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Volume 19 No. 3

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The Amazing Marvel of Antler Growth What Does It Take To Grow Great Antlers? Page 7

Antler Addiction Taking a Passion Too Far Page 16

Leave a Legacy Fight for Your Kids’ Eroding Hunting Future Page 28

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

Why Do I Hunt? A Question For Every Hunter

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Whitetail Institute OFFICERS AND STAFF FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT: RAY SCOTT

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here are two outstanding accounts in this issue of Whitetail News that address the personal and compelling question, “Why I Hunt,� that got my adrenaline pumping and touched my heart and soul. If you don’t react to these messages, you live in a different universe than I do. One is by our good friend, famed musician/outdoorsman Ted Nugent (page 12) and the other is by Jeff McNelis, an eloquent new writer to the Whitetail News (page 19). It struck me how these two accounts could be so different in style and yet so similar in substance, inspiring the same emotions. Nugent’s article is a breathless roller coaster ride that brings you to your feet to salute. McNelis takes you on an intense and beautiful journey that could change the way you look at your outdoor surroundings forever. Both accounts are compelling and for me they capture what is best in the dedicated and responsible hunter/outdoorsman who has reverence for his sport and his hunting heritage. The kind of outdoorsman that makes up our Whitetail Institute customers I’m proud to say.

Vice President of Operations.........................Wilson Scott Vice President, Executive Editor.....................Steve Scott Operations Manager: ...................................William Cousins Agronomist & Director of Forage Research...........................Wayne Hanna, Ph.D. National Sales Manager ..................................Mark Trudeau Wildlife Biologist.....................Justin Moore, Frank Deese Director of Special Projects ..............................Jon Cooner Whitetail News Senior Editor ...................Bart Landsverk Contributing Writers ..............................Charles Alsheimer, Jim Casada, Brad Herndon, Bill Winke, R.G. Bernier, Bill Marchel, Michael Veine, Dr. Carroll Johnson, III, Ted Nugent, Dean Weimer, David Hart Product Consultants.............Jon Cooner, Brandon Self, John White Dealer/Distributor Sales ..........John Buhay, Greg Aston Dealer/Distributor Analyst ............................Steffani Hood Office Manager...............................................Dawn McGough Internet Customer Service Manager.............Mary Jones Shipping Manager ................................................Marlin Swain Copy Editor ...............................................................Susan Scott Art Director .........................................................George Pudzis Advertising Director........Wade Atchley, Atchley Media

And these two gentlemen make me proud to be a hunter. They remind me it is hunters and other outdoorsmen, who have acted to not only protect and preserve our hunting environment and its resources, but to actively promote their improvement. And not just for ourselves, but for future generations. I can’t tell you how many of our field testers talk about their children and grandchildren and their desire to pass down their hunting traditions to them. When you sense the passion in these two articles by these two dedicated outdoorsmen, it makes you more determined than ever to be a good steward of your environment and all the natural resources you are blessed to enjoy. Those emotions are what will let us prevail over the uninformed antihunting forces that do not understand the beautiful order in nature or who believe as Jeff McNelis does, that it’s worth getting out of bed two hours early (to hunt) even if all he sees is a “stunning sunrise.� W

Ray Scott

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

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Don’t Wait Too Late! Timing is critical for protein By Jon Cooner

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hen it comes to maximizing antler size, no nutrient is as important as protein. And when it comes to providing lots of palatable, highprotein forage for deer, Imperial PowerPlant produces more tonnage than any other competing product tested. To be sure your deer have all the protein they need to be as big and healthy as possible, and to help them grow the biggest racks, order your PowerPlant early. There are two reasons timing is critical. The first is that the antler-growing window only last about 200 days. After bucks have recovered from the rigors of winter, they begin devoting substantial nutritional resources to antler growth, and when it comes to antler growth, the biggest nutritional player by far is protein. The emerging antler — that is, the velvet antler — is living tissue, and it is the fastest growing living tissue in the animal world. As such, it requires huge amounts of protein for its formation and growth. Realize, though, that bucks have only a finite window of time in which to grow their antlers. The antler-growing window varies slightly in different regions of North America, but in all areas it is of limited duration. In short, whatever antlers a buck is going to grow in a year will have to be grown during that window. And remember that spring and summer protein is not just important to bucks as they re-grow their antlers. It’s also extremely important for does as they complete their third trimester of pregnancy and later when they are producing milk for their newborn fawns. Doe milk is incredibly nutrient-dense, much more so than cow’s milk, and providing does with the palatable, abundant, high-protein forage that PowerPlant provides can help them increase milk volume. Like all Imperial forage products, PowerPlant is designed to meet a specific and targeted need. PowerPlant is designed to produce as much tonnage of high-protein forage as possible. One reason PowerPlant can outperform all other competing products tested is that it includes several

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varieties of forage beans and peas. These are true forage varieties. They are specifically designed to be used as a forage source, and not for agricultural bean or pea production. Is that distinction important? You bet. These days, many of the plant varieties sold in the agriculture market have been engineered to do something specific. Agricultural soybean varieties, for example, are engineered to do one thing: grow the most beans per plant so bean farmers can get the highest yield. No plant can do everything well, though, and agriculture soybean plants that have been engineered toward maximizing bean production can fall somewhat short when the plants are used for forage, a role other than that for which they were designed. Many folks who have planted ag-variety soybeans as a deer forage know that ag soybeans can start to become stemmy and less palatable to deer as they mature and the lignen content in their stems increases. Also, ag soybeans don’t tolerate early grazing very well. This is also true of other ag-type plant varieties historically planted for deer, such as cow peas, which can often be wiped out by deer in only a week or two. The soybean included in PowerPlant does not become stemmy, and it can also survive grazing much better than ag-type varieties. Unlike ag-soybean plants, which grow from one stem or trunk, the forage soybean in PowerPlant grows as a vine and puts its emphasis into producing abundant, tender, high-protein foliage that deer prefer. And once PowerPlant is established, its soybean component can keep going even after deer bite it off. If you’re already familiar with PowerPlant, you might have already seen this (and if you’ll be planting PowerPlant for the first time this year, be sure to look for it). After your PowerPlant is up and going, you’ll likely see where the vines have been bitten off about deer-mouth level. If you check the same area of that plant a little later, you’ll likely see that a little knot where the deer bit the plant off, and several new “runners” growing from the knot. These runners keep growing and producing foliage. To help PowerPlant keep producing at a high rate throughout spring and summer, the formula also includes small amounts of sunflowers and a high-quality wildlife sorghum. These structural plants act as a lattice for the vining forage plants to climb, helping them produce at a high rate and allow PowerPlant to grow into a thick green wall of forage that deer will use for food and cover. To recap, protein is critical to antler development in bucks and does, which are pregnant during the same time and later lactating. That’s one reason you don’t want to wait too late to have your seedbed ready and your PowerPlant on hand. That’s so you can get it in the ground just as soon as soil temperatures in your area warm up to a constant 65 degrees. I said there are two reasons, timing is critical, though. Here’s the second one. The second reason you shouldn’t wait to get your PowerPlant is that if you do, it might not be available later in the year. As good as the Whitetail Institute is at research, development and testing of nutritional products for deer, it is difficult however, to gauge the demand for PowerPlant. Plus, the Whitetail Institute doesn’t carry PowerPlant over from one year to the next. The reason is that the Institute sells only the freshest seed in all of its forage products, and that includes PowerPlant. Beans and peas generally don’t remain of the highest quality for more than about a year in storage (although this life span can be stretched in some cases by deep-freezing them). That’s why the Whitetail Institute doesn’t produce PowerPlant year round. As many food plotters unfortunately found out, the Institute ran out of PowerPlant early in each of the past three years because of sky-high demand. PowerPlant production has been increased again for 2010, but based on the demand for PowerPlant the past few years, it’s likely the Institute will run out again in 2010, so prudent field testers should order early. Imperial Whitetail PowerPlant is available through many farm-supply stores. You can also order PowerPlant at www.whitetailinstitute.com, or by calling (800) 6883030. Either way, though, don’t wait too late! W

Deer love fresh spring legumes, so much in fact that they typically clean out an entire planting before the plants are well established. The mix of high-protein annuals in PowerPlant better withstand heavy grazing to produce a high volume crop that continues to thrive throughout the heat of summer, providing deer with not only excellent forage, but with attractive bedding areas as well. In university testing PowerPlant produced more tonnage per acre than any other spring/summer annual. They’ll come for the succulent plants and stay to bed and make your plot their home.

The Whitetail Institute

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 ®

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800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com “Deer Nutrition Is All We Do!”

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

Research = Results

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The Amazing Marvel of

Antler Growth By Charles J. Alsheimer Photos by the Author

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ntlers drive the hunting industry. The mere thought of them conjures up a myriad of questions. How big can they grow? When do they begin growing? How long does it take for a buck’s antlers to grow? What are they made of? What does it take to grow great antlers? Some might say that the whitetail has shaped my career. That would be a fair statement because I’ve been passionate about all aspects of them for more than 50 years. This passion played a role in my decision to begin raising them more than 20 years ago. During this time I’ve learned much about their behavior and physiology. Though every aspect of the whitetail fascinates me, it is their antlers that interest me most. www.whitetailinstitute.com

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There are no cookie-cutter bucks. Each is distinctly different. Here in western New York the actual antler growth process begins at the end of March for the majority of bucks. The only thing that would keep a buck from starting at this time would be that he hasn’t cast the previous year’s antlers yet. The rate at which a buck’s antlers grow is dependent on a number of factors with genetics, health, age, stress, soil quality and the overall quality of habitat — both natural and agricultural — all playing a role. I photographed this pictorial of a mature buck in New York State. The quality of food available to him was excellent and the levels of stress he experienced were about average for this part of the country. HOW DOES IT HAPPEN? Of all the whitetail bucks I’ve raised, the majority cast their antlers between Jan. 20 and March 10. The earliest I ever had a buck cast antlers was Jan. 1 (he was injured) and the latest April 3. Once the antlers are cast, the pedicle bleeds, causing a scab to form. The scab then heals from the outside of the pedicle to the center. When fully healed, the top of the pedicle is covered with a brownish-gray skin, with a small light gray dot in the center of the pedicle. Daylight increases as the winter wears on, setting the stage for antler growth to begin. When day length reaches a certain point, blood begins flowing to the pedicle area and the antlers begin growing. The skin covering the pedicles pushes upwards through a series of superficial arteries that will

carry blood flow to the antlers as they grow over the next four-plus months. During the growing process, the blood flow lays down a protein base upon which minerals are deposited. The skin covering the growing antlers is called velvet because it feels like velvet when touched. The velvety feel is actually the result of hundreds of tiny hairs that grow out of the skin. These hairs serve a purpose, which is to alert the buck to danger when the antlers touch brush or other obstacles. Because the velvet is made up of blood vessels, the antlers are warm to the touch and only slightly cooler than a whitetail’s 101degree body temperature. The velvet also makes a buck’s antlers appear much larger than they actually are. The majority of bucks will be finished growing their antlers by Aug. 1. Then the hardening process begins, which usually takes 20-25 days. Though the antlers will be solid bone when the velvet is peeled, they are far from hard during the early stages of growth. From the time they begin growing in late March until about July 15th, a buck’s antlers are bulbous and quite pliable. Because of this, it is not uncommon for a buck to cut or even sever a beam or tine during the growth process. If the antler is badly cut or severed, it is quite possible for the buck to bleed to death. If a buck is mature and has everything going for him, his antlers may grow from one-half to one inch a day, especially during the June 15 to July 15 time frame, when daylight is greatest. During this 30-day period antler growth literally explodes.

TIME LINE April: From the time antlers begin growing in late March through the end of April, growth is minimal. The primary reason for this is that the amount of daylight is much less than what it will be in June. Secondly, most bucks are still stressed from the long winter so their overall body is in recovery mode. Another reason antler growth is slow in coming during April is the lack of quality food because spring green-up doesn’t normally come to the northern states until mid to late April. By the end of April brow tines on a fully mature buck should be easy to spot as well as 1-2 inches of additional antler beam. May: In most whitetail locales, May explodes onto the scene with an abundance of high-octane food, both natural and man- created. Nutritionally, all natural food and forage preferred by whitetails are high in protein and very nutritious throughout May. This allows a whitetail’s overall body condition to improve from the stress of winter, setting the stage for an explosion in antler growth. By the time May draws to a close the G2 points (second point on a typical rack) should be noticeable. In addition, the antler beams should now be about half of what their length will be when the rack’s growth is complete. June: “Summer time and the living is easy,” is about the best way to describe what June is all about for whitetails. If rainfall is normal, nutritious food will be lush and readily available. This, coupled with the longest amount of daylight of the year, provides the

APRIL 1ST

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BUTTON BUCK

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hormonal support that allows antler growth to accelerate. By the time June draws to a close, nearly all the primary points on a rack will have started to grow. July: The month begins with a buck’s antlers being very bulbous. As the month progresses, the antler’s beams and points will finish growing. By July 20 a mature buck’s antlers should look massive. Having adequate rainfall is a key to insuring that optimum antler growth continues during the month because if drought conditions take place, the nutrition level of the food decreases, which has a tendency to cause a drop in antler growth. By the time July ends most bucks’ antlers are fully formed, setting the stage for the hardening process to begin. August: Most northern bucks will have completed their antler growth by the first week of August, at which time the blood flow to the antlers declines. For the next 2025 days the antlers will harden. During this time the overall size of the antlers actually appears to decrease because the velvet covering the antlers shrinks as the blood flow slows. From late August to mid-September most bucks will peel the velvet from their antlers. WHAT DOES IT TAKE? Many believe that having great summer growing conditions is the key to optimum antler growth. Though extremely important, there is far more to the antler-growing equation than having a great growing season. For a buck to truly reach its potential requires it be healthy and have great food sources 365 days a year. If either of these factors are lacking he will not reach his potential. Few know the importance of high-nutrient foods in a deer’s diet better than Iowa animal nutritionist, Matt Harper. Harper is a seasoned whitetail hunter who plants a variety of forages for deer on his family’s farm. Many of those forages are Whitetail Institute products. When I asked him about the importance of having high-protein forage food plots available to deer during the antler-growing process he said, “I view nutrition during the antler-growing cycle from a holistic perspective. Protein and minerals usually share the limelight but in reality, all nutrients including fat and oils, carbohydrates, vitamins and others are equally important. “However, protein and minerals are normally the most limiting nutrients in a free-

JUNE 1ST

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AUGUST 1ST

“Though it is critical for great nutrition to be available during the antlergrowing season, it is just as important to have great foods for deer to consume the balance of the year. If essential foods are present from September to March, a deer’s body will be in great shape, making it possible for peak antler growth. The bottom line is that great antlers are not possible without wellmaintained bodies and it takes quality food sources with adequate availability for that to happen.” START ’EM EARLY

JULY 1ST

ranging deer’s diet, which is why these two nutrients receive so much attention. Most research shows that 18 percent protein is the optimal protein level during the antler growth cycle but the key to remember is that 18 percent is for the complete diet. So, if the buck eats 25 percent of his diet from a food plot that is 24 percent protein and the remainder comes from natural forages averaging 12 percent protein, the buck’s overall food source is only averaging 15 percent protein. Using this equation, you would need to have a food plot whose forage averages 36.5 percent to reach the 18 percent protein level in the total diet. “This is why high-protein food plots are vital during the antler-growing phase in order to bring the average protein intake closer to the 18 percent goal. From a nutritional standpoint, protein is the building block of the matrix that forms the antler structure, which is why it can greatly affect overall antler size.” Dr. Mike Lormore is a veterinarian with a Master’s degree in animal nutrition. He and his family are passionate whitetail hunters who are part of a group who operate a more than 1900-acre hunting property on the western side of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Over the years he and I have worked together on several whitetail projects and his insight on what it takes for great antler growth never ceases to amaze me. “For starters, hunters need to understand that antler growth is nothing more than an extension of the animal’s body condition. If a buck’s body is not healthy and well maintained with the proper nutrition, great antlers are not possible,” he told me. “So, for a buck to have a body capable of growing excellent antlers requires that he have great nutrition not only during the months he is growing his antlers but throughout the rest of the year as well. “During the antler-growing season high protein forages of 25-plus percent should be available if you want to see what a buck is capable of producing. In addition, adequate rainfall must occur to ensure that forage protein levels remain high. If drought conditions exist, protein levels drop and fiber levels rise, making the food 10

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

source less nutritious. So, when droughts take place the nutrient levels required for optimal antler growth are not available in the foods deer consume, causing antlers to be smaller.

Ensuring a whitetail buck reaches his antler-growing potential begins at birth. In order for a buck fawn to develop good pedicles he must have the essential nutrients in his diet. Whitetail biologist, John Ozoga writing in his book Whitetail Intrigue states, “Wildlife managers expect to see fewer than 25 percent spikes among yearling bucks in well-nourished, well-managed whitetailed deer herds.” Research abounds touting the importance of providing fawns with high-nutrition foods during the first year of life. The bottom line is that if you want to see a buck reach his potential when he is three, four or five years of age, they have to be able to develop great bodies when they are young W

END OF OCTOBER

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WHY I HUNT By Ted Nugent Photo by the Author

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here is no question that my mind, body, spirit and soul is hardwired to hunt. It is who I am.” I hunt because I am a hunter. Period. Case closed. Have a nice day. Drive safely. Now that we have that straight, let’s expound upon, examine, admit to and celebrate all the glorious reality, facts and irrefutable evidence that makes us hunters, or better yet, who made us hunters.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

The miracle of nature, or what we of faith lovingly refer to as God’s wonderful creation, is a force to reckon with. In fact, nature is the force to reckon with if we are to work with her and conduct ourselves in an honest, responsible fashion. How we respectfully work hand-in-hand with nature as conscientious stewards of all her bounty and power is the essence of life. Our very existence is determined by our intelligent, caring management and utility of all nature has to offer. From nature comes food, water, shelter, clothing, weapons, heat, medicine, music, art, mobility, adventure, fun and everything that makes up the heartbeat of man, beast and the good Mother Earth. And of course, those of us genuinely connected with the natural world know all too well that nature heals. I call it The Spirit of the Wild. It is that powerful. A good farmer chooses his life in a natural, instinctive response to a deep, soulful calling to work the ground. Sure, they grow the food that feeds the world, but that is not why they farm. They farm because they are farmers, from the bottom of their feet to the top of their heads. These days, those hardy souls that pursue their love of dirt and growing things are producing more and better food on but a fraction of the acreage from yesteryear. This is a direct result of men who were meant to be farmers being so dedicated, so consumed with their calling, that they put their hearts and souls every day into their careers, and this drive for

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excellence feeds the world aplenty. Men log because they are loggers. The spirit of the woods beckons them to do their handiwork with this amazing natural resource so mankind can build. That today there is more standing board feet of timber on private and corporate property than at any time in recorded history is a testament to real-world stewardship in action. Planting more than is harvested is not rocket science, just good sense and smart management when you live the life. My craving for all things wild kicked in at the earliest of age when I first noticed my surroundings. There is no question that my mind, body, spirit and soul is hardwired to hunt. It is what I am. From my earliest memories, I whittled spears, bows, arrows, knives, slingshots and snares. The mere sighting of a bird or animal throttled my entire being. I wanted to get close. I wanted to intimately know each creature. I wanted to try to kill it. My instinct to hunt is as pure as my need to breathe. As reasoning predators, we come to grips early on with sustain yield productivity and stewardship responsibilities, and through our ever-growing fascination with wildlife, we pragmatically determine at what rates which species produce and the varying dynamic needs for diverse habitat. Simple, pure stuff. The greatest compliment we can bestow upon someone is that they are “grounded.” Solid, reliable, logical, in touch with one’s surroundings, conscientious, tuned in and ready for anything. And surely, no other lifestyle will better prepare us, educate us and force us to a higher level of awareness than the hunting lifestyle. We who seriously hunt, fish and trap with all we got are literally one with the ground. We are truly “ground-

ed,” for it is the shared ground upon which we stalk and maneuver with our beloved wildlife that drives our very being. I know it does for me and all my hardcore hunting friends. We would have it no other way. Our human species survived, developed, progressed and thrived based upon our talents for killing game and sustaining our tribes. There is no doubt in my mind that today, in the ultra-modern world of convenience and cush, there are still nearly 30 million hunters in America because we know in our guts that this is the last, best, purest, most natural activity possible that fulfills us physically and spiritually, that provides us the finest, healthiest protein available on earth, and is the absolute most positive environmental activity there is. Most importantly, we know that hunting is absolutely mandatory for the balancing management of nature. We know that Thanksgiving is in November because we thank God for the life-giving bounty of His natural season of harvest every year. We know that allowing soulless bureaucrats to waste yet more untold tax dollars by hiring so called sharp-shooters and USDA “hunters” to waste our precious wildlife is a curse of dishonest, vulgar disconnect. We know that this pathetic, willful disconnect with the natural order of things by the animal right’s and anti-hunting cults of denial is an indictment of the rudeness of nature-hating fools and hypocrites. We know that the government didn’t come up with game laws, hunting regulations or bag limits. These came about when real “we the people” hunters demanded the end of the gluttonous, irresponsible slaughter by market shooters, and we insisted on the science of sustain yield and wise use based on population dynamics and habitat carrying capacity. We know

that renewable natural wildlife resources should always be in the asset column, not the liability column. With more deer, elk, black bears, cougars, wild turkey and geese than ever in recorded history, and nearly all game species thriving at record levels across North America, this perfect, natural function of hunting has irrefutably proven to be the finest resource management success story in the history of humankind. The ultimate connection with wildlife is through the hands-on conservation lifestyle of hunting. It is this deep and abiding connection that all good hunters espouse and cherish. We have a reverence for all things wild, and there simply is no Plan B. I’m with Sitting Bull. If the time comes when there are no more deer, elk or buffalo on the prairies, in the forests or mountains, then I will hunt mice. For I am a hunter, and I must hunt. When the air changes in the glorious autumn each year, the leaves begin to color, and the waterfowl begin to stage for their migration, I feel it. When the deer and elk begin to stir restlessly as the breeding season changes the taste of the wind, I change as well. I flow with the barometric alterations, as if I am one with the hills, woods and swamps. It is in me. I am a part of it all. I cannot not hunt.

I hunt because I am a hunter… that’s all that needs to be said.

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THE RIGHT WAY TO PERFORM A SOIL TEST

and agricultural universities) • A clean one-gallon bucket • Small clean shovel or clean soil test probe* *Soil test probes are long cylinders open on the bottom end and with one side scalloped out. The cylinders are mounted to a handle. By pushing down on the handle, the cylinder is pushed down into the seedbed and fills with a column of soil as deep as the probe is pushed. When the probe is withdrawn, the scallop on its side allows access for the soil to be pushed out of the probe and into a bucket. Soil test probes can be purchased from a wide variety of sources. They can also be made out of sturdy one-inch PVC pipe.

By Jon Cooner

Step 1: If you are preparing the site to plant (as opposed to maintaining an existing forage in it), select the forage you intend to plant before testing the soil, if possible. Not all forages need the same nutrients. If the lab is to provide fertilizer recommendations that are specifically tailored for your specific needs in that plot, you’ll need to let the lab know what forage you will be planting there. That way, the lab will be able to precisely tailor its recommendations for that site’s specific soil characteristics and that particular forage. Step 2: Commit to following the instructions that came with the soil test kit. Most high-quality soil test kits come with step-bystep instructions that are short and easy to follow. Be sure you follow them exactly, because the quality of your efforts in preparing the sample is very important to how accurate the tests results can be. So take care to prepare a high-quality sample for testing. Step 3: Make sure your equipment is clean and free of rust or other foreign matter before you take your soil samples, and be sure you thoroughly clean it before you move on to the next site. Remove any foreign matter in your bucket, shovel or probe, or any other equipment involved in collecting and preparing the sample for testing including soil remaining on the equipment from plots you sampled earlier which can contaminate the samples you’re about to take. Step 4: Pull representative plugs of soil, each from three to six inches deep, from many areas of the site, and place all of the plugs together in the bucket. Keep in mind that you’ll be sending only about a cup of soil to the lab for testing, and that sample must represent all the soil in the plot. That’s why you should take as many plugs from as many areas of the plot as your common sense tells you is necessary for the sample to contain a good representation of the soils over the entire seedbed. If you aren’t sure you have taken enough plugs from different areas of the plot yet, keep taking more plugs until you are sure. That way you’ll know that the lab will be able to give you the most beneficial results. Step 5: After you have put all the samples into the

W

hen it comes to planting food plots, no other step offers the greatest potential to ensure optimum results and help save money as testing your soil through a qualified soil-testing laboratory. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it provides information that’s critical to food plot success. To get the most for your money, however, be sure that you prepare and submit the soil sample the right way. SOIL TEST KIT If you are going to spend your hard-earned money on something to test your soil with, be sure you get the most bang for your buck. Use a soil test kit that actually sends soil off to a qualified soil-testing lab for analysis, not a do-it-yourself probe or slurry kit. Only a qualified soil-testing lab can offer truly consistent results, give you exact readings of the soil’s soil pH and nutrient content and make precise recommendations as to whether you need to add lime, how much lime to add and what blend and amount of fertilizer to use. Highquality soil test kits are available from the Whitetail Institute and most county agents, farm-supply stores and agricultural universities. SOIL SAMPLING EQUIPMENT The Whitetail Institute soil test kit and most other high-quality laboratory soil test kits come with instructions that are very easy to follow. Here are a few items that will help you prepare your sample and paperwork quickly and properly. ITEMS NEEDED • Laboratory soil test kit (available from the Whitetail Institute, and most farm supply stores, county agents

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

HOW TO PREPARE AND SUBMIT YOUR SOIL SAMPLE TO THE LABORATORY

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bucket, stir all the soil in the bucket together thoroughly, and remove rocks, plant matter, etc. Fill the testing container with a portion of the thoroughly mixed soil from the bucket. Step 6: Fill out all the information requested on the soil sample pouch and submission form. You’ll need to provide information you’d expect, such as your name, address and the name of the plot the soil sample came from. And again, you’ll also need to let the lab know whether you will be planting a forage or maintaining an existing forage in the site and, for best results, what that forage is. The Whitetail Institute soil test kit makes it easy for you to specify both. You just check the appropriate blocks on the submission sheet. If you forget to specify those things, though, or if you perform a soil test before you decide what you’re going to plant, don’t worry. As always, the Whitetail Institute’s highly trained in-house consultants are standing by to help you with any need, including adjusting your soil test report for you right over the phone — for free. WHEN TO TAKE YOUR SOIL TEST SAMPLES There’s no way to say exactly how far in advance of planting you should test your soil because situations differ. Allow as much time as you can though. Also, if you are planning to do any sort of deep tillage that would move soil vertically within the seedbed, try to wait to collect the sample until after that has been done. Let’s look at each of these in turn. HOW LONG BEFORE PLANTING TO TEST If possible, it is advisable to test your soil at least sev-

Exclusive from the

eral months in advance of planting. Fallow soils are most commonly in an acidic state, meaning that soil pH is less than optimum (below 6.5 to 7.5). In such cases, the soil test report from the lab will give you a precise recommendation as to whether you need to add lime and, if so, how much. Any lime you add to raise soil pH during seedbed preparation should be incorporated into the seedbed by disking or tilling. Lime takes time to complete its job of raising soil pH. Usually several months is plenty of time. That’s why it’s a good idea to test your soil several months in advance of planting if possible, so that any lime you need to add based on the report will have more time to work. DEEP-TILLAGE CONSIDERATIONS If you are planning deep tillage as part of the seedbed preparation process, consider whether the form of tillage you anticipate will move soil vertically within the seedbed. If the type of deep til-lage you plan will move lower levels of soil in the seedbed up (and the surface down lower into the seedbed), it is best to take your soil samples after the deep tillage has been done. A good example is the difference in the way chisel plows and moldboard plows work the soil. A chisel plow generally breaks up the ground but does not move soil vertically much. Moldboard plows, on the other hand, lift the top six or more inches of the seedbed as a column, and flip it upside down in an adjacent furrow. If you soil-test before deep tillage with a moldboard plow, you might be testing soil that won’t be near the surface later when you plant. (For more information on how chisel plows and moldboard plows

Whitetail Institute

move soil within the seedbed, see “Turning Dirt: Plows for Food-Plot Tractors,” by Mark Trudeau, which is available on-line at: www.whitetailinstitute.com/info/ news/Turning_Dirt2.pdf.) DO AT LEAST ONE SOIL TEST PER SITE For best results, be sure to perform a soil test of every site you intend to plant or maintain. Even if you have two food plots that are very close to each other and have soils that appear very similar, the soil pH and soil nutrient levels can differ substantially from one site to the next, even when the soils appear identical to the eye. If we assume that hunting food plots generally run from about 4,500 square feet (1/10h acre) up to about two to three acres, one soil test per site should be sufficient — if you prepare the sample in the manner described. Ordinarily, it’s not necessary to do more than one test per site. An exception, though, is if you see one type of soil in one part of the plot but a different type in another. An example would be one food plot site that includes a sandier hillside and a flat bottom with dark, rich soil. In such cases, it can be a good idea to do a separate soil test for each area, one test just of the sandier hillside and a second test just of the bottomland. If you would like additional information on soil testing or would like to order a high-quality Whitetail Institute soil test kit, our consultants are standing by to assist you at (800) 688-3030. W

SOIL TEST KITS 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 $2.50 shipping and handling for unlimited number of kits. If ordered with other Imperial products there is no shipping charge.

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Mail to: Whitetail Institute • 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 or CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-688-3030 Vol. 19, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

15


ANTLER ADDI Taking A Passion Too Far By R.G. Bernier Photos by the Author

“In nature, everything moves in the direction of its hungers.” – A.W. Tozer

T

he whitetail deer must eat. The one component in a deer’s life that drives its movements and patterns is primarily food. Find the food they are eating and you’ll find the deer. While eating may not necessarily be classified as addictive, seeing as every living thing must eat in order to survive, it demonstrates the premise that whatever you hunger for is the direction in which you’ll move. Whenever we hear about addictions, some of the first thoughts that may cross our mind are, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, porn, drugs etc… but in reality, anything that is taken to the level that it completely consumes the individual would in reality be considered an addiction. And yes, some of the most wholesome things in life that are taken to unhealthy levels quickly turn into addictions. Eat to many whoopee pies, cakes and cookies and before long you are grossly overweight with potential diabetes on the horizon. Other than substances that have the effect of addicting one to its seductive grip, most addictions first begin psychologically. Once ingrained, actions take over and drive one to start doing whatever it takes to feed this craving. Left unchecked, the sky is the limit as to how far it will go or to what extent the damage becomes. THE SAD SAGA OF THE ADDICTED Directly following a deer seminar I performed in Pennsylvania a few years ago, a gentleman waited patiently behind a crowd of folks purchasing books at my table. Once everyone had left, the man approached, shook my hand and said, “Continue to give that mes16

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

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ICTION sage wherever you go, it’s that important.” He was referring to part of my speech when I said, ‘Please don’t let what either does nor does not hang from your game pole at season’s end define who and what you are. Whitetails are not the most important thing in my life, far from it.’ With tears streaming down his cheeks, the man explained that due to his addiction to whitetails, and his desire to shoot top-end bucks, he had lost his entire family. His wife divorced him, the kids vacated and he was left with nothing more than some dead stuffed deer in an empty house, and the realization that he’d bought into a deception. His passion didn’t deliver as advertised. It deceived him. What it did deliver was unadvertised consequences that he hadn’t anticipated. By following his passion to hunt whitetails with the chief end of bringing him satisfaction, glory, and fame, he, like so many others tragically found out that because of his compulsive behavior his ultimate reward became only regret and loneliness. Sure he had his trophies, but let’s face it, mounts hanging from a wall offer little in the way of total fulfillment. Because I’m in the business, I know of several whitetail addicts who have lost their wives due to this obsession; some who have yet to be cured have actually lost multiple spouses. Thousands of dollars have been spent on hunts they couldn’t afford just to chase a dream. Sadly, this has become all too common. One individual I know took his addiction to whitetails to such a degree that he actually compromised the safety and well being of his family — a wife and three small children. To feed his insatiable addiction, he moved his family from the Northeast out to the Midwest. The structure they moved into was nothing more than a tarpaper shack without any appliances. And instead of spending what money he had left following the move on a refrigerator and stove, he purchased a four-wheeler that had to be hauled behind his vehicle wherever he went for fear of it being stolen. These stories are but a small sampling of how deer hunting, when taken to the extreme, can suddenly turn an otherwise accomplished hunter into what would be the equivalent to an alcoholic. And like any other forms of addiction, there is the nasty side of the equation.

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NEFARIOUS ACTIONS Like a dope addict that desperately needs another fix, the deer hunter who has fallen victim to his obsession will do whatever it takes to get his next high, legal or otherwise. Les Davenport expounded on this very thing when he wrote, “Desire by whitetail hunters to kill trophy bucks seems to have hit epidemic proportions. This drive has been fueled by the fame, fortune and the promotional value attached to such success.” Often, once success has been met, the need to duplicate or better the last accomplishment becomes an all-consuming fire. This is when the pressure begins to mount. Decisions are now made based on what is going to feed this fixation with self. Notoriety, usually at the expense of the good name you have worked to establish, and unethical behavior creeps in. Game laws are broken, friendships fractured, character tainted, lies and deception become the byproduct of this addiction. Why would anyone want to risk family, friends, career and their good name just to be revered by some fan base you may ask? Why would someone knowingly break game laws in order to shoot a trophy that has eluded them through fair chase efforts? It has to be understood, when someone reaches this condition, their judgment and rational thinking no longer exist. They are now only consumed with getting their next whitetail fix. INFERIORITY COMPLEX The number-one question I am routinely asked following a hunt is, “How was your season?” When I exclaim that I had a great deer season. it is immediately assumed that I must have shot something of great proportion. The next inquiry becomes, “How big was he?” During those occasional aftermaths when nothing was hanging from the meat pole, I would confidently utter, “He won’t fill a soup bowl, but he sure gave me great sport.” Far too often today’s hunter is fixated more on what has or has not been www.whitetailinstitute.com

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WHITETAIL NEWS

17


killed, how large a specimen it may be, and what that set of antlers is going to score to establish the benchmark for success. If truth were told, most of the largest bucks killed annually fall victim to unpretentious huntsmen whose names we were ignorant of prior to them making that fateful shot. Without coming off disparagingly, had anyone beyond his family, friends, and neighbors ever heard of Milo Hansen prior to him shooting the world record? In his classic book, “The Still-Hunter,” T.S. Van Dyke writes, “I never saw the time when I cared a cent for records or anything of the sort and have always despised the ‘trophy’ business, which too often means beastly murder…What I wanted from a deer hunt was not that particular bit of meat or that head of horns, but to know whether I could get that buck or he get me.” Nobel Prize-winning author, William Faulkner in his classic essay, “Race at Morning” asks this reflective question, “Which would you rather have? His bloody head and hide on the kitchen floor yonder and half his meat in a pickup truck on the way to Yoknapatawpha County, or him with his head and hide and meat still together over yonder in that brake, waiting for next November for us to run him again?” There is no shame in being outdone by a crafty old denizen of the forest wilds, nor should there be cause for anyone to feel inferior for shooting something that didn’t quite meet one’s personal goal. It’s a contest betwixt the hunter and the hunted the results of which ultimately become the weapon bearers as Faulkner states, “I hunt not only to pursue but to overtake and then to have compassion not to destroy, and then let go because then tomorrow you can pursue again. If you

destroy it, then it’s gone it’s finished. And that to me is sometimes the greater part of valor but always it’s the

greater part of pleasure, not to destroy what you have pursued. The pursuit is the thing, not the reward, not the gain.” WHAT’S THE CURE? Perhaps as you’ve read this you can identify with what has been written. Maybe you see yourself currently as someone that may well be heading down this dangerous path, or because of this piece, you now realize that indeed, I’m that guy. Please, take it from someone who has had his share of fame, notoriety, and the limelight, all that glitters is not gold. Marching to the beat of a fan base and their fickle adoration is not the answer to fulfillment. Fame is a hollow meal, and fortune in a monetary sense comes to darn few in the hunting industry. By placing your identity in the seductive world of big whitetails and placing your hopes and dreams of being the next whiz-bang celebrity only sets you up for the inevitable fall. And trust me, its not if, it’s when you fail to fill your tag that this dilemma will come upon you. Your whole world will indeed come crashing down. Davenport rightly relates, “Whoever the hunter might be, the inner drive to succeed in harvesting a record-book buck is no more of a problem than attempting to do well at any sport, activity or hobby. It’s only when participants cheat the system, show envy or let the sport dictate their lives that it becomes less enjoyable for them and those they affect.” Count every achievement in proportion to the effort involved to accomplish it. Success is an admirable goal and should not be diminished; however, it should not come at the expense of what’s really important in life. In the words of Charlie Alsheimer, “Realize your deer hunting experiences amount to far more than a rack on the wall or meat in the freezer. Racks and meat vanish in a moment, but lessons learned will last a lifetime.” W

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

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LEADS TO A MAGNIFICENT DAY OF LEARNING By Jeff McNelis

W

hy do I hunt? The reasons are many and varied, not the least of which is that hunting is educational. No, I don’t set out each morning with a goal of seeing how much information I can absorb, but somehow I end each day just a bit more educated to the world of nature. Consider this. I let my 10-year-old son take off school one day to go along with me on a hunting trip. It was just small game, and he was too young to actually hunt, but the weather was to be great, and I felt being afield on a day like that would help to kindle the fires of desire to become an outdoorsman. It must have had a positive influence because he fell in love with the sport. We had a great day together, walking for grouse, occasionally sitting for squirrels and generally just exploring and wandering all over the mountain. The weather was perfect with blue skies and a brisk fall breeze. The leaves were at their peak of fall color. I didn’t harvest an animal that day, but we had many experiences and thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together. I sent him to school the next day with a note explaining what we had done, and he returned with a note explaining that taking off school for hunting was considered an unexcused absence because, “There was no educational value in it.” I was OK with the unexcused part — I expected that. But when I thought about all we had done on the day we spent together, I had a real problem with the fact that they said there was no educational value in it. I decided to take them to task with this letter. To whom it may concern: My son recently missed a day of school because he accompanied me on a hunting trip. You have indicated that you consider such an outing to have no educational value. I would respectfully like to disagree with that policy for the following reasons. On a typical day in school, my son would expect to be educated in science, math, English and geography for a total of about five hours of classroom time — how much of that time he would actually be interested enough to pay attention is anyone’s guess. In nature’s laboratory, he spent a full 10 hours of hands-on interaction with all aspects of nature — and I can guarantee you it held his attention the entire time. Although we didn’t harvest any game animals, we encountered five different animal groups (birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians). And he learned how these groups all live together in the same habitat and that some have symbiotic relationships, while others have predator-prey relationships. He learned that www.whitetailinstitute.com

wildlife dynamics (any range will only support a limited number of animals), orienteering (use of a map and compass to determine where we were and where we were going), and forestry (thinning existing trees makes room for and opens the over story for different species to develop). And since this was not an actual classroom, he didn’t find the learning process boring but grasped the information readily. He also learned many human qualities this day. He learned patience, vigilance and physical endurance — all things hunters must have to be successful. He learned it’s worth getting out of bed two hours early even if all you see is a stunning sunrise. He learned to appreciate and to understand the laws of nature. He found that Mother Nature isn’t always a kind old lady when we discovered the carcass of a deer with two broken legs that had been snapped off this past winter in the thick ice crust. We learned compassion as we stood in silence and viewed the remains and couldn’t help but imagine the agony the poor thing must have gone through. We also realized from this that almost always a hunter's bullet is more humane than Mother Nature’s ways. But he understood that this animal’s passing enabled other animals that received nourishment from the carcass to live, and that no part of the deer’s body would be wasted. And we learned reverence when we saw the last rays of a brilliant sunset fade to gray. Maybe “learned” isn’t the right word to use for these experiences. Possibly “absorbed” is a better word, because he absorbed the knowledge with such eagerness that I know he will retain most of it. And this day was not an exceptional day. This was a typical day — a day that can be repeated regularly, although with different experiences each day. This day afield was not wasted. We shared an experience together that neither of us will forget. He learned more about his natural world in this one day than he would in a month in a classroom setting. So, I ask you to reconsider your decision in light of the fact that he spent the day in a very educational setting — nature’s outdoor laboratory. I never received a response, but I learned something in the experience of writing the letter. I hadn’t really realized until I put it down on paper how many varied and wonderful things we encounter on a typical day in the outdoors. And, whether we admit it, and whether we like it, we are learning new and different things every time we go out. The above took place about 25 years ago. Although hunting may still not be considered a valid excuse to take a day off school, in light of increased public awareness of our natural resources and the fact that we are entrusted with their care, most schools are much more forgiving. I still feel the old saying is true: “Even a bad day hunting is better than a good day at work, or school or anywhere. In addition to being a soul cleansing experience, it can be extremely educational.” W Brad Herndon

“UNEXCUSED ABSENCE”

the predator is necessary and is not the villain in the equation, because without the predator, the animal populations would swell, and disease would become rampant. He now realizes that the predator is an essential factor in promoting the health of many different species. He also learned that predators themselves can become overpopulated, and that man must sometimes be the factor that controls their numbers or nature will do it via disease and starvation. He understands that hunting and trapping, along with having great recreational value, are necessary to control these animal populations. Together we encountered and studied the whitetail deer, and he learned the differences between bucks and does and how their behaviors differ. He learned the year-round life cycle of this animal and how they can harm the very habitat in which they live. He now knows that hunting this animal is necessary because the natural predators that used to keep the deer’s population in check are now nonexistent or so low in numbers that they’re no longer a factor. He knows that man is now the most prominent predator of the whitetail and has the responsibility of controlling their population numbers. He understands that the process of hunting the deer, while an enjoyable recreational pursuit for the hunter, is also a valuable management tool to be used in deer population management. We observed gray squirrels, fox squirrels, red squirrels and chipmunks. He learned that these species are almost solely responsible for the reforestation of the eight species of oaks and the five species of hickories and they accomplish this by constantly burying acorns and hickory nuts. He learned that these animals work diligently in the fall storing food for the long winter, when food isn’t as plentiful — and if they don’t work hard, they don’t eat. They seek out these meals using their acute sense of smell but that they store many more than they find and the ones they don’t find germinate and become seedlings. Of these thousands of seedlings that sprout each year, only one in 1,000 is privileged to become a mature tree. He learned that when one of these giants is felled by lightning or an ice storm or just dies of old age or disease, the sunlight that reaches the forest floor in its absence nourishes the seedlings and saplings till one is chosen to replace it. He learned that the replacement is chosen by nature’s harshest law — only the strong survive — and that the weak are doomed to wither and die, ensuring the future and strength of the species. In the mountain stream he observed native brook trout, as well as salamanders and frogs in the deeper pools. He was fascinated by the wood turtle that we discovered under the fern cover. The shed snake skin that he found in the hollow log led to a lesson on how snakes grow bigger. He learned forest ecology — that the animals are in balance with each other as well as with the plant life of the forest. He learned dendrology — he can now name at least 10 species of trees and can tell you various facts about each. Without actually mentioning the science of each, we touched on biology (life cycle of the frogs we saw), chemistry (acidic rain), zoology (the number of fawns a deer has is controlled by genetics, available food sources and population numbers), botany (some tolerant plants can grow in shade while others need sunlight), meteorology (cloud formations can forecast coming weather), conservation (lack of ground cover and plants can cause erosion), geology (our ground is on the edge of the eastern plateau), astronomy (the moon comes up at different times and can affect animal feeding cycles),

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

Common Questions — Straightforward Answers When is the best time of the year to spray Arrest?

Q: A:

Arrest is designed to offer optimum control of “seedling” grasses. By that, I mean grasses that are growing vigorously, but that have not matured to the point that they’d be more than 6-12 inches tall if left un-mowed. Arrest can still control grasses that have matured beyond that point, but it may be more difficult, in some cases requiring that you use a higher concentration of Arrest in the spray solution, apply it more often, or both. To save money, it's best to spray Arrest right when grasses are just starting to grow, but before they mature. If that’s hard to figure out, here’s what I do. On my lease, I know that I will have to spray to control grass in my perennial plots. To gauge when it’s time to spray, I just watch my lawn. Often, it appears to me once my lawn greens up each spring, it can be another week or two before it starts growing well. So, each spring I wait until my lawn greens up, and then I keep an eye on it. Once I see it starting to vigorously grow again, I know it’s time to go spray my perennials with Arrest. I’m as guilty as others, though, in occasionally putting things off too long. Thankfully, controlling more mature grass with Arrest is still possible. It just requires a higher solution rate, and it may also require two applications a month apart. I am going to spray my Alfa-Rack Plus with Arrest to control grass. If I fertilize it first with 17-17-17, won’t that help the herbicide get into the grass faster?

Q:

Not to the point that it will make a difference in the performance of Arrest (provided the spray solution is mixed and applied according to label directions). Instead, you should look at grass control and fertilization as two separate steps in perennial maintenance, and you should perform them in order. Do your grass control first. Your number-one priority when maintaining an Imperial perennial is grass control. That’s because Arrest is designed to offer the best control of grasses that are still in “seedling stage” (actively growing, but still so young that they could not have grown taller than 612 inches if left un-mowed). If you allow grass to mature before you try it, control is still possible with Arrest. However, it may require a higher mix rate, multiple applications or both, which costs you more. Adding nitrogen fertilizer to a stand of Alfa-Rack Plus also wastes money because it’s not necessary.

A:

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

And, it can cause you problems as well. Alfa-Rack Plus doesn’t need nitrogen fertilizer for maintenance. The legumes in Alfa-Rack Plus are “nitrogen fixers.” That means they make enough nitrogen for their own needs, so your forage gains nothing by adding nitrogen fertilizer. That’s one reason we recommend that Alfa-Rack Plus be maintained with a zero-nitrogen (first number on the fertilizer bag) fertilizer such as 0-20-20. In addition to wasting money, adding nitrogen fertilizer to a stand of Alfa-Rack Plus can boost the growth of grasses or weeds. So, start your spring maintenance by controlling grass. Arrest is designed to control most kinds of grass, and it can be sprayed on any Imperial perennial. Check the Arrest label for a list of what grasses Arrest will control and for full mixing and application instructions. If you have any questions about Arrest, call our consultants before you spray.

The label on the Slay herbicide says that in my area, ammonium sulfate should be added to the spray solution. Ammonium sulfate has a lot of nitrogen in it, but your maintenance instructions for Imperial Whitetail Clover say to fertilize every year with a zero-nitrogen fertilizer (0-20-20). Won’t the ammonium sulfate boost weed and grass growth?

Q:

Not really. The Slay label says to include ammonium sulfate in the Slay solution when it is will be used in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or anywhere north of Interstate 40. Its purpose is mainly to buffer hard water in a spray solution, which can alter the herbicide’s active ingredients and reduce its effectiveness. Ammonium sulfate is 28 percent nitrogen, but it is used in such small volumes in the spray solution that very little nitrogen is actually supplied to the plants. W

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PATIENCE IS A BLESSING By Sarah Hudzinski Photos by the Author

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S

ome say patience is a virtue, I think it is a blessing. Though I have been hunting since I was of legal age to do so, I never have gotten that “trophy buck.” Don’t get me wrong. I have placed my tag on a few nice (and tasty) whitetails, and I even won the “big (little) buck” contest in eighth grade, but I had never experienced that rollercoaster of emotion that hits you square in the forehead when your arrow finds its mark. That is until now. Let me tell you how family, management practices and too much patience finally paid off. This year marked my fourth year bow-hunting, and I hoped that this season I would finally arrow my first buck with the bow. I need to explain that my “buck-less-ness” was not for lack of trying as my fiancé, Randy, has been managing our leases for the past several years and has always put me in the best stands depending on wind, scouting and such. No, my “buck-less-ness” was all of my own making. You see, I am too patient and have been ribbed for it many times through the years. I was teased earlier in the season for passing on a small basket 6-pointer as I needed to just get one under my belt. I admit that I felt a bit of regret after letting him pass by, but I think I would have felt more regret for taking him before he had a chance to grow into the trophy we’ve been managing for. Now, if we were in desperate need of venison for the freezer, my internal debate would have had a different outcome. This has been the same story for the three previous seasons. My patience didn’t have anything to do with waiting for Bullwinkle. Nope, I was just waiting for the opportunity when I felt it was right. In the meantime, I have been entertained by countless squirrels, fox, coyotes and, of course, a few dandy whitetails that never came within range. Before the opening of this past Wisconsin archery season, Randy decided that a new food plot was needed on a 50-acre piece we lease. Before we got to work, we did a soil test and then contacted the Whitetail Institute, as we have been using their Imperial Clover in our management practices for years and wanted some professional feedback on what seed would be the best choice for this location. Because of other food sources available on the property, we determined that Whitetail Institute Winter-Greens would be the ideal food source to hold the deer to property after the corn was harvested. Now it was time to get a little dirty and get to work. Because of the size of the plot and access, we used our ATV and Kolpin Dirtworks system to work up the soil and prep it for planting. For Randy and me, this part is almost as fun as the actual hunting. Who wouldn’t enjoy hopping on an ATV and tearing up some dirt? Finally the Wisconsin archery season was upon us. Countless hours of practice with my Mathews bow during the summer had me ready to go. The first month of the season brought one passed opportunity on the 1-1/2-year-old 6-pointer I mentioned before and only a handful of does even close to being within range. It was starting out as a strange season for Randy, me and the rest of our hunting party, as we just weren’t encountering any of the deer we had been patterning in the late summer and early fall. Actually, we weren’t encountering any deer at all. Blame it on the crazy, wet weather or all the standing corn. Either way, it was rather discouraging. As our season continued into late October, I tried to remain hopeful that the upcoming rut would expose the deer herd I knew existed, and the Winter-Greens we planted would help hold them to our property. Randy continuously set me up in the best stands throughout our property in hopes that I’d finally be in the right place at the right time. The time finally came, but my patience and inexperience were a handicap. I was set up in a pine tree overlooking an opening in the woods about 100 yards www.whitetailinstitute.com

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from our Winter-Greens food plot. I had never sat in that stand before and was unsure of which direction the deer tended to travel through the opening. Well, I learned quickly when a very large, heavy buck surprised me over my left shoulder. He slowly walked a trail right to me, but I swear he was staring into the bottom of my soul with every step he took. I was able to get my release on my string but not able to pull up my bow to draw, as he continued to glare right at me (or so I thought). I let him pass in hopes that he would continue on the trail right underneath me and I would have an opportunity to draw and get a shot off when he reached my right side. Needless to say, that was not what he had in mind, and he disappeared underneath me at a split in the trail that I did not know was there. After the close of that evening I told my tale to Randy and realized I had probably missed out on my chance of having a trophy buck within range because I was again too patient. A few nights later I was finally able to get into the stand again. Randy was determined that I get another opportunity to close the deal and set me up in the oak stand that overlooked our new Winter-Greens food plot. As I settled into the stand, I was doubtful that I would see anything with all the noise coming from the lake houses that sat back only 70 yards from the food plot. But again Randy knew what I didn’t. He had noticed with the cold weather that deer had begun to feed heavily on this plot and that the neighborhood noise would not be a factor as the deer were accustomed to it. With plenty of time to think in the stand, I was determined not to let myself be schooled by a big buck again, so I used the range-finder to determine

Though the author had been hunting since legal age to do so, she had never gotten that “trophy buck� even though she had placed her tag on a few nice whitetails like this one.

my shot range and began to wait. All of a sudden, I noticed movement across the Winter-Greens plot in a gap of tall grass — it was antlers, very tall antlers attached to a monster buck. As the adrenaline began to flow, everything I had been taught kicked in. I knew the buck had no clue I was there, so I steadied myself in my stand and got my bow ready. All I had to do was

wait. And wait I did. "His Majesty" (that is what I nicknamed him because of his regal rack) decided to just hang out at 60 yards for what seemed like an eternity but in reality was about 15 minutes. By that time, I had calmed myself down and was prepared if he decided to come my way. If he didn’t, I had spent an evening in the stand watching a magnificent whitetail, so it was a

SP R I N G P L A NT I N G DAT E S

for Imperial WhitetailÂŽ Clover, Chicory Plus™, Alfa-Rack™, Alfa-Rack PLUS™, Extreme™, No-Plow™ and “Chicâ€? Magnet™ í˘ą í˘˛ í˘ł í˘´ í˘ľ í˘ś í˘ˇ í˘¸ í˘š ě?… ě?ˆ 24

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

Call for planting dates Call for planting dates Feb 1- April 1 Feb 15 - March 1 Feb 15 - April 1 Feb 1 - March 1 April 1 - May 15 Feb 1- April 15

ě?‰ ě”ˆ 씉 씊 씋 ě”Œ

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win-win situation. Finally, a young forker stepped out of the scrub brush about 35 yards in front of me and began to make his way along the edge of the plot to me. This was all the incentive His Majesty needed, and he finally began to make his way around the food plot on the same path as the young buck. The young buck walked right past me at 20 yards and entered the woods and trail that wrapped behind my stand. Now the game was on. I figured His Majesty would continue on the same path, and that would put him right in my shooting lane. With the branches in front of me as cover, I pulled back and waited for him to step out to my left. Seconds felt like hours when he finally stepped out in front of me. I softly grunted, and he stopped almost broadside at 18 yards. I was ready and felt good, so I let my arrow fly and heard a smack I swear sounded like a rifle hit. I looked up to see my arrow sticking out of him as he quartered away and began to run around the other side of the food plot, back through the gap through which he entered. Through tree branches, I could see him stop for a few seconds in the green field and then take off again. I heard him enter the corn with a loud crash, and that was it. That's where the rollercoaster ride of emotions truly began for me. Sitting there, I replayed the last minute in my head. I knew I had hit him and was confident when I let my arrow go, but I kept seeing that arrow sticking out of him and then no arrow when he turned, so I began to think I must of hit him square in the shoulder and that the arrow just fell right out. I berated myself up and down for having the perfect opportunity and screwing it up, and then I prayed that I did not wound that beautiful animal. That was not

what I expected to be experiencing after shooting at the buck of my life. I sat until a few minutes before closing time and then got down to see if I could find my arrow. Sure enough, there it was, but only about half of it. The broadhead and about seven inches of my arrow were missing, I had even blown my knock right of the shaft. The adrenaline started pumping again so I headed back to the truck to wait for Randy, as he had been hunting another part of the same property. While I waited, I called my father to explain what happened and get his advice (plus I was just itching to tell someone about His Majesty). As fathers tend to do, he calmed me down and explained that the arrow was probably sheared off when the buck turned, and that it sounded to him like I made a well-placed, fatal shot. Now I was actually shaking — did I place a good shot? Did I get him? I think I was beginning to talk out loud to myself because Randy approached the truck looking at me like I was crazy. I quickly explained to him what had transpired, and a grin began to creep across his face. He decided we should give the buck an hour or two and go get the lanterns ready. The next hour and half were the longest of my life, as I retold the story about five times and prepared to track my deer. The extensive search party of Randy, me, my father and several friends was assembled and ready to go. It seems everyone was as excited as I was at the prospect of tagging my first buck with the bow. I led the way to where I had left the half of my arrow and explained the path I watched the buck take. As we entered the green field where His Majesty had stopped, we finally found a few specks of blood. This was the next crest and plummet on my rollercoaster of emo-

tion. I figured the lack of blood meant a shoulder hit for sure and that I might have only wounded him. My father decided to cross the field to see if he could find where the buck entered the corn field and sure enough he did. Shining in the moonlight was bright red, bubbly lung blood smeared all along the corn stalks. As you have probably figured out, I had just rounded another corner on my emotional rollercoaster and was flying high again. The search party moved forward through the corn while I stood at last blood. While they searched for a clue to the buck’s course, I realized that there was blood on both sides of me in the corn. I relayed the message to my friend Jack, and as he lifted the lantern to peer over into the next row, there was His Majesty three feet to my right in the fence row. When I had heard him hit the corn, the buck had been taking his finally steps. He had gone only 100 yards. The first words out of Jack’s mouth cannot be repeated, but let’s just say everyone was as surprised as I was at how beautiful this buck really was. The next hour or so was a blur, as I was congratulated, pictures were taken and His Majesty was transported home. But I will not forget in those moments the pure joy and pride I saw on my father and Randy’s face when they realized that my patience and their support finally paid off — big time! The rollercoaster ended on a high note for me — what an awesome evening and great memory. All the time spent putting in food plots, clearing stands and being patient in the stand paid off. That is what all the work is for — harvesting a healthy, mature buck — and my first buck with the bow is a something I will never forget. W

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Vol. 19, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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Kenny Brown — Alabama

I use PowerPlant in the spring and summer and Imperial Whitetail Clover all year in my food plots. I killed this 13-point with my muzzleloader in an Imperial Whitetail Clover field. He’s a great buck for Alabama. He has 5 ½ inch bases and was 4 inches or better on all his mass circumferences. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

Ed Montanari — Pennsylvania

recent success but first I want to step back three years to when it all began. Success for us started when we decided to plant a three-acre plot of Alfa-Rack PLUS. Our deer sightings increased dramatically, and my 13 year old son Jared ended up harvesting a beautiful 140 class buck (his first buck) that year! His story recently made the “Buck of the Monthâ€? segment on Whitetail Institute E-News. Now fast forward to the most recent season when we decided to give Winter-Greens a try. We tilled and planted a 12 foot wide section (approximately ½ acre) of Winter-Greens all the way around the three-acre Alfa-Rack PLUS field. True to form it developed into lush greenery and by Sept. 15, the deer were already hitting it hard. They would come out of the woods and stop to browse in the Winter-Greens before moving into the Alfa-Rack PLUS. By the time the end of November arrived, the deer had literally eaten the field clean. We are already planning on doubling the size of our Winter-Greens plot for next season! I am attaching a photo of a buck I harvested on my property this season. The buck is my “BESTâ€? to date. The buck green scored a whopping 186-inch gross nontypical‌ truly the buck of my lifetime! With that said I wanted to say thank you Whitetail Institute for making such a fine product. Just three short years ago harvesting bucks like this was just a dream for me. Now thanks in large part to Whitetail Institute products they are a reality!

Charles Taylor — Illinois I started with Whitetail Institute products two years ago. Do soil tests and use Imperial Whitetail Clover, 3006 and 30-06 Plus Protein and you will get bigger bucks.

Todd Langenhorst — Wisconsin Can it get any better? That is the question I keep asking myself! Now that the Wisconsin deer season has come to a close, I can truly say that I just experienced the “season of a lifetime!� I will share with you my

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

Deer eat on the Imperial Whitetail Clover and then go into the corn patch and then eat clover on the way out, also. The deer, turkey and birds love PowerPlant too. I like the height that it gets. Whitetail Institute products prove themselves every year that I use them. I would recommend them to anyone. The following story is about my daughter April’s hunt during the gun season in Illinois. She has been hunting for about six years. On Friday, Nov. 5, we started hunting on the food plots I’ve planted with seed from the Whitetail Institute. We saw quite a few but not the deer we were looking for. On Saturday we moved

to a switch grass patch we noticed the deer were moving through to get to the food plots. It was about 9:30 a.m. when April saw this buck in the switch grass. She made a perfect shot on the buck and he only ran about 40 yards and dropped. We are really proud of April for her composure to shoot this big deer. Thanks a lot Whitetail Institute for the good products you keep producing for us hunters.

Dwight Wynn — Kentucky We see better quality deer and í˘ą more of them since we planted Imperial Whitetail Clover. The turkeys using the field are too many to count some days. We have counted more than 100 in the field at one time. The deer in photo 1 was headed to an Imperial Whitetail Clover plot when I caught him slipping through the woods. I had seen him in the clover earlier that year. The clover keeps the deer (does & bucks)

í˘˛

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Carol Robertson — Missouri

coming year round. The deer in photo 2 had been using the Imperial Whitetail Clover field all year and was on his way to check the does that were in the field. The clover was holding many does at the time.

Clay Lafargue — Louisiana I planted No-Plow on an old logging road in a 70 acre pine thicket I lease. The deer are tearing it up! I planted Secret Spot by my stand on my families land on a river bank near Lake Ophelia National Refuge. I killed my biggest buck ever eating it! Picture included. I live to hunt! I love Whitetail Institute products, keep up the good work!

when my wife and I purchased nine acres. The property includes a one-acre pond, five acres of forest, and three acres of lawn meadow. The closet farming fields (corn and soybean) are half a mile away. Our new property was the perfect place to test Whitetail Institute products. I planted one acre of Imperial Whitetail Clover with amazing results. Soon the deer were herding into my new whitetail paradise. One evening there were fifteen deer in my clover plot. Eight of those deer were bucks, ranging from a small spike to a mature 10point. I have since added 30-06 Mineral/Vitamins, Winter-Greens and Secret Spot. The deer love all of these products. The 8-point in the photo was arrowed the day before firearms season as he chased a doe toward my Imperial Whitetail Clover plot. Thanks Whitetail Institute for all of the research that goes toward making awesome products that work great for me.

I’ve now harvested these nice bucks and others not pictured. I wait for the big boys. Imperial Whitetail Clover is the favorite of does. Alfa-Rack is the favorite of young deer and bucks. I was really surprised at germination and growth of No-Plow. PowerPlant is a wonderful summer plot. Winter-Greens is wonderful too.

Don Ouvry — Michigan

I go after only 10-point or bigger bucks and I have five on the wall. Planting Whitetail Institute products on my land to keep deer on my property so I can pick and choose bigger and better bucks. Thanks Whitetail Institute. I’m sending a photo of our round up after a few years of using Whitetail Institute products.

Tom Jacobs — Minnesota

Bob Griffey — Maryland I had read about Whitetail Institute products for years but never had a place to try them. That changed

I started with a small food plot of Imperial Whitetail Clover. I couldn’t believe how well it worked. Killed the biggest buck of my life (163-inch gross) on Oct. 13, in the clover. I also wanted something to attract even more deer in November — January. Pure Attraction has worked great. I live on 22 acres but these products attract deer from all the surrounding area.

Randy Cummins — Kentucky

I have been using Whitetail Institute products for many years and where I'm located the Imperial (Continued on page 50) www.whitetailinstitute.com

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Leave a Legacy: Fight for your kids’ eroding hunting future By Brad Herndon Photos by the Author

T

Watching a son or daughter get their first deer is a thrill no dad or mom will ever forget.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

his was the hunt we had been waiting for. Our 11-year-old granddaughter, Jessica "The Rascal Girl," and her dad, Mr. Curt, had been tagging along with me on deer hunts from time to time since Jessica was five. She had even been in on a couple of doe kills. But today was different from past hunts. This time Jessica was carrying the weapon: a muzzleloader in .50 caliber. www.whitetailinstitute.com


point hunting is of no interest to them. Youth participation in hunting declined by 26 percent from 1990 to 2000. The youth participation figure has stabilized somewhat, but it’s sad to realize that only 25 percent of children from hunting households now participate in hunting today. Our hunter recruitment figure is .69 nationwide (New York’s is .55). In other words, for every 100 hunters who pass away in the future, only 69 hunters will replace them. WE NEED TO GET INVOLVED

With today’s digital cameras, photography is an excellent way to get children interested in the great outdoors.

I had cut the stock down on the gun to a 12-inch length of pull and it was loaded with one 50-grain pellet and a 250-grain sabot bullet. A red-dot scope made it easy for her to aim. It was a gun she could shoot comfortably, and Jessica, Mr. Curt and I were full of excitement as we slipped into a ground blind on the eastern side of one of our food plots. As the perfect west wind pulsated against our blind, I was sure the Imperial Whitetail Clover and Pure Attraction in the plot would pull in deer and give us some action. I was right. Well before dark, we saw a deer’s back at the southern end of the plot. “This might turn out to be Jessica’s first deer,” I thought. When the deer raised its head, it carried a small rack. Soon it browsed to within 40 yards of us. Within minutes, three more small bucks joined the first one. It was at that time a neighbor started his motorcycle to see how loud it would sound without a muffler. At the roar of the engine, the bucks headed for the timber. When things quieted down, three of the bucks returned and stood in front of us from 34 to 45 yards. Then the rain started — a torrential downpour. None of the three bucks moved a step. We watched them until the rain let off right before dark, enabling us to make our escape to the vehicle without getting drowned.

ple, until recently, New York youths had to be 16 years old before they could firearm hunt for deer. On the plus side, New York now has a Junior Mentoring Program for 14- and 15-year olds that allows them to hunt during bear and deer firearms seasons with a parent, legal guardian or someone at least 21 who is designated in writing on a form. Mentors must have a license and three years of hunting experience. The youth and mentor must be together, stay on the ground (no tree stands) and wear required hunter orange. While this is an improvement, let’s face the facts. By age 14, young people can be wrapped up in a variety of other interests, such as 900 channels of TV, video games, texting, and other electronic gadgets to the

Unless hunters get actively involved in the legislative process, there will be more laws passed in the future that will not only curtail our youth’s ability to hunt, but in some cases destroy it. Last year, People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals sent a letter to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell calling for a hunting ban for everyone younger than 18. They did the same in November 2008 in Arizona. The Humane Society Of The United States continues its fight against the Families Afield initiative, calling it one of the “Ten worst hunting ideas.” Families Afield is a pro youth hunting Web site of the National Shooting Sports Foundation that works hard to promote youth and family hunting and has great statistics to back up the wholesome value derived from families hunting together. I have listed the Web site in an accompanying sidebar. Getting politically involved in lobbying for youth recruitment into the hunting sports might not have been what you expected out of the first part of this article. Fighting for your children’s hunting future in this way involves lots of your time, might take some money and without doubt will involve opposition and frustration. Like you, I don’t like this type of involvement; I just want to go hunting. However, I’m willing to spend my

Turkey hunting occurs during a warm season and the action is usually great, making it an ideal way to get youth involved in hunting.

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THIS HUNT This just described hunt was made in Indiana this past fall during our early two-day youth season in September. The hunt was set up perfectly, and we had a great time even though we didn’t get a deer. And the reason Jessica didn’t get a deer wasn’t because she wanted a bigger buck — or because I wanted her to get a trophy deer. Her tag wasn’t filled, quite unbelievably to all of us, because youths aren’t allowed to shoot an antlered deer during Indiana’s early two-day youth hunt. Although we all would have been excited for The Rascal Girl to get a doe, one never showed up, so we each thought it would have been great for her to get a crack at one of those bucks. I have explained this in detail because laws such as this are a direct detriment to recruiting new hunters. And believe me, there are numerous laws now in effect in several states that work against recruiting youngsters into the sport. For examwww.whitetailinstitute.com

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time, money and energy because I not only want Jessica and her sister, Hannah, to be able to hunt with me while I’m still able. I want their children to be able to go hunting in the future with their grandfather, Mr. Curt. SPORTS RULE Raising children is something we have no experience in doing. Yet we have to do it, and we better get it right for we only have one opportunity. That’s why it’s

important to expose our children to all the aspects of life that are ethically and morally correct. Hunting, fishing, church, school, bird watching, traveling to other states, gardening, photographing, hiking — the list could go on. One item I didn’t mention, though, is sports, and in this day and age, sports rule in the lives of many youngsters — and families. Although I have always liked sports and participated in them while in school, the old saying “moderation in all things” also applies to sports. Today, children start at an early age in softball, baseball, golf, tennis, track, soc-

■ Take Care of the Details >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> a) Being of geezer age, I didn’t have the advantage of warm clothes or boots to wear when I started hunting nearly 60 years ago. I almost froze to death, and it was no fun. Be sure you know how to dress youngsters warmly so they can enjoy their hunts to the fullest. They will stay out longer, experience more success and be rearing to go again. And that is what we want. b) While afield, explain everything you know about nature to the child who is with you. The sun comes up in the east and goes down in the west. So does the moon. That sound you hear is a squirrel barking. And the list goes on. c) Don’t put your standards on your children. Your minimum whitetail standard might be a 140-class buck. Your children just want to shoot a deer. d) Always remember that safety comes first. Broadheads are sharp, so be careful. Never point the muzzle of the barrel at anyone. Calm yourself, and absolutely Identify your target before shooting. Wear a safety harness when in a tree stand. Be extra careful when ascending or descending to or from a stand. We all still need to hear this advice. e) Let youngsters try all types of hunting, from small game to big game, from dove to deer. Waterfowl hunting, for instance, could turn out to be what they enjoy most. The point is, regardless of their field of interest, they will be enjoying nature and the sport of hunting.

cer, swimming, volleyball, dancing, gymnastics, wrestling, cheerleading, basketball, rodeo, field hockey, football and more. Many children now participate in several sports, and it can consume family time to the point where it is harmful. I happen to be a Christian, and schools used to be careful to keep Wednesday nights free for church activities. Likewise, in the past, ball games and other sporting events were rarely, if ever, held on Sunday mornings. All this has changed. It’s typical in our church, and other churches in our region, for children, parents, and grandparents to be attending ball games or other sporting events instead of going to church. As the heading said, sports rule. Perhaps you don’t attend church and are wondering how what I have just said might apply to you. Well, I can assure you that an excess of sports can turn a hunting family into one that rarely, if ever, hunts. For example, a couple of years ago, a youngster down the road killed his first turkey; a dandy 3-year-old tom. His dad called me up and asked if I would take a picture of his son with his big gobbler. Of course I was glad to do so. After we had taken the pictures, his dad told me how his son was involved in a variety of sports and did well at all of them. I marveled at what he said next. “The other day my son said that we hardly ever go hunting and fishing together anymore, that he was always playing sports," he said. "‘Dad,’ he said, ‘I’m going to quit everything but football so we can do more hunting and fishing together again.’” That boy is my hero! And this true example shows exactly what can happen in a hunting family when sports rule over everything else. Children can play sports and have fun, but there must be limits set. And although many sports can even be played and enjoyed into adulthood, few sports can be played and enjoyed into a person’s 50s, 60s or even 70s like hunting can. If what I have said regarding sports applies to your family, evaluate your situation and see how it is affecting your family life. If you truly want your children to become hunters, you have to set aside ample time for them to spend in the woods. Moderation in all things. THE DESIRE TO HUNT



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The first two points of this article have been frank and strong. I believe, however, that both needed to be addressed in this article, or it would be another fluff piece without much merit. Now — and “thank goodness," you might be saying — we come to the more enjoyable part of hunter recruitment: instilling the desire to hunt in our youth. Without doubt, the more youth are exposed to nature, the more of them will become hunters in the future. It’s important, though, to expose them to the entirety of nature, just not one aspect of the outdoors such as deer hunting. And the earlier you take them outside to enjoy the thrills of the wild, the more enjoyment they will derive from the experience and the more apt they will be to become hunters. Although my dad was a hunter and started me out on rabbit and squirrel hunting at an early age, he wasn’t a patient person. Hunting and shooting was what he was about, and he didn’t explain much else about nature to me. My mother and grandmother, on the other hand, were extremely patient with me. They just loved to be outdoors and dragged me along wherever they went. They were the ones who taught me to truly love the outdoors. I learned wildflower names from them, how www.whitetailinstitute.com


to identify trees and where the mushrooms popped up each spring. And they were two of the greatest gatherers I’ve ever been around. They taught me when to go afield and gather serviceberries, wild strawberries, raspberries, dewberries, blackberries, hazelnuts, paw paws, hickory nuts, wild grapes and much more. They would even help me dig worms and would pitch right in on fish and rabbit cleaning. I might add they were great cooks, too, and I was the happy recipient of delicious food they created from nature until they passed away a few years ago. On my 15th birthday, my mother fried up some squirrel and made a quantity of biscuits and gravy, and a few of my friends and I sat down for a “pioneer” meal. This past February, we had our 52nd consecutive Herndon’s Pioneer Dinner, all because of something my mother, Doris Herndon, started many years ago. We now actually rent a building for this great feast of foods caught, killed, or gathered from the land, and many people attend. Most of them are hunters. I use this pioneer dinner example because enthusiasm, dedication and a vast knowledge of hunting and gathering are what have been responsible for the dinner’s longevity. And the same will be true for hunting. Be enthusiastic, make sure you have a varied interest and knowledge of all aspects of nature, hunting and fishing, and odds are many young people you are associated with will end up hunting and enjoying the outdoors. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX One of most successful programs to introduce boys and girls to the shooting sports is the National Archery In The Schools Program. Started in a

few schools in Kentucky in 2002, it has ballooned to the point where it is currently used by schools in more than 40 states and more than one million school-age girls and boys will participate in the program this year. Thirty-eight percent will want to try bow-hunting after they complete the course. That is impressive, and it all started with an idea. In this program, young people use a Genesis bow (invented by Matt McPherson, the Bill Gates of archery) that is low-noise and low-recoil, yet accurate and powerful enough for the arrow to stick in the target. Almost

an equal number of boys and girls shoot these bows, and even someone in a wheelchair can participate in the sport. This is an ideal way to get children involved in shooting and hunting, and this usually will result in them taking up hunting involving firearms. I know it’s been said forever, but don’t start a child out with a gun that kicks too much. My dad bought me a single-shot Winchester Model 37 12-gauge when I was very small, and I believe I might have quit hunting if he hadn’t handed over his double-barreled 16-gauge shotgun to me shortly there-

■ We Can Make a Difference >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The Indiana DNR, along with some of the state’s hunting organizations, generally agreed on the rules for the state’s first youth seasons. The original rules, it should be noted, stated that children had to pass a hunter education course before they could obtain a youth license, and that antlered deer could not be taken during the early youth deer hunt in September. It didn’t take long to see those rules were a mistake. It took time, but Indiana youth can now obtain an apprenticeship license without passing the hunter education course. Three apprenticeship licenses can be purchased in a lifetime, so this allows a young hunter to hunt for three years before passing their hunter education course. A good law change, thanks to the DNR and the hunters of Indiana who were involved. And, as of Dec. 3, 2009, youth hunters younger than 18 in Indiana will be permitted to take an antlered deer during the early youth deer hunt in September. Another great rule change. Also, starting in 2009, Wisconsin’s new mentoring hunting law allowed hunters as young as 10 years of age with or without hunter education certification to participate in the youth gun deer hunt with a mentor. This is a two-year improvement for youth hunting, but in my opinion, the age to start hunting should be determined by the parents or other legal guardian. Still, there are improvements in hunting regulations being made because concerned outdoorsmen and women are taking action to make sure future generations have the right to hunt from a legislative standpoint. We all must do our part to help. Get involved!

7The 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.

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Grandad Brad, Jessica’s dad Curt Steger, and Jessica The Rascal Girl Steger with her first deer, a doe that field-dressed 134 pounds.

few weeks later, guess what Hannah had with her? Oh yes, the minnow trap. We all had the most fun putting out and baiting the minnow trap in a small creek. And, naturally, we were all excited a few hours later when we discovered we had trapped a bunch of minnows! During the same day, we also skipped rocks on a small lake and enjoyed hiking and other activities. A few weeks later, the grandgirls called, excited, to tell us about a three-hour splashing wade they had made with mom and dad down Wildcat Creek near their home. They were now hooked on creeks — and minnows too. WE CONTROL THE FUTURE OF HUNTING

after. That Model 37 just crushed me every time I shot it, and it scared me to death. There are many lowimpact guns on the market, so be sure and start children out with these firearms so shooting will be enjoyable for them — not something to be dreaded. Actually, an excellent way to start children out shooting is to put a BB gun, air rifle or .22-caliber rifle in their hands. I had a BB gun when I was very small and saved every penny I could to purchase more BBs. It was a blast. Of course, air rifles are awesome today and have no recoil. And a .22 is flat out fun to use to shoot targets, tin cans or walnuts off of trees in safe areas. That .22 rifle is also an outstanding firearm to break children into small-game hunting for squirrels. The weather is warm in squirrel seasons; it’s a great opportunity to teach them about various aspects of nature. There is plenty of action, and squirrels are excellent eating.

Carol and I drove the two hours to Lafayette, Ind., to attend the big event. Our gift to Hannah was a minnow trap. Yes, a minnow trap — certainly a wild idea. Interestingly, when The Rascal Family came down a

The future of hunting is in our hands. Just as the farmer says, the world is six months away from starvation if one year’s crop would fail. Likewise, hunting is just one generation from eroding significantly if we don’t do our part to grow and harvest the crop we have been entrusted with: our children. Therefore, I urge you to make a pledge to fight for legislation on a local, state and national level that will ensure the youth of today will have the opportunity to hunt if they desire to do so — and at a young age. Second, evaluate the sports situation. Make sure you allow plenty of time for your children to spend in the “sport” of hunting. And last, be enthusiastic about all of nature and encourage everyone you know to enjoy the great outdoors in every aspect. And last, make time to take a youngster hunting. Use your life to leave more than your name on a gravestone. Leave a legacy. W

Kids love to be at a hunting camp. Hunting has several interesting educational aspects that will help them in school.

MINNOW TRAPS AND MORE The year when our granddaughter Hannah "The Rascal Gal" celebrated her 8th birthday, Grandmom

■ Helpful Hunter Recruitment Websites >>> a) www.familiesafield.org National Shooting Sports Foundation. b) www.nwtf.org National Wild Turkey Federation. c) www.nra.org National Rifle Association. d) www.ussportsmen.org U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance. e) www.pope-young.org The Pope & Young Club. f) www.boone-crockett.org The Boone & Crockett Club.

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inches net B&C and made the Buckeye Big Buck Club. Thanks go to the Whitetail Institute for great products.

Mark Benson — Minnesota We’ve been using Chicory Plus in our two food plots we have in the woods and have seen a dramatic increase in activity in these areas. We see a lot more doe activity than bucks. But where the girls go so do the boys. Second rut action last year allowed me to arrow this nice Minnesota buck following a doe coming into our newest food plot — Chicory Plus. 190-pound 10-point 145-150 class buck.

Gabe Adair — Iowa This was the first season that I had hunted a new farm that we bought in February. Not knowing the ground very well, the first thing I did was plant multiple plots of Imperial Clover and Winter-Greens. The drawing power of both these products has always been awesome, I started getting all sorts of shooter bucks on my Reconyx Cameras, three of which were well over the 170-inch mark. On Nov. 8 everything was right and we decided to hunt in a real skinny draw that the deer

ten pointer with his rifle, and my cousin shot his first buck ever (an eight pointer). We don’t think this would've been possible without the Whitetail Institute food plots. They are by far the secret ingredient to producing a quality/quantity herd of deer. The success due to the ease of planting and maintenance has shown such a great reward that I find myself trying to fit in more food plots in every non-used area at our farm. Thanks Whitetail Institute for a great Deer Season.....now I can't wait till next year.

Paul Powell — Ohio

Joey Murphy — Missouri We started planting Whitetail Institute food plots two years ago. Since then, we've seen a noticeable increase in the size and numbers of the deer on our farm. This past fall has been the best year we've had to date. I had the privilege to take my FIRST deer EVER with a bow this past fall. It's a strong 10-pointer with several other non-typical tines off its bases. In addition, I shot another 10 pointer with my rifle, my father shot a

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

I have managed my 112 acre southeastern Ohio farm for three years. This has included selective mowing, planting 10,000 hardwood and white pine seedlings, keeping my 30-06 mineral licks going and planting 12 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus, and Extreme. The hard work has been very rewarding as I have watched the deer herd improve both in size and general health. On October 28-last year I was fortunate enough to arrow a very nice eight pointer 75 yards from one on the Imperial Clover fields. This main frame eight officially scored 153 6/8 inches gross and 150 5/8

use to get from the food sources to bedding cover. I knew that this was getting aggressive but it was time. We got in 1.5 hours early and waited for daylight. At the first crack of light I looked down the edge of the draw and saw the BIG 6x6 coming, I stopped him at 40 yards and released my arrow. I was fortunate to have killed a Booner. Dec. 13 rolled around and it was the opening day for the second gun season in Iowa. I typically don’t hunt the late muzzleloader season but the weather was perfect and the deer were pounding my Winter-Greens food plots, so I decided to get a tag. On the fourth day of the season we were hunting the top end of the ditch that I killed my Booner during bow season in. (400 yards away) This big boy that we were very familiar with popped out 45 mins before dark and was heading down to the Winter-Greens. I got a great 80 yard shot at him and the rest is history. This was hands down the

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best season I have ever had, harvesting two 180-inch class whitetails and capturing both on film. I give a lot of the credit to the drawing power that I had from planting Imperial Whitetail Clover and Winter-Greens on my farm. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

Chad Vanderroest — Michigan I feel that the food plots that I have incorporated into my management strategy have been the biggest factor in my ever increasing success. Four years ago I purchased a meager 35 acres in southwest Michigan. The area is NOT known for having very many deer and obviously there are not many big bucks around either. I never saw a buck the first year, and only saw does periodically. I didn’t even see a turkey that first year. My property wasn’t as good as the local state land. The following spring I decided that I was going to try putting in a food plot to improve my odds for the next season. I had soil tests conducted and worked in lime and fertilizer and planted Imperial Whitetail Clover. Deer started coming into the plot regularly by mid August. That October I bow hunted off and on, and saw a few smaller bucks and a number of does. Deer would come in and around the clover on a daily basis. Turkeys were always around the fields too. I was impressed with the change from the year before. In muzzleloader season I shot a nice 8 pointer. He wasn’t a huge deer, but I was thrilled that deer like that were starting to hang around my property. The third year started with a bang by shooting a big tom turkey in the clover field. With my new found confidence in food plots, I decided to add a couple more. I planted Chicory Plus, PowerPlant and No-Plow deep in the woods on the back of my property. The second weekend of gun season I went out on my property and hunted in the woods just off the back of the original Imperial Whitetail Clover field (in between a major bedding area and the clover). I saw three bucks that first day and shot the biggest one. He actually came down the edge of the clover field and walked right past me. That deer was a 10 point that gross scored 125 inches. This past year started again with a bang. I shot a tom turkey in the clover field again. In the late summer I added some long narrow (shooting lane) plots out in the old farm field using Winter-Greens. I hunted hard through October and passed up seven different bucks (some of which were 100 inches or more. In November (prime rut) I had nine does out in the original clover field eating, and a good buck came in to check them out. I decided that this one was worth shooting. He was a 12 point and has been green gross scored at 145 inches. It is almost comical looking back how I have gone from seeing very few deer/turkeys to www.whitetailinstitute.com

consistently taking good bucks and turkeys from the same field year after year. The progression from 8 to 10 to 12 points and the incremental increase in score is a shining example of what quality food plots and other management efforts can do. I will continue to add food plots and maintain the ones I have for years to come. I try to get every one I know who has property to plant food plots now. I have even helped others plant food plots the last two springs, and they too are seeing results. Thanks Whitetail Institute for the great line of products.

Todd Hughart — West Virginia

I shot the best buck to date from my small property in WV after planting 6-plus acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover. I shot the nice 10 point in the photo on the opening day of this past archery season. I had hundreds of trail pix of him from the last three years. I also had used Whitetail Institute products for years on a larger farm that I recently sold and had great results there as well.

Richard Sanders — Wisconsin

Imperial Whitetail Clover food plots on my property and try it. It was a good year for planting and I got a good catch. The deer do come to the Imperial Whitetail Clover before the alfalfa. I shot several big does in the 175 to 180 pound range over the two plots. Two years after planting I had taken several deer already, some over the food plots and others on different parts of my property and on neighboring farms. Toward the end of the first Wisconsin bow season, which closes just prior to the opening of the November gun season, I had a couple more nights to hunt before the crazy gun season got under way. About mid afternoon my wife called my attention to a huge buck standing out at the edge of our property. He was a monster 12-pointer. I decided then and there I was going out that evening. After settling in on my stand I wondered if I would see that huge 12 point buck again. About 15 minutes before the end of shooting hours a good sized fawn came strolling into the clover patch and began feeding. I figured his momma wouldn't be far behind and sure enough here she came. She too began feeding on the clover, digging through the sparse snow cover. I live in an area with a very high deer population so the DNR encourages hunters to shoot as many antlerless deer as we have tags for, (unlimited). I wrestled with myself for a moment or two and decided I would take the big doe. I drew my bow and was just getting ready to put my pin on her when from my far right I noticed movement. I looked to the right and there was a very nice buck‌ but not the big 12-pointer I had seen earlier in the day. But he was plenty good enough. I shot him at about 35 yards while he was standing in the middle of my Imperial Whitetail Clover patch. He was a big bodied deer, easily over 275 pounds. Non-typical 9- pointer. He officially scored 148 4/8 Pope & Young. Does Imperial Clover work. You bet!

William Dailey — Illinois Picture 1 is of a buck I killed that was in a travel corridor coming to the Imperial Whitetail Clover.

í˘˛

Four years ago, I told a rep of Whitetail Institute that I had alfalfa all around the area I hunted and he told me to try Imperial Whitetail Clover because the deer would come to it before the alfalfa. I decided to plant two

í˘ą Picture 2 shows a buck I killed three years ago that scored 194 2/8 inches net B & C. W

Send Us Your Photos! Do you have a photo and/or story of a big buck, a small buck or a 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. 19, No. 3 /

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ARE ANTLER RESTRICTIONS WORKING? By David Hart Photos by the Author

Not all quality bucks are the product of mandatory antler restrictions. This Virginia whitetail was taken in an area of high hunting pressure and was the result of mostly luck.

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After over a decade of data, biologists are tweaking buck harvest.

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n 2002 Pennsylvania became one of a growing number of states to institute antler restrictions. The new rules were part of a sweeping change to the state’s deer management program, one that was an attempt to bring the state’s buck-doe ratio closer together, increase the number of adult bucks and give hunters a better chance at killing a mature whitetail. Prior to the new rules, Pennsylvania hunters could shoot any buck with at least one spike three inches or longer, or a single antler with at least two points. Not only were hunters willing to shoot those little bucks, they shot them en masse. According to harvest data, 80 percent of the antlered deer taken in Pennsylvania each season were just 1 1/2 years old, and buck-doe ratios were as low as 1:10, even lower in some areas. Under the new rules, hunters in most of the state can only shoot bucks with at least three points on one side. While most hunters were willing to give the restrictions a try, a small but vocal number of critics blasted the plan for a variety of reasons, claiming the plan wouldn’t work. Turns out, they were wrong. BIGGER, YES, BUT… Where it has been instituted, either through regulations or through voluntary cooperation by clubs and

individual hunters, antler restrictions have resulted in more bigger bucks in the entire population. Bigger, however, is a relative term. Data compiled by the PGC shows that while yearling bucks are indeed surviving at higher rates, most are being harvested the first year they are legal. Prior to the new rules, about 20 percent of the total buck harvest consisted of mature (two years or older) deer. Now, 2-1/2-year-old bucks make up 75 percent of Pennsylvania’s “mature” buck harvest. Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries deer project leader Matt Knox is also seeing a shift in pressure away from yearlings to 2-1/2-year-old whitetails, even though there are no mandatory restrictions in most of the state. They may be bigger, but how much bigger? “I walked into a deer processor last season and saw only one one-year old buck hanging. The rest were two-year-olds,” he recalls. Most of those two-year-olds are far from trophyclass deer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, agrees Knox. He says an increase in 2-1/2-year-old bucks ultimately means there will be more older deer left in the total population after each hunting season. “I think hunters will start treating two-year-old bucks the same way they treated one-year-old deer in the past,” he says. “They will realize that they don’t have to

shoot the first small eight-pointer because they’ve shot plenty of small eight-pointers already.” Greg Patton, a taxidermy shop owner in Shenandoah County, Virginia, also thinks hunters will eventually tire of shooting those mediocre bucks and will be more willing to pass on them. Patton was one of a handful of forward-thinking hunters who pushed the VDGIF to implement antler point restrictions in his home county starting in 2006. Instead of adopting a full-blown, across-the-board point restriction, the Department instituted a second-buck rule: The first buck could be any antlered deer, but the second had to have at least four points on one side. It was a good start, figures Patton, and while he’d like to see the rules taken a step farther, he agrees with Knox. “I think hunters will start to realize that they don’t need to shoot any more two-and-a-half year-old deer and they’ll start letting those bucks walk, even if there are no changes to the current restrictions,” he says. Mississippi, which adopted antler restrictions in 1995, is also seeing a shift away from the harvest of younger deer. Prior to the restrictions, yearlings accounted for about 50 percent of the total buck kill. But unlike what’s happening in Pennsylvania and Shenandoah County, VA, hunters in Mississippi are shifting their attention away from just-legal deer to older bucks. In

The powerful appeal of Magnet Mix is now available in a handy, 4-part block. Just break apart the block and place the sections wherever you want the deer to gather. In addition to being enormously attractive to deer, the formula in the 4-Play block contains a combination of essential vitamins and minerals. Four times the attraction in the block; four times the deer activity on your property. B e c a u s e o f t h e M a g n e t M i x l i n e ’ s i n c re d i b l e attractiveness, some states may consider it bait. Remember to check your local game l a w s b e f o re h u n t i n g o v e r M a g n e t M i x products.

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The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043 Research = Results

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2005, 60 percent of the buck harvest was 3-1/2 years old or older. After ten years of living and hunting under the four-point rule, hunters have adopted the same attitude Patton would like to see Shenandoah County hunters adopt: Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it has to be killed. “The majority of the clubs have been using more stringent rules than the state rules and they have been more than willing to hold out for older deer,” says Mississippi Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks deer program coordinator Chad Dacus. “I think somewhere in the late ‘90s or early 2000s there was also a noticeable shift by the general public to pass on those younger legal deer and I think it is a trend that will continue.” Dacus added that a survey conducted by the MDFWP backs that up, as most hunters said they were no longer shooting a buck just because he was legal. Overall, Mississippi hunters have been extremely satisfied with the changes, and a majority of Pennsylvania hunters have embraced the recent changes. A vocal minority, however, questioned the need to change the status quo, wondering if the state’s deer herd was truly in need of a fix. THE BIOLOGICAL FACTOR Pennsylvania instituted its antler restrictions largely as a result of an extremely low buck-to-doe ratio and a disproportionately low number of mature bucks. There was also some concern among hunters over the lack of quality bucks. By drastically increasing the doe harvest through increases in permits and by cutting down on the buck harvest, biologists have been able to bring the

herd into better balance. Knox, however, wonders why some hunters and biologists get so worked up about buck-doe ratios and age structures. “I’m always having discussions with hunters and even biologists about the ‘right’ buck-doe ratios and the proper age structures for a deer herd, but no one can give me the right number,” he says. “There is no shortage of deer in any of these states that are enacting antler restrictions, so to me it really comes down to creating more older deer and not necessarily the right balance, whatever that is. As I said before, I have no problem with managing for older-aged bucks, but I don’t think it should be mandated by a wildlife department.” Despite initial claims by Pennsylvania biologists that the skewed buck-doe ratio was creating unnatural breeding cycles, new reports show that there has been no change in the breeding dates of the state’s deer. Prior to the restrictions, the average date of conception was Nov. 17; after, the average breeding date was Nov. 16. After examining the effect of antler restrictions for 14 years, biologists in Mississippi found that selective harvest of bucks with at least four points on one side resulted in a reduction in bucks with larger antlers in subsequent years. In other words, the best bucks were being taken out of the population early because they grew legal antlers at younger ages than lower-quality bucks of the same age. Called “high-grading,” it ultimately resulted in an overall decline in antler size of 3 1/2-year old and older bucks. It’s happening mostly on public property where hunting pressure is high and hunters are still less willing to let a legal deer pass. Private-land hunters, however, have more freedom to

Despite concerns for young hunters who may be forced to pass up legal deer, at least one survey found that kids are embracing antler restrictions as eagerly as many adults.

Putting out the welcome mat for deer is as easy as pouring from a jug. Deer are so attracted by the smell and drawn to the taste of Magnet Mix that they will come from miles around — and keep coming back. Just shake and pour (no mixing required) and wait for the deer to show up. Just seconds of preparation provides gallons of attraction.

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Because of Magnet Mix’s incredible attractiveness, some states may consider it bait. Remember to check your local game laws before hunting over Magnet Mix.

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The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043

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be selective and are more willing to pass up legal bucks that barely meet the minimum requirements as they wait for a mature, heavy-antlered buck. So after 14 years of point restrictions, the MDFWP has scrapped the four-point rule and instead adopted a measurement scale. Now, hunters have to judge either a buck’s antler spread or main beam length. In two management zones, which cover about threequarters of the state, bucks must have at least a 10-inch inside spread or a main beam length of at least 13 inches. In one zone, which has more fertile soil and a greater potential to produce larger bucks, hunters are restricted to bucks with at least a 12-inch inside spread or a main beam length of at least 15 inches. Dacus says the new rules will protect nearly 100 percent of the state’s yearling bucks and allow mature bucks to breed more does, which is more natural and better for the herd overall. “We were seeing a decrease in antler quality because the poor-quality yearling bucks were doing most of the breeding. By increasing the overall antler quality, we expect to see a long-term increase in antler size as well as a shorter breeding season,” he explains. “When we had the four-point rule in place, the breeding season was lasting as long as 50 days and we saw some fawns born as late as October. That’s not a sign of a healthy deer herd.” The bottom line is that antler restrictions can work to a degree. Younger bucks are surviving at higher rates, putting more 2-1/2-year-old deer in the woods. But what happens after they reach that age can only be determined by those who make the ultimate decision to shoot or to wait. W

Most states with some type of antler restriction offer exemptions for young hunters.

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Vol. 19, No. 3 /

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STOP AND THINK FIRST Supplemental Feeding — Not as Simple As It Seems By John Frank Deese — Wildlife Biologist

Listening to this man has got to be as close to time travel as you can get. His name is John Lewis Deese, and he was one of eight brothers and sisters who struggled for survival in rural Montgomery County, Ala. I remember him saying, “As a child I never hesitated when supper was ready, because I might go to bed hungry.” Needless to say, times were tough back then, and a man learned things the hard way. I crave his advice on all of life’s issues because he’s been there. He says that there’s an exception to every rule, but most people are good at heart. People generally want to do the right thing no matter what crusade they are involved in. However, one needs to have a full understanding of the issue at hand before they take action. Everything we do affects others in some way, good or bad. I think this advice can be applied to whitetail deer enthusiasts as well. Land managers who aim to improve the health of their local whitetail deer population through the use of a supplemental feeding program may find this old man’s advice useful. Sure, we all have good intentions. We all want our property teaming with fat healthy deer, so we should start filling the deer feeders, right? Wrong. Everyone’s situation is different. The worst thing someone can do is blindly enter the game of supplemental feeding and

P

eople generally want to do the right thing. At least that’s what my grandfather says. I stop by his house and have a cup of coffee with him every morning before work. I walk in the front door and the coffee is always ready, and he is normally waiting in the kitchen. We usually sit and talk about various topics for a few minutes before I make my daily route to the Whitetail Institute office in Pintlala, AL.

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stick a deer feeder in the middle of their property without being fully aware of the effects if might have on everything around it. We need to step back and get a clear understanding of the steps you should take before even considering a supplemental feeding program. So where should you start? Begin by checking your state game laws. Many states have outlawed supplemental feeding because it is believed to enhance the spread of certain diseases. It is illegal in some states to hunt over supplemental feed, but it is legal in other states. Keep in mind that many things must be done before supplemental feeding is put on the agenda. For the sake of this article, let’s assume that some form of supplemental feeding is legal in your state. First, you should begin with food plots. The most effective and cost-friendly nutritional tool available is a high-quality perennial food plot such as Imperial Whitetail Clover. If properly managed, a perennial food plot can deliver nutrient-rich food to whitetails for several years. A responsible whitetail manager will have his property littered with plots of clover, chicory, brassicas and other nutrient-rich forages. Starting a supplemental feeding program without established perennial food plots could be compared to a bodybuilder skipping his workout routine and simply drinking protein shakes. It just doesn’t make sense. Again, developing high-quality perennial food plots should be your first goal in growing bigger bucks. Second, improve what you already have. Enhance the natural food sources that exist on your property by fertilizing and eliminating unwanted competing vegetation. For example, locate and identify all of your mast-producing trees, and choose around 10 percent of the most favored species such as white oak, persimmon and post oak. Remove all small, woody vegetation from the drip line of each tree, and apply a slowrelease fertilizer in these areas. These fertilizers can be purchased at your local co-op or tree nursery.

Check state game laws and consider your overall management goals before you implement supplemental feeding.

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Removing saplings and small trees from the drip line of your tree allows it to receive full benefit from the fertilizer being applied. Through time, this will result in higher mast crop yield, or simply put, more food for your deer. Adequate harvest of does is another crucial step you should accomplish before even considering supplemental feed. If your property is already above its whitetail carrying capacity, deer feeders will magnify this problem. Side effects of severely overpopulated whitetail deer include overbrowsing of native vegetation, increased risk of disease transmission, lower birth weight of fawns and declining overall health of the deer population. I am in no way implying that supplemental feeding is a bad idea, but I believe that it should only be practiced by responsible and informed people who understand the potential side effects (positive or negative) on the local deer population. You are the one who will determine if the result is beneficial or detrimental. An agreement with your surrounding landowners is another thing you should try to establish before implementing a supplemental feeding program. More often than not, this has proven to be the most difficult task mentioned thus far to accomplish because everyone has their own idea about how things should be done. Arm yourself with knowledge about your goals so that you can persuade your neighbors with accurate information on the issue at hand. You don’t have to try to sell them on the supplemental feeding issue, just convince them to plant perennial food plots and implement a proper doe harvest. Try to reach an agreement on your goals by explaining how much more can be gained through teamwork. A whitetail’s home range

Establishing food plots and enhancing natural food sources are first-line strategies for growing trophy bucks.

Deer have complex nutritional needs that change throughout the year. But because Cutting Edge meets these changing needs, it is not complex at all — in fact it’s very simple. Thanks to our extensive research and development, getting the right supplements to your deer herd at the right time is as easy as opening a bag and creating a ground site or mixing with other feed such as corn or beans. Devour flavor enhancer is included in the Cutting Edge formula to make sure the deer find and frequently use this state-of-the-art supplement.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

Late winter to mid-spring — When bucks are regrowing their antlers and doe are entering the third trimester of pregnancy, Initiate meets their increased need for protein, energy, minerals and vitamins that early spring vegetation is not yet able to provide.

Late spring through summer — During this period deer need a specific array of vitamins and minerals to support continued antler growth and lactation. Optimize is the perfect blend of nutrients to maintain a healthy herd during this crucial period.

Fall through early winter — Cold weather, food shortages and the stresses of he rut make fall and winter a difficult time for deer heards. Sustain provides the protein, energy, vitamins and minerals necessary to bring the herd through this difficult period.

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can be quite large, ranging anywhere from a couple of hundred acres to several thousand. The deer you are managing for will reap the benefits of a good understanding between you and your neighbors. I think the landowner should only consider supplemental feeding after perennial food plots have been established, native vegetation enhanced, proper buck-to-doe ratio has been achieved and some form of long-term agreement has been made between you and your surrounding landowners. Many readers may be asking, "What's the big deal?" Here are just a few reasons. First, I consider myself extremely lucky to live in this great country and have the freedom to manage our wildlife in almost any way I please. I believe it is my responsibility to do the best I can to ensure the health of our natural resources. I believe supplemental feeding to be an extremely complex issue, and after all, anyone can simply pour feed into a trough and walk away. Second, when you pour feed into a feeder, you are micro-managing the food source that is so-relied on by animals you are managing for. Some people try to argue that food plots do the same thing, but that is not the case. Even though Imperial Whitetail Clover is considered by many to be the most preferred deer forage in the world, it simply is not the same as pouring food into a pile. Food plots have a natural aspect. Supplemental feeding might be a more borderline issue and it should be, especially if people are not responsible for their actions as land managers. That is why I believe it is the manager’s responsibility to enhance the natural food sources and perennial food plots on your property to the highest level possible before supplemental feeding. Third, responsible whitetail managers should want to accomplish these goals before supplemental feeding simply because it is good management practice. Good advice is priceless. That is why I try to follow my grandfather’s advice about so many things. He has learned through trial and error, and if we are smart, we will take advice from these people so that we can avoid the same mistakes. Many things in life require people to learn through trial and error. Managing whitetails is not one of them. The mistakes have already been made; all we have to do is pick up where they left off. Incidentally, my grandfather turned 70 in February. And I wish this year to be his best. W

30-06 is not a glorified salt lick or a cattle mineral. It is a true nutritional sup-plement 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 all the essential macro and trace minerals along with vitamins A, D, and E necessary for a quality deer herd and maximum antler growth. 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. 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.

The Whitetail Institute ®

239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

“Deer Nutrition Is All We Do!”

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A Lost Son and A Cherished Memory By Rick Bampton Photos by the Author

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eer season started like every other one. I would let everything small go by in hopes of shooting that trophy buck. As opening morning would progress, I would see several does and small bucks. By mid-afternoon, after hearing shots all morning, my impatience would get the best of me, and I would end up shooting a mediocre buck at best. This year was no exception. Because I shot my deer on opening morning and had to travel most of that next week, I decided to take my 8-year-old son when I got back from my trip. I got home Thursday and talked my wife into allowing me to take Dan out of school on Friday to try to get him his first deer. The forecast for the weather was perfect: cold, still and clear. That Friday morning, Dan and I 44

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

headed out to the woods. We got there early, and just as predicted, the weather was perfect. Well, at least for me it was. Within 20 minutes of sitting in the woods waiting for the sun to appear, Dan looked up and whispered he was getting cold. I told him the deer would be in the woods today and to try to hang tight, which he

agreed to do — for about another 10 minutes. He again looked up and said he was getting cold. Rather than fight this, I decided it was his hunt, and if he wanted to go up to our condo stand, that’s what we would do. So, about 7:30 a.m., we walked through the woods to the open field where the condo stand was.

My eight-year-old son Danny, shot this buck in the 2007 deer season. He shot it over a Whitetail Clover patch with a pond in one corner of the field. I sat on this story since then and never got around to sending it until now. On Aug. 19, 2009, Dan was killed in a car accident. He would have been 10 in six days. This was Dan's first and only deer of his lifetime. I miss him more than words can describe, especially when we are coming up on his favorite season... fall and hunting. www.whitetailinstitute.com


I have to admit, it felt good inside the stand as the sun was shining through the window. As we sat in the stand, I actually fell asleep, which I never do. But, I figured we wouldn’t see anything in the open field, and had my sights set on the afternoon hunt. Around 9 a.m., I woke up to the sound of Dan saying there was a deer running across the field. I looked up to see a doe running within 10 yards of our stand. I told Dan to get ready, because it looked like the doe was being chased. Well, 15 minutes went by and we didn’t see anything else. My hopes were quickly sinking. Then as I looked in the Imperial Whitetail Clover field to my left, I noticed a big buck coming up over the pond dam and walking down to the water to drink. I anxiously told Dan to look all the way to the left by the pond and asked him if he wanted to try to shoot him. At first he said no, worried that he might miss. But then he quickly changed his mind and grabbed the .270 to take a shot. As the deer stood there drinking, I told Dan to get set and shoot when he was ready. It seemed like forever, but then the shot rang out, and the deer fell in its tracks. I cannot describe the excitement displayed by Dan when he saw the deer drop. After he settled down some, and we were sure the deer wasn’t going to get up, we climbed down and walked over to see him. It was then that I realized it was the deer we had been seeing for the past two years. The first year he was a nice 8-pointer. The next year he was a big 10-pointer, and now he was a heavy main-frame 11-point buck with a sticker to make him 12 points. We had coined this deer the “Ghost” because with only two exceptions, the only reason we knew he was around was because of the few pictures we would get

on our trail cams a couple of times during a three-week period in October each year. The current year was an exception because we did not get any pictures of him. I thought he might have fallen victim to blue tongue disease, which had stricken so many deer in our area. In the end, what I thought would be a normal day with father and son spending the day together in the woods actually turned out to be one of my most cherished memories of Dan that would last a lifetime. This was Dan’s first and only deer. My little Dan was killed in a car accident in August, 2009. He will be missed terribly. Take your kids hunting, and cherish your time together. You never know if it will be your last. W

Dan’s deer as an 8-pointer.

Dan’s deer as a 10-pointer.

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• Super-charged granules make bucks see RED! • KRAZE contains Devour™, a scientifically developed and tested scent and flavor enhancer that drives deer wild! • KRAZE is mineral and vitamin enhanced • KRAZE satisfies a deer’s inherent craving for specific types of sugars

The Whitetail Institute — 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 “Deer Nutrition Is All We Do!”

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Research = Results

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PACK ON ANTLER MASS With Mineral/Vitamin Supplements By Jon Cooner Photos by Charles J. Alsheimer

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here’s no question that when it comes to improving the quality of the deer we hunt, high-quality, high-protein food plots are among the most important nutritional tools. If you want to ensure that your deer have all the nutrition they need to maximize health and antler size, though, be sure you don’t overlook mineral/vitamin supplementation. The benefits that Imperial 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge offer can be huge.

mineral/vitamin supplementation in the context of antler growth.

Bucks, does and fawns need a host of macro and trace minerals in varying amounts throughout the year. Mineral/vitamin requirements are at their highest during spring and summer, when bucks are regrowing antlers and does are in the later stages of pregnancy and, later, supplying milk to their newborn fawns. High levels of specific minerals in specific ratios are critical to these processes. Here, though, I’m going to discuss

MINERALS AND THE ANTLER-GROWING PROCESS

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ANTLER SIZE IS A PRODUCT OF THREE FACTORS Antler size is determined by three things: genetics, age and nutrition. Genetics is basically the buck’s antler blueprint. The buck’s genes set the maximum size of the antlers he is capable of producing. If a buck’s antlers are not as large as they could be (as large as the buck’s genetic blueprint will allow), then the problem is not genetic. Instead, it's a shortfall in either or both of the other two factors: age and/or nutrition. The age factor is pretty much fixed. A buck simply will not grow the biggest set of antlers his genetic blueprint will allow until he is about 5.5 to 6.5 years old. And because that rule is fixed, the way to maximize the benefit of the age factor is also straightforward: Try not to harvest bucks until they are mature. When it comes to deer, nutrition is something that we can improve over what is usually available in the wild. The biggest nutritional players during spring and summer are protein, minerals and vitamins. Let’s look at minerals in the context of antler growth.

Antler growth is referred to as a secondary sex characteristic. That means that a buck will use available nutrition after winter to get his body back in shape before he devotes substantial nutritional resources to antler growth. When a buck starts regrowing his antlers in late winter or early spring, he starts by building the

velvet antler, about 80 percent of which is protein. When the hardening process starts later in the antlergrowing season, the buck begins to deposit minerals on the collagen matrix of the velvet antler, a process called mineralization. A fully mineralized (hardened) antler is about 45 percent protein and 55 percent minerals, so you can see how important minerals are. In most parts of North America, though, mineral availability is sufficient to keep a buck alive and for him to grow antlers, but rarely is it anywhere near the levels needed to grow the biggest antlers his genes will allow. The entire antler-growing process takes place within approximately a 200-day period during spring and summer. The first time I stopped and really considered that — and that mineralization happens only during the final part of those 200 days — it made me wonder: Where does a buck get such a fast-flowing river of minerals? The answer to this question is crucial to understanding why supplementing mineral and vitamin availability during spring and summer can be so critical to boosting rack size. Bucks get the minerals they use to harden their antlers from two sources; not just directly from what they eat and by drawing them out of their own skeletal systems. And that means that if a buck is to devote all the minerals and vitamins he can to antler growth, he must ingest enough minerals not only to send them directly to his antlers but also to replenish those he draws from his skeleton. In my case, understanding that specific point was perhaps the biggest key in unlocking my understanding of the full potential weight of the benefits Imperial 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge can offer to antler growth.

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WHAT MINERALS ARE IN AN ANTLER? As I mentioned earlier, a fully mineralized antler is about 55 percent minerals. If you were to assay any hardened antler, no matter where in North America it came from, you’d find that it contains the same minerals in the same amounts and in the same ratios. For example, a hardened antler is comprised of about 22 percent calcium and about 11 percent phosphorous, a ratio of 2 to 1. And again, those percentages and that ratio will be consistent from one hardened antler to the next. The other 22% of minerals in the hardened antler consist of a lot of complex percentages of micro and macro minerals. THE BIG SALT/SODIUM ILLUSION One mineral of which there is very little in a hardened antler is sodium, or salt. If you were to assay a hardened antler, you’d find that it contains less than one percent salt. In fact, salt does virtually nothing to promote antler size. Salt can be attractive to deer, though, and it is not uncommon to find holes that deer have dug in areas where salt, sodium or products with a high salt content, such as cattle blocks, have been put out. The illusion is in assuming (incorrectly) that big holes in the ground also mean big antlers on a buck’s head. It doesn’t, if what the deer are seeking is all or mostly salt or sodium. A little salt is fine, though, as a flavoring agent for minerals that actually provide nutritional benefit, because some of them aren’t very tasty. That’s why Imperial 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge contain small amounts of salt as an

attractant, as well as other scent and taste enhancers, including Devour, a proprietary attractant that can be addictive to deer. The key, though, is that these attractants are present in Whitetail Institute supplements only in sufficient amounts to get deer to take the nutritional minerals. That’s quite different from a product that is all or mostly salt or sodium, which the Institute believes is more of an attractant than a beneficial nutritional supplement. HOW TO KEEP FROM GETTING DUPED The good news for consumers is that it’s very easy to be sure you are purchasing a true mineral/vitamin supplement for deer, and not just a glorified bag of salt with the picture of a big deer on the front. One way is to check the ingredient label on the package. The mineral/vitamin industry is highly regulated, and you can check the ingredients in any product sold as “deer mineral” by looking at the required ingredient tag on the back of the bag. Don’t try to duplicate the ingredient label on your own, though. Although the ingredient label will tell you what minerals and vitamins are in the product, it’s perhaps not the best way to ensure that you are buying a truly scientifically formulated product designed for the unique dietary and nutritional requirements of deer. Ingredient labels might tell you very little about source and quality of each ingredient, the exact make up of certain compounds in the product and other important things. And in extreme cases, improperly formulated mixes can even be toxic to deer. You can see how important it is to use a scientifically formulated supplement such as Imperial 30-06, 3006 Plus Protein or Cutting Edge when you consider all

the points we’ve discussed: (a) Deer antlers are among the fastest growing animal tissues. (b) A growing antler is comprised of 20 percent minerals and vitamins. (c) A hardened antler is comprised of 55 percent minerals. (d) During the antler-growing season, a buck must ingest enough of minerals not only to deposit directly onto his velvet antler but also to replenish what he has drawn from his own skeletal system. (e) During the antler-growing season, the minerals a buck needs are very specific as to type, quality, form and ratios to one another, so any supplement should be scientifically formulated to meet the unique requirements of deer. THE BOTTOM LINE The easiest (and most foolproof) way to be sure the supplement you’re getting is truly scientifically formulated to deliver the results you’re looking for is to just stick with the most respected products available: Imperial 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein, and Cutting Edge. The Whitetail Institute has done all the hard work for you. Imperial 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge supplements are truly scientifically formulated to meet the specific requirements deer. They contain the specific nutritional minerals and vitamins deer need to maximize health and rack size, and in the forms and component qualities that will best serve those needs. They are also heavily researched and tested to ensure high quality and exceptional attractiveness to deer. Even if you have high-quality, high-protein Whitetail

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.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

TREATED

The Whitetail Institute “Deer Nutrition Is All We Do!”

UN-TREATED

— 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 Research = Results

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Institute food plots on your property, don’t overlook the importance of supplying your deer with Imperial 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein, and/or Cutting Edge if you really want to give your deer even more nutrition that can help them maximize their genetic potential. If you have any questions about 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein, Cutting Edge, or any other Whitetail Institute product, call our in-house consultants toll-free from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday, at (800) 688-3030, ext. 2. W

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.

FREE Trial Offer! Offer 1 — only $9.95 (shipping and handling)

FREE all new DVD; FREE N0-Plow™ FREE Imperial Clover™; FREE Extreme™ FREE Alfa-Rack™ PLUS; FREE Chicory PLUS™; FREE “Chic” Magnet™; FREE Winter-Greens™; FREE Double-Cross™ (each sample plants 100 sq. ft.)

Offer 2 — only $19.95 (shipping and handling)

Same as Offer 1 — PLUS: FREE 30-06™ Mineral (5 lbs.) FREE Cutting Edge™ Supplement (5 lbs.)

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The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

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(Continued from page 27)

Whitetail Extreme matches my poor soil quality. After putting out two different plots two years apart I have a good rotation of plots. I started hunting this property when I was 14, 25 years ago, and have tried many products over these years. After seeing the deer using the Extreme I have been using it ever since. I have taken many 120 class deer over the years on this property and knew the genetics were above normal. Through good management and the proper diet my son was able to take this 4 1/2 year old deer within a 100 yards of an Extreme plot. The deer has a 21-inch inside spread. Putting out a high quality food plot product made the difference.

Adam Lanier — Ohio

12 bucks have been shot — two 7-points; six 8-points; two 9-points; one 12-point and one 15-point buck.. Enclosed is the eight I harvested this past year. Thanks again for Whitetail Institute products.

Earl Hanna — Virginia

Attached is a photo of my Ohio whitetail killed in December this past year. The previous spring I planted two acres of PowerPlant and two acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover. This buck, along with many others consistently showed up all summer long. Many evenings 8-10 does and seven to eight different bucks would feed in the plot. In August I plowed under half of the PowerPlant and planted an acre of Pure Attraction. We had a dry fall, but the Pure Attraction came up and the deer instantly started feeding on it. It looks like a rototiller has been in this part of the field! After the rut this buck returned and I finally crossed paths with him as he entered the oats. He has 14 scorable points and scores 178-inches with 9 inches broken off of his G3. I'm planning on expanding next year and planting more!

Raymond Siggelow — Pennsylvania I started using Whitetail Institute products 20 years ago. I had a camp in the PA mountains and I planted some No-Plow and Imperial Whitetail Clover. When the deer found it they mowed it down. It made me a believer. My wife and I bought 38 acres in Mercer, PA eight years ago. I planted Imperial Whitetail Clover soon afterwards and I also used Cutting Edge. Four years ago during buck season my wife shot a 15-point that gross scored 168 inches. I shot an 8-point thirty minutes later. In the eight years we’ve owned the property 50

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photo is a magnificent buck in a beautiful field of Imperial Whitetail Clover. We found sheds of this deer at 1 1/2, 2 1/2 and at 3 1/2 years of age. This is him at 4 1/2 in the photo. Luckily for my brother I missed this buck at 3 1/2 years old in archery season. Opening day of his fourth year I watched him and 13 doe at dark in a large field of PowerPlant. The distance was longer than my in-lines maximum range. Instead of a hasty stalk, I opted to watch him fade into the dark, figuring it’s a long enough season, lets not blow him out of our hunting area. I kid my brother because again much to my brothers liking, the big bruiser lived on. Four days later on Thanksgiving Day he ran a doe past my brother’s long time stand. It was a big mistake as you can see in the other photo. Our property definitely could produce good bucks before we started to manage with the Whitetail Institute products but they were few and far between. We now put a very good buck down every year or it seems worst case two out of three years.

We’ve been using Imperial Whitetail Clover for seven years. My wife, family and friends have been truly fortunate to observe various deer mature. This past year we had a 140-class 8-pointer and a 150-class 10-pointer enjoying our clover. Unfortunately, both of those deer were taken illegally at night and out of season. I was fortunate enough to take this 8-point buck on the last day of our rifle season and the deer scored 150 Boone & Crockett. Thanks Whitetail Institute for offering such a great product.

Randy Stuart — New York I only use Imperial Whitetail Clover now. In the past I had grown three different clovers, Imperial Whitetail Clover by far is the best in longevity and what the deer prefer. I have also planted PowerPlant for three years. It’s a great product, too. Deer get lost in it and use it well into winter. They hammer it. I love it. The trail cam www.whitetailinstitute.com


Kendall Gladue — North Dakota I have had lots of experience hunting whitetail deer. My old man and I have hunted since I was 14 years old and I am now 25 and have just recently got the biggest buck of my life. My dad got the biggest deer of his life two years ago. When I learned of Whitetail Institute I figured I would try some of its products just behind our house. The most amazing thing was I saw deer just about every day. These products work and trust me if these small plots can allure the deer imagine what a whole field can do. Keep producing these products Whitetail Institute and I'll produce the results

focus on the rack before I shot so I didn't know what he had on his head until we walked up on him. I was as surprised as my husband. What a great year and a lot of thanks goes to Whitetail Institute products. We can't wait to try some of the other products from Whitetail Institute when we move to a bigger piece of land.

but we continued to learn. Then two ten point bucks were shot one morning, we were beginning to see our strategy pay off. I have enclosed a photograph of a large 160-inch ten-point buck killed this year by Tommy Murray, a member of Beaver Dam Hunt Club. Over the years we have harvested many does, some button bucks by mistake, but now we are really seeing the benefits of patiently following a QDM strategy. We have seen how a QDM strategy of managing deer, working along side products sold by the Whitetail Institute, will make a difference in the size and number of deer harvested.

Jeff Swortzel — Virginia Todd Fisk — Indiana I’ve tried many other products and none compare to Imperial Whitetail Clover! It last for many years (5 plus) and is outstanding for drawing and supplying that extra source of nutrition for all wildlife. I live in farm country and the deer have every type of food source

Stacie Romportl — Wisconsin I've only been hunting for a few years because my husband helped to get me into it when we met, but my luck has improved since we planted Whitetail Institute’s Imperial Clover. It used to be that I would see does and fawns and maybe a 6-point buck or smaller but this past year in gun season I was lucky enough to see this bruiser 13-point buck walk into range. I tried not to

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The Beaver Dam Hunt Club was formed several years ago, in Bedford County Virginia. At the time of inception, the club founders got together and decided on pursuing a Quality Deer Management strategy. We set a harvest rule that mature bucks must have antlers extending at least to a point even with the tips of the ears, and have eight points or more to be harvested. We began reading about and beginning to understand the basics of the QDM strategy, immediately we began to believe our buck to doe ratio was out of balance. We began harvesting does and passing up young bucks in an attempt to balance our buck to doe ratio. We wanted to give our young bucks a chance to mature, and soon found that achieving the optimum 1 to 1 buck/doe ratio was very difficult. At the same time we started harvesting does, we began planting food plots and establishing mineral licks. We started our first mineral licks with 30-06 Mineral supplement, and were amazed at the size of the holes the deer would dig to get the 30-06. In the beginning, we had much to learn about planting and soil pH. Many things that farmers had been learning for years. Our first food plot was Imperial Whitetail Clover, and we quickly learned just how much our deer liked it. Since all of our members, retired from, or worked in jobs other than farming or game management, we made many mistakes. We continued to follow this course. We made mistakes,

available but still always hit the clover daily! The buck in the enclosed picture scored 151-5/8 and was harvested following does to an Imperial Clover and Pure Attraction food plot. Does hit the plot everyday during the rut. What else do you need? W

Send Us Your Photos! Do you have a photo and/or story of a big buck, a small buck or a 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

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D

eer nutrition remains one of the fastest-growing segments of the outdoor industry. As such, it continues to attract new players: some informed, others uninformed. To be sure you get your money’s worth, rely on Whitetail Institute products. The Institute doesn’t even have to tell you why. The facts do it for us. Ray Scott, the Institute’s founder and president, explained the philosophy on which the Institute is based.

NOTHING BUT THE FACTS Why the Whitetail Institute is the Industry Leader By Hollis Ayres

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“I found out many years ago that getting a customer is only a small part of a successful enterprise. Keeping a customer is by far the most difficult — and rewarding — task. Also the most profitable,” Scott said. “So you have to have two basic things: an unquestionably good product and an outstanding customer service. I founded the Whitetail Institute on these principles and after 20 years I am extremely proud to have the best products in the industry and knowledgeable and responsive customer service that is second to none.” Has the Institute succeeded in following Scott’s philosophy? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” And the facts show why. THE WHITETAIL INSTITUTE IS COMMITTED TO HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCTS Fact: The Whitetail Institute of North America pioneered the deer nutrition industry. Imperial Whitetail Clover, the Institute’s first forage product, is still the No. one food-plot planting in the world and the gold standard by which all other food plot products are measured. Fact: The Whitetail Institute is the only food plot company that actually breeds many of the plant varieties included in its blends through an exhaustive process of genetic selection, cross-breeding and realworld testing. Fact: Whitetail Institute forage products contain Advantage and Insight, the only clover varieties scientifically developed for deer food plots. Fact: The Institute’s research and development team is lead by top scientists in the fields of plant breeding and genetics. The Institute’s first director of forage research, Dr. Wiley Johnson, developed Advantage and Insight. The Institute’s current director of forage research, Dr. Wayne Hanna, a world-renowned expert and member or the Department of Agriculture’s Research Hall of Fame, is continuing to develop new plant varieties for the Institute. Fact:: The Institute conducts its plant research and breeding according to strict scientific protocols. For example, Advantage clover was developed by gathering more than 100 clover varieties worldwide, crossbreeding them, retaining only the best offspring for further breeding and repeating the process for seven years. Fact: The Institute’s forage research and development are scientifically goal-oriented toward producing the highest quality forages for deer. Goals include high nutritional content, early seedling vigor, and tolerance to heat, drought, disease, browse and cold — and, of course, extreme attractiveness to whitetails. Fact: Imperial forage products are blends rather than www.whitetailinstitute.com


single plant varieties. The reason is that blends of multiple plant varieties help the overall blend perform well in all areas mentioned above better than any single plant variety could — at least, if those blends are painstakingly developed and tested. And Whitetail Institute forage blends certainly are. Imperial Chic Magnet is all WINA perennial forage chicory, which is a component of other Whitetail Institute forage blends, such as Chicory Plus, Alfa-Rack Plus and Extreme. The Institute began packaging WINA chicory separately as Chic Magnet to meet customer demand. Fact: After initial research and development are completed, potential new products begin the next stages of the Institute’s exhaustive testing process. The process begins with testing on deer in enclosures, followed by free-range testing at the Institute, free-range testing at more than 100 Certified Research Stations from Florida to Canada, and then additional free-range testing under real-world conditions by field testers everywhere Imperial products can be grown in North America. Fact: The Institute goes to the extra effort to pre-inoculate Imperial forage blends that will benefit from inoculants. Fact: The Institute goes to the extra effort to coat its seeds with the finest polymer coatings available to maximize seedling survivability. Fact: The Institute spares no effort in seeking plant varieties that will perform well in deer food plots. These efforts have resulted in revolutionary food plot products, such as Imperial Whitetail Extreme, a perennial that will grow with roughly half the rainfall required for other perennials, and Imperial Whitetail Winter-Greens, a unique brassica blend that outperforms standard brassicas by a wide margin. Fact: Imperial Whitetail Results is a full-spectrum deer feed available exclusively through Southern States retailers and even includes WaterShed rain technology. The Whitetail Institute has used an extremely high-quality deer feed of its own formulation for years in its testing and research. However, until now, it could not be produced economically enough to be made a mainline Whitetail Institute product. Faced with the choice of reducing product quality or not selling the feed, the Institute chose the latter. Now that an economical way has been found to produce the feed, it is now being made available to the public. Fact: Whitetail Institute 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein mineral/vitamin supplements are scientifically formulated to contain the correct minerals and vitamins in the proper forms and in the correct ratios to provide the best possible nutritional benefit to deer. And, they are formulated with taste enhancers, scent enhancers and Devour, a proprietary ingredient that can be addictive to deer, to make these supplements as attractive as possible to deer. Fact: Whitetail Institute Cutting Edge products are a wholly unique form of nutritional supplements designed in three stages, each to meet the unique nutritional requirements of deer during a specific part of their annual cycles. No other product has ever attempted to address the cyclical nutritional needs of deer in this way.

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 Alfa-Rack Plus.

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THE WHITETAIL INSTITUTE IS COMMITTED TO HIGH-QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE As mentioned, the Whitetail Institute still adheres to the philosophy of its founder, Ray Scott, by backing up the best quality products in the industry with the best customer service in the industry. Fact: The Whitetail Institute has a staff of highly trained in-house consultants on staff and available on a toll-free line so field testers who have questions can immediately get someone on the phone during business hours and be assured that the information they receive will be knowledgeable. Fact: Many of the Institute’s new product ideas come from interaction with its field testers. By far, the most common way the Institute gets its new product ideas is by noticing trends in customer requests. Fact: The Whitetail Institute maintains a network of experts on its in-house and adjunct staff in a broad range of disciplines related to deer nutrition. This network includes Dr. Hanna, Dr. Carroll Johnson, farming expert, Mark Trudeau and numerous others with wildlife biology and other degrees. Each member of the Whitetail Institute team is also cross-trained in other disciplines. Fact: The Whitetail Institute publishes Whitetail News, the Number One deer nutrition journal in the world. Whitetail News features informative articles on Whitetail Institute products, but that’s not all — not by a long shot. In its pages, you’ll find extremely useful articles by the top outdoor writers in the country. Past articles are also available on the Web. The Whitetail Institute does this for its field testers for free. With as many new companies and products flooding into the deer nutrition and food plot markets, be sure you don’t fall for a sales pitch that might leave you wishing you hadn’t. To be sure that doesn’t happen, look for the Whitetail Institute name on any product you’re considering. That way you can be sure that you are buying the highest-quality, most heavily researched product in the industry, and that it will be supported by informed, timely customer service. W www.whitetailinstitute.com

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

The Whitetail Institute

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“Deer Nutrition Is All We Do!”

Vol. 19, No. 3 /

Research = Results

WHITETAIL NEWS

53


T DEBUNKING

THE MYTH

Food Plots in Agricultural Country are a Waste of Time By Dean Weimer Photos by the Author

he Midwest is famous for its fertile soils and agricultural production. Indeed this large vast swath of real estate is responsible for much of the world’s corn and soybean production and has garnered such nicknames as “The Breadbasket” and “The Heartland” of the United States.

Rightfully, the Midwest has garnered a reputation as one of the most fertile areas in the world. It is because of this fertility and agricultural production that the area has gained another noteworthy reputation: one of growing healthy, large-antlered white-tailed bucks and plenty of them. It is no coincidence that the overwhelming majority of America’s true giant typicals and nontypicals come from this region. Folks that follow big buck production across North America are keenly aware of the capabilities that states like Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan and others are capable of because of the enhanced nutritional curve here. Many hunters refer

This monster buck shot by the author is an example of what the Midwest produces. Big deer like this one can benefit greatly from high-protein products like Imperial Whitetail Clover.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

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to the region as “one big food plot” or a “buffet.” And in many ways, these statements are right on the money. It’s because of ideas like these that some consider 21st century food plotting to be a waste of time in the Midwest. I’ve heard it many times through the years from people that feel food plots aren’t needed there because nutritional requirements of deer are supposedly met here year round. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on overall whitetail nutrition in the spring growing season and beyond, as opposed to cool-season attraction, to try to answer the question of food plot necessity in the Midwest. A FEW MISCONCEPTIONS For starters, there are some misconceptions about optimum nutrition being provided in the heartland year round. Moreover, one of the foods grown commercially in the Midwest isn’t necessarily the super food that many well-meaning but often misled people think it is. Whitetails in the Midwest are often referred to as corn fed, and although it’s true that deer love corn — and gain impressive fall body weights in large part because of their consumption of it — it’s really not a great whitetail food. You didn’t misread that last sentence. Sure, corn is well received by deer and readily eaten, especially in fall and winter. But corn doesn’t provide great nutrition to deer in any season. It is actually low in protein (about 8 percent) and other important nutrients and isn’t used that much outside of the maturity stage. Of course, deer eat young corn plants, but those plants don’t offer much in the way of overall nutrition.

Research has shown that in order for bucks and does to optimize growth (whether it is physiological and/or antler growth in bucks or for milk and/or fawn production in does) protein levels need to be at least 16-18 percent year round. What corn in its mature stage provides is carbohydrates, or energy to deer — an important element of whitetail diets — but not an end-all nutritionally speaking. When corn is provided with other plants like Imperial Whitetail Clover, and other agricultural crops and natural plants, it can be an awesome component to a well-rounded diet. Another huge misconception is that deer have great nutrition here year round. This particular school of thought has holes all through it. Perhaps the culprit of this innocently enough flawed thinking is soybeans. BEANS, THE MAGICAL FRUIT Soybeans are a great whitetail food in the legume family and they are abundant region wide. They also have been the serendipitous and historical workhorse for antler and body growth throughout the region and other areas. Again, I’m not here to argue that soybeans aren’t a great whitetail food — everyone knows they are. But are they always present for deer? No. All you need to do is look at what happened in Spring 2009 to see where this idea that soybeans are always present to know that soybeans aren’t always available. Everyone well remembers the super-wet conditions the Midwest saw in Spring 2009. Saturated soils everywhere kept farmers from getting seeds into their fields and soybean plants in particular weren’t available to deer until early June. In a good year, they aren’t really available until mid-late May.

When you consider that the antler-growing process begins as early as March in many areas, you kind of get the idea that perhaps farm crops aren’t available to deer year round after all. And we aren’t even considering what happens after soybeans and other commercial grains, are harvested. As mentioned, soybeans are a great whitetail food, but we’ve also looked at why they aren’t always readily available to deer when they need them most. Soybeans are available for deer from roughly late May to late October in a good year — about five months. If you consider that waste beans are still consumed after the harvest, you can tack on another month — possibly two — on top of that. In addition, hunters need to understand that soybeans aren’t used during their entire cycle, either. Once soybeans germinate, deer flock to them like children to candy at Halloween. However, after a couple of months, lignin production in the plants makes them less palatable and therefore less desirable to our deer. Whitetails still use beans at this point in time, but not as well as they did weeks before when the young plants were tender and full of vitamins and minerals. The whitetail rumen has evolved through millennia into a machine that breaks down less fibrous materials than some of their relatives. This is why deer are known as selectors in the animal world. When whitetail deer changed from grassland into a woodland species thousands of years ago they became more picky eaters. They evolved to select the most nutritious, tender, and readily palatable parts of woody plants long before the advent of modern agriculture. This also helps to explain why fertilizing and mowing your Imperial Clover plots are very important.

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Vol. 19, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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A DIFFERENT KIND OF CROP We talked briefly about the start of the antler-growing cycle and how it really starts not too awfully long after antler shedding. Antler buds start to form as early as March in many areas. When you consider that this is of one of the most stressful periods on bucks you get the idea that they need a highly nutritious food source as quickly as possible. This is where an established and well-maintained food plot of a high-protein legume like Imperial Whitetail Clover can really provide huge benefits for whitetails that are lucky enough to be exposed to such food sources once Earth begins its tilt back toward the sun. When April’s warm rays start the growing cycle over again, Imperial Clover is the first thing to green-up and is there to provide optimum nutrition to deer while the farmers are still prepping their machinery. It also will benefit fawn-carrying does as well as spring’s new arrivals. It’s not always just about the mature bucks that you have on your property. Science has shown that lactating does require daily protein levels as high as 24 percent! And, don’t forget that just over one-half of the fawns born are your future bucks. And speaking of future bucks, my farmer buddy and I have watched two fawn button-buck brothers all spring and summer. They and their mother have used our Imperial Clover plot for several months, and they were looking excellent in November. They were big, healthy and ready for wintertime. Because of their enhanced nutritional intake they were well on their way to a healthy

start in life. Providing Imperial Whitetail Clover to a stressed and nutritionally challenged whitetail herd several weeks before soybeans germinate is the ticket. Jump-start your herd health earlier than normal and you’ll reap the rewards of this added and timely nutritional boost for years to come. THE ULTIMATE YEAR-ROUND BUFFET Of course, the deer will still use natural browse, agricultural crops (when they emerge), and other food sources like alfalfa in hay (where present) because they cherish variety in their diets just like other mammals do. Plant a small test plot of Imperial Whitetail Clover, and see for yourself. Also many people don’t understand the correlation of high nutritional intake in fall and how this can also boost the overall nutrition of deer going into winter and how this can translate into better antler growth the next spring. Everyone knows what kind of stress is put on bucks during the rut. After the post-rut rolls around most agricultural crops have been harvested. What better time for a great food plot to be there when they need it most? Again, Imperial Clover plots are there practically all year, so they benefit the herd not just in spring and summer. Deer will no doubt consume soybeans, corn, alfalfa/hay and natural forbs, mast and other browse species in the months leading up to spring. If you can also provide Imperial Whitetail Clover to them in addition to all these other foods you will be well on your way to ensuring that they come into spring in as good a shape as can be expected

after a tough, long winter. OTHER BONUSES We’ve touched on why Imperial Whitetail Clover is a great food plot planting and how it can enhance the offerings already available to deer in the Midwest, but we haven’t touched on some of the added bonuses when compared to other commercial plot seeds on the market, or the many commercial agricultural crops that are planted throughout the area. Imperial Clover has been specifically engineered to be drought tolerant, super palatable and very high in protein among other important nutrients. What this means is that it will be there for you when you need it most, working to provide high protein levels during times of stress. Another huge benefit is, Imperial Clover can do all this for up to 5 years or longer without having to replant. We’ve also discussed how Imperial Clover will be there when other preferred deer foods aren’t. When you combine all of the benefits of planting Imperial Clover you can see that this decision is a complete win-win for whitetail deer and the hunters who pursue them. This is true throughout the whitetail range, let alone the fertile, agricultural-rich area of the Midwest. It’s true that deer nutrition is best in America in the Heartland for obvious reasons. It’s also true that the soil there is some of the best on the continent, let alone the world. It’s also true that planting Imperial Whitetail Clover can be the missing link in a total and complete whitetail buffet in the Midwest and all across the U.S. W

Imperial Whitetail Clover can provide a yearround buffet for whitetails and turkeys and is available to the deer when crops like corn and soybeans aren’t.

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CHICORY PLUS — What’s the “Plus” W

?

hen it comes to forage products for whitetail food plots, there’s no question that Imperial Whitetail Clover rules the roost. It is the gold standard — the Number One food plot planting in the world, and it has been so since the beginning of the food plot industry. That being said, you might wonder why the Institute would also offer Imperial Whitetail Chicory Plus, a blend of Imperial Whitetail Clover and WINA perennial forage chicory. In other words, “What’s the plus?”

The answer’s pretty simple: WINA's customers demanded it. And as always, the Institute was listening. One of the things that make Institute products unique is that each is designed to meet a specific set of conditions and circumstances a customer might be faced with. No-Plow and Secret Spot, for example, are designed for customers who need to establish a highquality food plot in areas with widely varying soil and climate conditions and where equipment access is limited. The Institute’s other forage products are designed to meet the wide array of situations customers across North America face with regard to soil types, slopes, climate, and even the specific goal they want a forage in a specific plot to serve in the context of their overall food plot systems. That’s why the Institute offers such a wide variety of forage products: Every customer’s needs are different, and Chicory Plus is a prime example. Imperial Whitetail Clover and Chicory Plus are perennial blends designed for the same soil types (good soils that hold moisture). So why does the Institute make Chicory Plus? What’s to be gained by planting Chicory Plus instead of Imperial Whitetail Clover? The answer www.whitetailinstitute.com

lies in what I said earlier: Whitetail Institute forage blends are designed to deliver the best performance in a given set of conditions, and that’s why it went with Chicory Plus. The “Plus” refers to specific situations in which the chicory component of the blend might help the Imperial Whitetail Clover component meet a customer’s needs even better. One situation that has occurred more often than usual the past few years, especially in the Deep South, is a trend of excessively hot, dry weather during late summer and early fall. Imperial Whitetail Clover is extremely heat- and drought-tolerant. In times of excessive heat and drought, Imperial clover can protect itself by slowing production. The combination of Imperial Clover and WINA perennial forage chicory in Chicory Plus helps keep the plot highly attractive and nutritious even through periods of unusually hot dry weather until milder temperatures and rains return.

The WINA chicory in Chicory Plus can also keep the plot even more nutritious and attractive at the opposite end of the weather spectrum, when conditions turn unusually cold in early fall. Anyone who has planted Imperial Whitetail Clover knows that deer feed heavily on it in early fall as colder weather approaches, and the additional WINA chicory component in Chicory Plus can provide more tonnage when the weather turns cold and allow them even better access to the forage in the snow. Chicory Plus also provides additional variety to deer. There’s no doubt that Imperial Whitetail Clover is incredibly attractive to deer. Even so, variety can generally increase the attraction of the best forage even further. That is, as long as the other plants used to provide that variety are also highly palatable and attractive. And WINA chicory is just that. Before WINA perennial forage chicory was available to the food plot market, most chicory varieties planted for deer were somewhat stemmy and had leathery, waxy leaves — not the most palatable features to highly selective whitetails. WINA chicory is vastly more tender than such traditional chicories, so much so that one can even see the difference. WINA chicory is visibly lighter and less stemmy, and its leaves are far less waxy than other chicories. To summarize, Imperial Whitetail Clover is still the Number One food plot planting in the world, and Chicory Plus doesn’t change that fact. Instead, it allows food plotters the additional flexibility to meet even more specific needs. Now you know why the Institute named it Chicory Plus: It provides all the benefits of its Imperial Whitetail Clover plus the increased heat-and drought resistance, cold tolerance and variety provided by WINA perennial forage chicory. In that way, Chicory Plus is just another example of the Institute’s customer-driven approach to everything it does. W

WINA chicory is vastly more tender and less waxy than traditional chicories. So much so that one can even see the difference. Vol. 19, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

57


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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

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ARREST™ HERBICIDE YOU SAVE $5.00 Suggested Retail: $27.95 (1 Pint - .5 Acres)

Price with coupon: $22.95 Please send _____ pint(s) of ARREST™ Herbicide. Call for larger quantities.

By Eddie Leroy This unique portrait of the Institute icon named “the Imperial Buck” was commissioned by Ray Scott for his personal collection. As owner of the Imperial mount, he wanted the distinctive buck mythically recreated and transported to the southern climes of the Whitetail Institute and set among a gentle autumn and the Spanish moss of Pintlala, Alabama. The original painting is recreated in the ultimate Giclée printing process which is able to reproduce the fullest spectrum of colors, displaying an extraordinarily vibrant palette and texture on the finest acid-free paper.

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_________ Please add $7.00 for shipping and handling for each pint ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information or give code on phone orders.

IMPACT™ PLANT GROWTH STIMULANT YOU SAVE $15.00 Suggested Retail: $64.95 (32 oz. Jug. - 4 Acres)

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TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_________

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WHITETAIL INSTITUTE ® Field-Tester T-Shirts YOU SAVE $6.00

* Important: Shipping & Payment Information

100% Cotton Heavy-Weight T-Shirts Feature Whitetail Logo

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Please send me Whitetail Institute Logo T-Shirts in the quantity,sizes, colors and sleeve-length indicated:

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XXL ______ (Qty.), Color ___, ■ LS, ■ SS WHITE SHORT-SLEEVES (SS)

(P) PINK

Price with coupon: Short-Sleeves:

$13.95 Suggested Retail: $19.95

(W) WHITE (B) BLACK (T) TAN (O) OLIVE

Long-Sleeves:

$15.95 Suggested Retail: $21.95

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Please add $5.50 for shipping and handling — no charge when ordered with other products. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information or give code on phone orders.

www.whitetailinstitute.com

Savings Code: WN193

TAN LONG-SLEEVES (LS)

Savings Code: WN193

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Please send ___ Magnet Mix™ 6-Paks @ $84.95 Please send ___ Magnet Mix™ 3-Paks @ $49.95

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4-PLAY BLOCK™ YOU SAVE Up To $23.95 Suggested Retail: $59.90 and $29.95

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TOTAL $_________ No charge for shipping and handling. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information or give code on phone orders.

YOU SAVE $20-$35

Suggested Retail: $119.95 — 6-Pak, $69.95 — 3-Pak

Savings Code: WN193

Please send _____ ■ 6-Pak KRAZE @ $84.95 Please send _____ ■ 3-Pak KRAZE @ $49.95

EE FR GHT! EI FR

MAGNET MIX™

Savings Code: WN193

Coupon Price: $84.95 or $49.95

Savings Code: WN193

EE FR GHT! EI FR

Suggested Retail: $119.95 — 6-Pak, $69.95 — 3-Pak

IMPERIAL

Savings Code: WN193

“KRAZE” Flavored Deer Attractant YOU SAVE $20-$35

Shipping Address: (No P.O. Box) City: _______________________________State:_______Zip:_______________ Daytime Phone: ______________________Email: ________________________ Payment Method: ■ Check or Money Order Enclosed ■ Visa Charge to my: ■ Mastercard

■ Discover

Credit Card#: _______________________________Exp. Date:_______________ Signature: ________________________________________________________

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

Vol. 19, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

59


www.nikonhunting.com Darren Beal — Mississippi I killed my first buck last year when I was 7 over our Imperial Whitetail Clover patch. I shot it with my 243 at about 40 yards. My dad really likes how Whitetail Institute products have improved our deer herd since he has been using them for 11 years now. And I have my nice 8-point on the wall to prove it. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

David Lemery — Ohio My two sons, Evan and Cole, got their first deer over an Imperial Whitetail Clover field. I wanted my oldest son Evan, 10, to get his first deer so his little brother Cole, 8, would want to get one also. The morning of Dec. 20th Evan and I got up and went to sit on our food plot. Cole decided to sleep in. When going in to our ground blind I pulled the card out of one of our cameras

and saw that 9 deer had fed in the field 30 minutes before we arrived. I told Evan to be ready because I thought one might come back into the clover for a late breakfast. At 8:00 a.m. I looked up and saw the 7-pointer looking right at us. Evan slowly raised his gun and fired one shot. When we brought the buck home my younger son congratulated his brother and said he wanted to go out and get his first deer. Cole borrowed his brothers 410 and Cole and I headed for our ground blind over our clover field. At 4:50 I noticed movement in the corner of the field, I told Cole to get his gun ready. The doe 60

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 19, No. 3

came down the same trail that Evans buck traveled. Cole shot and the doe ran the same direction as Evans buck ran. After a few minutes of searching Cole yelled, over here dad, and there right beside where we field dressed my oldest sons first deer just hours earlier lay my youngest son’s first deer. TWO BROTHERS FIRST DEER, SAME DAY, SAME BLIND, SAME GUN, SAME CLOVER FIELD. Thank you! Whitetail Institute for a great product. My sons thank you also.

Mike VandeVen — Wisconsin I continuously tell every hunter that I talk to about Whitetail Institute products. They have made such an impact on my hunting success. They have turned my property (40 acres) from sub-par habitat to prime hunting. Thank you! I wanted a spot for my children to have a good chance at harvesting a deer. I am a very avid whitetail hunter but my young son, Paul, didn’t seem to take to it with my passion. Our children are our future so I needed to show him some deer so he might be interested. After asking him to hunt with me for four years, he finally said that he would like to give hunting a try. So during our Wisconsin October doe hunt I set him up by a 1-acre field of Imperial Whitetail Clover. After only 1-1/2 hours a doe came into the field and Paul harvested his first deer. Imperial Whitetail Clover is easily the best product. It pulled deer from my neighbor’s land. Before we saw 1-3 deer per weekend now we see 10-15 per weekend. A couple of days later he announced to me that he was going to try for his first buck during our November gun season. I was so excited that my son (16 years old) was going to give it a try and spend time with me. Opening day was here. I told Paul that it was ok for him to harvest any size buck since it would be his first one. He said, “No, Dad, I am going

to get a big one.” Well he was right! On opening day he harvested the largest buck we had ever gotten on our land. A 10 point buck with a score of 158” B&C. This buck’s dressed weight was

over 200 pounds. The intense size and health of this buck is directly correlated with my Imperial Whitetail food plots. Before using these products we never saw, much less harvested a deer of this size. Even the does we harvest have average weights that are 20 to 30 pounds more than before we started using Whitetail Institute products. I want to thank Whitetail Institute for the fine products which have not only allowed me to create a much healthier deer herd, but more importantly allowed me to spend time with my children. The ability for me to be able to show them so many deer has fueled their desire to participate in the great sport of hunting. This time I was able to spend with Paul and experience the enjoyment he was able to feel. I will be able to enjoy and reflect on it the rest of my life. Thanks Whitetail Institute. My son Paul passed away 1-1/2 years after this exciting hunt. Paul’s stand will always overlook a field of Whitetail Institute products. Thanks for the memories.

Russell Nitchman — New York

David and his sister Sarah went hunting on the Friday afternoon following Thanksgiving in a box stand overlooking a small food plot. A mature doe came out and Sarah made an excellent shot about a half hour before dark. It was her 4th deer. Then right at dark, a nice buck with easy to see antlers stepped out at 132 yards at the other end of the Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot. David carefully aimed the 20 gauge Mossberg slug gun with rifled barrel and pulled the trigger. At the shot, the buck bolted across the field to some thick cover. He was obviously hit in the front shoulder. 20 minutes later we recovered the 3-1/2 year old six-pointer which lacked brow tines. David was so excited and even enjoyed gutting his own deer. It was his first deer and I believe that he is hooked on hunting. W Photos and stories submitted for First Deer… A True Nikon Moment will be entered into a random drawing to win a quality product from Nikon. Drawings will be held at the mailing of each of the three issues of Whitetail News. Winners will be announced in the next issue after each drawing. Send your first deer photos and stories to: Whitetail News, Att: First Deer, 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043. www.whitetailinstitute.com


Since its 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 supernutritious 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.

FREE Trial Offer! Offer 1 — only $9.95

Offer 2 — only $19.95

(shipping and handling)

(shipping and handling)

FREE all new DVD; FREE N0-Plow™ FREE Imperial Clover™; FREE Extreme™ FREE Alfa-Rack™ PLUS; FREE Chicory PLUS™ FREE “Chic” Magnet™; FREE Winter-Greens™ FREE Double-Cross™

Same as Offer 1 — PLUS: FREE 30-06™ Mineral (5 lbs.) FREE Cutting Edge™ Supplement (5 lbs.)

(each sample plants 100 sq. ft.)

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com The Whitetail Institute — ®

“Deer Nutrition Is All We Do!”

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results


Whitetail News Vol 19.3  

Whitetail News Volume 19 issue 3

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