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Cover photo by

Whitetail Institute OFFICERS AND STAFF ®

Ray Scott Founder and President Wilson Scott Vice President of Operations Steve Scott Vice President, Executive Editor William Cousins Operations Manager Wayne Hanna, Ph.D. Agronomist & Director of Forage Research Mark Trudeau National Sales Manager Justin Moore, Frank Deese Wildlife Biologists Jon Cooner Director of Special Projects Brandon Self, John White Product Consultants Greg Aston Dealer/Distributor Sales Steffani Hood Dealer/Distributor Analyst Dawn McGough Office Manager Mary Jones Internet Customer Service Manager Teri Hudson Internet and Office Assistant Marlin Swain Shipping Manager Bart Landsverk Whitetail News Senior Editor 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 Contributing Writers Susan Scott Copy Editor George Pudzis Art Director Wade Atchley, Atchley Media Advertising Director

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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

Luck — Make The Most Of It

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have a theory that a lot of people let “luck” pass them by. Some just don’t see it and some don’t act on it. It’s what you do with a lucky break that makes the difference. I’ll be the first to admit that I have had angels on my shoulders at many junctures in my life. I’ve also had the horse-sense to act on a fortunate circumstance. That was the case with the latest product in the Whitetail Institute food plot arsenal when we got wind of a university study testing oat varieties for superior grain production. We found out they eliminated one variety because of… excessive grazing by deer which significantly reduced grain production. Clearly a negative for them. Good news for us. Like they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. To make a long story short, we bought the rights to the variety after it proved itself highly successful through our nationwide testing. We named the variety Whitetail Oats and after properly blending it with small amounts of other forage varieties, we named the new product Imperial Whitetail Forage Oats Plus. The story reminds me of our flagship product — Imperial Whitetail Clover. It was more than 20 years ago when I watched from a deer

stand as deer walked through a smorgasbord of other traditional plantings to get to the particular type of clover I had planted. That “lucky” clover turned into the spark that created an industry. After much testing and genetic tinkering with the clover we developed a protein-packed deer-specific forage and named it Imperial Whitetail Clover and the deer nutrition industry was created in the process. And as with all our products, it was not only formulated specifically for deer, it was tested and retested in real-world circumstances all across North America. Such is the case with our new Whitetail Forage Oats Plus. You’ll find it an outstanding staple for your fall and winter plantings. It is sweet and extraordinarily attractive to deer. Besides that, it is winter hardy and it thrives in a wide variety of soils and is easy to plant. Best of all it draws deer right away and holds them longer in the cold months. Be sure to read the full article on new Forage Oats Plus on page 6.

Ray Scott

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INTRODUCING…

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very now and then, it pays to be lucky. And that’s just how the newest addition to the Whitetail Institute’s product lineup, Forage Oats Plus, got started — with a stroke of luck. The backbone of new Forage Oats Plus is a winter-hardy oat variety that is incredibly attractive to deer. The Whitetail Institute first heard about the oat several years ago, when one of its worldwide agriculture contacts told the Institute about an oat variety that had been included in a university research project comparing how well different oat varieties performed as grain producers. According to the Institute’s source, the university researchers had removed one particular oat variety from the grain-production tests and shelved it because it had been so heavily preferred and grazed by deer. While the university researchers saw the oat variety’s incredible attractiveness to deer as a problem in their grain-production trials, the Whitetail Institute was, for obvious reasons, very interested in exploring the variety’s potential as a forage for use in food plots for deer. The Institute’s initial tests included evaluat-

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ing the variety’s attractiveness to deer, how well it grew in various climates and other performance characteristics related to use in food plots for deer. Those tests confirmed what the Institute’s contact had said: The oat variety was high in sugar and extremely attractive to whitetails. The tests also showed that the variety is well suited to a broad range of climates, and that it is winter hardy — another excellent characteristic for any plant being considered for use in food plots for deer. Because of the oat variety’s stellar performance during Whitetail Institute initial testing, the Institute purchased the rights to the variety and named it Whitetail Oats. Whitetail Oats is the most attractive oat variety for deer the Institute has ever tested, and it is only available in Whitetail Institute products. For the next six years, the Institute continued to test Whitetail Oats, by itself and blended with other forage varieties, to design an oats-based forage blend that could max out on food plot performance. No matter how good a plant variety might be as a deer forage, rarely will one variety perform as well as a properly formulated

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blend of multiple varieties. That’s why most Institute forage products are blends rather than just one plant variety, and it’s the reason for the “Plus” in Forage Oats Plus. In addition to Whitetail Oats, small amounts of winter wheat and triticale are included to enhance winter hardiness even further. Like all other Whitetail Institute forage products, you can rest assured that the components and their ratios in Forage Oats Plus have been exhaustively developed and tested under real-world conditions across the United States and Canada to ensure that Forage Oats Plus is the best that the Institute could make it. And like many Whitetail Institute seeds, Whitetail Oats may not be ideal for agricultural purposes (growing hay, feeding cows or producing grain) but it proved perfect for deer hunters because the deer love it. Forage Oats Plus is designed to thrive in a wide range of soil types, from slightly sandy to heavy bottomland. Loamy to heavy soils are best. One 45-pound bag of Forage Oats Plus will plant up to a half an acre. If you would like more information about new Forage Oats Plus, or to order, visit www.whitetailinstitute.com, or call the Whitetail Institute at (800) 6883030. (See coupon on page 66) IMPERIAL WHITETAIL FORAGE OATS PLUS • High sugar content • Exceptionally attractive to deer • Winter hardy • Easy to plant • Establishes very quickly • Begins drawing deer right away • Holds deer longer into the winter WHITETAIL OATS • The most attractive oat variety to deer the Whitetail Institute has ever tested • The backbone of FORAGE OATS PLUS • Only available in Whitetail Institute products W

PLANTING DATES for Imperial Whitetail Forage Oats: Use the map below as a guideline for when to plant Imperial Whitetail Forage Oats in your area. For best results, wait to plant until excessively hot, droughty summer weather has passed.

  

The Whitetail Institute

August 15 — September 15

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 September 1 — October 1 September 1 — October 20

Imperial Whitetail Forage Oats is highly cold-tolerant and designed to provide abundant forage from fall into spring in the southern U.S. and from fall into winter in colder climates.

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®

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

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By Charles J. Alsheimer Photos by the Author

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s a teen, I believed age and quality food sources were the magical ingredients needed to produce a buck with the minimum 170 inches required for entry into the Boone and Crockett record book. As time passed, my thinking changed. In reality, there is no guarantee a buck will actually produce a Boone and Crockett rack. The process of getting a whitetail from the button buck stage to the B&C category is a mystical journey that includes a complex assortment of variables. It takes four basic ingredients to produce a buck with a 170-inch rack: genetics, habitat, herd management and age. (Continued on page 10) 8

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High protein food plots like this Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot can help reduce nutritional stress on all deer.

Essentially, the environment required to produce high numbers of B&C bucks does not exist, at least in the wild. Further, even if an area provides the four ingredients, those components must align flawlessly to produce several recordclass whitetails. Even perfect conditions do not guarantee B&C bucks. To see how tough it is to raise a whitetail from a fawn to a Booner, let’s look at two scenarios — the real world and a controlled environment — to see how various factors affect antler growth. The real world refers to any place in North America with free-roaming whitetails. These deer must cope with everything nature and humans throw at them. The stress heaped on them often reaches absurd levels, resulting in suppressed antler growth. I believe stress on free-ranging deer is cumulative, and antler growth is suppressed in varying degrees depending on how many stress factors are placed on a herd. ENVIRONMENT Whitetails still deal with environmental stress factors even when human activity is removed from an area. For example, in remote southern locations, extreme heat and parasites heavily burden deer herds. In northern climates, whitetails have a different problem: brutal winters with deep snow and bitter-cold temperatures. Winter’s stress can severely suppress antler growth, especially when it leads to substantial over-browsing of habitat. No matter where it occurs, drought is a major suppressant of antler growth, especially if it 10

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occurs during the critical antler-growing season of April through July. Bucks need large quantities of lush nutritional food to realize their antler-growing potential. Insects are another environmental stressor. Swarms of insects have been known to kill domestic animals, but they also kill deer. FOOD Most deer need around a ton-and-a-half of food per year to maintain optimum health. For the best antler growth, it’s critical that the nutri-

tional composition of food is high at all times. Therefore, during the antler-growing season, food sources must be high in protein and provide essential vitamins and minerals. During the non-antler-growing season — fall through early spring — food sources need to be high in carbohydrates to provide deer with the high energy levels they need. The ability of the habitat to support the wildlife living in it is a key to antler growth. Bucks can grow impressive antlers when they receive a variety of highly nutritious foods. However, these food sources can disappear quickly when too many deer are on a property. Therefore, bucks living on overpopulated range will not always grow large racks, at least not what they are capable of. This is why it is so important to keep the whitetail population in line with the range’s carrying capacity. Soil quality can be a limiting factor on the benefit of farm crops and food plots in the quest to produce the biggest bucks. It is no coincidence that some of the biggest bucks come from regions with fertile soil. For example, the Midwest’s “Grain Belt” contains some of the most productive soil in North America. It's easy to understand why the region has produced more than 60 percent of the whitetail bucks entered in the B&C record book. POPULATION A region’s deer population is as important as food availability in allowing a buck to reach maximum antler potential. Antler growth suffers when an area becomes too densely populated. For the past 20 years, I have raised whitetails www.whitetailinstitute.com


A deer herd’s sex ratio can be a significant suppressent of antler growth, and it doesn’t take many deer to skew the odds against bucks.

for behavioral studies. Early on, it became obvious that whitetails are very sensitive to overpopulation, and a buck’s antler growth suffers if there are too many deer in its environment. Many studies of wild free-ranging deer have also confirmed what I have observed in high-fenced deer operations. ADULT DOE-TO-ANTLERED-BUCK RATIO A deer herd’s sex ratio is a significant suppressant of antler growth, and it does not take many deer to skew the odds against bucks. For example, antler growth suffers in areas that have more than three adult does for every antlered buck. When herds exceed that ratio, the rut stretches to a danger point for bucks — especially mature bucks. A 2-to-1 ratio is not bad, but for maximum growth potential, a 1-to-1 ratio is ideal. The rut lasts about 45 days in areas with balanced ratios. When a doe comes into estrous, she takes a buck on a two- to-three-day ride he cannot control. Because a buck does not know when enough is enough, he gets himself into all kinds of trouble — often trouble he can’t recover from. Therefore, when the adult doe-to-antlered buck ratio exceeds three adult does for every antlered buck, the rut can last 90 days or more. This is dangerous, because in the North, it means the rut will stretch into winter. In turn, rutting bucks enter this critical period so worn down they cannot recover before their antlers begin to grow in April. In such instances, it is not uncommon for mature bucks to die from additional winter stress. THE RUT If all those stresses aren’t enough, bucks receive another dose of pressure when the rut begins. If you add the fierce competition waged between bucks to the list of stress factors they endure the rest of the year, it is easy to see why free-ranging bucks have difficulty reaching their full antler potential. In good range, bucks are rolling in fat when the seeking phase of the rut begins. However, during the two-week period just before full-blown breeding, bucks begin to move constantly, searching for estrous does. This nonstop dash to ensure survival of the species involves everything from chasing to scrape-making to rubbing to fighting. Clearly, bucks expend a lot of www.whitetailinstitute.com

Tink’s scientific frenzy to create the perfect synthetic buck lure that does it all is now a reality. Tink’s Magnetics Buck Attractant isn’t designed to smell like doe urine. It’s a blend of compounds formulated to be a powerful buck attractant all season long because it’s designed to trigger three of a buck’s key olfactory senses: curiosity, dominance, and reproductive. Bucks can’t resist Tink’s Magnetics!

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energy during the rut, and they often do so without eating. This increases strain on their bodies. PREDATION Predation is another stress factor that affects antler growth potential. Dogs, coyotes, wolves and humans kill hundreds of thousands of deer each year. However, non-contact predation also affects deer. Non-contact predation includes the mere presence of predators. Several projects conducted by Aaron Moen of Cornell University have indicated this form of stress can make bucks grow underdeveloped antlers. The bottom line is any form of predation places some stress on whitetails, which can have a negative effect from a physical standpoint and prevent them from reaching their full growth potential. CONTROLLED LESSONS LEARNED By reducing the stress associated with the factors listed above, you can improve the odds of watching a buck fawn grow into a B&C-class

A Real World Example The four photos that accompany this sidebar show what can happen when good food, average genetics and age come together. This buck was born in the wild on our farm in spring 1995. During summer 1995, our 35-acre research enclosure was built. Despite going to great pains to make sure no wild deer were trapped 1.5 Years Old inside, this buck — which was a fawn at the time — managed to elude us when we drove out the wild deer. After gaining permission to keep the buck, time took over. With the enclosure’s great food sources and low deer population, the buck thrived. As a yearling, it had a beautiful 7-

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whitetail. Some people might argue that it is impossible to reduce some of the stress factors because of the region in which they live. However, today’s high-tech age has made it possible to create controlled environments in which the sources of stress can be manipulated. Many deer breeders have experimented and discovered what it takes to raise trophyclass antlered bucks. Of course, their work is done behind high fences, where deer are raised in relatively stress-free conditions. To produce big-racked bucks, the better deer breeders have become students of genetics, and they meticulously study individual deer for desired characteristics. They also look at numerous other factors they need to build upon for full antler potential. One of the most critical is habitat because if the buck’s environment is not right, it doesn’t matter what kind of genetics he has because he will not reach his full potential. This means trying to control and improve everything from diet, to natural settings, to the number of deer a buck interacts with. What deer breeders have learned is that

point rack. At age two, the buck sported a rack that scored 122 Boone and Crockett. By the time the buck was three, it carried antlers scoring a touch more than 150 B&C. Then at age four, the buck, which we named “Spook,” had a rack that scored 164 Boone and Crockett. Unfortunately, in December of his fourth year, this buck was involved in a fight with another mature buck in the enclosure and died after breaking his neck. It is anyone’s guess what his antlers would have looked like from age five to seven, when bucks generally grow their biggest racks. However, this buck, born in the wild on our farm, is a testimony to what can be expected when age and nutrition are blended together and is further proof of what quality deer management can bring to the table. END NOTE

2.5 Years Old

Because this buck is a real-world example of what can happen when

every whitetail buck needs to go into a new antler-growing season in great health. Therefore, if a buck’s bone marrow and body condition are not in top condition when the sun says, “Start growing antlers,” they can’t reach their full antler potential. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS When analyzing the antler potential of various regions of the country, I look at how an area stacks up against the six stress factors mentioned. If all six affect an area, there is strong reason to believe top-end potential will not exist. However, if only two factors affect a region, I want to hunt there because I know it probably holds many big bucks. That is not to say I’m a trophy hunter. In fact, I believe many hunters put too much emphasis on the magic antler score of 170. It is unrealistic for hunters to believe they actually stand a chance of killing a buck that big in the wild, where there are no high fences. I have hunted wild, free-ranging whitetails more than 40 years, and only twice have I killed a

age is allowed to play itself out, these images offer guidance for QDM harvest practices. As

3.5 Years Old

4.5 Years Old

mentioned, one of the first steps in a quality, deer management program is to place yearling bucks off limits. However, what is seldom mentioned is the importance of also letting the 21/2 -year-old bucks walk. In most cases, there is a significant jump in antler growth at every age from 1-1/2 to 4-1/2. However, the increase in antler size between 21/2 and 3-1/2 years and then 3-1/2 and 4-1/2 is most impressive. As you can see, this buck grew from a 120- to a 150-class buck between 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 years. Therefore, most QDM participants strive to ensure that no buck is harvested before it is at least 3-1/2 years old.

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buck that grossed more than 170 inches on the B&C scale. In other words, a 170-class wild, free-ranging buck is a freak of nature. When hunters ask me what kind of bucks they can expect to see in places like western Canada, Iowa and Texas, I tell them not to base their goals on what they read in magazines or see on television. Be realistic and try to find out what the average size is for bucks in a given area. I believe a realistic expectation for hunts in the best deer habitat in North America is 140 to 150 B&C. The bottom line is this: Considering all the stress factors that weigh on a deer herd, it is difficult to find 150inch bucks in the wild. In many places, few — if any — exist. In fact, research tells us that the 140- and 150-inch bucks living in Saskatchewan, Wisconsin and New York could easily be 160- to 170inch bucks if they lived in controlled environments. Further, most deer researchers will tell you that heavy stress — whether drought, predators, severe winters or other environmental factors — can suppress antler growth by 20 percent or more. CONCLUSION There is a lot more to getting a whitetail buck from buttons to B&C antlers than meets the eye. In fact, for most bucks roaming North America, it is almost impossible. Future hunters will probably kill huge bucks that rival the whitetails taken by Milo Hanson and James Jordan. These awesome bucks are a part of the mystery of life, just like seven-foot-tall basketball players and home-run hitters such as Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. However, is it realistic to think the road from buttons to B&C is a given? No way. For my money, 140 to 150 inches is about as good as it gets in the best fair-chase environments. One thing is certain: Stress hurts the hat size of every buck in the wild. W

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By Joe Blake Photos by the Author

New food plots are always a challenge for land managers, but the success of your plantings is directly proportionate to the initial effort you put forth while breaking new ground.

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y 10-year-old son Ryan’s breathing was labored and his knees were shaking noticeably, but the barrel of his .243 was steady as he focused all his attention on the group of does across the field of Tall Tine Tubers. This was Ryan’s first year of deer hunting here in Minnesota and I chose to set him up 14

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in a blind along the edge of this new field. I knew the field was full of deer every night and that there were a handful of dandy bucks feeding on the lush leaves while checking out the numerous does using the field. This field, tucked away in the corner of a much larger, open valley with woods on two sides, was a sterile, short-grass stand with little appeal to area whitetails three months prior. Now, even though deer had been pounding the Tall Tine Tubers for over two months, there was still a lush stand of foot-tall leaves as well as the turnips poking through the dirt and just starting to attract the hungry deer’s attention. Ryan had already filled his doe tag, dropping a young doe with an 80-yard shot on opening day, and as the field filled with whitetails while the sun painted the western horizon with a kaleidoscope of color, he was hoping one of the big bucks would make an appearance. Hunting over food plots has become a staple for deer hunters across the whitetail’s range and the reason is simple: deer are tied to their stomachs. A list of a deer’s preferred foods is a long one; however, avid whitetail hunters and managers have learned to provide preferred foods by planting food plots using Whitetail Institute products. Hunters can make sure that area deer and other wildlife are getting all the essentials they need to grow strong and healthy, while

producing healthy young and maximizing antler growth. Volumes have been written about what to plant and where to plant it, but it seems that little time is spent discussing the actual breaking up of new ground and how to care for your initial plantings, so the focus of this article is getting your plots started on the right track. KEEP IT BLACK Spraying with Roundup or other weed killers has its place, and is a necessary evil under some circumstances, but if you have the time I believe that a better method of weed control for newly broken ground is to keep it black. In other words, work the ground repeatedly throughout the summer, thereby keeping the soil worked up and killing new growth of weeds and grasses before they get a chance to establish. A farmer friend of mine introduced me to this method when I first began managing my property for deer, and if you have the time and equipment, it works. Simply disk or till the soil as you would in preparation for planting, then let it stand until weeds and grasses start to make an appearance, then till or disk it again, repeating the process as necessary until you actually want to plant the plot. Obviously this works well for late summer plantings of annuals but I’ve had good success with it for spring planting as well. www.whitetailinstitute.com


Simply follow the process right up until winter, leaving the ground black under the cold and snow, then till it once more as things start to green up in the spring and plant immediately. Each time you work the soil you will kill the weeds and grasses that are prevalent, and when it comes time to plant, you will have a cleaner seedbed with less competition for your desired plantings. ANNUALS FOR SUCCESS Almost without exception I plant annuals in a new food plot, and there are several reasons for this: annuals require less work and maintenance than perennials yet produce tons of forage for area whitetails. This is extremely important across a deer’s range but even more so in coldweather climates like here in Minnesota where winter can take a serious toll. Annuals are also the perfect complement for the ‘keeping it black’ plan, because the ground can be worked throughout the summer before planting such offerings as Pure Attraction, Winter-Greens, or Tall Tine Tubers in late summer or early fall. This past season I planted new fields with these three products and by the time deer season rolled around all of these fields were getting hammered daily by the local deer. The fields were lush and green and being used regularly, starting in early bow season; and trail cameras

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The author's son Ryan is justifiably proud of this huge doe, taken cleanly through the heart from 100 yards as she fed hungrily on a field of Tall Tine Tubers, only three months after the field was planted.

showed hundreds of pictures each week including several trophy-class bucks. By the time cold and snow enveloped the landscape, more than a dozen deer had been harvested in or around these food plots, including a pair of big 12pointers. As I sit in my office and write this, below-zero temperatures and deep snow have settled across the land, but several of these fields are still getting hammered by the deer, most notably the brassicas. The leaves that haven’t been eaten down to dirt are still lush and green in an otherwise barren winter wonderland, and the field of Tall Tine Tubers looks like a minefield where the deer are digging up the turnips themselves, which brings us to a fourth recommendation when breaking new ground. BRASSICAS FOR BEST SUCCESS Brassicas fit perfectly in a newly broken food plot for all the reasons mentioned previously, but brassicas outperform even other annuals for two reasons — they grow quickly and their huge leaves shade out the soil, limiting the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground and helping prevent germination of weed or grass seeds that may still exist. Two years ago was my first experience with brassicas, having planted a two-acre field of Winter-Greens in early August. By mid-September the stand was close to a foot-and-a-half tall and there were as many as

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The author uses a broadcast spreader on the back of his 4-wheeler to seed new food plots; in this case with Tall Tine Tubers.

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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two dozen deer feeding in the plot every evening. Eventually it was eaten right down to the dirt and the field looked like I had just tilled it, but there were literally no weeds or grasses there because the Winter-Greens grew fast and tall and prevented other plants from getting established. This spring the field required almost no work because it was already black, and my only regret was not planting more Winter-Greens…a regret I rectified this past year. This year I planted five different fields totaling close to 10 acres in brassicas, and four of these fields were newly broken ground. I was extremely impressed with the Tall Tine Tubers, which attracted deer starting in September and is still being hit hard now as the New Year approaches. That’s why I set up the ground blind along the wooded edge of this field for my son’s first deer hunting efforts, and why he was able to have his pick of does to fill his first tag on opening day. Now, as daylight faded on the third day of rifle season, the turnip field once again began to fill up with hungry whitetails. Although he was hoping to get a crack at one of the good bucks using the field, school would prevent Ryan from hunting until the following weekend. Moreover, by that time I would be down in Kansas chasing giant bucks with my longbow, so when a huge doe stepped out at last light he decided to fill his either-sex tag as well. Taking careful aim from 100 yards at the old matriarch as she greedily devoured the lush greenery in front of her, the report was still echoing off the surrounding hills when the big doe spun around twice and fell over dead where she stood, succumbing to a perfect heart shot. Just a couple short months earlier that deer would have had no reason to be in this corner field, but by following a plan for breaking new ground this little piece of property became a deer hunter’s dream, a dream that you can realize as well wherever you pursue whitetail deer. W

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com This monster whitetail was caught on trail cameras regularly in and adjacent to a field of Winter-Greens in late summer and throughout the fall. ®

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results™ 16

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

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Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers “Let ’em Eat Cake!” By Hollis Ayres

L

ooking for a forage that can attract deer in the fall and then have the deer pouring in during the colder months of the year? With Imperial Whitetail Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers, the Whitetail Institute has you covered. Perennials are considered by many to be the backbone of a food plot system, and Whitetail Institute perennials are designed to attract deer and supplement what nature provides for deer on a year-round basis. If you utilize perennials, Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers can be the “icing on the cake” for deer during fall and winter. And if you don’t plant perennials, WinterGreens and Tall Tine Tubers can be the whole cake. The cake analogy isn’t by chance. Nutritionally speaking, deer are primarily concerned with energy during the fall and winter, and Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers provide plenty of carbohydrates. When the weather turns cold, an enzyme in the plants converts starches to sugars — and once that happens, nock an arrow or load your gun because they’re coming. Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers are similar in many ways. For example, they’re both annual, all-brassica products specifically designed for fall and especially winter. They both become even more attractive as the season progresses. In early fall, deer are trying to store fat reserves for energy during the coming cold months. In most areas, though, fall is a time of decreasing availability of natural food sources, and availability gets even worse the later it is in the year. By the time the cold winter months arrive natural food sources are generally scarce, and what natural food sources remain are often of relatively low palatability. That’s when the energy demands on deer are at their highest — and when Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers are at their sweetest! Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers will draw deer to your property, hold them there, and provide them with nutrient-rich food to help them stay healthier through the cold months of the year. The main differences between Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers are the types and ratios of 18

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

brassicas that are the main components in each product. When the Whitetail Institute began to develop Winter-Greens, its goal was to create an all-brassica product with the most attractive foliage from the time it emerged and throughout the life of the forage. To meet that goal, the Institute tested numerous brassica varieties at its research stations across North America and compared deer usage to determine which were the most highly attractive. The varieties for which deer showed the greatest preference were specially selected to be included in Winter-Greens. These “lettuce types” (brassicas with a vegetable genetic base) are quite simply the most attractive forage brassicas the Institute has ever tested. Like Winter-Greens, the Institute’s new Tall Tine Tuber forage product is highly attractive and purpose-built for deer. In fact, it is the first and only turnip food plot product ever specifically developed for food plots. The Whitetail Institute’s research goals with Tall Tine Tubers were to develop a turnip variety and turnip product that would establish quickly, grow rapidly, produce high tonnage, remain as an available food source even through the dead of winter in most parts of North America, and most importantly attract deer in the fall and winter. The backbone of Tall Tine Tubers is the new variety, Tall Tine Turnip. This new variety took the Whitetail Institute six years to develop. Tall Tine Tubers provides two food sources for deer: highly attractive, carbohydrate-rich foliage for fall and throughout the winter in most parts of North America, and tubers as an additional food source for the coldest months. Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers have proven to be top performers. They are easy to plant, extremely drought tolerant, produce massive tonnage of high quality food, and no doubt they’re both extremely attractive to deer. The differences in how each performs in different regions of North America can be subtle. For example, Winter-Greens generally sweetens a little earlier in the fall, so it may the better choice for planters in the Deep South, where

frosts come a little later in the year. However, some field testers in Alabama have reported that their deer hit Tall Tine Tubers hard in September. Also, Winter-Greens has now been fortified with a small amount of the Tall Tine Turnip variety, so it will also produce the same large, sweet tubers as Tall Tine Tubers, although not in as great a number. You may wonder why the Whitetail Institute offers both Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers. Why would the Institute go to the huge effort and expense to offer two all-brassica products with such narrow performance differences, instead of just one that would perform pretty well in most areas? The answer to that is the Whitetail Institute’s underlying philosophy and the goal that drives its forage development efforts: performing “well” for “most” customers isn’t good enough for a product to wear the Whitetail Institute name. It must perform the best the Whitetail Institute can make it, for each customer, where that customer lives and hunts. In fact, that’s something that Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tubers have in common with every product the Whitetail Institute offers: they are the result of the Whitetail Institute’s exhaustive process of research, development and testing under real-world conditions to ensure that each Whitetail Institute product is the very best the Institute could make it. That’s why field testers’ return and new customers join the Whitetail Institute year after year. It’s a matter of top performance. It’s a matter of trust. Whitetail Institute customers expect the best, and that’s exactly what they will get. For more information or to order, call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030, extension 2. The consultants are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Time, Monday through Friday. W

www.whitetailinstitute.com


Billy Raven — Iowa I planted Imperial Whitetail Clover two years ago and observed more deer, bucks and does on our farm. The does loved the clover, which drove all of the bucks to the plots to check on the does. In the spring we had two 3006 mineral stations which helped out the antler growth considerably. The buck I harvested was shot near the clover plot. He was checking scrapes that he had made. He scores 155 with 16 scoreable points and he is a typical 10-point with 6 abnormal points below his brow tines. I have his sheds from the past two years and this year he had grown considerably. Thanks Whitetail Institute for producing great products.

Dale Diedrick — Wisconsin Pure Attraction turns to Fatal Attraction: Steve Reis, a good friend, purchased a piece of property in Shawano County, Wisconsin. The land is known for whitetail and had some great features but lacked a food source to hold deer through-out the year. Steve hired a bulldozer to come in and clear several sites on the property for food plots. Soil samples were taken, reviewed by the Whitetail Institute and seed selection recommendations were made. Lime and fertilizer were applied and the plots were planted in August. Pure Attraction was planted in the plot where I harvested my deer. We prepared and planted the plots with a Brillion Food Plot Seeder and the hard work by our hunting crew started to show results. The deer were definitely attracted to the plot. When the cooler weather in October and early November came the att ra c t i o n seemed to get even stronger. Trail camera photos and hunting the plot proved that the deer fed on the 20

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

plot at all hours of the day. On November 10 I sat on a stand overlooking the plot and was watching several does and fawns in the afternoon when I saw a good buck chasing a doe on the opposite outer edge of the plot. All I could do was hope the doe would enter the food plot and I would have a shot. The big buck wouldn’t let the doe do anything she wanted and they both ran over the ridge as daylight faded. On November 11 I chose to sit on a stand south of the food plot near several active scrapes. I was in the stand well before sunrise and the morning was very exciting. While many bucks were on the move, a close encounter with a mature buck was spoiled when the doe spotted me before the buck was in range. At noon I decided to move closer to the food plot where I saw the big buck the day before. I chose a stand 30 yards north of the plot because of the wind direction and my observation from the prior day. At 3 p.m. I saw a big buck chasing a doe and the doe looked very tired. They circled the food plot and were coming toward me when the doe went into the food plot which was 40 yards from my stand and the buck was close behind but there was no chance for a shot. The doe left the food plot and the buck followed close behind. I thought to myself, it’s just not my day. Daylight was fading, there were a few does and fawns in the food plot when I heard a thrashing of the forest and grunting of a buck coming toward me fast. I knew it was probably the same doe and big buck and this time they were coming down the trail headed to the food plot. I had to react fast, I came to full draw with my Mathews Legacy and the doe went past at 21 yards. When the buck was in the opening. I made a loud grunt with my mouth and the buck stopped in his tracks offering a quartering away shot at 21 yards. When I touched my release and the two blade Rage broad head hit its mark the big buck ran 40 yards into the food plot and I watched him expire. Wow, what a feeling, I knew I had just harvested the biggest buck of my life and it all happened so quickly. I walked up to the buck lying in the middle of the food plot and I couldn’t believe how big and beautiful this animal was. I was so excited, I took a few minutes to enjoy the moment and think about how the doe was determined to get into the food plot of Pure Attraction and how the buck’s attraction to the doe became a fatal attraction for him. Thank you Whitetail Institute for the great product. Also, thanks to our friends at Brillion Iron Works for making a great product in the Brillion Food Plot Seeder. What a time saving piece of

equipment. Also special thanks to Steve Reis for letting me fulfill my dream of harvesting a world class whitetail and being a part of a special group of friends all of which have the same dream. To my friends, Steve, Jason, Derrick, Lee and Sara your day is coming. The buck officially scored 169-7/8 inches.

Clint Spitler — Kansas

I just want to say thanks to the Whitetail Institute for Imperial Whitetail Clover. The deer love this stuff. They won’t leave it alone. I have deer in my clover for up to an hour at times. I harvested this buck as he was grazing. He grosses 179-7/8 with a 23-inch inside spread. The clover keeps the does around all year long which works awesome during the rut. This big boy was looking for them. You can see the clover in the photo. It’s in its third year. Thanks again Whitetail Institute. Imperial Clover is an unbelievable product.

John Fornabaio — New York I have observed a concentration of deer, especially bucks in my food plot of DoubleCross. Bucks of all ages feed there throughout the year. Does and fawns also use the plot regularly. Now we can look out our windows anytime of the year or day and expect to see deer. Enclosed is a picture of a 130-class buck I harvested with bow in November. In my area of www.whitetailinstitute.com


Nick Dietrich — North Dakota

upstate New York, this is very respectable buck. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

Mike Gregoire — Wisconsin We have been using Whitetail Institute products for four years and it looks like it is paying off. Got this monster last year on November 5 on the edge of a Winter-Greens field with a bow. Scored 176-5/8 nontypical.

William Martin — South Carolina I started using Imperial Whitetail Clover about five years ago and then I started mixing the chicory with it. Fortunately last season I planted a new two acres of Imperial Clover and one acre of Chicory Plus near a bedding area with a creek splitting the two. It turned out to be the best thing I ever did. The last day of deer season me and my son Hunter walked down to the plot which is about 250 yards from our home with pines blocking the house from the plot. As we approached the plot, I noticed some deer in the plot and next to the creek all I saw was horns coming out of the creek into the clover. Hunter and I (Hunter was four at the time and loves hunting) walked up to the edge of the plot and the buck was less than 60 yards out I told Hunter to cover his hears and I dropped him in his tracks. I kept my eyes on the deer and then looked down for Hunter, but he was gone! I looked up and screamed, “Hunter.” All you could see was the top of his little head bouncing through the clover after the buck. When we got to him I almost started to cry. For South www.whitetailinstitute.com

Carolina standards this buck is huge. He grossed 177-2/8 and netted 171-7/8 and has 5-inch bases. He has 5-4/8 circumferences on the base and split G3’s and a total of 15 points. Thank you Whitetail Institute for all the care and technology you use to come up with the best products out there. You guys are making dreams come true. Thanks.

I and three others purchased 57 acres of river bottom. On four of these acres we’ve planted food plots with Imperial Whitetail Clover. We immediately noticed an increase in deer activity in our fields. With the high numbers of deer we

Donald Gibbs Sr. — Indiana My hunting group hunts east central Illinois and has found that Chicory Plus is by far the best food plot product for the soil we plant in. Keep in mind our land floods every year. We have found that Chicory Plus grows good and will come back after being covered by flood water. We have taken several bucks in the 170-180 range. This year we were successful in taking an 180, 171, 152, and 145. Not shabby. There are five hunters on our property. The deer love the Chicory Plus. They will eat nearly all of it after crops are removed. The deer demonstrate what a good management program

can do. Enclosed are pictures of three big bucks we’ve taken

and also a picture of Austin Krack and his first deer.

were worried about the clover getting devoured. It easily kept up to the needs of our local deer herd. We’ve also used 30-06 Mineral supplements with fantastic results in both early and late season. We chased a 5-by-5 we named “the General” all year last year. He was probably about 120 to a 130-inch buck. This year he put on 25 inches of growth and increased to a 6-by6 frame. Although hard to pattern, “the General” never seemed to leave our small tract of land. My hunting partner, Matt Kern scored on this buck opening night of North Dakota archery season over a field of Imperial Whitetail Clover. This deer was a 6-by-6, 150-inch buck with a 19inch inside spread. We have had an immeasurable amount of fun monitoring/hunting over our plots. We’ve had a lot of success this year. Three bucks and six does have been harvested on our land this year alone. We look forward to many years of the same as we continue to use Whitetail Institute products. The bucks should only get bigger with time. “The General” is like the Godfather. He is the first trophy buck taken on our property. We will be telling stories about this deer and about our first few years managing our property using Whitetail Institute products for years to come. Hopefully we’ll have more stories to tell next year. Thanks. 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. 21, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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Three Elements for Successful Perennial Plantings By Wilson Scott

D

esigned to last three to five years, Whitetail Institute perennials can be the backbone of a food plot system. The three most important things you can do to get the most production and longevity from your perennials are liming low pH soil, fertilizing, and controlling weeds. Each of these is important in its own right. Moreover, cutting corners on one can also reduce your results with the others.

important it is to have your soil tested through a qualified soil-testing laboratory before you buy any lime or fertilizer. It is so important that you will see this advice in nearly every issue of Whitetail News.

Soil Test to Assure Optimum Growth and SAVE MONEY!

SOIL PH AND LIME It is often said that aside from death and taxes, few things in life are certain. Folks who think that way must not be food-plotters, because they are missing some things. One is the fact that performing a laboratory soil test is the best way to ensure two things: that your food plot planting will be the best it can be, and that you do not spend more than you have to on lime and fertilizer. That is why any proper discussion of lime and fertilizer requirements must include a reminder of how

Always have a qualified soil-testing laboratory analyze your soil before you buy any lime or fertilizer. That is the only way to find out exactly how much lime, and what blend and how much fertilizer you need to buy so that your forage plants can flourish, and you don’t waste money buying excess lime or fertilizer. Most forage products come with general lime and fertilizer recommendations in their planting instructions, but realize that these are default

recommendations designed to cover most situations in which a soil test is not available. Lime and fertilizer requirements depend heavily on site-specific factors such as soil type, though, so it’s likely that the default recommendations are not exactly what your plot needs, which can result in you buying more or less of one or more components than you really need. That’s why having your soil tested by a qualified soil-testing laboratory is the closest thing there is in agriculture to an investment with 100 percent or better guaranteed return, in many cases saving you hundreds of dollars by avoiding wasted lime and fertilizer costs. High-quality soil tests are available from the Whitetail Institute, agricultural university extension offices and county agents. Make sure that whatever soil test kit you use has the soil analyzed by a qualified soil-testing lab, and be sure to let the lab know what the forage is, and whether you will be planting it or maintaining it. That way, the lab can precisely tailor its recommendations.

Ensure the success of your food plots.

The Whitetail Institute 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 designed 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. 21, No. 1

TREATED

The Whitetail Institute

UN-TREATED

— 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results™

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SOIL PH, LIME AND FERTILIZER The most important factor in assuring food plot success is making sure that the pH of the soil in your plot is 6.5 or higher. Moreover, it might be a surprise to some of you that soil pH is an extremely easy thing to understand. What does “pH” mean? pH is a statement of something’s acidity or alkalinity. It is expressed as a number on a scale from 0 to 14. Lower numbers indicate acidic pH, and higher numbers indicate alkaline pH. Some common examples are shown in Graphic 1, below.

Graphic 2

Graphic 1

The Simple Matter of Soil pH: Soil pH is described the same way — lower numbers indi-

cate acidic soil, and higher numbers indicate alkaline soil. When it comes to high-quality forages, a third set of numbers — from about 6.5 to 7.5, described as the neutral pH range — are especially critical. Why is it important to plant in soil with neutral soil pH? It is important for the same reason it is important that we humans need to be able to eat. If we do not eat enough nourishing food, our health suffers — and the worse the nutrition-

al shortfall is, the worse our health is. Pretty simple, right? Well, guess what? That’s the same reason making sure your soil pH is at optimum levels is so important for forage plants: Most high-quality forages are best able to use the fertilizer we put out if they are growing in soil with a neutral pH (about 6.5 to 7.5). And the lower the pH is from neutral, the less fertilizer the plants can use.

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WHITETAIL NEWS

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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. Graphic 3

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

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The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

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Research = Results™

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

Let’s take a look at what that means. Let’s say the soil pH in your plot is 5.0, and you just spent $100 on fertilizer and put it out on your plot. Graphic 3 shows that a soil pH of 5.0 is strongly acidic, which will restrict the amount of fertilizer the plants can get to only about 46 percent. That means you just wasted $54 — more than half the $100 you just spent on fertilizer. Lime: When you get your soil test report back from the lab, chances are that it will show that your soil is acidic (that its soil pH is less than 6.5). By far, it’s most common for fallow soils to be in the acidic range. Lime is used to increase soil pH, so if the lab report shows that your soil is acidic, it will also give you its recommendation for how much lime to add to the soil to raise your soil pH to neutral. When soil pH is low, lime recommendations of two or three tons per acre are not unusual, so it is a good thing that lime tends to be relatively inexpensive. The reason so much lime is needed is because lime works in particle-to-particle contact with the soil to raise soil pH. That’s also why you should add any lime you need as far in advance of planting as possible to give it more time to work, and why you should thoroughly disk or till it into the top few inches of the seedbed so that it can work as quickly as possible. The lime you should use for this purpose is crushed limestone rock, which can be dolomitic or calcitic lime — either will be fine. The less expensive form is aglime, which is comparatively coarsely ground limestone and often available in bulk. You can also buy it in pelleted form, which consists of very finely crushed limestone rolled up into little clay balls so that it will feed through a broadcast spreader, but it’s more expensive. Fertilizer: When you have your soil pH adjusted so that your forage plants will be able to feed themselves by uptaking nutrients from the soil, you will need to make sure that soil nutrients are sufficient. Just like humans need good food to grow healthy bodies, plants need specific nutrients to be healthy. Your soil test report will also tell you how much and what blend of fertilizer you will need to add to the seedbed when you plant. The three main nutrients you are concerned with are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). Your soil test will tell you how much of each you’ll need. Many farm supply stores can custom blend N, P and K according to your soil test report, and most also have pre-packaged fertilizer blends that will cover most situations. www.whitetailinstitute.com


CONTROLLING GRASS AND OTHER WEEDS Remember the old saying about death and taxes I mentioned earlier? Food plotters can count on two more virtual certainties: No matter how well you prepare your seedbed, grass and other weeds will show up again at some point, and if you don’t control them in a timely manner, they can substantially reduce the quality and longevity of the planting. What’s in a word? Weed can be defined as “any plant that’s growing where we don’t want it.” When most of us discuss weed control in everyday conversation, though, we tend to lump them into four categories based on what they look like: Grass .............................................................................Any weed that looks like grass Woody Weed................................Weeds that have a hard stem such as briars Vining Weeds...........Weeds that grow along the ground instead of upright Broadleaf Weeds...............................................A catch-all for none of the above 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.

Contains Exclusive

Chemical Weed Control: This basically means spraying a herbicide solution. We will cover the basics of chemical weed control, but what follows is not intended to be a complete discussion. To be sure you choose the right herbicide for your intended use, always check the label on the herbicide. The label is the only certain source of accurate information about what the herbicide will control and what forage plants it won’t harm if used according to directions, and how to mix, spray and dispose of the herbicide solution correctly. Nonselective herbicides (herbicides that kill or damage any plants that take them in) that are foliar uptake (enter a weed through its actively growing leaf and don’t leave a presence in the soil) can be a great tool for removing weeds from new plot sites that are heavily infested. Examples are glyphosate-only herbicides from Monsanto (Roundup brand) and other manufacturers. Herbicides suitable for controlling weeds in existing forage stands are selective herbicides (designed to control weeds without harming forage plants). Selective grass herbicides, such as the Whitetail Institute’s Arrest, are often the best way to control or suppress most kinds of grass in most perennial forage stands. Chemical control is the preferred method for controlling most kinds of grass because most grasses tend to reproduce through their roots, so mowing isn’t as effective for controlling grass as it is for weeds that rely on flowering to reproduce. Arrest can be sprayed on existing stands of any Imperial perennial, and on any other clover or alfalfa. Selective broadleaf-weed herbicides, such as the Institute’s Slay product, are for controlling many types of broadleaf weeds in existing stands of Imperial Whitetail Clover, and any other clover or alfalfa. Physical Weed Control: This covers pretty much any action you take to control weeds that isn’t a herbicide application. Examples are disking, tilling, hand-pulling and mowing. Disking or tilling a new plot site at two-week intervals a few times before planting can bring dormant weed seed in the soil nearer the surface where it can germinate, and then be killed when the plot is disked again two weeks later. This can substantially reduce the amount of viable dormant seed in the soil. When the forage is growing, weeds can be hand-pulled if there aren’t too many. Periodic mowing during spring and summer can break the reseeding cycle of upright weeds that rely on flowering to reproduce. And because it takes a lot of energy and nutrients out of forage plants to flower, mowing to prevent your perennial forage plants from flowering can also keep your forage plants as healthy, nutritious and growing as vigorously as possible. www.whitetailinstitute.com

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The Whitetail Institute ®

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

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WHITETAIL NEWS

25


TYING IT ALL TOGETHER

Premium Deer Feed with 20% Protein

Results is a complete deer feed scientifically formulated to provide maximum nutritional benefit to deer throughout the year. Results is designed to help maximize rack size in bucks, improve the quantity of milk production in does, increase birth weights and growth in fawns, and promote overall herd health. Here are some of the specific benefits Results provides:

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 ®

26

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.

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

We’ve discussed why liming low-pH soil, fertilizing and controlling weeds are important to achieving our goal of having lush, thick perennial food plots that are highly attractive and nutritious. Along the way, we also covered why you should address all three and not cut corners on any of them. Here’s a summary: 1. The more vigorous and healthy your perennial forage is, the better it can compete with weeds. Here’s how Dr. Carroll Johnson, the Whitetail Institute’s Weed and Herbicide Scientist, described this relationship in an earlier Whitetail News article, titled “Integrated Weed Management” (available online: use the search at www.whitetailinstitute.com) “Uniform crop growth is the single most powerful form of weed control in any cropping system, including food plots.” In the same article, Dr. Johnson went on to identify some of the things that you need to address for growing conditions to be optimum for forage health and weed control: “Forage selection, proper soil fertility (particularly pH), seedbed preparation, seeding rate, and overall growing conditions are cultural practices that provide weed control benefits of troublesome weeds.” 2. Liming low-pH soil has two benefits. Your forage plants must have access to sufficient nutrients if they are to grow and be healthy. If you don’t lime first to raise low soil pH, the plants can’t uptake all the soil nutrients they need. Dr. Johnson also mentioned in “Integrated Weed Management” that “proper soil fertility (particularly pH)” is a significant factor in weed control. Consider that many weeds grow best in fallow soils that are still in their natural state, and that most fallow soils are naturally acidic. Liming low-pH soils to raise soil pH to neutral actually makes it harder for some weeds to grow and compete with your forage plants. So, cutting corners on lime not only makes it harder for your forage plants to grow, but also doesn’t inhibit weed growth as well. 3. Cutting corners on lime or fertilizer reduces the benefit of both on forage health and growth: Your forage plants must have access to sufficient nutrients if they are to grow and be healthy. If you fertilize fully but don’t lime first to raise low soil pH, plants won’t be able to use all the fertilizer. And if you lime sufficiently to raise soil pH to neutral but don’t correctly fertilize to raise insufficient soil nutrient levels, the plants still can’t get all the nutrients they need. For your forage plants to get all the nutrients they need, you should address both low soil pH and nutrient levels. 4. Ground tillage at two-week intervals a few times before planting can help incorporate lime and also reduce weed competition. Earlier, we mentioned that disking or tilling a new seedbed every two weeks a few times before planting is a great way to reduce weed competition by “cleaning” the soil (reducing levels of dormant weed seed). We also mentioned that lime should be thoroughly disked or tilled into the soil to increase soil pH as quickly as possible. So add any lime called for in your soil test report as early as possible, and disk or till it into the top few inches of the seedbed. 5. Mowing can help control weeds, keep perennials even more lush, attractive and nutritious and stimulate forage growth. Periodic mowing during the spring and summer can break the reseeding cycle of weeds that rely on flowering to reproduce. Mowing also helps maximize forage quality in two ways. First, it can prevent forage plants from expending the huge amounts of nutrients and energy it takes them to flower. Second, like pruning a bush, mowing can stimulate forage plants to put on new even more nutritious growth at lower levels. So, don’t cut corners, especially on lime, fertilizer and weed control. All must be addressed if your forage plants are to be as lush and healthy, nutritious and grow as vigorously as they can. If you have any questions or need additional information about the matters discussed in this article, call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030. W

www.whitetailinstitute.com


Matthew Humphrey — Arkansas I have 64 acres, all pine and hardwood mix but I have had 6 acres of lanes pushed out with a dozer and planted in Imperial Whitetail Clover, AlfaRack, and No-Plow. Sometimes I lose count of all the deer I am seeing in my lanes. I see more deer and more bucks since I started using these products. Also the 30-06 Minerals work great through the spring and summer months. When I poured the first bag out I never thought the deer were going to stop digging. They love it. In southwest Arkansas you need all the help you can get. It seems like everyone loves to hunt down here. Thanks Whitetail Institute for helping make a 64-acre honey hole.

Michael Wertz — Florida

are before and after pics of Winter-Greens. As advertised, the first hard frost came and then so did the deer! Thanks for the great products.

Colton Alldredge — Illinois

I’m 11 years old and have been hunting with my dad for eight years. Three years ago my dad planted Imperial Whitetail Clover. We have seen a big change in antler growth and weight. Thank you.

Rick Hafeman — Indiana

I have been planting and using Whitetail Institute products exclusively for five years with outstanding results. Through trial and error I have found that the Whitetail Institute products that I have used are at least as good as and usually superior to everything else on the market. Enclosed

We started using Imperial Whitetail Clover many years ago and it’s still the best year round food plot product. After the crops go down, the deer and turkeys really start hitting our clover patch hard and continue all winter long. This clover muncher was taken in early November. He scored 153 inches.

Buster Craddock — Kentucky We put the Imperial Whitetail Clover in a 5acre rich river bottom food plot three years ago. We have mowed it two times a year and we spray it with Arrest and Slay herbicides to maintain weed control. We also use smaller plots located throughout the property. Since doing these things we have seen a noticeable difference in the number of deer and an increasing growth in the size of all bucks we have seen and harvested.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

On observation trips to the large 5-acre plot during mid summer we regularly observe anywhere from two to 20 deer in the clover plot at one time. On one occasion in July two years ago we videoed 22 deer in the field with the count being nine bucks, four of which we consider shooters and seven mature does and six yearlings. This concerned us. How was the plot going to withstand the pressure of that many deer visiting the plot daily. It was also a dry year as well but as you can see by the enclosed picture it has held up very well. Also enclosed are some photos of two of the deer we have harvested since the food plots have been planted. Prior to planting Imperial Whitetail Clover we killed 110-inch bucks. Since planting we have killed many more bucks, one being a 158-inch bow kill. I’m unable to spend as much time in the woods preparing for deer season and Whitetail Institute products have helped me maximize my time spent plus increased the quality of the deer I hunt.

Clinton Stout — Pennsylvania I own a resource management company in Pennsylvania. I manage about 2,000 acres in Clinton, Jefferson and Potter counties. I have used many Whitetail Institute products on all of my areas. I have found in North Central Pennsyl-

www.whitetailinstitute.com


Leo Hinderscheid — Minnesota

vania, Double-Cross and Chicory Plus are ideal for our climate and soils. Along with other management practices, I feel Whitetail Institute products have helped grow larger bodied deer and has produced more deer and larger racked bucks. I shot this 142-inch 8-point on a Double-Cross plot in Pennsylvania.

John Sumners — Alabama J. Scott Sumners shot the 13point trophy (B&C 168) with a 9point frame and four sticker points when it appeared in a food plot thirty minutes prior to sundown late in the January gun season. A doe with the buck remained in transition cover while the tending buck jumped into the field. At first glance the buck didn’t appear to be a shooter until turning his rack to reveal 11-inch G3s, plus a 10-inch right brow tine. The deer was taken at about 75 yards with a circa 1960 Marlin .30/30 lever action rifle. The creek stand is ideally located between a sanctuary to the east and a food plot 75 yards to the west. We call it the “salad bowl” because Imperial Whitetail Clover and Winter-Greens grow so lush there. Over the past three seasons this same stand has produced this buck and two 10 pointers.

Dr. J.L. Robertson — Maryland I started to send a couple of pictures of my Imperial Whitetail Clover plots but you know what clover looks like! One plot I just mowed www.whitetailinstitute.com

and it doesn’t look very impressive other than the fact that it is in its 8th year of growth. I had an edge of a CRP field, sprayed with Roundup in the fall, disked, harrowed, broadcast seed and rolled. This is its 8th summer. Next spring I may overseed a little Imperial Whitetail Clover to fill in the two or three thin spots. The other plot that I’m most proud of is in its fifth year. I mowed it for the third time about two weeks ago and it’s now about 12-15 inches tall. Next summer will be its sixth summer and it looks better now than it did early on because of a dry start. Also, a comment on Winter-Greens. I planted a 1-acre strip across this plot last year. It was not unusual to see 20-30 deer in the acre strip. I was afraid they would stomp down my clover plot going to and from the greens. Terrible problem. Photo shows the bottom line. This seven-yearold deer grew up in my eight-year-old Imperial Whitetail Clover patch.

Joe Taber — Michigan Deer seem to like Imperial Whitetail Clover. I live in farm country, deer can’t take a step without finding something to eat, but they come to the clover.

I tried Imperial Winter-Greens. My buddies and I couldn’t believe the number of deer that were drawn in. See photo. We had nine hunters and came out with eight bucks. Even though the ground is now covered with about a foot of snow, the ground is all dug up from the deer. We are most definitely going to plant the WinterGreens again next summer. Thanks a lot Whitetail Institute.

Rick Williams — Missouri

I purchased 40 acres and a log cabin in Missouri three years ago and have now purchased an adjoining property of 57-1/2 acres that joins my 40 acres on the south side. I planted several products from Whitetail Institute and the results were fantastic. The Imperial Whitetail Clover and Double-Cross really did well and I had deer feeding on them all year and into the winter and I was hooked. I planted a 2-acre plot with the recommended seed from MDC along with 1/2-acre in the NW corner of Double-Cross. The deer would walk across the entire 2 acres to get to the 1/2acre Double-Cross plot — amazing! This will be my third year practicing QDM. on my property and I’ve noticed my deer growing better racks and larger bodies. I also have more deer using my 97-1/2 acres. When I moved here four years ago I would see an occasional deer now and then and now I see many deer and turkeys on a regular basis. The Double-Cross is a real magnet and I’ve never been to it and not seen deer on it. They loved it in October and they love it November and (Continued on page 64) Vol. 21, No. 1 /

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r e t th n O e d m n (a nage ) a s M n r o e i s e D Delu stul e B cott S y B

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

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B

ack in the 1980s, my cousins and I decided to “get serious” about improving the buck quality on the 600-plus acres we hunted in central Wisconsin. Most of us were not far removed from a farm background, so one of the first things we did was something any good farmer who wanted his critters to grow big and impressive would do: We tried to get rid of breedingage males that looked inferior. We’d have had more success herding cats.

At first glance, shooting sub-par bucks — a practice known as “culling” — makes perfect sense. Why let scrawny, poorly antlered males contribute their genes to the annual fawn crop, especially when there are — or should be — true stud horses willing to take their place? Eliminating less-desirable males from the gene pool is standard operating procedure in everything from hunting dogs to race horses. Why would it not work with deer? Especially when we knew that the whitetail breeding process was based on a dominance-based hierarchy that favored the biggest, strongest and oldest bucks. By shooting scraggly inferiors, we’d enjoy a super-race of sleek bucks bound for the B&C books in a few seasons. Well that fantasy sure didn’t match reality, at least the one we lived in in our corner of Wisconsin. And now — many years later — we know why. Research projects have shined a huge, beaming light on the mechanics of the whitetail breeding process, and taught us exactly why culling bucks in free-ranging herds is most often simply bad science. What follows is a brief summary of each project and its implications for managers. WHAT’S IN AN ANTLER? Culling, of course, relies on taking out those bucks that lack “the right stuff” to produce

mega-antlers. And what is the most obvious indicator of which bucks make the cut and which bite the dust? Why, antlers of course. You don’t have to have been around deer hunting long before you hear the age-old theory that spike bucks are inferior to their branch-antlered brothers and cousins. And in some cases, that old saw might be true. But in most others, it’s simply dead wrong. Research has proven that some young bucks just get off to a rough start often because they were born a little later, or good antler-growing conditions just didn’t exist that year. But they can blossom into trophies if given time and a chance and are provided proper nutrition. Another category of cull bucks are those with deformed or misshapen antlers. We’ve all seen these goofy-looking abnormals trotting through the timber — tines stubbed off; main beams blunted or curved oddly; and even bucks that pack a classic, gorgeous right or left side can have a matching antler that is nothing more than a pathetic spike, fork or twisted-up main beam. These were the bucks my cousins and I liked to kill when we were culling. “Never amount to anything, anyway,” we’d say as we showed our group another yearling buck done in before his prime. Although some bucks will indeed carry deformed — or at least non-classic — antlers their entire lives, there’s just as strong a chance

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Vol. 21, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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that an unbalanced rack will correct itself in the future. Injuries to the antlers or the opposing rear quarter can damage antlers one season and then be a non-factor the next. Noted researcher Mickey Hellickson proved this with a telemetry buck they captured in one of his King Ranch studies. At the year of capture, the buck was a 3-1/2-year old, with six tines on one side and an ugly fork on the other. The next year the buck was a gorgeous 7-by-6 that Hellickson wouldn’t have recognized had it not been a study animal with an imbedded microchip. Two years later, as a 6-1/2-year-old, the buck sported an even larger 13-point rack with four sticker points that grossed nearly 180 inches. CONTROLLED BREEDING? Another long-held belief about the whitetail rut is that the biggest, oldest, most dominant bucks monopolized much of the breeding. More King Ranch research — led again by Hellickson — proved this is not true. The King Ranch, remember, is perhaps the most intensely managed whitetail population in America. Buck-todoe ratios are as close to ideal as possible, and there are a good number of bucks spread across all age classes; up to 30 percent of the bucks are 5-1/2-years-old or older. (Sound like your property? Mine neither). Even with big, old, deer present, immature bucks — 2-1/2 or younger —

sired 35 percent of all fawns. Researchers proved this by matching DNA from captured deer and identifying the lineage for each animal. It gets even more interesting. Although old, massive-racked bucks are the intended goal of many management programs, Hellickson’s research proved that some mature bucks simply don’t participate much in the rut. “We had 7-1/2-year-old bucks that bred hard for only one season, and some bucks just didn’t get into breeding at all,” he said. “We don’t know if that’s a personality thing — some bucks are simply shy and reclusive — or a function of dominance or something else. All we learned for sure is that it’s almost impossible to predict the breeders, regardless of size or age.” But recent research — at the King Ranch and other places — has also proven another interesting statistic: Individual bucks tend to only a handful of does each fall. And of the fawns they actually sire, a percentage will succumb to predation or accidents. This makes the actual contribution of even a highly desired “breeder” buck to the area deer herd a statistical drop-inthe-bucket. Of course, it’s great when a studly, towering-antlered giant passes his superior genetic traits down to a young buck fawn. But any manager of a free-ranging deer herd who thinks he can make that happen with regularity is kidding himself. And finally there’s this: Hunters have long had

a tunnel vision that focused solely on the contribution that a buck makes to a fawn’s genetic makeup, but even the greenest farmer can tell you that the female half of the equation is equally important. And how are we to select for the most genetically superior does in a wild population? Body size? Ear length? Tail diameter? I’m being facetious here, of course. We have no such control and likely never will. Managers of wild deer do not live in a world of penned does, semen straws and artificial insemination. Our attempts to influence the genetic makeup of our whitetails might be admirable but are largely futile. SO NOW WHAT? Faced with such statistics, it might be tempting to throw our collective hands up in the air and wonder why the heck we try so hard to grow quality deer. The key, of course, is to focus on factors we can control, and forget the ones where nature is driving the car. In other words, let captive breeders worry about genetics. They have some measure of control in that arena, but wild deer managers do not. Indeed, free-ranging deer actually benefit from genetic diversity, which is at least one of nature’s reasons for making yearling bucks disperse to areas far from their home range. I’m sure a biologist could list other ways in which

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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The Whitetail Institute ®

32

239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com

Research = Results™ www.whitetailinstitute.com


deer populations are saved from in-breeding, but I’m not that guy. All I know is, fretting about genetics is not only a monumental waste of time, but it takes us a scary step closer toward thinking of whitetails as domestic animals that we “raise” or “grow.” In my opinion, waltzing down that road is a sad step, if not a dangerous one. So what do we do? We make the habitat we own or manage as good as it can possibly be, and then let whitetails do the rest. Providing quality food plots is a huge part of the equation, as well as a never-ending challenge. I have the privilege of talking to many deer hunters each year, and the popularity of food-plotting is only matched by the questions that wanna-be farmers (like me) have after dipping their toes in that pool. But whether we’re struggling to grow that perfect stand of Imperial Whitetail Clover or fretting whether we should experiment with Imperial Winter-Greens, we know that we’re helping whitetails be as healthy as possible. Managing timber and other forms of whitetail cover is a second, though no-less-vital link to managing a deer herd. Whitetails are largely a woodland species — one that thrives in younggrowth timber that provides browse and cover for bedding, security and fawning. Food plots are understandably a hot item right now, but let’s never forget that timber management — as well as the creation and management of grass-

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.

Research = Results™

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The Whitetail Institute ®

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239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043

Vol. 21, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

33


We make the habitat we own or manage as good as it can possibly be, and then let whitetails do the rest. Providing quality food plots is a huge part of the equation, as well as a neverending challenge.

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

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

(each sample plants 100 sq. ft.) (shipping and handling)

Offer 2 — only $19.95

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

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

The Whitetail Institute

®

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800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

Research = Results™

lands, river corridors, wetlands and other critical habitat — is every bit as vital to deer. Maintain ideal cover, I’m convinced, and we’ll be able to grow all the mature bucks our property is capable of producing. Third, if we really want to improve the composition and age structure of our herd, we’ll make the right decisions about which — and how many — deer we kill. I’m still amazed at the number of hunters who tell me, “I want as many does on my ground as possible, so then I know where all the bucks will be during the rut.” Well I’ve never lived in that world, but I have a couple of very good friends who had “as many does on their ground as possible.” Though their properties held good bucks, killing one was nearly impossible during the rut, as mature deer barely had to move to find a willing doe. And though many bucks survived to old age, very few ever grew great antlers. Stressed from a long and arduous rut, the bucks barely scraped through winter, competing for food with oodles of does. Only when an aggressive doe-harvest plan, designed to bring overall deer numbers in tune with the habitat, was implemented did the bucks start growing to their potential. Even better, they became more killable. Finally, celebrate the success of taking a buck from the bounty now and then. I’ve known hunters who tag a fine, mature whitetail but then secondguess their decision by wondering, “Maybe I should have left him to breed another year or grow bigger.” If the buck trips your trigger when you see him in the field, and he meets the harvest criteria for that property, shoot the buck, and count it as a marker of success. Passing a deer to see if he’ll gain 20 inches the next fall is understandable, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand and raise the harvest bar so high nearly every buck is off limits. (I’ve seen this happen, too). But passing on a buck because one more year of breeding will somehow benefit the area’s genetics? This is as foolhardy as turning down a date with the pretty girl next door in hopes that Angelina Jolie will show up and whisk you off your feet. Growing great food plots. Implementing a long-term, well-designed, habitat management plan. Keeping deer numbers in tune with property size and available habitat. All are time-consuming, difficult and worthy goals to strive for. But controlling or improving genetics? You might as well try herding cats. W www.whitetailinstitute.com


Food Plot Planting Guide‌ PLANTING DATES FOR CLOVER, ALFA-RACK PLUS, EXTREME, NO-PLOW, CHICORY PLUS, AND CHIC MAGNET    

   

Call for planting dates Apr 1 - July 1 Apr 15 - June 15 Aug 1 - Sept 1 Coastal: Feb 1 - Mar 1 Sept 1 - Oct 15 Southern Piedmont: Feb 15 - Apr 1 Aug 15 - Oct 1 Mountain Valleys: Mar 1 - Apr 15 Aug 1 - Sept 15

 

Feb 1 - Apr 1 Aug 1 - Sept 30 Feb 1 - Apr 15 Sept 1 - Nov 1 North: Mar 15 - May 1 Aug 1 - Sept 15 South: Mar 1 - Apr 15 Aug 15 - Oct 15 Apr 1 - June 15 July 15 - Aug 25 Apr 1 - May 15 Aug 1 - Aug 31

   

Mar 20 - May 15 Aug 1 - Sept 15 Sept 15 - Nov 15 Feb 5 - Mar 1 North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15 Feb 15 - Apr 1 Sept 1 - Oct 30 North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15 Feb 1 - Mar 1 Coastal: Sept 25 - Oct 15 Piedmont: Sept 1 - Oct 5 Mountain Valleys: Aug 25 - Oct 15 North: Sept 15 - Nov 25 South: Oct 5 - Nov 30 Mar 1 - May 15 Aug 1 - Sept 1 Feb 1 - Apr 15 Aug 20 - Sept 30 Apr 15 - June 15 July 1 - Aug 15

  21  22

May 15 -July 1 May 1 - June 15 July 1 - Aug 15 May 15 - July 1

PLANTING DATES FOR DOUBLE-CROSS, PURE ATTRACTION AND SECRET SPOT    

Aug 1 - Sept 1

  

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



Call for planting dates Call for planting dates

Aug 1 - Sept 30 Sept 1 - Nov 1 North: Aug 1 - Sept 15 South: Aug 15 - Oct 15 July 15 - Aug 25 Aug 1 - Aug 31



Aug 1 - Sept 15



Sept 15 - Nov 15 North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15



Sept 1 - Oct 30

 

North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

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

   21  22

July 1 - Aug 15 June 15 - July 15 July 15 - Aug 31 July 1 - Aug 15

Aug 1 - Sept 1 Aug 20 - Sept 30

PLANTING DATES FOR WINTER-GREENS™ AND TALL TINE TUBERS™    

 

Call for planting dates Call for planting dates July1 - August 1* Coastal: Aug 15 - Sept 30 Southern Piedmont: Aug 1 - Sept 15 Mountain Valleys: July 15 - Sept 15 July 15 - Sept 15 Aug 1 - Oct 1

www.whitetailinstitute.com

 

North: July 15 - Sept 15 South: Aug1 - Oct 1 North: July 20 - Aug 1* South: July 5 - Aug 15* July 1 - Aug 15 July 15 - Sept 15* Sept 15 - Nov 15 North: Sept 5 - Nov 1 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

 

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

      21  22

North: Sept 15 - Nov 15 Central: Sept 25 - Nov 15 South: Oct 5 - Nov 30 July 15 - Sept 1 Aug 1 - Sept 30 July 1 - Aug 15 June 15 - July 15 July 15 - Aug 31 July 1 - Aug 15

* Earlier (spring) planting dates may be applicable. Call Whitetail institute for more information. ** For northern Pennsylvania, earlier (spring) planting dates may be applicable. Call Whitetail Institute for more information

IMPORTANT! For optimal production, plant at least 50 days before first frost.

Vol. 21, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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

Weeds Appearing in Unexpected Places

I

am amazed by where weeds appear and conditions related to their sudden appearance. Our family has a small cabin on Lake Martin in the piedmont region of central Alabama. This reservoir was completed in 1926 to generate electricity and help control flooding downstream. As a result of the latter use, the lake elevation is intentionally lowered in the autumn by 10 to 12 feet to create storage capacity for winter rain. In 1986, there was severe drought in the region and the lake never reached full pool during the summer. Near our cabin, a small stream flows into the lake, with a delta of sediment deposited in a broad plain—an artifact from when the surrounding landscape was in subsistence farming a century ago. That summer, the sediment dried for first time in recollection. The result was about five acres of cocklebur and smallflower morningglory— common weeds of crop production. Presently, that small stream drains a watershed that is totally woodland, with no cultivated cropland. Seed deposited in the delta decades earlier remained dormant since the delta was normally underwater during the summer months. The dry summer of 1986 featured conditions that favored germination; in this case adequate oxygen and sunlight. Weeds appeared where they were not expected. Weeds appearing in unexpected places is a perpetual headache for those who manage food plots, whether for hire or as a hobby. Understanding the phenomenon of the weed seedbank will help anticipate the problem and minimize losses. There are underlying factors to consider; previous land-use, seed production, and seed dormancy. PREVIOUS LAND-USE PATTERNS There are few stands of true virgin timber in the eastern U. S. and much of our current timberland has either been previously harvested for timber or cultivated as farmland. These two disruptions will directly influence rapid changes in plant species diversity and many of these plants we categorize as ‘weeds’. If timberland becomes reforested, the ‘weeds’ become scarce and eventually disappear as the forest matures. Similar processes occur in cultivated sites after crop

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

production ceases. Basically, these two examples are what plant ecologists call oldfield succession, but starting at different points in the process. In both examples, weeds produce large amounts of seed, tubers, and rhizomes that are stored in the seedbank.

number of dormant pigweed seed already in the soil. Using this example, would it not be prudent to pull or chop the escaped pigweed before they produce seed and make a manageable problem much worse?

NUMBERS OF WEED SEED

Dormancy is controlled by the genetic code unique to each plant species and environmental conditions. During dormancy, weed seed are in a protected state that may last for many years (Table 1). A useful strategy to reduce seedbank numbers in fallow sites is to stimulate large-scale weed seed germination with repeated tillage and control the emerged weeds, either with subsequent tillage, a non-selective herbicide like glyphosate, or both. This is termed stale seedbed weed control. The sequence of tillage to stimulate weed emergence followed by control will partially deplete numbers of viable weed seed in the soil. The longer this sequence is practiced, the better the results. Yes — it is costly and temporarily removes a potentially valuable food plot site from forage production. However, stale seedbed weed control can take a hopelessly weedy site and hammer the weed seedbank down to a manageable level. Advocates of minimum-till production systems contend that this system brings weed seed from deep in the soil profile back to the soil surface where germination occurs. While minimum-till production systems offer many soil conservation and time-savings advantages, this is not the case with weed control. Research has shown that when fields are tilled, 80 percent of the weed seed near the soil surface are buried; with later tillage only bringing 38 percent of those seed back to the soil surface. In other words, tillage buries far more weed seed than it brings back to the soil surface — a significant net reduction. In contrast, sustained minimumtill production systems cause an accumulation of weed seed near the soil surface where they can readily germinate when conditions are right. This phenomenon is presently occurring nationwide with widespread infestations of herbicide resistant pigweeds, frequently in minimum-till production systems. As a result, farmers are

Weed seed — they come in all shapes and sizes.

Have you ever wondered how many seed a weed can produce? Weed seed production is influenced by species, weed density, and growing conditions. A large isolated weed will produce more seed per plant than a spindly plant growing in close proximity to others. Obviously, that effect can be offset by large number of spindly plants. Regardless of all the qualifiers, refer to Table 1 that lists seed production of several weed species. These numbers are the reason why preventing weed seed production is one of the overall goals of integrated weed management in any cropping system, including food plots. Consider an occasional escaped pigweed in a food plot; perhaps an eyesore but not necessarily enough to affect forage growth on a large scale. However, multiplying the number of escaped pigweeds by 200,000 seed per plant produces an enormous number. This does not take into account the unknown

WEED SEED DORMANCY

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desperately reverting to conventional-tillage systems that bury accumulated pigweed seeds stratified near the soil surface and hopefully lessen incidence of a weed pest that has very limited control options. This is particularly unfortunate since many of these sites are highly erodible and need to be in a minimum-till production system. Weeds often appear unexpectedly in food plots. This should be anticipated because of the large numbers of dormant seed in the seedbank. Aggressive measures are needed to reduce the weed seedbank and prevent weed seed production in food plots. These goals are critical for successful and sustainable weed management in food plots. Table 1. Seed production and longevity of common weedsa.

Annual bluegrass Common lambsquarters Common purslane Pigweeds Common chickweed Common ragweed Eastern black nightshade Fall panicum

Seed Production (no./plant) 36,000 500,000 242,500 229,000 15,000 62,000 480,000 500,000

Seed Longevity (years) 68b 1,700c 40 40 600c 39 39 10

Goosegrass Jimsonweed Large crabgrass Pennsylvania smartweed Field pennycress Shepherd’s-purse Curly dock Dandelion Johnsongrass Quackgrass

135,000 23,400 150,000 19,300 20,000 38,500 40,000 17,860 28,000 400

6 39 50b 30 30 35 80 68b 12 10

a Summarized data published in: Regnier, E. E. 1994. Teaching seed bank ecology in an undergraduate laboratory exercise. Weed Technol. 9:5-16. (Refer to that article for the original source of data for individual weeds.) b Seed collected from soil beneath a meadow, pasture, or forest. Ages of weed seed were indirectly determined by the duration of the current land-use pattern. c Seed recovered from archeological sites and longevity determined by carbon-dating.

RED POPPIES — AN HISTORICAL EXAMPLE OF WEEDS IN UNEXPECTED PLACES The setting is World War I, the Somme Battlefield in northeastern France. Like many battles in World War I, combat was largely in a restricted area for an extended period. What had once been pastoral pastures and small woodlots was transformed into a

wasteland of trenches and artillery impact craters. War had destroyed the topography of the countryside. The following summer after hostilities moved elsewhere, miles of the once barren battlefield were transformed into a sea of red poppies in full bloom. This was the inspiration of the present-day tradition of red poppies used to commemorate what we now call Veteran’s Day or Armistice Day. The Somme Battlefield was also the location of a detailed plant ecology study1 that catalogued the suddenly changed flora and factors that influenced plant diversity. Repeated artillery barrages pulverized the soil and when combined with the weathering effects of rain, snow, and freezing/thawing the net effect was akin to a gigantic plow that haphazardly tilled an entire region in France. Dormant weed seed (in this case red poppy seed) were exposed to oxygen, sunlight, and water. What was once pasture and woodland was destroyed by war, but later transformed to a sea of red poppies. Once again, weeds appeared in unexpected places. W 1 Hill, A.W. 1917. The flora of the Somme battlefield. Bull. of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. pp. 297-300.

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

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THE SECRET:

ENTRY AND EXIT ROUTES By Bill Winke Photos by the Author

“W

ow,” the young hunter whispered as he bent over to examine the huge scrape. “I’d sure like to get a crack at the buck that made this! Maybe by dark he’ll be wearing my tag.” But, alas, the

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

only thing that came near the scrape that afternoon was a pair of squirrels. Convinced there had to a better spot, the hunter pulled his stand and spent the next day scouting. That evening he hunted over a big rub near a creek. Nothing. The next day the hunter found a spot with “better sign.” And again the results were the same. This pattern continued until the rut wound down and the season

closed. With all the sign he’d found, the hunter was perplexed when he realized he hadn’t seen anything bigger than an average 8-point buck. Most of us can identify with the seemingly bad luck this hunter encountered, but none more than I, because the young hunter in the story was me. There’s a whole lot more to hunting mature bucks than finding the best sign and throwing

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up a stand. If shooting a mature buck were that easy, every hunter would have a wall full of heads. No, you have to dig a little deeper. There definitely are things known only to the most successful hunters, and once you figure them out you will join their ranks. If there is a secret to hunting mature whitetails, it is related to access. How you get to and from your stands largely determines the outcome of your season. WHAT THEY KNOW THAT YOU DON’T I know guys who have better track records while hunting the same farms as me. And, I know guys who have worse track records. Some of that is attributable to luck, but when the same hunters drag in big bucks consistently every year and other hunters seem to be chasing their tails around in circles, there has to be more to it than just luck. Consistency over time is the truest test of a person’s hunting strategy and I’m always willing to learn from the people who hang good deer every year. Larry and Dan are two guys that I used to hunt with on the same farm. Year in and year out, Larry got into the most big bucks and Dan got into the least. We all hunted the same farm, we all hunted the rut, we all showered in the morning before going out and we can all shoot our bows at least well enough to make clean kills out to 40 yards. On the surface, you would not have seen many differences in the type of stand locations we hunted. They all overlooked good sign. But, if you dug into the fine points of the hunt, you would have seen the gap widen. It is all about the details. Entry and exit is the key: Choosing the best route to and from each stand is the most important detail in structuring a good season. Casual hunters rarely consider this all-important aspect of the hunt. When casual hunters talk about their stands, they tell of big scrapes or lots of nearby trails. Whenever seasoned hunters talk about a stand location, they are much more likely to talk first about how they get to it. This is because experienced hunters know that the entry and exit routes are even more important than the sign the stand overlooks. I’ve come to the conclusion that a stand overlooking an average location but with totally undetectable access is actually a better choice than a stand overlooking exceptional sign but with only average access. That’s because the number of mature bucks you see is not directly proportional to the number of scrapes or rubs or trails your stand overlooks, but it is proportional (inversely, in this case) to the number of deer you alert on the way to and from the stand. Your mental maps of your hunting area should not be marked only with buck sign and deer trails, but rather sliced up with low-profile access routes. The trails you will use to get in and out clean are the details that really count. Controlling the variables: I remember talking with PSE’s Pete Shepley a couple of years ago about great hunters he has known. He told me of one of his friends that few people have ever heard of. The man holds Pete’s highest admiration. Pete told me the guy is incredibly thorough in everything he does. His planning is flawless and his assessments of the options available at any point in the hunt are equally impressive. He is very good at breaking down the odds to determine what the animal is most likely to do next. In other words, Pete’s friend leaves as little to chance as possible. He breaks down all the variables of the hunt and micro-manages them so that success is the most likely outcome. We can all learn from this kind of preparation — leaving nothing to chance. Every decision you make or don’t make every single day and every single minute impacts your chances for success and alerting just a single deer on your way to or from your stand reduces your chances for success that season. It is that simple. When the bucks know you are hunting them, they become very hard to kill. The most common way they learn of your bad intentions is through sloppy planning of entry and exit routes. They can even pick this up through the body language of other deer, so if you educate one in a roundwww.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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Using the terrain to your advantage is key to entering and exiting your stands

about way, you have started the process of educating them all. SELECTING THE BEST ROUTES 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!

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Bar none, ditches and creeks are my favorite terrain features to use when accessing my stands. I love them so much that I will go out of my way to find stands near these features just so I can use the low ground to slip into and out of my hunting area. Since you are below the general lay of the land, the deer are less likely to see you as you pass. Also, the sounds you make are muffled by the terrain as well. Since the wind blows over these features, your scent is not as likely to wash around the area. Finally, you are walking in an area that deer are not likely to frequent (they may cross them, but they typically don’t walk right down a ditch) so your ground scent won’t be discovered easily. Obviously, this is the definition of a perfect entry and exit route. To make these locations even better, I will go in ahead of the season with a chainsaw and remove any brush or blown-down timber that has fallen into the creek or ditch so my passage can be quieter, quicker and more enjoyable. In the absence of creeks or ditches, I look for anything in the terrain or cover that will keep me hidden from nearby deer. It is hard to find such features and that is why I go out of my way to hunt near the ditches and creeks. Sometimes a ravine is present, and even without a ditch at the bottom, it at least serves to keep me off the skyline. I have also used steep bluffs. I walk up the bluff or along its edge and then hunt the lip at the top with the wind blowing my scent out over the abyss. Sometimes you will find thick cover that you can sneak along, like a brushy fence line, but outside of these few examples, it can be tough to find truly low-profile routes. You may need to make your own. CREATING YOUR OWN ROUTES Not every part of your farm will have good entry and exit routes. That means you have two options—either avoid hunting those areas or create your own low-profile routes. I have good luck creating them and some of my friends have turned this into a fine art. Here are a few of the strategies www.whitetailinstitute.com


Some hardcore hunters even cross streams or rivers to properly enter their stands.

that have worked for us. Standing crops: This is the easiest method

and one of the most effective. If you have to cover open ground, it makes sense to get dou-

ble duty out of your screen by planting it to a tall food source. I plant corn in these areas now, but I have also used forage sorghum in areas with high deer numbers. The deer won’t eat the sorghum when it is growing so it gains its full height and puts on a nice head before they start to feed on it. Corn, on the other hand, is like candy to deer during the summer so if you have a large deer population you may find that they have eaten your screen to the ground by late July! Understand that there is a difference between forage sorghum and grain sorghum. Grain sorghum is what most farmers grow when they produce sorghum (also known as milo) to sell. It yields a large head of seed that the deer learn to love eating. However, the plant only reaches about four feet tall — not tall enough for our purposes. Forage sorghum is much taller and is not grown for seed, but the farmers chop it and feed it as forage. It can grow ten feet tall in good soils, but even in the poorer soils where I have grown it, forage sorghum reaches eight feet tall. It is thick, tall and you can plant it in 30-inch rows making it easier to walk through. Or you can drill it and then “hollow” out a trail. I can tell you a bunch of stories of walking right past deer in the forage sorghum. I have had bucks chasing does as little as a few yards

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away as I scooted from my evening stands. It is a very useful planting for screening purposes and the deer will eat it when the weather (a few hard freezes and high winds or snow) brings the heads down where they can reach them. Or you can knock the stuff down after the season to make the heads much more accessible to the deer. Overall, forage sorghum is a great planting for screen purposes, but you will need at least 12 rows (30-inch rows) or about 30 feet width with a drill to provide a solid screen. Tree plantings: I have a friend who uses a tree mover to place cedar trees into a double row that permits him to slip through open areas undetected. Granted, you need access to hundreds of trees if you are going to build a sizeable cedar screen, but I can’t imagine a better way to slip around the edge of a feeding area than through a tunnel of cedars. The trees are dense, block the wind and their “leaves” are needles that rarely fall off. Just a word of caution for those considering other trees for screens: make sure you are planting something that deer don’t like to eat or your screen will become an expensive one-season food plot and you’ll be right back where you started. White pine, for example, would be a very bad choice. Switchgrass: Switchgrass makes a good screen if you take care of it properly. It likes good soils and fertilizer so just throwing a few

seeds out is not going to get it done. I have planted Cave-In-Rock switchgrass on some of the land I have managed over the years and have some on the farm we currently own. If left to nature, it will not grow much over about four to five feet tall. To get it to reach its maximum “screen” height of about six feet, you need to take good care of it. Consult with an agronomist about proper switchgrass maintenance in your area. Switchgrass works fine, but doesn’t perform as well as standing crops or cedar trees for this purpose. It just isn’t tall enough. However, in wide-open settings where standing crop is not possible, it can provide a decent option. Building berms: I am not a big fan of using a bulldozer to create screens, but I have seen it done. Typically, this is simply a long mound along the edge of a field or food plot behind which the hunter sneaks. It doesn’t have to be more than three feet tall, because brush will grow on top and make the screen naturally taller. Basically, you just push a few feet of dirt from the outside of the field inward, creating a narrow, shallow ditch in which you walk while the dirt forms the berm behind which you hide. If you have access to a bulldozer and can’t come up with a good way to get past deer as you head to and from your stands, this method will definitely work and doesn’t create too much of an eye-sore. Just be sure to provide some

form of drainage to keep the shallow ditch from pooling water after a rain. CONCLUSION The most important consideration when selecting a stand site is undetected access. Some properties have ample creeks and ditches that you can and should discover. However, if the property you hunt doesn’t have natural terrain and cover features that allow you to stay out of sight, you will need to create them. There are plenty of ways to do this when laying out your food plots, native grass seeding and tree planting strategies. It is all about staying undetected. Be creative because there are few standard situations when designing your access routes. Each farm is different. I know a wealthy fellow who once told me he was going to bury six-foot diameter tubing right through the middle of his farm so he could sneak in underground! I know how he feels; many times I have wished I had such an approach lane myself. I even considered using some kind of overhead tram system or a parachute drop. To be serious, there really is nothing more important than getting in and out clean. Though few of us will ever go to extreme measures, we all have options — things we can and should do to improve our access and our hunting. 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 ®

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

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310-Pound Canadian Monster By Bernard Fiset Photo by the Author

I

have been hunting whitetails for more than 30 years, and most of that has been in Quebec, Canada. I have chased whitetails east, west, north and south across my province without any significant sightings of big deer in all the areas that I attempted to hunt. I tried reputable outfitters and leasing property to try to kill a big deer. But nothing proved to be effective in my attempt to harvest a true mature buck. I then turned to hunting the infamous big buck provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and made the trip there for six years. Only on the rare occasion did I get a glimpse of what a mature whitetail even looked like. I decided that a change-up in strategy was necessary, and I decided to concentrate my efforts on a different game plan. After all, I wasn’t getting anywhere with the way I was doing things. Longtime friend John Cristinziani and I leased a parcel of land of about 900 acres. I eventually bought the land when I discovered its potential. This tract of land had previously been hunted by several parties of local hunters. The pressure and overharvest that this property endured was quickly evident. The first hunting season, few bucks were seen, and the ones that were sighted were less than 2-1/2 years old. We realized that by managing hunting pressure and with selective harvest, opportunities at some large deer might be possible. The next challenge was nutrition. There was no agriculture within a mile of the property. There was excellent cover habitat for the deer because there was plenty of forest and marshland. But there wasn’t any quality food. Hence began the research of options for food plot seed. It would not be a big deal to hire a contractor/farmer with some tillage equipment and throw some seed to the soil, which could be purchased at the

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local co-op, and then let Mother Nature handle the rest. Through trial and error, I slowly learned with my own research that not only did the usual farming practices differ when providing nutrition for wildlife, but so did the type of seed required for good results. I had heard about a company in the United States specializing in deer nutrition. Being an entrepreneur and, more important, a manufacturer, I know what it means to specialize and be the best in your field based on research, development, credibility and longevity. Whitetail Institute products were introduced to me by a local deer biologist who had tested and researched the products himself. He raved about how the deer preferred these plants to any other seed product on the market. He compared the high protein levels and palatability found in Whitetail Institute seeds to the levels found in co-op or agricultural seeds, which are produced and specialized for cattle and horse, not for whitetails. He explained how high levels of protein and minerals were vital not only in producing trophy racks, but also for building strong immune systems in deer that in turn will produce superior offspring resistant to the harsh Canadian elements. Whitetail Institute products are proven in Canada. Plus, Whitetail Institute is the only company that specializes in deer nutrition and deer nutrition alone. I have become fanatical about deer nutrition. I believe I have found the strategy that works best for me in harvesting a mature trophy buck every year. My property now has small half-acre hunting plots up to larger 6-acre feeding plots. The products I use the most are Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus and WinterGreens. I also have several mineral lick stations where I regularly disperse 30-06 Mineral/Vitamin supplement directly onto the soil from spring to early fall. Some of the holes they paw into the ground are as much as two feet deep. The story of my first trophy buck begins here. Undertaking a regular pre-rut scouting trip on the property in September three years ago, I began noticing several large rubs and scrapes in a remote area of the property. I set up two cameras on the heavily rubbed trail that led to the food plot. I immediately began getting nice trail pictures of a tall-tined deer with good mass during the fall. I estimated him to be a 150-class 51/2-year-old deer. The area he was using was in a very secluded section of the property to the far west side. I decided to step out of the area and let the buck be for that season. I set up the same two cameras in a small patch of hardwood trees the following October. This was the area where I found the rubs the previous year. It took two weeks before my smart cards revealed my first photos of him. I was so ecstatic to see that he had made it through another season. I was even more excitwww.whitetailinstitute.com


ed when I saw what he had on his head. What a whopper he turned out to be. Just one year later, he put on so much mass and tine length. More important, his body was huge. This was the sort of buck I had dreamed of for the past 30 years. I knew that I needed that right wind before even thinking about going in there not only to set up a stand but also to hunt him. I waited for a day of strong winds, and off I went to set up the portable tree stand. I decided to set up in a cedar grove where the trees would give me a good background to break up my silhouette. The cedars would also serve well to help conceal my scent. It was going to be a tight-quarters shot, but I felt good about the set-up and the large deer tracks in the well-used trail. I just needed a west wind. Finally, on the third day of the muzzleloader hunting season in December, the forecast called for a west wind. It was a sleepless night to say the least. I knew that my best chance of harvesting that deer would be my first time on stand. I knew that when I walked in and out of there, despite all the scent control that I spend a small fortune on every year, my scent would surely alert such an old deer. The pressure was on. I walked the 500 or so yards from my truck to the set as quietly as possible in the early morning. I wanted to get there making the least noise possible and used an access trail far enough away enough from the food plot so as not to disturb any of the deer that might be feeding there. The plan was to try and harvest the buck as it went from the feeding area back to its bedding area. I had still not seen a deer by 9:15 a.m. I had not lost hope, because I knew this

was an unpressured deer with no reason to be going back to bed for the day in the wee hours during the rut. I was watching hard on that wellused trail when out of nowhere I saw him making his way toward me. He slowly walked toward me, stopping every so often to nibble on some green forage on the ground. He stopped at just 15 yards. When I released the arrow from my crossbow, my heart was pounding so hard I thought he could hear it. The arrow found its mark. I heard him go down and gave him about 10 minutes before I got down. I couldn’t wait much longer than that, as that 10 minutes seemed like forever. He had only gone 60 yards when I found him. When I put my hands on his rack I could not help the emotions that I felt. I had waited so long and worked so hard for this moment. His body was huge. The deer scored 175 B&C and field dressed at 301 pounds. I have been fortunate to harvest two giant deer the past two years. The second buck gross-scored 173 inches. I hope my streak continues. The folks at Whitetail Institute and Canada’s distributor for Whitetail Institute products, Magnum Marketing, are always prepared and take the time to answer any questions. They have proven that they want all of their loyal customers to be successful and to enjoy the fruits of their efforts. On my properties, all you will find is Whitetail Institute food plots and minerals. They are proven products and have made a believer out of me. As the saying goes, “Plant it and they will come.” I like to say, “Plant it and they will grow. W The streak continues with another 170-plus-inch buck.

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Set Up Small Acreages for Better Harvest Opportunities By Dean Weimer Photos by the Author

M

any modern deer hunters believe that managing a reasonable deer herd takes at least several hundred acres of prime land. And although it would be nice if we all owned and managed large chunks of whitetail real estate, that is far from reality for most of us. Moreover, I guess that leads to the next best thing: managing small acreages for better harvest opportunities. In a sense, I hit the lottery more than 14 years ago when I took a job at a local factory in my hometown.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

It was not such a bad gig. I worked four 10hour shifts, which let me have extra hunting days each fall. In the process, I became friends with a workmate who graduated with my brother, Dennis a few years before I did . It did not take long to learn that John “Big John” Sliger was equally consumed with deer hunting. I can remember looking back and realizing we probably spent as much — probably more — time talking deer as we did actually working. Maybe that is why neither of us lasted long at that plant. A friendship was forged, and it turned out that John was also a

farmer on his family’s land outside of our hometown. Soon, John invited me to check out his land. What I saw was an awesome chunk of nearly 200 acres of Indiana farmland divided by a county road. At that time, just more than half of it was set aside in the Conservation Reserve Program. This spot was radically different from the strictly woodlot habitat in much of our area. The gently rolling hills of tall weeds and wild grasses, intermixed with two woodlots, were ideal for whitetails. And it was aesthetically gorgeous, too. After the CRP plants turn dormant in fall, it is like taking a step away from the woodlot habitat of northern Indiana and entering land somewhere out West. About 10 years ago, I began to hunt with John on his property a bit. I really had another great spot to hunt, but our friendship turned into a hunting partnership as well. IN THE BEGINNING Within a few years, we began to talk about managing Big John’s farm. At the time, this meant that we actually wanted to try to produce some bigger bucks and a better quality experience. However, in the early days, our goals were hard to meet, and we really did not have a definitive plan on how to begin. It is important for me to note here that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources had instituted the statewide one-buck rule, which took effect during 2002. This would affect our management plans. In those early days, we got some fleeting glimpses of

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glyphosate, cultisome dandy bucks, packed, broadcast but harvesting Imperial Clover and those elusive titans culti-packed again. was a different After the seed story. They were rare, and everyone germinated, that knows how hard it plot really took off. can be to consisWe were very pleased to see how tently harvest true the deer used it. mature bucks on a Our main goal was yearly basis anyto improve the where, but espeoverall nutrition for cially so when they the deer on the are scarce. We continued to pass on farm — filling in any immature bucks, gaps in nutrition which is a good that might be start in any manfound there in the warm season — but agement scheme. we also made sure We noticed that it was in the right many of the older spot packed neatly bucks we had on or near the property between the two did not sport large woodlots on the racks. Part of it, we property. thought, was that Interestingly, we each harvested reawe did not have the sonable bucks on best antler genetthe property that ics. Sure, there fall. Although their were some good racks were not of ones being taken in Big John takes a soil sample on the clover plot true record-book the area, but for several years ago. Notice the coffee can quality, the bucks whatever reason, we used for that first sample… we now know not were impressive. we did not have to use a metal can. Both of them were any of the real the largest-bodied brutes on John’s bucks either of us place, at least on a had taken. consistent basis. John’s Pope and Young class 10-pointer fieldBeing a student of 21st century deer managedressed a whopping 225 pounds and right ment, I understood there is not a lot you can do before Thanksgiving I took a respectable 8to change antler genetics on a free-range herd, pointer that followed a hot doe into the Imperial but there are a couple of things you can do to Clover plot. It dressed at 206 pounds. We were improve the deer using your land. impressed with the amount of body fat on John’s buck in particular. GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED The most important thing to do for whitetails anywhere is improve their overall annual nutritional intake. With John’s farming experience and equipment, and my desire to improve the nutrition, we began to formulate a plan. In the fall about six years ago, we put our first Imperial Whitetail Clover plot on a small piece of ground. At that time, we were cutting our teeth on food plotting, and we did not go through all the necessary steps to make sure that the plot would shine, and unfortunately it did not fare too well. We took our food plotting more seriously a year later. That next spring, we plowed a strategically placed chunk of ground, did the soil tests, limed the plot to get the pH right, added the needed fertilizer to the soil, sprayed it with www.whitetailinstitute.com

THE NEXT STEP John has always had plenty of deer on his farm. The CRP holds many doe family groups because it is amazing habitat. I knew from my readings on whitetail biology that we were likely still suffering from an overabundance of deer. Northeastern Indiana has one of the highest deer densities in the state. Indiana’s long firearms season — 32 days of total firearms and muzzleloader hunting — has traditionally put a tremendous amount of hunting pressure on our bucks, and when you couple that with an historic under-harvesting of does, it’s easy to see why the numbers have been so high in the area. What compounded the problem is that our

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buck-to-doe ratio was so heavily skewed toward does that it created many issues, none of which are positive. Even in the agriculture-rich Midwest, you can experience social stress on your bucks if your numbers aren’t brought into a more natural balance. We have been fighting it ever since. After our first food plot began to help with the nutrition on the farm, Big John and I decided it was time to start selectively harvesting as many mature, adult does as we legally could. Although that's much easier said than done, we satisfied our appetites for venison with the older gals and continued to let the little guys have their walking papers. Just years before the implementation of our management plans, the state had changed its doe tag system. Under the new system, each county was allocated a separate number of antlerless permits per hunter, and we could purchase them over the counter. This simple yet effective tool would fit very neatly into our plans. CULLING DOES? Many hunters are still under the impression that harvesting does isn’t a positive hunting option. For whatever reason, many hunters refuse to do it, and in many situations, they’re actually hurting their mature buck hunting chances because of it.

However, slowly but surely, more hunters are starting to come around to the concept of doe harvest, because many recent studies on the subject have been opening eyes. Even if you would happen to take too many does — which is all but impossible in my hunting area and many others — more will move in from surrounding properties. A bonus is that you can actually bring in some new genetics with them. Also, you can produce more quality animals with a combination of the proper food sources and habitat management, in conjunction with the correct harvest strategies. SHRINKING IT DOWN Recent studies have shown that a buck’s home-core areas can be as small as 80 acres. And if you provide everything those deer need in that area, you can keep them there more of the time. In a sense, you can shrink an individual buck’s home-core areas by having everything — from a habitat standpoint — in your area. Food plots are a must in this situation, even if you have loads of agriculture in your neighborhood. Habitat, by my generic definition, is everything that a deer needs to survive and thrive. This includes food sources, water sources and more traditional habitat features, such as timber, transitional areas, edge habitat, CRP fields

and more. G i v e deer every reason to stay on your acreage and you can reap the benefits. Again, proper food plot or plots is vital to this strategy. And, you can continue to improve and expand your habitat through various means. In fact, in spring of this year, Big John and I will be addressing some thermal cover needs on his farm by planting several hundred trees of a few select species as his CRP contract runs out.

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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239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

Research = Results™

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The author with a great bowkill buck that had been passed on the year before.

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IF YOU PLANT IT, THEY WILL COME

Perennial Chicory DRAMATICALLY MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN TRADITIONAL CHICORIES! DROUGHT TOLERANT FORAGE PROVIDES UP TO 44% PROTEIN!

This past year, I wrote a piece for Whitetail News about how nutritional voids or holes can be filled with the right food plot plantings, even in the Midwest where many hunters think food plots aren’t needed. Finally, this past fall, we put out Pure Attraction on a different part of the farm. The Pure Attraction is a mixture of a cool season oat variety and brassica. This plot is designed to address the cold season’s nutritional needs. It received immediate attention from deer. In fact, on Nov. 5, I had a shooter buck and a presumed hot doe come to that plot just after legal light ended. I would be back in that same stand the next morning. I called John to have his son Nathan pick me up with his farm truck so I would not spook the deer. At first light on Nov. 6, I saw that buck with a group of antlerless deer head to neighboring woods. I changed position a bit later to get closer to the action. After a very eventful all-day sit, I ended up taking that 10-pointer later that evening. At 5:33 p.m. he cautiously followed a hot doe to the Imperial Clover plot. My decoy brought the little doe to my position, and I arrowed her suitor soon after. He ended up dropping in the Imperial Clover plot about 50 yards away, ending one of the best days of deer hunting I have ever witnessed. However, the fun didn’t end there. John caught the area’s dominant buck cruising, looking for some female companionship just more than a week later, with about 30 to 40 minutes of legal light remaining. One shot from John’s 12-gauge sent that buck to the dirt. This buck was a 195-pound dressed brute of an 8-pointer. Both of those bucks were the largest-racked deer ever taken from the property. Our early management plan was beginning to take full form, and we were having a blast in the process. It is important to let you know that

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The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

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®

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

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those bucks were spotted during the previous season on multiple occasions but they were off limits to us that year. Giving them one more year worked out magnificently. We were confident those bucks would still be around, as John’s property comprised at least a portion of each buck’s home range. Having the food plots in strategic locations helps keep the doe groups in the area, which is critical during the rut. They have everything they need on his farm. Now, an up-and-coming buck from the same gene pool will step up to claim that area, or a new buck from an outlying area will likely move in to fill the void left by the others. With luck, both scenarios might play out. Who knows, maybe two new mature bucks will take up residence in the area and provide us with another opportunity at a double. SUMMING IT UP Don’t let the fact that you have a small property deter you from creating the overall habitat to improve your chances for success. And definitely don’t let anyone tell you your efforts will be fruitless. Even tiny landholdings can provide opportunities if you give deer all the reasons to stay there. At least you can create a small chunk of one buck’s core area, and it could likely lead to a harvest opportunity at some point during the season. With the right planning, you might even create an area that comprises or overlaps the core areas of many bucks. Take these steps for big buck success. First, set up a harvest strategy depending on the demographic makeup of your herd. If necessary, harvest does to ensure that the deer numbers are acceptable. Also, increase the annual nutrition available to deer on your slice of heaven with Whitetail Institute’s proven products. In addition, be patient knowing that it will take time to get things set up the way you want them, and enjoy great hunting year after year. And, most important, have a blast in the process. 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.

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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I Horn Porn Have we gone too far in our obsession with big antlers? By Bob Humphrey Photos by the Author

t was looking like a great start to a great hunt. Deer were on the food plot when we arrived, and with a half-hour of shooting light remaining, two bucks stepped into the field.

It is the experiences we share and those we share them with that are the true measure of a successful hunt.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

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“Get your gun up. That’s a good buck!” I instructed my 13-year old son, Ben. “Hold on, hold on,” I corrected. “It’s just a big six.” The first buck was a big, old, thick-necked, pot-bellied, over-mature buck. His antlers had heavy mass and long, sweeping beams that forked midway along their length into tall G-2s. And at the base of one, a two-inch brow tine. That was it. He was obviously well past his prime. The other buck was a smaller, basket-racked 8-pointer; maybe a 3-year-old, but narrow and short-tined. “What about that one, Dad?” he asked. “Small eight,” I replied. “It’s still early. Let’s wait and see what else comes out.” Hearing no protest, I continued glassing, hoping Mr. Big would soon join the bachelor group. Fifteen minutes later, and with light fading, the only newcomer was what would have been a smaller eight, had he not broken off one side. “You think I should shoot one of those bucks?” came a hushed whisper. The thought, “Let’s hold off just a bit longer,” was already on its way to my lips when I hesitated, and my perspective started ever so slowly to shift. I had been looking at the situation all wrong. As a veteran of several decades of deer hunting, these bucks simply did not trip my trigger. However, they were the two biggest bucks my

The author gets just as much thrill taking a mature management or cull buck as a “trophy” of the same age.

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.

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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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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!

young companion had ever seen. And I was telling him not to shoot. I turned away slightly so as not to reveal the sudden wave of shame that swept over me with the realization of how thoughtless I’d been. “You want to shoot one of those bucks, son?” I asked. The smile that spread across his face was all the answer I needed. ”Take your time and remember to squeeze the trigger slowly,” I said. I, like so many other hunters nowadays, have jumped on board the quality deer bandwagon. I have seen just how effective restraint and sound management practices can be. And I’ve reaped the rewards. It doesn’t hurt that after more than 30 years of deer hunting, I also find myself much more willing to “let them go so they can grow.” But I’ve also been extremely fortunate (OK, spoiled) to experience some of the finest whitetail hunting in North America, in places such as Texas, Iowa, Saskatchewan and Montana. Most folks haven’t had those opportunities, particularly younger folks. Moreover, many more don’t necessarily judge the quality of the hunt in inches of antler. Trophy racks have become the driving force behind much of today’s deer management, particularly on private land. They’ve also become a craze in the world of deer hunting that sometimes borders on obsession, and occasionally crosses that border. Trying to improve the quality of the bucks you hunt and harvest is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and remember why we go afield. It is supposed to be fun. THE NATURE OF THE BEAST I have long thought that mankind’s enchantment with antlers would make a fascinating psychological study. It’s factual, undeniable yet inexplicable. It is innate, perhaps even hard-wired into our DNA. Show a big set of whitetail antlers to any hunter, and their pupils dilate and pulse quickens in the same manner as if they were gazing upon the goddess Diana. Put any self-proclaimed meat hunter in a shooting house, give them an eithersex tag then let a doe and a mature buck walk out in front of them — 10 out of 10 times they’re going to shoot the buck. Given these facts, it is expected, natural and understandable that we would go to great lengths to procure, and more recently, produce big antlers. The latter is where programs like quality deer management come in. Increase the abundance of big-antlered deer and your odds of obtaining them go up as well. QDM purists might argue that older, bigger bucks are merely a positive side effect of balancing your herd’s sex and age ratios. More often, I suspect big bucks are the goal, and balanced ratios are the side effect. In either case, the end result is largely positive. However, increasing evidence suggests in some cases we may have gone too far. THE DARK SIDE

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I got a hint of this on a Saskatchewan hunt several years ago. This prairie province has a well-earned reputation as one of the top trophy buck destinations in North America, and I admit that is what I was after — a bonafide wall-hanger. My enthusiasm was tempered, however, on the first night in camp when the outfitter informed us of his strict 150-inch minimum. “Say what?” Like everyone who hunts the land of white overcoats, I had hopes of downing a true monster. I also realized those fabled giants are few and far between, and it’s nice to know if you don’t see one that you can still settle for a 140-class buck. Nope. Not at this place. Midway through the next morning, I glanced out the window of my ground blind and spied the biggest whitetail I’d ever seen — at least I thought he was. Adrenaline-laced blood coursed through my veins as I grabbed my rifle, fighting to control my breathing and shaking. I was settling the cross-hairs on the brute’s chest when the caution light went off in my subconscious. “Will he make 150?” It took several long minutes to convince myself he would, and even 56

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then, I wasn’t 100 percent sure. I pulled the trigger, and the mighty beast fell. My exaltation was immediately tempered with doubt. Exiting the blind, I approached the deer not with elation, but with trepidation. The buck turned out to be well higher than the minimum, and my highest-scoring buck to date, but the experience was tarnished by the anxiety that I might have failed to meet someone else’s subjective benchmark. Several days later, I sat with a friend who dropped a buck in the waning moments of daylight. It was his biggest as well. But through an unfortunate twist of genetic fate, it lacked a matching G-4 on one side. The 9-point green scored 147 inches. My friend was fined $1,000 by the outfitter, ruining what should have been a treasured memory. The outfitter’s logic was sound. Protect the younger bucks, and there will be more older, trophy-class bucks for his clients to shoot. But his limits seemed a bit too strict to me and took a lot of the fun out of my hunting experience. BOOK BUCKS

Mandatory antler restrictions can be a productive management practice if supported by the majority of hunters and customized to suit local conditions.

It is human nature to find some objective criteria to evaluate the things we hold in high esteem and to rank them. Hence, we have antler scoring systems and record books. I used to be a measurer for several trophy clubs, but through

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time, I got jaded. Some of the folks whose racks I measured were the cream of the crop — humbled and grateful beyond description for their good fortune at felling a book buck. Others were downright jerks. Some believed shooting a trophy buck afforded them some level of superiority, even when their contribution amounted to little more than pulling the trigger on a guided hunt. It has been more than five years since I have measured a whitetail rack, including my own. I know roughly what they score, and that’s good enough for me. Further, not being too hung up on inches lets me appreciate the smaller bucks even more. In and of themselves, trophy clubs are not a bad thing. They do much to promote hunting and protect and enhance wildlife resources. It is only when making the record book becomes foremost for hunters and all other things associated with hunting are unimportant, that we start down the wrong path. MANDATORY ANTLER RESTRICTIONS Mandatory antler restrictions represent one of the more obvious and increasingly popular management practices directed at increasing antler size. Born largely out of efforts to improve buck quality on leases and private club lands,

they have been so successful and become so popular that many state wildlife agencies are now incorporating them in some form. The numbers might already be outdated, but as of the last official tally, at least 22 states had implemented them on a local, regional or statewide basis, using some form of point, spread or beam-length restrictions. Though results have been largely positive, there have been some setbacks. Moreover, mandatory restrictions are not universally accepted. Pennsylvania provides one of the more interesting case studies. Before restrictions, roughly 85 percent of Pennsylvania’s annual buck kill consisted of yearlings. Since then, that number has decreased to less than 70 percent. Seeing is believing, and proponents are thrilled with results. However, the overall buck kill has halved, and those who were content with bringing home a buck of any size are understandably unhappy. Even the strongest proponents agree that exceptions to antler restrictions need to be made, particularly when it comes to children. Hunter numbers are declining. With so many other forms of mental and physical recreation competing for their attention, young hunters need to experience a certain amount of success in order to keep their interest in hunting. Unless they have been spoiled at an early age — anoth-

er big problem — any buck is a trophy to a young hunter, regardless of point count, beam length or spread. PUTTING THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE Admittedly, killing a trophy buck is every deer hunter’s goal, and it is legitimate. However, we shouldn’t lose sight of what’s really important. We should appreciate the smaller victories along the way. We should recognize that to the true sportsman, the effort applied toward that goal is often more important than the accomplishment. The journey is most meaningful. It all comes down to putting things into proper perspective. I think QDM is a great program. By following the principles of passing up younger bucks and thinning does, you create a more balanced and healthier deer herd. It also instills a sense of responsibility and of stewardship, as you become a hunter-manager. I also think that a trophy is in the eye and mind of the beholder. For some, it is defined by inches of antler; for others, by age. A mature buck (or doe, for that matter), regardless of antler score, is a trophy. Still others define a trophy buck by the experience, the circumstances or their companions. All are valid and there is — and always should be — a place for each. W

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

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By Gerald Almy

W

hen my wife, daughter and I pulled up to my mother’s condominium at Canyon Lake in the Texas Hill Country, we were greeted with an impressive sight. A pair of does, three fawns and a heavy 10-pointer I would have loved to see in the woods during hunting season shuffled lazily out of our way before we could pull in and park. The retired colonel who lived in a nearby unit put corn out every afternoon, and the local whitetails were on their way in for an earlyevening snack. www.whitetailinstitute.com

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Probably no place in the country has a longer or more deeply ingrained tradition of feeding deer than Texas. Condo owners and suburbanites do it for entertainment. Landowners and ranchers do it to provide nutrition to supplement natural foods and farm crops, and improve antler growth. In some states and Canadian provinces, ranging from Florida to Saskatchewan, it is also used as a hunting method to attract deer into gun or bow range. However, whether it is done as a hunting aid, to provide nutrition or for the fun of it, feeding deer is a common activity throughout North America. Some do it with a passion, but others feed casually. However strong their attitudes about it, more and more of these people are waking up to a stark reality: Their cherished activity has just been deemed illegal. Deer feeding bans are becoming more common throughout the country. Sometimes, it’s in a small township where deer-vehicle collisions are becoming a problem. Other times, counties or large sections or all of states are prohibiting this activity for other reasons. Often, the motivation is to reduce the spread of diseases such as chronic wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis. Many hunters and landowners believe the bans are unneeded or excessive in their scope and severity. Nonetheless, we live in a land ruled by laws. Unless the laws are changed, there is no choice but to abide by them. The fear among biologists is that a sick deer might leave saliva on food while feeding, and another deer might ingest it and contract the illness. Wildlife managers in Virginia, for example, recently banned feeding deer in a large multiple-county area as a “containment zone” after one deer near the border of West Virginia tested positive for CWD. The deer was killed just a few miles from where the disease had been present for several years in West Virginia. It’s a scenario that’s playing out more across the country. In addition, if you think law-enforcement officials don’t mean business, consider this: One landowner in a Michigan region that was under a ban was ticketed for feeding deer after the food he supposedly put out for birds was eaten

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by deer. However, a ban on feeding deer doesn’t have to be a major blow or hardship for hunters and wildlife managers. “Food plots almost always offer a better way to feed deer and improve the quality of the animals and in most cases, it is much more cost effective than feeding," said Steve Scott, vice president of the Whitetail Institute of North America. "It’s also legal in every state.” Before delving into how you can replace supplemental feed with food plots and other habitat-management practices, let's look at the motivations for feeding deer. I admit that where and when it’s been legal, I’ve fed deer often. At first, my main goal was one of the four primary reasons why this activity is so popular—entertainment. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather watch a few does and even a spike or fork-horn feeding than sitting through 99 percent of what’s on TV. There’s nothing like seeing a real deer in the wild, and feeding makes that a lot easier than just hoping to glimpse an animal randomly walking by. The second major reason is to help deer during a rough climate period, such as extreme drought, bitter cold or deep snowfall. Sometimes this can help. In other cases, if done improperly, it can make things worse. A third reason people feed deer is to increase the carrying capacity for the land or the number of deer an acreage can hold. Cover can limit the number of deer a property can hold, but the amount of food available is also a crucial item. Be careful not to overdo this because too many deer on a property can harm the natural browse the property provides. You can support more deer by supplementing their food supply. However, be forewarned: This can get quite expensive, not to mention the time and effort of cleaning, maintaining and filling feeders. Moreover, when you start it, you shouldn’t skip some times and feed others. You’ve increased the population. Now you must support the extra “welfare deer” living on handouts. The fourth major motivation for feeding deer is to try to improve their Food plots almost always offer a better way to feed deer and improve the quality of the animals and in most cases, it is much more cost effective than feeding. Food plots are also legal in every state.

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antler growth. This is not something you can attain, however, simply by dumping out a few buckets of corn. Instead, you need scientifically designed products, such as Imperial Whitetail Results deer feed or Cutting Edge nutritional supplements. These products contain a high protein and energy level, essential minerals and vitamins and can help antler growth by supplementing the natural food supply which in most parts of the country is low in protein and nutrients. Deer need 16-18 percent protein in their diet for optimum health and antler growth, and most natural foods are much lower than that. Raising those with a high-protein feed supplement can help on managed properties. In summary, you can justify or explain the rationale for feeding deer on four levels: entertainment, assistance during stressful weather, increased carrying capacity and improved antler growth. All are valid reasons. However, these needs can usually be better satisfied by planting food plots. Let’s look at them one at a time.

If you have an area where you used to put a bucket of corn out, find a nearby spot you can view and put in a small high-quality food plot.

ENTERTAINMENT If you have an area where you used to put a bucket of corn out, find a nearby spot you can view, and put in a small, high-quality food plot.

Manage it intensively by fertilizing often, mowing and even hand-weeding it. Give it all you’ve

got. Chances are you’ll soon see more deer in that small plot than you were seeing on a corn or apple pile. In addition, they’ll be feeding naturally, making it a much more aesthetically appealing scene to watch. The potential spread of disease through saliva contact will be almost zero. And odds are you’ll see more mature bucks on this plot than at a crude food pile. ASSISTANCE DURING STRESSFUL WEATHER This past year my area in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia had its worst winter on record with 3 to 4 feet of snow on the ground, followed by the worst drought in 70 years. These are times that make your heart go out to wildlife. Your main goal is to help the animals survive rather than worrying about how many bucks you’ll see or how big their racks will be next fall. But by planting the right food plots, you can help deer just as well or better than a pile of corn would. “Having diversity in the various food plots can help the animals through these stressful times,” Scott said. “When possible, have perennials and annuals. Also planting warm-season and coolseason annuals can help as well.” Look into a product such as Tall Tine Tubers, Double-Cross, No-Plow, Pure Attraction or Winter-Greens. These plants have the potential to grow so tall that the leaves will be accessible even in deep snow. And when deer devour the greenish-blue leaves, they’ll have access from trampling the snow to the turnips in the case of the Tall Tine Tubers. These products can help

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provide the carbohydrates necessary for energy production in bitter-cold winter weather. For searing hot drought conditions, make sure you have some plots of Chicory Plus or Chic Magnet. This especially palatable type of chicory can survive and thrive even when clover is stressed or growing poorly during the hottest, driest summer periods. And it has the high protein levels lactating does and antler-growing bucks need. Extreme is another product you can put in to cope with drought conditions; one that does well in poor-quality or acidic soils where few other plants will grow. INCREASE CARRYING CAPACITY This is possible with pellets, corn or soybean feed stations, but it’s far less expensive and more fun to increase the acreage devoted to food plots. “When the tonnage of food plot forage you offer the animals is raised, more deer can be carried,” Scott said. “But be careful not to raise the number of deer above the carrying capacity of that property because natural browse can be — and in extreme conditions — will be negatively affected.” And you don’t have to be out filling, cleaning, repairing and monitoring feeders or distributing food by truck. You also don’t have to worry about the concentration of deer that might

spread diseases. A food plot can provide as much forage for deer as 100 acres of mature woods. The math is clear: You can have more deer on a given amount of land by dumping food out regularly, or you can do it even better by putting in just a few more food plots. ENHANCE ANTLER GROWTH Thousands of hunters and land managers across the country have also seen their food plots enhance antler growth because of the plots’ ability to provide high protein. Scientifically designed pellets and high-quality nutrition supplements can also enhance antler growth. “When the available nutrition is improved with higher protein levels during the antlergrowing and lactation times, the health of the herd will be improved, including antler size,” Scott said. Here’s how the typical situation goes. A hunter normally sees some 110- to 120-inch bucks in the herd and is happy to harvest those. Then he starts putting in a few quality food plots. The next thing you know he is taking 130inch bucks and maybe sighting a few 140s on his trail cameras or in the field. It doesn’t come instantly, but within a few years, hunters who add quality food plots on their properties can

very reasonably expect to see results such as this: a 10- to 20-inch increase in the antler quality of the average buck taken. Make sure you plant various plant types that grow best at different times of the year and in varying weather conditions, so one or more of them are always thriving. Consider having a crop of PowerPlant coming on in the late spring and summer months. Have Winter-Greens, Tall Tine Tubers, Pure Attraction or No-Plow peaking when PowerPlant is succumbing to hard frosts. Besides food plots, consider thinning your woods or even clear-cutting small select patches. This can offer an abundance of new natural foods as more sunlight reaches the ground and forbs, bushes and saplings begin to appear. Planting fruit trees and edible shrubs can also help. Therefore, whether you want to see more deer and bigger-racked animals or want to help the local herd through stressful times, do not think supplemental feeding is your only or even the best choice. In addition, if you are facing a newly imposed feeding ban, do not despair. For most deer managers, an assortment of food plots, coupled with timber-stand improvement and planting shrubs and fruit trees, is a better bet anyway for promoting the health of the herd and antler growth. W

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(Continued from page 29)

January. Things are certainly looking better since I started using Whitetail Institute products. See photo from one of my Imperial Whitetail Clover and Double-Cross food plots.

Eric Carlson — Ohio

Imperial Products buck. Thanks Whitetail Institute for providing the best food plot products out there. Its not often that I send out photos but thought this one was worth sharing. This is an eastern Ohio buck that we have called "Ghost." After hunting him for a couple seasons it seems that between the two of us that hunt the property we would only get a glimpse of him one time a season. We decided to do something about it this year and planted an acre of Imperial Clover in a clearing in the woods. This deer has gone from “Ghost” to a regular. Also becoming regulars are well over a dozen other bucks but so far this one owns the plot. Thanks Whitetail Institute for an outstanding product!

John Trigg — Ohio I have been using No-Plow for five years. Enclosed is a picture of a deer that was killed eating it. He is a 154-inch 10-point and is 21 inches wide and has 11-inch tines.

Todd Zippel — Wisconsin Well, it must have been that the moon and stars were all in line yesterday evening, because the big buck has landed. Here's a picture for you. He's a 3-1/2 year old and weighed 240 pounds live, and dressed 190. A dandy well fed 64

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

Jeremy Griffin — Tennessee I saw this deer for the first time three years ago. He showed up the first week of bow season and as the season continued he became a regular. It was almost every evening he would come out and feed in the Imperial Whitetail Clover I had planted. I thought to myself, well he is just a good 2-1/2-year-old deer and I was looking forward to maybe having a chance to see him next year. The next October came and he showed up on camera in my Imperial Whitetail Clover plot where I saw him so much the year before and man did he grow. I had several opportunities at him but let him go because he was a 3 year old. It was tough because he was a 140 inch buck. Last season started to get close and I couldn’t wait. On Aug. 25 my dad and I decided to go to the farm early that morning and see if we saw any bucks and I must say our mouths dropped. The deer I’d been watching for two years was standing in the Imperial Whitetail Clover and all I can say is he turned into a giant! I made my

mind up that all I wanted to do was bow hunt this deer. On Nov. 27 I saw him for the fist time while I was hunting. He came out about 4:30 p.m. to feed and I couldn’t get a shot at him. I have tons of pics of him in this field feeding but I was getting most of them at night, but I knew if I hunted that stand with the west wind that I needed that I would have a really good chance to kill this deer. Dec. 13 came and my brother and I decided to go. It was 4:45 p.m. when I looked up and saw my deer feeding right to me I knew this would be my chance. He offered me a 40-yard shot and I took it, when I saw the arrow go through him I knew I just killed my giant. He grew into a 157-inch deer. He is a main frame 8 with a few kickers off his G2. There is no doubt that Whitetail Institute products were a factor on not just the score of the deer but also keeping this deer on our farm away from neighbors’ farms. My dad and I have planted nothing but Whitetail Institute products on our farm over the last 10 years and have seen a tremendous improvement of whitetail growth. Whitetail Institute products are truly amazing products. I recommend to anybody that wants to see more deer and see bigger deer they should really give Whitetail Institute products a try.

Anthony Jefferson — Virginia We have seen a difference in the size of our bucks as well as a healthier herd in general since we started our management program and started using Imperial Whitetail Clover, PowerPlant and Winter-Greens. We can see a big difference. The photo enclosed is of 12-year-old Landon Dalton of Virginia. Last December we had a lot of snow and cold weather for us. Set him and his dad up on a Winter-Greens plot that the deer were coming to regularly.

Robert Richer — Wisconsin There is no doubt that the food plots that I have planted gave me opportunities and success with the deer in the photos. My friend who is a farmer by trade does most of my planting and www.whitetailinstitute.com


every year he puts in Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus and Secret Spot and the deer literally come from other properties to feed. I now know where the deer bed and recently created a water hole, created cover for security and what else is left? Well, I left the rest for the Whitetail Institute to take care of, food! My food plots have sealed the deal and this year my son will be sitting on the edge of these food plots hoping to harvest a deer of a lifetime. Thank you Whitetail Institute for your products and services. I’m a long-time customer and forever appreciative.

Aaron James — Maine I have been using Whitetail Institute products for going on seven years now and all I can say is WOW! I have been hunting on my family’s land all my life. I am 31 years old and I started deer hunting when I was seven on the 280 acres that my grandparents have owned since before my dad was born. Dad was around and hunting during what I call the easy years where he said it was nothing to see ten deer a day on this same piece of property where growing up he shot some beautiful deer. A few tipping the scales at well over 200 lbs. Back then in the 60s when Dad was hunting, the farms were well maintained, and the blueberry fields that were on this land were taken care of. Around the 70s that all started to change. The deer hunting got harder and less and less deer were being seen. My

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father who had hunted there all his life found himself traveling to other areas to find deer. Then I came along in the late 70s and started hunting as soon as I could carry a gun. I’d go with my dad chasing squirrels and rabbits and anything there was a season for. By the time I reached seven my dad talked my mom into letting me hunt by myself. He would give me three bullets for my single shot .22 and tell me what time to be home and either show him what I shot or give him back the shells. Well a year or so later he let me hunt during deer season with my 410 and I made myself a tree stand with help from no one and sat and watched one of the apple trees every morning before school and every day after school all season long and never saw a deer. I did that for several years in a row. It used to drive me nuts. The longer I went without seeing deer if felt like I was losing and the deer were winning and I hated that. The year I turned 16 and could hunt off our property was the year I shot my first buck, a 170 lb. 8-point. Since that day I have day dreamed about hunting everyday. Some time later one of the kids that I coached in wrestling shot a nice deer and his father shot a nice deer both over 200 lbs. on the first day of the season. I got to talking with the father and he said he planted some Imperial Whitetail Clover so I said tell me more about this. I was sold. The way I looked at it, the proof was in the pudding. He went 14 years of hunting without shooting a deer to shooting a double. Two trophy bucks on the first day! I asked for a chainsaw that year for Christmas and Dec. 25 I was clearing the grown up field that I sat on so many years ago and watched that apple tree which is still there! By spring I had a little over an acre cleared and through my clearing efforts I had found several apple trees which I left that all produced apples that year which was an added bonus. That June I carried a ton of lime to my little clearing

and bought a bag of Imperial Whitetail Clover and seeded it. It was the greenest patch of clover and I had a huge sense of pride. It took a lot of work to get where I was at this point. I did not own any trail cameras at this point. You have to remember I am doing all this on a tight budget. I started seeing deer tracks and I can’t tell you how long it has been since I had seen a deer track. Then one day that September I was walking down in the middle of the day and I saw my first deer ever down back. It was a buck and I sat and watched that deer for twenty minutes and he hardly ever picked his head up. His face was buried in the clover. I had logged more hours in the woods down there than I would like to admit not seeing a deer and to finally see one was amazing. I only had three days to hunt that year because of my work schedule. I didn’t need two of them. On the first morning I shot a 150 lb. 6-point while I was looking right at the apple tree across my clover patch that I had watched for so many years without seeing anything. I had shot bigger deer but none of them to that point had meant more to me! That was seven seasons ago and that day my dad and I made a deal we would not shoot any deer smaller than 8 points. People in Maine generally do not pass deer. You just don’t see that many. There is so much timber. It just makes it so hard to have a deer do the same thing twice. We have been adding to the food plot and it now looks like something you would see in a hunting show. Every year its been getting better. A few more deer, then a few more deer. Now you have to remember this is a place that I NEVER saw deer and I hunted it for years. I have pictures this past year of 10 different bucks. That may not sound like a lot of deer to someone from the Midwest but in Maine that is amazing! Three of them are 10 points or larger. A friend of mine and I sat down there this past season in the middle of November and I had a nice 10 point buck walk in front of us through a Chicory Plus patch. I do not work for the Whitetail Institute but I have sold more Imperial Whitetail Clover than some of their salesmen I bet. All of my circle of friends that deer hunt have an Imperial Whitetail Clover patch somewhere. I will use Whitetail Institute products as long as I live! Thank you so much for great products Whitetail Institute. I am a lifelong customer! 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. 21, No. 1 /

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Please send _____ 50 lb. quantities of Imperial NO-PLOW™ Wildlife Seed Blend. TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______ Please add $18.00 for shipping and handling for each 50 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information or give code on phone orders.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

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

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Price with coupon: 1 Pint - $22.95; 1 Gal.- $134.95 Please send _____ pint(s) of ARREST™ Herbicide. Please send _____ gallon(s) of ARREST™ Herbicide. Call for larger quantities.

SLAY™ HERBICIDE YOU SAVE $15.00 to $25.00 Suggested Retail: $59.95 (4 oz. - 1 Acre); $159.95 (1 Pint - 4 Acres)

Price with coupon: 4 oz. - $44.95; 1 Pint - $134.95 Please send _____ 4 oz. Package(s) of SLAY™ Herbicide. Please send _____ Pint(s) of SLAY™ Herbicide. Call for larger quantities. TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______ Please add $7.00 for shipping and handling for each 4 oz. package or pint ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information or give code on phone orders.

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Suggested Retail: $64.95 (32 oz. Jug. - 4 Acres)

Price with coupon: $39.95 Please send _____ jug(s) of Imperial IMPACT™ Plant Growth Stimulant. TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______ Please add $9.50 for shipping and handling for each jug ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information or give code on phone orders.

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Price with coupon: $94.95 Please send _____ 68 lb. quantities of Cutting Edge™ n Initiate n Optimize n Sustain. TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______ Please add $19.00 for shipping and handling for each 68 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information or give code on phone orders.

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“KRAZE” Flavored Deer Attractant YOU SAVE $40-$65

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. 21, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

67


The Future Of Our Sport Jim McAuley — Kentucky Our hunting club has a 750-acre lease on mostly reclaimed strip mine land. After trying other products we have found that Whitetail Institute products, Extreme, No-Plow and Winter-Greens perform the best for us. This past youth season, I took my 8-yearold granddaughter, Isabella back to a 3-acre WinterGreens plot. I don’t have a grandson so she is my hunting partner now and she, believe it or not can sit still enough to have turkeys feed under her stand. After about 30 minutes of sitting a doe stepped out at about 70 yards and she calmly took sight of it and dropped it in its tracks with her .223. There was one very happy girl and a proud grandpa.

were there for about 30 minutes when I saw a dark figure in the field southeast of us. At first I wasn’t sure what it was. Then I saw it move to the north of us. I told my dad that I could see something. While I had it in my scope my dad got out his grunt call. So he grunted a few times and then the deer did a big Uturn and was walking towards us. My dad told me if it turned broadside then I could shoot it. And sure enough — he turned broadside and I squeezed the trigger on my 243 rifle and the deer went running to our left. After I shot I could hear the deer running for about five seconds and then the running stopped. So we waited for 30 minutes. Then we went to where I shot it and we found blood. We followed the blood for 50 yards and saw the deer. It was a beautiful 11point buck with a webbed rack. Later that day I shot a red fox that was about 200 yards away. Then I filled my dad’s management tag with a button buck. And that is a day I will never forget!

Ed Plonsky — New York

Sam Kern — Minnesota It was November 8th, the second day of whitetail deer rifle season. We got out of our tent and went to our box stand at about 5 a.m. I was 10 years old. We

Thanks Whitetail Institute for your products. The Imperial Whitetail Clover and No-Plow that I’ve been planting for years enabled my three grandsons to harvest their first deer. [Matt, age 17, 1st buck, 5-point, 12 ga. 85 yd shot.] [Robert, age 16, 1st deer, doe, 50 cal muzzle loader, 140 yd shot.] [Greg, age 15, 1st deer an 8-point, 20 ga, 150 yd shot.] Grandsons also receiving help from hot cocoa, battery socks, Mr. Heater and enclosed elevated 4-foot x 4-foot boxes, (nicknamed Guard Shacks). Photo enclosed is Greg with his 8 point.

John Benchner — Michigan We started using Whitetail Institute products seven years ago on our property and our deer herd has improved tremendously during that time. 68

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 1

Although we live in a heavily hunted area with extreme winter conditions — 150-plus inches of snow last year, we have seen the best buck crop this past year since we started our QDM process on our farm. The first eight deer we saw this year were all bucks. More amazing is that the first five all met our 8points-or-better requirement and the rest were very healthy animals. We have been really successful with the Winter-Greens product and I firmly believe it helps our bucks make it through the toughest part of the winter here in Northern Michigan. Moreover, some of my neighbors have started to use it and they have reported better bucks too. Attached is a photo of my 15-year-old niece, Lauren Czarnota, with one of those 8-points. This was Lauren’s second year to participate in the Michigan Youth Hunt. She passed on 15 or more deer last year because she wants to practice the QDM process I’ve started on our farm. She passed on seven more before this beauty stepped out into our No-Plow plot we have in our woods. Her dad “Ziggy” was glassing a couple of does and a spike or four point that had showed up for an evening snack of the No-Plow. I’d bet he really wanted her to take the 4-point because he is not 100% sold on the QDM when everyone around you shoots — “if it’s brown it’s down.” But Lauren stuck to her strategy and said “I hear more coming from the left.” Before her dad could get a good look at the deer and voice his opinion on what to do next, she lay a perfect bead with her .270 just behind the shoulder and the deer only ran 25 yards. She about knocked the field glasses out of her dad’s hands as he was about to tell her what to do. Ziggy, that girl doesn’t need anyone to tell her how to shoot deer, she just needs someone to try and beat the biggest deer that’s hanging on the living room wall. You should see the body size of our does and fawns during the past several years. It is amazing what Whitetail Institute products have done for our herd. Now if I can only get more of my neighbors to support our new camp motto; “Let ’em go, let ’em grow — If Lauren can do it — COME ON GUYS.” Keep up the good work Whitetail Institute. W www.whitetailinstitute.com


STEALTH 4X4 AD


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

FREE Trial Offer! Offer 1 — only $9.95

Offer 2 — only $19.95

(shipping and handling)

(shipping and handling)

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

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

(each sample plants 100 sq. ft.)

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

“Deer Nutrition Is All We Do!”

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results


Anchor point just 1/4” high

Anchor Point

Over 5” off at

Over 10” off at

20 yds

40 yds

Perfect Alignment

Bow is torqued just 1/4”

Bow Torque

Perfect Shot

Looking through a peep and putting the pin on your target is not enough Over 5” off at

20 yds

Over 10” off at

40 yds

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

TM

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 Bowsights 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!

Center the dot for a perfect shot! t Instant feedback at a glance t/PCBUUFSJFT1:MFHBM      t /PFYQPTFEQBSUT    t 'PVSBYJTBEKVTUBCJMJUZ  


Whitetail News Vol 21.1  

Volume 21 Issue 1

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