give your deer herd what they need to thrive. VARYING SPRING CONDITIONS The first thing to understand about spring is that it's a general time that can produce wide-ranging conditions. Even though the word “spring” pertains to March through June, conditions at the beginning of this period are typically far different than what they are three weeks into June. So when you analyze spring nutritional requirements, they will follow the same course and vary from early spring to late spring. Spring conditions also vary depending on the region of the country. For the purposes of this article, we will look at spring from the vantage point of the middle

of the country from North to South. Adding or subtracting a month or two will give you the conditions in your region. Early spring can be one of the most stressful periods in terms of nutrition. In many parts of the country, green-up has not yet occurred and might not for several weeks. Food sources such as waste agricultural crops, mast crops and browse have all but been exhausted from use through winter. This is the time when body conditions are at their worst. Liken a deer’s body condition in early spring to that of the energy reserves of a marathon runner in the last two miles of the race. The question is will body condition and the short food supply hold out until green-up occurs. Making problems worse are the dramatic swings in weather during early spring. March and April can bring 70-degree weather or produce tremendous snowfalls, or even worse, ice


Whitetail Institute

Spring Nutrition… Be Ready for Wide-Ranging Conditions

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.


Name _________________________________________________________________ Address _______________________________________________________________ City _____________________________________ State ________Zip _____________

Phone _____________________Email _______________________________________ Payment: : J Check or Money Order enclosed Charge to: J MasterCard J Visa J Discover Credit Card # ______________________________________ Exp. Date ____________

Signature ______________________________________________________________

Mail to: Whitetail Institute • 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 or CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-688-3030


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

The Whitetail Institute is proud to offer the WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE. This interesting plaque displays the jawbone and teeth of the critical first eight years of a deer’s life. The display measures 11 inches wide by 21 inches tall and is handmade of quality pine, sealed and protected with special lamination. The unique aging device is being used by the best deer biologists in America. It is fascinating to view and interesting enough to be displayed in your den, hunting lodge or camp. If you have serious management interest in the progress or decline of your deer herd, the WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE is an invaluable management tool. After a few hunting seasons of aging deer using this technique, you will actually be able to determine fairly accurately the age of your deer on the hoof. Jawbones and teeth reproductions represent deer from 1-1/2 years to 8-1/2 years old. Remember, the only way to accurately age deer is by the wear on the deer’s teeth. Our WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE shows you everything you need to know about these wear patterns and will help you make intelligent decisions about your deer management program. Every serious sportsman should have a WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE. With it, you can determine the age of each deer harvested. With this knowledge you are on your way to developing a deer management program that will lead to bigger and better-quality deer.



+ $9.00 S/H

Call now at 1-800-688-3030 and order your WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE for yourself or your hunting club.


Whitetail Institute

During spring, does are in their final trimester of gestation, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of fetal growth. Proper nutrition is essential for does and their fawns because a doe’s nutritional requirements for all nutrients peak due to lactation.

storms. Early spring is also typically wet and muddy, which when combined with the lingering cold temperatures of winter, will cause further stress to deer. Mid to late spring begins a time of plenty in the deer world. Green-up is occurring, and both natural and planted food sources are beginning to produce fresh, highly nutritious food sources for deer. Intake normally increases during this phase of spring for deer to take advantage of these food sources and regain body weight lost in winter. CHANGING NUTRITIONAL NEEDS During winter, deer enter a semi-hibernation state, during which their metabolism slows, intake decreases and nutritional requirements are generally at the lowest for the year. However, when spring arrives, all of the aforementioned functions increase dramatically. The increased demands are caused by a need to regain weight lost during winter. Bucks commonly lose a high percentage of their body condition, dropping in body weight by as much as 25 percent or more. This body weight must be regained before most nutrients can be used for new antler growth. The most important nutrient to accomplish this is energy. Energy can come in many forms but is primarily derived from carbohydrates, fats and oils. At the same time, protein needs begin to increase as new antlers begin to form at the pedicles. Low levels of protein in a buck’s diet during early antler growth can negatively effect the overall growth of the antlers as compensatory gain is a not a characteristic of antler growth. Mineral and vitamin requirements for bucks begin somewhat low in early spring but increase rapidly in mid- to late spring as antler formation continues.

The nutritional requirements for does follow a similar pattern as the bucks but for different reasons. Although does might need energy to regain lost body weight, they also need energy for growing a fetus or two in the womb. During spring, does are in their final trimester of gestation, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of fetal growth. This rapid fetal growth requires high amounts of energy. Without this energy the fawns could be aborted or more possibly born at a low body weight, which is highly correlated to fawn mortality. Protein requirements also increase because of fetal growth, as well as mineral and vitamin needs. In late spring, after the fawns are born, a doe’s nutritional requirements for all nutrients peak because of lactation. Doe milk is very nutrient dense — much more so than cow’s milk. Does require high amounts of nutrients to produce adequate quantities of milk to support their fawns as well as take care of their own bodily needs. Lowered milk production results in smaller yearling deer weights, which have been shown to correlate to lower maturity weights and decreased antler growth. FINAL SPRING CHECKLIST The key to nutritional management at any time of year is to understand the nutrients needed by your deer herd at that time and to identify which of these nutrients is not being supplied naturally. For example, energy and protein are needed in large quantities in early spring; but before green-up, these nutrients are in very short supply from natural food sources. It was this very thinking that led to the development of Cutting Edge Initiate, which is a full nutritional supplement designed for the pre-green up period of early spring. Initiate contains highly concentrated levels of energy and protein formulated to supple-

ment the specific early-spring nutritional needs of bucks and does. When green-up occurs, mineral and vitamin needs increase, and the need for supplemental energy decreases as mass quantities of carbohydrates can be found in new growth vegetation. At this time, Cutting Edge Optimize, Imperial 30-06 or Imperial 30-06 Plus Protein can be used to supplement the higher nutritional demands for minerals and vitamins. Food-plot management is also critical for spring. Even though you cannot change the weather to make spring green-up hasten its pace, there are a few things you can do to produce faster growth and larger quantities of forage when green-up occurs. First, fertilizing your plots in the spring helps ensure faster growth and more new growth. Second, if you have not checked your soil pH in some time, get a soil test in early spring. You might find that you need to add more lime to your plot, which will help your plot be more productive and higher in nutritive value. Finally, make sure that you have adequate amounts of perennials, such as Imperial Whitetail Clover, AlfaRack Plus, Chicory Plus, “Chic” Magnet and/or Extreme as part of your food plot plan. Perennials supply your deer with nutrient-rich vegetation immediately after green-up. Annuals, on the other hand, will take longer, since you will need to work the food plot, plant and then allow time for growth. This is not to say that you should not use annuals. Just make sure perennials remain a large part of the overall program if possible. W

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. 3 /



Customers do the talking about Randall Coxwell – Alabama I am 9 years old. I live in Washington County, AL. Thanks to Whitetail Institute’s 30-06 Mineral and Vitamin Supplements, I was able to take my best deer yet. He was a really nice 8 pointer. My dad and I have been using 30-06 for the past three years, and we feel that is has made an impact on our deer’s antler and body size. My dad told me that this was the largest buck taken on the property in 17

vest standpoint, since I started leasing the property in 2002. I have witnessed first hand the benefits of providing the right nutrition to our deer herd with Imperial Whitetail products as well as practicing good overall deer management. We have seen nearly as many bucks as we have does this year, even though a lot have been spikes and yearlings. Those are the Big Bucks of tomorrow, though, so hopefully we will see them mature into “shooters” over the next few years. I personally have let nearly a ½ dozen bucks walk this year (not spikes and yearlings,) which I normally may have taken in years past. The main reason is because I know we will never have the true “Big Boys” out there if we don’t let them grow up!

Jeff Alex – Oregon live in I Aumsville Oregon. We don’t have whitetail deer here, so needless to say I was a bit skeptical at first about using Whitetail Institute products. I decided to try three plots on my 5 acres, Imperial Clover, Chicory PLUS and a mixture of the two. Let me be the first to say that these products ABSOLUTELY work for blacktail deer! Here is a photo of the 7 point blacktail I took down opening week. I’ve spread the word on these products to my hunting buddies who are anxious for next season to come around. Thanks so much. years. I am very lucky to have taken my eighth deer and have a dad that takes me to the deer woods. Thank you for helping to make one of my dreams come true.

Paul Guillette – Connecticut As you can tell by the picture I missed a spot with your Arrest.

Tad Duhe – Louisiana Here’s another fine buck taken off a Chicory PLUS food plot! I wish I had been the one to personally get this buck, but the man who did, Mr. Ben, is a close friend, and has been an integral part of helping keep our property going over the years. This has been our best year ever from a Buck har24

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

Terry & Eric Werley – Pennsylvania Thanks for the superior Whitetail Institute products and the great magazine Whitetail News. It is my favorite magazine and believe me I get them all. Enclosed is a picture of my son and me with a buck that I harvested the second week of last deer season in PA. The deer was killed within 25 yards of my Alfa-Rack and Imperial Whitetail Clover food plots. The buck field dressed over 190 pounds with a 120 B&C rack, and is the largest buck in both rack and weight that we have ever harvested on our property. I passed on 14 different bucks last season before having the opportunity to harvest this one in the gun season. With the deer that I passed on we are really looking forward to a great upcoming hunting season. I can only assume that the quality and quantity of the food that was provided by the food plot and the 30-06 minerals resulted in being able to hold this deer on our property, with the end result being the harvesting of this beautiful animal. With the advice of the Whitetail Institute staff we have planted additional food plots and now have a total of 4

acres of feeding and hunting plots on our 55 acres. In the spring two years ago I planted a plot of Chicory PLUS and the deer just destroy it, to the point that I did not even have to mow it, the deer took care of that. I now have the neighbors asking me, “What did you plant in that field I see deer in that field at all times of the day”. Thanks for the great products and useful information that Whitetail Institute provides.

Dean Paine – Maine During bow season this past season, I was in my tree seat over my field I had planted with your Imperial Whitetail Clover and I sat and watched a small 4 point buck. Then following that a 10 point buck came out and then an 8 point came out. They all came back toward my stand and the 10 point buck came within 15 yards. I took a shot and I got the deer. The rack has not been scored officially but the taxidermist is guessing around 150 inches and he weighed 221 lbs. The same night a friend shot an 8 point buck weighing 154 pounds in another field I had planted with the same product. Many more deer have been taken. Too many to list. I’ve also enclosed a few trail cam pictures showing other bucks we’re growing. My 10 point buck is one of the top 10 bucks taken in bow season in the state of Maine.

Randy Koetje – Michigan I have used Imperial Whitetail Clover for five years and then tried a cheaper clover, that didn’t work, now we’re back to Imperial Whitetail Clover for good. There is a big difference. See photo.


Institute products… Tod McBean – Michigan Since planting Imperial Whitetail Clover five years ago we see better overall health of the deer each year. The bucks seem to be getting better and love the clover. Here is a picture of the buck I shot with my daughter last October with a

bow in the Imperial Whitetail clover. There were 8 bucks in the food plot that evening. The second photo shows some of the other bucks since using your products.

Richard Johnson – Minnesota Enclosed are two pictures of my success last season. In the spring turkey season I shot this 26 7/8 pound Tom on April 14th. It had a 10 ¾” beard and 1 1/8” spurs. Also enclosed is a 12 point buck my son shot the second weekend of our deer season. Shown in the pictures are me and

two of my grandchildren who will also become deer and turkey hunters. Both the turkey and the 12 point buck were shot within 150 to 200 yards from one of my Imperial Whitetail Clover fields. This year I am also going to try your Chicory PLUS too.

Ron Godi – Missouri We started planting Imperial Whitetail Clover back around 1995 and our hunting just keeps getting better and


better. We killed four trophy bucks last year and two of us got our best ever. I’m pictured with my best buck ever a 22 inch 8 point and my granddaughter, Katie is also in the picture with a doe she shot at 80 yards with her black powder gun. Pictured on the tailgate is Mitch Parson with his best buck yet a 22 inch 8 point. My son, Ronnie is in the photo with a bow kill on the left and an 140 inch 8 point on the right. We’ve used your Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory PLUS, No-Plow and Winter-Greens and the deer are hammering them. Your Kraze is also a killer. It is the best attractant we’ve ever used. I’m looking forward to planting more plots this year and am looking forward to even better hunting. Thanks for all your hard work, research and fine products. Keep up the good work and we will stay in touch.

es. Thanks Whitetail Institute for the great products and I enjoy every issue of the Whitetail News. It is very informative.

Frank Garrison – New York Extreme is my steady ally! Year in and year out, it’s low maintenance. The deer don’t lie. Winter-Greens? “Buy it, plant it, grab a kid, and observe the whitetail.” If you could get everybody to use it once, you would not have to advertise! Enclosed is a picture of a 168 inch 12 point killed on an Extreme plot and an 11 point killed on WinterGreens.

Dusty Schulenberg – Nebraska Alfa-Rack Plus grew great and continues to grow great. Planted it in an open field were there was little to no deer movement before. The first year after planting deer started moving in. I would say we have more deer on our land all year round. There is also an increase of daytime deer movement. Deer during the winter months would seem to leave our land in search of a food source, now they hold on our land much better than before. Going to plant more Alfa-Rack Plus this spring in a different spot on our land and try some Winter-Greens. Enclosed is a photo of a buck I took near the Alfa-Rack Plus plot. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

Karl McCall – Pennsylvania We have been hunting the same area for many years. Last spring, we ordered Extreme, to plant in the area where we hunt since it was all stripped from the coal industry. The doe were passing through but not bedding down. They preferred the edges of the neighboring fields. This hunting season, we were completely surprised when we harvested the

Gary DeFrehn – New Jersey I planted Imperial Whitetail Clover in 2005 along with two other competitors clover mixes. Most of the deer head for the Imperial Whitetail Clover, especially during antler growing months. I killed my biggest buck ever this year after watching him eat Imperial Whitetail Clover all summer. My buck was 3 ½ years old and scored 137 inch-

four bucks shown in the enclosed photos from the same area with such beautiful racks. A neighboring farmer also harvested a nice buck that is not pictured. We wished to share these pictures as testimony that Whitetail Institute products are working for us here in Pennsylvania on strip mined ground. Two of the gentlemen that hunted the property have been so impressed with the results that they have requested the Whitetail Institute’s address/website from us. They have acreage they would like to plant, also. These same two men have not hunted for seven years but at our

(Continued on page 62) Vol. 17, No. 3 /



T U R N I N G D I RT By Mark Trudeau, National Sales Manager

Part Four: Finishing and Planting the Seedbed


e started the “Turning Dirt” series of articles in our first issue of Whitetail News for 2007. In that issue, we set out some guidelines to help first-time tractor buyers shop for their first tractors. In the next issue, we talked about plows and issues related to initial ground tillage, and we covered disks and tillers in the third issue of 2007. All these articles are available at www.whitetailinstitute.com. In this segment of “Turning Dirt,” we’ll cover tools you can use with your tractor or ATV to do the next job in the planting process — finishing the seedbed prior to and after planting. This is an important and detailed matter on its own, so we will leave the specific subject of how to put your seed out for a later segment of “Turning Dirt.” Before we get into the various types of implements you can use to smooth and firm your seedbed, you need to understand what exactly it is that you’re trying to accomplish in this stage of the planting process. In short, you are trying to place your seed at the optimum depth for that particular kind of seed, and in such a way that it will stay there and not get too deep in the soil. That means that you need to know two things: (1) the correct depth at which your seed should be planted, and (2) how to prepare your seedbed so that when you put your seed out, it will stay where you put it. Let’s start out with a summary of appropriate planting depths.

Plant and Pure Attraction. The optimum planting depth for these blends is within an inch under the surface, and covered by loose soil. “Small-Seed” Imperial Blends: Except for Power Plant and Pure Attraction, all other Imperial forage blends are small-seed blends. They can withstand being planted a maximum of 1/4 inch below the surface, but it is optimum to place these seeds in good contact with the surface of the seedbed, so that’s what you should shoot for — placing small seeds in sufficient contact with the surface of the soil. SEEDBED PREPARATION — KEEPING THE SEED WHERE YOU WILL PUT IT Now that you know the optimum depth at which each Imperial forage blend is designed to be placed in the soil, you’re good to go, right? You can go out, broadcast your seed, and know that the seed will stay right where you put it, right? Well, maybe . . . but maybe not. Let’s say that your prepared (disked or tilled) seedbed has cracks, but none deeper than one inch. If you will be planting a large-seed blend, then the seedbed is sufficiently smooth. If you’re planting a small-seed blend, though, you have more work to do before you put your seed out. Remember we said that although they can usually withstand being as much as 1/4 inch under the surface, it is optimum to place small seeds in good contact with the surface of the seedbed? Consider what might happen if you plant your small-seed blend in ground that is very soft, and against our clear instructions drag the field again after planting, and what might happen if a hard rain comes along and drives the seed down 1/2 inch below the surface. That’s too deep — the seedling may not be able to make it up to the surface. That’s why when planting small seeds, you not only have to get the seedbed smooth, but also have to get it firm before you put your seed out. Seedbed Smoothness: How smooth and firm must the seedbed be? Take a look at the photo below. Okay for “small seeds” (all other Imperial blends) EXCEPT PowerPlant and Pure Attraction)

CORRECT PLANTING DEPTHS — “LARGE SEEDS” AND “SMALL SEEDS” Regardless of which Imperial forage blend you have chosen, you need to make sure that you plant it at the correct depth. How deep that is depends on whether you will be planting “large seeds” or “small seeds.” It would seem at first blush that all seeds are pretty small, but that’s not what’s being described when you hear experienced planters use these terms. Instead, what they’re referring to is the sizes of the seeds relative to each other — in other words, some seeds are smaller (or larger) than others. Knowing whether you are planting a “large-seed” blend or a “small-seed” blend is critical, since seeds in one group should be planted at a different depth than those in the other. “Large-Seed” Imperial Blends: The Whitetail Institute currently offers two large-seed blends: Power


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

Large Seeds — Seedbed Must Be Smooth Enough. As I mentioned earlier, large-seed blends such as Power Plant and Pure Attraction should be planted within an inch of the surface, and covered by a thin layer of loose soil. The seedbed shown on the left side of the photo has no cracks that are more than one-inch deep. That is smooth enough for you to plant Power Plant or Pure Attraction. Make sure you’re clear, though — this area of the photo shows no cracks that are deeper than one inch, which is the minimum smoothness you should shoot for before planting a large-seed blend such as Power Plant or Pure Attraction. So if you’re planting either of these blends, at least eliminate cracks more than 1 inch deep. Small Seeds — Seedbed Must be Smooth AND Firm Enough. Remember we said that small seeds should be placed in good contact with the surface of the soil? If small seeds fall into the one-inch deep cracks shown on the left side of the photo, they have a greatly reduced chance of survival. Accordingly, you need to do two things before you plant a small-seed blend — you have to eliminate even small cracks, and you have to get the seedbed firmer before you plant. A seedbed with these characteristics is shown on the right side of the photo. Small Seeds — How Firm Must the Seedbed Be Before Planting? Remember our example of someone planting small seeds at maximum depth in a soft seedbed and having rain come along and drive the seed too deep? To minimize the chances that seed will be driven too deep by rain or other natural factors, you should try to get your seedbed optimally firmed before planting small seeds. The good news is that’s an easy thing to test for. Just walk out into your seedbed before you plant. Your seedbed will be at optimum firmness if you can just barely see your boot tracks. Seedbed Firmness — Soil Moisture is a Critical Factor: One of the most important factors that influences how firm you can get your seedbed is soil moisture. If your seedbed is too wet, your implements will clog up as you pull them through the soil. If it’s too dry, then you won’t be able to firm the seedbed very well. Thankfully, this is also an easy test to make. Just form some of the soil from your seedbed into a tight ball with your hand, and then open your hand. Ideally, the ball should hold together for a few seconds and then fall apart. In dry soil, it won’t hold together at all, and in wet soil, it won’t fall apart. FINISHING IMPLEMENTS

Okay for “large seeds” (PowerPlant and Pure Attraction) NOT okay for “small seeds” (all other Imperial blends)

How smooth should the seedbed be before planting?

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 the first three segments of “Turning Dirt,” Mark provided his insight to help first-time buyers select a food-plot tractor and discussed tractor implements suitable for ground tillage, such as plows, tillers and disks. If you missed the earlier segments or if you would like to review them, they are available on line at www.whitetailinstitute.com under the “Whitetail News” link. In this segment, Mark discusses implements designed to finish a seedbed and plant it.

Now that you know how deep the Imperial blend you’ve chosen should be planted, and how firm and smooth your seedbed must be to keep it where it should be, let’s get into various implements used for these functions. They include weighted drags, drag harrows, and cultipackers. Weighted Drags: These are the simplest tools of the bunch. The ways they can be made are virtually limitless, but however you build one it must do one thing in order to be effective: it must smooth the seedbed well


A drag harrow is for light, finishing work behind a tractor or ATV.

enough to eliminate cracks. There are lots of ways to make an effective drag, however one way that works very well is to start with a piece of chain-link fencing about four-feet by four-feet in size. Lay the fencing down in your plot, place a wooden pallet on top of the fencing, and stack a few concrete blocks on top of the pallet. Presto! You have just built a very effective homemade drag implement! To attach the drag to your tractor or ATV, weave a piece of rebar or pipe through the links at one end of the fencing. This will give you something strong to attach the drag to your tractor or ATV with a rope or chain. Again, this is just one way to make a homemade drag implement. There are other ways to make an equally effective drag, for instance using an old, heavy farm gate instead of the fencing, pallet and blocks. However you design your drag, though, remember that it has to do one thing well — when it is pulled across the seedbed before seeding, it must smooth the plot. That means it must eliminate cracks and most clods. Drag Harrows : Drag harrows can perform the drag function of a weighted drag. They have an additional feature, though, that makes them incredibly versatile tools — they have spikes or teeth that extend down from one side of their main frames. There are several different types of spike-tooth harrows. The ones we’ll talk about are the ones you’re most likely to encounter: “spring” or “spike-tooth” harrows, and “fixed harrows.” Since spring harrows are much more common these days, let’s look at those first. “Spring” or “Spike-Tooth” Harrows: This is the simplest, and perhaps also the most versatile, type of drag harrow and can be used in two ways. They can be used as a “drag,” like the weighted drag I mentioned earlier, or they can be used as a “harrow” to disturb the soil a few inches deep. Let’s look at each feature in greater detail. Spike-tooth harrows are often called “spring” harrows because of the way their spikes, or teeth look. Instead of railroad-type spikes such as were often used on the older, fixed-type harrows, the teeth on spring harrows look like two-pronged springs. Like our homemade fence-type drag, spring harrows are also often built on a mat that looks like ordinary chain-link fencing, but of a much heavier gauge than you’d use to build a fence. Used in this way, drag harrows perform the same function as a weighted drag. In addition, drag harrows can be used to “harrow,” which means to lightly disturb the soil from the surface and down a few inches. They do this with sets of pivot-

ing teeth that extend down from one side of the chainlink mat and are attached in such a way that they pivot within a limited range forward or backward. The teeth are also self regulating as to angle — the angle of the teeth sets itself as you pull the implement across the ground. If you pull the implement from one end, the teeth set themselves at a light angle. If you pull from the other end, the teeth set themselves at an aggressive angle. When a chain-link drag harrow is used as a drag, it is laid on the ground with the teeth pointed up so that they are out of the way. To harrow, the drag is simply flipped over so that the teeth are down, and then the implement is pulled forward or backward depending on how aggressively the operator wants to disturb the soil. Also, since spring harrows are built on a flexible, “mat” instead of a fixed frame, they tend to follow the contour of the ground better and don’t lift up on one end the way that fixed harrows can when pulled across a small dip or high spot in a field. These features make spring drag harrows one of the most versatile tools available for the food-plot planter to use to accomplish a variety of planting duties, both before and, where appropriate, after seeding. Before seeding, a chain-link drag harrow can be used to blend lime or fertilizer into a disked or tilled seedbed, and to smooth and firm it. A disk or tiller is often the best implement for doing these jobs, but if you’ve had a farmer come out and disk your field and he’s not available to finish the plot, you can do a great job with a harrow and an ATV. A harrow is also a great tool for covering PowerPlant or Pure Attraction seeds under a thin layer of loose soil. Fixed Harrows: Fixed drag harrows are not as common these days as they once were. They are built with a hard frame with adjustable spikes attached to one side. The mechanism for adjusting the angle of the spikes is permanently mounted on the top side of the frame, which is why they are called “fixed” — they can’t be flipped over and used as a drag the way a spring harrow can. Cultipackers: A cultipacker is pretty easy to describe — it’s just a big, heavy roller with ridges and is pulled behind an ATV or tractor. As the cultipacker rolls along, it does several things. Mainly, it presses down on the seedbed’s surface just like ironing a shirt, which helps remove bumps, creases and cracks that seeds might fall into. It also helps firm the soil and eliminate air pockets, which helps the soil retain moisture. The ridges, or “corrugations” in a cultipacker can also help


Whitetail Institute

A drag can be made from anything that can be weighted and pulled to smooth the seedbed.

Vol. 17, No. 3 /



control erosion, especially when used to make horizontal ridges around a sloped plot, and to help hold water in flat plots longer so it can soak into the ground better.

So far in our discussion of weighted drags, drag harrows and cultipackers, we’ve talked about features of each type of implement. Some of these features make one or more implements appropriate for certain plotpreparation functions, and less so for others. The same is true of the implements after you have put your seed out. Let’s look at these in greater detail. Initial Ground Tillage: None of the implements we’ve mentioned in this segment is appropriate to use for initial ground tillage. They are all light pieces of equipment designed to perform precise work after initial tillage has been accomplished by heavier equipment designed for that function. In fact, if you try to use a drag harrow to cultivate fallow ground, chances are pretty high that the harrow will just bounce along the ground until it catches on something and breaks. So, use finishing implements for what they were designed to do — finish work. Once you’ve done your initial ground breaking or tillage with a plow, disk or tiller, though, these finishing implements have a distinct advantage for finishing a seedbed. That advantage is that they aren’t heavy. That means that you can pull them with most ATVs, and when using them, you won’t have to go back and cover the deep tire marks you’d be facing if you pulled them with a tractor. Lime and Fertilizer Incorporation: If a disk or tiller isn’t available, drag harrows are the best choice for this job.

A spring harrow is very versatile. It can be used with its teeth up to drag (left)… or flipped over to harrow (right).

In order for lime to raise soil pH, it must be incorporated, or mixed, with the soil. How deep lime and fertilizer should be mixed depends on what product you’re planting. Some, such as No Plow and Secret Spot, only need lime and fertilizer very near the surface. That’s because these blends contain very shallow-rooted plant varieties. Imperial perennials and other blends, though, grow more extensive root systems, and if they are to flourish, soil pH and fertility must be adjusted deeper by mixing lime and fertilizer deeper into the soil. That requires initial groundbreaking, when appropriate, with a plow, disk or tiller. If you are among the many folks who hire a guy with a tractor to come out and do the heavy disking or tilling for you, you may not have him handy when the time comes to incorporate your lime or fertilizer. In such cases, you can use a harrow as an alternative and do

pretty well. Once the soil has been loosened with heavier equipment, lime and fertilizer can then be blended into the top few inches of soil with a drag harrow. Smoothing and Firming the Seedbed Before Planting: Any of the implements we’ve discussed in this segment — the weighted drag, the drag harrow or the cultipacker, can do a good job of smoothing and firming your seedbed. One more important thing about drags and harrows — when you’re pulling a weighted drag or a harrow to smooth your seedbed, you should go just a little bit faster, about 5-8 mph. That will increase the impact of the implement against the larger clods and help shatter them better. A cultipacker generally does the best job, since its weight is rolled across the surface instead of dragged, leaving the smoothest surface, again like ironing a shirt.


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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

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A fixed harrow has a fixed frame and adjustment mechanism.

Whitetail Institute


A critical difference between a cultipacker and the other types of finishing implements, though, is that a cultipacker generally leaves the soil firmer than you can get it with a drag or a harrow. That is critical because it will determine your last planting step. After Seeding — The Critical Difference: Let’s revisit two extremely important things: 1. Large seeds should be planted under an inch or less of loose soil. 2. Small seeds should be planted in good contact with the soil’s surface. That means that before planting, the seedbed must be both smooth and firm Now it’s time to get, as they say, to the “nitty gritty” — which implement to use for what purpose, and how to use it properly to get the result you want. Once you have disked or tilled your lime and fertilizer into the seedbed, the following guidelines should help you decide what to do and what not to do to perform final seedbed preparation before seeding, and finish the plot after seeding.

Smoothness Test: All clods and cracks should be eliminated Firmness Test: Walk out in your seedbed, and look at the depth of your tracks “Optimum” Tracks barely visible Tracks more than ¼ - ½ inch deep “Loose” “Hard” Tracks not visible Moisture Test: Ball dirt up tightly in hand, and open hand. “Optimum” Soil ball holds together for a few seconds and then falls apart “Dry” Soil ball falls apart immediately “Wet” Soil ball doesn’t fall apart Goal: Place seeds in good contact with the surface of the soil, and keep them there. Implement Used To Smooth and Firm Plot Before Seeding Action Before Seeding

Action After Seeding

Weighted Drag Pull implement fast (5-8 mph) over seedbed until seedbed smooth.


Drag Harrow

Pull implement fast (5-8 mph) with teeth up over seedbed until seedbed smooth.



Test for soil moisture.

“LARGE-SEED” BLENDS Imperial PowerPlant and Pure Attraction Goal: Cover the seed with a thin layer of loose soil.

If soil moisture is optimum, cultipack to optimum firmness before seeding.

Cultipack after seeding

If soil is wet, wait until it dries to optimum first. Then, cultipack to optimum firmness before seeding.

Cultipack after seeding

Implement Used

Weighted Drag

Fixed or Spring Harrow


Action Before Seeding

Action After Seeding

Pull implement fast (5-8 mph) over seedbed until clods are broken up, and cracks deeper than one inch are eliminated

Pull implement slowly over seedbed to cover seed loosely under a thin layer of soil.

Pull implement fast (5-8 mph) over seedbed with teeth down until clods are broken up and cracks deeper than one inch are eliminated

Pull implement slowly over seedbed with teeth down to loosely cover seed under a thin layer of soil. Only pass over the seed one time.

Not recommended

Not recommended

A cultipacker makes small ridges that can improve moisture retention and minimize erosion.


If soil is dry, you have two options:

Whitetail Institute

To Smooth and Firm Plot Before Seeding

1. Wait until soil moisture improves to optimum. Then, cultipack to optimum firmness before seeding.

Cultipack after seeding

2. If you cannot wait for rain, cultipack to get seedbed as smooth as possible, and go ahead and broadcast seed.

Do not cultipack or do anything else to the plot after seeding.

As you can see, each one of the three implement types has its advantages in certain situations and its disadvantages in others. If I had to pick which of the three would cover the most jobs involved in the planting process, I would have to pick the chain-link drag harrow because you can do so much with one. They’re also pretty inexpensive, available at almost any farmsupply store, and can usually be moved around and used even if you don’t have someone to help you. That doesn’t mean that it will do all jobs better than any of the others. In fact, I own all three for just that reason. If you would like more information on drags, harrows, cultipackers or any other matter related to deer or deer hunting, feel free to call our in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030, ext. 2 or visit www.whitetailinstitute.com. W

Vol. 17, No. 3 /



How Turkeys Use the Land By Brian Lovett


n our defense, we probably couldn't have done anything differently. Still, it played out like a bad dream. Oh, it started just fine. As my friend and I listened from a field corner, a solitary longbeard hammered from a hardwood ridge that cut through a cedar swamp. The bird was just off the property we could hunt, but he was very huntable. We hoofed down the field edge, pausing now and then to get a better fix on the bird. After three or four more gobbles, I guessed he was in a thick-limbed oak that bordered a small ridge in the swamp. Further, because of the lay of the land, I guessed he’d pitch toward us. We eased along as far as possible, finally stopping at a dead tree on the fence line. If we went far-

ther, we'd hit a wide open area, and the gobbler would surely see us. Although the tree provided sparse cover, the rest of the setup looked good. The bird was 70 yards south of us, and an open, easy hardwood slope extended from the field edge to his tree. I figured he’d hit the ground, walk a few steps to the crest of the small slope and pop his head up at 25 steps. Within seconds, the gobbler crashed to the ground. I clucked once on a slate, and he double-gobbled. Perfect. I called twice more in the next two minutes, and he honored every yelp. More perfect. Drumming filled the air, and I listened intently for the bird's approaching footsteps. But then, a funny thing happened on the way to the kill.

The longbeard started to drift left. He did so slowly at first, so I figured he might just be strutting back and forth, inviting the hen to his domain. But he quickly picked up the pace, and soon, it was evident that the bird would pop out along the field edge to the east. My friend and I shifted around and got ready, just as the gobbler emerged. The tom stopped and craned his neck for a moment, searching for the hen. With nothing between him and us — and no decoy out — I figured we were sunk. However, it was still pretty dark, so the longbeard began stepping cautiously into the field, quartering slightly toward us. I’m not sure what he saw: a shifting gun or two sillylooking blobs hunkered by a dead tree, perhaps. Either way, he soon stopped, periscoped his head, putted once and turned to leave. He was in range, albeit barely, so I told my friend to shoot. He did, and — using an unfamiliar shotgun — placed a lovely shot string in the dirt at the gobbler’s feet. The bird jumped in the air and flew a country mile. It was 5:30 a.m., and our day was done. After inspecting the scene of the crime, it was easy to see how things had gone wrong. The bird had flown down toward us, as anticipated. Yet instead of hot-footing it up the small rise to our setup, he'd followed a tiny finger ridge from his roost tree to the field. The ridge was just a few feet higher than the swamp and bottom hardwoods it bordered, but to that gobbler, it must have looked like a four-lane highway. As I followed the ridge to the field, I remembered something another friend had told me two years earlier: “They like to pop out in the field here.” Of course. It was just a natural travel area. Though there was no good reason why the gobbler couldn't have come directly to our setup, he was probably accustomed to walking the small ridge to that field, and he'd just done what came naturally. Still, that knowledge didn’t make me feel better. LANDSCAPE LEARNING CURVE

Tes Randle Jolly


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

Most turkey hunters underestimate the importance of knowing how birds use the land. Despite their often random behavior, turkeys frequent specific areas for a reason. They don't just walk along a ridgetop for no reason. Their survival or reproductive instincts guided them there. It’s been said a thousand times, yet it bears repeating: A poor caller who’s familiar with his hunting area and turkey movement there will kill more longbeards than a great caller on unfamiliar turf. If you pitted a world-champion caller against a farm kid on land with which the kid was familiar, the smart money would be on the youngster to tote a gobbler back to the barn. Of course, most turkey hunters gain a general knowledge of their hunting areas, and can pinpoint likely roosting areas, ridges where birds might travel and loaf, and fields or other open areas where turkeys will likely feed and strut. But few consistently connect the dots about why birds frequent some areas, travel certain routes or use specific areas in certain weather conditions. www.whitetailinstitute.com

If you’re a bow-hunter and deer manager, you’re likely farther along the learning curve. Because they must find spots to ambush deer at 30 yards or closer, archers pay meticulous attention to the how’s and why’s of deer location. Further, with few exceptions, they don't fall back on fancy calling or decoys to do that homework for them. Too often, turkey hunters think that fancy yelping, the latest decoys or “secret� calling tactics will lure in a gobbler. They disregard the turkey’s natural tendencies and fail to anticipate — as I did with the missed field gobbler — how even pepper-hot birds react to the landscape and terrain features for specific reasons. Knowing how turkeys use the landscape might be the No. 1 skill for killing spring gobblers. Because turkeys inhabit 49 states and several Canadian provinces, it’s extremely difficult to categorize and diagram “turkey country.� I’ll simply try to cover general guidelines and throw in specific examples. Hopefully, you can apply these to your neck of the woods. LAND-USE 101 Let’s examine how turkeys use the land during a typical morning. Basically, this entails roosting, flydown, feeding and breeding, while considering travel with all these periods. Determining where turkeys roost might be the easiest task. After all, you'll hear them gobble in the morning; they’re providing an aural road map to their location. Also, you might hear them fly up in the evening or down in the morning, and you’ll often find wingfeathers and piles of scat under roost trees during the day. Turkeys typically roost in large trees. In Texas, a “large� tree might be the only 15foot-tall live oak in a mile radius. Throughout the rest of the country, however, turkeys spend the night in big hardwoods or evergreens. Depending on the size of the tree and the lay of the land, they usually roost 15 to 35 yards high.

In areas with few large trees — Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota and many other Western states — pinpointing roosting areas is simple. But in the expansive timber of Alabama or unending ridges of southwestern Wisconsin, it becomes more complicated. Turkeys love to roost in areas that offer them increased safety and advantages for the morning and evening. They often spend the night in trees that overlook a creek, pond, swamp or drainage. After all, they won't face any terrestrial predators in such spots. They also frequently roost at the edges of fields, meadows or food plots, depending on where they feed during the day. This also lets them simply pitch their wings and sail into a safe open spot right away in the morning. In areas of thicker timber and pronounced terrain, turkeys typically roost two-thirds to three-quarters up — or down, depending on your vantage point — the sides of draws, ravines, ridges or bluffs. They love to roost off points or knobs that drop off quickly into steep terrain. In very steep country, where deep coulees or drainages climb to flat bluff tops or hightop fields, birds will often roost at eye level to the top, albeit 30 yards up in a tree. Guessing where turkeys will hit the ground in the morning can be difficult. Usually, it will be relatively open. This lets birds see the spot from their roost tree and provides an easy takeoff and landing zone. (They often fly down to the same spot from which they flew up the previous evening.) In flat country, they might just set their wings and sail to the woods floor. In open farm country or the prairies, they might sail several hundred feet, resembling mallards as they wing into a field. If it’s windy during the morning, birds often fly down into the wind, just like a plane landing. If the landscape has any roll, the equation is easier. Usually, birds fly down to the short side of the terrain. That is, a bird roosted on a hillside will usually sail to the crest of that hill — perhaps eye level for him — rather than flying

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Vol. 17, No. 3 /



much farther down to the bottom of the terrain. The short side of terrain simply offers turkeys the shortest distance from Point A to Point B. And if that short side of the terrain has a logging road, open bench or nifty finger ridge, all the better for turkeys. After they’re on the ground, turkeys pretty much have three concerns: safety, food and, in spring, reproduction. (For gobblers, reproduction basically involves strutting and breeding. For hens, it’s more complicated, involving breeding, laying eggs and nesting, depending on the stage of breeding season.)

Turkeys frequently roost at the edges of fields, meadows or food plots, depending on where they feed during the day.

Tes Randle Jolly

THE FOOD-PLOT ADVANTAGE Unless hens are nesting, they usually fly down and immediately feed or travel to feeding areas. If your hunting property offers built-in buffets — that is, food plots — the morning location equation is often easier to decipher. If hens are hitting your clover or other food plots regularly, they’ll typically fly down, mill about in the woods for a bit and then beat a path toward their breakfast. Gobblers, of course, try to stick with hens or, if they’re not near any, find them. So, if you've determined feeding areas and paths to them — that is, your food plots and paths leading to them — you’ve solved a major piece of the puzzle. After all, if birds are consistently going to a specific area in the morning, you can just set up and wait for them. Small food plots work best for this tactic. If a gobbler follows hens into a one-acre clover patch, it's a sure bet he’s in range or will soon be in range no matter where you're set up. However, if you’re waiting on the edge of a large food plot, he might never come into range, unless you’ve chosen a killer setup. Finding the ideal setup isn’t easy, but it can be done. The first and most obvious step is observation. If you see a breeding flock of turkeys entering a food plot at about the same point every morning, it’s fairly obvious where you need to set up.



WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3


If you don’t have a visual on the birds, look for likely terrain features that funnel turkeys' movements to food. I seek ridges, flats, benches, logging roads or other open areas near roosts. Ridges, benches and roads are great travel areas, so turkeys might just feed briskly along these paths on their way to your plots. Many folks overlook the importance of points, benches and finger ridges. As their name implies, points are just areas that jut into valleys, ravines or coulees and drop off quickly to the sides. Birds often roost off the tip of points and, assuming they fly down to the point (that is, the short side of the terrain) often travel the crest of that point to a flat, main ridge or field. Because of the terrain, they often can only travel one direction — straight away from the tip of the point. If you're on a point between a bird's roost and a clover patch, you're in business. Benches are basically small, flat areas — much like terraces — with open timber along the slopes of ravines, coulees and hills. Gobblers love to strut in these spots, especially those that receive the first rays of morning sun. If you strike a bird on a hilltop, he’s often on a bench. Finger ridges are basically just smaller ridges that branch from a main ridge. Turkeys feed and strut at these spots, just as they would on a bench or main ridge. They’re great travel areas because they offer easy access from food plots or lush bottoms to main ridges. What if your scouting goes for naught, and you have www.whitetailinstitute.com

Tes Randle Jolly

If your hunting property has a built-in buffet — that is, food plots — the location of turkeys is easier to determine.

no clue about where to set up in a food plot? Pick a spot that lets you view the entire plot and gives you a decent shot in a 180-degree radius. If all else fails, try this neat trick. Have you ever noticed that turkeys rarely travel the entire distance of an opening? That is, if turkeys enter a food plot from the southern end zone of a football field, they seldom reach the northern end zone. Usually, they mill about one end of the field and then exit somewhere between the 30s. If you get a visual on turkeys in a field, determine their travel direction, and then look for likely areas where they might “duck out of bounds” back into the timber. Points, finger ridges, logging roads or similar openings are likely spots. This won’t work all the time, but when it does, it’s magical. PUTTING IT TOGETHER General guidelines are great, but as mentioned, you must put the turkeys-in-the-landscape equation together on your own. Being a land manager gives you an advantage. Take these lessons to you hunting area. W

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an excerpt from Brian Lovett's new book, Hunting Pressured Turkeys. Signed copies of the book are available for $19.94, plus $4 shipping and handling, by contacting Lovett at bl_lovett@hotmail.com. Vol. 17, No. 3 /




Since 1988

Whitetail Institute shot she killed her first deer. Chad took his 11 year old daughter to the same ground blind the next morning where she also killed her first deer with one shot. These two deer are probably the greatest

Shawn Price — Illinois The Extreme grew very well in some poor soil and attracted more bucks than we had ever seen in the entire area. Some of these deer were giants. Both body weight and antler size improved dramatically. 30-06 minerals very simply — deer love this stuff. We’re getting some serious results from Imperial Extreme and 30-06 products. Both the deer in the photos are Pope & Young whitetails taken with Bow & arrow. The deer in the dark picture weighed 197 lbs field dressed. The daylight deer weighed 186 lbs.

Frank Ellis — Missouri I wouldn’t know where to start on how our deer herd has improved over the last four years. We owe it to harvesting a lot of does, trying to be selective on the quality of

bucks that would be taken and Imperial Whitetail Clover. In late August we had five bucks visit one food plot at 12 noon. During the archery season my cousin Richard and I both harvested very nice 9 pointers from the property. We decided to stay out during rifle season but on the last Saturday my brother Chad called me asking to try it on Sunday morning. As I was curious I agreed to let him in. The phone call came at 8 am saying he took a 10 pointer. The impressive fact of this 10 pointer was the shot he made and the fact that he had nearly 40 inches in mass. We hadn’t seen this on any 3 ½ year olds before using your product. I killed my best bow kill ever, a 166 inch 11 pointer. Richard has also killed a 152” monster. But the best was yet to come. Opening day of our youth deer hunt found me and my 9 year old daughter in a ground blind waiting for daylight and as soon as we could see the clover we could see a five pointer eating his breakfast. After one 34

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

trophies taken in mine and my brother’s eyes, which couldn’t have been done without great food plots. This was a weekend none of us will ever forget. I also guided my 15 year old son to his first buck a nice 9 pointer. I use to say “it would be nice to even see deer like these” and now we say it is nice to kill deer like that. This is owed to hard work, good management, and great food plots. We work hard every year and some people say were crazy, some make jokes about us because we are so into the deer, my wife even says September 15 starts divorce season but we love it and wouldn’t change a thing. (maybe a little more rain here and there) My name is Frank Ellis and I am a Whitetail Institute customer for life. Enclosed you’ll find photos of some of the deer mentioned.

Tom Clark — Indiana I am amazed at the changes in body sizes (both does and bucks); antler size also. I know there are three main ingredients to having a nice deer herd: 1) age; 2) sanctuary/safe haven; 3) food and water. I had everything but food plots. Now with Whitetail Institute products I need nothing more. My neighbors are happy they are killing bigger deer (thanks to me). They are always asking me why I’ve got such big deer on my 80 acre property. I tell them I don’t shoot smaller deer (which is true) and I plant food plots with Imperial Whitetail Clover. Whitetail Institute products are great stuff. See the enclosed photo of a 159 inch typical. Also, I’ve used both 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein and the deer are digging to China to get all of it.

Dave Stuewe — Kansas I hunt a series of small family farms in NE Kansas. The last 10 years have brought a lot of changes to the way my family approaches deer hunting. Several years ago the

deer were plentiful and getting access to hunting ground was no problem. In this past few years both seeing quality bucks and getting access to ground has greatly decreased. My dad and his four brothers began planting “Imperial Whitetail Clover” about four years ago and the results have been incredible. The day of small family farms is gone in NE Kansas and the typical farming practice has transitioned to ranching and brome fields. This has made pinpointing big buck travel very difficult, until the clover fields were established and the deer located them. These Whitetail clover plots draw deer from several miles and we all know what that means when the rut rolls around in November. The picture I have included is a buck I took with my bow on Nov. 11th last season on the edge of one of these fields planted with Imperial Whitetail Clover. This deer has 7 1/2 inch bases and will gross over 180 inches. We just finished planting three more small fields last weekend of Whitetail clover. Thanks Whitetail Institute for a great product. I look forward to this fall and seeing more giant KS whitetails. Thanks again.

Edward Lockwood — Maryland I can’t say enough about Imperial Whitetail Clover. Just plant it and you will see deer. Don’t shoot the little bucks and you will kill big bucks. Here are pictures of two Pope & Young book bucks I killed this year in one week. We took four Pope & Young bucks last year and already have taken four this year. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

Philip Rega — New York Enclosed is a photo of a 140 3/8 inch gross 9 pt I harvested this past October. The deer dressed out at 183 pounds. I took this deer on a deer run 75 yds from one of my mini Imperial clover food plots. I have been using Whitetail Institute Clover and Cutting Edge supplements for well over ten years on various hunting lands I hunt on. I have had extraordinary results. I have harvested eight - 8 point buck's that score over 110" one of them net's over


RECORD-BOOK BUCKS… Randy and I have been doing Whitetail Institute food plots since 1996. Since both of us are in wheelchairs we get help planting from good friends Tracy (Pot's) and his brother Terry (Duke). This year we went with the Secret Spot, NoPlow and Winter-Greens along with the normal maintenance on the perennials. The deer are really starting to utilize the Winter-Greens since its gotten cold. Unlike most annuals, it's not eaten all at once. So it looks like there will be plenty for them to forage when the dead of winter sets in.

Kreg Alde — Alberta, Canada

150". I have also harvested several bucks over 120" one of them grossing 172" (N/T). I can not say enough about the importance of QDM, food plots and supplemental minerals in the overall equation to seeing big bucks on your hunting property. Thanks Whitetail Institute for all of your quality products.

Gary Joos — Minnesota The deer in my area really started feeding on my plot of Imperial Extreme at the end of September. I harvested this buck with my bow as he entered my food plot on October 9 last year.

Harry Sickler — Ohio Please see the enclosed photo of the 9 point bow kill my daughter Nicoles “age 13” took on Ohio’s opening day last year. Gross score 137 2/8”. She shot it on an Imperial No-Plow food plot. She is already looking forward to next season’s opener.

Todd Zippel — Wisconsin I thought I would send you a photo of my Imperial raised buck. He's an eleven point, 3 1/2 year old and weighed 195 pounds dressed. This is the fourth 3 ½ year old we've taken off our property in the last four years. My hunting buddy

I bought a piece of property  that was in an excellent whitetail area, but the resident population was fairly low. Most deer were just moving through the property and not holding. The first thing I did was put out Cutting Edge mineral in four locations that were major travel routes and/or potential bedding areas. Just this addition made a drastic change to the amount of deer that would reside on the property. The next year, I planted about 15 acres of Alfa-Rack and 15 acres of Imperial Clover and WOW was there deer. My quarter now had everything a deer needs; cover, water, mineral, and food. I have gone four years now shooting a buck  that scores over 150 BC and have had zero winter kill. The buck I shot last year must have lived on the Cutting Edge because of his mass at a young age. I filmed the deer three years before when he was 1.5 years old and he already had the drop tine, but he did not look like he would ever amount to a large set of antlers. I was shocked to see him this year and all the junk he had (Photo 1). The large 217 inch buck (Photo 2) was shot last year in Central Alberta. He was dubbed the crown buck because of his brow tines. We had been after this buck for two years and we had a lot of pics on our cameras while he was coming in and out of our food plots. With the help of the food plots and Cutting Edge we held him to the general area for two years, but unfortunately he jumped the fence last year and the neighbor was waiting. He is probably the biggest buck shot in Alberta last year and he grew an estimated 50 inches, based on photos, in the year we went to food plots and Cutting Edge. This was a buck of a lifetime and I guess we can say we had a lot to do with producing such an awesome deer. I will continue to use Whitetail Institute products to enhance my properties for the wildlife and my hunting experiences.

Dennis Wheeler — Illinois Just a few lines to let you know how much I like Whitetail Institute products and services. I have planted Imperial Clover for 14 years now and love it. The only thing I don’t like about it is, every 5 years or so, when I have to plant something else for a year. My deer do not like it either. My theory is that it is the “Alpo” rule. If you feed your dog www.whitetailinstitute.com

“Alpo” for a long time and then switch him to the brand “x” stuff, he will eat it eventually when he gets hungry enough, but he won’t eat as much as if it were “Alpo” and he won’t like it as much. I also used the Arrest last year and it worked just like the ads say. The only grass I had left was the “skip spots” caused from my inexperience at spraying. Presently I have 10 acres of Imperial Clover planted and this year I am going to plant “Extreme” on an additional acre to try it. I am sending a picture of the buck I killed with my bow on the edge of one of my two acre clover fields in Southern Illinois last season. He is the biggest one I have ever killed with any weapon. He grossed 180” with 15 points, one being a 7” drop tine. Until last year, being the “Big Buck” hunter that I am, I had always hunted the thickest stuff I could find and I did pretty well, especially in colder weather. I am going to have re-evaluate this strategy after killing this bruiser on a beautiful 75 degree day in the first week of October. He was following a doe into the corner of the field and I shot him broadside at 12 yards from my ladder stand. He went 40 yards and fell dead. In conclusion, thanks Whitetail Institute for all the help and assistance, along with the great products.

Mark Coselman — Michigan I shot the buck in the picture opening day this year on my property in Michigan in my Imperial Whitetail Clover field. This may be a new county record — non-typical. He was a 24 point with three drop tines. 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. 3 /



IBO Rating 322* fps 29 3/4”* axle-to-axle 7”* brace height 3.75* lbs 24 – 30”* draw lengths 24.5 – 29.5”* half sizes


Tom Fegely

Preserve the Memories…



WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

A club member pages through the newest Greentree Lodge logbook.

Tom Fegely


n deer camps across the country, fall is the time for the annual gatherings of friends and the making of new memories. Such remembrances span the sweep of time, although for those of us growing long in the beard, oncevivid thoughts of seasons past somehow blur and blend. That's why, in the late 1960s, when I hunted with 20 or so friends and acquaintances at Greentree Lodge in the Pennsylvania Poconos, we kicked off a tradition that recorded the history of our deer camp happenings. It was fittingly titled the Greentree Lodge Logbook, an annual accounting of what occurred on those magical days in deer camp. For the Greentree group, the first words were written and the initial photos snapped more than four decades ago. And even though the camp changed names and locations since then, the logbook tradition continues. Over the years camp members took turns in authoring duties, recording for posterity the happenings each autumn with everyone doing his best to “publish” a logbook better than that of the previous years. The subjects are limitless. Who was in camp each season, and who shot what? Who bagged the biggest buck in 1971? What year was our harvest by 18 members a record,

with a 50-50 buck kill rate, not including five antlerless deer? Who got lost in Lime Hollow on opening day? What year was it that Dale had to evict a porcupine from his tree stand? When was the first coyote seen in our Lehigh River hunting grounds? Who left his license at home and had to make a 100 mile round trip to retrieve it on opening morning? And more. Plenty more. Included in each volume are the details, embarrassing and praiseworthy. Standard also are the jokes, pranks and barbs and the rosters telling who was there and for how long, what guns and calibers were used, who shot deer and who missed, thereby losing his shirt-tail. Such a reliable reference keeps men honest. When Louie starts bragging about the big 8-pointer he shot in 1974, someone pulls out that year’s logbook. It shows him proudly posing with a small 6-pointer. “Oh yeah,” he admits sheepishly. “Guess it grew a bit since then.” As we sit down to our pre-opening day feast, we pause www.whitetailinstitute.com

to offer prayer for those who have passed on. Members whose lives have ended are eulogized in the book and honored with silent tributes as we greet the new season. Logbooks are as cherished as the characters who gave them life. Rich are the camps and deer campers whose history unfolds at the turn of a page. GETTING STARTED You need not be a talented writer or learned photographer to produce a quality camp logbook. But like all assignments, doing your homework is a necessity. Here are the opening steps. • While at camp, take time at day’s end to jot down each member’s highlights — or “low lights” — of the day. Don’t rely on memory alone. Newsworthy happenings might be clearly inscribed on your brain at the time, but a month or two later, many will have vanished. • Save the camp roster, the daily menu, a camp map, the local newspaper’s weather reports for each day and any other incidentals. Everyone has a short story, even if only three or four sentences; such as Jim’s sighting of a white doe, Jack’s encounter with a friendly possum and Keith’s run-in with a black bear. The more input from camp members the better. • If you don’t type, find someone who can. Although home computers were space age fantasies when the initial Green Tree Logbooks came to be, today’s polished logs have the potential for truly professional looking presentations. If you’re not computer literate, find a child who is, and have them do their creative stuff, especially the colorful layouts. • Someone in camp with artistic talent? Ask him or her to draw up a few cartoons based on happenings at camp: a likeness of Old Fred running barefoot through the snow on his way to the outhouse; Ben starting his socks ablaze while drying them too close to the fireplace; Elmer falling asleep under his favorite oak tree; and Wilbur discovering upon arrival at his treestand that he had a pocketful of shells for his 30-06 ... but was toting his .270. They’ll all bring laughs, teasing and nostalgic memories year after year. • Because the members of our camp take pride in their work, each year’s “editor” takes a page or two to express some personal thoughts on deer, deer camp, friendship, good times and carrying on the tradition. The editorials written across the years, we’ve discovered, reveal the inner thoughts of the author that might not otherwise be expressed. It’s the personal signature of that year’s editor’s efforts and the joys of deer camp in general. • Don’t forget anyone. Even though everyone will enjoy reading about their fellow buck camp members and all else that transpired in seasons past, you can bet your best skinning knife that each camper will also be looking for his name, picture and tale in the logbook. Forgetting to include someone is a cardinal sin — no matter if he’s honored for getting the top buck or laughed at for harmlessly falling out of the top bunk. A PICTURE PAINTS A THOUSAND WORDS That short line from an “oldie-but-goody” song should serve as a guideline for the “painting” of photographic images filling a logbook. No matter if photos are from a digital, snapshot or top of the line 35 mm camera, consider these suggestions for making the most of the images available to fill the pages of your camp log. • In addition to the editor’s efforts, recruit a couple fellow camp members to take pictures of each day's kills and other goings-on. Hunters in most deer camps typically break up into small groups and will meet for a noon lunch, but others might not see one another between dawn and dusk. One photographer alone can’t do the job. The more hunters toting cameras, the better the selection of photos available at layout time. Prints measuring 4-by-6 or 5-by-7 inches are best as they can be cropped and trimmed as www.whitetailinstitute.com

Vol. 17, No. 3 /



Specially created cartoons and drawings and those clipped from hunting magazines add to the quality of the book.


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3


Tom Fegely

space allows. • Unless absolutely necessary, forget the overused deer-in-the-pickup-truck shots. When feasible, take the photos on the scene before hauling it back to camp. Most of today’s digitals and other cameras are sufficiently compact to be readily carried in a hunting coat or daypack. • Photographs of dead deer require special attention, thereby honoring the hunter and the hunted. If the deer is photographed prior to field dressing, so much the better. That's the time to snap your hero shots. Carry a wad of moistened paper towels in a zip-type plastic bag to clean the nose, mouth and other areas showing mud or blood. Tuck the tongue back into the mouth (or cut it off), and position the animal so that the unpleasant aspects are deemphasized. • Remember that antlers are the focal points of such photos. One of my personal favorite compositions is to snap the antlers and hunter (with his bow or gun) against the skyline. Other shots can be taken in the standard hunter kneeling position with the deer’s head and antlers in the foreground. Also, include shots of several hunters with their harvests strung from the camp meat pole. • When gazing through the viewfinder, look beyond your main subject. Unacceptable backgrounds spoil more potentially good photographs than anything else. If the shots are posed back at camp, drag the deer to a spot where a large tree, brush, woodland or open field comprises the backdrop. Too often garbage cans, automobiles, outhouses, mailboxes, other hunters milling about and any of dozens of other objects will spoil an otherwise acceptable shot. • Get close. The biggest mistake most amateur photographers make is wasting most of the frame with the subject comprising, perhaps, 30 percent to 40 percent or less of the total image when it should be filling twice as much. Pose some subjects vertically and others horizontally. • If your camera has a fill-flash learn to use it — even on

sunny days when facial shadows from a long-brimmed cap are heavy. A flash is also required when the crew gets back to camp after dark, particularly if a deer had to be dragged from deep in the woods. Rather than wait until morning for photos (when the deer may be frozen like a rock or rigor mortis has set in), pose the picture prior to hanging it on the meat pole. • Finally, be sure to pose a group photo of everyone in camp at an opportune time.

Double up on the photos with a memory wall of highlights from previous hunts. I get to visit many camps in each year’s travels and I’m always drawn to such displays. They tell a lot about the camp, its members and the quality of their hunts. Set aside a few dollars from the camp budget to create a framed or otherwise glass-protected, photofriendly display. Each season add a few more prints and enlargements. Deer camp is what a friend of mine calls serious fun. The older one gets, the more the days of sharing fellowship, friendship and fun mean. It’s too valuable an experience to enjoy only once. That’s where the camp logbook comes in. It’s a one-of-a-kind presentation of deer camp history that becomes more valuable with each deer season’s arrival. W

Tom Fegely


A "memory wall" is yet another way to record a camp's history.

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Vol. 17, No. 3 /



Herbicides Back to the Basics

By Jon Cooner

PRELIMINARY MATTERS Up front, I want to at least remind everyone that herbicides may not be necessary to do certain food-plot jobs. For example, many seedbeds can be cleared of most competing vegetation by disking the seedbed once a week for a few weeks before a fall planting. Also, in many cases weeds can be controlled in existing forages by mechanical means such as mowing or even hand pulling. (Since this article is about herbicides, though, I’ll refer you to our inhouse consultants if you’d like additional information on alternatives to herbicides in your particular situation. They’re available from 8:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, at (800) 688-3030, ext. 2. ) Next, I want to clear up something that I think is a constant source of confusion in herbicide discussions: the fact that even though different people may use the same words, those words mean different things to different people. A perfect example is the word “weed.” Scientists often use the term “weed” based on a plant’s location. To scientists, a “weed” is a plant — any plant — that is growing where it isn’t wanted. The rest of us, though, tend to describe plants in a different way — not by location or desirability, but by what they look like! Here’s an example: 42

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

Let’s say that a field tester has Johnsongrass or Bermudagrass infesting his food plot. Since those plants are growing where they aren’t wanted, a scientist might call them “weeds.” Like the rest of us, though, the Field Tester would probably call these plants “grass” because . . . heck, it’s grass! And to make matters worse, many of us also have to deal with additional unwanted plants that we WOULD normally refer to as weeds. These “broadleaf weeds” such as dock or wild mustard, and “woody weeds” such as ferns or briars. I’d like to suggest some terms that might get us on the same page as we look at herbicide basics. Let’s dump the term “weed” because it’s unnecessary for our purposes. If we’re even talking about herbicides, we already know that we have plants “growing where we they aren’t wanted.” Instead, since herbicide selection depends so heavily on specific plant identification anyway, let’s establish some better general terms that might help keep confusion to a minimum when you call our consultants for advice, and even keep the scientists happy! • Suggested Descriptor: “Grass,” Definition: Any plant that looks like grass • Suggested Descriptor: “Broadleaf Weed,” Definition: Any plant that has wide, fat leaves growing up from the ground without much of a stem or trunk. Examples include dock and wild mustard. • Suggested Descriptor: “Woody Weed,” Definition: Any unwanted plants that has a hard, woody stem or vine. Examples include ferns and briars. Now that we’re all using the same lingo, let’s get back to the basics of herbicides for food plotters.

A STEP-BY-STEP APPROACH TO HERBICIDES Let’s start with a quick overview of a step-by-step approach you can use to answer the most common ques-

tions about herbicides and food plots. Following these steps should help you decide whether or not to use herbicides for your particular food-plot situation, which ones to use and how to use them. Each step is critical, so don’t skip any of them. Step 1: Identify which of the following two jobs you’re considering using a herbicide for: preparing a seedbed for planting, or maintaining an existing forage. a. If you’re preparing a seedbed for planting, choose Roundup, and skip down to Step 3. b. If you’re removing unwanted plants from an existing plot, go to Step 2. Step 2: Specifically identify the plants you want to remove and the plants you want to keep. Then check the herbicide label for the answers to two questions: a. Does the label say it will control the plants you want to remove? b. Does the herbicide label say that it will not harm the plants you want to keep? If the answer to either question is “no,” don’t use the herbicide for your intended application. If — and only if — the answer to both question is, “Yes,” then you go to Step 3. Step 3: When applying any herbicide, read and follow all application instructions on the herbicide label. If you have any questions, call our consultants at (800) 688-3030, ext. 2 before you spray. Next, let’s look at how to apply each of these steps. STEP 1: IDENTIFYING THE JOB When it comes to food plots, there are two reasons herbicides are most often used: (1) to remove unwanted vegetation when preparing a seedbed for planting, and (2) to control unwanted plants in existing food plots. There are literally thousands of herbicides on the market today because there are thousands of potential applications, and www.whitetailinstitute.com

Whitetail Intitute


n this issue, we start celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Whitetail Institute. The last two decades have seen a quantum leap in the knowledge of deer hunters everywhere about food plots. As our knowledge base continues to increase, though, we should never lose sight of the fundamentals, and that is especially true when it comes to herbicides. In this article, I’ll cover those fundamentals. Along the way, we’ll also discuss some of the major questions that our in-house consultants are asked over and over about herbicides.

each one is unique. That’s why it’s critical to start out by clearly identifying the exact job you’re planning to do. Herbicides for Seedbed Preparation: One of the steps in our planting instructions is to try to remove as much existing vegetation from your seedbed before you plant. The best known product for accomplishing that is Roundup Weed and Grass Killer, a non-selective herbicide whose active ingredient is glyphosate, or “gly” as you may hear it called in conversations. In recent times, numerous generic equivalents have also appeared on the market, so for simplicity, I’ll just refer to all these as “Roundup” from here on. One reason Roundup is such an effective tool for cleaning up a seedbed before planting is that it is “nonselective” — it has at least some effect on almost any plant it touches. Another feature that makes Roundup appropriate for preparing a seedbed is that it doesn’t have residual soil activity — it doesn’t stay around in the soil and inhibit the growth of your new forage plants. Instead, whatever Roundup you spray that does not go into a plant dissipates very quickly. The Roundup label says how long you have to wait after spraying before you plant, but 10 days is a pretty safe bet. Herbicides for Perennial Forage Maintenance: Unlike controlling all vegetation as a part of seedbed preparation, forage maintenance suggests that you want to keep existing forage plants and eliminate competition. That requires the use of a herbicide specifically designed to control unwanted plants without harming the ones you want to keep. Herbicides that do that are referred to as “selective herbicides.” Before deciding to use a selective herbicide, it is absolutely critical that you check the herbicide label and make sure that the herbicide will do two things: (1) control the specific plant varieties you don’t want, and (2) do it without harming the forage plants you want to keep. Let’s look at each in turn.

STEP 2: CONFIRM THAT THE HERBICIDE WILL CONTROL UNWANTED PLANTS AND NOT HARM THE OTHERS Herbicides generally do their jobs by interfering with one or more of a plant’s essential life processes, for instance the way a particular plant grows or reproduces. The ways different plant types do these things, though, can be quite different from one type of plant to the next. For example, some plants reproduce by making seeds and dropping them on the ground, creating the next generation. Others, though, may reproduce by spreading their roots out underground. This wide variety in how plants of different types survive, grow and reproduce is what makes selective herbicides possible. Basically, it allows scientists to narrowly tailor chemicals to control certain types of plants without harming others. For example, consider a corn farmer who needs to control grass in his corn crop. He will select a herbicide that will control the grass but not harm the corn. Since he knows, though, that selective herbicides are designed to control some plants and not others, he’ll make sure that the herbicide he’s considering will (1) control the specific type of grass he wants to remove, and (2) not harm the specific type of corn he is growing. There are three steps to doing that, and they are the same steps we use in choosing selective herbicides for use in our food plots. First, identify the plants you want to control. Remember I said that selective herbicides work by interfering with the essential life processes of specific plant types, and that these processes are often quite different from one plant type to the next? Since selective herbicides are designed to work on the specific systems of certain plants, your first step in deciding on a herbicide to meet your needs is to identify — specifically identify — the plants you want to control.

There are several good ways to do that. One way is by looking up the plant on any number of free web sites that deal with plant identification. These sites are provided on the websites of many major ag-university website and also the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Many of these sites, though, list plants by name rather than by picture, and that can be of limited benefit to those of us who already know what the plant looks like but don’t know what it is. In such cases, you might turn to two great resources in our area. These are your county agricultural agent and your local farm-supply store. Your county agent will likely be able to accurately identify most plants growing in your area. Your farm-supply store manager is also likely very familiar with plant-control issues that face farmers in your area. Second, identify the plants you want to keep. Imperial forage blends come with a sticker on the back that tells you what’s in the blend. If you don’t have the bag any longer, you can call our consultants for the information. Third, consult the herbicide label. Once you have specifically identified the plants you want to control and those you want to keep, look at the herbicide label. It will give you specific lists of the plants it will and won’t control. You need to make sure that the label specifically says it will control the plants you don’t want and that it won’t hurt the plants you want to keep. Whitetail Institute Herbicides: The Whitetail Institute currently offers two selective herbicides. Arrest is designed to control most kinds of grass in any Imperial perennial blend, and any other clover or alfalfa. Slay is designed to control broadleaf weeds in Imperial Whitetail Clover and any other clover or alfalfa. This is not an exclusive list of forages these herbicides can be used on. For additional information on Arrest and Slay, call our consultants at (800) 688-3030, ext. 2, or go to www.whitetailinstitute.com, and click on the “Herbicides” link.

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. 3 /




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Most of us have cut corners at some point in our lives. For example, when I was just starting out planting food plots for myself, I didn’t understand the importance of adjusting soil pH with lime and tried to compensate for low pH by just adding more fertilizer. Now that I do understand more about soil pH, I can see why I sometimes got less than stellar results from my early planting efforts. Thanks to the fact that deer hunters are generally a pretty honest lot, I still see the same thing occasionally. On the rare occasion when a Field Tester calls with a problem that’s not related to lack of rain, the most common reason — by far — is that he admits having skipped steps in our planting instructions. And if you think about it, it just makes sense to follow the manufacturer’s directions concerning any product. After all, each step is important, or it would not be there. This is true of planting instructions for food-plot blends, and this is true of the instructions on herbicide labels. In fact, it’s especially true when it comes to herbicides. If you look at any herbicide label, you’ll probably find that different instructions are given for different jobs the herbicide can be used for. For example, Arrest and Slay are generally designed to offer the best control of some plants when they’re still in seedling stage, and the labels give specific instruction on how to use the herbicides in that case. Arrest and Slay can also be very effective at controlling more mature plants, but to do so requires that you follow a different set of label instructions. The label instructions are there for only one reason: so that the manufacturer of a herbicide can tell you what it knows — the best way to use that herbicide to do the job you’re facing. And since failing to follow the label directions may give you less than a good result from the herbicide, it just makes sense to follow herbicide label directions exactly. And that brings us to the most commonly asked questions presented to our consultants — the questions that come in over, and over. Almost always, the answer is provided right on the Arrest or Slay label. Q: Which Imperial products can be sprayed with Arrest and Slay, and which ones can’t? A: Here’s a list of Imperial forages and whether the plant varieties in each can be sprayed with either herbicide. This list does not address additional issues discussed on the label, such as temperatures, plant dormancy, soil residuals and other issues. Arrest CAN BE USED on: Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus, “Chic” Magnet, Alfa-


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• “CHIC” MAGNET provides deer with a highly attractive and nutritious food source even during the heat and low rainfall of late summer and early fall.

• “CHIC” MAGNET can be planted alone, overseeded into existing forages to provide additional attraction and drought resistance or mixed with other seeds prior to planting.

• “CHIC” MAGNET can be planted in the spring or fall in most areas

• “CHIC” MAGNET attracts, holds and grows bigger bucks!

“Deer Nutrition Is All We Do!” Do!’ 44

• “CHIC” MAGNET can last up to three years with a single planting

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

© 2006 The Whitetail Institute

• “CHIC” MAGNET is more palatable to whitetails than chicories traditionally planted for whitetails

Whitetail Institute • 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 • CALL TOLL FREE: 1-800-688-3030


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• Plants grow faster for quick forage

establishment • Plants taste better to deer, creating a natural ”DEER MAGNET” • Plant protein and mineral content increases up to 30% providing more nutrition for better quality deer and antler growth • Traditional plantings of wheat, rye and oats are especially improved Your food plots will be greener and the deer will spend more time on YOUR side of the fence with Imperial IMPACT™. Call now for more information and we will send you our 60-minute video, “Producing Trophy Whitetails.” All you pay is $4.95 to cover shipping and handling. Specify VHS or DVD.

Rack, Alfa-Rack Plus, Extreme and Winter-Greens. Slay CAN BE USED on: Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack. Arrest SHOULD NOT BE USED on: No-Plow, Pure Attraction, PowerPlant or Secret Spot. Slay SHOULD NOT BE USED on: Chicory Plus, “Chic” Magnet, Alfa-Rack Plus, Extreme, No-Plow, Winter-Greens, Pure Attraction, PowerPlant or Secret Spot. Q: Can Arrest and Slay be mixed in the same tank and sprayed at the same time? A: No. Doing so will reduce the effectiveness of the Arrest by 50% or more. Q: When is the best time to spray Arrest or Slay? A: Spray when weeds and grasses are actively growing in the spring or summer. Arrest and Slay are designed to work best at controlling seedling grasses and broadleaf weeds (those that are still too young to have grown taller than 6-12”). Try to spray before grasses or weeds exceed that height if possible. Q: When should I not spray Arrest or Slay? A: Do not spray within one week after mowing the plot. Do not spray when conditions are excessively hot or droughty. This is not a complete list. Consult the herbicide labels for additional information. Q: Can Arrest and Slay control grasses and broadleaf weeds that have matured? A: Yes, but it will be harder to do. When trying to control mature grass with Arrest, use the highest concentration on the label, add Surefire Seed Oil to the tank, and plan on having to spray twice, a month apart. You may not have to spray twice, but you might. Q: If my grass and broadleaf weeds have matured taller than 6-12”, should I mow before spraying? A: It can help. Mowing won’t make the plants young again. The key is the age (size) of the root ball — a mature plant that’s mowed may be shorter, but its root ball is still mature. However, when you mow a plant, it usually grows vigorously to recover its lost forage, and that can help the herbicide get into the plant. If you mow, don’t spray for a week afterwards or until you see new growth appearing, whichever occurs first. That’s because mowing may put the plant into shock, and it has to recover and start growing again before it will take in the herbicide. Q: How long must Arrest and Slay be on the plants before rain won’t wash them off? A: According to the labels, one hour. I try to spray in mid-morning on a day when I don’t expect rain until at least after nightfall. Q: I have weeds in my Imperial Whitetail Clover plot. Will Arrest or Slay control them? A: It depends. To answer this question, you have to identify the weed. Once you do that, you’ll be able to check the Arrest and Slay labels to see if either says it will control it. W

$39.95 Value

1-800-688-3030 Whitetail Institute of North America • 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043


PO BOX 3090 RAPID CITY, SD 57709-3090 CALL (605) 348-5150 FAX (605) 348-9827

Call for your FREE VIDEO! www.whitetailinstitute.com

Vol. 17, No. 3 /



and understanding the differences between supplements and attractants By Matt Harper, Institute Deer Nutrition Specialist


wenty years ago, most hunters and land managers were not aware of the extraordinary benefits a deer herd could realize from access to quality food plots. Through time, education and experience, the importance of food plots became a well-accepted doctrine. In fact, food plots are now standard operating procedure for most management-minded deer hunters. 46

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

Many people put a mineral site in a wide-open area, such as on the edge of a food plot. Although these areas sometimes work, many times they do not. Deer are vulnerable when they stop and eat. They do not like using areas where they are outside and away from protective cover. The most effective sites are normally four to eight feet off of a heavily used trail surrounded by protective cover.

Mineral supplementation, however, is a management practice that has gained acceptance at a much slower pace. Ask most hunters and deer managers if they plant food plots, and nearly all will say they do, at least to some extent. Ask the same group whether they use mineral supplements, and many will say they are not using mineral supplements, at least not regularly. There are several reasons behind this slow rate of acceptance. First, and probably foremost, people are unaware of the difference between a nutritional mineral supplement and an attractant. Second, many folks are not educated on the benefits a true nutritional supplement can provide. Therefore, many hunters believe mineral supplements are a waste of time and that all deer minerals on the market are pure hype. Yet another reason for the lack of mineral supplementation is that often, improper mineral site application is used, producing limited or no apparent success. Whether it was put in the wrong spot, used at the wrong time or some other important step was not done correctly, the lack of success because of these errors causes a hunter to abandon the idea. Finally, the biggest cause of the lack of mineral supplementation is the confusion created by so many products. Nearly all claim nutritional benefit and unequalled attraction. Yet the differences among these products in terms of actual benefit and nutrition quality range dramatically. In

reality, this final factor is why the first three problems exist. In this article, we’ll clear up some of these confusing aspects of mineral supplements by taking each of the problematic factors and shedding some light on them. Using mineral supplements in your deer management program can produce tremendous results, and after we clear away the fog surrounding mineral supplements, you will be able to make the choices to begin realizing the benefits. ATTRACTION VS. NUTRITION The first major issue to clarify is the difference between products designed predominantly for attraction and those designed around nutrition first and attraction second. Most products designed primarily for attraction are nearly all salt based. Like all herbivores, deer can be attracted to salt during spring, summer and early fall. The attractiveness of salt is caused by the animals’ need for sodium, which is supplied by salt in the form of sodium chloride. At a cellular level, potassium and sodium must be in appropriate balance in order to maintain normal body function. Green, lush vegetation normally found in abundance from spring through early fall is very high in potassium but very low in sodium. Therefore, deer are overloaded with potassium and search out sodium where it can be found. However, just because deer are attracted to sodium does not necessarily mean it does anything to improve antler growth www.whitetailinstitute.com

Whitetail Institute

Clearing Up the Mineral Mystery

beyond maintaining a proper cellular osmotic balance. In fact, if you analyze a hardened antler, you will find that it contains only .03 percent sodium. Many products found on the market are largely sodium based, obtained from salt or some other sodium form. There might be some minute levels of other minerals included in the product — enough to allow a company to market the product as a multi-component mineral — but close examination will show the product is mostly sodium. Further complicating the use of the word “mineral supplement” is that salt is a mineral. A product that's all salt can be called a mineral because at the strictest definition of the word, salt is a mineral. However, most people who see the word mineral assume that means the product contains significant amounts of multiple minerals, not just one. Clinching the situation regarding confusion around sodium based “minerals” is that deer are attracted to them. These products appear to be working. It is difficult at times to physically see the benefit of using a mineral product beyond whether deer are eating it. It's assumed that if deer are eating it, it must be working. Well it is working as far as attraction but is not necessarily giving much antler-growing nutritional benefit. A nutritional-based mineral product is designed first for nutritional improvement and therefore contains significant amounts of several types of minerals that have been found to be key to antler growth. Some of these minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium just to name a few. Of course the deer must still be attracted to the product and consume it before any nutritional benefit is realized. Therefore, certain amounts of attractants, such as salt, must be added to get the deer to eat it. However, the amounts of these attractants contained in a nutritional supplement are far less than those found in an attractant-based product, as nutritional-based products are designed around nutrition first and attraction second.

DO MINERALS REALLY WORK? There has been a long-running debate on the actual benefit that can be derived from using a mineral supplement in your deer-nutritional management program. This debate stems from the fact that getting scientific data on wild deer is nearly impossible. To acquire this data, all other variables must be taken out of the equation, and therein lies the problem with wild deer. There is no way to control all variables. Of course, you can do this with penned deer, but that does not satisfy many people’s questions about wild deer. The situation is not helped any by the fact that there are many products claiming to be nutritional deer minerals. In reality, they are mostly attractants, as we mentioned earlier. These attraction products will likely not give much benefit to deer. However, a common-sense look at antler growth, doe lactation, fawn growth and overall herd health leads you to the conclusion that mineral supplementation is beneficial to a deer herd. Mineral requirements during antler growth and doe lactation are higher than nearly all other animal classes, including cattle. When you look at the process of antler growth, you find that the antler is basically growing bone, an outside extension of the skeletal system. In the hardened form, antlers (bone) are comprised of 55 percent mineral. When you consider that antlers are shed and then regrown each year, it is difficult to argue that mineral supplementation is not beneficial. The mineral used in antler growth is taken from the buck’s skeletal system and deposited on the growing antler. This mineral must then be replaced from the deer’s diet. Because antlers are secondary sex characteristics, the buck will not endanger his body to grow bigger antlers. If there is not enough mineral in the diet, less mineral will be transported to the antler, thus creating decreased antler size. Does require high amounts of mineral during lac-

tation, as doe milk is very nutrient dense and fawns require mineral for skeletal growth. For years, the benefit of using mineral supplementation for cattle has been proven, so common sense tells us that if mineral supplementation is beneficial for cattle, and deer require more mineral per pound of body weight, how much more beneficial would mineral supplementation be for deer? Field observations have shown dramatic antler-growth improvements when mineral supplementation is practiced. Probably the most compelling evidence for the benefit of mineral supplementation for antler growth comes from comparing soil maps and P&Y and B&C records. Soils that contain the higher levels of minerals directly correlate to the same areas for the highest number of P&Y and B&C entries. PROPER MINERAL SITE APPLICATION I know several people who have tried a mineral supplement on their property, had no immediate results and quit the practice completely. Although there are some unexplained instances where application was not the problem, 99 percent of mineral supplement failures can be traced back to how the practice was conducted. First, site location is critical. I have seen many people put a mineral site in a wide-open area, such as on the edge of a food plot. Although these areas sometimes work, many times they do not. Deer are vulnerable when they stop and eat. They do not like using areas where they are outside and away from protective cover. The most effective sites are normally four to eight feet off of a heavily used trail surrounded by protective cover. Second, timing is important. A mineral supplementation program should be started in early spring, when antler growth is just beginning, and continued throughout the antler-growing cycle. Many folks do not begin using supplements until late summer or early fall, which dramatically decreases the benefit. For those who want to take nutrition-

30-06 mineral /vitamin supplements are the best products available for the buck, and that’s no bull.

30-06 is not a glorified salt lick or a cattle mineral. It is a true nutritional supplement developed specifically for the needs of the whitetail deer. What is good for a bull will do very little for antler growth in a whitetail.

30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein contain our exclusive scent and flavor enhancers which mean deer find, and frequent, the ground sites you create by mixing these products into the soil. You can be assured 30-06 was created with deer, not cattle, in mind.

30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein contain all the essential macro and trace minerals along with vitamins A, D, and E necessary for a quality deer herd and maximum antler growth.

Because of the 30-06 products incredible attractiveness, some states may consider it bait. Remember to check your local game laws before hunting over the 30-06 site.

Research = Results. The Whitetail Institute



WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

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


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


al management to the highest level, there's Cutting Edge Nutritional Supplements, which are designed to meet the changing needs of deer specific to a particular time of year. Use Initiate for late winter and early spring, Optimize for spring/summer and Sustain for fall and winter. Another common mistake is only trying one spot. The typical recommendation for the number of sites is one for every 40 to 100 acres. That does not mean, however, that if you are starting a mineral program for the first time and you have 200 acres, you should only try two to five areas. Deer are very picky animals. There are some areas they simply will not use. Whether it is the soil type, the cover around the area or for whatever reason, deer will prefer one spot over another. I have conducted tests where I have used the same product 100 yards apart, and deer have nailed one area while leaving the other almost untouched. Therefore, when starting a mineral program, I recommend starting out with small amounts (five pounds) in say two to four areas per 40-acre parcel. Through time, deer will tell you which area they prefer. After that's established, discontinue the unused areas, and replenish the area most heavily used.

As I mentioned earlier, the most confusing part of the mineral supplementation question is the myriad of products available on the market claiming to be the best. How can you compare products, dig through the marketing and find out which product is truly a high-quality, nutritionbased deer mineral supplement? You might not know it, but every mineral product on the market has a guarantee. This guarantee is found on the tag or label. This tag tells you the purpose of the product, what can be found in it and what nutrient levels are contained in that product. You would surmise that a quick look at the tag would tell all you needed about that product and how it compares to similar prod-


Mineral requirements during antler growth and doe lactation are higher than nearly all other animal classes, including cattle.

Vol. 17, No. 3 /


Whitetail Institute


ucts. Unfortunately, that's not always true. First, a tag should tell you all the ingredients found within that product. However, it does not tell you the exact amount or the quality of the ingredient used. For example, a tag may list calcium iodate (an iodine source), but unless iodine is listed in the guaranteed analysis, you have no way of determining how much is in mix. A company can legally list the item as long as it is added, no matter how little is used in the formula. In terms of quality, there is no way to determine the quality of the ingredients from looking at the tag. Vitamin A comes from many sources that range dramatically in quality. The tag does not have to list the specific source, only list “Vitamin A Supplement.” For these and other reasons, it is possible for a company to make a product of lower quality equal to that of a higher quality product simply by creative tag writing. So what are you supposed to do? The best answer is to go with a proven product supplied by a trusted company. The Whitetail Institute has been at the forefront of mineral supplementation in terms of research and innovation. The mineral and nutritional supplements offered by the Whitetail Institute have been developed through years of research and by the leading deer nutritionists in the industry. Only the highest-quality ingredients are used, and each product is formulated to maximize digestibility and usage. Imperial 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein are staples in the deer mineralsupplementation industry and have the longest history in the market of showing dramatic improvements in a deer herd. In terms of innovation, Whitetail Institute was the first company to introduce nutritional supplements designed to match a deer’s needs based on the time of year and physiological stage the deer is in. The products found in the family of Cutting Edge Nutritional Supplements (Initiate, Optimize and Sustain) remain the most innovative products to hit the market in recent years. As you can see, it is little wonder there has been con-


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

fusion among hunters and managers about the use of mineral supplements in a deer herd. There are a lot of “blurred lines” out there that make decisions difficult. But keep these critical aspects in mind. Know the difference between true mineral supplements and attractants. Realize that true mineral supplementation can improve the quality of your deer herd. Make sure your mineral site application is done correctly and choose a quality product from a trusted company. Follow these guidelines, and you can start reaping the benefits mineral supplementation can provide in your nutritional management program.

WHICH DO I USE: 30-06, 30-06 PLUS PROTEIN OR CUTTING EDGE OPTIMIZE? The Whitetail Institute offers three products designed to be used during spring and summer. Many people want to know why there are three and which they should use. First, the products are designed and formulated to match the specific nutritional needs of bucks and does during spring and summer. All are proven products with years of fieldtested results. The main difference lies in the mode of attraction. As mentioned in the article, no matter how good the nutritional profile of the product, if deer do not eat the product, it does little good. Through research the Whitetail Institute has found various ways to attract deer. 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge Optimize use different types of attraction to enhance consumption. Also, through extended research, it has been found that deer might prefer one of these products over another based on the type of consumption enhancement used. There is no set pattern to the reason behind these preference differences, as preference might change even from farm to farm in the same region. Therefore, if you are beginning a mineral-supplementation program or thinking of switching to a different Whitetail Institute product, we recommend trying our three-product sample pack. You will receive all the products: 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge Optimize. Put all three products out on your property, and let the deer tell you which you should use. See ad on page 65 or call 800-688-3030 x 1. W


CUTTING EDGE Helped Kentucky Man's Son Shoot 170-inch Monster By Charles Niquette


bout five years ago, I bought a small farm in central Kentucky to create a place where my son and I could hunt and have a reasonable chance of consistently killing trophy bucks. Of course, the lay of the land and the fact the land is surrounded on three sides by a nature sanctuary helps tremendously. First, I put in Imperial Whitetail Clover food plots on a friend’s recommendation. The deer loved it. I also experimented with Alfa-Rack and Chicory Plus and have had great success. It seems you can’t go wrong with any Whitetail Institute products. Another essential part of my deer management is to provide choice minerals year-round. For this, I use the Institute’s Cutting Edge products. I’ve been providing essential minerals for a couple of years, and there is a marked difference in the overall health of the herd and antler mass of bucks. Cutting Edge enhances a deer’s natural diet all year. Initiate is started in late winter and is used until things green up. It contains a combination of protein, energy, minerals and vitamins. The next stage is Optimize, which is used in spring and summer. The final stage uses Sustain in fall and early winter. It helps bucks get through the rut and cold-weather months. It's formulated to help reduce lost body weight and help the overall health of all deer. A neighboring farmer stopped me recently, and we chatted a while. He asked if I had seen any big deer, and I told him what I had been seeing— especially a particularly big buck I caught on one of my trail cameras. He pointed to his 40-acre alfalfa field, which goes to my fence. He said that before I bought the place, he would routinely have as many as 40 deer in his alfalfa almost any night. “I don’t know what you're doing back there, but I haven’t seen many deer at all since you started planting whatever it is www.whitetailinstitute.com

you’re growing,” he said. My 15-year-old son, Mason, hunted this year during Kentucky's youth deer season. It had been two years since he saw a shooter, and he was disappointed the first morning because he saw nothing but does and young bucks. He has been well schooled in aging deer on the hoof and can quickly determine whether a buck is mature. Saturday evening, right at sunset, a shot came from his direction, and I heard the "thwack" of

a solid hit. (I was bow-hunting on another part of the farm.) Soon, my phone rang. “I got one!” Mason said excitedly. He sure did. The massive brute scored 170-1/8 and weighed about 250 pounds before being field-dressed. I don't know who was more proud, father or son. I asked Mason how long he took to decide whether to shoot. “Less than 10 seconds," he replied. "But after I killed him, my legs got all rubbery, and I was afraid to climb down out of the stand. I was so excited and at the same time worried that he would jump up and run away. But he just stayed there. He never took a step after I fired the rifle.” I think Mason will be a life-long hunter. I just hope he gets to see another deer as good as that one. Incidentally, the buck Mason killed was the one I had seen on the trail camera earlier in the fall. Cutting Edge mineral products really made a difference with our deer. I have been feeding them for two years and have really noticed a change in the quality of the antlers. My farm is only 141 acres, but because I have a sanctuary around me, and have been using food plots and Cutting Edge, my son shot a huge deer. My food plots and Cutting Edge mineral locations really pull deer in and make them happy to stay. W

Mason Niquette, 15, shot this massive buck that scored 170-1/8 and weighed nearly 250 pounds. His father, Charles, uses Imperial Whitetail Clover as well as Cutting Edge nutritional supplements.

Vol. 17, No. 3 /


T H E W E E D D O C TO R By W. Carroll Johnson, III, Ph.D., Agronomist and Weed Scientist

Safety First When Using Herbicides


uch to the chagrin of my family, the television show “Modern Marvels” is among my favorites. The show needs to have an episode on ‘Herbicides’, since they are one of the modern marvels that allows a relatively small group of farmers to feed a hungry world. In the context of food plots, herbicides may not necessarily be essential to the success of a food plot, but weed control with herbicides may improve and extend the useful life of a perennial planting. With the benefits of herbicides comes the responsibilities of stewardship and safety. Over the years, I have written several detailed articles on various aspects of herbicide use and many of these articles are archived in the Whitetail Institute website. In this article, I want to discuss a few random aspects of herbicides that warrant further emphasis.

I regularly browse food plot sections on deer hunting forums on the internet. Weed control with herbicides is a topic that catches my attention. A common thread: What herbicide can be used to control an unknown weed in a food plot that contains several different forage species? This is an example of an honest question that rarely has a simple, straight forward answer. Often in examples of this type, the weed species identity is unknown. Correct weed identification is essential in this case since selective herbicides tend to have narrowly focused weed control spectra. Weed species distribution varies across the U. S. and the best local source for weed identification is often the county extension agent. County extension agents are indispensable pubic servants who are trained by professionals at a land-grant university, including the weed science faculty. If the county agent cannot personally inspect a fresh weed specimen, then digital images emailed to the county agent are the best alternative. In most cases, our food plot activities are on weekends or at other times when the county agent may not be available. This makes digital images and email very useful options. County agent contact information can be found on the landgrant university’s website and it would be wise to keep this contact information readily accessible. Not all weeds can be controlled by herbicides that are available for use on food plots. Even the venerable glyphosate (Roundup and generics) does not control all weed species. Every herbicide label has an extensive list of weeds that are controlled. If a weed is not on the list of controlled species, assume that it is not controlled by the herbicide. There is a chance that the weed in question can be controlled by the herbicide and has been omitted from the list since there was no data on which to base a recommendation. In this case, the herbicide user assumes all the risk. Complicating matters on herbicide use are the complex blends of forage species commonly planted for wildlife. While the blends provide a diverse selection of forage for wildlife and help hedge against food plot failure due to drought, the use of selective herbicides is limited due to the diversity of forage species in the


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

Always refer to the herbicide label for storage instructions. In general terms, store unused herbicides in their original container and in a secure weatherproof structure that is not accessible by children. Provisions need to be made in northern climates to prevent herbicides from freezing. All of this is common sense.

blend. Whenever these discussions arise with customers, I think back to extension service experiences gained early in my career. Every spring, local homeowners would call asking for a herbicide recommendation for their vegetable garden (from asparagus to zucchini) that would control every weed. That herbicide does not exist. Herbicide recommendations for food plots that are planted in the multi-species blends are nearly as restrictive. Let’s face it; there will be occasions where there are no acceptable herbicide options.

ing herbicides, have statements on the label about personal protective clothing. The more dangerous the pesticide, the greater the need for protective clothing and accessories. Fortunately, the herbicides commonly available for use in food plots are not particularly insidious. But, these herbicides require (at a minimum) chemical-resistant gloves, eye protection, long-sleeve shirt, long pants, and boots. These statements exist for a reason — to protect the applicator from acute and long-term exposure. Every pesticide label has this critical information and should be the standard reference.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING THE POSSIBLES BAG This is a serious topic that is universally ignored by amateurs and professionals alike. All pesticides, includ-

Wherever I apply herbicides, my ‘possibles bag’


Whitetail Institute


includes several gallons of potable water for cleanup, soap, household ammonia, eye flushing kit, and extra personal protective clothing. In every case in which I have personally applied herbicides in food plots, I was several miles from a potable water source. Thus, I needed to bring all of my own water. This water requirement includes the water needed for spraying, clean-up, and emergency bathing in the event of a spill or exposure due to a ruptured spray line. I consider ammonia to be indispensable when using a sprayer of any type. The last step in sprayer clean-up is to mix ammonia and water (1 quart ammonia per 25 gallons of water) and flush the sprayer with the mixture. This has been a tried-andproven practice for years and will help ensure optimum sprayer performance and minimize the risk of herbicide contamination that might injure desirable plants.



HERBICIDE STORAGE Where are your herbicides stored — garage, barn, outbuilding, shop, truck tool box, or basement? Did you buy 2-1/2 gallons of an herbicide when you needed only 6 fl. oz to treat your food plot? What are you going to do with the nearly full 2-1/2 gallon container of herbicide? I am reasonably certain that little thought is given to storage when buying herbicides. This problem is compounded when buying in bulk to save a few dollars. Purchasing just enough herbicide for your seasonal use is a wise and prudent decision — good stewardship. Always refer to the herbicide label for storage instructions. In general terms, store unused herbicides in their original container and in a secure weatherproof structure that is not accessible by children. Provisions need to be made in northern climates to prevent herbicides from freezing. All of this is common sense. One of the most blatant acts of poor judgment I have witnessed involved the use of a green screwcap soda bottle to store a dangerous herbicide. Many years ago, a former student worker in our department stopped by my office. She asked if I might know what had been in a mangled, green soda bottle. I sensed something was wrong, so I donned latex gloves and inspected the green soda bottle. The most obvious clue was the stench — like rotting flesh. I told her that I was reasonably certain the mystery substance was the herbicide paraquat. Paraquat is a highly toxic, Restricted-Use pesticide (applicators need to be licensed by the state to purchase and use the herbicide). Additionally, paraquat is formulated with an emetic (to induce vomiting when swallowed) and a stenching agent (to discourage ingestion). The lady then filled in the details. She and her husband were driving around in her father-in-law’s truck with their juvenile labrador retriever in the back. Her father-in-law had been given some ‘weed killer’ and he carelessly kept the paraquat-containing green soda bottle in the back of his truck — rolling around. A juvenile labrador retriever is a unique creature — in their eyes every object is either a toy or a food source. The puppy tore into the paraquat-containing green soda bottle and ingested a small amount of the concentrated herbicide — despite the emetic. I printed a Material Safety Data Sheet for paraquat and the lady took it to her veterinarian. There are no antidotes for acute paraquat poisoning. Later that day, the juvenile labrador retriever was euthanized. This sad story is true and described here with the woman’s permission. Horrific as this true story is, imagine if it happened to a child. W


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.

Generate the proper seed to soil contact with the Till-Ease Model 2148 Cultipacker. A great tool for achieving faster more dependable seed germination. = 48 inches wide. = 21 individual agricultural quality packer wheels made of cast iron. = Flip over design for easy transport. = Solid steel packer wheel shaft. = Greasable agricultural quality bearings. = Weight rack.

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.

2100 Welland Rd. = Mendota, IL 61342

(815) 539-6954 = www.kunzeng.com

Vol. 17, No. 3 /


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

Common Questions — Straightforward Answers Q: I am looking forward to trying out Chicory Plus this deer season. I am in Michigan and had planned to plant Chicory Plus this spring, but the spring planting dates for my area expired on June 15. I had planned to plant over the July 4th weekend. We have had a decent amount of rain where I live, so won’t that make it okay for me to plant in July? A: The better course will be for you to prepare your seedbed now, and then plant during the fall planting dates for your area, Aug. 1 — September 1. Actually, though, that’s good news — you’ll only be waiting a few extra weeks to plant, and while you wait your lime will have more time to raise your soil pH, and if you need to, you can also incorporate a Roundup application in your preparation efforts to help control grass and weeds before you plant. There are a number of reasons why we recommend planting dates, and why we do not recommend planting outside them. Chicory Plus is extremely drought-tolerant, but if you plant later than your spring planting dates, you run a much higher risk that the forage plants won’t have time to mature to optimum heat and drought tolerance before the hottest, driest part of the summer arrives. Also, winter-hardiness is one of the hallmark features of Chicory Plus, but planting too late

in the fall can also pose elevated risks by subjecting the forage plants to an early hard frost for which they have not had time to prepare. If you have missed your spring planting dates, the better course is to prepare your seedbed now, and then wait until your fall dates to plant. Start now by adding whatever lime is required to raise your soil pH to 6.5 or higher. Disk the lime in thoroughly, and then smooth the seedbed with a weighted drag or cultipacker. Once you do that, your hard work is done. If your plot site has a lot of grass and weeds in it, wait a few weeks after you disked in the lime and smoothed the seedbed. By then, grass and weeds should have started to grow again, and you can spray them with Roundup. That’s an optional step, but one that is often a good move where weed and grass competition is heavy — especially when one has the time to do it, and you do! If you do add the Roundup step, the trick is to not turn the ground again after spraying Roundup so that you don’t bring up more dormant weed seeds and re-infest the plot. Then, when your fall planting dates arrive (and at least 10 days since you last sprayed Roundup), go ahead and plant. Q: My soil-test results showed that my soil pH was low, so I added the amount of lime recommended by my soil test before planting. How long will the lime I

added keep my pH up? A: Good question! The answer is, “It depends.” Different soil types tend to hold pH longer than others. The issue is also affected by such things as organic matter, fertilizer, and even natural factors such as acid rain. If you are interested in seeing how well your particular soil holds pH, you can test the soil periodically over the life of the planting and compare the pH readings. Remember that the only time you’ll be able to raise your soil pH with ag lime or pelleted lime is before you plant. That’s because lime works in particle-to-particle contact with the soil (meaning that a piece of lime must physically touch a piece of dirt to neutralize that dirt particle’s pH). That means that you have to thoroughly incorporate (disk or till) lime into the top few inches of soil to raise pH, and of course the only chance you'll have to till the soil is before you plant. It can be a good idea if possible to top dress Imperial perennial plots every year or so with 500-800 pounds of pelleted lime if you can. As I mentioned, that won't raise soil pH, but pH tends to start dropping at the surface as a rule, and adding a little more lime to the surface each year or so can help slow that process. W

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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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3


Kansas Hunter Finds Big Buck Success with IMPERIAL WHITETAIL CLOVER, CHICORY PLUS & EXTREME By Dave Stuewe


hunt a series of small family farms in northeastern Kansas. The last 10 years have brought a lot of changes to the way my family approaches deer hunting. Several years ago the deer were plentiful, and we didn’t have any problems getting access to hunting ground. Things changed the past few years, however, and seeing quality bucks and getting access to hunting land became extremely difficult.

The landscape in northeast Kansas where I bow hunt is not the most fertile ground for growing crops, in fact that’s probably one of the contributing factors why you no longer see large milo and wheat fields in this area. Most farming operations include running large ranches and haying brome fields with a few alfalfa hay fields. The small family farm has been decreasing for the last several decades as well and with it has gone the edge cover and places for wildlife to feed. I feel the reduction of prairie chicken, quail and deer in this area has been a direct result of this trend. The increased harvest of deer in this area over the last decade has also led to very tough hunting conditions. But one thing has stayed true. There are still some of the largest-racked whitetail deer in North America living here. The problem is getting them to come out of the deep draws and canyons during daylight hours to areas where a bow or rifle hunter can get an opportunity to harvest one. I’m often asked by folks when I’m traveling on business “what keeps you in Kansas?” My answer is simple — two things, family and giant whitetails. As the hunting has gotten tougher my dad and his four brothers have taken steps to increase the odds of seeing and harvesting more bucks. I owe all my opportunities to hunt deer to their efforts. They have been teaching me the “ins and outs” of being an ethical and successful deer hunter for the past 20 years. Four years ago my dad and his brothers started experimenting with small food plots planted in Imperial Whitetail Clover. The results have been awesome, and lessons they have learned over this time continue to show better results each year. The products that have shown the best results are Imperial Whitetail Clover in areas with decent run-off and pH soil and Imperial Whitetail Extreme in areas where poor soil pH and moisture content exist. We have also had

David Steuwe of Kansas shot this buck that grossed more than 180 inches with his bow. His family started using Imperial Whitetail products more than four years ago.


Vol. 17, No. 3 /



great success with Chicory Plus in our operation. In the very first year it was evident that the planting and preparation they put into the Imperial Clover fields was a very wise management choice for the wildlife in our area. The deer and turkey were eating it as fast as it was coming up. This landscape is made up large prairies and I have witnessed deer traveling several miles to these food plots to feed. Being able to draw deer from neighboring property to these clover fields is just another added benefit. They have also done a very good job of managing the deer harvested off these fields and didn’t even hunt them much the first couple years. My dad and uncles really spent time scouting and hunting these areas two seasons ago and around Thanksgiving my son, Hunter, and I were hunting fall turkey near one of the Imperial Clover fields and saw a very nice mature buck that had a main-frame 10-point rack and some abnormal points. Hunter said he thought he could see 14-points. Less than two weeks later during rifle season my Uncle Mark took a nice 130-inch buck off one of the Imperial Clover fields. And then my Uncle Gerald proved my son correct when he shot the buck we had seen sneaking into the Imperial Clover field while turkey hunting. The buck had 14 scoreable points and grossed nearly 160 inches. Not bad for the first year. But the hunting would get even better. The opening day of last year’s black powder season had my dad sitting on one of the Imperial Clover fields. The first night he saw five or six bucks come into the clover field with one true giant Boone and Crockett, as he described it. The bucks were all just a little too far for him to take a shot with open sights on his black powder gun. He repositioned a ladder stand the following afternoon to try and get himself in better position, but the big buck didn’t show up that evening. Archery season opens Oct. 1 in Kansas, but I chose not to hunt until the rut started to fire up in November. I scheduled W some time off and planned on spending most of it in

I have a great dad who let me sit in his tree stand and some great uncles who plant and maintain these Imperial Whitetail Clover, Extreme and Chicory Plus fields… without these things I would have never been able to harvest this buck of a lifetime. my tree stand. I spent my first evening, Nov. 8, sitting on the Imperial Clover field. I only saw a couple small bucks and a few does but a cold front was moving in the next day and I was anticipating the action to heat up. The next morning I headed back to the Imperial Clover field well before daylight and was frustrated that I bumped a deer off the field while climbing into my stand. I did see a very nice buck out cruising in the open at about 9 a.m., which was a very encouraging sign. I hunted a different location the next couple days without seeing much. But each time I would drive back to the lodge I would see bucks out cruising at all times of day and my Uncle Ervan had told me he had seen really nice bucks out running in the hills around noon. That told me it was time to get in a tree and stay put. The next morning I chose not to hunt the Imperial Clover field for fear of pushing deer off the field in the early morning darkness. That afternoon the wind turned in my favor and I headed back to the Imperial Clover field right after lunch. I decided to cut right through the middle of the field to get to the ladder stand my dad had put up two months earlier and used a scent drag soaked in dominant buck urine to cover my trail. It was a clear cool afternoon with the wind in my face. The first deer I saw was a nice 8-pointer approaching the field from the timbered ridge behind me. I was worried he would wind me as he circled the field down-wind and that’s exactly what happened. I hadn’t anticipated the

deer coming in from that direction and was in the middle of the thought process telling myself that the hunt could still be a success when I looked out in the Imperial Clover field. There was a massive buck 200 yards out and headed my way. I reached up and grabbed my bow and stood up in the stand. The buck had his nose down and hit my scent drag trail I had made walking to the stand. He kept his nose to the ground and came directly at me like he was on a string. It took little time to decide that this deer was a shooter and when he stopped quartering away at 30 yards I was already at full draw. I placed the 30-yard pin on his shoulder and touched the release. The arrow hit a little high but I could tell it went in at a good angle. The deer spun and ran away from me into a small milo field adjacent to the Imperial Clover field. I know that deer always look bigger from behind but after seeing his mass and width from that angle I had to sit down because I was shaking uncontrollably. He only ran about 50 yards into the uncut milo before stopping. He stood still for a few seconds; then staggered and fell. I couldn’t believe what had just happened — a buck of that caliber gives me that shot opportunity and then goes down within sight of the stand. Unbelievable! There was no ground shrinkage on this buck; his bases were 7-1/2 inches. I couldn’t wrap my hand around either side and he had a solid 20-inch inside spread. The buck grossed more than 180 inches. I know that to harvest a deer like this you need some luck on your side but I had more than luck that afternoon. I have a great dad who let me sit in his tree stand and some great uncles who plant and maintain these Imperial Whitetail Clover, Extreme and Chicory Plus fields. Without these things I would have never been able to harvest this buck of a lifetime. Thanks guys and thank you to the Whitetail Institute of North America for making last hunting season one I will never forget. W

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3


THE EVOLUTION OF QDM A Michigan Success Story

Charles J. Alsheimer

By Charles J. Alsheimer


f you haven’t noticed, deer management models are changing rapidly across America. Though traditional deer management models of selective doe harvests and unlimited buck harvests are still the norm, more landowners are working hard to produce a better deer management model. No longer are hunters and landowners content with deer herds heavily skewed toward does and yearling bucks. From Maine to Florida to Wisconsin, the trend is shifting toward better deer and better deer hunting. In 1991, I was a part of a group of landowners in western New York who decided to try a relatively new concept of deer management (at least for our area) called quality deer management. It took a while to gain the attention of local hunters, but the results have been nothing short of amazing.


Vol. 17, No. 3 /



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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3


Charles J. Alsheimer

No longer is Sanilac County just the land of yearling bucks. Now, thanks to the Evergreen Deer Management Cooperative, mature bucks are common in the deer harvest.

Evergreen’s dream has become a reality. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Not only are more landowners in the Thumb area becoming interested in it, but the quality of the deer herd and habitat is increasing. For example, Evergreen’s 2006 census reports revealed a 121 percent increase in the number of bucks that were 2-1/2 years old or older from 2003 to 2005. That’s pretty impressive for any part of the country. As a writer, I was able to chronicle our area’s progress and successes. After I started writing about our area’s QDM journey, I began receiving inquiries from other parts of the country, asking me to come and share how our group got such a successful QDM program running. A month after 9/11, Michigan’s Thumb Area Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association brought me to the Great Lake’s State to share with hunters and landowners my deer hunting seminar, which is geared toward all aspects of quality deer management, including how to get a program started. While there, I met a group of landowners who not only had the QDM vision but were putting that into action. Their story is worth sharing. BACKGROUND Sanilac County is about 100 miles northeast of Detroit, Mich., in some of the most productive farmland in the United States. To Michiganders, this area is known as the Thumb Area. The region’s topography is relatively flat, and the habitat is made up of about 80 percent farmland and 20 percent woods. With abundant cash-crop farms and adequate cover, this rich farm belt teems with whitetail deer. As you might expect, the deer hunting tradition in this part of Michigan runs deep. Until the last decade, the deer harvest in this area fell within the traditional deer management model. In short, the buck harvest was pretty much, “If it’s brown and has antlers, it’s down.” Yearling bucks made up more than 90 percent of the yearly harvest. In addition, does were underharvested throughout the area. BIRTH OF A DREAM Ray Hendrick is a carpenter from Cass City, Mich. and one of a handful of hunters and landowners who caught the quality deer management vision in the mid-'90s. “I had hunted whitetails all my life,” he said. “I had shot quite a few small bucks and really wanted to raise the bar but wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. “In the early 1990s, some fellow Thumb hunters and I began reading about the QDM movements that were taking place in other parts of the U.S. and believed we could have the same kind of deer management program here. Our goal early on was to be able to hunt better bucks and bring our doe population down.” In 1995, Frankenmuth dentist Frank Piesko got the ball rolling by approaching one of his neighboring landowners, Phil Nichols. His plan was to see if Nichols’ hunting camp would consider letting small bucks walk during the upcoming season. They came to an agreement to put most yearling bucks off limits on their land and a couple of other properties that wanted to participate. That represented 1,080 acres. Unfortunately the agreement began unraveling before it could gain momentum. During the first hunting season after the agreement, one of the camp’s hunters shot a buck that was supposed to be off limits. The kill left some with a sour taste in their mouth and jeopardized the agreement Piesko and Nichols had made. The agreement took an even bigger hit in 1997 when several small yearling bucks were harvested. At that point, things began unraveling quickly. Not wanting to see the agreement end, Piesko and Nichols decided to have a meeting. This time, they sought outside help in an attempt to educate their hunters by having a local conservation officer with a background in quality deer management speak. Rather than confine the meeting to just their hunters, they invited a few surrounding landowners to the event. By the time the gathering ended, additional landowners came on board, swelling the acreage to 1,280 acres. www.whitetailinstitute.com

Vol. 17, No. 3 /



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A WORK IN PROGRESS From the beginning, everyone involved made it clear the program was voluntary. The guidelines allowed young, handicapped, older or first-time hunters to take a legal buck of their choice. After the first buck, they were asked to follow the cooperative’s recommended guidelines, which meant a buck had to have a minimum of eight points and a 15-inch earto-ear spread. In addition, button bucks were off-limits. The 1998 hunting season was a bit difficult for some. Though voluntary, the recommended guidelines forced hunters to pass up bucks, something most had never done in their life. Throughout the season, only three bucks were hung on the various camps’ deer poles. However, the cooperative more than made up for the lean buck harvest by killing 35 does, a number unheard of before the group was formed. When the 1998 season had ended, most within the cooperative believed they had turned the corner, and the future looked bright. That was confirmed in 1999. When the 1999 season opened, hunters within the group were excited by what was happening. In addition to the yearling buck sightings, there were many nice 2-1/2-year-old bucks roaming participating properties. In 1999, the co-op killed four bucks and 35 does. The program was about to blossom. Year three of the cooperative, 2000, was a real eye-opener to members and surrounding landowners who were not a part of the group. Now there were 3-1/2-year-old bucks roaming the landscape, and the sight of these brutes began getting a lot of attention. Six 2-1/2- and 3-1/2-year-old bucks were killed in Fall 2000 by cooperating members, along with a 9-pointer that didn’t quite hit the recommended guidelines. As in the previous two years, the hunters killed 35 does. THE DREAM TAKES FLIGHT Big antlers have a way of getting a hunter’s attention. By the time the third season was in the bag, several landowners bordering the cooperative began asking how the cooperative was doing things. With interest increasing, it was decided to have another informational meeting to see if others wanted to be part of the group. Group members decided to invite additional landowners within Evergreen Township, with the core area covering eight square miles, or 5,120 acres. The meeting was held at the local town hall, with 35 landowners attending. The gathering generated much discussion, and by the time word had spread from the meeting, more landowners in the township wanted to be part of the group’s quality deer management

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

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3


movement, swelling the total acreage to 10,000. The properties owned by the participators varied from 10 to 400 acres. The group officially became known as the Evergreen Deer Management Cooperative. Although the original members were enthusiastic to have new members participating, they wouldn’t know of the newcomer’s commitment until the 2001 hunting season rolled around. Based on the limited amount of shooting during the season and the reported kill, it was obvious the participators were serious about their commitment to Evergreen. Because everything was voluntary, it was difficult to determine the exact deer kill in 2001. However, many fine bucks and more than 100 does were taken. As near as can be determined, the kill was in line with the 2000 harvest but larger because three times as much acreage was involved.

KEEPING THE FIRE LIT To keep the excitement level high, Evergreen hosts an Antler Round-Up each year at a local church. The event has become a “must attend” for local deer hunters. Evergreen provides free salads, venison brats and nonalcoholic beverages, all donated by local meat processors and grocery stores. To defray costs, the group does 50-50 and muzzleloader raffles. But there is more to the Antler Round-Up than food and giveaways. At each Antler Round-Up, there are seminar speakers who provide cutting-edge concepts on food plots, quality deer management and what is going on within Michigan’s deer hunting community. Official measurers from the Commemorative Bucks of Michigan are also present at each round-up to measure racks.



To take its deer management program to the next level, Evergreen started taking a deer census in Summer 2001 that determined how many does should be targeted for harvest. Though not a science or perfect, it was decided the study would be done once a week for eight weeks each summer, starting in early July. To accomplish that, two to four co-op members cruise township roads the last two hours of the day and count the number of mature does and bucks they see. This lets them get a handle on whether they are higher or lower than the estimated 46 deer per square mile the Michigan DNR says their area has. In turn, they use their census numbers to help plan the doe harvest each year. The group works hard to determine accurate harvest numbers within Evergreen Township. Because the program is voluntary, harvest numbers are not exact but close. It is estimated that about 15 to 20 mature bucks (2-1/2-plusyear-olds) and nearly 100 does are killed each year.

The bottom line is that Evergreen’s dream has become a reality. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Not only are more landowners in the Thumb area becoming interested in it, but the quality of the deer herd and habitat is increasing. For example, Evergreen’s 2006 census reports revealed a 121 percent increase in the number of bucks that were 2-1/2 years old or older from 2003 to 2005. That’s pretty impressive for any part of the country. Perhaps Evergreen’s success can be summed up best by Hendrick. “What we’ve seen go on here is impressive," he said. "I always dreamed of having deer hunting like Illinois, Iowa and other places can offer. We now have it, thanks to the hard work of our cooperating members. You know, when this all began, we had a lot of doubters. Well, no more. I see things only getting better because we have so many dedicated landowners and hunters involved in the process. It’s been wonderful to be a part of it.” W


Vol. 17, No. 3 /



Customers do the talking about (Continued from page 25) urging, began to hunt again. They are sold. Many others have heard of the results we have had and are impressed too. My wife has hunted for several years since our children became of age. She has had opportunities but never saw a deer she deemed worth shooting until this year. My 15 year old daughter missed the one I shot. She then passed up several smaller ones since she knew what the potential was. We continued to see at least two other equally as nice bucks in our small area. Hunting in Pennsylvania is different than what we watch on the outdoor shows. Mostly, there are small tracts of land that the deer wander through but you can’t keep them solely on your property. We feel Whitetail Institute products have made the deer spend more time in our area. We are on 110 acres. We hope you enjoy the pictures. P.S. Our season is over. From what we have heard, the deer spent most of their time on our tract of land…. The neighboring hunters did not fair as well as we did.

Lauren Wildschuetz – Missouri Three years ago, the owners of a farm I had permission to hunt on, decided to sell it. Since I knew the property pretty well, I made some phone calls and my nephew and two other friends decided to purchase it with me. It turned out to be a great investment. Enclosed you will find photos of my 8 year old son, Brady, and my nephew, Nicholas, with their deer taken last fall from the farm we have now owned for 3 years in North Central Missouri. When we first got the farm in the spring (which is approximately 240 acres of timber and 7 to 8 acres of food plots), we prepared it by using Imperial Whitetail Clover. I was very happy with how easy the clover was to plant and take care of. I had always dreamed of taking my own son deer hunting, so when he was old enough I decided to start teaching him about gun safety. Last summer, I bought him a single shot, 243 New England Springfield, rifle that I had modified


WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

from the local gun smith. We started practicing as soon as it was ready and when we finally got the courage to tell my wife… (She ended up being pretty cool with it). By the fall, the plots were looking great. We spent some time going to the little creek bottom field that had Imperial Clover planted in it to put up a deer stand and do some clearing. We did a lot of practicing and everything went fine. We couldn’t wait until youth season! When opening weekend of the youth season was finally here we hit the woods nice and early in the morning. We didn’t see a thing. In the afternoon we went down to the little creek bottom stand. It wasn’t more than an hour after we got settled when a doe entered the field followed a little later by two more. After watching them for a while my son said that he saw a buck. I didn’t see it but he kept insisting that he saw one right where the two does had come out… it’s great to have young eyes! I reminded him that it would have to have at least 4 points. He said that it did for sure on the side he could see. I told him to go ahead and get his gun ready. Well, the buck made his way into the field and started chasing the does around, made a scrape, but still there was no shot. Then, the wind changed and was blowing right toward the deer. This made me nervous because the buck was looking straight toward us. I asked my son, “Do you have a shot?” He said, “Not yet.” I asked again and he said, “Yes!” He breathed and then squeezed just like I taught him. He nervously asked, “Did I hit it?” I couldn’t tell because the buck jumped into the timber so fast. We were able to follow the trail a bit but we were not able to find him. The next morning we went out looking again with very little luck. I was so nervous that we would not be able to find it. Finally, we heard my nephew yell that he had found it. What a relief those words were! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it! It was a 12 pointer grossing around 122 inches and weighing 165 pounds. What an experience! I know that all you other dads know what I am saying when I say that was a time in my life I will never forget. My nephew’s deer was shot the opening morning last deer season on a ridge about 100 yards from another Imperial Clover patch. We had seen some really good pictures from that area so we put a stand there the day before opening morning and told Nicholas it was all his! It didn’t take him long to see a nice deer walking down the ridge. He put his gun up, had a clear shot and fired. The deer just stood there. He fired again and the deer just stood there! He got a little nervous so he started to look through his binoculars. He was shaking too much so he put them down and raised his gun again while the deer stood in the same place! Then, the deer took two steps and Nicholas thought it was going to take off so he shot again this time at the neck (because it was the only shot he could take at the time) but the deer still just stood there. He couldn’t believe this was happening to him and was worried that he would have to reload if this continued. Then, the deer took some steps and he shot again. This time the deer stumbled and finally went down. When we walked up to it, he couldn’t believe the size of this deer! He sat down next to it and just reflected on what had just happened because he knew this may never happen again. The deer that he shot turned out to be a 17 point buck with is G2’s and G3’s going over 13” each. The gross total score was just under 175 inches. We also took 2 other nice deer that year and we contribute a lot of it to Whitetail Institute products. Everyone we know was asking us what we had in our food plots and we told them that it was Imperial Whitetail Clover.

Michael Hutchens – South Carolina This boy had been feeding on Imperial Whitetail Clover- its great stuff. I advise any deer hunter or wildlife

photographer to plant this clover. If you plant it they will come.

Stacy Smith – Tennessee I planted Imperial Whitetail Clover and I was amazed at the attractiveness that this product offered. See photo.

Jeff Lukhard – Virginia Whitetail Institute products are the best stuff going! I’ve used your Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory PLUS, PowerPlant and 30-06 products for years. This 22” wide 10

point is just another example of QDM. Let the little ones go and sock the protein to them. Thanks and keep up the good work.

Todd Langenhorst – Wisconsin I own/manage a total of 87 acres of land in central Wisconsin. When I first obtained the land, my first objective was to get some of the acreage into the government CRP www.whitetailinstitute.com

Institute products… program. Under this program, I planted approximately 20 acres of the property into pine trees and switch grass in order to improve/enhance the bedding areas. My next objective was to focus on food sources and food plots. Since the majority of my property is used for corn production, I felt that I needed some type of clover or alfalfa to supplement and increase nutrition. Now being that this was the first time I was in the market for a food plot product, I must admit that I was lost as to what product would be best. There are so many products on the market and everyone states that theirs is the best. After much research and time spent talking to friends, I decided to purchase some Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus and plant a three acre food plot. I must say that in the beginning I was a bit skeptical about your products. However, after my first season, I can honestly say that I am very pleased with the results that your products produced. Not only did I get a very nice stand of lush greenery, my deer sightings increased dramatically all through bow season. In fact, the first time I bow hunted over the plot, I had two very nice 8 point bucks and several does came out to feed. By the time our gun season arrived in November, I had seen many different bucks on our property and my son, who was 13 and had not yet shot his first buck, was getting excited for the opener. The first day of gun season came and passed without him being able to get a shot at a buck. However, on the second morning the action picked up. A magnum 10 point buck slipped off our property and made it on to the neighbor’s property before my son could get a shot. Then 30 short minutes later another buck offered him a shot at 160 yards. What we had thought was only 1 ½ year old 8 point buck turned out to be a heavy rack 3 ½ year old 11 point buck that green scored 148.5 gross inches (see photo). Needless to say my son and I were ecstatic and we can’t wait for next season. Thanks for making a great product. We will continue to use and promote Whitetail Institute products.

Patrick Patterson – Wisconsin PowerPlant is the product I really love. Deer really go for it. See photo. Whitetail Institute is the best, our deer get bigger and better every year.

Nathan Brewer – NB, Canada My family just purchased property here in New Brunswick, Canada (located next to Maine). The old abandoned farmland is 440 acres in size, of which only 7-8 acres is in field and the rest of the area is wooded. I couldn’t wait until spring to start on my food plot program, so I didn’t. I decided to begin using Whitetail Institute’s Cutting Edge products. I started in November with Sustain. The deer absolutely love this stuff! It took a couple of weeks to really catch on, but since then the action has exploded. Using my trail camera, I was able to identify 5-7 deer using www.whitetailinstitute.com

the site (2 were bucks). Now, 3 months later, there are about 12 deer using the site (6 bucks – spike, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 11 pointers!). I included a picture of the 11 pointer, which I can’t wait to see what he’ll look like feeding on Whitetail Institute food plots. The deer love it so much; they are fighting over it (I included a picture of 2 does duelling over the site). I have had more than 100 visits in the first week February to the Cutting Edge lick site! Some people would say “That stuff doesn’t work up here [in Canada]”. I would have to say otherwise, and I have the pictures to prove it. Thanks Whitetail Institute!

Cleo Roseberry – Indiana Imperial Whitetail Clover is a terrific product. We are seeing more bucks with larger racks and heavier bodies. We also are seeing more does feeding in our fields. Imperial Whitetail C l o v e r made a d r e a m come true for me. During the spring my b r o t h e r, Ray Roseberry and I planted approximately 6 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover in 3 different plots on his farm in Switzerland County. During the following bow season, he and I both got nice bucks. I was hunting from a tree stand at the edge of one of the clover plots, when this nice 10 point came to the edge of the field and was eating clover. I am 68 years old, and have had several dreams of a buck with a rack like this, now I can thank God that I finally got one, and it is for real. Most of all, thanks to God for giving me the good health to be out there.

ask why my buck's seem to get larger every year that Whitetail Institute products are the best food plot products you can plant for your deer. The more protein the deer have available to them the larger the racks will be. Plain and simple every seed blend that I have used of Whitetail Institutes’ has performed just as they said it would. Thanks again for a great product line.

Mike Loomis – New York Here is a picture of some Central New York deer enjoy-

ing a mid winter's snack. These deer in upstate N.Y. have pawed through more than a foot of snow to get to the Imperial Whitetail clover beneath. This photo was taken at the end of January. Thanks for making a high quality product that makes such a difference!

Matt Cash – North Carolina When I began using Imperial Whitetail Clover on my land I noticed an increase in the size and population of the deer.

Joe Erb – Ohio

Enclosed find a picture of five acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover. This buck and many others were shot on this plot. W

Chris Farmer – Kentucky I just wanted to take the time to drop you a line to thank you for a great product. The picture enclosed is the fourth buck over 130" harvested on a 150 acre farm. I am a hunting guide in Cadiz KY and after the success I have had on my farm with your product we are now using it in the food plots on our ground the customers hunt with great results. Using our 4-wheeler and implements we are able to put your product back where the deer live and give our customers a great chance at harvesting a buck of a lifetime. The buck in the photo scored 163 4/8. I tell everyone that

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. 3 /



Son and Mother Shoot First Bucks On IMPERIAL CLOVER Food Plot By Susie Marietta


believe it was Forrest Gump’s mother who said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Isn’t it satisfying, though, when that one chocolate you pick out of the box just happens to be your favorite. Sometimes hunting is like that, too. My love for hunting started early. I was raised in the country and hunted small game, upland birds and varmints with my Dad. The fact that the three oldest kids in our family were girls did not stop us from hunting, fishing, driving combines and tractors and various other activities often reserved for the male gender in other families. We now live on a small farm in the middle of Kansas with a large pond and a meandering river. Deer and wild turkeys are abundant. My hunting memories are a special part of me; so getting my kids started hunting means more than just taking time out to get it done. It’s somewhere between a “keen desire” and “instinctual behavior.” That objective has now been met for all of my kids now that Tom, my youngest, was old enough to deer hunt this year. It’s almost a daily activity here; deer hunting, that is. Besides spotting and keeping track of deer activities on our 58 acres, I like to help insure that they stick around for the “fun stuff.” Planting trees and shrubs attractive to deer is an ongoing process, as well as maintaining a food plot planted with Imperial Whitetail Clover from the Whitetail Institute. As hunting season approaches we spend more and more time watching and patterning the deer. The first Imperial Clover patch was planted in 2002. It is somewhere between 2 and 3 acres. It has improved each year. We had planted a different kind of clover the year before, and it didn't do well at all. This year we actually pastured a few horses on the food plot for a while this summer. They mowed it flat. We took them off around the first of September and within a couple weeks the Imperial Clover was a foot high again, and the deer moved right back in. We have taken a number of deer and turkeys in the food plot. And now I’d like to tell you the story about my son’s first deer. Since this was the first year Tom was going to be old enough to hunt, I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that he had a successful hunt. We had often talked about other kids and their experiences. Tom didn’t think he wanted to shoot “the biggest buck” his first year. He was afraid that if he didn’t get a big buck the next time that he might be disappointed in years to come. I reassured him that if he got a monster buck he would probably be hooked on hunting regardless of what happened in the future. He thought maybe he would like to start by just getting a doe for his first deer, as his brother and sister had done in the past, or maybe a small buck. I told him that would be fine with me, but if that monster did happen to step into his sights, don’t forget to pull the trigger. In the days before his hunt I spent time watching our Imperial Clover patch from our platform tree stand where his hunt would take place. Since Tom was in school he wasn’t able to do a lot of the spotting with me. Mostly I saw does and their babies in the Imperial Clover on a daily basis. This was good, I thought. Where there are does, the bucks 64

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

This 10-point buck was Susie Marietta’s first archery buck. It was taken in the woods, just off the side of a Imperial Clover food plot. Since planting the food plot Susie has had three kids take their first deer on the Imperial Clover.

will follow. Finally I managed to see an odd young buck in the Imperial Clover. I knew I would recognize this buck if I ever saw him again. He had a rather small but very upright, narrow rack with main beams that almost touched in the front. There was something else strange about this fellow, too. As I looked at him with my binoculars, or “Nocs” as Tom calls them, I could see a very prominent black circle on the left side of his face between his eye and ear. I looked at it for the longest time, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell what the heck it was; an injury, a growth of hair or perhaps only a stain or some mud. At any rate, he was a strange-looking deer that I hoped Tom would be able to remove from the gene pool. I gave Tom a call and told him I had found his buck. He got more and more excited about the idea as I described the deer to him. I told my fiancé, Mike, that I had picked out a buck for Tom. He said he hoped I hadn’t gotten Tom too excited about that buck because you “never know what you’re gonna get.” He also reminded me how we have been hunting a certain large buck ever since we moved here, and no one has managed to get him. Now, with hunter’s education behind him, shooting practice completed and his rifle sighted in, all Tom had to do was wait for the special youth weekend so he could hunt. When that morning arrived we were ready. Tom was curiously calm. He didn’t seem near as excited as my other kids had been on their first hunt. I didn’t think much about it. We gathered our gear; Tom with his gun and me with my camera and “Nocs.” It was still dark, so we slowly worked our way to the clover with the help of a flashlight. As we reached the last

Tom Marietta shot his first deer on an Imperial Clover food plot. Here he is with his mother, Susie.

gate before crossing into the Imperial Clover, I heard something. I pointed the flashlight toward the sound. Holy cow! Eyeballs everywhere! The Imperial Clover field that Tom and I needed to cross in order to reach our stand was filled with deer! With the sound of our approach they all ran to the hedgerow on the north edge of the field. The clover patch is about 100 yards wide and 175 yards long, so they didn’t run far. I didn’t want to spook them any more than I had to, but I did want Tom to have the advantage of hunting from the stand; so we continued toward the stand. I told Tom to stick close and I kept the flashlight pointed at the deer so they would see the light rather than our forms as we walked along. I was surprised they all stayed right there in the edge of the woods, within 50 yards of us. As we made the last turn toward the stand, a young deer hopped out of the hedge right in front of us. We stopped. It was only about 30 yards away, between the stand and us. I kept the light on it. I was afraid to keep walking because I didn’t want to spook them all so much that they would take off up the river for the day. Instead, I made a clicking with my mouth, kind of like you would when you want your horse to speed up a tad. The fawn ignored me. I decided to wave the light of the flashlight just a little. That did it. He took off back into the hedgerow and stayed there with the other deer the whole time Tom and I climbed into the stand and waited for the morning light. Ah, now I could relax. It’s such a wonderful feeling to be in the woods with the trees and stars overhead and deer all around. It gives me a feeling of peace and serenity I cherish. What a morning. As the sky slowly started to lighten, Tom and I could see deer playing in the Imperial Clover. One would cross one way, then another the other way. We watched a doe and her baby meander back and forth. One particular fawn was so funny to watch it was hard to keep from laughing. He walked straight toward the pasture directly away from us. He was watching one of the horses grazing on the other side of the fence. The little fawn couldn’t have stretched his ears any farther listening to and watching the horse. He stomped his feet. What a little tough guy. As the fawn turned and headed back across the Imperial Clover; he offered us a perfect shot. I told Tom to take him if he wanted. His reply was, “No, I think I’ll wait.” Uh-oh, I thought. I hope Tom is not going to be the type who can’t pull the trigger when the time comes. We waited and took the liberty of talking in a whisper. Tom was concerned that he might not make a good shot, or that he might not hit it at all. Half jokingly I told him, “One sure way to always get a deer is to slow your projectile down to 55 mph and put headlights on it.” We worked so hard at stifling our laughter but I’m sure the stand was shaking. Two large does appeared at the edge of the woods. Both offered a good shot. I told Tom he could take either one. Once again, no, he wanted to wait. Now I really was starting to wonder. This was the kid who was worried because he didn’t want to shoot too large of a buck for his first deer. Now he didn’t want to take a fawn or a doe. We waited. As the clock ticked on, I was beginning to think I was going to have to take a break and perhaps continue our hunt later that evening. Oh, well, if he doesn’t get a deer, at least he had already had a great morning with lots of deer activity. I’d give it 30 more minutes. Another deer stepped out to the edge of the field, but it didn’t give us much of a shot. I wasn’t even sure Tom could see it, as I was watching it through a “window” in the trees. I raised my “Nocs” and realized this was the strange little buck I had spotted the week before. Yes, it was unmistakable. Slowly and quietly I said, “Tom, there’s your buck.” Suddenly the kid who was so nonchalant earlier perked up. “Really! Where?” he said. “Move over here… I think you can see him from here,” I replied. “Oh, Mom! My heart’s going 90 miles an hour,” Tom said back. www.whitetailinstitute.com

“Just take your time and make sure you’ve got that crosshair right where you want it, then squeeze the trigger,” I said to calm his nerves. BANG! As I watched, the buck took off but I could see he was hit hard. The thing I couldn’t see was where the heck he went. Two jumps and he was out of sight due to all the trees. By then, Tom was a bundle of adrenaline, wondering about his shot and where the deer went. On the other side of the hedgerow was a soybean field. I knew he had taken off into the beans. Tom and I walked to where the deer stood when he shot. Yes, there was a little blood, but not much. We could follow the tracks, but which ones? There were deer tracks going every which way. It was a whitetail dance hall. We were able to follow the blood trail about 50 yards, being careful to mark the trail as we went and trying not to obscure what little blood we could find. Scanning the field, we could not spot the deer, and I had no intention of traipsing back and forth through the beans that were so near to harvest. He must have run back into the woods. We combed through the woods to the south of where we last saw him, but couldn’t find a trace. It was thick woods with briars, tangled vines and loaded with poison ivy. As much as I hated to, I told Tom let’s wait until Mike got home in an hour or so. We made our way back to the house to cool off and rest. By the time Mike got there I had thought about where the buck must have gone. I was able to walk straight to the deer, which was in the woods to the north. We breathed a sigh of relief. Tom took hold of the deer’s antlers and looked them over. He was the same upright 8-point for sure, with a few small kickers and one side of his main beam somewhat palmated and nearly crossing in the front. The black spot on the side of the buck’s face turned out to be an extremely large black mole attached to the buck’s skin. Tom gave the buck a few good, confident pats. His smile told me he was a happy boy. “I was really excited,” he told me. “I felt like I did something really good. I wanted to do this really bad for a long time, and I finally got to. It was really neat to get the exact deer I went after. The Imperial Clover patch helped make sure there were a lot of deer to choose from.” What a feeling of satisfaction. Another deer hunter was born and Tom managed to pull exactly what he wanted out of that box of chocolates. Editor’s Note: Susie Marietta, Tom’s mother, is a Certified Kansas Hunter Education instructor. She has taught bowhunting in the NRA program "Women on Target" and has been a guest instructor for Kansas Bowhunter Education, and hopes to be certified in that soon. Tom also shot his first turkey from a corner of the clover patch. That was an exciting hunt, too. He was out there for about 15 minutes when the turkeys appeared at the other side of the clover, then it took about 20 minutes to call them in close enough for a shot. W

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Vol. 17, No. 3 /



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The Future Of Our Sport

John Dent — Alabama My son, Taylor started deer hunting with me at about age 7, but only in very small doses. I lived near a management area for a few years and we would go for short hunting trips because it takes a while for a child to learn the basics of gun safety and hunting and be able to have fun as well, so we took it basically in small doses the first few years. There were times when we would only be in the woods for about 30-40 minutes and then we would leave. I had a couple of portable enclosed ground blinds and I recall him taking a nap a couple of times in them. Taylor has several friends who are deer hunters and have harvested at least one if not more deer, so that factor along with my hopes for him as well, began to drive his competitive spirits to finally get one under his belt. This hunting trip was a special father son invitation from his friend Reed Holt and his father Barry. It seemed like this was going to be his time. The weather had been mild, but still it seemed like this would be his time. While at the hunting camp, we were joined by some Alabama football players which was a special treat for the kids. As stated, anytime with my son is special and this trip certainly was that. It was an opportunity for that father son bond that lasts a lifetime. We had gone on a Christmas hunting trip near Montgomery, Alabama last year that was thought to be a virtually guarantee to get my son, Taylor his first deer, but unseasonably warm and wet weather kept deer activity pretty much nonexistent. Unfortunately, we saw no deer on that trip. This year brought a new season and renewed hope that he would finally get his first deer. The first afternoon we saw a deer very late and Taylor could not pick it up in his scope and it was a long shot. The next day, the kids played in the morning, but Taylor and I were placed by Mr. Barry in an afternoon stand that paid the dividend we all had been hoping for. Again, the hour drew late, we were discussing getting down from the stand and suddenly, we both picked up a good size doe in the food plot. I saw the deer in my scope and Taylor did as well. He said Dad, I see the deer in my scope, what do you want me to do to which I replied, pop it! A second later, Taylor’s gun was heard and when the smoke cleared, we looked out and saw the white belly looking back at us and I said, you dropped it boy, great shot! The excitement of my first deer had been far exceeded in that moment. It was awesome. We waited a bit, tried calming ourselves down some then climbed down and found that he had shot the deer in the neck. I told Taylor that a longtime hunting buddy of mine, Mr. “Mac� McHeartland Sasser, who recently passed away, harvested many deer with the same type of shot and that Mr. Mac must have been watching and would be proud. And thank you Mr. Barry.

Mike Fisher — Georgia My son John, 12, shot and killed his first deer last weekend with a bow. Last year, John sat in a deer stand with his friend Nathan and was able to observe three or four deer taken and field dressed. This sparked his interest in hunting and for Christmas John got a bow from Santa. Not being a hunter myself, I was a little surprised at how hard he worked practicing shooting and just walking around the house pulling his bow back to build up his muscles on his 62lb body. Last Saturday, John got up at 5:45 and was in his stand by 68

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 17, No. 3

6:15. He reported back home at 8:30 that he had taken his first shot ever at a deer after going out 8-10 times with no shots. Unfortunately he missed. Naturally, he said that he was very nervous. Sunday morning John followed the same wake up and to the stand routine. At 6:30, John took his second shot ever at a deer. This time, though, with his bow he took a ten pointer from 20 yards out. When John was eight he started driving my tractor on flat surfaces with me and now he operates the tractor under controlled conditions by himself. With his persuasive ways, he convinced me to plant Imperial Winter-Greens last September on a food plot that he had tilled up. Now that he has had success, he has planned on his next plot about 200 yards from where he got his first deer. Additionally, he has made plans for his room where he will put his next mount.

John Camplain — Illinois Since planting Imperial Whitetail Clover I’ve seen more deer and bigger deer than before using your product. In 2004 I got a 13 point buck in this field. The enclosed picture is of my 14 year old grandson, Cody Primas, with his first deer. He shot it over Imperial White-tail Clover and Alfa-Rack. It is an eight point buck.

Mike Smith — Nebraska Simply “amazingâ€? is all we can say about the Whitetail Institute products. Since we have been field testing for the Whitetail Institute, we have had healthier, bigger deer each year. Check out these two photos’. Photo one is my hunting buddy Steve Adams and his beautiful eight í˘ą pointer. He shot this deer the night before rifle season started last year, right at dark with a 35 yard archery shot as the buck entered one of my Imperial Whitetail Clover plots. The body weight of this deer was outstanding; it was all we could do to

get into the old Chevy truck. We even had to leave the tail gate down so he would fit! Photo two is of my neighbor Tracy Callahan and her first deer. What a tremendous nine point buck. I don’t know who was more excited, Tracy for getting such a nice buck or me for recognizing the rewards of our hard work and the benefits of using quality Whitetail Institute products. The neat thing about these two deer, is they were both taken in the same area within one day of each other. We are all convinced that none of this would have been possible without the use of the Whitetail Institute’s Imperial Clover and the Whitetail Institute’s continued support. My friend, Jim Smith, from North Platte, NE who we brought on board in the spring of 2006, is already planning on adding additional food plots to his acreage due to the increased grazing by the deer. He can’t wait for next bow season to open. I would like to say thank you Whitetail Institute for all the research, news and support the Whitetail Institute provides. The Whitetail Institute products have certainly made a difference for all of us, not only for harvesting better deer, but also for the enjoyment of spending time with friends and family.


John Habermehl — Wisconsin We have noticed a great improvement in the size of both the bucks and does in our woods since planting Imperial Whitetail Clover four years ago. Our plan is to increase the size of our plot and put No-Plow along the some of the trails next year, I’m sure the deer hunting will be even better next season. Thanks to all of the people at Whitetail Institute for all their hard work so that we, the hunters, can enjoy a better and bigger deer population. Enclosed is a picture of my son’s first deer. He was taken on November 18th at 6:30 am as he was working his way past one of our Imperial Whitetail Clover plots. W

Send Us Your Photos! Do you have photos of relatives or friends who killed their first 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



for Imperial Whitetail® Clover, Chicory Plus™, Alfa-Rack™, Alfa-Rack Plus™, Extreme™, Secret Spot™ and No-Plow™

Call for planting dates Do not plant in spring Feb 1- April 1 Feb 15 - March 1 Feb 15 - April 1 Feb 1 - March 1 April 1 - May 15 Feb 1- April 15 North: March 15 - May 1 South: March 1 - April 15 North: April 1 - June 15 South: April 1 - June 1

March 1 - May 15 April 15 - June 15 March 20 - May 15 April 1 - July 1 June 1 - July 1 March 1 - April 15 Coastal: Feb 1 - March 1 Southern Piedmont: Feb 15 - April 1 Mountain Valleys: March 1- April 15


for Imperial Whitetail® Clover, Chicory Plus™, Alfa-Rack™, Alfa-Rack Plus™, Extreme™, Secret Spot™ and No-Plow™


Vol. 17, No. 3 /



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...

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


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deflection An angled hit

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with an over-the-

(flies like a field tip)

top expandable can result in the

Body machined from aircraft quality aluminum

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


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

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RAGE SlipCam expandable

Blades NOT fully deployed


3/4 3/4 inch inch diameter diameter entry entry hole hole

2 inch+ diameter entry hole

11 inch inch diameter diameter entry entry hole hole

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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.

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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Whitetail News Vol 17.3  

Whitetail News Volume 17 issue 3

Whitetail News Vol 17.3  

Whitetail News Volume 17 issue 3