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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 ¤

Live Human Voices

Whitetail Institute OFFICERS AND STAFF FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT: RAY SCOTT 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 Internet and Office Assistant...........................Teri Hudson Shipping Manager ................................................Marlin Swain Copy Editor ...............................................................Susan Scott Art Director .........................................................George Pudzis Advertising Director........Wade Atchley, Atchley Media

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have a pet peeve. And that is to call a company and get a series of automated prompts that go on forever and then, when you think you’re finally going to get a real live human being, you get a voicemail message. My blood pressure goes up even thinking about it. Frankly, when that is my first impression of a company, I not only have a bad taste in my mouth, I may never call back to do business. Nothing replaces a real live voice coming from a real live human being with the capacity to answer your questions and offer solutions to your problems. I am convinced that the success of companies can rise and fall on customer service alone. That’s why when I created the Whitetail Institute I was determined product quality and customer service would be the very foundation of the company. Actually, our “customer service” department comprises the entire company. If the phone rings more than

twice, it’s the policy that someone picks up the call whether it’s me or my sons Steve or Wilson Scott. Our customer service/consultants are second to none. I hope you take time to read Hollis Ayres article on page 34 about these fine individuals. When you read their impressive bios you’ll understand why our reputation for excellence is acknowledged throughout the deer nutrition/management world. In addition, following all this talk about phone calls, we want you to know that our relationship with our customers –you, our valued field testers—doesn’t end after a phone call and a sale. It just begins! Give us a call. W

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

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LOCK AND LOAD AND GET DOWNWIND All New from the Whitetail Institute!

TALL TINE TUBERS

Hardy turnips provide two exceptional sources of food in the dead of winter

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ay hello to the Whitetail Institute’s newest forage blend: Imperial Whitetail Tall Tine Tubers! The Whitetail Institute can’t keep Tall Tine Tubers a secret any longer. With its introduction, hunters and managers finally have a highly attractive, high-tonnage, cold-hardy, turnip product available that is specifically designed for deer. Tall Tine Tubers is purpose-built to provide two sources of food for whitetails, an extremely high-quality forage source as well as tubers, starting in fall and especially through the dead of winter. And like other Whitetail Institute forage products hunters and managers have come to rely on, Tall Tine Tubers is the first and only turnip food-plot product ever specifically developed for deer food plots. First and foremost, Tall Tine Tubers is attractive to deer as soon as it begins to grow and incredibly attractive through the late fall and winter. As is the case with all Whitetail Institute forage products, though, Tall Tine Tubers is more than just attractive — much, much more. Let’s look more at the two sources of food Tall Tine Tubers is specifically designed to provide: forage and tubers. The forage aspect of Tall Tine Tubers is an abundant, highly attractive food source for deer throughout the winter in most parts of North America. It remains available and attractive to deer during the coldest months of the year, a time when few natural food sources for deer remain, and most planted forages are either exhausted or buried under the snow. The tuber aspect of Tall Tine Tubers is an additional food source that, like the forage aspect, is both abundant and highly attractive. The bottom line is that if you have been looking for a forage product that will provide maximum performance for deer during the dead of winter, Tall Tine Tubers is definitely what you’ve been looking for. Even though Tall Tine Tubers is specifically

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designed to be a winter food source for deer, that doesn’t mean that winter is the only time it will draw and hold deer. Far from it.! Tall Tine Tubers is also easy to plant, establishes quickly, and starts performing at a high rate right out of the blocks, producing abundant tonnage in the early season. And when we say Tall Tine Tubers produces “tonnage,” we mean it. Tall Tine Tubers is specifically designed for heavy late-fall and winter usage by whitetail deer, and it’s so productive that it can produce literally tons of highly attractive food for deer during the fall and winter. By now, it’s no secret that when it comes to research, development and testing, no one goes to the effort that the Whitetail Institute does. That’s true of all Whitetail Institute forage products, and Tall Tine Tubers is certainly no exception. The Institute’s research and development staff, Certified Research Stations and free-range testers spent six years developing and testing Tall Tine Tubers to ensure that it meets the Institute’s quality and performance standards, which remain unmatched in the industry. Initial research and development of Tall Tine Tubers began with the Institute’s scientists, who painstakingly selected and tested a multitude of different turnip varieties to determine which were the most highly preferred by deer. Next, these specially selected turnip varieties were combined in many different ratios as separate test blends, and testing started all over again to determine which blend best satisfied the Institute’s overall research and development goal: to develop a high-tonnage turnip product that would establish quickly, grow rapidly, remain available as a forage and provide tubers as a food source for deer even during the dead of winter in most parts of North America and, of course, most of all be exceptionally attractive to deer. Different formulations were initially tested at the

Institute until the list of candidate blends was narrowed to only the very best. These then went on for further testing at the Institute’s Certified Research Stations across the U.S. and Canada, after which only a few candidate blends remained. And that’s when the testing really got tough. Only the best of the best were then chosen to go on to one of the most difficult stages of Whitetail Institute forage product development: real-world testing on wild, free-ranging whitetails all around in the U.S. and Canada Whitetail Institute products can be grown to ensure top performance as a whitetail deer forage. The Whitetail Institute is so serious about only offering the finest forage products it can make, that even after going to the huge expense, time and effort to research, develop and test new product candidates all the way until the final stage, they won’t be released to the public unless they prove themselves top performers on free-ranging deer across North America. It’s as simple as that. A new product candidate can’t just make it “to” the final stage of testing; it must make it all the way through the final stage, and it must do so with flying colors. If it doesn’t, it won’t be released. Period. For the Institute’s existing customers, though, that’s really no surprise because that’s the same strict process by which all potential new Whitetail Institute forage products are developed. And is all that effort worth it? Absolutely. Whitetail Institute customers all across the U.S. and most of Canada have good reason to expect nothing but the best, and that is what they will get with Tall Tine Tubers. For more information or to order Tall Tine Tubers, call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030. W

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An 80-Acre Monarch Keeping an Iowa Monster on a Small Farm By Matt Harper

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was staring at a pair of pocket 7s that were starting to look pretty good since another 7 had turned up on the flop. The problem, however, is that Texas Hold ’Em has never been my game. So instead of using sound reason, I threw my chips in on a ridiculously aggressive bet. I was playing with some old high-school buddies who get together a few nights each winter to play cards and talk hunting. I was busy concentrating on the cards, hoping I looked like I knew what I was doing, when a friend of mine said, “Hey Matt, you see that 200-incher over on your 80?” It took me a minute to process what he said. I know it sounds kind of paranoid, but normally if someone says they’ve seen a good buck and another asks where they’ve seen him, the normal response is, “Out running in the field.”

Photos by the Author

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Imperial Winter-Greens was the late-season choice for Harper and the giant buck.

Harper had trail camera photos of his giant.

We just don’t talk specific until the deer is hanging in the shed. I turned and looked at my buddy, and the look of disbelief and bewilderment in my eyes must have said it all. He said, “Well it's all the talk in town. Haven’t you been seeing a bunch of traffic out that way?” As a matter of fact, I had seen more activity than normal along the road that borders my 80. “Yea, he's a great big son-of-a-gun from what I hear, wide and tall,” my friend said. Truthfully, I hadn’t seen the buck, nor had I obtained a trail camera picture of a deer meeting that description. Apparently, the deer had been pushed onto my property during the gun season, and because I don’t gunhunt that farm, he had taken up temporary residence. The past few years, sportsman have increasingly joined the ranks of landowners as they have searched out and purchased their own property to manage, hunt and enjoy. Of course, buying land is not a cheap endeavor, as land prices have reacted to the demand for recreational property. Where I live in southern Iowa, land prices have gone from as low as $300 per acre 15 years ago to as high as $3,000 per acre today. Therefore, most of us can’t just go out and buy a large piece of property and are forced to look for smaller parcels in the 40- to 120-acre range. The question is whether you can effectively manage deer on a small property. I have heard options on both extremes of this debate, from folks who say they can keep deer on a 20-acre piece of land to those who say www.whitetailinstitute.com

erty but rather to create an overall environment on that small property that encourages deer to spend as much time on your property as possible. So for example, you might not be able to keep a buck on your farm 100 percent of the time, but proper management of your land might result in him spending 75 percent of his time there as opposed to 25 percent. The buck I mentioned at the beginning of this article had been pushed onto my 80-acre farm during the previous gun season, and from there, it was my job to create a nice-enough home where he would prefer spending most of his time. To accomplish this, I focused on three major areas: food, cover and human pressure. it's impossible to manage deer unless you have thousands of acres. Like most debates that bring about polar differences, I have found that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Obviously, the more contiguous land you own or manage, the better your odds are of keeping specific deer on your property. But no matter the size of the property, you will always have borders — even if you own 2,000 acres. Bucks have been reported to travel for several miles during the rut, so even a buck living in the middle of 2,000 acres could possibly leave the property during the rut. This is especially true if your land does not have a diversity of food and cover. On the other side of the coin, you certainly cannot expect a particular deer to stay on a smaller piece of land for every minute of its entire life. So the goal therefore becomes not to “keep” a buck on your prop-

COVER Deer require cover for a multitude of reasons but the three primary functions of cover are bedding, evading predators (including hunters) and protection from the elements. If your property has tons of food but little cover, deer will inevitably leave your farm to bed, or if pressured, will leave your farm to escape danger. Cover can come in many forms from tall switch grass to wooded areas, but the most effective cover areas are some of the nastiest, tangled messes of brush and briers you have seen. If the area is difficult for you to walk through, it is probably a good cover area for deer. I was fortunate when I bought my 80. It was at the end of a 15-year CRP contract, and was thick with red cedars and hedge Vol. 20, No. 1 /

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Imperial Whitetail Clover was a big part of keeping the Iowa giant on “my 80.”.

trees that created a labyrinth of hidden bedding areas and trails. Plus the cedars make great protection from the elements during winter. I simply had to go in with a dozer and clear areas for food plots. However, this process was not done haphazardly. Of course, location and shape of the plots were carefully planned, but I also made sure to keep good cover areas spread out on the entire 80 acres. When trying to keep deer on a smaller property, it's vital to have cover spread evenly throughout the farm to make is easier to hunt without creating too much hunting pressure. If deer only bed in one area and you bust that area, you will likely drive them completely off the farm for at least a period of time. The other consideration was that I left two areas on opposite ends of the property as sanctuaries and did no clearing. They are only four to five acres in size but have been very effective. If you do not have existing cover on your farm, there are ways to create it. One option is to clear small areas of mature timber to promote primary and secondary growth. In a short period of time, these areas will grow thick understory. The other option is to plant cover areas. This can be expensive and time consuming but also effective. I prefer planting thick growing bushes such as Russian or autumn olives. (In some states, cer8

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

tain bushes may be considered noxious weeds, so make sure to check with your local NRCS office before planting.) Cedars are another good option for cover plantings. All of these grow quickly and result in good cover. Yet another option is to plant tall, warm-season grasses such as switch grass or big bluestem. A combination of tall, native grasses and bush/brush plantings work very well. They should be planted in strips and not necessarily interceded. HUNTING PRESSURE AND ACCESS Reduction of hunting pressure is important for keeping a deer in a specific area for any size property but it is paramount when it comes to small properties. Eighty acres is roughly a quarter-mile by a half-mile, so if you continually bump deer when entering or exiting your stands, it is more than likely deer will move to a different property with less pressure, as they have just a short ways to go to leave your farm. Careful planning of food plots, cover areas, sanctuaries and access roads must be considered along with how your stand location relates to the before-mentioned factors. Planning your stand locations so that you can slip in and out with the least likelihood of detection is crucial. Try

using dry creek beds, ravines, hedge rows the back side of ridges — anything that can keep you from being easily seen. Having stands for different wind directions is equally important. FOOD SOURCES I saved this one for last, because many experts consider it the most important aspect of keeping deer on a smaller property. Although it’s crucial for deer to have cover and not be pressured so they feel comfortable on your property, even if they leave, they will return if you have food sources they desire more than a food source on a neighboring property. Where I live in Iowa, food sources abound, as the state is agriculturally rich. Corn, soybeans, oats and hay fields are everywhere, so the question arises: “How do you get the deer to prefer the food on your property over the field next door?” The answer is really twofold. First you must choose food sources that are highly attractive for long periods of time, not just for short periods. Second, you need to plant a diverse offering of food sources that will present deer with attractive food sources no matter the time of year. www.whitetailinstitute.com


The backbone of my food plot program has always been perennial legumes. The reason for this is that they offer a highly attractive and highly nutritious food source for long periods throughout the year, allowing for a consistent food supply. I have tried just about everything out there, but the two primary perennial legumes I use are Imperial Whitetail Clover and Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus. The reason is fairly simple: They work the best. Because Imperial Clover contains varieties that have been genetically developed specifically for deer, the characteristics it exhibits give my perennial plots the advantage over neighboring hay fields. For example, Imperial Clover stays vegetative for a long period, meaning that the forage stays highly attractive and nutritious far after the neighbors’ hay fields have matured and therefore are virtually ignored by the local deer. Alfa-Rack Plus has these same characteristics, as it also contains the clover varieties found in Imperial Clover. It also contains a grazing alfalfa that is heavierleaved and thinner-stemmed than hay variety alfalfa. I have alfalfa fields all around me, but my Alfa-Rack Plus fields will receive heavier and more consistent usage than my neighbors’ alfalfa fields. I should mention that I also use one other perennial from the Whitetail Institute: Imperial Extreme. Though it is not a legume, the forbs in Extreme are equally attractive and nutrient rich, and they grow well in poorer quality soils that I often find in the cleared cedar areas. Additionally, all the Imperial perennials are bred to be cold tolerant, green up quicker in spring and stay productive longer into late fall than generic varieties, which furthers my ability to keep deer on my property longer.

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Food source preferences will change based on the weather and plant maturation. For example, when temperatures drop to freezing, perennials will go dormant which give them the ability to re-grow when soil temperature increase. During this time, deer will migrate to other food sources. To keep deer on my property I make sure to plant various annuals to make sure an attractive food source is available on my farm yearround. Two of the plant types I use for this function are small grains (oats, wheat) and brassicas. I have noticed that when temperatures fall to 20 degrees to 40 degrees and remain there, deer will actively use a small grains mix such as Pure Attraction, which not only has small-grains but also contains brassicas. When temperatures drop consistently below freezing, brassicas become highly attractive. I have used Imperial Winter-Greens as my brassica mix for the past six years and have had tremendous results. I typically like to plant brassicas around late July or early August to allow for enough warm summer days to achieve the desired growth. Using combinations of perennial and annual plantings such as those described has been without question one of the key elements of keeping deer on my farms. This has been proven by several years of trail camera studies where I have been able to identify deer feeding in the plots daily year after year. Back to the infamous 200-inch deer that was seen in my 80-acre woods. After I left the card game that night, I immediately ramped up my efforts to manage the property to ensure a buck like that would want to spend as much time on my farm as possible. I wasn’t sure he existed but, if he did, I sure as heck wanted him to call my 80 his new home.

I found out that my efforts were paying off when my trail camera captured a ghostly image of a huge buck in early August. My trail camera caught him a couple of more times in late summer, and then I had an encounter with him during my first day in the stand during bow season. He was with a couple of other good bucks, each of which came well within range but would never clear the tangle of brush that was in the only spot I did not cut a shooting lane. I saw him again in early November on the edge of a food plot, but it was too dark to risk a shot. Finally, on Nov. 12, while hunting a stand situated in a travel area between one of the sanctuaries and a food plot, a doe busted out of sanctuary edge followed closely by Mr. Big. She led him right past my stand, and I let the arrow fly when he was at 12 yards. Two hours later, I was standing over the biggest buck I have harvested to date. The monster buck scored a touch over 188 Pope & Young inches gross. Although I'm sure he did not spend all his time on my 80, I know I was able to hold him there for more than a year and that he spent most of his time there. Sometimes, the question of whether you can hold a deer on a small property can only be answered in your own mind when you have a-hold of the antlers of the specific monster buck you have been hunting. In case you're wondering, my three 7’s did not carry the day and I was beat by a sneaky flush. As it turned out, however, the loss of the hand was well worth the information that I obtained that night. Even though I was already managing the property to attract and hold deer, I increased my efforts several fold and ended up winning the hand I was playing with an Iowa monster. W

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CLOVER IS KING IN SMALL PLOTS By Bill Winke Photos by the Author

The author took this great buck on a small clover plot back in 1997. That was his introduction to the benefits of hunting these small, secluded plots. Since then he has taken many more bucks from small plots.

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managed a property in the Midwest for nine years that had a very high deer density. The farm had 96 different food plots — yep, that’s right. Try planting all those during a one-week window of dry weather! Fortunately, some were planted to perennials and some I was able to plant in late summer. But, it was still a big project. As you can imagine, those food plots came in every shape and size. Most lay close to cover while some were actually tucked right into the timber. I learned some valuable lessons on that farm: what kinds of food plots work in areas with high deer densities and what kind don’t work. I also learned a few lessons during those nine years about which food plot designs set up best for hunting.

I no longer have a hand in that property, but instead I spend the majority of my spare time managing my own ground. It is not nearly as big and doesn’t have nearly as many food plots (thank goodness). It is also different in that it has only a moderate deer density by comparison. Yet, it is in the same rolling Midwestern farmland so the size and shape of the food plots are very similar. I took what I learned on the big farm and applied it to my own parcel. After 17 years of intense deer management, the last half of which was done while spending my own hardearned cash, I have come to a few conclusions. You have to think your way through the food plot game

carefully or you can easily throw away a lot of money and gain little in return. A good friend of mine recently told me that he had made some mistakes on his food plot choices and that he could just as well have burned his money. But Brad conceded that planting the food plots had been more fun than sitting around a bonfire made from crisp Benjamin Franklins. The deer ate him out of house and home at a time of the year when it did neither my friend nor the deer any real good. It can happen — and will happen — if you don’t consider the dynamics of small plots and opportunistic deer. This is the backdrop against which I am going to paint my “Clover is King” article. Our goal: effectively attracting and feeding deer in small spaces. THE TYPICAL SCENARIO

Clover can take heavy grazing pressure from deer and still produce exceptional tonnage of high-quality forage throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Most food plots are small — an acre or two at the most. I have a number of plots that are well under one acre. Landowners and deer managers usually don’t have big blocks of clean tillable earth to work with so they make the best of what they have. That situation is very common. In fact, when I am talking to groups of hunters my number one question is: “I have one acre I can put into a food plot; what should I plant?” The answer is nearly always the same: Imperial Clover or Imperial Winter-Greens on half and Imperial Clover on the other half. Any other option will bring on the “bonfire of Benjies” syndrome. Small plots are dynamite places to shoot a nice buck during any part of the season. I have a couple of them nestled into the timber and they are killing fields — no question about it. When I want meat, those are the

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places I go. I can count on them every year. In fact, my best tree stand locations, especially for bowhunting, are overlooking plots of one acre or less. Bucks visit these spots at all times of the day. The fields are secluded enough that the bucks feel safe — one jump and they are back in the cover. My small, remote food plots become the hub for the local singles scene and when a buck swaggers out into the small plot at 10 a.m. before bedding down for a few hours, he usually ends up within bow range. He may then pop right back out into the plot first thing in the afternoon

before eventually drifting off toward larger feeding areas nearby as evening sets in. These small plots are both meeting places for the local deer and staging areas used by bucks before they head out on their evening search for does. Outside of the rut, these small plots become the first place the nearby deer feed before heading toward larger feeding areas after dark. In other words, your chances of catching a nice buck on his feet in one of these plots during daylight are much better than catching him in a larger plot in daylight. But, these small plots are only killing fields if If you want to see how hard your small plots are really there is still food in getting hit by deer, put out an exclusion cage. them during the times You will be surprised by the results. when you hunt them. That is the key. It wouldn’t do to have soybeans planted in these plots if the deer decimates the yummy young plants shortly after they ventured out of the ground. Same thing goes for corn.

The ears would have a very hard time ever pollinating and producing an ear when the deer can and will nip off the silks in these isolated places at all times of the day. Nope, there aren’t many crops that will stand up to the yearlong demands of deer without giving up the ghost like Imperial Clover. That is why all my small plots are planted to clover. CLOVER VS. BRASSICAS Clover performs very well as a food plot for most of the year. It is easy to establish, has good resistance to deer grazing pressure and yields acceptable tonnage. It is also high in what the deer need most for six months out of the year: protein. However, clover suffers by comparison to other food plot options during late fall and winter when it goes dormant and loses its ability to deliver what the deer really need at that time: energy — fats and carbohydrates. Protein will convert to energy too, but not as readily as fats and carbohydrates. So clover isn’t a one-stop shop, but it is a very important part of every food plot strategy. I feel that somewhere around 25 percent of my total food plot acres need to be Imperial Clover each year. Typically, I

Narrow clover plots are ideal because any buck entering such a plot during the rut will often walk the entire length of the plot, offering a close-range shot. 12

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reserve the smaller food plots for Imperial Clover and use the larger plots for grains that contribute the needed winter “energy.” As I have already stated, the small plots are too vulnerable to support grain crops. The deer will pound them during the summer until there is nothing come fall. Remember the Benjie bonfire? Imperial Clover, on the other hand, can endure this kind of pressure and still continue to grow, feeding deer all spring, summer and most of the fall. The only gap in clover’s seasonal advantage occurs in the winter. This is of course in the North and Midwest where the winters are cold and snow is deep. As mentioned, grain crops are a great choice for winter food, but again, they simply won’t hold up through the summer if planted in small plots. For those who only have small plots, they have to either be content with clover or live with the fact that it is not the ideal winter food source, or they need to plant a portion of their plots in Winter-Greens, a very attractive brassica blend. I have planted Winter-Greens in my small plots and they definitely pull deer during the deep winter. In fact, a portion of the plants in the blend are actually more attractive after a hard freeze or two. My deer selected out some of the plants in the mix during the late summer, but they really hit it hard in December, after everything froze hard. If you have small plots and want to plant just one thing, go with Imperial Clover. If you want to supply something for the winter as well, split the plots up and plant half to Winter-Greens and half to clover. Because it is a bad practice to put brassicas on the same ground for more than two years, it is wise to rotate the clover and Winter-Greens every two years. The deer will love you for it. And you, in return, can shoot them.

LAYING OUT A SMALL PLOT Usually we take what we get when trying to find openings in the timber that are big enough to grow a crop. I have some odd-shaped plots as a result. However, when you have options (like a brushy, overgrown field that you plan to reclaim in part, or when you are constructing a small plot with a bulldozer) two features make these plots produce a better crop and hunt more effectively. First, I like plots that are narrow enough that I can shoot across them with a bow. Any buck that comes out and walks the distance of the plot — a routine event during the rut — will be in danger. However, unless I lay the plot out in an east-west direction, it will struggle to get enough sunlight to produce a good crop. So if you have the option, look for spots where you can lay out a narrow east-west plot. Second, if you plan to make your plots slightly larger — such as those approaching an acre, or more — laying them out in an L-shape improves your ability to hunt them without being seen when you leave. One plot will hunt like two plots. By hunting in the legs of the L separately, you can slip in and out while the deer in the other side never know you are there. This spreads your pressure and keeps the entire plot fresh longer. Further, when setting up the ultimate killing field, ridges work much better than valleys. When it comes to simply feeding deer, the valleys are great, but it is dodgy trying to hunt bottom fields because of swirling winds. Whenever possible, I like my scent to blow out over a valley or even toward a road or other obstacle (a

river or lake) where the deer are not likely to approach. This gives me a natural low-impact approach path and a stand where it is very hard for the deer to smell me when I am in the tree. Most of my small plots came from natural openings in the trees, but I have also made openings with the chainsaw, bulldozer and the skid loader. There isn’t a lot I can say about hiring a man with a D5 to push trees over. That is self-explanatory, but you may not have thought about simply laying down a few trees along the edges of your small plots to open the canopy, allowing more hours of sunlight to reach the Imperial Clover. We did that on one of my plots last spring — a narrow plot that is 20 yards wide by 200 yards long. We lay back an additional 10 yards of hickory trees on both sides, enough trees to open things up. In fact, this east-west plot now gets enough sunlight that it will produce just as well as any of my other clover plots. While you are at it, you may as well take a page from the playbook of a friend of mine. When Larry cuts trees along his small plots to increase sunlight, he drops them parallel to the edge of the field in such a way as to create openings where they are advantageous to his stand locations. The deer are much more likely to come into the plot through these gaps, right where he wants them. This small step can pay big dividends. Small openings on ridges are awesome hunting plots — some of the best stands you will ever hunt. In fact, there are few things I like better than finding them, setting them up and hunting them. And when I polish these diamonds in the rough, I do so by planting them to Imperial Clover. Nothing holds up better to deer pressure in a small plot than Imperial Clover. Imperial Clover is king. W

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

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DOUBLE-CROSS Perennial Performance With a Cold-Weather Kick By Institute Staff

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ost hunters and managers are already aware that Imperial Whitetail Clover is the No. 1 food plot planting in the world. If you’ve wanted the perennial performance of Imperial Whitetail Clover plus the early tonnage and late-season availability of the Whitetail Institute’s annual brassicas, Double-Cross is your answer. The perennial components of Double-Cross are Advantage and Insight, the same perennial clovers that are the backbone of Imperial Whitetail Clover. Advantage and Insight, are the only clovers ever specifically developed for deer — a big reason why Imperial Whitetail Clover remains the gold standard by which all

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other forage blends are compared. These clover varieties are also only available in Whitetail Institute products. Advantage and Insight were developed by Dr. Wiley Johnson, the Whitetail Institute’s first Director of Forage Research. Dr. Johnson started by carefully selecting candidate clovers from Italy, the Middle East and the United States for use as breeding stock. He then cross bred these, discarded all but the best resulting hybrids, and then repeated the process. One of the keys to why Advantage and Insight work so well lies in the goals Dr. Johnson used during this hybridization process; goals that would make Imperial Whitetail Clover the best clover product available for whitetail deer food plots, including early seedling establishment, heat and drought tolerance, palatability and, of course, high nutritional content and attractiveness to deer. Imperial Whitetail Clover was then tested in realworld situations on deer all across the United States and Canada. And when Whitetail Institute staffers says they “test under real-world conditions,” they mean it. Whitetail Institute testing is extremely rigorous. Double-Cross adds to the already incredible performance of Advantage and Insight even further by combining them with the Whitetail Institute’s annual brassicas, which have proven themselves in other Whitetail Institute forage blends, such as Imperial Whitetail Pure Attraction and Imperial Whitetail Winter-Greens. As a result, Double-Cross provides the perennial performance field testers have come to expect from Imperial Whitetail Clover — the increased early tonnage and late-season availability of Whitetail Institute brassicas — all in one planting. Designed for planting in fall, Double-Cross establishes and grows quickly, producing lots of tender, early growth as the clovers emerge and provide deer with a lush, palatable food source. The brassicas in DoubleCross include unique “lettuce types” — brassicas with a vegetable genetic background that are extremely attractive to deer.

When frosts arrive later in fall, an enzyme converts starches in the plants to sugars, making the brassicas in Double-Cross even more attractive. Later, when colder weather sets in, the brassicas in Double-Cross stand tall in the snow, providing deer with lots of carbohydrates essential for energy production in winter. As winter ends and spring approaches, natural food sources are all but nonexistent, and what sources there are usually aren’t very palatable to or easily digested by deer. And it’s that time of year that nutrition is so critical. After winter, the clovers in Double-Cross are the first thing to green up, providing deer with the abundant protein they need during this critical time when deer are trying to recover their winter health losses, does are pregnant and bucks are preparing to re-grow antlers. And when spring finally arrives, the perennial clovers in Double-Cross continue to provide a tender, protein-rich forage for does during their third trimester of pregnancy and bucks as they re-grow antlers. Like all Imperial Whitetail products, Double-Cross is specifically designed for deer. Double-Cross is designed to be planted in fall, and in soils that are loam, light clay or heavier. The perennial clovers in DoubleCross are designed to last for three to five years or even longer with proper planting, maintenance and Mother Nature’s cooperation. One 4-pound bag of Double-Cross will plant up to one-half acre and, like other Imperial blends, it’s also available in larger sizes. It is a great option for folks who have wished for a perennial blend with added benefits of a highly productive fall/winter annual all in the same blend. Full planting instructions are available on the Institute’s Web site, www.whitetailinstitute.com, and on the back of each Double-Cross product bag. If you’d like additional information about Double-Cross, our in-house consultants are available to assist you from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Time, Monday through Friday, at (800) 688-3030. W

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Budget Plot Strategies You don’t have to break the bank to create great plots and better hunting By Doug Howlett Photos by the Author

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look back at those wasted years and want to kick myself. My dad and a hunting friend finally went in together on a piece of land our families could call our own. Only the owners and their sons would be allowed to come and go as they pleased. Through time, those sons — myself included — were able to buy into the dream and help expand our holdings to nearly double the size. Through the years, we had plenty of good hunts, but

it wasn’t until just eight or nine years ago that the quality deer management philosophy settled over our collective minds. We knew the land held potential we hadn’t even begun to tap, and in a fit of determination, we decided it was time to let the little bucks walk. We also understood we had to do something to increase the nutritional value of our land to grow and hold bigger deer. The problem was cash flow. To keep planting costs down, we were satisfied initially with simply sowing a few inexpensive bags of surplus soybeans, corn or peas into open areas. However, we didn’t really lime or fertilize, and the end product was what you would expect: poorly growing plants that did little to attract deer. Those were the wasted years. For just a little more money and effort, we could have made strides that would have put our management goals much farther along than where they currently sit — years ahead, in fact. That point became painfully obvious to me after I began talking with Steve Scott, vice president of Whitetail Institute, for another assignment I was working on, and he began offering ideas on how

This plot planted with the same seeds but in a recently dozed clearing, had a poor pH and received lime in amounts not significant enough to help the plants. As a result, the money spent on this seed was wasted since the plants did so poorly. A soil test could have made all the difference.

A fall plot planted with brassicas in an established field came up as hoped thanks to an adequate pH in the soil.

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to get the most out of our limited land-management budget. His suggestions really helped my group’s efforts. In fact, what Scott had to say can help a lot of land-managing sportsmen looking to minimize the costs of maintaining quality food plots. THE BEST $10 YOU CAN SPEND New or recently created plots often require significantly more lime to prepare the soil for planting. A soil test is a must before dropping seed.

One mistake we made for years was not testing soil samples of our plots. Even though we decided to plant quality seed last year, we overlooked that one important detail, and there wasn’t time to get the information back before we needed to put seed in the ground. We simply planted. It was a big mistake that would cost us more in the end to try to fix. Without a soil test, a hunter is simply flying blind when he begins planting. There is no way a person can know what their soil needs in order to help plants achieve their maximum potential without one. “The best way to save money is to spend ten dollars for a soil test on every field you intend to plant,” Scott said. “A soil test can be the difference between your best food plot ever and total failure.” The results of a quality soil test can guide you in knowing how much and what type of fertilizer the field requires, how much lime is needed and any other soil requirements. For example, sometimes soil is low in potassium, but phosphorous levels are fine. In that case, the sportsman would simply be wasting money by putting more phosphorous on the ground. In other instances, some soils might require a lot of lime to bring their pH up, while soils in other fields might require much less. Although quality seeds can cost a little more, the

Introducing the Brillion FPS-6 Food Plot Seeder, the newest member of the Brillion seeder family. The Brillion FPS-6 has the versatility to operate in a wide variety of wildlife food plot conditions and plant numerous grasses, legumes, small grains and other blends and mixes. It has the features necessary for precise seed metering and placement, as well as outstanding preparation and finishing of the seed bed. The FPS-6 was designed with input from you, our customers, and we stand behind it with our years of experience as a leader in the industry.

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associated costs with planting — lime, fertilizer, herbicides, tractor, fuel and time — make seed look cheap. No need to pay for unnecessary things. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE LIME So much emphasis is often placed on fertilizing, that most guys don’t even realize the most important aspect of creating fertile soil is putting lime in the ground. Most soils in the whitetail’s range are naturally acidic. Lime helps transform those soils to a more neutral pH — a definite requirement for healthy plants. Absent the benefit of a soil test when we began planting on our place, some of my fellow landowners speculated that several of the quarter-acre plots we were planting would be good with 100 pounds of lime to start. After observing that several of our plots were woefully behind the curve just a couple of weeks after planting, we realized we had grossly underestimated the amount needed. If we were to benefit from our efforts at all, some of the plots would have to be disked, limed and replanted right away. In speaking with good friend and Primos pro-staffer Tommy Barham about the situation, he just smiled. Barham’s family has run a business in Capron, Va., for generations spreading lime among many other agricultural services. He explained that a rule of thumb for the amount of lime required to establish a newly created field is 4,000 pounds per acre the first year. Additional lime sometimes is needed in the next few years. By then, you’re soil should be pretty close to neutral. Planting existing fields generally requires as much lime. For that reason alone, it’s definitely worth the cost of a soil test so that money isn’t wasted on unnecessary

lime. And for that lime you do need, there is a pelletized variety and a powdered form. The latter is much less expensive — about a quarter of the cost of pelletized lime — so go that route if possible. When given the choice of having to spend limited funds on lime vs. fertilizer, focus on meeting your lime requirements first. Without it, you’re likely wasting money on fertilizer. “You can put the best seeds out there with all the fertilizer you want, but if the soil has a low pH, it’s like going to a huge buffet with your mouth wired shut,” Scott said. “It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of lime.” FOCUS YOUR EFFORTS

Proper Plot Perspective ot a limited budget for food plots, but plan on finally buying that new ATV this year or adding a new rifle to the gun cabinet? Steve Scott suggests you rethink your spending priorities. “Food plots are the one thing that can truly improve the quality of your hunt,” he said. And although a new rifle, truck, camo or other high-dollar items are great to have and use and can make hunting more enjoyable or more beneficial, they don’t make the deer actually show up or grow larger. “You can’t really cut too many corners on lime, fertilizer and quality seed,” Scott said. “But maybe you can save some money by not buying that new truck or some of those other items that you can squeeze another season out of.” It’s just a matter of priorities.

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One of the first things we did wrong when we first began planting is attempting to spread seed a little farther to cover all of the plots and fields on our property, or to buy cheaper seed in order to plant all of the available acres. “A lot of guys make that mistake, believing it is more important to have every available area planted,” Scott said. “While you certainly want to take advantage of making open areas the best they can be, you have to be realistic about what you can do, either from a budget or an equipment standpoint. “If a guy has four acres available to plant and he is working with a limited budget, he is much better off if he just plants one or two acres and plants them

Some of the places deer like best are not the places for maneuvering a tractor. With No-Plow, that’s not a problem. If you can get in on a four-wheeler — or even on foot — you can plant this highly attractive, high-protein annual. Obviously, the more ground preparation you do, the better, but No-Plow will produce a good stand with only the prep you can do with hand tools. Limited access and limited time won’t limit the potential of No-Plow. FREE Trial Offer!

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right, rather than spreading his resources out over the entire four acres and doing everything haphazardly.” GO SMALL

You don’t have to own your own tractor to grow great food plots, but you do need to bust that soil up to ensure good seed-to-soil contact when planting. If you don’t own the means to do that yourself, pay a guy to work your plots and fields. It’s less expensive than renting or buying your own farming equipment, but can make a big difference in your planting success.

Along those same lines, if your property is crisscrossed with logging roads and small openings such as old log decks, focus on planting those areas before clearing out more forest or planting large fields. Such areas are ideal for sportsmen on a budget or hunters who simply lease a property and aren’t permitted to create additional open areas. “Two guys can take a rototiller or a spiked rake and/or some Round Up, go into these holes and within a half a day, can clear out enough sticks and expose the soil sufficiently to plant a good plot with Whitetail Institute’s Secret Spot or No-Plow seed mixes,” Scott said. A 10-pound bag of Secret Spot XL can plant more than 10,000 square feet of ground. “If you’ve got a couple of spots that are 70 feet by 70 feet in size, you can plant them both for less than $10 each in seed cost,” Scott said. Secret Spot and No Plow varieties were created specifically for budget-conscious and time-constrained sportsmen. They each have a mix of seeds created to grow in a variety of situations and soil types. In many cases, these niche plots can actually be more versatile stand sites than those on large open areas. “You can catch both feeding deer and crossing deer,” Scott said. “A road or narrow type of field can be a good morning, as well as a good evening stand, whereas more open plots tend to be better in the evening.” W

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DON’T HAVE A GREEN THUMB?

Try Acorn Obsession By Tracy Breen

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et’s face it: some diehard deer hunters weren’t born with a green thumb. Many of us lack the ability to grow the simplest plant. Many of us don’t have the time to successfully grow vegetables or food plots. For a food plot to be lush and green, lots of time and effort must be invested. If you find yourself lacking the time it takes to properly plant and grow a food plot, consider providing the deer in your hunting area with an alternative to bring them within bow range of your favorite tree stand. Whitetail Institute has the product you are looking for. It’s called Acorn Obsession. It is a super attractant for deer that comes in a meal-type form, and it smells and tastes like acorns. It’s no secret that deer love acorns. Unlike food plots, which take a long time to grow, Acorn Obsession was designed for the hunter who is short on time and wants to attract deer and provide them with a quality product that is healthy and tastes good.

plant clover plots for spring, summer and fall consumption and brassica or similar plots for late fall and winter consumption, so in fall when they are hunting, they have a great plot that attracts deer when there isn’t much else to eat. It provides them with food when they need it most. “Make no mistake, Acorn Obsession is an attractant

first," Scott said. "At the same time, however, it is a great fall and winter product that helps deer make it through the cold, hard winter. During fall and winter, deer need to keep fat on their bodies and this will help them do that.” Acorn Obsession can be fed at any time of year, but the best time is during hunting season and winter. “This

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS Many deer attractants have little if any nutritional value. Acorn Obsession is much more than an attractant. “There is no question that shortly after deer find Acorn Obsession, they will regularly start coming there, which is the attractant part of the product, said Steve Scott of the Whitetail Institute. "It has the strong smell and acorn flavor that deer love. Acorn Obsession has more than 25 ingredients that attract deer and benefit them health-wise.” Acorn Obsession contains soybeans, rice bran and many other things that deer love and need to keep them healthy. HIGH FAT AND PROTEIN CONTENT

Whitetail Institute

Acorns are one of the whitetail’s favorite foods in fall. “Acorns have a high fat content and start to drop in the fall,” Scott said. “Deer know they need to eat as much as possible in the fall and acorns are one of the things they rely on to help prepare them for winter. The fact that they are high in fat helps deer put on the weight.” Acorn Obsession has a high fat and protein content. In fact, Acorn Obsession contains 13 percent fat and 24 percent protein. GREAT PRODUCT FOR COLD WEATHER HUNTERS When hunters plant food plots, they usually plant different food plots for different seasons. Some hunters 20

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product was made to attract deer to a certain location like a tree stand or blind location," Scott said. "Once they find it, they will likely keep coming back, which is what a hunter wants a deer to do." The strong smell of Acorn Obsession will quickly attract deer, and as long as the site is at least occasionally replenished with the product, deer will likely keep coming back. USE ACORN OBSESSION AS A MINERAL “During spring and summer, our 30-06 Mineral is a great way to help does and bucks when they need minerals,” Scott said. “Anyone who has used minerals regularly will likely tell you that consumption usually drops in the fall because bucks and does don’t need the mineral as much when the weather cools.” Many mineral products contain high levels of sodium that deer aren’t as attracted to as much during the later months. Hunters who plan to hunt near a mineral site in fall need to have a back-up plan. Acorn Obsession is a great back-up plan. Acorn Obsession helps solve the mineral problem. If you don’t have time to plant food but want to help deer year-round where you hunt, feed 30-06 Plus Protein or 30-06 Mineral during spring and summer. When fall arrives, switch to Acorn Obsession. One of the major benefits of doing this is that for three-quarters of the year, deer will feed near your hunting location without smelling human odor or seeing humans. When hunting season arrives, deer are accustomed to feeding near your tree stand without any problem. If you want year-round activity near your favorite tree stand, provide a mineral part of the year and Acorn Obsession during hunting season. ACORN OBSESSION AND SCOUTING CAMERAS I like combining a mineral like 30-06 part of the year and Acorn Obsession the other part of the year, because the feeding location is a great place to hang a scouting camera. If you have a large piece of property, having two or three feeding locations going at the same time allows you to see what kinds of bucks you have on the property. Food plots are often large, and although hanging a scouting camera on a food plot can produce good pictures, getting great pictures can be difficult because deer can enter a food plot from a variety of directions. A small pile of Acorn Obsession can provide up-close and personal pictures of deer, because you can place the pile anywhere you choose including right next to your scouting camera. I create small barricades that force the deer to eat closer to my camera. When the season opens, my tree stand can easily be placed nearby, creating a great shot opportunity where deer are used to feeding. ACORN OBSESSION PRIMARILY ATTRACTS DEER Acorn Obsession might sound advanced because it has some nutritional benefits, but the main goal of the product is to attract deer. “We developed this product for hunters who don’t have the time or open areas for food plots, to bring truckloads of feed into the woods or don’t have the money for a fancy feeder,” Scott said. “With Acorn Obsession, the process involves dumping it on the ground and hunting nearby. Keeping multiple feeding sites going is easily done with this product. I suggest hunters replenish it occasionally throughout the season. If there are many deer in the area, they can quickly devour the product.” LEGALITY OF THE PRODUCT Acorn Obsession is a super attractant that cannot be used during hunting season in some states. “Some states restrict baiting by allowing only a certain amount of bait, while others have completely outlawed it," Scott said. "Hunters who plan to hunt over Acorn Obsession should check local game laws before using the product." Many states that don’t allow baiting while hunting allow feeding before and after hunting season. If your state falls into this category, you can use Acorn Obsession in conjunction with a scouting camera, or use it when feeding deer in winter. Acorn Obsession is an attractant first and a nutritional product second. If you are looking for a way to put meat and antlers on the bodies of the deer in your area, consider using 30-06 minerals and Cutting Edge products, which were designed as mineral and nutritional products that are attractive to deer. Acorn Obsession was designed as an attractant that also has nutritional benefits. If you are short on time but want to see deer and potentially bag a trophy this fall, consider using Acorn Obsession. It will attract deer, and only requires the time it takes to rip open the six pound bag and pour it out. However, there are a few warnings on the bag you should be aware of in advance. It is extremely habit forming and could cause an overloaded freezer, high taxidermy bills and jealous hunting buddies. W www.whitetailinstitute.com

• High Protein levels (24%) • High Energy for fall and winter • Fortified with critical minerals and vitamins • Includes Devour for quicker attraction • Can be added to feed to dramatically increase feed consumption The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 ®

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Hunting Provides Unique “Rehab” for Wounded Warriors and Disabled Vets By Jon Cooner Photos by the Author

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hen Bobby Clark returned stateside in 1974 after serving as a Seabee in Vietnam, he didn’t expect the reception he got. There was a sign in the front yard of a home just outside the gates of Naval Base San Diego: “Dogs, Cats and Sailors — Stay off the Lawn.” And later, as Clark made his way home, still in uniform, a young man asked him, “How many babies did you kill in Vietnam?” Does that make you as furious as it does me? I suspect it does. After all, if you’re reading Whitetail News, you’re probably an outdoorsman, and we hunters and fisherman take duty very seriously and have a high regard for our military men and women. And outdoorsmen also understand that merely recognizing a duty is meaningless unless action is taken to fulfill it. The proof lies in the results of our conservation

talk. You’ve got to walk the walk.” America owed Clark its thanks and its care when he came home from Vietnam, but he didn’t get either. If you’re like me, you’re ashamed and angry about that. We wish we could go back in time and be standing on that dock in San Diego to thank Clark and welcome him home when he disembarked. It’s too bad we can’t turn back the clock and do the right thing. Or can we? The Fort Benning Program: This past year, the Whitetail Institute answered the call to try and fulfill our duty to our wounded and disabled servicemen by providing Whitetail Institute field testers a way to donate Whitetail Institute seed to a hunting program for wounded and disabled veterans at Fort Benning, Ga. The program, sponsored by the Wounded Warriors Project and Paralyzed Veterans of America, provides disabled servicemen the opportunity to hunt Fort Benning’s 182,000 acres along the Chattahoochee River in Alabama and Georgia. An earlier Whitetail News article, “Hope, Renewal, Empowerment: Hunting and Wounded Warriors,” introduced Whitetail Institute field testers to the many volunteers who run the pro-

The Wounded Warriors Project and Paralyzed Veterans of America provide specialized equipment for disabled servicemen like Bobby Clark (Vietnam Veteran, Navy Seabee) to hunt at Fort Benning

SGT Michael Cummings (Iraq Veteran)

efforts, which have filled the skies with waterfowl, returned redfish and songbirds to healthy populations and improved the quality of deer. Guys like Clark would probably put that a little differently. They’d probably say, “You can’t just talk the 22

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gram and is still available on our Web site: www.whitetailinstitue.com. What “Care” of our wounded warriors and disabled veterans really means: When we think about what “care” means in the context of our wounded and disabled warriors, the first things that usually come to mind are medical care and physical rehab. Certainly the first priority is to heal the body, but the mind and soul must also be healed, and the gift our nation’s wounded warriors and disabled servicemen have given us is so great that anything we can do to make their lives a little richer can have real therapeutic benefit. Just how great such therapeutic benefit can be is evident in Mark Clay’s description of the effect the Fort Benning program has had in the life of his 94-year-old father in law, retired Army Lt. Col. Paul Liles. "Paul and I have always hunted together in the past, but he has not been able to hunt the way we did for years, and he had not shot a deer since 1991,” Clay said. “My son, Brian Clay, is an active duty nuclear engineer aboard the USS Harry S. Truman. When Brian was injured last year, the base told him about the program at Fort Benning, and I accompanied Paul and Brian there for a hunt. There we were — my 24-year-old son, my 93-year-old father-in-law, and me in the middle thinking, ‘This is just great!’ Paul took his first buck in 19 years, and it changed his entire demeanor. I know it added to his life. If you look at the pictures from the hunt, you can see it in his face.” Clark also remembers how the Fort Benning program impacted Sgt. Michael Cumings, who had been wounded in Iraq. Cumings was able to take advantage of the Fort Benning hunting program last year while waiting for his discharge papers to come through after he was released from rehab at Fort Benning. Clark remembers watching Sgt. Cumings interact with Bill Brickner, a fellow veteran and the program’s director, and Brent Widener, Fort Benning’s Fish and Wildlife biologist. Clark’s observations of the program’s therapeutic effect mirror those of Clay. “When I hunted at Fort Benning last year, there was another handicapped hunter there who had been wounded in Iraq and had just finished rehab,” Clark said. “The kid had to use a cane and a crutch, but he wasn’t dwelling on how severe his injuries were. Instead, he glowed because someone had taken time out of his busy schedule to help him get in a stand. The only way I can describe it was that his sense of gratitude was just unsurpassed. He just couldn’t say ‘thank you’ enough.” Sgt. Cumings’ own comments show just how right Clark was about the program’s therapeutic benefits. “The whole year I was hurt, I kept thinking, ‘I won’t be able to hunt,’ and it brought me down — a lot! More than I can put into words,” he said. “But then I found Brent, and he put me in a stand. The program is just incredible — the time and effort put into building the food plots for soldiers, the feeling of support and saying, ‘We know you’re hurt and need help, and here it is.’ It meant the world to me that those guys did that for us. The fact they had that set aside for wounded soldiers and disabled soldiers — it helps them heal.” There are many more examples of wounded warriors and disabled veterans who have been empowered and spiritually renewed by the Fort Benning program. Even so, the hunters are not the only ones who benefit when we thank our injured and disabled warriors in such a meaningful way. We also get something very special in return. Widener certainly has, as he explains when asked what working with the program’s hunters has meant to him. “Serving our wounded warriors and disabled veterans through this program provides me great personal satisfaction,” Widener said. “These men and women have laid their lives on the line to protect our freedoms, which include the opportunities we as avid outdoorsmen so enthusiastically pour our hearts and souls into. Being able to provide disabled service members that same opportunity to get back to the outdoors, ease their minds and do something they otherwise may not be able to should be a focus for us all.” Clark also speaks of the same sense of personal satisfaction Widener mentioned. “When you get around some of these kids that are so terribly injured and burned, you come away a better person because they’re not asking for sympathy or a handout," Clark said. “They’re asking for help to do something they can’t do on their own. And if they could, they’d trade places with the people who helped them and pass it on.” Sgt. Cumings’ comments show that Clark got that right, too. “Feeling the outreach of others saying, ‘We’re here to help’ meant so much to me, and it still does,” Cumings said. “I still talk about those hunts, and I was trying to get more soldiers to the program before I went home to Mississippi. There was another soldier there at Fort Benning while I was there who had never hunted — he had lost his dad young. I got him to go hunting through the program, and it really brought his world around too.” In fact, the program had such a huge impact on Cumings that he’s currently looking for a way to set up a similar program at Camp Shelby in his home state of Mississippi. www.whitetailinstitute.com

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

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Research = Results™ Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

23


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

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American servicemen still stand to post around the world, always vigilant and willing to lay down their lives for the rest of us. They answered the call, and as long as freedom rings they always will. The price they pay for their devotion can be terribly high, and as they accept their injuries as the warriors they are, it humbles us to see them actually thanking us for our efforts, which seem so small in comparison. If you haven’t already thanked folks like Clark, Liles and Cumings, it’s never too late to do so and in a way that will make their lives better. If you know of a wounded or disabled serviceman or veteran who might benefit from the Fort Benning program: In the words of Widener, “If you know one of these soldiers or retirees, pour your heart and soul into helping them get afield in the same manner you do for yourself. The giving of your time and the joy and elation you will see and feel from these hunters provides as much reward and satisfaction as harvesting any trophy animal.” To take part in the Fort Benning program, a hunter must be an active-duty wounded warrior or a disabled veteran who would be authorized to hunt on Fort Benning under the applicable regulations, and who is physically restricted from hunting unassisted. Additional provisions may allow others to accompany a qualifying hunter on hunts. For more specific information on the requirements to hunt and anything else related to the Fort Benning program, contact Widener at (706) 544-7516. If you would like to donate Whitetail Institute seed to the Fort Benning program: Contact the Whitetail Institute at (800) 688-3030, and please accept the thanks of everyone involved with the Fort Benning program and the Whitetail Institute. Winston Churchill once said, “There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right.” By participating in the program, you will be thanking and caring for our servicemen in a real way. You’ll be doing the right thing. (Note: I have used the term “servicemen” in this article for the sake of brevity and intend that it include all Americans, regardless of gender, who have ever served in any branch of our armed forces.) W

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LTC Paul Liles hunted Fort Benning with his grandson, Brian Clay, a nuclear engineer aboard the USS Harry S. Truman

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24

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

Research = Results™

In Memory of LTC Paul Liles (U.S. Army, Retired) and SFC Bobby Terry (U.S. Army, Retired) Lt. Col. Paul Liles and Sgt. First Class Bobby Terry passed away in 2010 while this article was being written, regretfully before Terry provided his comments he had wished so strongly to add. The Whitetail Institute wishes to thank the servicemen who participated in the writing of this article and dedicates this article to the memory of Col. Liles and Sgt. Terry.

www.whitetailinstitute.com


MOULTRIE AD


Bryan Newsom — Missouri

Rick Skidmore — Arkansas

Imperial Whitetail Clover is the backbone of my food plots. It provides great spring/summer protein. Excellent bugging area for turkeys too. Winter-Greens and Pure Attraction provide great attraction and tonnage for deer in fall and winter. My wife killed a 175-5/8 inch buck in a Pure Attraction plot this past year on opening day.

As you can see Imperial Whitetail Clover is working pretty well for me. I’ve had this plot for about six years now and it is still working pretty well. There are actually two more bucks that I didn’t get in the picture (a decent nine and another eight point). Thanks Whitetail Institute for offering good products. The Whitetail News magazine is also very informative.

Jeff Hopkins — Delaware Why My Hunting Season Stunk!

Dewey Gaskins — North Carolina

It was unbelievable the night and day difference between this past hunting season and the last five years. The only thing different was no Imperial Whitetail Clover on the property. Going forward, we’ve decided to never again completely phase out Imperial Whitetail Clover. We plan to always have some Imperial Whitetail Clover there. To prepare for next hunting season, this spring we will plant the Imperial Whitetail Clover back into the land along the woods edge. Growing up on a family farm and having access to farm equipment and great hunting properties over the years I’ve realized through experimenting with different food plots that there’s nothing I’ve ever planted that even comes close to Imperial Whitetail Clover.

Virginia Gaither — Illinois í˘ą

We see more deer and turkeys, bigger racks on the bucks and healthier deer since we planted Imperial Whitetail Clover. Winter-Greens is the best winter attraction food plot product I have ever used. Also, deer go crazy over the 30-06 Mineral/Vitamin Supplement. We have a knee deep hole where we put it down. Whitetail Institute products are the best I have ever tried. I will never stop using their products. The deer in both pictures were taken off a 3acre Imperial Whitetail Clover field.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

In the spring six years ago, my Dad and I decided to plant 10 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover up against the woods on a 100-plus acre crop agriculture field. We rotate the farm land back and forth every year between corn and beans. I live on the Delmarva Peninsula where there are a lot of agriculture fields, water and bottleneck woods. We have the perfect whitetail deer habitat. I had experimented for years with other food plots that did not give the results that I wanted. We wanted to make this farm a deer hunting Mecca so we decided to try Imperial Whitetail Clover. The results were better than we expected. We had five great years of hunting on this particular property. It was nothing to see 75-80 deer on the Imperial Clover while we were hunting during bow or gun season. We harvested some really great bucks. Enclosed is a picture of my dad with one of his bucks. This past hunting season, the clover was five years old and was getting choked out by weeds and it was time to rotate into another crop. We chose roundup ready soybeans for the entire farm. The deer love soybeans when they’re green and leafy, but as hunting season approached and the beans died off I planted some winter wheat for the deer, in addition to the bean stubble remaining. It was like a different piece of property with very few deer sightings.

We have used Imperial Whitetail Clover, Extreme, Alfa-Rack Plus and No-Plow and noticed improved deer presence immediately and for longer periods of time. As each year went by the quality of the deer visually improved. Of course rack improvement, but that is not all. Having raised Black Angus cattle for a few years you develop an eye for what you are looking at. The deer in our area are carrying more body weight, a healthier coat, bigger antlers and reproduction seems to be great, as well. Twin and triplet fawns are not uncommon. The numbers are up and so is the quality. We appreciate the improvement because we eat the meat. All in all, great strides have been made on our small tract of land where the deer herd is concerned. We appreciate the help and knowledge and of course the success that has come to us through Whitetail Institute products and their continued use. Picture 1 was taken www.whitetailinstitute.com


í˘˛

in 1991. Everyone wanted to get their deer. And as you can see we did. My point is these were the deer we were seeing. If you compare to the other Picture 2 I sent you can visually see the difference in the herd.

Scott Perkins — Indiana

Doug Jones — Kentucky

We have planted other products from other sources and the deer will walk through these to get to Imperial Whitetail Clover. After the snow comes you can see the line in the snow where the deer stop feeding. They like the Imperial Whitetail Clover and will not touch the other clover. We now have approximately 10 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover, 2 acres of Extreme and two mineral licks of 3006 they visit daily. Enclosed are pictures of my grandson, Dylan, my son, Tom, and me with bucks taken off our property. Needless to say we love Imperial Whitetail Clover and Whitetail Institute products.

Fred Talbot — Minnesota What a difference! Thanks to using Imperial Whitetail Clover in our food plots we have seen an obvious difference in the size of our deer. The deer love it! I harvested a nice 10-point buck this year as he followed a doe into the clover about a half hour before dark. We look for even bigger and better things in the coming years. Thanks again Whitetail Intitute!

Terry Pickens — Michigan Since our first field of 2 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover we have seen the deer population increase dramatically, the bucks are growing larger antlers and the does are healthy and having many twin and triplet fawns. We have harvested some very nice bucks 130 to 145 class, eight points and better. All have been harvested in or very near our plots.

I have a small plot of land in Indiana bordering hundreds of state owned forest acres. I planted a plot of Imperial Whitetail Clover a couple years ago and the deer love it. In addition I use 30-06 Minerals. This deer had been seen numerous times at the lick. We quit using the minerals due to laws of Indiana prior to season starting. I harvested this deer with my muzzleloader. He really exploded over the last two years in overall growth. The buck scored 165-6/8 green. He has 16 countable points and weighed right at 250 pounds dressed. www.whitetailinstitute.com

We went from no deer staying on our land to 40-plus deer making our 220 acres their home range with only 4 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover planted. We see at least 8 to 10 deer every time we sit in one of our twelve deer stands. We have bigger bucks and increased buck activity. With so many more deer we now practice QDM and only shoot 4-1/2 year old and older bucks. This 13-pointer was taken this past season. Thanks again Whitetail Institute for all the help and support over the last eight years. Next year we are going to plant another field in PowerPlant and two in Extreme. We will also do a fall planting in Winter-Greens. We can’t wait to see the results. P.S. we also use the 4-Play Blocks and place them in front of all our trail cameras; it’s a great way to get the deer to stop in front of the cameras.

David Bowman — Pennsylvania In early fall this past year my father and I planted Pure Attraction. Out of several food plots Pure Attraction was our and the deer’s favorite. It was easy to plant and fast to grow. Most importantly, it drew in a large number of deer. During the course of the (Continued on page 50) Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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A

ssignments are always welcomed by outdoor writers. However, I was especially thrilled when Bart Landsverk at the Whitetail Institute told me the topic of this writing project: “Don’t bite off more than you can handle.”

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

Don’t Tackle More Than You Can Handle By Gerald Almy

Gerald Almy

The reason for my delight was that I’m an expert on this subject. Actually I’m good at making all kinds of mistakes. Through the years, I’ve used that in my writing, penning pieces such as “How to Avoid 10 Common Float Fishing Mistakes” and “How to Avoid 10 Common Rut Hunting Errors,” all based on personal experience. Most of what I’ve learned about fishing, hunting and planting food plots has also been by the hard-knocks school of trial and error. And that’s actually a critical point. In no other way does a lesson get burned into your mind more forcefully than if you learn from making a mistake and seeing the unpleasant consequences of what you did wrong. And so it is with the title for this piece. After graduating from college, I moved into a small cedar cabin with a couple of acres on the Shenandoah River in Virginia. There wasn’t much room for food plots on that small parcel, and few people even fooled with them then back in the 1970s. But when my wife and I sunk most of our life savings into a larger parcel nearby about 20 years ago — a 117acre abandoned farm selling at a cheap price— the situation changed. Now I had some land to work with. And it coincided perfectly with the growing interest in food plots for deer management, ushered in by Ray Scott and his sons, Steve and Wilson, with the founding of the Whitetail Institute of North America in 1988. More than 80 acres were in forest, so I thankfully didn’t try to put plots on the whole 117 acres. And a lot of the remaining land was rocky and covered with cedars and brush — definitely not food plot potential. But I ran roughshod like a maniac trying to convert every other little spot I could between the rough areas and the cedar thickets into some kind of plot or other. The results, as you can expect, were less than stellar. I did have deer use some of the plots. Others were ignored. And the use was very short-lived, mostly because the plots didn’t last long before they died off from lack of fertilizer or lime, insufficient seed, weed competition or a host of other reasons. I’m not dumb, but I am stubborn. It took a while to recognize my most glaring error. But finally I did. I was overextending myself, and not putting the proper effort into a smaller, more manageable number of plots. Steve Scott says my mistakes are all too common. “I don’t know if it’s biting off more than you can handle as much as getting in too big of a hurry. When hunters find out the benefits Whitetail Institute prod-

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ucts can provide, they want everything right now,” Scott said. “ For example, if someone has 20 acres they want to plant but their budget requires them to skimp on fertilizer and/or lime, we would rather see them do five acres right and get the full benefit than plant all 20 acres half-way right. In most instances, they will get more tonnage and benefit from the five acres done right than they would from 20 acres with corners cut.” The potential problems are many. Let’s address some of the negative consequences from tackling more than you can handle. First and foremost, you will likely not prepare the ground well enough. In your haste to get in all the parcels you have planned, you won’t clear away rocks and debris thoroughly enough. And you probably won’t totally kill off the existing vegetation before beginning. Those rocks and debris will hurt your equipment and the productivity of the plot. And those weeds and unwanted grasses will come back to haunt you. I know from experience. Some of my early Imperial Clover plots lasted barely a year before they were overtaken by lingering fescue, orchard grass and a wide assortment of weeds. They should have lasted three to five years. Of course weed problems can be addressed later by mowing or using Arrest and Slay. A better approach, though, is to limit the amount of unwanted vegetation in your plots from the start. If you are in a hurry you won’t likely till the ground enough because you’ll be anxious to get to the next plot and get it prepared by the optimum planting time. I like to disk or till my ground three or four times, waiting between the steps for new potential weeds to sprout up that spraying didn’t get rid of so they can be killed by burying them. Some fanatics devote six to 12 months tilling and killing weeds repeatedly until they get a 100 percent smooth, weed-free seedbed. You can’t take a careful approach like that if you bite off more than your time and resources will allow. Part of the problem with weeds can also be traced to not making sure the soil has the proper nutrients. “It all comes back to the soil test. When a soil test is done and the recommenda-

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

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tions for lime and fertilizer are followed, the plants that will be growing have the best chance to flourish and better compete with weeds and grasses,” Scott said. Even more refinement might be best if you have different types of soil on your property with varying fertility and pH levels. Phosphorous, potassium and nitrogen levels as well as acidity can vary widely even on small properties. My land lies in the foothills of a mountain, and the soil ranges from very good in the bottomland where a creek flows to extremely poor as it slopes up into the mountain. The fertilizer and lime needs are entirely different for the different soils found on it, and one sample simply won’t tell you the specific needs you have on the different parts of the property. Here’s another problem of tackling more than you can handle: timing of planting correctly. Preparing and putting in a large number of different plots might consume so much time that you can’t get some of them in at the proper time for optimum germination. Finances are another thing to consider. Most of us only have so much we can allot to our passion of working the land and growing plots. Do you want that to go into five or six acres of superb plots or 10 or 20 acres of mediocre ones? Instead of spreading yourself, your plots and your seed too thin, realize that some of those areas you were planning to make into plots probably are marginal at best. Maybe they’d be better left to grow up in cover or planted with some fast-growing sawtooth oaks or bushes such as lespedeza, indigo, chinkapin, Chickasaw plum or red osier dogwood. Then take the spots that get the most sun and moisture, have the best top soil available and aren’t too steeply sloped and make those top-notch food plots that you can be proud of. I think if you do this you’ll notice something I gradually came to realize. A few excellent plots will draw in more bucks — and yes, bigger, older bucks — than a greater number of mediocre or poor plots. Admit that some ground is too rocky, some soil is too poor and acidic and some terrain is too sharply sloped. It’s true some of those can be salvaged with Imperial Extreme, Imperial No-Plow and similar Whitetail Institute products, but others might be beyond the effort for those of us with only a certain amount of time to devote to habitat work. “The best strategy is to move slowly. Don’t get in a rush,” Scott said. “Take the time to do things right by talking with a Whitetail Institute consultant and

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239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com Research = Results™ 30

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

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laying out a plan. Don’t try to do everything in a weekend or two. The first thing to do as soon as possible is a soil test. A soil test is the most important step for successful food plots. It’s inexpensive and easy to do.” One final piece of advice I have is this: Don’t be tempted try to put every piece of open land into food plots. For instance, just because you have a big field doesn’t mean you have to plant it all at once or even all in the same crop. Although I immediately began planting the little plots on our land myself after we moved onto the property, I knew one 13-acre field was beyond the scope of my time and my little tractor. So I enlisted a local farmer to plant it in alfalfa. Agricultural alfalfa grown for horses and cows is one of the most difficult crops to get started and maintain in prime condition. The neighboring farmer quickly realized after he planted it that my soil hadn’t been prepared thoroughly enough with the right fertilizer and lime. But what did he care? I paid him for the seed he happened to have on hand in his barn. And the deal struck was that he was going to get the alfalfa just for planting it. I would simply get to let the deer eat it between his cuttings. To make a long story short, he never cut it. Over time weeds and fescue came back and the alfalfa grew poorly. Eventually I slowly began reclaiming that field, one small parcel at a time. And I did something else small landowners should consider. I put in different crops as I reclaimed the field, killing the weed-choked alfalfa field and then putting in products such as Imperial Whitetail Clover, Winter-Greens, No-Plow and Chicory Plus in small sections. Now, different parcels of the field get rotated with different crops according to their planting guidelines. Some, like Winter-Greens, last less than a year. Others, like Imperial Clover, produce for three to five years. Not tackling more than I could handle made a success of this large field, one small section at a time. Hopefully the mistakes I made in biting off more than I could handle in my early food plot years will help you from wasting time and energy in a similar way. Think small. Think efficiency. And get advice from an expert at the Whitetail Institute before you make the mistake of trying to tackle too much at one time. W

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Gerald Almy shows off the fruits of his labor, a trophy buck worth the time and patience.

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 Gerald Almy

The Whitetail Institute

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Research = Results™ Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

31


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

SLAY Can Help Protect Your Food Plots from Unwanted Weeds Versatile herbicide controls broadleaf weeds in legume forages

S

lay is a premium herbicide for broadleaf weed control in legume forages planted in food plots. It has been available for six years and has been widely accepted with positive results across the United States. For new users, a refresher discussion on Slay will help set the foundation for equally positive results. Slay controls a broad spectrum of broadleaf weeds in pure stands of clover or alfalfa. The chemical nature of Slay allows it to be applied at low rates, which is ideal for small-acreage plantings of food plots by hobbyists. Slay is unique among herbicides in that it controls emerged weeds and nonemerged weeds. Foliar uptake is fairly rapid and facilitated by spray adjuvants, such as a crop oil concentrate and non-ionic surfactant. Soil uptake is by plant roots. In both cases, the herbicide is translocated throughout the plant and accumulates at growing points, where symptoms first appear. In susceptible plants, Slay inhibits production of a specific enzyme in photosynthesis. A few hours after adsorption by susceptible plants, growth ceases —

although that may not be immediately noticeable. Whole plant symptoms might take up to two weeks to develop. In forage legumes, Slay is applied after clover has at least two trifoliate leaves (two to three inches tall). Applications at this stage of forage growth ensure adequate crop safety and minimize chances for significant crop stunting. Another consideration on when to apply Slay is weed size. Consider Slay to be a “weed-seedling herbicide.” Some weed species, such as cocklebur and wild radish, are very sensitive to Slay and acceptable control of larger plants can be achieved. However, most weed species are very unforgiving if Slay is applied too late. Refer to the Slay label for specific information on critical weed sizes and herbicide rates for consistent control. ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS THAT AFFECT SLAY PERFORMANCE Slay performance can be directly affected by

weather conditions before, during and after application. One factor to consider is temperature. Since temperature affects the rate of photosynthesis in plants and Slay inhibits a specific enzyme in photosynthesis, extreme temperatures will reduce weed control with Slay. Plants (crops and weeds) that tolerate Slay rapidly detoxify the herbicide. Cooler temperatures slow detoxification in tolerant plants. Research has shown that tolerant legume crops treated with Slay are stunted when cool temperatures (less than 40 degrees F) prevail and slower to recover compared to plants treated under moderate temperature regimes. This is also true for susceptible weeds responding to Slay. Cool temperatures slow photosynthesis and symptoms take longer to develop. Slay performs well during periods of high humidity. Slay directly affects photosynthesis and conditions that promote photosynthesis help maximize performance, which is the case with high humidity. Humid conditions also thin the cuticle on leaf surfaces making it easier for herbicides to enter the

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.

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com

®

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

TREATED

The Whitetail Institute

UN-TREATED

— 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results™ www.whitetailinstitute.com


Selective herbicides can greatly extend the life of food plots.

plant. In addition, humid conditions increase water transpiration and movement in plants, with Slay being moved throughout the plant with the water in the plant vascular system. It is worth mentioning the unfortunate results if humidity is low and prevailing conditions are arid. Weed control with Slay will be significantly reduced due to the opposite reasons. RESIDUAL WEED CONTROL A significant, yet under-appreciated, attribute of Slay is residual control of non-emerged weeds. Herbicides in the same chemical family as Slay are frequently soil-applied at planting to other legume crops such as soybean, peanut and edible legumes. We do not have that option with Slay on forage legumes since chances of significant stunting are greater on newly emerged clover. Residual weed control with Slay can be captured to our benefit if applied early in the life of the forage planting. At that time, forage legumes are developed enough to tolerate Slay, but the plants are vsmall enough to not cover the soil surface. Simply, if Slay spray droplets can reach the soil surface, the stage is set for control of non-emerged weeds. Another opportunity to use soil residual weed control with Slay is soon after rejuvenating a clover stand with mowing. Rotary mowing is a tried and proven practice to freshen a clover food plot; usually to stimulate new growth, facilitate efficient topdressing with fertilizer, and clip tall weeds. Mowing opens the clover leaf canopy, allowing spray droplets to reach the soil surface and creating an opportunity for Slay to provide residual weed control. Ideally, mow the clover food plot and wait about two weeks before applying Slay. Not only will the clover leaf canopy be open, giving herbicide spray an opportunity to reach the soil surface, the delay will allow established weeds to re-foliate with young succulent leaves that are primed for herbicide uptake. Admittedly, the benefits of residual weed control with Slay are tricky to capture in forages. However, the potential weed control benefits are significant. Slay is the sole herbicide available for use in forage legumes that is equally active between soil applications and foliar applications. Opportunities to

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use these attributes are too valuable to overlook. SENSITIVITY OF OTHER FORAGE SPECIES TO SLAY While forage legumes are generally very tolerant of Slay, other non-legume forages tend to be sensitive. For example, all brassica forages are very sensitive to Slay, along with grain sorghum (milo), cereal grains, and sunflower. Most forages planted for food plots are multi-species blends. While forage legumes may be the foundation species in the blend, other plants in the mix may be sensitive to Slay. This pretty much eliminates the opportunity to use Slay for weed control in these plantings. More importantly, the significant soil activity of Slay might temporarily limit future plantings of multi-species blends. Refer to Table 1 for a list of planting restrictions following applications of Slay. This is not meant to discourage using Slay. Rather it is the nature of this general family of herbicides and Slay is certainly no different. Sensitivity of non-legume forages to Slay can actually be a useful tool. For example, cereal grains such as oats are often seeded with Imperial Whitetail Clover as a companion crop to entice deer and protect clover from over-grazing early in the life of the food plot. However, at some point oats transform from a companion crop with the clover to a weed that robs clover of light, nutrients and water. In this example, Slay can be used to selectively remove (control) oats along with other weeds once the clover becomes established. Similar uses exist with most multi-species forage blends if a legume is the foundation species. Slay is a thoroughbred herbicide and a valuable tool in the integrated management of weeds in food plots planted to clover or alfalfa. While the herbicide might be temperamental in regard to environmental conditions necessary for optimum performance, Slay delivers outstanding weed control. This valuable tool will greatly improve the longevity and vigor of clover and alfalfa food plots by eliminating broadleaf weeds and their competition. As with any herbicide, be sure to read the directions thoroughly for replanting guidelines before any herbicide is applied to your plots. W

Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL with Some of the Experts at the Whitetail Institute By Hollis Ayres

Y

ou might have noticed that many Whitetail News articles end with a statement like, “For more information,” or “To speak with a consultant, call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 6883030.” If you’ve wanted to put a face with the voice on the other end of the consultant line, this article will introduce the Institute’s friendly and knowledgeable in-house consultant staff. JOHN WHITE: Any introduction of the Institute’s in-house consulting staff has to begin with its leader, John White, the Whitetail Institute’s national in-house consulting and sales director. White has been with the Institute longer than any other consultant, having joined the Institute in 1990 only two years after its founding by Ray Scott. During the past 20 years, White has helped Whitetail Institute customers with almost any question or situation that one can imagine. John also manages large tracts of land for local landowners near his home, which he considers an important source of his extensive practical knowledge. With all that, you can understand why White is definitely the go-to guy when other 34

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

consultants are trying to assist customers with highly complex or unusual questions and situations. In addition to directly helping callers, White also manages the dayto-day operations of the consulting staff, administers the in-house sales division, and performs many other duties that are continually added to his plate because of his wealth of experience.

JOHN FRANK DEESE: Wildlife biologist, John Frank Deese holds a degree in wildlife sciences from Auburn University. Before joining the Whitetail Institute, Deese managed properties for private landowners. He is one of the most knowledgeable consultants on staff. During the years Deese managed properties, he added substantial practical knowledge to what he had learned in college. He's highly experienced in a wide range of land-management matters, including food plot systems, planting and maintaining food plots and conducting controlled burns. In addition, Deese is also highly knowledgeable about fruit and mast trees, having maintained close contact with his family’s tree nursery business throughout his life. As you can probably guess, customers who turn to Deese for assistance often remark that Deese is extremely knowledgeable. It’s no surprise that his academic credentials and broad practical experience have proved to be a superb platform for his consulting work for the Institute. When

it comes to putting knowledge and experience to work helping hunters and managers, you’ll find no one more eager than Deese.

JUSTIN MOORE: Justin Moore is the Institute’s wildlife biologist, having graduated from college with a degree in wildlife biology before joining the Whitetail Institute in 2007. In addition to his academic credentials, Moore has an immense base of practical knowledge he developed during a lifetime of hunting and land management. Perhaps Moore’s biggest asset when it comes to helping customers is his strong commitment to stewardship. In fact, everyone at the Whitetail Institute is pretty hard-core when it comes to stewardship, but perhaps no one at the Institute developed such a strong drive toward it at such an early age. When asked what planted in him the drive to pursue a career in conservation, Moore points to his father, who took him hunting when Moore was very young, and then kept taking him regularly as he grew up. Moore says that all through his early life, and especially on those hunts, his father took the time to talk to Moore and tell him that conservation is a duty each of us owes to the world and future generations. One thing you’ll notice about Moore is that he always has a smile on his face. He attributes this in large part to working with the Institute, which gives him the perfect avenue to fulfill his stewardship duty by helping other hunters and managers. BRANDON SELF: When it comes to handson experience with deer and food plots, no one has more than Self. In fact, you’ll only find him in his office at the Institute when it’s not deer season. During fall and winter, he’s elsewhere, usually planting food plots, setting up stands and, of course, hunting. In fact, Self has so much practical experience that the only way the Institute could lure him onto the consulting staff was to make a special position only during spring and summer. Perhaps no other in-house consultant has developed more long-term, oneon-one relationships with specific Whitetail Institute customers than Self. Reasons include his energy and knowledge, but the biggest seems to be his skill in helping customers solve real-world issues www.whitetailinstitute.com


that hunters and managers face in designing food plots, food plot systems, and selecting, planting and maintaining forages.

JON COONER: As the Institute’s director of special projects, Cooner has his hands in a broad range of activities, from writing articles to helping customers as an in-house consultant. Of all the things he does at the Institute, Cooner believes that his direct contact with customers is the most important for several reasons. The main reason, again, is the Institute’s philosophy that customer service should be knowledgeable and timely. Cooner believes that the opportunity to answer customers’ questions and help them solve issues they face in their management efforts helps keep him up-todate on practical management issues that affect hunters regionally and across the nation. As you can see, the Institute’s consulting staff is diverse, yet they have several things in common. For example, they are all hunters, and they have substantial knowledge and experience in a broad range of matters that pertain to deer, deer hunting and land management. But what sets the Institute’s consulting staff apart is more than just knowledge and experience. It’s also that each and every whitetail consultant loves his work, and that joy comes from a sense of excitement each consultant feels about having a job he considers an absolute pleasure — helping other hunters and managers. The source of this drive to truly help customers is best described by Ray Scott when he explains the Whitetail Institute’s customer service philosophy. “Building a healthy business requires extreme dedi-

cation to two things: product quality and customer service. Providing truly top-quality customer service takes a lot of work. When a customer calls, you can’t just consider that your job is to answer a question. You have to consider that you’re building a relationship with that customer as a person. And after all, that’s only fair; he’s giving his business to you, and you owe it to him to give him the highest quality product you can and then give him timely, useful customer service support.� It seems to be the norm these days that most companies’ customer-service departments are just computers that try to solve problems by asking a series of questions that you answer by pushing a number on your telephone. Well, that just doesn’t cut it for the staff at the Whitetail Institute. We don’t ask questions by pushing telephone buttons, and we don’t like to have them answered that way. When you call the Whitetail Institute’s consultant extension during business hours, though, you find some surprises — nice surprises. For instance, you’ll find that the consultant extension is answered by a real

person — and what’s more, that person is knowledgeable, experienced and truly interested in helping you. You’ll also find that the consultant extension is almost always answered right away. The Institute is very strict about answering the phone quickly. It's so strict, in fact, that I’ll let you in on a secret: Every office at the Institute has a strobe light mounted on the wall — yes, every office, owners and staff. If the consultant line rings more than twice during business hours without being answered, the strobe light in every office automatically goes off, and everyone dives to answer the phone. Folks, customer service just doesn’t get any more dedicated to timely response than that. There’s a reason why the Institute is so driven to provide its customers with service that is timely, knowledgeable and personal. It all goes back to what Scott said about relationships. The Institute builds relationships with its customers, and nowhere is that more true than with the one-on-one contact customers have with the Institute’s consultants. In fact, many customers have a direct, long-term business relationship with a particular consultant, whom they call year after year for information and ordering. And after that, here’s the really amazing thing: When you call and speak with a Whitetail Institute consultant, the call and the service are free. As I mentioned at the start of this article, and as many other Whitetail News articles end, “If you have any questions or need additional information call the Whitetail Institute at (800) 688-3030.� W

FA LL P L A NT I N G DAT E S

for Imperial WhitetailÂŽ Clover, Chicory Plus™, Alfa-Rack™, Alfa-Rack PLUS™, Extreme™, Secret Spot™, No-Plow™ , “Chicâ€? Magnet™ , Pure Attraction™ and Double-Cross™ í˘ą Call for planting dates í˘˛ Do not plant in fall í˘ł Aug 1 - Sept 1 í˘´ Coastal: Sept 1 - Oct 15

Piedmont: Aug 15 - Oct 1 Mountain Valleys: Aug 1 Sept 15

í˘ľ Aug 1 - Sept 30 í˘ś Sept 1 - Nov 1 í˘ˇ North: Aug 1 - Sept 15

South: Aug 15 - Oct 15

í˘¸ North: July 15 - Aug 20

ě?ˆ Sept 15 - Nov 15 ě?‰ North: Sept 5 - Nov 15

Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

ě”ˆ North: Aug 25 - Oct 15

South: Sept 5 - Oct 30

씉 North: Sept 5 - Nov 15

Coastal: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

씊 Coastal: Sept 25 - Oct 15

Piedmont: Sept 1 - Oct 5 Mountain: Aug 25 - Oct 15

씋 North: Sept 15 - Nov 15

Central: Sept 15 - Nov 25 South: Oct 5 - Nov 30

South: July 20 - Aug 25

í˘š Aug 1 - Aug 31 ě?… Aug 1 - Sept 15 www.whitetailinstitute.com

ě”Œ Aug 1 - Sept 1 ě”? Aug 20 - Sept 30 Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

35


ANTLERS AND NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS Answers to Your Questions By Whitetail Institute Staff Photo by Brad Herndon

H

ere’s the bottom line: If you want the bucks you hunt next fall to have the biggest racks possible, you should make sure they have access to all the minerals and vitamins they need during spring and summer. And nothing does that better than Whitetail Institute nutritional supplements. If you haven’t put yours out yet, the time to do it is now. With bucks already well into the antler-growing period of spring and summer, this is a great time to make sure you understand what Whitetail Institute supple36

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

ments are and why they’re so important. Here are answers to some of the most common questions our in-house consultants receive about them. I always hear that the most important nutritional n element for antler growth in spring and summer is protein, so why should I supplement minerals and vitamins? Protein is, in fact, a major player in antler growth. However a hardened antler is 55 percent minerals. Also, doe milk is very nutrient-dense — much more so than cow’s milk. Bucks and does need access to the correct minerals in the correct forms and ratios for antler growth, doe lactation and other biological functions during spring and summer. If bucks are going to grow antlers anyway during n the antler-growing season, what’s the point in supplementing their diets? Natural food sources usually provide enough nutrition for deer to survive but rarely will they provide suf-

ficient nutrition for bucks to truly maximize antler size. If your goal is to be sure that your deer have access to all the nutrition they need during spring and summer to maximize their genetic potential for antler size, properly formulated supplements are important. use salt and cattle blocks? nNo.CanNotweif just you want to get your money’s worth in antler growth. Remember I said earlier that a hardened antler is 55 percent minerals? Well, it’s also less than one percent salt. Enough said. As for cattle blocks, deer aren’t cattle. Deer and cattle are ruminant animals, but their digestive systems are very different. Deer and cattle also have different nutritional needs, and nowhere is this more true than in the case of antlers — remember, cattle don’t have to regrow antlers every year. If you’re going to spend $1, why would you want less than a $1 worth in return? Well, you wouldn’t. If you want to be sure your deer are getting the minerals and www.whitetailinstitute.com


vitamins they need during spring and summer, take the advice given in the answer to the next question.

What’s the biggest difference between 30-06, nImperial 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge Optimize? 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein are miner-

Which Whitetail Institute nutritional supplements nThereare designed for spring and summer? are three: Imperial 30-06, Imperial 30-06 Plus

al/vitamin supplements. 30-06 Plus Protein is similar to 30-06, but it also has a 16 percent protein boost. Cutting Edge Optimize is a full nutritional supplement that, like 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein, includes all the minerals and vitamins deer need during spring and summer. And as I said earlier, they all differ somewhat in scent, taste and texture.

Protein and Cutting Edge Optimize. Cutting Edge Optimize is one stage of the three-stage Cutting Edge System, each stage of which is specifically designed for a specific part of a deer’s annual cycle. The other two stages are Cutting Edge Sustain, which is for fall and winter, and Cutting Edge Initiate, which is for late winter to early spring. I use all three spring-and-summer prodnMostShould ucts or just one? folks use just one. However, managers who want to give their deer access to high-quality nutrition in multiple formats often use 30-06 or 30-06 Plus Protein in lick sites and Cutting Edge Optimize in trough feeders. does the Whitetail Institute offer more than nMostWhy just one spring/summer supplement? deer will attack any Whitetail Institute supplement with a vengeance. Like people, though, deer are individuals, and sometimes they will clearly prefer one over the others. Whitetail Institute supplements differ from one another in taste, scent and texture, so there’s an excellent chance that your deer will like one or more of them. The Whitetail Institute even offers supplement sample packs so that you can try a little of each one and see if your deer exhibit a preference before stocking up.

How should I deliver 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein n30-06 and Cutting Edge to my deer? and 30-06 Plus Protein are designed to be used on the ground. Find a spot just off a trail between a bedding area and a feeding area, and clean off a circle of dirt a couple of feet in diameter. Pour one half of the bag on the site, and work it into the top inch or so of soil with a shovel or rake. Then, pour the rest of the bag on top. Cutting Edge Optimize can be used on the ground, or in a covered trough feeder. When using Optimize on the ground, do it the same way as for 3006 and 30-06 Plus Protein. Why can’t I just make a mineral/vitamin supplenThement myself? bottom line is that as much as a properly formulated nutritional supplement can benefit your deer, an improperly formulated product might offer no benefit or even be downright harmful. The suggestion that the average person who is not a scientist and doesn’t have access to a laboratory can mix up a properly formulated mineral/vitamin supplement for deer appears on Internet forums quite a bit. And that’s sad for several

reasons. First, it does a disservice to managers who are honestly seeking the best way to supplement their deer’s nutrition. Second, in extreme situations, it has the potential to be dangerous to deer. And that’s not only true of homemade stuff — unfortunately, it also includes some of the so called “deer products” available for sale on the market. Some products, for example, are not necessarily dangerous to deer, but they won’t do much, if anything, for antler growth. These may be almost all salt, have minerals and vitamins in improper ratios, raw-nutrient sources that deer can’t digest, wrong levels and ratios of certain nutrients, and they may even totally lack one or more critical nutrients. Other substances such as zinc and selenium might actually be toxic if they comprise too much of a deer’s diet. Whitetail Institute 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein were created through extensive scientific research and contain the correct minerals the correct forms and ratios to be highly nutritionally beneficial, highly digestible and safe for deer. And that’s why the bottom line is, well, what I said at the very beginning of this article. If you want your deer to be the best they can be, and your bucks to grow the largest racks they can, stick with Whitetail Institute 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge Optimize for spring and summer. That way, you’ll be sure that you are giving your deer a supplement that’s properly formulated to give your deer full benefit — and do so safely. W

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

www.whitetailinstitute.com

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com Research = Results™ Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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Bill Balmer — Wisconsin Had fantastic results with Imperial Extreme. Imperial NoPlow is another fantastic It product. pulled deer from all over after a freeze. Trails in the snow looked like spokes of a wheel coming to the hub — my No-Plow patch. My son, Paul, got a 189-2/8 inch gross buck with his bow. Paul has four pictures of his buck “Mulie” in the No-Plow patch the year before he shot him. The growth “Mulie” put on that next year was almost unbelievable. Enclosed is a picture of Paul and his buck.

Glendal French — Illinois

Imperial Whitetail Clover was planted in my first food plot and it is still one of my all around favorites. Deer will eat it year round. Imperial Winter-Greens is the best winter food source I have used. I see and have shot a lot of deer feeding in my Winter-Greens during the late season. It is a great hunting plot. Whitetail Institute products have really helped the overall health of my deer. See the photos I sent. My 9 year son killed

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

his first deer with his bow; the 9 pointer field dressed 256 pounds.

James Holstead — Missouri Enclosed are several pictures of deer my wife, Teresa, and I have harvested on our 135-acre farm in Macon County, which we have hunted for three years. We have two Imperial Whitetail Clover plots totaling 2-1/4

acres and two Alfa-Rack Plus plots totaling 1-1/2 acres. All of these plots are 3 years old and doing

well. My wife had 27 deer on a one acre Imperial Clover plot, seven of which were bucks. Not bad for her first bow hunting experience. She turned down a 2-1/2 year old 9point with a 17 to 18-inch spread; he was only nine steps for her stand. The photos show a few bucks I’ve taken and a photo of Teresa’s first buck.

Randy Smuck — Iowa Enclosed is a picture of the Smuck Buck. He grossed scored 213-7/8. He was harvested in our field of Imperial Whitetail Clover. We also have two mineral licks using both 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein. We highly recommend all Whitetail Institute products for drawing and keeping deer in your hunting area. We have seen over 100 deer at one time on a 10 acre field of Imperial Whitetail Clover. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

Brett Young — Ohio I’ve used Whitetail Institute products on land in Indiana since 1999 and in Ohio since 2004. Both Imperial Whitetail Clover and Extreme have been great products. Our grandson, Clayton, couldn’t come over until Friday evening for the Ohio muzzleloader season, so that left only Saturday and Sunday to hunt. Clayton didn’t see any deer on Saturday morning. We headed to the Buddy Stand Saturday night. Three does came into the Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot and Clayton tried to get ready as one came close. It caught some movement and quickly went into the head bobbing and foot stomping routine while Clayton shook uncontrollably from the excitement. The doe stared at him until it had seen enough and ran away taking the others with it. Right before quitting time, Logan, a young 9-point (yes, we name our bucks from our deer camera photos), came in downwind to within 70 yards or so only

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to spook before Clayton could get a shot off. Clayton was devastated. I tried to explain that hunting takes lots of patience and most days would end with no shots fired, even if you were lucky enough to see deer. Clayton was sick Sunday morning and he spent the rest of the day lying on the dining room floor so he could stay close to the bathroom. No hunting therefore on Sunday — so much for muzzleloader season. Have no fear, the boy is a crack shot with the crossbow, so Monday afternoon, New Year’s Eve day, we were off again. We settled into the Buddy Stand and the hunt was on. At 4:15 p.m. we heard crunching leaves behind us. I squeezed Clayton’s leg and whispered that we needed to sit very still and quiet. Out came two does followed again by Logan, the buck. Clayton attempted to get the crossbow up and the does took off. Logan stuck around almost long enough to get a shot off, but not quite. I told Clayton to sit still because Logan may be back. About 30 minutes later out came two 6 pointers. Clayton asks if I’d mount the bigger of the two and I said, yes. As he tried to get on target, we heard another deer coming. It was Logan again. The two sixes sparred for a few minutes, then Logan and the bigger six went at it. Before Clayton could shoot they ran off and watched us from the next tree line and then snorted and ran away. How many chances could we expect to get in one afternoon? A few minutes later another buck comes along the woods from our right. I told Clayton not to look, but he tried anyway and another buck was gone before we could get a closer look. A doe came in from behind us, followed by a spike buck from the left. Another doe, Clayton says it was a fawn, came in from our left, also. It looked nervous but seemed to be looking back into the woods instead of at us. Something is up. Crunch, crunch and more deer are coming. The others cleared the area. Decoy, a tall diamond-shaped 8-pointer, stepped into the food plot. Crunch, crunch and here comes Tex, our local homeboy — a wide heavy massed 8-pointer. They were both still alive. They survived Ohio’s gun seasons, but obviously they weren’t expecting a little boy to be out so soon after the smokepoles had faded away. I swear I could feel his heart beating as he sat on my lap. The two big bucks seemed to take turns watching for danger, but Clayton had just enough opportunity to get into position and the shot was finally executed. We watched both bucks run away before congratulating one another and hoping the shot was a good one. Clayton ran the last 50 yards to the house versus the normal, “Carry me up the hill, Papa.� He had to be the first back to the house to tell Grandma the news. We changed clothes, ate dinner (try explaining to an excited 7 year old why you don’t want to push a wounded deer), got flashlights and we were off. We found Tex the bruiser buck at the end of a heavy blood trail 150 or so yards away. The pictures tell the rest of the story. This was quite an ending to the year for this young 7 year old. He had attended Ray Howell’s Kicking Bear Camp, received his compound bow, shot his first deer (button buck) during the youth shotgun season shortly after turning seven and now he shoots a real wall www.whitetailinstitute.com

hanger! Tex has been a regular on our property for the past three years. I expect he was 4-1/2 years old. He had and inside spread of 20 inches and green scores 142-1/2 inches. He netted 140-1/2, which made Clayton the youngest hunter ever to qualify for the Buckeye Big Buck Club (Ohio State Record Organization). He shot my biggest buck and I couldn’t be happier! The rewards of QDM efforts fulfilled.

Dennis Beach — Kansas í˘ą

Extreme has produced for three years. It got a great response from the deer. I also planted Chicory Plus this year and got a good stand. The deer

í˘˛ love it. Picture 1 shows what a typical buck here looked like three years ago before planting and picture 2 shows a buck I got this past season.

Attraction because he was seeing so many deer. He shot his first crossbow deer, a 7-point buck, in the Chic Magnet plot because the wind was wrong in the Pure Attraction plot. It’s like I’m cheating. There are deer in my plots every night. Whitetail Institute food plots work; even bad hunters can shoot deer in Whitetail Institute food plots.

Rick Peterson — Illinois I planted Imperial Whitetail Clover this past year and I had more bucks running around this year than the last several years combined. I can’t say enough about the Whitetail Clover. It keeps the deer around all year long. I had a few weeds and grass in my Imperial Clover. I used Whitetail Institute herbicides (Slay and Arrest) with great success. I recommend Whitetail Institute products to friends and co-workers every chance I get. When I get the pictures out, that ends the discussion on whose products are going to get planted — Whitetail Institute naturally! Keep up the good work Whitetail Institute. P.S. Your customer service is second to none.

Mike Fuge — Wisconsin

Heath Kreiser — Pennsylvania I planted DoubleCross, Chic Magnet and Pure Attraction and the deer loved them and so did the turkeys. I am a bow hunter. I shot a 7point, 175 pound buck three years ago and a 140-class 8-pointer with a 22inch wide inside spread two years ago. That buck weighed 230 pounds. I also shot an 11-point, 180 pound buck this past season. All of these deer were shot in Bradford County, Penn. I also shot two spring turkeys the last two years. My brother hunted every day he could in the Pure

Attached is a picture of a buck that a good friend of mine, Earl Clement, shot the opening day of the Wisconsin Archery season. I was not able to hunt because of prior commitments. Here are some of the particulars. The deer weighed 190 pounds, had 20 points, an 18-1/4 inch spread and rough scored 204 inches. It proves to us beyond a doubt that Whitetail Institute products work. The products we have planted are Imperial Whitetail Clover, Alfa-Rack and Extreme. Earl also took a deer two years ago that scored 174-plus inches off of the same property. Thanks Whitetail Institute for the great products and great support! 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. 20, No. 1 /

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IMPERIAL

PURE ATTRACTION Performance Early, Late, and In Between! What is TalkHunting? TalkHunting is a web forum that centers around hunting. What is a forum? A forum is public meeting place for open discussion of various topics (in this case, hunting related). A forum may also be referred to as a bulletin board or discussion area. You "post" questions or comments for others to comment on or you post on their comments. Think of it as a delayed chat room. Do you just talk with each other? No, you can also share pictures, recipes or ask about non-hunting items. You can get to know people and even arrange swap hunts. We also have hunting championships and many events throughout the year for members to meet and have fun. It sounds like a club. Is it? In a way. You will get to know people here and that almost makes it like a family. You also will learn a lot about hunting here gaining from thousands of people's knowledge and advice. My experience with forums is that they are a place for people to argue, fight and talk bad. That is not the case here at all. First of all, we maintain a fun, friendly, family atmosphere where bashing, fighting, cliques and vulgarity is absolutely not tolerated. Second, we have real people looking after the site to ensure no offensive material is posted. This site is safe for kids and adults of all ages. I see that I can read everything without joining so why join? First, as a guest, you can only read, you cannot make comments or start new posts. Secondly, not all areas are available to guests. Once you join, you will see more areas. Third we have prize drawings each month for members from nationally known manufacturers of hunting products. Guests are not eligible to win. Fourth, as our numbers grow, so does our influence in the outdoor world. This will help us as we push for a cleaner, more family friendly industry. Thank you for visiting the "TalkHunting" website. We encourage you to register and jump right in. Since membership is free, you have nothing to lose? This is a place to learn, have fun, express ideas and have a chance to win some prizes. If you are addicted to hunting... this is your fix!

By Whitetail Institute Staff Photo by Brad Herndon

SOME OF OUR SPONSORS AND WINNERS‌

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A

nnuals can be a superb tool for delivering abundant forage at specific times of the year. For fall through winter, Imperial

Pure Attraction delivers immediately, performing from early autumn, on through the coldest winter months. When it comes to providing year-around forage from a single planting, perennials are king. That’s why perennials often serve as the backbone of a food plot system. When it comes to delivering rapid growth for a specific part or parts of the year, annuals really shine, and none more so than Pure Attraction. Pure Attraction is a blend whose major components are Whitetail Institute forage oats and the Institute’s annual brassicas. The combination provides managers with a single annual forage blend that delivers top performance from early fall through winter. In early fall, the WINA forage oats in Pure Attraction establish quickly. Fast establishment is further enhanced by a minor component: winter peas. This combination results in the fast germination and rapid growth of this high-sugar, cold-tolerant stage, which provides deer with the carbohydrates they crave at this time of year as they store energy for the coming winter. At this same time, the WINA brassicas in Pure Attraction establish and provide even more tonnage during the early season. As the weather turns colder later in the fall, frosts cause an enzyme in the brassicas in Pure Attraction to turn starches in the plants to sugars, making them even sweeter and even more irresistible to deer. These brassicas stand taller in the snow and continue to provide deer with highly attractive and nutritious forage even during the coldest months of winter. The availability of highly nutritious forages during winter can be a huge benefit to deer, not only in terms of survival but also to help them maintain body weight and health. This helps them to recover from winter more quickly in the early spring. And remember — the sooner a buck can recover his winter health losses, the earlier in the antler-growing season he can divert nutrition to the job of building antlers. And just like all forage blends that bear the name Imperial Whitetail, Pure Attraction is the result of the Whitetail Institute’s exhaustive research, development and real-world testing across North America, which assures hunters and managers of the industry’s top performance. Pure Attraction is designed for fall planting, and the dates (shown on the back of the forage bags and also at www.whitetailinstitute.com) are the same as those for planting Whitetail Institute perennials. Pure Attraction is easy to plant — seedbed preparation doesn’t require deep tillage, and if lime must be added to raise soil pH to optimum (6.5 or higher), it need be tilled only into the first inch or two of soil. Getting the seedbed as smooth as possible before planting is also not as critical when planting Pure Attraction as it is when planting perennials. Unlike perennials, Pure Attraction should be covered under a thin layer of loose soil. Just disk, leave the soil loose, fertilize and then broadcast the Pure Attraction seed, and then very lightly drag over the seed. As with any forage, soil testing before planting Pure Attraction is recommended. If a soil test is not available though, Pure Attraction can be fertilized with the most commonly available fertilizer blends, such as 1717-17 or 13-13-13 at a rate of 400 pounds per acre. As the directions specify, if possible, fertilize Pure Attraction again 30-45 days after planting with 100 pounds/acre of 33-0-0, 34-0-0 or similar high-nitrogen fertilizer to further boost forage growth. So if you’re looking for something to plant this fall that will establish very quickly, produce lots of succulent, carbohydrate-rich forage in the early fall, and keep performing through the cold winter months, Pure Attraction is an excellent option. If you have any questions about Pure Attraction or would like to order, just call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030, extension 2. W

www.whitetailinstitute.com

The foundation of Pure Attraction’s early-season attraction and nutrition are WINA-Brand oats which are winter-hardy and drought-resistant. Their high sugar content makes them exceptionally attractive and palatable to deer. WINA-Brand Oats performance is unsurpassed by all other forage oats tested. WINA-Brand forage brassicas are also included in Pure Attraction to provide abundant forage during the coldest months of the winter. Read the early reviews from all over the country: • From Virginia: “The Pure Attraction blend is extremely winter-hardy and lasted through the winter. It really grew well the whole time too. Even though it was heavily grazed, it continued to provide food for the deer during the cold weather.” • From Michigan: “The deer ate the Pure Attraction like crazy. The WINA-Brand oats and winter peas came up first and then the brassica. The deer hit the WINA-Brand oats and winter peas first. As of Nov. 18, both plots had been grazed low, but the plants were still green.” • From Maine: “Pure Attraction is awesome. The blend seemed to click with my soil and the deer. Another great product.” • From Missouri: The Pure Attraction blend was “among the most attractive I have ever planted.” • From Alabama: “Deer completely mowed the Pure Attraction plot down. Even so, it continued to provide forage and grew well all through the winter. Deer were in the plot every night.” Plant Pure Attraction during the same dates as the fall-planting dates for Imperial perennials. Since Pure Attraction does not require the sort of deeper ground tillage required for planting some perennial blends, it is even easier to plant. Looking for a product that will establish quickly and give your deer the one-two punch of both early- and late-season attraction…? GIVE PURE ATTRACTION A TRY!

The Whitetail Institute ®

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

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The QDM Puzzle

T

he answer to the question about how long it takes for quality deer management to work is one deer managers have been seeking from the beginning of this movement. Some of you have been managing whitetails for a long time, while others of you reading this are new to QDM. Well, as one who has been at this QDM game actively for 11 years, and who has been writing about it for close to 20 years, I’m going to give you the answers. You did notice I said answers, not answer. To arrive at these answers I’m going to use a variety of management situations to make my points. First of all, let’s take what I call the ideal situation for QDM, one that was common 20 years ago in many of our states, but is more difficult to find today. We’ll assume two hunting buddies of average income lease a 300-acre tract of timber one spring that consists of a mix of timber and farm fields in a fertile Midwest state. This particular area has a low deer density, with the herd just starting to expand. These guys are sharp, by the way, and are willing to learn, plus they are disciplined enough to pass some good bucks. Let’s see how QDM works in their situation. 44

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What is your situation? By Brad Herndon Photos by the Author

Any hunter would be happy with this 178-inch gross triple main beam buck taken by Henry Reynolds in southern Illinois. This “holdover buck” was one of the few remaining big bucks in the region due to an overpopulation of deer.

PUTTING TOGETHER THE QDM PUZZLE These two intelligent whitetail hunters immediately start talking to neighboring landowners and other deer hunters who are already leasing land in their nearby region. After months of talking about the importance of managing deer for not only the maximum health and balance of the herd, but also for the well-being of the

natural habitat and farm fields, they have convinced the locals to go along with their line of thinking for a couple of years. With this time-consuming task done, the two buddies install three one-acre food plots in different locations on their lease. Two plots are planted in Imperial Whitetail Clover, while the third plot is saved for a fall and winter attraction plot using brassicas, turnips, and other products. They also get permission from the www.whitetailinstitute.com


landowner to plant a few persimmon, apple and pear trees on a small, brushy, but unused hilltop. While they can’t afford a feeding program, they are able to afford some mineral supplements. Their next step is to use a couple of surveillance cameras in late summer to help get a handle on the number of deer on their property before their first fall hunting season. This information, coupled with their own observations and scouting, reveal the following figures: They have one 3-1/2 year-old 10-point on their lease, one 2-1/2 year-old buck, and one yearling buck. On the antlerless side they have three mature does, two yearling does, two doe fawns, and two button bucks, for a total of 12 deer. Knowing that the recommended carrying capacity for one square mile for their type of habitat is only 18 deer in their state, they put a harvest plan in place. First of all, they decide to not shoot any antlered bucks for the first two hunting seasons unless a brute from someplace else just happens to wander through. The first fall they shoot a doe fawn, a yearling doe, and an adult doe. They killed three out of their seven does. The second fall they shoot a doe fawn, a yearling doe, and an adult doe, again three out of seven does on their property. The third fall season they are fortunate enough to kill the original 3-1/2 year-old buck, which has by now turned into a 5-1/2 year-old, 160-inch bruiser. They also shoot one doe fawn and an adult doe. They now have a total of 13 deer on their property. At the end of four years, they have killed two 5-1/2 year-old bucks and one 4-1/2 year-old buck. By the fifth year they have three button bucks, two yearling bucks, two 2-1/2 yearold bucks, two 3-1/2 year-old bucks, and two 4-1/2

8237 Danville Road • Danville, AL 35619 1.256.773.7732

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year-old bucks on their property. They also have three doe fawns, two yearling does and three adult does, for a grand total of 19 deer. Interestingly, they have never had to shoot more than three does per year thus far, and their native vegetation is healthy, and their food plots lush. Another plus is that with the great buck/doe ratio, buck movement is absolutely incredible, with many buck sightings per day. Of course, for all this to work out in this example, the neighbors have to be doing the same thing, with the same standards. As you can see, this situation would continue to crank out 4-1/2 and 51/2 year-old bucks for years to come for these guys. In this scenario, it only took until the third hunting season (a little over two years from the time they leased the property) for them to tap out a 5-1/2 year-old buck. It would be of interest at this point for each of us to tally up how many 5-1/2 year-old bucks we have killed in our lifetime. I’m betting it won’t be many, if any.

blend in covered feeders. In addition, even though he has large food plots in clover, alfalfa, turnips, and other products, he leaves sizable areas of his corn and soybean fields standing so the deer can feed in them in late summer, fall and winter. To top that off he has built several ponds and wetland areas on his property. There is nothing wrong with this kind of management, and my friend has spent his adulthood working hard to build up his estate. Nothing was inherited. Still, this is what I call deceptive QDM success. It’s kind of like the deer farmers we read about who grow incredibly huge bucks with high-scoring racks in penned areas simply by using specially formulated deer feed. Although this method can be made to work if you throw enough money at it, how many of us could spend $25,000 or more per year managing one piece of property for deer using this method? I assure you I couldn’t, and most of you reading this couldn’t either. PICKING LEASING AREAS IS IMPORTANT

DECEPTIVE QDM “SUCCESS” I have a friend who has too many deer on his land. The mature timber in his woods contains no suitable browse for whitetails, yet he and his family and friends continue to kill 150- and 160-inch deer year after year. This proves, some might say, that you can have too many whitetails and still have great bucks. This, simply put, isn’t true for the average QDM manager. My friend is successful growing trophy deer, and is keeping his deer herd healthy for reasons other than sound deer management practices. For instance, for much of the year he spends $245 per week supplying his whitetail herd with a specially formulated food

Now let’s go to another example similar in lease size to my first example of QDM, this one well-documented because I know the two hunters well. The year is 2000 and two family members lease 280 acres in Indiana. The deer herd on this property is at the carrying capacity of the land, so no mistakes can be made. The first year these QDM managers take soil tests, lime and fertilize the soil, and plant three food plots averaging slightly less than one acre in size. Imperial Whitetail Clover and Whitetail Extreme are planted. The hunters look over their native habitat and see it is suffering damage, with a browse line being slightly visible. Although there is some brush inside the timber,

See all our newest products for 2010 at www.hssvest.com

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Shannon Winks and daughter Miss Emma pose with two deer they tagged last muzzleloader season in Indiana.

most of it consists of browse deer don’t favor, such as paw paw bushes. Because this particular region contains no property that has been leased, these QDM managers spend the first year as villains in the area and catch a lot of flak from the local hunters for “stealing their hunting place.” By the third year, however, the locals see the handwriting on the wall, become friendly, and lease their own land. They graduate from shooting yearling bucks to 21/2 year-old bucks, and occasionally tag a 3-1/2 year46

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

old buck. The locals are happy because they are killing their best bucks ever, and are seeing quantities of deer. Well, our original leasers aren’t happy, despite the fact one of them bow killed a 162-inch-gross 12-pointer, and the other one tapped out a couple of bucks that scored from 135 to 145 inches. The reason they are disappointed is the fact they kill eight or ten mature does per year, yet they are immediately replaced with doe from neighboring properties. Despite efforts to inform other hunters of an approaching habitat destruction

crisis, their pleas go in one ear and out the other. By the fifth year of their lease, these QDM managers start to see spike bucks with increasing frequency, something they never saw in the territory several years back. Also alarming is the fact mature bucks are starting to be infested with ticks, something these hunters had never witnessed before. Their browse line by now stands out like a sore thumb, and the body weight of the bucks start to plummet. On the sixth year of leasing, one of the hunters takes a great “holdover” buck www.whitetailinstitute.com


probably 6-1/2 years of age, or older, that grosses 167 inches and has great mass. Disappointingly, its coat is barely salvageable to do a shoulder mount because ticks are literally dropping off of it like rain. After a decade of QDM on their property, their sightings of bucks are considerable, but it isn’t often that they see one that grosses 130 inches or more. Average field-dressed weights of 3-1/2 year-old bucks have dropped from 180-185 pounds field-dressed, to 140-145 pounds. Two bucks with three-inch spikes were sighted with blood-covered antlers (shedding their velvet) in October and all older age class bucks are infested with ticks. Hunting has changed for the other hunters in the area as well. They claim all the 105- to 120-inch bucks they are seeing in the region are 2-1/2 year-olds, and are wondering where the 3-1/2 year-old bucks in the 130-135 inch range have gone they were so happy shooting. Sadly, they can’t be convinced those “2-1/2 year-old bucks� are really unhealthy 3-1/2 year-olds, despite the fact it can be proven using accurate aging methods. Moreover, the other hunters in the region are starting to shoot smaller bucks again because “there aren’t any big bucks left.� Unfortunately, in this situation, the result of 10 years of quality deer management by these two hunters did not turn out well. They simply couldn’t do enough on their one piece of land to offset what happened on the surrounding properties. After 10 years, their entire region of the county consisted of over-browsed timber, the deer herds’ health was declining, and antler size certainly suffered. Farmers were upset as well since they were losing thousands of dollars per year because of lower corn and soybean yields.

WHAT THE FUTURE OLDS As you can see in these three examples, we have different answers about how long QDM takes to work depending on the situation where it is carried out by whitetail hunters. In our first example, QDM worked quickly, in just over a two-year period. This model, incidentally, can happen in a big-time way. For example, when QDM was just getting started, Buffalo County, Wis. had only one Pope & Young entry from 1992 and three entries from 1993. By banding together at that time, deer managers and landowners in this hilly, rich-soiled county in the west central part of the state collectively put together a QDM program that produced close to unbelievable results. Because the Whitetail Institute was on the leading edge of QDM, its products were extensively used in this region’s food plots. My wife, Carol, and I tracked the 10-year period in Buffalo County from 1994 to 2003 and the results showed during this period that Buffalo County entered 210 bucks into the typical category of the Pope & Young record book alone! To put these numbers in perspective, this means this one county, only 685 square miles in size, grew more book bucks in this 10-year period than the all-time totals in at least 20 other states! This example certainly carries a lot of weight when it comes to a small region producing a quantity of tall-tined brutes by utilizing sound deer management practices. In our second example, management wasn’t according to the book, but it worked because of the nutritional value of a great product called the greenback. As a capitalist, I’m on the side of the guy with money.

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While a few individuals do accumulate wealth in an illegal method, the vast majority of people with money are ethical, exceptionally intelligent, have worked incredibly long hours, taken risks, and have succeeded after what is normally decades of time. That being said, most of us are in the average income bracket and, with a few exceptions such as hunt clubs, can’t manage deer that way. From the last example, perhaps the most important lessons can be learned about QDM. Even though these two hunters managed almost exactly like the successful ones in the first example, they experienced disappointing results. Unfortunately, they made the mistake of leasing land in a region where the local hunters were not familiar with the catastrophic results of too-high deer densities. Continued under-harvesting of doe, and the fact no one else in the region planted food plots during this time were the fatal nails driven in the QDM coffin. This situation is tragic, and is just now starting to occur in more and more areas of our nation with exploding whitetail numbers. Some of this is on public land, and much of it is on private land. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR QDM? It would be interesting to take a survey and see what percentage of you reading this article fit in each example I used. If you fit in the wildly successful first example, you’re obviously relaxed and smiling, sitting in your easy chair admiring your wall-mounted trophies. If you fit in the second example, you’re probably still happy, but with the current recession raging on, cutting back on some of those high-dollar expenses might be starting to look more inviting.

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If, lastly, you fall in the third example where QDM didn’t work out for various reasons, such as the wrong lease location, mistakes on your part, poaching, or other factors such as EHD, then you may be disgusted. Well, tune in to the next issue of Whitetail News where I will discuss how to save QDM in your area. When finished with this upcoming article, all readers should end up feeling good about themselves, knowing that they can, and are, making a positive difference in God’s great creation. W

Keeping Track Of Deer Numbers To ever pull off a successful quality deer management program, it’s important to keep the native habitat in good condition, and then put nutritional icing on the cake for your whitetails by implementing quality food plots, plus minerals. In order to do this, the deer herd size must be kept within the carrying capacity of the land. State regions, type of soil, presence of farm fields, and a lot of other factors determine what the carrying capacity of a piece of property is, but in the end, the definition of carrying capacity is this: It’s the number of deer a given parcel can support in good physical condition over an extended period of time without adversely impacting the natural habitat. More than anything else, just running numbers on deer production should convince you of the importance of shooting doe. A rule to go by regarding doe is that a doe fawn reaching 70 pounds body weight can come into estrus and can be impregnated. This cycle can occur in November, December or January. Secondly, a yearling doe (1-1/2-years old) that is bred will normally have a single fawn. After that, healthy adult doe will usually have twins, with male and female births close to 50/50. Triplets occur, but it doesn’t happen often. Let me give you an idea of how fast whitetail deer can multiply. If you have a tract of land with only two doe fawns, two yearling does and two adult does on it and every doe is bred yearly, five years later you would have almost 100 deer on this property! This is without any hunting, or natural deaths occurring. Make yourself sit down and really study this out and start tallying the figures and you will see that my numbers are correct. And also keep in mind that after five years, the population increases exponentially, absolutely exploding overnight. I can assure you it is a lot more pleasurable shooting five doe per year to keep your herd in balance than it is to shoot, remove and properly process 20, 30 or 40 does per year. CULTURAL CARRYING CAPACITY OF THE LAND My discussion above about controlling deer numbers is considered what is the biological carrying capacity of the land. Another issue a quality deer manager must address in many situations is the cultural carrying capacity of the land. In my simple terms, this simply means the number of deer the neighbors will tolerate. Neighbors will most often mean farmers, although it can at times be people in a nearby suburban area. For example, when there were few deer in Indiana I used to go round and round with a farmer who claimed “Those deer are costing me $10,000 a year!” They weren’t, and he knew it. He just wanted to eradicate anything that would eat a grain of corn. I still talk to that farmer and I’m compassionate with him because I know today he may be losing $10,000 to $15,000 per year to deer damage. Although he doesn’t want to spend his time doing it, he now obtains quantities of deer depredation permits and spends countless evenings in the summer shooting deer. He also legally passes these permits out to other individuals so they can shoot deer on his land and help control the deer numbers. Having too many deer wasn’t his fault, nor was it the fault of Indiana’s DNR. They have issued liberal doe tags over the past 20 years. Instead, the fault primarily lies with the deer hunters who just wanted to see more and more deer without any regard to what they were doing to the natural habitat, and to farm fields. It was, from a majority standpoint, the deer hunter’s mistake, but one that can be corrected. Regarding suburban housing additions near land managed for deer, high deer densities can result in destruction of gardens and expensive shrubbery, and also result in an increased number of deer/vehicle collisions. Summing up, an astute quality deer manager should always be aware of the importance of controlling both the biological and cultural capacity of the land, and when in doubt about what to do, err on the side of caution. W

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(Continued from page 27)

ity on this area of the farm seemed to revolve around this clover field. There were quite a few does using this field every day and as a result the bucks were there as well. Thanks Whitetail Institute for producing such a quality product.

Merry Christmas it was for me. I killed him near an Extreme plot. The Whitetail Institute products I have used have brought in more deer and bigger deer to my property.

Bobby Burgess — Alabama Darin Williamson — Tennessee

Pennsylvania archery season we photographed a tall tined 8-pointer heading into the food plot. On the second to last day of archery season I shot the buck. It was the biggest buck ever harvested on the farm and only the first year for food plots. You can be sure that next year we will be planting more Pure Attraction and looking forward to the unmatched success that we have experienced. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

I operate a small deer plot business in South Alabama. I have planted every product on the market for a variety of customers. I spoke with one of Whitetail Institute’s consultants last year about the PowerPlant product. I planted my PowerPlant last spring for my spring and summer feed program. I was absolutely blown away with the results. The amount of tonnage it produced was unbelievable. My cameras recorded buck after buck in the PowerPlant. I would tell any hunting club if they want to attract bucks to their property to get the PowerPlant. I am in the process of preparing my plots for the fall season and I highly recommend the Pure Attraction too. I have attached a photo for your review of two young bucks in my PowerPlant plot.

Dave Mitchell — Pennsylvania/Iowa Here is a photo of the buck I killed last season on Nov. 7 in Iowa. It is my biggest buck to date and gross scored 167-2/8 inches. I was hunting on Tony Knight’s place and Tony has been using Whitetail Institute products for years. I was set up just off the edge of an Imperial Clover field and this buck came along just inside the woods scent checking the trails leading out of the field. He presented me with a 20-yard shot and I was able to make the most of it. Most of the deer activ-

This is one example of how Whitetail Institute’s Imperial Whitetail Clover has dramatically improved our hunting. The product is extremely attractive and provides optimal nutrition to the overall herd. I shot this buck the opening morning of Tennessee’s muzzleloader season last season. He weighed 195 pounds field dressed which is quite heavy for a Middle Tennessee buck. I have not scored him yet. I have heard many educated guesses. Whatever the final number, he is a trophy to me. Thanks again Whitetail Institute for your hard work in research, development, and production of great products.

James McVey — Virginia I have Imperial Clover and Extreme planted. My wife and son planted the plots for me. I told them all I wanted for Christmas last year was to get that buck. A late

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Paul Hausz — Wisconsin We have had an awesome year thanks to DoubleCross and Imperial Whitetail Clover. The deer in the pictures and many more were harvested on properties managed strictly with Whitetail Institute food plot products only and our normal crop lands (corn).We have pictures and video kills of all these deer in the Double-Cross and Imperial Whitetail Clover fields.

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would grow. Deer activity in that food plot went from near zero to heavy. Also, I don’t think that I will ever get tired of seeing so many more deer since planting Double-Cross. The deer seem to love it to the point that they seldom bother with the corn feeder. Enclosed is a photo of an 11-pointer taken last season on my North Florida plots.

Walt Guthrie — Ohio I only have 15 acres but since I planted Imperial Whitetail Clover and Double-Cross I see more deer and they hang around more because of the availability of the good food. The typical 8 point in the photo fed thru a Double-Cross plot past my tree-stand. I took him with my 48-pound recurve and cedar arrow. I’m 82 years young. Keep hunting!

them “Just lucky I guess,” but I firmly believe without these plots and supplemental feeding the deer simply wouldn’t be there. By the way the turkeys love it too. Thanks Whitetail Institute for a great product and my best buck yet.

Dr. Bob Peterson — Wisconsin

Yesterday I pulled one of my trail cameras from a Double-Cross field and there where 872 pictures and the camera was only in the field for eight days. There were nine different bucks, one being a 170-class 10 point buck. Hopefully if the good Lord is willing we can harvest this deer this year. Neither I nor my pro staffers have ever seen so many deer using a food plot as much as they are in the Double-Cross. It totally blows my mind and also ticks off my neighbors because I have all the deer on my property. Plus I have the pictures and video to back up my claims. Thanks again Whitetail Institute for putting so much time and research into the products that allow me and my friends to produce and harvest trophy whitetails.

Ted Nixon — Florida Extreme proved effective in growing desirable plants where previously nothing other than unwanted weeds

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David Brown — Georgia I have enclosed a picture of a buck I killed on one of my properties in middle Georgia this year. He has 14 scorable points with a 26-inch inside spread. He weighed 268 pounds and was aged at 4-1/2 years old. We grossed scored him somewhere around 176 inches green score. The year before I also killed a 147-inch typical on a patch that was planted in Chicory Plus. I see 10 to15 deer per trip. I have been planting Imperial Whitetail Clover for about eight years now and it is one of the best tools I have found for attracting and holding big deer on my property. Some of the tracks of land I hunt are only a couple hundred acres so I have to plant and supplemental feed year around to hold the deer on my property. I have done some testing of my own with rye, oats, wheat and several other plantings and have found that the deer seem to walk through these plots to get to the Imperial Clover and Alfa-Rack plots. They keep it eaten down very low but graze it all year long. Since I started using Whitetail Institute products I see a lot bigger and more mature deer than ever before. People ask me all the time how I kill big deer year after year and I tell

Imperial Whitetail Clover is far superior to any other clover or clover mix that I have tried. Lasts three to four years after planting. I also have one field of Extreme that has lasted more than five years. Keep up the good work Whitetail Institute. 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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A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE to Food Plots (Part 1) By Jon Cooner Photos by Whitetail Institute

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o matter how advanced we get in any endeavor, it’s always a good idea to review the basics once in awhile. When it comes to food plots, you can assure yourself of the best possible results, and even do so in the most cost-effective manner, if you stick to the basics and go step-by-step.

you’ll put them 2. Decide what forage to plant in each site 3. Correctly prepare the sites for planting 4. Plant correctly Regardless of whether your property is large or small, the steps that will take you from no food plots to a high-performance food-plot system are pretty much the same, and you should follow them in the same specific order. One reason is that some steps depend on others having already been done. Another is that you can sometimes save money and time by performing more than one step each time you’re at the property. Finally, as we go through the steps, keep in mind that what you’ll be creating is a starting point; most plans need a little adjustment based on how deer actually react after the plan is put in place.

As we begin our journey from raw land to incorporating a high-performance food plot system, you should keep our ultimate destination, or goal, in mind: We want to end up with a food plot system (which can even be just one or two plots) that will make the property we hunt as attractive to deer, nutritious for deer and huntable as possible. (More on each of these as we go along). If you want to achieve that goal, the following four steps will get you there with Mother Nature’s cooperation: 1. Decide how many food plots you’ll plant and where

STEP 1: DECIDING HOW MANY FOOD PLOTS TO PLANT AND WHERE TO PUT THEM

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Whether your property is large or small, your bestcase scenario is to have enough acreage in plots to maximize attraction and nutrition, but without planting so much of the property that deer have no reason to move. With that in mind, here’s a formula that seems to be a good general rule of thumb. First Formula: Most managers put about two to five percent of the total property into food plots if only

“hunting plots” are being used. Managers who use both hunting plots and feeding plots may plant as much as 10 percent or more. Most folks who plant food plots for deer, plant hunting plots. These can be anywhere from 1/10th of an acre up to two to three acres. Their main functions are to draw deer for harvest and provide nutrition. Feeding plots, when used, are usually larger than hunting plots, and their main function is to serve as places where deer feel safe. When feeding plots are used, they should be hunted sparingly, maybe just during the rut, so that deer have a feeling of safety using them. Again, this is a general rule of thumb, and it won’t be exact for all situations. Lots of factors will determine how much of your property you’ll ultimately decide to plant, such as landowner permission, equipment accessibility, time, money and lots of other factors. And if your property is small, don’t forget to consider what’s beyond your property line, because that may be a major source from which you’ll draw deer to your land. For example, say you own or lease a long, narrow tract that borders with a vast wildlife area that’s not hunted much. In such a situation, you might not want to stick with the formula. Instead, you might want to plant as much of your property as possible to maximize its attraction and available nutrition because you will be feeding so many deer. Where to put your food plots? It always pays to put some thought into where you put your plots. Before we get into that, though, consider that it can be equally critical to think about where not to put them. One place you don’t want to put them if at all possible, whether your property is large or small, is where they’ll be visible from a public road. When making that determination, be sure to consider that screening vegetation, which may be there when you check in the spring and summer, may be gone in the fall and winter. Also consider planting evergreens or other natural screening plants to help shield the plot from public view. For advice on trees and other screening plants, check with your County Agent, or call the Whitetail Institute’s consultants at (800) 688-3030. Generally speaking, feeding plots (when used) should be centrally located on the property. You want your deer to consider your feeding plots as safe zones so that they’ll purposefully head for them when they leave their bedding areas in the afternoon. That means that you shouldn’t hunt directly on feeding plots at all, or at least do so very rarely, for instance during the rut. This can help establish a more predictable travel pattern for your deer that you can use to your advantage as you hunt between the feeding plots and bedding areas. When feeding plots are used, hunting plots should be located between feeding plots and bedding areas. Structured this way, the plot system can help you use the natural tendency of deer to feed as they travel and utilize undercover corridors around plot edges to your advantage during hunting season. How you design your hunting plots can also be very important. When designing your hunting plots, keep one critical thing in mind: the safer deer feel using it, the better chance they’ll do so during legal hunting hours. To help deer feel safe, a long, narrow plot is usually better than one that is wide and square. Also, try to place your plots where their edges border cover such as a thicket, standing rows of corn, or anything else deer interpret as something they could quickly jump into if threatened. A corner of an overgrown field that meets thick woods on two www.whitetailinstitute.com


sides is an excellent example. Also, take wind into account. No matter where you hunt, chances are that the wind comes from one direction more than any other during hunting season in your area. Try to structure your plots so your main stand sites can be placed downwind from the most common wind direction. If possible, structure each plot so that it can also be fully covered by a secondary stand when the wind is coming from a different direction. Try to structure things so that deer feel that they’re only a few hops away from cover while they feed. Proven design shapes are the “V” or “L” and the “hourglass.” These designs are often useful in deep cover and with the stand site located at the junction of the “V” or “L”, or at the neck between the two lobes of the hourglass. Again, these are just ideas that work in many cases. In the end, each situation is different, so when you’re deciding how many plots to plant and where to put them, be sure to take into account any factors that will make your property as attractive to deer, nutritious for deer and as huntable as possible. STEP 2: DECIDING WHAT FORAGE TO PLANT IN EACH SITE Once you decide where your plots will be, it will be time to decide what forage you’re going to plant in each one. We’ll cover more about forage selection in Part 2 of these articles which will appear in the next issue of Whitetail News. Until then, keep a few things in mind. First, the fact that selecting a forage is your next step is an example of why it’s important to do things in a specific order. In the next part of this article, we’ll discuss one of the most important steps in ensuring a successful planting: performing a soil test. As we’ll discuss, when you prepare your soil sample to send to the lab, if at all possible, you should make sure you let the lab know what you’ll be planting in the site. That’s because different forages have different fertilizer requirements. If you don’t let the lab know what you’ll be planting in the site, most soil-testing labs will give you general recommendations for grains. If you forget to let the lab know what you’ll be planting, the Whitetail Institute’s consultants can quickly help you adjust the lab’s findings for the forage you’ll be planting, but it will save you time if you let the lab know up front. Also remember this: You should choose a forage product that is specifically designed for that specific plot. To make sure you choose the correct forage for each site, you have to take into account physical characteristics of the site such as soil type, slope and equipment accessibility. You’ll also need to take into account whether you want the forage in that site to be a year-round forage, or something that will provide maximum production for only part of the year, such as spring and summer for antler growth, or fall and winter for attraction and energy. In preparation for Part 2 of this article, you might want to review “How to Select a Forage,” an article which ran in Whitetail News last year. If you no longer have that issue or if you’re new to Whitetail News, don’t worry — the article is also available online: www.whitetailinstitute.com/HowtoSelecttheRightForage.pdf. W

Maximum performance from your food plot is a result of not cutting corners.

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Hunting the Edge Creating food plot strips adjacent to row-crop fields might just be the hottest new management technique for harvesting big whitetails. By Joe Blake

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Joe Blake

ith temperaside-stepped toward the tures in the 20s decoy but was still facing and nearly me head on. I tracked the eight inches of snow on brute’s advance with my the ground, it felt more stickbow, assuming he like December in my would circle between the home state of Minnesota imitation and my stand than October in Nebrasand then stop for a ka. As I slogged through broadside shot. Unfortunthe heavy, wet, white ately, the deer had other stuff en route to my plans. Directly between morning tree stand, I had my heavy arrow and the no doubt that the weathdecoy, he spun 180 er would get the local degrees and charged full whitetails moving. tilt, and hit the poor interClimbing aloft and beltloper with such force that ing into my tree stand in it took me more than 10 the pre-dawn darkness, I minutes to find all the shivered, tried to retreat pieces in the aftermath of deeper into the warmth of the encounter. my wool parka and waitThe upshot of the ed impatiently for the sun sequence is that I never to brighten my surroundeven had time to raise ings. Everything in sight the bent stick cradled in was covered with snow: my left hand, and the ground, trees and bushes. 140-class buck escaped The standing cornfield unscathed. However, the and alfalfa strip directly in edge-hunting technique I Ambushing bucks between standing corn and food front of my ambush all was using had worked to plots is a great way to hunt the edge. bore the look of a winter perfection, and it will do postcard. In fact, the the same for you this decoy 20 yards in front of season. my stand was the only thing in this winter wonderland Whitetail deer are crop-oriented throughout most of devoid of snow, and I wondered what type of reaction their range, and smart hunters learned long ago to look it would bring from a cruising buck. I wouldn’t have to for deer and set up ambushes near fields of corn, sunwait long to find out. flowers, beans and other row crops. Hunting the edge Looking north along the heavy timber, I saw a big created where the crops meet the timber has put a lot deer step from cover and make its way purposely along of deer in the freezer and a lot of trophies on the wall, the opening created by the strip of alfalfa planted but I’ll wager the twist I’m suggesting will improve your between the woods and the standing cornfield. No deer sightings and success rate significantly. Plant a feeding for this brute. Instead, he walked in the steady, strip food plot between the row crop field and the stiff-legged gait of a buck looking for love, and I eased woods, effectively creating a second edge — and that my longbow from its resting place and got into posiedge will increase your success in several ways. tion to take the shot. Without question the big 8-pointer was going to see my decoy in just a few more minVISIBILITY utes. I had placed my facsimile just inside the strip of alfalfa with its back end tight to the standing corn so One significant problem with setting up tight to a any buck stepping out of the corn or trees would spot standing cornfield or other taller row crop is that it’s the intruder and investigate, which is what happened easy for your quarry to step from woods to crop or vice that snowy morning. versa without presenting a shot. Heck, without even Looking west, the approaching trophy locked onto being seen in a lot of cases. Enter the use of a strip the decoy, and immediately, his ears laid flat and every plot. By using a lower-growing food source such as hair from neck to rump stood at full attention. The deer Imperial Clover, Chicory Plus or Imperial Winter54

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Greens, the deer will immediately be visible and in position for you to shoot after they step into the strip you planted. The opening story shows this perfectly: Had the cornfield in front of me ran all the way to my stand, I would never have been able to use the decoy, I would not have seen the buck step out more than 100 yards away, and I would not have had one of the most exciting encounters I’ve ever experienced in more than 30 years of bow-hunting for whitetails. This visibility is a boon not only during hunting season but also during your late summer and early fall scouting trips. Glassing for deer numbers and trophy quality around a standing corn or sunflower field is a lesson in futility, but if you have a 20- to 30-foot strip plot surrounding the taller food source, it is easy to see when the deer step out, and you will have plenty of time to get some glass on them for evaluation. Plus, by using a top attracting food strip like Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus or any one of the many other fine Whitetail Institute offerings, the deer will be in no great rush to reach their main food source, allowing you ample time to size up antlers, assess herd numbers or line up that important shot. SLOWING DOWN THE PARADE That brings us to a second major attribute of planting a strip plot adjacent to row crop fields. With the proper planting the strip plot will become a destination itself, with the deer spending considerable time feeding after leaving the woods and before entering the corn. The same is true in reverse. As deer leave the corn en route to the timber, they will linger for long periods of time in your strip plot, again allowing glassing or shooting opportunities. I used this technique in Minnesota a few years ago without actually even trying. I had a small hunting plot on a hilltop cul de sac between my oak woods and the neighboring farmer’s cornfield, and the results were amazing. Not only did almost every deer heading to or from the corn come through my Imperial Clover patch, but they generally spent considerable time feeding there before continuing their trek to the destination. I arrowed two fat does from a ladder stand in a small oak in the green field as they fed slowly toward the corn, and nearly anchored a trophy 8-pointer from the same stand — a Pope & Young buck that only escaped the freezer and wall because he fed so slowly across the small Imperial Clover field that I ran out of shooting light before he reached longbow range. FOCUS YOUR EFFORTS If you live in the Midwest like I do, you know that rowcrop fields can be vast, and planting a strip plot and hunting the edge around a cornfield that is several hundred acres in size can be a losing proposition. Instead, plant your edge only where you have the best setup for hunting. Maybe you have a heavy stand of timber that offers preferred bedding cover and is adjacent to tillable land, or a wooded drainage that deer naturally use to access the local farm fields. These are perfect areas for hunting the edge and planting your strip plots. Since I bow-hunt exclusively, I always consider prevailing wind directions for any potential setup, and these food plot edges are no different. Try and set up so that the wind is blowing parallel to the woods and row crops. That way, you can plan an ambush site up or down wind of the most heavily used trail or trails passing the location. www.whitetailinstitute.com


Another good bet to sweeten the pot, if it’s legal in the state you hunt, is to establish a mineral pit with 30-06 Plus Protein or Cutting Edge close to your ambush site and adjacent to your strip plot. Even if your strips are small — and they should be generally no more than 20 or 30 feet wide and less than 100 yards long — the deer can pretty much filter out of cover all along the strips. Establish a well-maintained mineral pit, which will focus the whitetails on an exact spot where they will enter and exit your Hunting Edge and offer excellent shot opportunities. I have always used Whitetail Institute’s 30-06 Plus Protein. Deer pound this product to the point of excavating deep holes in the ground where I place my pits, and the size of local bucks’ antlers and the overall health of the deer herd in the area have seen obvious improvements. THE CROP-SAVING ADVANTAGE One big plus to this strip food plot technique really has nothing to do with hunting these edges. It can save crop damage for the farmer. As every hunter that has ever spent time chasing whitetails adjacent to crop fields knows, these fields take a beating wherever they meet cover. Generally, the first 10 to 30 rows will be virtually devoid of corn, beans, or whatever crop was planted there by the time harvest rolls around, which is not only a source of frustration for farmers but a serious loss of income. By replacing those crop rows with a hunting strip plot, you are giving the deer something they crave even before they reach their intended feeding destination. And if the herd’s bellies are already at least partially full, they are less apt to wipe out the farmer’s crop, making this management strategy a win-win situation for everyone. PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

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Now that you’ve decided to give hunting the edge a try, how do you get started? If you farm yourself this technique is a simple matter. Till and prepare your seedbed as usual, but don’t plant the areas you have chosen for your strip plots with your usual row crops. Instead, take your soil samples, do the required testing to decide which Whitetail Institute products will work best in your area, and then plant accordingly. These narrow hunting plots can be planted with whatever type of seeds you like, so long as the soil supports your attempts, and annuals or perennials are good bets. I think annuals are the best option because the adjacent ground is going to get worked up every year anyway, so redoing your strip plots annually is not a problem. But what about most of us that don’t actually farm? Can we still benefit from this hunting plot strategy? You bet. In fact, talking the farmer who actually owns and works the land you hunt into helping you with this technique is usually not a problem. Explain the benefits you will experience to help you harvest more deer, and he's likely to be on-board immediately. If he needs a little more convincing, explain that this technique can actually help alleviate crop damage and if it’s appropriate, point out that he seldom has any crop left to harvest in these areas anyway. Finally, offer to provide compensation for time, effort and fuel to plant these hunting edges and for potential lost income, from losing 20 or 30 feet of crop field, and your landowners should be all for your strip-plot strategy. Whitetails have always been described as edge animals, and looking for and hunting these beautiful and challenging critters where crop land meets wood land has always been productive. Creating a second edge will only make the situation better, so look over your hunting property or properties to see if you can’t figure out a way to start hunting the edge next season. W

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Rethinking Doe Harvest— Is the pendulum swinging?

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might as well confess this up front: I like shooting does. For starters, my family eats venison. Lots of it. Second, I believe shooting antlerless deer — especially with my bow — keeps me sharp for those too-rare opportunities when a mature buck wanders into my wheelhouse. Perhaps most importantly, I respect does. Some of the sharpest survivalists I’ve hunted weren’t toting antlers. I count every one as a trophy and cherish the harvest.

Finally, there’s this: I take my job as a deer manager seriously. Hunters sell this idea to the non-hunting public all the time. Not everyone believes us, especially when we pass multiple opportunities to shoot does in our quest for a nice buck. And I know there have been seasons when I’ve put off shooting does until my buck tag was punched, and then failed miserably when I finally got serious. I try not to fall into that trap anymore. Given that background, I went into last fall’s hunt with an odd attitude. I was not going to kill a doe on any farm in my immediate area. No matter how empty my freezer. Regardless of the size of the doe or the proximity of the shot. And my reason was as simple as it was difficult to accept; deer numbers were down in my neighborhood, and they’d been that way for several years. I’m no biologist, but I live where I hunt. I can — and do — keep an eye out for deer on a near-constant basis year-round. I run trail cameras, I plant and maintain food plots, and I scout and observe deer constant-

By Scott Bestul Photos by Brad Herndon

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ly. All that woods-time had convinced me that we just didn’t have the whitetails that we had in the past. So I focused my antlerless hunting on other areas, and let me tell you, it sure felt odd to have to travel to shoot a doe. But the extra effort and road time gave me time to wrap my mind around a relatively novel concept: Is it possible to overharvest does? Where I live is some primo Midwestern deer ground. Abundant oak forests push up against corn and soybean fields that are some of the most productive in the nation. The soil is rich, our winters hard but relatively short. So the only explanation I could reach was that hunters — me included — had simply done our jobs too well. Our state agency had asked us to knock the deer herd back, and we’d responded. Not just for a season or two, but for several. And the result was something I once didn’t think possible; a deer herd that was below the habitat’s capacity. A RICH IRONY But the more I thought things through, my surprise weakened. Modern deer management is not a very old science, and for its first couple of decades, it largely had a simple goal: grow the herd. When I started hunting in the 1970s, drawings were held for antlerless tags. Hunting regulations often focused pressure on bucks because they were, like rooster pheasants or tom turkeys, largely expendable. The population could grow with very few males present. Then a strange and wonderful thing happened. Deer herds not only grew but boomed. The expansion was a good news/bad news affair. Hunters enjoyed fantastic hunting, and deer sightings were commonplace. But

the downside was there, too. Whitetails started eating crops, running into cars and, in some cases, destroyed the habitat that made them so abundant. Suddenly, managers did an about-face and told us does were what we needed to kill. Bunches of them. As many as we could. “If you think you can kill too many, relax,” biologists chanted in unison. “Deer have incredible productivity. They will bounce back.” And of course this advice was largely correct, especially since it took awhile to change the buck-only mentality many hunters had adopted. An attitude, I might add, that was instilled by the deer managers — or their predecessors — themselves. But hunters did change. As we’ve always done, sportsmen took up the challenge and did the right thing. We took advantage of liberal antlerless tags and participated in special doe seasons and shot antlerless deer we wouldn’t normally shoot and donated the meat to food shelves. And of course, outdoor writers like me spread the message and convinced others that shooting does was akin to public service. We have listened to little else than this advice for at least the past 15 years. In many areas, it still holds true. Some hunters simply won’t shoot does, even if it is cheap and easy. In other spots and situations, there simply aren’t enough hunters to keep deer numbers down. Whenever those factors are present, the “shootall-you-can” mantra needs to be repeated again and again. But in more locales, the paradigm needs to be reconsidered. The deer management pendulum — which started on an extreme that protected bucks, and then swung quickly to the other side of the curve — needs to be corrected. And it’s just not in my neighborhood.

After a disappointing season in which many hunters complained about low deer numbers, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is re-evaluating its population goals in many management units. At this writing, Montana is considering a no-doe season for next fall. So the answer to the, “Can we shoot too many does” question is, in my mind, a resounding “yes.” But this answer spawns even more questions, and for help on those I turned to a hunter and friend I trust. Matt Harper is a southern Iowa native with vast experience managing deer across the country. He’s also a frequent contributor to this and other magazines centered on whitetail hunting and management. DRAMATIC IMPACTS Matt and I agreed that regulations designed to focus hunting pressure on does can often have a dramatic impact. “We’ve had an antlerless-only rifle hunt in Iowa for the last several seasons,” he said. “At first, not a lot of hunters participated, but in the last couple of years, it’s been a very popular hunt. It comes at a time of year (mid-January) when most deer hunting is over, and it’s popular for that reason. Also, rifles are not allowed for other deer hunts (Iowa is a shotgun-only state) and guys enjoy using them for that hunt. Also, tags are relatively cheap. Finally, I’m convinced the economy has put more guys into the field then. More people are laid off and have extra time. Plus they need the meat. I know of one group of 20 guys in my area that killed 120 deer during the last antlerless hunt.” Harper stressed that hunters aren’t the only factor

SECRET SPOT is the only “personal” food plot planting. It’s designed to be planted in that small clearing in the middle of the woods where deer like to hang out. SECRET SPOT will attract and stop deer close to your stand. It’s so easy to plant, and so effective, you’ll buy a bag for every stand! Each bag of SECRET SPOT contains all the seed you need to plant a 3,000 sq. ft. food plot around your stand. It’s easy to plant and it grows quickly. • Requires minimal effort; no tillage necessary (simply remove grass or debris to expose soil, rake, broadcast seed and re-rake) • Loaded with a pH booster for maximum growth • Plant late summer/early fall for a hunting season’s worth of attracting and stopping deer close to your stand

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affecting deer populations in some areas. There have been severe outbreaks of EHD in many states in recent years, and these disease outbreaks not only have the potential to take out a lot of deer, they do so at a time of year (summer) when many state game agencies have determined harvest goals for the upcoming hunt. “In some areas, an EHD outbreak could thin a herd that’s too dense to begin with,” Harper said. “But the disease isn’t selective and can hit a population that’s already low. If you follow up an EHD episode with a heavy doe harvest, you’re only making the problem worse.” Predators are another factor that, in my opinion, many state agencies discount as a factor. When modern deer management began, the whitetail’s major predators were largely a non-issue. Bounties, trapping, poisoning and other unregulated harvest had virtually eliminated the wolves, coyotes and black bears that historically had preyed on whitetails. Many of these predators have made comebacks bordering on the dramatic. I deer hunt frequently in northern Wisconsin. On a recent May turkey hunt with a friend who’s a full-time logger, Tom and I began inspecting bear scat whenever we encountered it — which was frequently. We were hard-pressed to find a pile of dung that didn’t have deer hair in it. Research has proven that black bears are a major predator of fawns, and that hunt sure proved it to me. Now before you mistake me as someone who detests predators and wishes them eliminated, nothing could be further from the truth. I think they provide an important role in nature, and respect them for their hunting ability and desire to eat the same creatures

that I pursue. But I also believe this: 1) It's critical that game agencies acknowledge predator impact on deer populations, 2) hunters should be allowed to manage predator populations adequately and 3) hunter quotas — especially of does — be adjusted in areas where predators have a significant impact on deer. ASSESSING THE SITUATION So how do you know if the deer population is down in your area? That’s the tricky part, according to Harper. “Perception and perspective is everything,” he said. “Some hunters get worried if they’re seeing less than a dozen deer on the average afternoon sit. Another guy is perfectly content if he spots three or four. And the same holds true with farmers. One wants to see every deer shot off his farm. Another might be a deer hunter who appreciates seeing some animals and can handle losing some corn or soybeans.” Harper stresses the need to spend time observing deer, noting general population trends, as well as how and when deer use a particular property. “Casual hunters have a hard time making accurate judgments about deer numbers, mainly because they don’t spend enough time on the land,” he said. “Nothing beats being able to observe deer on a regular basis. Trail cameras are another good way to get a sense of how many deer use a property and the basic sex ratio. And it’s important to note that deer may use a property in response to available food sources. An oak-heavy farm will be loaded with deer in a good acorn year, yet have a fraction of that during a poor crop.”

SEASONAL CHANGES ARE ALSO IMPORTANT TO TRACK. “One of the classic mistakes is to judge a deer herd focused on a winter food source,” Harper said. “You may see 40 deer packed into a stubble bean field or food plot and think, ‘Man, there are a ton of deer here.’ But drive around the neighborhood, and you may not see an animal for miles. Once winter breaks, those 40 deer are going to leave that food source and disperse across a broad area. Suddenly that one farm with tons of deer only has a handful.” FACTORING A HARVEST So what is an appropriate antlerless harvest for a given property? As you might suspect, there are no easy answers, especially with the many variables that we’ve already discussed. But to get me thinking, Harper offered a glimpse at two properties he hunts. Each is unique in terms of habitat, deer numbers/use and hunting pressure, a situation that forces Matt to approach doe harvest very differently on each property. “I hunt a place owned by my grandparents,” he said. “It’s a 240-acre farm that’s a mix of woods and crop fields. In a normal year there’ll be 20 to 25 deer that use that property on a fairly consistent basis. About half of these will be antlerless deer; the majority are does that are 1-1/2-years old, a few older does, and the rest this year’s fawns. The hunting pressure in the area has changed dramatically in recent years; there are now very few drives; most people stand hunt and are fairly

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

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are plentiful. And then there are those stupid little accidents that can kill a deer. You add a deer or two in for each of those categories, and suddenly you’ve knocked a population of 20 does back pretty hard.� “The second farm is one that I own. It’s only 80 acres, but the habitat is good. In the winter, I can watch my food plots there and it’s common to see dozens of deer piled in and eating heavily. So with that kind of population, it would be tempting to think I could really lay into them. But there are other factors to consider. The hunting pressure in that immediate area is intense; many deer are killed during the shotgun and late antlerless rifle season. Knowing the population is already going to get pared down dramatically, and realizing that, come spring, the deer I see will disperse across a broad area, I’d never shoot more than two does on that place. And some seasons, I may not even shoot one.�

Shooting does is a great way for the youth to get valuable hunting experience.

CONCLUSION

selective on what they shoot. “On that place I’d be hesitant to kill more than four does in a fall. Some guys would think, ‘Well, that’s bare-

ly keeping up with reproduction.’ But it’s important to realize that I’m not the only thing that kills deer. Other hunters will tag a few. Cars will get a couple. Coyotes

Becoming a good deer manager is an inexact science. Perhaps more important, being a good deer manager can never be defined too broadly. For many years, we’ve been told — generically or specifically — that killing too many does was nearly impossible. But in some situations that’s simply not true. Even in areas where whitetails are abundant, they still must be managed with intelligence and care. Hunters are responsible for keeping deer numbers at a level that’s in tune with the habitat and socially acceptable to our neighbors. But we should never forget that, in some cases “in tune� might mean more deer — and socially acceptable can also mean “acceptable to hunters.� W

FA LL P L A NT I N G DAT E S

for Imperial WhitetailÂŽ Winter-Greens™ and Tall Tine Tubers™ í˘ą Call for planting dates ě?ˆ Sept 15 - Nov 15 í˘˛ Call for planting dates ě?‰ North: Sept 5 - Nov 1 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 í˘ł July1 - August 1* South: Sept 25 - Nov 15 í˘´ Coastal: Aug 15 - Sept 30 ě”ˆ North: Aug 15 - Oct 1 Southern Piedmont: Aug 1 - Sept 15 Mountain Valleys: July 15 - Sept 15

í˘ľ July 15 - Sept 15 í˘ś Aug 1 - Oct 1 í˘ˇ North: July 15 - Sept 15

South: Sept 5 - Oct 20

씉 North: Sept 5 - Oct 30

Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

씊 Coastal: Sept 1 - Oct 1 Piedmont: Aug 15 - Sept 20 Mountain Valleys: Aug 5 - Sept 15

South: Aug1 - Oct 1

í˘¸ North: June 20 - Aug 1 South: July 5 - Aug 15

í˘š July 1 - Aug 15 ě?… July 15 - Sept 15* www.whitetailinstitute.com

씋 North: Sept 15 - Nov 15

Central: Sept 25 - Nov 15 South: Oct 5 - Nov 30

ě”Œ July 15 - Sept 1 ě”? Aug1 - Sept 30

Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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Why I Hunt By Art Smith Photo by Tes Randle Jolly

W

hen asked why I hunt, many thoughts come to

mind. The question, which I ask myself many

times while in the solitude of the woods, is

easy for me to answer. Yet, to put the words down on paper that will convey the deep feelings I have about hunting will not be easy.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

When I think of hunting, a feeling washes over me that is hard to describe. I think it might be the memory of past generations of hunters welling up in my soul and the knowledge that it is only right that we pursue game for the table to feed our families and to store up food for the long cold winter months. Even though today there is no absolute need to harvest meat for the table, we as human beings — and hunters — still have the drive to pit our ability as hunters against those of our prey. As in times past when the need to put food on the table to survive was the norm, there were those that

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excelled in the pursuit of game and those that were better suited to gather crops or build shelter. I find myself in the company of the former and am proud to say so. For more than 40 years, I have looked forward to the hunt with such chest-tightening anticipation that at times I thought I was going to bust. The sleepless nights before the opener are delicious times to remember and look forward to. The gathering of the hunters in camp early in the morning before the hunt are some of the fondest memories of my outdoor experience. The solitude of the wilderness with all of its glory is one of the things that no regular job or vacation can even come close to duplicating. Pitting my skills as a hunter against that of the animal I am hunting and succeeding in taking him with a clean, well-placed shot fulfills the desire of the hunter that lies just below the surface of my daily life. The company of like-minded people in camp in the mornings and evening after the hunt is another thing that puts such a desire in my heart for hunting. Nowhere else can people connect on a level that is the norm in hunting camp. The help one receives from other hunters about how to hunt and the knowledge that is passed on in hunting camps across the world are amazing. Hunters are eager to share what they have learned and have a need to share this knowledge with others, especially the younger generations. Nonetheless, the reasons why I hunt have changed much over the past 40 years. I remember the early days of my hunting when the killing of game for bragging rights was high on the list of priorities. When we were children, just getting a look at a whitetail during deer season was something that we talked about in

Exclusive from the

school for weeks, and the few boys that actually got a shot at a deer really made a buzz in the locker and lunch room. Then one year, an acquaintance actually killed a legal buck, and when we gathered in his garage to admire his hanging trophy, all I could think of was that it really was possible to shoot a buck in the farm lands of my boyhood. I hunted all through my teen years without a shot at a buck. In fact, I did not shoot a buck until I was in my late 20s. But every year I was out there in pursuit of the whitetail. After the first buck was taken, it seems that the next 25 or so were much easier. The fact is that nowadays I’m not into the killing of game as much as the pursuit of it. These days I look forward to passing on the heritage of hunting to the next generation. When we gather for breakfast on opening morning and I see the look of excitement in the eyes of the young hunters at the table, memories of my own younger days flood over me to the point that I want to freeze the moment and live it forever. But of course that is not possible. I fill the boys up with a good breakfast and send them on their way into the woods and cornfields nearby. Then I make the long hike back to my blind to wait for the sun to come up over the familiar horizon and hope I hear the sound of one of the boy’s guns. Sometimes that’s what I hear, and when I do, I think that my heart will beat right out of my chest knowing what they are feeling. Yes, I know what they are feeling in that space and time, for they have the heart of a hunter beating in their chest like I do. Lately I have had the opportunity to go on several out-of-state big-game hunts with outfitters. What a joy to look forward to a trip with family and friends to some unknown area and hunt big game that I have

Whitetail Institute

read about all my life. The wilderness camps and horseback pack trains are the stuff of memories, and the taking of a large moose, caribou, elk, bear or antelope is something you don’t soon forget. Yes, the hunts have sure changed the past 40 years, but in many ways they haven’t changed at all. In this life we are given, we must change with its ebb and flow. Forty years ago as a boy on the farm in Michigan, if you had told me I was going to hunt moose in Alberta or elk in Idaho, I would have said you were crazy; but that is what I have had the good fortune to do. Why I hunt. What a question to ask a hunter! Even now I feel the tightness in my chest just thinking of how fortunate we are as hunters to be able to go afield and pursue game in the most free and greatest nation in the world. How fortunate we are that others thought of us 100 years ago and passed laws that made hunting available to us today. I think of Teddy Roosevelt as one who saw the future and had the courage to stand up and do what was right on behalf of future generations of hunters. We owe him and others like him a huge amount of gratitude for what they have done. Now we must step up to the plate and make sure that we protect and manage our hunting heritage to pass on to the next generation of hunters and even the generations not born yet. Then they too can experience the sleepless night before the opener and the camaraderie of hunting camp. We must be on guard against those that would take that experience away from the following generations. We need to be able to ask our grandchildren and their grandchildren the same question you have asked us and have them answer that question in their own words: Why do you hunt? 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.

Now you can try all our supplement products for one low price and get a FREE video

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Please send ______ soil test kits at $9.95 each. Add $2.50 shipping and handling for each order regardless of number of kits desired. (There is NO shipping charge if kit is ordered with other Imperial products.) Cost of kit includes test results.

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Mail to: Whitetail Institute • 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 or CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-688-3030 Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

61


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

Common Questions — Straightforward Answers My hunting property in Pennsylvania is very Q: thick. We lease, so we can’t clear timber. The good thing is that since we control our activity, most of the land is sanctuary, so we keep mature bucks on the property. The bad thing, though, is that we only have room for two small plots, which we plant in Imperial No-Plow and Secret Spot. We have 30-06 out in 2-3 spots as well and we’re thinking perhaps we need to increase our availability of protein to supplement the diets of the 8-10 deer we see on our property regularly (three trail cameras). We need to find a way to deliver more supplemental nutrition. How do you suggest we do that, given our very small areas for planting plots? It looks like you’re already doing a great job in supA: plementing both forages and minerals, especially given the restrictions on available land to plant. To go even farther, I’d suggest that you consider our Cutting Edge line of nutritional supplements. Cutting Edge is a three-part series of nutritional supplements that goes beyond traditional mineral/vitamin

supplements and is a wholly new concept as far as nutritional supplements go. Cutting Edge has been on the market for several years now, and it is doing extremely well. In developing Cutting Edge, we broke down a deer’s annual nutritional-needs cycle into three sections, and we developed a stage of Cutting Edge for each part. Cutting Edge Optimize covers the 200-day antlergrowing period of spring and summer. Most parts of North America lack essential nutrients required for optimal antler development. Optimize supplements the deer’s natural diet with minerals, vitamins and 16% percent protein — all nutrients that contribute to antler growth. Remember that it is also during the same 200day antler growth period that does are in their third trimester of pregnancy and, later, are producing milk for their fawns. Optimize is formulated with these in mind too. Continue providing Optimize throughout the summer months. Once fall arrives, switch to Cutting Edge Sustain, which is formulated to help bucks get through the rigors of the rut. Like the other stages of Cutting Edge, Sustain also benefits the whole herd during the coldest months

of winter. Sustain is formulated not only to include high levels of protein, but also generous amounts of carbohydrates, which are critical if deer are to maintain body weight and health during the cold months of the year. Maintaining body weight can reduce the time it takes for deer to recover from the stresses of winter and the rut and help them get to the business of devoting more nutrients to antler growth earlier the following spring. Cutting Edge Initiate covers the comparatively brief period between late winter and early spring (from around the first of February until green-up starts). This covers them until the emergence of new, green vegetation when you’ll switch back again to Optimize. Cutting Edge can be used straight on the ground or in covered trough feeders. You also stretch Cutting Edge by mixing 17 pounds of Cutting Edge Sustain or Initiate with up to 100 pounds of corn, and 17 pounds of Cutting Edge Optimize with up to 100 pounds of corn or soybeans. That will stretch your Cutting Edge and make it even more cost effective for you to provide your deer with the best in nutritional supplementation. W

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.

Cutting Edge products are great deer attractants and some states don’t allow their use. Check your local game laws before using Cutting Edge products.

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

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239 Whitetail Trail | Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results™

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

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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Wisconsin Hunting ‘Geek’ Shoots Monster Buck

Dustin McAloon, seen here with his father, Hugh, shot this 140-inch monster on opening day of last year’s Wisconsin archery season.

By Dustin McAloon Photo by the Author

M

y name is Dustin McAloon, and I am a deer geek. It started innocently but turned into a daily obsession. Of course, I am not to blame. It’s always someone else’s fault, and in this case, I blame my dad. My dad blamed his job, during which he oversaw Deer & Deer Hunting magazine and launched Deer & Deer Hunting TV. We had to live and breathe deer and deer hunting. But forget the blame. We are deer geeks, and we're OK with that. Deer hunting is a year-round event for me. Honestly, not a day passes without hunting, scouting, planting, planning or researching deer-related information, and I looked forward to the most recent archery season with more anticipation than any previous year. Why so much anticipation? I hadn't been able to hunt the previous year; we had more food plots on our land then ever before; and our trail camera photos were amazing. THE PREVIOUS YEAR My hunting wasn't curtailed because of an injury, family tragedy or anything serious. I had accepted a scholarship to play football in Missouri. I knew being seven hours from home would prevent me from hunting my home state, but I didn’t realize the time commitment college football and studies would require. My roommate had land in Pike County, Ill., and I wasn’t even able to sneak away and hunt there. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything but a 200-inch whitetail at 20 yards, but I'm sure glad to be back in Wisconsin playing football within an hour’s drive of my home. FOOD PLOTS I was home for the entire summer, and we had a new diesel tractor. We created a real smorgasbord—the ultimate all-you-can-eat deer buffet. We live on a unique 40-acre property. It's actually back-to-back 20-acre parcels that translate into a piece that's 220 yards wide and 880 yards (a half-mile) long. The entire northern line is a beautiful oak ridge bordered by a five-year-old clear-cut. It slopes down to a valley, allowing for about 17 acres of food plots. In previous years, we planted about five acres of food plots. We always had our staple plots of Imperial Whitetail Clover and experimented with numerous other products. How does this sound for a deer buffet? We had three Imperial Whitetail Clover plots, two Whitetail Institute Pure Attraction plots, two Whitetail Institute Winter-Greens plots, two plots with cereal www.whitetailinstitute.com

grains and eight acres of corn and soybeans. This year we had 17 acres of food planted for deer, and don’t forget that the remaining 23 acres are littered with white oaks, which had lots of acorns last year. TRAIL CAMERA PHOTOS A picture is worth a thousand words. Despite an extremely dry summer in Wisconsin, all our plots did well. With so much food, where do you decide to hunt opening night? Because of the layout of our property, we don't hunt mornings until the rut. We examined our trail camera pictures to see what bucks were eating, Imperial Whitetail Clover was the answer. As mentioned, we've had Imperial Whitetail Clover planted for the past 10 years. We have also experimented with everything imaginable for deer forage, and before the hard freeze, deer prefer Imperial Clover above anything else — BAR NONE! The choice of what forage to hunt was a no-brainer, but we had to decide which Imperial Plot and which stand to use. We have three Imperial plots, and there are seven stands on those plots, most of which are positioned for the north to northwest winds that are prevalent in our area. We can’t hunt south winds, and I would have died if there had been a south wind opening afternoon. That's where the trail cameras have become such a benefit to bow-hunters. We have seven trail cameras on our plots. Early in the year, they are positioned on the

edges of food plots for two reasons. We see what plots are being used and where deer are entering them. Also, we can easily check them during midday without disturbing deer travel routes or bedding areas. My dad and I debated the correct stand. I wanted to hunt a stand where the deer enter the plot; he suggested a stand on the back side of the plot where deer would have to feed toward us. Because it was my hunt and he was filming for DDH TV, he let me choose. I picked a stand where the deer come off our ridge to enter the Imperial plot. This stand can be tricky early in the season because of heavy foliage. The deer will be eye-to-eye with you as they head down the steep ridge. Being still and scent-free are essential yet complicated with two people in the tree. I was lucky that we had a bye week for football, which let me hunt opening afternoon. However, it was the only night I could hunt, as we had to be back for meetings Sunday afternoon. It was unseasonably warm for mid-September — in the 80s — and I feared the deer would not move. We had trail camera pictures of deer in the food plots as early as 5 p.m., so we were on stand by 4 p.m. and settled in for a four-hour sit. Nothing. It looked like the warm temperatures would win. My stand was positioned to face the food plot, and the camera was set to face up the ridge, so my dad served as my eyes. Finally, I heard him say a deer was coming, and a doe and fawn sprinted into the food plot. There was maybe a half-hour of light left. Then my dad whispered, “Buck coming.” I twisted my head toward the ridge to see a nice 3year-old 8-pointer heading down the trail. Then dad said, “Big buck coming behind him.” I saw antlers and repositioned my body to face the food plot for a shot. When I turned, I saw four other bucks entering the food plot on a trail only 35 yards away. They were all 2-year-olds — no shooters. I would have to wait for the big buck to pass under my stand and enter the food plot before I could shoot. The minutes seemed like hours. Where was the big buck? Facing the food plot, I had no idea where he was. The 8-pointer he was traveling with had entered the plot and was feeding with the four other bucks in front of me. Little did I know the big buck had cut off the main trail and had been standing right under us. Finally, I caught movement as he started to move from under us into the food plot. "OK, be calm, pick a spot," I thought. The big buck bolted and rammed one of the 2-yearolds less then 15 yards from me. They locked antlers, and the big buck drove the smaller deer into the ground, twisted him around and pushed him 40 yards out of the plot until the smaller deer turned and ran away. "Don’t tell me he isn’t going to come back into bow range," I thought. The big buck stood in the plot for about five minutes, almost to tell the smaller buck, “Don’t even think about coming back into my food plot.” But the urge for a little Imperial Clover snack must have been too much for him, as he turned and headed back toward my stand. He fed to within 20 yards of us. The shot was easy and, thankfully, perfect. The Rage broadhead made sure the buck never made it out of the food plot. I had killed a 140-inch Pope & Young buck. I am a deer geek, and I'm also very blessed. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and made hunting such a special part of my life. Having the opportunity to shoot a deer like that is special, and doing it with my dad filming over my shoulder was priceless. W Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

63


Create Quality Food Plots in the Big Woods Quality food plots in the big woods can transform a property into a deer hunting utopia. By Michael Veine

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

www.whitetailinstitute.com


Q

uality food plots will always improve a property’s deer hunting opportunties. They also improve the well-being of the deer along with providing other benefits for wildlife too. There’s no denying, however, that food plots will have differing impacts depending on the property’s characteristics, the surrounding lands and the food plot particulars. Food plots obviously have the most impressive impact where food sources for the deer are somewhat lacking. For instance, food plots installed in prime agricultural areas work great but will likely not have the same dramatic impact as ones located in areas where no crops are available, like big woods regions. Done right, quality food plots in the big woods can transform a property into a deer hunting utopia.

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WINA-100 Brand Chicory! The Ultimate Perennial Chicory for Whitetail Deer! • “CHIC” MAGNET is specially formulated for deer • “CHIC” MAGNET is more palatable to whitetails than chicories traditionally planted for whitetails • “CHIC” MAGNET provides truly incredible protein levels – up to 44%! • “CHIC” MAGNET can be planted in the spring or fall in most areas • “CHIC” MAGNET provides deer with a highly attractive and nutritious food source even during the heat and low rainfall of late summer and early fall. “CHIC” MAGNET can last up to three years with a single planting • “CHIC” MAGNET can tolerate a broad variety of soil types, from moist to moderately drained • “CHIC” MAGNET can be planted alone, overseeded into existing forages to provide additional attraction and drought resistance or mixed with other seeds prior to planting. • “CHIC” MAGNET attracts, holds and grows bigger bucks!

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

800-688-3030

®

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whitetailinstitute.com Research = Results™ Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

65


As I write this story, Michigan’s whitetail rut is peaking big time. I have a well-maintained Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot in my rural backyard in southern Michigan. Yesterday I spotted a huge 12-pointer in the middle of the lush clover with a hot doe nearby. Today while eating lunch, I got to witness a Pope & Young class 8-point actually breed a doe near that same plot. Most outdoor writers are ultra-avid deer hunters that spend little time writing at this time of the year, and I’m no exception. The rut is exploding, and here I am behind my computer during prime hunting time. What gives? There is some irony here. I have an assignment to write this article on big woods food plots. Due in large part to the food plots on my remote Upper Peninsula hunting property, my two Michigan buck tags were used up a month ago. This fall, writing an article during the rut is no problem whatsoever. My Upper Peninsula property consists of 160 acres of remote forest land that I bought in 1995. About half the property was clear-cut in 1996, and the balance consists mostly of wetlands with a few high spots here and there. As the crow flies, it’s about four miles to the nearest farm, so “my” deer live their whole lives in a big woods environment where quality food sources are scarce. Ten years ago, I installed my first food plots on that property. Since then, I’ve expanded those plots every year and now have 10 food plots. My centerpiece is a five-acre plot I call “the Big Field,” which is centrally located on the property. All the other food plots satellite the Big Field at strategic locations. The Big Field is rarely hunted. However, the small plots are all meticulously setup for optimal deer slaying opportunities.

On opening day of Michigan’s archery deer season I hunted a stand I call “The Box.” I named the stand after a scene in the classic movie Cool Hand Luke where Paul Newman is punished by the warden and put in The Box. That ground blind reminded me of that movie scene as the temperature climbs to sweltering degrees when the sun is out; then it plummets when shade envelopes the blind. It was still sweltering inside The Box when I spotted a big-bodied deer approaching the food plot from the west. He wore a dandy 8-point rack. Just before I could draw my bow for the shot, he turned around and walked off to the same direction he had come from. No shot, but still quite the thrill. The wind did a 180 overnight, so the next evening I was hunting a similar setup on the other side of the property that’s perfect for north or east winds. That stand is a pit blind that I call “The Hole.” The blind overlooks a small food plot and mineral site where I've been placing 30-06 Mineral Plus Protein for many years. The plot is planted in Imperial Whitetail Clover. It poured rain all morning, so I skipped that hunt, but headed out to The Hole at 1 p.m. It was still spitting rain an hour into my sit when I noticed a nice buck heading toward the food plot from the east. Judging from his sagging belly and large body size, he was obviously an older deer. His rack clearly showed three points per side on the tops. I’m not an overly picky deer hunter. I simply target bucks that are at least three years old and pass up the younger ones. In the U.P. though, there is an antler restriction law in place. A combination license comes with two tags and entitles a hunter to take two bucks. The “unrestricted tag” can be used on a buck with a minimum of three points (one inch long) on one antler. The restricted tag can only be

used on deer with at least four points on one antler. As soon as he lowered his head to feed, I drew my new bow and sent an arrow injection into his lungs. At the shot, the buck whirled around, tripped over a stump, regained his footing and then trotted off about 50 yards before piling up just out of sight. He turned out to be a 3-1/2-year-old (aged by a biologist) 7pointer that dressed out at 174 pounds minus the tenderloins. A week later the winds turned to the south, which is perfect for hunting a stand I call “The Den.” I once found a bear hibernating on that ridge, thus the name. The Den is in a saddle between two ridges with a beaver pond flanking the setup, forming the ultimate natural funnel setup. I spiced the spot up with a food plot (Imperial No Plow), mineral lick (30-06 Plus Protein) and a water hole that I dug by hand. We’ve managed to kill 10 bucks from that stand, but besides the extreme rate of success there, it’s also just a beautiful spot to sit and watch nature. The fall colors explode around that stand. It’s my favorite place to hunt. It was noon when I finally settled into the stand. I didn’t have much time to enjoy the scenery though. Exactly eight minutes later, I heard the faint sound of foot falls in the distance. The sound grew louder as a pair of approaching deer sauntered into view. The lead deer was a dark-colored brute with a big body and decent-sized, chocolate-colored rack. The trailing deer was also a buck, but it appeared to be a yearling, so as soon as the lead buck cleared a big cedar tree, I came to full draw and put a perfect shot on him. From my 30foot tree stand, the shot entered high in the chest and exited out the front leg. He bolted off with that typical tail-flopping scramble

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1-800-688-3030

60 minutes on how you can produce top quality deer on your hunting land.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

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

www.whitetailinstitute.com


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Helps Maximize Antler Growth! ■ 20% Protein to Help Maximize Antler Growth. ■ Contains Vital Minerals and Vitamins. ■ Helps Bucks Devote More Nutrition to Antler Growth Earlier in Spring. Helps Maximize Doe Lactation, Fawn Birth Weights, Growth Rates and Overall Herd Health! ■ Contains Critical Protein, Vitamins and Minerals for Does. ■ Source of High Carbohydrates and Lipids for Fall and Winter. Specifically Designed for the Needs of Deer! ■ Scientifically formulated to meet the unique requirements of the smallruminant digestive system of deer. ■ Contains macro minerals, micro minerals and vitamins in the correct forms and ratios deer need to help maximize genetic potential. Extremely Attractive to Deer! ■ Crunchy texture deer prefer. ■ Contains scent and taste enhancers including Devour, which drives deer wild. Maximum Flexibility in Delivery Systems! ■ Can be use in most spin-type feeders, trough feeders, and gravity feeders. ■ Rainshed™ Technology — Moisture resistant. ■ Pelleted form reduces waste.

Call 800-688-3030 to find the dealer nearest you.

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 ®

Research = Results™

Results is a trademark of Whitetail Institute Pintlala, AL. Devour is a trademark of Whitetail Institute Pintlala, AL. RainShed is a trademark of Southern States Richmond, VA.

Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

67


of a fatally hit deer. I heard him crash within five seconds and was weighing him back at camp by 2 p.m. He tipped the scales at 178 pounds dressed. That buck also carried seven points and was aged by a biologist at 3 1/2 years old, too. I started planting food plots on my U.P. property in the late 1990s, but it wasn’t until I met a U.P. consultant a few years later that I really got serious about my food plot efforts. He showed me the unreal impact that big woods food plots can have on deer when done correctly. He bought a small, remote piece of U.P. hunting land in an area where deer densities were very low (five deer per square mile). Due mainly to an intense food plot project, he transformed that property into a deer hunting nirvana. When he first bought the property, he only saw one small buck there during the entire first hunting season. Now he regularly has a dozen adult bucks frequenting the property and manages to harvest some impressive bucks there every year. When he first bought it, the land was completely forested. He carved out seven acres of food plots from the dense woods. Some of the plots were created by hiring a pro with a bulldozer; he was able to clear some of the sites himself though, using his small tractor equipped with a front loader. He has one larger plot that is very irregularly shaped and centrally located on his land. He also has several smaller plots in other strategic locations. He plants most of his access roads and trails into food plots too, which really increases the total acreage of forage available to the deer. After clearing the sites, he had soil tests done and determined that all of his plots needed lots of lime to raise the pH. Often, forestlands will be very acidic and liming needs to be factored (and budgeted) into the food plot

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.

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com ®

68

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results™

www.whitetailinstitute.com


planning strategy. A few years ago, after a bird-hunting outing with him, he took me on a tour of his property. We carefully snuck around the property and changed the SD cards in several of his motion-activated cameras located on the food plots. We even snuck up on a nice two-year-old buck feeding nonchalantly in one of his food plots. The deer never knew we were there. He designed access routes to all his hunting locations so he can quietly sneak into those areas without spooking deer. There were scrapes and rubs all over the place, but the real eye-opener was back at his house on his computer. He had recent digital game camera images of about 10 adult bucks, and some were real eye-poppers indeed. He inspired me to continue improving my property for deer and other wildlife. Every year I add new plots, improve existing ones and otherwise better the habitat and hunting experiences on my property. When I first bought my property, the quantity and quality of the deer on my land was poor. Nowadays, I enjoy outstanding hunting and have managed to harvest adult bucks every year there for the past 10 years. The enjoyment of my hunts has increased exponentially with the investments I’ve made as well. My big woods property has been transformed into a deer hunting paradise. W

SOUND ADVICE FOR BIG WOODS FOOD PLOTS Plan the locations of your plots carefully. It pays to perform soil tests during the food plot site selection process. If you are debating between two sites for a food plot and one spot has better pH or other key soil attributes, you could save yourself a lot of time and money in the future with an educated decision. It’s also critical that access routes to and from food plots be planned in such a way that they do not disturb key spots on your property, especially other food plots. Good access throughout a property is very valuable indeed. When planning a large food plot, make sure that the plot is accessible by a semi-style truck. Bulk lime trucked into a property will save you a lot of money compared to having to buy bagged lime. Most larger big woods food plots will require the site to be cleared. You can turn a good food plot into a great one by strategically pushing the debris to key locations when clearing a site. Planned properly, funnels can be created to focus the deers’ movements through key ambush locations. There are two main choices when it comes to clearing food plots: Hire a professional with a bulldozer to clear the plots or do it yourself. I’ve done it both ways. If you hire someone, make sure to ask for references from past food plot clients of the excavator and call them. I’ve had problems in the past with excavators not showing up when they were supposed to, trying to over-bill me or otherwise not being very professional. You are better off hiring an excavator that is located close to the property as they usually charge extra for the distance that they must move the equipment. It also pays to know how much they charge per hour and what type of dozer they have. You will often be much better off hiring an excavator with a bigger dozer if you’ll need to move large trees or green stumps. Excavators typically charge more per hour for larger equipment though, so shop carefully. I’ve also rented equipment with good success. In my area I can rent heavy equipment by the day or week. I found though that the cost of having heavy equipment delivered (and picked up) makes hiring an excavator for small jobs much more cost effective than renting. You can also manually clear a plot. I know of a couple people who had great results clearing plots with a tractor equipped with a bucket. It just takes time and perseverance. Most of my big woods food plots were installed with just hand tools and are managed with no-till practices. These types of plots are super effective. I have no-till plots with lush patches of Imperial Whitetail Clover and I also have no-till plots that I seed with annuals such as Imperial No-Plow and Secret Spot, which are designed for and are perfect for those types of applications. W

www.whitetailinstitute.com

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Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

69


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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

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

Vol. 20, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

71


www.nikonhunting.com Aubree Lewis — Alabama I shot my first deer this past November at Cedar Ridge Hunting Club in Lowndes County, Ala. I saw one other buck the day before but he came up behind me and I had no shot. My dad and I had been there about an hour when two bucks came into the NoPlow green field. One was 4- or 5point and the other was 7-point buck. My dad couldn’t see either deer but I could so I raised my muzzleloader and aimed at the 7-point. After a few seconds the buck turned broadside and I took my shot. I asked my dad “Did I get him?” He said, “Reload your gun and let’s go look.” He had run about 50 yards into the pines but we found him after following the blood trail. It was a 7-point buck that weighed around 140 pounds. I am a 17-year-old girl and that is the story of how I shot my first buck.

Cameron Vanderzeyde — Indiana This was a day I will never forget, I am still really excited about the success of my first deer hunt. I am 10 years old and I harvested an impressive 10-point buck that weighed more than 200 pounds. Dad has been great; he always took time to take me hunting with him. Now I am actually involved in the hunt myself. I really appreciate all the fine products Whitetail Institute makes available for our deer management programs. The results of what can happen when our deer get the proper nutrition are obvious in the pictures of me and my monster buck. I am looking forward to next year to see if I can top this year’s trophy.

Scott Johnston — Michigan I own a square 10 acre parcel of land in lower Northern Michigan. It is all mature Maple, Basswood

72

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 20, No. 1

and Beechnut. Last fall I had it select cut to open the canopy get and some underg r o w t h growing. Prior to the cut I would occasionally see a deer or two cutting through here g o i n g “somewhere”. I decided that I would also plant a food plot where the landing was made for loading the trees. I called the Whitetail Institute and explained that, here I only have about 2” of topsoil and then it goes right into yellow sand. Alfa-Rack Plus and Extreme was recommended. I couldn’t be happier. We were blessed with just the right rain this year and the plot came in great. I had knee high growth. The main reason I wanted this plot was to draw deer into it for my 13 year old daughter’s first deer. Last year before the plot was planted, she sat with me five times. Some day’s were o.k. but most just cold! She didn’t last long, we never saw a deer. This year after the plot was in, she got her 1st deer. 30 minutes into the opener of the youth season, a 3 point stepped out to feed and she made a perfect shot. I have included her picture. Thanks Whitetail Institute for your great products.

these two animals. Keep up the good work Whitetail Institute and thanks.

Vince Vena — Pennsylvania We first planted Imperial Whitetail Clover ten years ago. This stuff is great! Imperial Clover is pre-inoculated, easy to plant and cold tolerant. It’s the first thing green in the spring. The kids love hunting over it — for turkey and deer.

Timothy O’Brian — Tennessee Here’s a photo of my 7-year-old son, John’s first buck. He killed it in a field of Imperial No-Plow. The drought was bad this summer, but one good rain brought the No-Plow on strong. Thanks for a great opening day juvenile hunt! W

Matt and Skylar Claar — Ohio We started using Imperial Whitetail Clover food plots last year. Here are two pictures of the bucks killed on that same plot. Mine, a ten point, was taken on Nov. 9. My 9-yearold daughter, Skylar,

took her very first buck, a 7-point, on the very next day. I give credit to Imperial Whitetail Clover in helping to harvest

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)

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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


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The new IQ Bowsight’s revolutionary Retina Lock Alignment Technology will dramatically extend your effective range! TM

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Most bowhunters are confident shooting at shorter ranges. But, get out to 40 yards or beyond and they lack consistency. This is because of mis-alignment due to bow torque or inconsistent anchor. It doesn’t take much. A 1/4” translates to

a 10 inch miss at 40 yards (see diagram). That’s about to change! IQ Bowsignts revolutionary Retina Lock Alignment Technology puts you in perfect alignment for every shot. It’s easy to use and you’ll instantly be shooting short range groups at long range distances!

Your bowsight is really just a stack of pins that help you judge elevation/ distance. The truth is ...

YOUR AIM CAN BE OFF EVEN IF YOUR PIN IS ON! At full draw, purposely torque your bow while keeping your pin on target. Pay attention to your arrow. You’ll see it’s easy to mis-aim your arrow. This proves there is more to accurate shooting than a properly placed pin! Torque is the enemy. And, something as simple as changing grip pressure can cause bow hand torque.

Cold weather, bulky clothes, gloves or buck fever can alter your anchor point Most of us practice on a range or in the backyard in a t-shirt before season. Yet we hunt in cold weather wearing bulky clothes and gloves and shoot from awkward positions after sitting for hours and with adrenaline pulsing through our veins. All of which can alter our anchor point and affect our accuracy.

IQ’s Retina Lock provides instant feedback that alerts you to imperfect alignment With Retina Lock you simply center the dot before the shot. This sophisticated technology provides instant feedback that will identify even the slightest torque or anchor point change. This will force proper form, build confidence and most important, dramatically extend your effective range!

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Whitetail News Vol 20.1  

Whitetai News Volume 20 issue 1

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