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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 Daryl Cherry, 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


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

Learn From the Past

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ot long ago, I was rummaging through a pile of “important” papers. You know, those documents you know are really important but don’t quite know what to do with or where to put them. I pulled out a stack of handwritten pages in my scrawl and realized it was a hunting camp diary from about 30 years ago. As a matter of fact, my son, Steve was still in college and I had agreed to let him take an entire fall quarter off to work on green fields and hunt. As you can see, whitetail has always been a passion in the Scott family. It mostly chronicled dates, times and harvest stats and a lot of the humorous stuff too. It brought back so many great memories. I could read between the lines as I recalled the many little back stories to our hunting trips. But I’ll confess here and now I recall few management details much less where and why we planted what we did (mostly the rye, wheat and oats of years past). Planting for deer — and the accompanying increase in the quality of whitetail — has come a long way. I am so proud of the concept of quality deer management that we have always supported and our Institute products and education that have had such a positive impact on the quality of deer hunting in the country today. The quality of deer in Alabama and across the country today versus 30 years ago is amazing. As much pleasure as I derived from the diary, it was accompanied by equal

dismay at how much I had forgotten! It was staggering. Things I thought I would NEVER forget. That’s why I said a silent “amen” when I read Charlie Alsheimer’s article on page 16 about keeping a 3-ring binder to record all the data of your planting strategies. Yes a simple 3-ring binder; the kind you had in high school and doodled in while you were daydreaming about deer season. When I read in Whitetail News about all the ingenious, carefully calculated plans for food plots — the forage selection, the placement, the soil, the season, the topography — I realize there is no way the average hunter could remember exactly what he does from year to year, much less from several years ago. Do you really remember the soil pH of your plots from three years ago? Maybe they’ve changed. Maybe your plots could be a lot better. Maybe it’s time to rotate a crop. And I’ll add, write down the personal stuff too. Include all the funny things that happen at camp. A few years from now, you’ll have a smile on your face as you take a trip down memory lane. Take Charlie’s advice Get your 3- ring binder today. Write everything down. In every aspect of life, we do learn from the past.

Ray Scott



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A TALE OF TURNIPS — Turnip is a Powerhouse Planting By Brad Herndon Photo by the Author

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hen I grew up in Indiana, both the wild turkey and coyote were nonexistent in the state. Deer were also as scarce as hen’s teeth at the time, and There are several therefore we country folk grew up hunting kinds of turnips, squirrels, rabbits and quail. Back then, our but Tall Tine hunting time in November was consumed Tubers stand at the top of the with chasing cottontails instead of deer. Each list. day we would walk several miles trying to get our limit of five rabbits each, and it was tremendously enjoyable listening to the beagles chasing the bunnies. On hot days, we would get both thirsty and hungry, and if we were out near the Shieldstown covered bridge on White River, we stopped in at Cy Perkin’s cabin. Cy didn’t live there in the fall or winter, but he always had a nice patch of turnips behind the quaint cabin. We would pull up a few turnips, cut the outer skin off with our pocket knives, and had an instantly refreshing treat at no charge. We were then good for a few more miles. Along about this same time I had a good friend, Lester Lambring, who lived out in the German farming community and I would visit his house from time to time. His mom was a great cook, and she made sure we were always well fed. Many years later when I was in my 40s, I went to the doctor for a checkup one day. In the waiting room was Lester Lambring’s mom, who by then was well up in her 70s. “Hi Brad,” she said. “I still feel bad about the last time you ate at our house.” “Why?” I replied, “You always had great food.” “Not that time,” she sighed. “All I had fixed that evening was turnip soup, and I’m sure you didn’t care much for it.” “Oh, it must have been fine,” I stated. “I can’t remember ever having a bad meal at your house. Your food was always outstanding, so I’m sure you had it doctored up to the point it was delicious. I bet you had a piece or two of your tasty country ham mixed in with the turnips.” She then felt better about my last meal at her house and we had a great talk. At the time, I thought my conversation with her would probably be my final tale about turnips since they had fallen out of favor with most local people by then. Boy was I wrong. THE TURNIP TALES CONTINUE In the late 1980s, I became an outdoor photographer and writer, specializing in whitetail deer and wild turkey. Yes, things had changed in Indiana, and rabbit hunting had given way to deer hunting — and I loved it. I studied every aspect of the whitetail. I measured their racks, studied their movement patterns, and eventually keyed in on management strategies for growing top-notch bucks. This ultimately led to my writing relationship with the Whitetail Institute of North America and their fantastic food plot products. I was in on using Imperial Whitetail Clover, Extreme, Alfa-Rack and other super seeds very www.whitetailinstitute.com

early on and I was always impressed with their thoroughness in researching and producing new and innovative products. Actually, they inspired me to do more research of my own. I diligently studied CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) ground and found the government encouraged planting wildlife food plots in them. Today, we have several food plots planted in CRP fields. While studying CRP land, I also scanned many articles relating to cover crops. In essence, cover crops are products planted to prevent wind and water erosion on fields. While most folks think of grasses as usually being a cover crop, I found some other very interesting varieties used as cover crops, such as cowpea, millet, sunflower, hairy vetch, clover, winter triticale, and turnip, just to name a few. Each of these cover crops was interesting to me in some way, but I found turnips especially intriguing. TURNIPS — A GOOD FOOD As my stories revealed at the first of this article, humans used to eat many turnips and in the South especially it is still a favorite. They are a good food, and I discovered in my research they have been an excellent food source for cattle for decades. For example, the above-ground parts of a turnip — the stem and leaves — contain 20 to 25 percent crude protein. That’s excellent. The digestibility of dry matter in the leaves and stems is extremely high at 65 to 80 percent. The roots of turnips also contain 10 to 14 percent protein and have an 80 to 85 percent digestibility rate. They are also considered a high-energy food source. Add all this up, and I thought turnips would be a great food for deer. Well, I wasn’t the only one making this discovery as I found out when I was talking to Whitetail Institute V.P. Steve Scott one day. I was telling him about my fascination with turnips when he shared the news with me that the Whitetail Institute had been doing some groundbreaking work on a new turnip variety and product for several years. THE DEVELOPMENT OF TALL TINE TUBERS The Whitetail Institute has never been a company to find a product deer like and then simply pitch it in a blend and push it out the door. Instead, the company takes what they see as a good product and then they spend considerable time, effort and money making it into the absolute best product available. This is exactly what they did with the Tall Tine turnip variety. Research and development started with identifying specific traits that would make their new turnip variety ideal for whitetail fool plots. These included rapid stand establishment, cold tolerance — and most importantly — attractiveness to whitetails. In developing Tall Tine Tubers, candidate turnips were planted in plots available to wild, free-ranging deer and then closely monitored for deer usage. Plants for which deer exhibited a marked preference were isolated from further grazing with exclusion cages, allowing plants to mature and Vol. 21, No. 2 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

5


produce seed. Exclusion cages also allowed continuing evaluation of other traits important for deer food plots, including rapid stand establishment, early plant vigor, and resistance to disease, insects, heat, drought and cold. Plants that did not meet the Institute’s strict testing requirements were eliminated at each selection cycle. In the end, the Institute ended up with a tuber product exhibiting incredible attractiveness and high protein content both above and below the ground, top-notch digestibility, and providing a great energy source as well. Add in its improved disease and insect resistance capabilities, and I knew it was a product I wanted to put into use. PLANTING TALL TINE TUBERS

Specifically Developed for Whitetail Deer

Your process in planting Tall Tine Tubers should be similar to other food plot products you have used. My first step was to take a soil sample. Throughout the years I have limed heavily from time to time and I have the pH of my soils up to 6.5 to 6.8, which is really great for my area of welldrained soils. Turnips, incidentally, do best in well-drained, moderately deep loam, fertile soils, and even in slightly acidic soils. Most plants don’t do well in acidic soils, but turnips are an exception. If you can get your pH up to 6.0 to 6.5, you can expect a superior turnip crop. Turnips will be productive but not do as well in wet or poorly drained soils. After my soil tests were back, I mowed all three of my food plots in late July. When the plots were just starting to grow again I went in with Roundup and sprayed the plots. I then waited 10 days for all vegetation to die down. This made for clean, easy-to-work plots. After all three plots were broken up, I worked 400 pounds per acre of 20-20-20 fertilizer into the plots. This brought me up to mid-August. Next I waited until a rain front was coming in and I used a hand-operated whirligig seeder to plant each plot. I was a good weather forecaster, fortunately, and the next day the rains came. Within a few days, I had a dandy crop of Tall Tine Tubers coming up in each plot.

Our research staff has spent the past 6 years developing this new turnip variety. This new variety was selected especially for it’s attractiveness to whitetail. This is a brand new variety never before available to the public and only available in Imperial Whitetail Products.

Extremely Cold Tolerant

Turnips have long been one of the favorites of both early and late season hunters. Once the foliage is eaten, the bulbs will provide an additional food source for late winter.

THE RESULTS

Easy to Establish

Tall Tine Tubers are easy to plant and quick to establish.

Research = Results

Our intensive research creates products that are unsurpassed in attractiveness to whitetail giving you the results you expect from the the Whitetail Institute, the leader in whitetail nutrition and attraction.

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com

The Whitetail Institute ®

6

The rains were plentiful and timely in the fall of two years ago when I used my first turnips and the stems and leaves grew at an amazing rate. By late September I had forage more than 12 inches tall — and growing! Interestingly, a few deer were hitting the tops at this time. Typically, deer don’t hit the tops hard until after the first frost. Frost causes the plants to become sweeter and more favored by the whitetails. Keep in mind, too, that Tall Tine Tubers have the amazing ability to maintain their nutritional quality even after repeated exposure to frost. This is why deer keep hitting the leaves and stems throughout the fall and winter until nothing is left. Believe me, by the time this occurs the whitetails have consumed some serious tonnage. We killed deer out of our turnip plots throughout the fall and winter. Our granddaughter Jessica killed her first deer in one of these plots, and another little friend of ours, Emma Winks, also got her first whitetail there as well. Emma’s mom Shannon killed her biggest buck ever in one of these plots on the last Saturday of muzzleloader season in December. Even after the hunting season was over, the deer were still digging out and eating the tubers. My overall rating of the product for a fall attractant and late-season food source was a 10! I was simply amazed how the Tall Tine Tubers drew and held deer within our lease. I rate them the best fall product I have ever used. A VERY UNUSUAL YEAR

239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

Research = Results™

This past fall here in southern Indiana was the most interesting deer hunting season I have ever experienced. On Aug. 20, I planted a plot in Tall www.whitetailinstitute.com


Tine Tubers. It rained 3/10 inch the next morning and within a few days, the turnips were up. It never rained on this plot the rest of August. Astonishingly, it never rained on the plot in September. In fact, September in southern Indiana last fall was the driest month ever recorded in Indiana history! I just knew the horrid drought couldn’t continue. Nevertheless, it did. It never rained on the plot in October, and the first three weeks of November were rain free as well. Finally, at the end of November the rains finally came — a full two months too late. Now I know most people wouldn’t write about a near crop failure, but I found the resiliency of Tall Tine Tubers to be nothing short of unbelievable. The Tall Tine Tubers in this plot at the age of 34 days were small, for sure, but still alive. Amazingly, no grass or weeds were evident in the plot because it was too dry even for them. As time went on, I felt every turnip plant in this plot would have to burn up, but a high percentage of them didn’t. By December, the Tall Tine Tubers had somehow utilized enough water to grow 4-inch tops and even had small turnips in the ground! If anyone ever asks you if Tall Tine Tubers are drought resistant you can assure them that they are! Fortunately, most other regions of our nation didn’t experience the horrific drought we had here in southern Indiana. Most regions, in fact, had adequate rainfall and excellent forage in their food plots. That being said, though, other harsh conditions pounded our nation. As you readers know, this past winter was brutal throughout the United States. Record low temperatures, and snow and ice were the norm from the southeast, to the northeast, to the midwest, to the west. When I was writing this article in early February I talked to hunting friends of mine throughout the nation, and I was especially observant of any who had Tall Tine Tubers planted. I heard several stories of hunters who had taken great bucks from their food plots in late December or early January, times normally not thought

of as being conducive to trophy whitetail hunting. But a site full of Tall Tine Tubers changes all this since they are such a great nutritional draw in the late seasons. Without exception when talking to these friends, I heard the same story time after time, “The deer are digging right through the snow to get at the remaining turnips. It’s simply amazing how they are tearing up the plots right now, in February.” I know you are going to see many other such testimonials in the Whitetail News about this fantastic new product. I do, however, have a few words of caution. USEFUL FACTS TO KNOW All plants have diseases and insects that can negatively affect their health. Turnips are no different. Although Tall Tine Tubers have been developed to minimize these threats, some still remain. Clubroot, root knot, leaf spot, white rust, scab, and rhizoctonia rot are just a few diseases that may affect a turnip crop. Two different flea beetles, the turnip louse and aphids may also cause considerable damage if left unattended. While insecticides will control most of these problems, the best control to insure a healthy turnip crop is to make sure you rotate your food plot plants every year. This keeps diseases and insects to a minimum. Regarding planting turnips, follow planting instructions carefully. Turnip seeds are small but the turnip tops and the tubers themselves are both large in size, so it doesn’t take a large amount of seed to get a sufficient stand. Because the deer literally tear up turnip food plots while digging out the tubers in late fall and early winter, the soil is nicely broken up. This leaves ideal soil conditions for frost seeding a plot with Imperial Whitetail Clover or some other crop nutritionally beneficial to your whitetail herd during the spring, summer and throughout most of the year. Tall Tine Tubers are such a fine product that I will have them as a fall

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WHITETAIL NEWS

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attractant and food source for the deer on our land for many years to come. Of course, I’ll have a variety of other foods available for them throughout the year to assure they have a wellrounded, balanced diet. In closing, I will have to admit it’s pretty neat to kill a deer out of one of our food plots and then go home with both the deer and a bounty of turnips as well. Sometimes I’ll just sit down and peel a turnip and eat it, and the memories of those turnips I ate out of Cy Perkin’s little plot so many long years ago comes flooding back into my memory. In addition, at other times my wife, Miss Carol, will mix up a special blend of turnip soup from one of our plots, and I’ll think of a nice German gal who fed me so many times, and her last meal to me of her turnip soup. Yes, the turnip tales continue, and they are special. W

A LATE-SEASON FOOD PLOT SUCH AS TALL TINE TUBERS not only can provide food for deer well into January or February, depending on your location, but can also be beneficial when it comes to antler hunting. Because such a plot can attract whitetails from a large area, it is much easier to discover cast-off antlers since many of the bucks will be in close proximity to the food plots. In addition, when bucks are working the turnips out of the ground they have a tendency to move quite vigorously and this can literally shake an antler from their head. It is common for deer hunters who have Tall Tine Tubers food plots to find shed antlers right in their food plots. Because of the nature of their large leaves, turnips, once established, usually keep weeds to a minimum. Just make sure to remove as many of the weeds in your plot as possible before planting. Don’t underestimate the power of a turnip. Turnips can be rather large with a great root system. In ground that has a hardpan that prevents water from being retained deep within the soil, tubers can actually keep this hardpan broken up and thereby help considerably in the retention of much-needed moisture within the soil. A friend of mine planted regular turnips and Tall Tine Tubers side by side in one of his food plots. If he’s going to pay more for a seed, he’s going to test it to see if it does what it claims. He found the Tall Tine Tuber tops to be a brighter looking green with more moisture. Above-ground growth was also a greater height than the regular turnips, with overall better tonnage production. The supreme test, of course, was which product did the deer favor? While the deer did eat both products, they definitely favored the Tall Tine Tubers, so he assumed they had a sweeter, more nutritious taste that the deer preferred. He also told me he was very surprised the seed even germinated since he had planted it during a drought. Interestingly, after 36 years of managing his property, this past season he killed the highest-grossing buck he has ever taken from his property, the result of a diverse and well-managed program. If you are a turkey hunter, it’s worth noting that wild turkey love to pick on the tubers after deer have dug them up and eaten part of them. Just like deer, they find them a nutritious and tasty late-season snack. Turnips are very nutritional. Under optimal growing conditions, turnip roots offer dietary fiber, chromium, manganese, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, vitamin C, B6, C, calcium and copper. The turnip greens offer dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, copper, chromium, manganese, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, vitamin C, A, E, K, B6, folate, pantothenic acid, and phosphorus.

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 ®

8

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

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“A sportsman’s life consists largely of three elements: anticipation, realization and reminiscence. We look forward to the trip by rail, by canoe and then perhaps a tramp on foot into the heart of the wilderness. Then comes the camp and its pleasant environments, and that lucky, radiant day when the early morning sun casts a glint upon the branching antlers of a mighty buck.” — George Shiras

“Magical and Electrifying”

OPENING DAY OF DEER SEASON By R.G. Bernier Photos by the Author

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here is something both magical and electrifying about opening day of deer season. Memories of past hunts flood your mind as you drive the desolate road in the predawn darkness. The coffee tastes especially good this morning; perhaps it’s the special blend, or the fact that it was perked instead of dripping from a machine. Conversation in the cab of the truck with your hunting buddy flows effortlessly with more than a hint of excitement in each voice. As your rig nears the parking spot, the idle chatter now turns to more serious business. The well-laid-out game plan is gone over one more time. With the light of a full rutting moon illuminating the western sky, you quietly slip out of the driver’s seat and begin to retrieve your 10

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

accoutrements for the day’s hunt. First, the leather cartridge belt is cinched around your waist. After ensuring that lunch is stowed in the back of your jacket, that familiar woolen garment that has served you well for many past hunts is once again pulled on. It seems a little snugger than you last remembered; maybe it has shrunk over time. The last and most important item you grab is your rifle. No matter how often bullets are inserted into the magazine, there’s always something special about loading your gun on opening day. It’s really a simple process that requires little thought, but on opening day when the magazine is slammed tight against a live round…well, it’s just not the same as being at the range.

Following the traditional ‘good luck’ handshake with your partner, you enter the dimly lit forested abyss and begin your stealthy stalk towards a particular ridge. It’s really no different than any other part of the woods other than it’s a place where you have found success on many hunting forays. You know it intimately. Although that parcel of ground doesn’t really belong to you, in your mind, on this morning it does. Every step, every breath, each move is calculated and deliberate as you near the spot. You recheck the wind. Never is the hunter any more cautious and careful than he is on opening day. I don’t know why it is, but psychologically we, as hunters believe our first and best chance of scoring is always on the first day of the season. Even though deer are taken throughout the www.whitetailinstitute.com


course of a deer season, and some as late as the final hours of the last day, the hunt is never undertaken with the same intensity or attention to detail. This is the place, that familiar spot where many deer have been vanquished over the years. It is not really a lucky spot as some may think; there is a justifiable reason why deer travel this piece of real estate. Atop the ridge where the hunter has placed his stand is a mature grove of oak trees that rain down their mast each fall. Beneath the bench runs a river with thick vegetation growing along its bank. Betwixt the two, the land formation has created a natural funnel that deer feel quite comfortable traveling. It was bone-numbing cold perched aloft, 15 feet above the still darkened forest floor. In the excitement to get into position before first light it didn’t seem nearly that bitter. But then again, it’s always darkest and coldest just before dawn. Time ticks by excruciatingly slow while waiting for the woods to awaken and its occupants to come alive. The mind begins to race with questions of uncertainties such as, “Is this the best possible spot? Will the big buck whose track I discovered weeks prior make an appearance? Is he as big as I imagine him to be?” Once assured that all of these misgivings are completely out of your control, and with nothing left to do but

The author proudly displays a hard-earned buck.

wait, you begin to reminisce about ‘big foot,’ the large buck that you chased unsuccessfully for two successive seasons. Reflections about the ‘marathon buck’ and the ‘hemlock ranger’ and all that it entailed to capture them puts a smile on your lips and a warmth in your soul. It’s during these last few remaining minutes between darkness and dawn that we’re reminded of how Mer Speltz vividly captures the essence of being in this exact place when he writes, “It is this total silence that stirs your very soul with a deep sense of eerie loneliness. The absolute stillness brings you back vivid memories of past hunts and you fully realize that it is this very solitude that keys your anticipation and lures you back year after year…” The solitude that only deer hunting can bring divorces us temporarily from our responsibilities and awakens the sleeping senses that have lain dormant while engulfed in civilization and all its trappings. The mind begins to think clearer and slowly you start to reflect and reaffirm who and what you’ve become. The quietness allows one to meditate without interruption or interference. Deer historian, Rob Wegner, described this vividly when he wrote, “When pursuing whitetails we divert and distract ourselves from industrial madness and its laborious occupations. When we leave the city of Degeneration and go the woods, it is astounding how mutually

Craving a Better Food Plot? The Hunt is Over...

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Vol. 21, No. 2 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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and quickly we free ourselves from worry, tension and temper. A fresh and fragrant atmosphere once again circulates through our blood as we become submerged in nature. It’s almost like returning to the old homeland.” Finally, at long last the blackness begins to melt away as shadows transform into stumps, bushes and trees. The deafening silence is broken with the first chirps of the chickadee’s cadence. And so it starts like rush hour on the freeway, the woods come alive as its occupants start their daily routine. Akin to a hawk perched high on a sturdy limb waiting for his next meal to pass by, the hunter anxiously watches in silence for the mysterious brown apparition to appear. The leaves rustle behind him. His pulse quickens as he fingers the safety on his gun. Is that the footfall of a whitetail? Not daring to turn and look despite the agonizing curiosity looming in his head, the hunter waits. His heart thumps a little faster as the noise gets closer. Straining his eyes as far as humanly possible to get a glimpse of this intruder, he at last is able to identify the source. A squirrel searching for nuts in the dry leaf litter is the culprit. Twenty minutes into legal shooting time the 12

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

hyperventilating fashion. His heart is now pounding in his ears and feels like it will jump right out of his throat. His imagination runs wild with thoughts of, ‘How big is this buck?’ The buck has stopped just out of the hunter’s view. The does are now within 30 yards of him and begin to act nervous. If they spook or catch any man scent on the fickle breeze the game will be over and he’d never get to see the hidden buck. There is nothing that can be done at this point but wait; the ball is in the buck’s court. The unknowing of what will transpire next coupled with the adrenalin rush has caused the hunter’s right leg to begin rattling with nervous anticipation. His hands are shaking uncontrollably like an aspen leaf in the midst of a gale. “Calm down! It’s only a deer, not an enemy that is armed and can shoot back at you,” he silently scolds himself. “Breath deep, think about the hundreds of deer that you have encountered, much Whitetails like these are a dream for closer than this,” he reminds opening-day deer hunters. himself. As the wind gust hits his face, the hunter’s eyes begin to water, temporarily blurring his vision. As he wipes away the tears it seems the stalemate is about to end as finally, the buck emerges only to quickly dash behind the security of another tangle of brush. The hunter has his gun shouldered. Seconds tick by like hours. The rifle weighing a little less than seven pounds first shot is now feels like the weight of heard, the seathe world. The buck is watchson has begun. ing the does, which are now The hunter grips standing statuesquely still. his rifle a bit The buck begins, oh so tentatighter as if the tively to step out, and oh, sound of gunfire what a towering set of antlers will be the impethat adorn his head. The wind tus that directs deer his way. Minutes tick by suddenly shifts and the does snort. The buck excruciatingly slow. More shots have been fired halts — his shoulder is in the crosshairs — the from all around his position. ‘Perhaps my buddy hunter squeezes the trigger… has scored’, he thinks to himself. Indeed, Approaching the downed beast with its eyes patience is a virtue just as long as you’re not the dim, its tongue out, its once vital body stretched one that is waiting. prone upon the forest’s carpet of moss and leaf It’s nearly nine-o-clock when the first deer litter, the hunter intuitively knows his prize is finally shows up. From out of nowhere it seems, dead. A flood of pent-up emotion spills out as where there was no deer a second ago, two the tension of the last few moments escapes. does are now leisurely feeding on acorns. With With a look of personal pride born from his only a buck tag in his pocket, the hunter can accomplishment the hunter lets out a sigh of only watch hoping that an antlered suitor is folsatisfaction; no ground shrinkage on this big lowing the pair. boy. And then, with admiration and respect he The does are very cautious as they feed, vigikneels, grabs a handful of antler and gives this lantly searching their surroundings for any hint noble, elusive, denizen of the forest wilds his just of danger. Suddenly, from down below, the disdue. Thank you Lord. tinct sound of a buck grunt is heard, then the Anticipation, excitement and the mystery of choppy steps heading directly for the waiting opening day are all the elements that keep each hunter. Immediately, his breaths come in short, of us coming back…year after year! W www.whitetailinstitute.com


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only clovers genetically developed specifically for whitetail deer. The Whitetail Institute has also been the industry leader in mineral/vitamin supplementation with products such as Imperial 30-06 and Cutting Edge Nutritional Supplements. With this intense focus on food plots and mineral/vitamin supplements it may be construed that deer researchers at the Institute did not consider feed supplements a priority as a key component in a nutritional program. To the contrary, the Whitetail Institute has long realized the value and utilized the benefits of feed supplements in their research programs. Feed supplements, like food plots and mineral/vitamin supplements, are components or tools that can be used in a nutritional program when

s the old saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” For some time, Whitetail Institute field testers and customers have asked the folks at Whitetail Institute to make available a Introducing deer feed Whitetail Institute’s supplement that Nutrient-Powered they could use in Deer Feed Supplement their nutritional management programs. So the obvious question would be, “Why has a Whitetail Institute deer feed not been introduced?” If you are familiar with the research program at the Whitetail Institute, you know that they don’t introduce a product unless it has been tested and retested all across the country to ensure that any product made available to their customers is industry-leading and lives up to the claims it is given. For many years, Whitetail Institute researchers have been working with deer feeds both at their testing facilities and with field testers across the country. Many times, these feeds performed extraordinarily well, but all the demands were not fully met…until now. The Whitetail Institute is proud to introduce Results, a nutrient-powered, research-tested feed supplement designed specifically for deer. Whitetail Institute has been the industry leader in food plot forages for more than 20 years. This leadership was the result of painstaking research which produced products like Imperial Whitetail Clover which contains the 14

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

needed to help bring about the overall management goal. For instance, in many parts of the country during the cold winter months, food source availability is limited. Even if you plant food plots, the tonnage produced may not be enough to supply food throughout the entire winter. This is especially true if you have a prolonged winter, limited number of acres available for planting food plots or high deer herd numbers. Feed supplements can be an invaluable tool to be used in conjunction with winter food plots in order to help deer maintain body conditions durwww.whitetailinstitute.com


ing this stressful time period. Even during the spring and summer, feed supplements can be a valuable tool in many different circumstances. For example, a late, cold spring can cause food plots and natural vegetation to have slow and/or stunted growth early on, causing a nutritional gap for antler growth and doe lactation. Further, in some parts of the country such as a the Deep South and the Southwest, hot dry weather can cause forages to have stunted growth and lower digestibility, causing a late summer nutritional gap. Feed supplements can be used to help fill these nutritional gaps and ensure that your deer herd does not suffer from sporadic nutritional deficiencies. Feed supplements can also be used year-round as a nutritional insurance program. While drought and cold weather can create acute nutritional stress, milder changes in climate and vegetation can cause chronic nutritional strains. These particular nutritional stresses are often not necessarily visual and therefore go unnoticed. Feed supplements can act as an ever-present nutritional source filling these nutritional gaps whether they are apparent or not. Results Deer Feed is the culmination of years of research and testing. For several years now the Institute has been testing a multitude of formulations, testing various ingredients and nutrient levels in order to achieve maximum nutrition as well as incredible attraction. Researchers at the Whitetail Institute arrived at the nutritional requirements needed in the feed years ago but still wanted to do some tweaking on attraction. Further research using Devour (Whitetail Institute’s scent and flavor enhancer) showed a dramatic difference in palatability and preference over other competitive deer feed supplements. To complete the formulation, a special water protectant called Rain Shed was added to help ensure the pellets better maintain their integrity during adverse weather conditions. Results is packed with protein, a guaranteed minimum of 20 percent. This protein is derived from the highest quality, highly digestible ingredients providing rumen-digestible protein and by-pass protein. Both protein sources are needed for optimum protein utilization. Results also is also packed with energy provided through carbohydrates and fat to help your deer herd maintain top body condition. Quality fiber sources are also essential for deer as they help to maintain rumen health and proper function. However, not all fiber sources are beneficial to deer as some provide little or no benefit. Results contains only highly digestible and high-quality fiber sources selected based on the particular fiber needs of deer and the deer’s digestive system. Minerals and vitamins are vital for antler growth, doe lactation, fawn development and overall herd quality. Results contains all essential minerals and vitamins formulated in specific amounts and ratios that were designed specifically for whitetail deer. As mentioned earlier, Results also contains Devour to ensure the desired consumption amount. While Results contains all of these important individual qualities, the real key to the effectiveness of Results is the sum or combination of these attributes. Protein, energy, fiber, minerals, vitamins and flavor enhancers all derived from high quality, specifically selected ingredients formulated in precise amounts produce a feed supplement that gives you what you pay for and expect — Results. Results is manufactured and co-marketed with Southern States Inc. and MFA Incorporated. Southern States and MFA Inc. have been leaders in the feed manufacturing industry for many years and are known for providing extremely high-quality feed products. With manufacturing sites across much of the U.S., Southern States and MFA Incorporated will help to ensure you can get Results efficiently and timely. W www.whitetailinstitute.com

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 ®

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.

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WHITETAIL NEWS

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A Three-Ring Binder Your Prime Tool for Better Food Plots By Charles J. Alsheimer Photos by the Author

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eveloping a great hunting property requires a lot of work. Unfortunately, most landowners struggle to fulfill their dreams because they underestimate the importance of building a solid data base for their property. Philosopher George Santayana said: “Those that cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” which sums up why documenting every aspect of your land management practices is so important. If you can’t remember what you did in the past, it’s hard to track your property’s progress, because as the years pass, memories fade. After all, Babe Ruth’s 60-home-run season in 1927 wouldn’t have meant much if someone hadn’t kept track of Major League home run totals through the years. 16

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

The b o t to m line is that acquiring historical information as it pertains to environmental issues, soil types, which seed blends work best for different parts of the property, and how deer navigate the land are keys to building a first-class hunting paradise. So, as with athletics, documenting the past is the key to both current and future success. BUILD A RECORD BOOK Getting a handle on documenting the past is daunting for many hunters and land managers. In too many cases one’s failure to write down and organize what takes place on a property

makes it difficult to make a property better. When you consider what it costs to develop a great hunting property the least expensive thing that can be done is recording what went into making everything happen. And the easiest way I know to accomplish this is by having everything about the property organized in a three-ring binder. Neil Dougherty of North Country Whitetails makes his living consulting and building great

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hunting properties. One of the first things he does is build a reference document for the landowner to use. Regarding this he told me, “It’s important to have a quick, easy-to-use reference guide for use in the field. What I find that works well is an expandable three-ring binder that is set up to hold different pieces of information about the property; everything from soil type, its topography, to food plot locations, to the forages that have been planted in the past. This information allows me to know what has taken place and gives me a better handle on what to recommend in the future. Basically, this type of filing system tells me nearly everything I need to know about the property, and it’s simple to use.” Over the years I’ve used this system as a tool to help me manage all aspects of our farm, from food plots to forest management. Here is how it works. STARTING POINT To get started I recommend obtaining a quality aerial photo of the entire property in question and insert it in the front of the binder. Next, note the prevailing wind direction as well as www.whitetailinstitute.com

north, south, east and west coordinates on the photo. This will help you identify where feeding and hunting food plots might work best. As you look at the photo understand that all prospective food plot locations will probably not have the same growing potential because of their orientation to the sun. According to Dougherty, “Here in the North, all things being equal, east/southeast-facing food plots have the potential of being great set-ups because they get early morning light, when the day is still cool. As a result their soils tend to stay moist, and warm afternoon temperatures don’t bake and dry out their soil. Such locations are great for seed blends like Imperial Clover, Alfa-Rack and Chicory Plus. “North-sloping sites generally have cooler, heavier soils that stay moist, making them great locations for a blend like Imperial Clover. However, because of their angle to the sun they tend to begin growing later in the spring and stop growing sooner in the fall than plots with a more direct orientation to the sun.

“Though great in spring and fall, straight south or southwestern facing openings are the least favorable food plot locations during warm months because they receive a lot of direct sunlight. Because Chicory Plus, Alfa-Rack and Extreme have the ability to grow well in drought conditions they are great choices for these locations. However, when it comes hunting season a food plot with this orientation to the sun is the best because the ground stays warm enough to allow the plant to continue to grow.” STUDY THE DIRT With potential food plot locations identified, it is important to name each food plot in such a way that everyone using the property knows the location. Once done, keep detailed soil information on the plot, beginning before the first sod is turned. Doing so starts the data base and makes Vol. 21, No. 2 /

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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.

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Imperial Clover is a crucial part of many food plot plans.

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The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

®

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Research = Results™

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

it easier to see what’s needed for the plot to reach its potential. Prior to working with Dougherty I tested our food plot’s soil pH before tilling the location, and applied lime as recommended. Thinking I had covered my liming bases I seldom retested the plot’s pH until it was three years old. It wasn’t until I heeded Dougherty’s suggestion and began testing each new plot’s pH every year (for at least the first three years) that I saw the error of my ways. The data base I was building with each year’s testing showed that some plots needed more attention than I was giving them. Had I not kept records I never would have known. Along with knowing the food plot’s pH, attempt to determine if its soil is loamy, sandy or clay. This will aid you in deciding what seed blend to plant, as well as when to plant. By way of example, sandy soils do not hold moisture well and tend to dry out quickly, making it difficult for plants to grow in the summer months. So, in sandy soil it is best to plant a droughtresistant seed blend, like Extreme, Chicory Plus or Alfa-Rack. Blends like Tall Tine Turnips, Chicory Plus and Alfa-Rack do particularly well in welldrained loamy soil. Shale and rocky soils have a tendency to dry quickly, especially if they receive direct sunlight, so a forage like Extreme, which has seeds with a very deep root system, does well in this type soil. The United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service www.whitetailinstitute.com


has documented the soil types of all the land in the United States. You can obtain a photo copy of your property and its soil types by contacting the Soil Conservation Service office in the county where your property is located. This is a vital piece of information that should become a part of your property’s data base. LEARN FROM THE PAST As time passes, strive to keep detailed notes in your file on each food plot—everything from when it was prepped and tilled to what was planted. By documenting the history of each plot you’ll be able to determine which seed blend works best for the location. The plot’s historical record will also make you aware of when the plot needs to be rotated to a different blend. As an example, my farm’s records indicate that with proper maintenance I can get four to five years out of an Imperial Clover plot. Though possible, my data base also reveals that year four and five do not provide the tonnage per acre that year one to three does. So, instead of trying to milk five years out of my clover plots I now replant after the third year. Record-keeping has also aided me in my approach to planting annuals. I’m a huge fan of planting Tall Tine Turnips for late season utilization by the deer. Though I’m able to obtain good

results planting turnips two years in a row in the same plot, the second year’s production is not as good as the first. Recording this kind of information allows me to see when I should consider crop rotation. It’s important to note that some herbicides have residual effects on the soil to the point that they may affect future plantings in a particular food plot site, so record-keeping is a must when it comes to herbicide application. Arrest (spray for grasses) has no residual effects on the soil so there are no lasting traces of the herbicide, regardless of how many times it is sprayed. Slay (spray for broadleaf weeds), on the other hand, does have a residual effect. The benefit of the residual effect of Slay is that after one or two spray applications you may not have to do a spring spraying the following year because the chemical is still in the ground. The down side of Slay and other residual herbicides is that if you decide to till and replant the site in something other than legumes (i.e., corn) the crop may not grow. There is no end to the benefits of accurate record-keeping because of what you can learn. Information is power and when you have the proper data at your fingertips it will be much easier to develop a hunting paradise. The bottom line is that if you know where you’ve been, you will be able to better chart your future. W

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Fall Annuals that Perform Many Roles By Hollis Ayres

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unting season is right around the corner. When you’re deciding which Whitetail Institute forage to plant in each of your sites, don’t overlook No-Plow and Secret Spot. These two extremely versatile food plot products can perform a wide variety of roles in your fall/winter food plot system. Most Whitetail Institute customers already know that No-Plow and Secret Spot can be planted with minimal ground tillage. That’s one reason they’re so versatile. But don’t forget that’s only a small part of the picture. Keep in mind that they are products of the same exhaustive research, development and testing process that all Whitetail Institute forages go through. That means that they’re not only versatile, they’re also top performers. First, we’ll look more closely at each product. Then, stay tuned because we’ll discuss some ways you may have never thought of to use

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them this fall. GENERAL DESCRIPTION No-Plow and Secret Spot are “annual” forage products, meaning that they’re designed to last up to one year after planting, and both can be planted either in a fully prepared seedbed or with minimal ground tillage. They’re also designed to establish and grow extremely quickly—it’s not unusual to see them growing above ground even just a few days after planting, and they also begin attracting deer right away. No-Plow is ideal for planting in the late summer or fall. Packaged for areas one-half acre and larger, No-Plow consists of specially selected forage grains and grasses, annual clovers and brassica. Secret Spot, which is specifically designed for fall planting in smaller, remote

hunting plots, contains very similar components plus small amounts of other cool-season grains and WINA chicory. Secret Spot is packaged in two sizes: Secret Spot (4-lbs. covers up to 4,500 square feet), and Secret Spot XL (10-lbs. covers up to 1/4-acre). Like most other Whitetail Institute forage products, No-Plow and Secret Spot are blends of multiple plant varieties. One reason most Whitetail Institute forage products are blends is that professional blends of different plant varieties in the right ratios can almost always outperform single plant varieties in food plots. No-Plow and Secret Spot are designed to attract deer throughout the fall and winter but they also keep performing even after winter. When designing No-Plow and Secret Spot, the Whitetail Institute also kept in mind how important it can be to provide deer with highly nutritious food sources during the period from late

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winter into early spring. This is a time when nutrient requirements in deer are very high as they try to recover their winter health losses. However, it’s also a time when natural food sources can be extremely scarce or exhausted, and when what little food may remain is usually low in nutrients and unpalatable. It’s at this critical time that the annual clovers in No-Plow and Secret Spot can continue to shine, providing deer with a highly nutritious food source. IDEAS FOR USING NO-PLOW & SECRET SPOT As we’ve already mentioned, No-Plow and Secret Spot are perfect for areas where you can’t fully work up the seedbed before planting. Below, I’ll give you some ways that this can be a huge benefit in the fall, as well as some additional ideas for taking advantage of the performance potential of No-Plow and Secret Spot. The following certainly isn’t an exclusive list. When it comes to finding new ways to use NoPlow and Secret Spot in your fall food plot program, you’re limited only by your imagination. HIGHLY ATTRACTIVE FOOD PLOT When it comes to fall/winter attraction, NoPlow and Secret Spot don’t take a back seat to anything. Like all Whitetail Institute forages,

No-Plow and Secret Spot are extremely attractive to deer, so remember that they can be good options virtually anywhere you want to establish a highly attractive food plot, even in places where you can work up the seedbed.

ter than many other forages, making them great options for keeping a site attractive and nutritious during the fall and winter while you’re waiting for soil pH to rise. OLDER PERENNIAL STANDS

LOW SOIL PH Most high-quality forage products for deer grow best in soils with a soil pH of 6.5 or higher. Most fallow soils, though, have a lower (“acidic”) soil pH, which should be corrected by incorporating lime into the soil prior to planting. When soil pH is low, the lime needed to raise it should be incorporated well in advance of planting if possible to give the lime additional time to work. In some situations, you can have an extensive amount of time to wait for soil pH to come up. One example is if soil pH is extremely low, meaning that the lime must raise soil pH a long way. Another is if the forage you plan to plant is highly dependent on soil pH being 6.5 or higher at planting, for instance Alfa-Rack Plus and forage products that contain alfalfa. In such cases, it can be a good idea to go ahead and lime the soil, and then skip a planting season before planting the perennial. While you wait, though, the plot can still be fully productive. No-Plow and Secret Spot can tolerate lower pH soils bet-

Let’s say that fall is approaching, an Imperial perennial you’ve had growing in a site for years is reaching the end of its useful life, and you plan to work the seedbed up next year for a new perennial planting. Overseeding the existing forage with No-Plow or Secret Spot this fall can be a great way to add new, attractive growth to the plot and keep it performing at a high level through the coming fall and winter. SOIL STRUCTURE ISSUES While most soils are suitable for tillage, that’s not always the case. Although it’s uncommon, some soils should not be tilled under any circumstances. An example is a soil structure we’ve seen in Central Florida — one inch of top soil above several feet of nothing but sand. In that situation, that one inch of top soil was all that would sustain a forage planting, and tilling it would have mixed the thin topsoil with the sand beneath it, virtually destroying the soil. Planting No-Plow or Secret Spot without

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

The Whitetail Institute ®

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

www.whitetailinstitute.com

Research = Results™

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com

Vol. 21, No. 2 /

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ground tillage is ideal for such a situation. The same holds true for soils that wouldn’t be harmed by tillage, but that you don’t want to till for other reasons. Examples are skidder roads and ATV trails in soils that are difficult to stabilize. Skidder roads, ATV paths and the like often make excellent food plot areas, but disking an established roadbed in such soil would render it virtually impassible as soon as it rains. With NoPlow and Secret Spot, you can establish highly productive fall/winter food plots without compromising the road beds. LEASING HAY FIELDS If you’ve ever leased property from a farmer who makes his living producing hay in the spring and summer, you already know the first demand they often make on their leaseholders. It usually goes something like, “I don’t care what you plant for hunting season, as long as my hay comes back full strength next spring!” Here again, No-Plow and Secret Spot are excellent choices. Once the farmer has taken his final hay cutting for the year, wait until the grass starts to go dormant. Then, mow the grass stubble as low as possible, and Plant No-Plow or Secret Spot according to the no-till instructions. Remember that the seeds must make contact with the soil, so drag something over the field

after you spread the seeds to help achieve better seed-to-soil contact. A SNEAKY (AND DEADLY!) USE FOR NO-PLOW AND SECRET SPOT IN POWERPLANT SITES By now, most folks know that PowerPlant, a spring/summer annual, is a prolific producer. Stands often reach 5-6 feet in height, and it’s so thick that deer readily use the mass of vegetation PowerPlant produces for bedding cover as well as a forage source. PowerPlant spends its life during the spring and summer producing maximum tonnage of high-protein forage, and once frost arrives it starts to die. There’s a great way, though, that you can maximize PowerPlant as a hunting plot in the early season and even keep the site attracting deer throughout the hunting season. Step 1. Check your fall planting dates for NoPlow and Secret Spot. Step 2. Most areas of the country have a most commonly prevailing wind direction during hunting season. About a month before your fall No-Plow and Secret Spot planting dates, locate a stand site on a corner or edge of your PowerPlant site that’s most commonly downwind during hunting season. Step 3. A few weeks before your fall planting

dates for No-Plow and Secret Spot, mow narrow lanes (ballpark 6-10 feet wide) through the standing PowerPlant so that you can look down the lanes from the stand site. Step 4. During your fall planting dates, plant the lanes in No-Plow or Secret Spot. This can be a great way to hunt all day long, as deer bedded in the PowerPlant often step in and out of the narrow No-Plow or Secret Spot lanes all throughout the day. CONCLUSION I hope this article has helped you see just how versatile No-Plow and Secret Spot can be in your food plot arsenal. Just like all other Whitetail Institute forage products, No-Plow and Secret Spot are top performers—and the fact that they can perform well with minimum seedbed preparation is just icing on the cake. Whether you use them in all your plots or to fill specific roles in a few, you can’t go wrong with fall plantings of No-Plow and Secret Spot. For more information about No-Plow or Secret Spot or to order, call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 6883030. W

Some of the places deer like best are not the best 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 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com

Research = Results™ www.whitetailinstitute.com


First Time’s a Charm… Twice Make your own “luck” with pre-season food plot planning By Matt Harper Photos by the Author

One of the bucks the author has shot as a result of his pre-season food plot planning.

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he small aluminum fishing skiff was rocketing thru the rough river chop at a mindnumbing eight knots powered by a massive 30-horsepower outboard. The particular craft we were using had been honed by collisions with rocks over an infinite number of years giving it the exact configuration of dents and leaks that made it slice thru the water like a bowling ball through pudding. Best of all, an odiferous masterpiece of beaver carcass, stale 24

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

bread, cooking grease and unidentifiable goo wafted past our face from the front of boat. As you might have guessed, I was hunting bruins, for the first time to be exact, along a bear-infested river in Manitoba. This was the first bear hunt for my hunting partner as well, and he was the first to be dropped off. Our guide said that he was going to a great spot, but after the boat pulled away leaving him standing on the river bank, my guide confessed that I was

going to the “hot spot.” I guess the outfitter thought I deserved preferential treatment since I lined up the hunt, and I thought it would be rude to argue with him; so I just went along with it. At the end of the first evening I had seen nothing short of a ground squirrel, but my hunting “buddy” had shot the biggest bear that would be taken that year in camp. Later that year, I went hog hunting in Texas with the same hunting “buddy” and you guessed it, he shot a big boar on the first night while I took pictures of cardinals (there was nothing else to do…no hogs). There seems to be two distinct groups of hunters — those who struggle for days, weeks and even months to fill their tags and those blessed individuals who seem to have a horseshoe located in a place that only a proctologist could find. Most of the time I belong to the former, but during Iowa deer season two years ago, I had the fortune to experience what it felt like to be in the “first dayer’s” club. Oct. 4 was my first day afield in pursuit of whitetail deer, and even though this time of year can be extremely productive, my past trackrecord for early season success caused me to consider this outing more therapeutic in nature than productive. I planned on hunting for a couple hours then getting down to make a mock scrape near my stand. The morning was just as quiet as it was beautiful, and as the two-hour mark approached, I began packing things up to call it a morning. I was fishing out my pull-up rope when I heard the tell-tale crackle of deer hooves running through the early autumn leaf fall. I glanced over my shoulder expecting to see a young buck or doe but was met with the vision of gleaming trophy-class antlers and they were moving directly down the trail leading past my stand. A few moments later, a quarteringaway shot at 27 yards resulted in the earliest harvested trophy whitetail I have ever taken. A few months later on Dec. 26, my family and I were celebrating Christmas at my in-laws. Around 3 p.m. things were winding down with the kids playing, women chatting, and father-inlaw asleep in his chair. Meanwhile I sat anxious and nervous watching the minutes tick away on a great afternoon to hunt. Late muzzleloader season was underway and I had not yet had the opportunity to hunt any of my Winter-Greens food plots. The temperature was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, there was a fresh coating of snow on the ground and the wind was out of the east which gave me a perfect approach to a plot that I had not stepped foot in since bow season. I finally mustered the courage to look forlornly over at my wife and attempt the “PLEASE” look. I’ll admit that the look seldom works, and it really didn’t work then either. But a few minutes later, in one of those amazing Christmas miracle moments, my wife came over to me and said, “If you’re going to go then…” I didn’t hear www.whitetailinstitute.com


the rest because I was vaulting down the front steps to my truck. Luckily, my farm is close by and about 30 minutes later, I was creeping my way through the cedar trees heading toward a tripod stand overlooking a ridge-top WinterGreens food plot. I was late getting there and knew there may already be deer in the field, but I had cover all the way to the stand and the wind was right. I made it about three steps up my stand, just enough to see the field, and discovered there were indeed deer in the field — in fact a lot of deer. As I weighed my options on whether to stay on the third rung or try and make it to the seat, I caught sight of a large deer on the edge of the timberline moving toward the field. A quick check with the binoculars confirmed my suspicions; it was a massive 10-pointer with Coke cans coming out of his head. Decision made, I stayed put, for 45 minutes actually, until the buck made his way into gun range. Fighting off leg cramps and fatigued arms, I somehow was able to squeeze off a shot that hit its mark. An hour later I was holding the 160-inch rack, amazed that for a second time in one year, my first time out was the charm. Every successful hunt involves a certain amount of luck, some more than others; but as I mentioned earlier, my natural allotment of that elusive characteristic is rather small. Therefore, I must rely on other means to increase the likelihood of filling my freezer and making a house payment for my taxidermist. The success I had two years ago, for example, had a lot more to do with pre-season planning than luck. One will normally find me in a tree stand the first week of bow season, but typically I am hunting just to satisfy the nine-month itch to be deer hunting. I do hunt food sources and I try to set-up on plots that contain forages that deer are utilizing heavily that time of year. However, that was about as far as it went, as I plan my hunting more around the rut than early season. After all, I have an understanding wife but she

has a limit as to how many weekends I spend aloft in a tree. But two years ago, a good friend of mine had drawn a coveted Iowa bow tag and due to scheduling conflicts, could only hunt early in October and possibly again in late season. So, with that in mind, I set out to design a hunting strategy designed specifically around those two time frames which would hopefully increase our odds of success. EARLY SEASON Food sources are important elements no matter what time of the hunting season you find yourself afield; but during early season, a properly designed and implemented food plot program is essential. Early in the season, bucks have yet to lose their minds in pursuit of females, so the only thing to draw them from their bed is food. But not only do we want to lure an old bruiser to a food plot, we want them to come to a specific plot, using a specific path and during legal shooting hours. The first particulars to decide are where you are going to plant your early-season plot and how many you are going to plant. Again, bucks are not venturing too far away from their home area at this time of year, so plots need to be somewhere within that home area and more specifically, as close to their core area as possible. In fact, if I have a good idea as to where a buck is bedding, I try to get the plot snuggled right up against the bedding area. This can be a bit dangerous as you don’t want to booger him; but you shouldn’t expect a mature buck to leave his bed early enough, or go back to bed late enough, to get a daylight shot at him if your food plot requires a long travel distance. The closer you are to his bed, the more likely he will give you a shot during legal shooting hours. Furthermore, if you plan several weeks in advance being careful not to venture into his bedroom and keeping the human disturbance down (tractor noise is one thing, but human

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The author puts Imperial Clover at the top of his list of early-season foods for deer. www.whitetailinstitute.com

Vol. 21, No. 2 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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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. Winter-Greens helped draw in this brute during the late muzzleloader season.

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800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com

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The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results™ 26

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

noise is another), you will diminish the risk of pushing him to another area. Also, early-season food plots should be located in an area that will allow you to access a treestand or blind with the very lowest possibility of detection. Bust a roving buck on your way to a stand during the rut and you may have a chance at him again, either close by or at another stand; but do that during early season and the proverbial jig is up. You can also incorporate food plot shapes into the detection equation by designing plots that are “S” curved or hourglass-shaped to allow for blind spots to use getting into the stand. Keep in mind that getting out of your stand undetected is just as important, if not more important, as deer will very likely be on the plot when you decide to call it a night and climb down. One other consideration in early-season plot placement is to take advantage of natural food sources. For example, we all know that acorns are powerfully attractive especially in early fall. Locating a food plot between an oak grove and a bedding area can be highly effective. Large agricultural fields of soybeans and corn will also draw large numbers of deer, so I like to place early-season plots in staging areas on the edge of these fields. These staging-area food plots work extremely well during early season, especially for bucks as they will stop in these small, protected food plots during daylight hours before moving onto the bigger agricultural fields at night. In terms of the number of early-season plots to plant, keep in mind that the more you plant, the more options you give the deer. You can only hunt one field at a time, so I recommend planting just one plot per bedding area so you don’t go crazy wondering if you should be at the plot on the other side of that bedding area. However, I do like to have options, so look for multiple bedding areas and plant plots at each of them. That way, if you bust a buck, or the wind is wrong on one particular plot, you still have other places you can hunt. Of course, what you plant for early-season plots is important as well. Because deer prefer different types of food at different times of the year, it is vital to plant a food plot variety that matches up with the early-season taste buds of a deer. Topping the list of early-season forages is Imperial Whitetail Clover. Imperial Clover is without question, the most attractive clover blend I have ever used (and I’ve tried nearly all of them) drawing deer not only in the spring and summer but also in the fall. In fact, I see more usage in the fall because other natural forages are maturing and becoming less desirable. Imperial Clover is designed to stay vegetative, highly digestible and therefore highly attractive for long periods of time and will remain that www.whitetailinstitute.com


way even as other forages are growing indigestible due to maturation. Also, Imperial Clover is a perennial which means that once it is planted, you only need to spend some time maintaining it, which decreases the time spent on those fields close to a buck’s bedding area. Alfa-Rack Plus, Chicory Plus and Extreme are other perennials that work great for earlyseason plots. If an annual is what you are looking for, Imperial Pure Attraction is a great option. This product contains plant varieties that become attractive in slightly cooler conditions than the above mentioned perennials; and since weather can be finicky that time of year, a Pure Attraction plot is a great back-up. You can even plant them in the same field, not necessarily together; but if you have an acre field, you might consider planting one-half acre of Imperial Clover and one-half acre of Pure Attraction. Also, the new Whitetail Forage Oats Plus is another great choice for the early season as well.

2011 QUA

LIFIER

LATE SEASON Late-season plot planning is similar to early season considerations in that the plot should allow for low pressure access, contain varieties that attract deer during that time frame and be located in areas and in shapes that maximize the opportunity for a daytime shot. However, there are a few differences to consider. Late-season plots are normally larger in size than early-season plots because utilization will be heavier with the lower availability of other food sources. Also, most late-season plots are annuals, so once the plant quits growing the plot will contain a finite amount of food as opposed to an early-fall perennial plot that will re-grow once it has been nipped off. If you are hunting with a rifle or muzzleloader, the size of the plot does not affect you as much as it does if you are carrying a bow. If you are bowhunting and a huge old buck is out in the food plot 200 yards away, he might as well have not even showed up in terms of getting a shot at him. Therefore, when designing late-season bow plots, create pinch points, blind curves, etc.., to try and get as close to feeding deer as possible. I have used plantings of tall cane, heavily seeded, to produce a natural funnel right in the middle of my late-season plot. The biggest difference between early-season and late-season plots is the type of forage you will be planting. Brassicas rank high on the list for late-season plots and Imperial WinterGreens ranks the highest among brassica blends, and I am not saying that because it is a Whitetail Institute product. I have planted more brassica varieties than most people even know exist, and year after year, WinterGreens draws the most activity. In fact, last year I planted a late-season plot and split it up with different varieties but made the mistake of planting Winter-Greens at the farthest end of the field from my shooting house. Each night I sat frustrated and watched the deer go to the Winter-Greens section of the field just out of reach of my muzzleloader. If I had been thinking more clearly in July when I planted, I would have likely harvested the largest 8-pointer I have ever seen. As it was, however, I sat on two different occasions and watched the sun go down on this awesome buck feeding in the Winter-Greens section of the plot, just out of reach. SUMMARY I would never go so far as to say that luck does not play a role in harvesting a trophy-class animal. However, I am a firm believer in creating luck or at least doing all I can to increase the odds that luck will shine on me. Careful planning of your food plots and designing specifically for certain times of the year will undoubtedly increase the possibility of success during those times of the year you plan around. Rut hunting is exciting and I still reserve most of my vacation for that magical time of year. But now, however, early-season and late-season plots have become a regular part of my overall plan. I figure it this way — the more chances you have to play, the better odds you have to win. W www.whitetailinstitute.com

d e l l u p N R E K Y BARR K C U B R E W in this PO with TINK’S E P A R C S R E W PO RRY TAKING

IDEO OF BA WATCH THE V UCK AT B THIS POWER

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created the Scrape Bomb™ Scrape Dripper to effectively disperse Tink’s Power Scrape™ Mock Scrape Starter. The Scrape Bomb keeps mock and nature scrapes fresh for 4 to 5 days. Dripping only during the day, the scrape drippers condition deer to visit your stand when you’re there.

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are all paying off. We will definitely be using more Whitetail Institute products next year.

Robert Wert — Pennsylvania Since I started to use Whitetail Institute products on my farm in PA, my deer herd over three years has gone from five or six deer to more than 40 deer. The product that draws the most attention is the Chicory Plus. The program has worked so well we started the same program on our property in Virginia. We saw a quick turn around in deer numbers. We have harvested bigger bucks this past season than in any other year at both locations. We love Whitetail Institute products. We will be adding more acres in Virginia to the program. See photo of a PA buck.

Joe Macri — Tennessee

Derek Melchi — Indiana

Plus for the last four years. We’ve been using Winter-Greens for the last two years on twoacre food plots. We used to see around 15 deer (does, bucks and fawns) in the food plots, small bucks and does. In the last four years we have seen 15 bucks in the food plots. In the last three years we have shot a 142-inch buck and an eight-point that scored 154. Last year on my Kentucky farm I shot a 13-point with my bow that scored 164. This year on the same farm I killed my biggest buck ever, a 14-point that scored 181. My buddy shot a 12-point that scored 152. See photos enclosed.

Will Sellers — Alabama I shot this 20-point non-typical last year in Alabama on Dec 27. The buck came out in a patch of Secret Spot where I was fortunate enough to be sitting that morning. We planted Secret Spot and No-Plow this year and have been using the 30-06 mineral supplement as well. These products We have a 110-acre farm, and we have been planting Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

I planted three separate plots on my property. Chicory Plus, Extreme, and a mixture of Chicory Plus and Clover. They are situated in long thin strips with tall grass rows dividing them. I hunted for days looking over these plots and never saw less then 10 deer a night. It was usually closer to 25 to 30. The deer absolutely demolished every inch of the Chicory Plus first then moved on to the Extreme and Clover. Many days I would have to hunt in another stand because the deer would bed down in the middle of the plots and continue feeding. That is what happened on the afternoon hunt that produced Bullwinkle. I went to the stand at about 1 p.m. and already had seven deer lounging in the plots. I proceeded down the tree line to my second stand. It is situated between the plot and bedding area, and is tricky to get to without spooking deer. I sat there until about 4:45 p.m. without seeing much movement. I looked over my shoulder and saw a nice ninepoint coming over a hill. I tried to rattle him in but he wanted nothing to do with it and proceeded to head right for my stand over the food plots. I figured I was done for the night and upset that I was, again, in the wrong stand. I sat back down and looked towards the thick cover and here comes Bullwinkle. His head was rocking back and forth as he tries to navigate his way through the trees. I had enough time to get the gun up and let a shot ring out. I could clearly see where the bullet hit him as he ran off and I knew he wasn’t going far. After shaking for a good 45 minutes my brother showed up to help with the deer and the rest is in the picture

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and plant about four-to-five acres of WinterGreens each year. Thanks Whitetail Institute for the help with our success.

David Wacker — Wisconsin — a giant smile from a hunter that couldn’t be happier. The property owner that hunts the other side of the fence also shot a tremendous deer. He said that he has been hunting that property for 30 years and has never seen deer like he has since I started my management program and planted Whitetail Institute food plots. Thanks from both of us and we are looking forward to upping the size next year.

Austin Frees — Kansas Kraze is an amazing product. In three days the deer had it gone. Enclosed is a nine-point I shot during rifle season. Keep up the good work Whitetail Institute.

We are on our third rotation of replanting our three Imperial Whitetail Clover fields. With the proper fertilizing based on our soil tests the fields have stayed productive for an average of six to seven years. This is amazing considering our cold Wisconsin winters and the summer

respective food plots using Imperial Whitetail products and they are already receiving heavy use from the deer on my farm.

Brent Moore — North Carolina

Bruce Archambault — Missouri After experimenting for a year or two with some of the Whitetail Institute’s competitors products, and I say competitors loosely because I now know Whitetail Institute has no serious competition, I tried the Whitetail Institute’s AlfaRack Plus product at the suggestion of our local co-op owner. The soil in the area of the Ozarks of Missouri where I call home is poor. The results were instant and continue to be enduring as my first Whitetail Institute food plot enters its fourth year of growth. I now use Whitetail Institute products exclusively. In late Aug. I planted my fourth and fifth

Thanks to Whitetail Institute products we have seen more deer and turkeys on our farms than ever before! Enclosed are photos of a couple of deer taken on our food plots. One of which is my 9-year-old son’s first buck. We have had a lot of success with Imperial Whitetail Clover. My wife says I take better care of my Imperial Clover fields than I do our own yard. Ha! We have also really enjoyed watching the deer eating WinterGreens the way they eat those big leaves! I have about four acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover

drought the last two years. When grass invaded we kept it in check with the Arrest herbicide. In addition to the tons of feed for the deer and turkey off the plots we also take off two hay crops a year. The deer have increased in size and numbers. Our only problem is the neighbors line up on our fence line and harvest the deer, making their daily trip to feed on our food plots during our gun season. As a result our best hunting is done during our bow season in September and October. The photo enclosed is of my son with his 140class, 208-pound buck and is a typical buck we see in our Imperial Whitetail Clover fields.

Tom Moses — Ohio We have been using Whitetail Institute products for about eight years. My sons and I have planted old logging trails through our 20 acres and we have an outfitter that has land leased around our property. The outfitter puts out corn, carrots and apples to lure in deer. We have always used No-Plow on our trails. We rake the trails and cast seed by hand and we have been VERY SATISFIED with the results! Every year we have deer that just walk through and browse down the trails. This year during the last day of Ohio youth deer season my son and I were in a ground blind right off one of the logging trails. After hearing his (Continued on page 64)

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Good Soil

Sound Agricultural Principles Produce Good Soil So Food Plots Can Thrive

By William Cousins Photos by Whitetail Institute

W

hitetail Institute forage products are designed to establish and grow quickly and perform at the highest level. Here are some tips to help you keep your soil in the best possible condition so that your plantings can grow as well as they should — and help you save money in the process. HAVE YOUR SOIL TESTED BY A QUALIFIED SOIL-TESTING LABORATORY, AND FOLLOW THE LAB’S RECOMMENDATIONS ON LIME AND FERTILIZER That’s your first tip, and it’s the biggest one. And to regular readers of Whitetail News, that comes as no surprise; almost every issue has a reminder somewhere about how important soil testing is, both to forage

performance and to help you save money. Two important things your soil test report will tell you are the existing soil pH of the soil in your plot and how much lime you’ll need to add to the soil to raise soil pH if it is low. Most high-quality forage plantings will have a hard time growing as well as they otherwise could unless soil pH is “neutral” (in a range from about 6.5-7.5) because neutral soil pH is where they can best uptake nutrients from the soil. If soil pH is low, it should be raised before planting by disking or tilling lime into the soil. To see why this is so important, think of plants taking in nutrients from the soil as humans eating food from a refrigerator. We humans can only take in the food we need if two things are true: the food must be in the refrigerator, and we must have access to the refrigerator. Even if the food is there, it does us no good if we can’t open the refriger-

Most Imperial perennial blends fix nitrogen, which can reduce fertilizer costs for rotational crops.

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ator door. The same is true of plants. The nutrients they need must be there in the soil, either naturally or by applied fertilizer, and the plants must be able to uptake (access) those nutrients. Soil pH affects the ability of plants to uptake nutrients from the soil. If soil pH is below neutral, forage plants are not able to uptake nutrients (open the refrigerator door) as freely, and the lower soil pH is, the harder it is for them to do so. Whitetail Institute forage products come with lime and fertilizer recommendations on the back of the product bags. These are generalized recommendations for situations in which a soil test isn’t available, and they’ll cover most situations. However, they won’t be exact for everyone because precise lime and fertilizer recommendations depend on factors unique to each site, such as soil type, existing soil pH and existing nutrient levels. Taking these factors into account with precision requires physically testing a sample of the soil from the plot in a qualified soil-testing laboratory. That’s why only a qualified soil-testing laboratory can provide lime and fertilizer recommendations that are sufficiently precise to help you maximize forage production and, at the same time, eliminate wasted lime and fertilizer expenses. High-quality soil test kits are available from the Whitetail Institute, County Agents, agricultural universities and many farm supply stores. CROP ROTATIONS Crop rotation is a best-management practice. It makes economic and agronomic sense, and offers the opportunity to improve soil structure, break insect and disease cycles, control problem weeds and improve yields. Any soil that is asked to grow the same crop year after year, whatever the crop, eventually may require a break. After removing the existing crop, it may help rejuvenate the soil in some cases by planting entirely different

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forage types in the site for a growing season (“rotating” out of the old crop and into one that’s totally different). Crop rotation is usually not as big a deal to food plotters, at least not as big as it is with commercial farmers who repeatedly plant the same crop in the same site. With food plotters, it’s occasionally an issue with perennial forages that have been growing in a site for years. Also, most Whitetail Institute forage products are blends of different forage types, reducing the chance of a crop rotation being needed even further. But brassica and alfalfa bear special mention, so I’ll cover them separately in a moment. When is crop rotation necessary? Determining if and when a crop rotation is needed is usually fairly simple. Basically, you notice that despite having planted and maintained the forage according to directions, it’s just not growing as well as it should and has in the past. If you see that, then perform the two-step diagnosis I’ll set out below. Notice that I said “despite having planted and maintained the forage according to directions.” One critical thing that means is that soil pH is, or has been raised to, at least 6.5. If soil pH is low, then the forage can struggle. Determining that crop rotation is necessary presupposes that soil pH is in optimum range: 6.5-7.5 (“neutral” soil pH). The main reason a crop rotation may be necessary is the buildup of disease organisms over time. Diagnosis is usually pretty straightforward. There are two steps. Step 1: Pull up some of the plants, and look at the roots. The roots should be firm and healthy looking. If they are soft, spindly or weak looking, there’s a good chance that the soil has a build up of root-rot organisms like fungus, which can cause poor crop yield or even complete failure. Step 2: While you’re digging around in the soil, look for root-eating insects and their larvae, which can also build up over time. Either of these also indicates that it may be time to rotate. Rotational Crops. When deciding what to plant as a rotational crop,

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Imperial perennials such as Alfa-Rack Plus contain diverse components, which can help keep soil fresh.

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.)

select plant types that are different from those you had growing in the site. Any Whitetail Institute fall/winter annual is a good rotational crop after Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus, Alfa-Rack Plus or Double Cross. If you had Tall Tine Tubers or Winter-Greens growing in the site during the fall and winter, you might consider rotating into PowerPlant the following spring and summer. The key is that the plant types in the rotational crop should be different from those in the existing crop. Brassica: Each situation is different, but due to unique characteristics of brassicas it’s generally recommended that you not plant brassica back-toback in the same site for more than a year or two in a row without a break. The issue can be substantially reduced, though, if the seedbed is correctly prepared prior to planting, including ground tillage, and if tillage is started several months before replanting. To clean the soil as quickly as possible following a brassica crop, though, plant the site in a completely different type of annual during the spring and summer. As I mentioned, PowerPlant is an excellent choice. Plan ahead with plot locations so that you can move your Winter-Greens and Tall Tine Tuber plots every year or two. Alfalfa: Alfalfa’s autotoxicity property can inhibit the growth of a new alfalfa crop planted immediately after an existing alfalfa stand in the same site. With Alfa-Rack Plus being a blend of various species, though, that’s usually not as likely to be an issue, so you can diagnose the need for crop rotation just as you would for any other forage. NITROGEN FIXERS CAN REDUCE FERTILIZER COSTS FOR ROTATIONAL CROPS

239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

Farmers commonly rotate long-term grain fields out of production and into clovers and other nitrogen fixers for a while before returning them to grain production. This can help improve soil quality, protect soil from excess nutrient depletion and reduce nitrogen fertilizer expenses. If you have had one of the Whitetail Institute’s perennial nitrogen-fixing products (Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus, Double-Cross or Alfa-Rack Plus) growing in the same site for years and determine that it’s time to rotate the site into a Whitetail Institute annual for a season, take advantage of the nitrogen that has accumulated by tilling under the existing crop and planting Pure Attraction, Winter-Greens, Tall Tine Tubers or Whitetail Forage Oats Plus and you will be utilizing the valuable nitrogen that is in your soil, creating a disease break and saving money on fertilizer. 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. 2 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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Chip Swindell — Indiana I had obtained permission to hunt a small thicket next to my house for the sole purpose of having a close place to take my 3-year-old son on his first hunting trip. We have always seen a few does around, especially in the summer, but during the hunting season they seemed to disappear. There just wasn’t anything to keep the deer around after the warm weather months. The thicket is just 5 acres. It seemed the does would use it with their fawns but leave later in the year. I wanted to try to keep a few deer around into October and November so I could take my son hunting in a ground blind and see some deer. I decided to clear a 1-acre spot in the center of the thicket and plant some type of food. I did research and kept finding Imperial Whitetail Clover in stories and chat rooms so I decided to try it. I followed the instructions closely and was amazed at how well the Imperial Clover came in and grew. In fact, I couldn’t keep the deer out of it. By Oct. 1, I had a beautiful green clover field tucked away in a thicket. We saw so many deer it was unbelievable. But even more amazing was the number of bucks that showed up during the rut. We had bucks all over, even in our yard! I was able to take this

buck on Nov. 7, with my son, from a ground blind next to our clover plot. It was a great time for me and my son. I’ll be using more Whitetail Institute products in the future. My wife was so excited about our new deer “honey hole” that she decided to hunt for the first time during gun season. She took a nice 8-point on Nov. 14. I’ve included a picture of her and her trophy as well. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

Sarah Hudzinski — Wisconsin

I have been an avid hunter since I was 12 and began bow hunting four years ago with my fiancé. We live in Central WI, and began managing our small property by implementing food plots and QDM practices. We have been using Imperial Whitetail Clover for years with great success, and this year we created a new food plot of Winter-Greens thanks to a suggestion from one of the Whitetail Institute staff. I was lucky enough to be sitting over that food plot on Oct. 27 when the buck of my life decided to visit the food plot. This is my first buck with the bow, and my largest buck to date (137-inch P&Y). Thank you Whitetail Institute!

David Nelson — Iowa With trail camera pictures of Big Twelve on one of our eight 30-06 mineral licks in July and Aug. we knew he was in the area, and we also knew he was working a two-acre Pure Attraction food plot close by. My son, Jordan, hunted the food plot a couple of times, and saw lots of does, and passed up three different good bucks. With all the does in the food plot we knew Big Twelve would eventually show. Then it happened — a huge scrape showed up on the south side of the Pure Attraction food plot, so we set up our stands on the huge scrape. With so many deer feeding in the food plot a north wind is what we needed to 34

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

hunt this stand. We hunted a couple different stand locations and Jordan passed up a couple of good bucks waiting for that north wind we needed to hunt the huge scrape. The weather forecast for the next day was cool temperatures with a 5-m.p.h. north wind. Perfect. Jordan was excited about hunting the huge scrape hoping to harvest Big Twelve. We were in the stand only about one hour when Jordan spotted two bucks coming our way, the second buck was Big Twelve, the smaller buck was leaving his scent in every overhanging branch as he headed to the food plot with Big Twelve following, and when he was 20 yards away, Jordan made an awesome shot and Big Twelve went down at 30 yards. Big Twelve scored 176 inches.

Charles Grantham — North Carolina You just got to love the whitetail deer rut because you get up and go at “0-darkthirty” every morning when you really thought you were too tired to go and sometimes it  pays off. My loving wife encouraged me to go this morning and lo-and-behold a “newbie” shows up on one of our small farms where I was hunting. I have had a trail cam on this farm since early July and never got a pic of this buck. He was with a doe and trying his best to get her away from me grunting to him. I had to take the shot while he was walking away at 190 yards. He dropped in his tracks though at almost the same spot as I shot a nice 8-point with my bow back in Sept. That funnel has been massaged and tweaked with hard work and some beautiful food plots using Chicory Plus over the last 6-7 years and is a real honey hole now. He is very narrow (14-1/2 inches) as a lot of bucks off this farm appear to be but still grosses 142-6/8. (Picture 1) www.whitetailinstitute.com




of bucks I’ve taken over the last three years has made them all want to know what I’ve been using. I look forward to using Whitetail Institute products for many years to come. Keep up the great work Whitetail Institute, you have done so much for whitetail hunters. Thumbs up to you! Thanks so much. I hope to have more Pope & Young deer in the years to come and hope to get my first Boone & Crockett buck soon.

the USA. Whitetail Institute mineral sites define big buck hunting. Using Whitetail Institute products helps younger generation hunters

David Scytkowski — Texas

Trail camera pictures showed the buck in picture 2 was very typical at 2-1/2 years old. He grew a little at 3-1/2, and became a monster for NC at 4-1/2 when I killed him with my bow. He grossed 144-4/8 at 4-1/2 and easily made my first entry into the Pope & Young records. This buck lived his whole life on or near a 68-acre parcel with three well maintained Imperial Whitetail Clover and Chicory Plus plots. No-Plow was also used on this tract of land in the early years until I got the soil pH and the fertility right. If this isn’t proof positive of the power of nutrition and age impact on deer quality, I don’t know what is.

Robert Glenn — West Virginia

 Photo 1 shows the size of the deer I had on my property before I started using Whitetail Institute products. Now the deer are just getting bigger and bigger. I got my first  Pope & Young deer this year. Photo 2. Everyone around my property is now going to start using Whitetail Institute products after seeing what they have done for me and my deer. The class www.whitetailinstitute.com

By following the instructions on the Whitetail Institute products completely, starting with soil test and pH adjustment I have been able to obtain a 85 to 90 percent seed yield in my food plots. The plots have held up under drought conditions and have been available for deer usage year round. With intervals of fertilizer applications these crops have been maintained for several years after initial

stay focused and interested in hunting. They know their odds are better at seeing deer! Thanks for helping keep deer hunting alive.

Robert Peterson — Wisconsin Our deer keep getting bigger as proven by the photo enclosed of my friend. He shot this deer with a bow as it approached one of our three Imperial Whitetail Clover fields. It weighed 240 lbs. dressed and scored 158. There are two more out there that are bigger. I hope to connect with one this late bow season. Keep up the good work Whitetail Institute. W

planting. Here is a picture of one of my food plots as well as a deer harvested because of the food plot.

Greg Bock — Missouri Without a doubt Whitetail Institute products are the best (PERIOD). I’ve tried all the other brands. Nothing, and I mean nothing, draws in big deer and holds them on a pattern like 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein. Magnet Mix and 4 Play Blocks are also number one. All year ’round I use Cutting Edge supplements. It’s worth the money to have a mineral lick site established all year long. Both my 14-year-old son, Tom, and I took our biggest bucks to date last season. My 160class 14-point Missouri deer with archery gear and Tom’s 156-gross Missouri buck (9-point) were taken with the benefits from our mineral sites. Thanks for a great product that is made in

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. 2 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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Creative

Winter Strategies for Farm Country Food Plots By Scott Bestul

I

call it March Madness, and it will start about the time people get excited about the NCAA tournament. But the insanity I refer to has nothing to do with college basketball. About this time, I will start talking to people — some serious deer guys, a few casual hunters, even the odd wildlife watcher who thinks he knows something about whitetails — and they will say the same thing. “Well, another long winter is almost gone. The deer have made it for another year.” I am writing this in Minnesota on the last day of February, and the truth, of course, is this: Our whitetails are facing the toughest 45 days of the year. I don’t care that turkeys will be gobbling in a week or two. It doesn’t faze me that waterfowl are making their first tentative northern flights. And I am not fooled that the odd tulip will poke its nose from the flowerbed of the little old lady down the road. Most of the deer I’ll watch for the next month-and-a-half will look like crap; patchy hide stretched over a framework skeleton, nosing around for spare kibble like abandoned puppies. If it doesn’t sound pretty, you’re right. It’s also ironic. I live in farm country, where you can pick a spot in late summer, turn a slow circle with your eyes on the horizon, and imagine that your neighborhood alone could stop a global famine. But come December, I wouldn’t want to be any creature trying to make a living from an agriculture field. The same places that once pumped out an embarrassing richness of corn and soybeans are not only covered in snow, they’re plowed-up wastelands. Not long ago, I had a hunting buddy wonder why — the previously mentioned “amber waves of grain” scenario obviously fresh in his mind — he needed food plots in farm country. I stood there with an open mouth, nailing my patented village idiot impersonation. I couldn’t engage my brain before he hopped in his truck and drove off. So this article is my hope at redemption; a short look at two specific time periods that are the most rugged 90-day windows faced by farm-country whitetails and how food plots can help alleviate that stress. FALSE SPRING If you’re a serious deer manager — a fact I can assume because you’re reading this magazine — you probably long ago passed a serious bump in the road; the one that tells us food plots are all about killing deer. This is something that casual deer hunters and the general public don’t get about us. Sure, we might start out with hearts full of evil intent, and I’d be lying if I said I never grow a green field designed to help bring a giant to the ground. But after a while, shooting things takes a back seat to doing right by deer. Which is why I’ll start with the least sexy time

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

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frame first; the tail-end of winter and beginning of spring. As noted, this is a critical period for deer, and any boost they can get from food plots now can be huge. But there’s a common, albeit no less frustrating problem with most plantings; many of them don’t last long enough to carry deer through this time. Let’s look at some of the reasons as well as some things I’ve experimented with as solutions. Two other factors combine to help deer run out of food during this time; plot size and deer population. Small plots just don’t carry enough food to keep many deer fed for several months, which many deer managers learn in a hurry. The most obvious solution, of course, is to simply enlarge plot sizes when possible. The other is to take a long, hard look at area deer numbers, an often-preached-about but rarely practiced area of management. We all like to see deer, and it’s tempting to adopt a the-more-the-merrier mindset. Do your best to resist it. Whitetails live better when their numbers are aligned to available habitat and food sources, and (another tough-to-swallow fact) our hunting experience typically improves. Naturally, we don’t all have the ability or space to enlarge our food plots, but that doesn’t mean there are no other options. In my region, it’s common for deer to make seasonal moves to preferred winter habitat. For example, I currently have a half-acre of standing corn and a 1/4-

www.whitetailinstitute.com

acre of Imperial Winter-Greens within 100 yards of my country home, yet there has not been a deer in those food plots since mid-December. These plots remain almost untouched because area deer move at least a half-mile away each winter, to a couple of nearby farms with southfacing slopes that help whitetails conserve energy during the coldest months. This is a dramatic example of seasonal shifts in whitetails, but it’s not uncommon to find more subtle movements and capitalize on them with food plot location. Across much of the upper Midwest, whitetails will move to preferred wintering habitats — areas they’re likely to ignore the rest of the year — and any food plot in those areas can help deer survive the critical months of late winter. It can be frustrating and amazing to plant a food plot in such an area and watch it grow relatively untouched for much of the year. But visit the same spot in late winter, and it will be covered with deer sign (hint: an excellent place to start the year’s shed hunting). Preferred winter habitat will vary from region to region. In my area, deer gravitate toward southfacing slopes and coniferous cover, such as cedar, pine or spruce groves. Choosing a winter-hardy and winter-preferred plant type can make food plots last well into the season. I’ve had tremendous success with Winter-Greens, even in relatively small plots. Each year, I help a friend on his 120-acre

farm; a gorgeous piece of deer habitat, yet one with very limited room for food plots. The first year we worked on his plots, I suggested a planting of straight Winter-Greens in a well-lit plot of less than a half-acre. My friend was overjoyed when the plants germinated well and grew like mad. Then he called in frustration a few weeks into our archery season. “We made a major mistake,” he said. “The deer aren’t touching that stuff in the lower plot.” I had only one word of advice for Kent. “Wait.” By the time our late bow season rolled in, deer were piling into the Winter-Greens and, somewhat amazingly, kept hitting that little salad bar until spring green-up. In addition to some fine late-season bow-hunting, Kent found two sheds in that patch of hardy brassicas. He’s been a believer since. Shortly after snow melt, and until the landscape begins that wonderful process known as green-up, deer continue to struggle for calories. This can be another time when tImperial Whitetail Clover can really shine. There’s a reason why clover remains a favorite of deer managers everywhere: Deer can’t get enough of it, and it’s good for them. I’m still weeks away from seeing the first whitetails return to my neighborhood from their wintering haunts. But when they come back, I can bank on them hitting the plot of Imperial Clover I maintain close to my

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WHITETAIL NEWS

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house. It’s the first thing that greens up in spring, and as the ground becomes saturated from snowmelt, that tiny plot will be peppered with deer tracks. THE EARLY WINTER CRUNCH The second critical 45-day period for deer occurs, strangely, during the most exciting time on the deer manager’s calendar: the rut. Whitetails have skated through the salad days of summer and early fall; the world a literal feast of fruit and mast and grain. They enter the breeding season like well-conditioned athletes, their backs saddle-fat and their muscles thrumming. But the clock, as they say, is ticking. In these parts, farmers begin their harvest just as the bucks are feeling feisty. Assuming good weather, the crops are off when the chase phase of the rut kicks in. Right behind the monstrous combines come the stalk choppers and the discs. Long before the last buck has found the last willing doe, fields that once fed whitetails all they could eat are little more than oceans of black dirt. In years of a great acorn crop this isn’t as much of a concern, but when natural food sources are scarce, bucks can go into the winter a lot skinnier than they were just a few weeks earlier. This situation creates the perfect storm for farm-country food plots. The rut is tailing down,

grain crops are plowed under, and bucks are running out of gas. I had this hammered home for me just this past fall, by a buck I call Beefy 8. He was 3-1/2 going into the hunting season, and he was what I call an “oh-crap” buck. Give him another year, and he’ll be a giant, but you wouldn’t blame a soul if they shot him. We had trail cam pictures of him on the better part of two farms. He was one of those deer that knew he was big and tough and wasn’t afraid to walk where he wanted. He was also something of an enigma. I had more pictures of that darn deer than anyone, but do you think I could lay eyes on him from a tree stand? Not a chance. Well, as I’ve said, Beefy 8 was a wanderer. He’d be in Food Plot X in August, then in Mock Scrape Y in late September, and then Bedding Area Z in October — locations separated by a lot of rough country that he didn’t have to travel through if he didn’t want to. One hunter saw him one time during the rut, and that buck was dogging a doe across acres of real estate, living up to his reputation. But guess what happened in late November? Beefy 8 went from a hobo to a homebody, camping out on a high-quality food plot that was a buffet of Imperial Whitetail goodies. He remained there into December, when every star in a late-season bow-hunter’s sky lined up; deep snow, intense cold, and a buck stuck on one food source like Charlie Sheen stuck on ______

well, you can fill in that blank. About midDecember, a friend from a long way away came to hunt with me, and I put Tom on the Beefster without hesitation. I knew he’d shoot that deer and be happy as a Cheesehead after the Super Bowl. “He’s living right here,” I said to Tom as I walked him to the food plot. “You will know him in a second from those pictures I showed you and … hey! What’s that?” It was a shed antler, a tall-tined right side lying in the snow. And guess which buck had dropped it there just to irritate me? Next fall, Beefy 8 will be 4-1/2, and we are gonna have a talk — hopefully in the bed of my truck — about his behavior. CONCLUSION When I started food plotting, I was just like everyone else. I put seed in the ground because I wanted to kill more and bigger deer. I haven’t lost that motivation, of course. But I’m getting grey in my sideburns now, and I think a little differently. March Madness is right around the corner, and while the rest of the world is praying for their favorite hoops team, I’m crossing my fingers that a few select food plots will be enough to help the deer I love survive the toughest stretch of the year. W

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

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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

Tall Fescue – Another Perennial Weed Headache

E

very region seems to have its own nightmarish perennial weeds that defy all reasonable control efforts. In the southern coastal plain, it is common bermudagrass. In the Mississippi River Delta and Piedmont, it is johnsongrass. Elsewhere, tall fescue carries that dubious honor. In each case, these perennial grasses were/are forages for grazing or hay. The resiliency that makes them ideal forages makes them tenacious weeds. Fescue is not an exception to this pattern. Fescue is an introduced cool-season perennial grass that is commonly planted for livestock forage and as a cover crop for CRP and strip-mine reclamation sites. Individual fescue plants tend to grow in clumps, with established plantings forming a seemingly impenetrable mat of fescue. In addition to the robust competiveness of established fescue stands, the species produces compounds that inhibit growth of other plants (allelopathy). The importance of fescue as a crop is shown by an estimated 32 million acres planted in the United States. These diverse uses, particularly those as a cover crop at locations that have poor soils, are testimony to the adaptability of fescue to a broad array of soil and environmental conditions. The importance and value of fescue as a crop cannot be overstated. Despite the value of fescue as a forage and cover crop, in some settings the species can be a serious weed that necessitates control. Fescue has a symbiotic relationship with a fungus (called an endophyte) that lives in the intracellular spaces of fescue leaf sheaths and seed. The endophyte produces an alkaloid

that sickens livestock and possibly wildlife. Cattlemen invest considerable resources to kill endophyte-infected fescue and convert the sites to endophyte-free fescue. Further, fescue is not a desirable food source for wildlife and produces a poor habitat. This became particularly evident when fescue was planted large-scale on CRP land. Now, there is interest in converting fescueplanted CRP land to native grass species that are more conducive for wildlife, particularly ground-nesting birds. There has been considerable research effort to develop systems of fescue control for these two distinct situations. Embedded in those research results are clues for effective fescue control in food plots for whitetail deer. HERBICIDES FOR FESCUE CONTROL Fescue will not be easy to control and will require a multi-year effort. A critical component in a long-term fescue control program involves treating fescue stands with glyphosate during fallow periods before food plot establishment, with two applications needed for adequate performance. Dense fescue stands tend to have copious amounts of dried fodder that impedes herbicide spray from contacting new growth. Therefore, it is often necessary to closely mow or burn established fescue sites before applying glyphosate. This stimulates fescue re-growth, which will readily absorb glyphosate. This initial treatment is typically in late-summer to early-autumn, when fescue growth is resuming after

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. 2

TREATED

The Whitetail Institute

UN-TREATED

— 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043

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summer dormancy. A sequential glyphosate application is required the following spring to control fescue originating from seed and re-growth of plants that survived the initial treatment. The second application should be made once fescue growth resumes after snow melt and when frost/freezing temperatures are not expected. It pays to not be chintzy when using glyphosate for fescue control. Remember, fescue is a tenacious perennial grass and glyphosate rates need to be within the recommended rate range of 0.7 to 2.0 qts./A, based on the stage of fescue growth. Although glyphosate often does not need additional adjuvants, fescue control is an example where additional surfactants and ammonium sulfate might be needed to ensure maximum efficacy. Refer to the glyphosate label for detailed information on rates and adjuvants, which vary among the many glyphosate products. A discussion on herbicide options to control fescue would be incomplete if I did not discuss the role of selective post-emergence grass herbicides like Arrest and other herbicides in the same chemical family. The post-emergence grass herbicides as a group are not overly effective in controlling established fescue. Higher rates and multiple applications help control fescue emerging from seed. However, established fescue is very difficult to control outright with any of the post-emergence grass herbicides. Fallow applications of glyphosate are much more effective. Some readers may have determined through their own literature searches that the residual herbicide imazapic (Cadre, Plateau) is often combined with glyphosate to control fescue in transition to plantings of native grasses in CRP plantings. This is not an option for fescue control in food plots. Imazapic has significant soil residual properties, and carryover from applications to control fescue will stunt or kill most forage species planted in food plots. TILLAGE TO CONTROL FESCUE In regions with extreme winter temperatures, fallow tillage with a heavy disk in the autumn will fragment dense fescue mats and predispose fescue to winter kill. However, autumn tillage alone is marginally effective since seedling emergence from the seedbank and surviving plants may regenerate the fescue stand. Follow-up spring tillage once the soil has thawed will improve overall fescue control. Fallow tillage to control fescue may not be advisable at all locations due to potential for significant soil erosion. If sites are erodible, consider leaving non-tilled swaths along the contour to slow lateral water flow. These non-tilled strips can be tilled later once the initially tilled areas are planted to another species. Of course, glyphosate is an option in erodible areas. COVER CROPS Cover crops serve two roles in the management of fescue when used in conjunction with glyphosate and tillage. First, warm-season cover crops planted after the spring treatments will further suppress any remaining fescue survivors and emerging seedlings. Ideal cover crops are those that are quickly established and produce dense growth that shades the soil surface. Second, the warm-season cover crop can easily be a forage tailored to attract and nourish whitetail deer. Whitetail Institute’s Power Plant, an annual warm-season forage blend, is an ideal choice for this use. Previous articles stressed the importance of a balanced system of weed management for food plots. Fescue is a good example of a weed that needs a balanced, integrated strategy for long-term control starting in fallow periods. Trying to control fescue once the permanent food plot is established is usually futile. Each food plot system is unique and a “one size fits all” recipe for fescue control is not possible. Consider your food plot location, logistics, forage crop rotation sequence, and availability of equipment to create your own plan to control fescue that uses multiple applications of glyphosate, fallow tillage, and strategic plantings of weed-suppressing cover crops. This may take at least 18 months to implement, but it is necessary to effectively manage this troublesome perennial grass. W

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“Chic” Magnet Is Forage “A-Lister” By Whitetail Institute Staff

Perennial Chicory DRAMATICALLY MORE ATTRACTIVE THAN TRADITIONAL CHICORIES! DROUGHT TOLERANT FORAGE PROVIDES UP TO 44% PROTEIN! Featuring the Whitetail Institute’s own

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

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A

nyone who has surfed TV channels at night and stumbled across a celebrity gossip show has probably heard of the “A-List,” a name by which Hollywood describes a small group of the movie industry’s top stars. Referred to as “A-Listers,” actors who make the cut are automatically invited to any Hollywood party, no matter where it’s held or who the host is. And there’s a reason: A-Listers make the party a whole lot better just by showing up. Most of us deer hunters aren’t A-Listers, and in fact it’s pretty likely that most of us will never even see one in person — at least not the Hollywood kind. However, we deer hunters have access to another kind of A-Lister that can be of much greater benefit to us than the actor kind. It’s a forage A-Lister that, like the actor type, is well suited to a broad variety of situations and can make all of them even better just by being there. The A-Lister I’m referring to is Imperial Whitetail “Chic” Magnet, a Whitetail Institute perennial forage product that is well suited to a variety of soil types and climates, does great by itself or can make existing food plots even better. Plus it will draw and hold deer as well, as its name implies. “Chic” Magnet perennial forage Chicory has lots in common with other Whitetail Institute forages and forage components. One similarity is that, like all other Whitetail Institute forages, “Chic” Magnet, which contains the Whitetail Institute’s WINA 100 Chicory, is extremely attractive to deer, much more so than other Chicories that can become waxy and stemmy as they mature. Another is in how the Chicory first became a component in Whitetail Institute forage blends through the Whitetail Institute’s painstaking research, development and testing process. This is the same process that first brought other industry-leading forages to the food plot market, such as Imperial Whitetail Clover, the lettuce-type brassicas in Winter-Greens, the Persist forb in Extreme, and the Whitetail Oats in Forage Oats Plus, just to name a few. www.whitetailinstitute.com


In fact, it’s the same process that assures Whitetail Institute customers that no product will bear the Whitetail Institute name unless and until it is the very best the Institute can make it. That process is long and tedious. But it’s worth it because Whitetail Institute customers have come to expect nothing but the best from the Whitetail Institute products. Those are just some of the things “Chic� Magnet has in common with other Whitetail Institute forage products. But, it is unique in one way in that WINA-100 perennial forage Chicory started as a component in other Whitetail Institute forage products and remains so to this day, and later the Whitetail Institute started packaging it separately as “Chic� Magnet in response to customer demand. Perhaps this is the best possible evidence of just how attractive and versatile WINA-100 Chicory is. First, consider how broad a variety of forage products contain WINA Chicory. One such product is Imperial Chicory Plus, a perennial product designed to do best in heavy soils that hold moisture and have a soil pH of a least 6.5 in areas that receive at least 30 inches a year in rainfall. Another is Alfa-Rack Plus, a perennial designed for sites that drain well. WINA-100 Chicory is also a component of Imperial Whitetail Extreme, also a perennial designed for well-drained sites, but that can tolerate annual rainfall levels as low as 15 inches per year and soil pH as low as 5.4. And WINA100 Chicory is even in Secret Spot, a fall/winter annual product designed to grow with minimal ground preparation. Like all Whitetail Institute forage products, “Chic� Magnet is a top performer. More tender and less stemmy, “Chic� Magnet is highly palatable to deer and provides protein levels up to 44 percent, even during periods of excessive heat and drought when other forages can slow or cease production. It’s also versatile, designed to grow well in a variety of soil types and drainages, and it’s even one of the easiest perennials to plant — by itself in a prepared seedbed, by mixing with other seeds, or simply by overseeding into existing forage stands. “Chic� Magnet can be planted in the fall, and in the spring in most areas, and it’s designed to last up to three years. A single 3-lb. bag of “Chic� Magnet will plant up to one acre. If you’d like an extremely high-protein perennial forage that’s highly attractive, well suited to a wide variety of climates and soil types, tolerant of lower rainfall, resistant to late-summer heat and drought and easy to plant, “Chic� Magnet is what you’re looking for. Give it a try; plant it by itself, mix it with other seeds or overseed it into your existing forage stands to add attraction, variety and nutrition. For more information about “Chic� Magnet or to order, call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030. W www.whitetailinstitute.com











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WHITETAIL NEWS

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Deep Woods Plots Worth the Effort By David Hart Photos by the Author

C

urt Lytle had two primary concerns in the days after he settled on a 160-acre southeast Virginia farm: building a house and planting food plots. An avid traditional bow hunter, Lytle was eager to make his new oasis as wildlife-friendly as possible. That plan included food plots — lots of them. In all, he created nine at calculated locations in the pine forest that covered most of his ground. Surprisingly, however, 50 acres of Lytle’s land consists of a field that is leased to a farmer who plants either peanuts, beans or corn. Why not carve out a few corners of that field and plant food plots there? Lytle did, of course, but he wanted more. “I did a lot of research and learned that the ideal situation is to have a large feeding area and several smaller hunting plots that don’t get disturbed often,” he said. “It made perfect sense to build food plots back in the woods. I live in an area with lots of hunting pressure, so I wanted

Building plots deep within your property boundaries allows you to better manage your deer herd. Bucks will spend more time close to those food sources during the rut, and they will be less likely to wander in search of food later in the season. Scratching out a food plot in the woods by hand isn’t impossible. However, you need to choose your spot wisely and put in lots of serious labor to succeed.

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to give the deer food sources back in the woods where they feel more secure.” Many hunters do not have the option of planting in existing fields. Their entire hunting property consists of planted pines or mature hardwoods. There is nothing wrong with hunting those woods, of course, but sometimes the deer prefer different habitat and food sources. A food plot — or several — within big woods will give the deer a variety of foods and can be the perfect antidote to a bad acorn crop. MAKE A HOLE Before you drop any seed, you will need one basic ingredient to establish a successful food plot back in deep woods: sunlight. Without it, your plants just will not grow, no matter how fertile the ground. In most cases, food plot plants need at least four hours of sunlight per day so you might need to knock down some trees. “I was fortunate that all my plots are in pines. They were pretty easy to knock over and push aside,” noted Lytle. He owned a backhoe that he bought for the construction of his house, but he used it to build his plots, as well. He simply scooped the roots out and pushed the tree over. Lytle also was careful to knock the dirt off the root ball before pushing the trees to the sides. It was a smart move, he later determined. “I’ve seen other plots back in the woods that were cleared by bulldozers. They pushed all the topsoil to the sides when they cleared the trees and the plots aren’t growing nearly as well as mine,” explained Lytle. “It’s real important to leave as much topsoil as you can.” Habitat and food plot consultant Neil Dougherty subcontracts an excavator who specializes in food plot clearings and says it can cost several thousand dollars to clear an acre. That may seem like a lot of money but he says it is no different from buying a house and then remodeling the kitchen. “I think you have to look at it in terms of overall value. Putting some money into improvements will pay off in the long run, especially if you measure your return in terms of your deer herd and the hunting opportu-

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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nities,” Dougherty said. One way to recoup at least some expense is to sell the timber. It is not always easy to find a logger who will buy a small amount of timber, but if you can, you might be able to recover upwards of $1,000 per acre in the trees you take out. The more land you clear, the more likely you can find a buyer for the timber. If you cannot, that is okay. Lytle made some phone calls to local foresters but learned that the trees just were not valuable enough to justify the labor so he ended up pushing the trees to the side. Dougherty will push the felled trees to the sides, creating funnels that force whitetails into specific locations as they enter the food plots. He warns not to make the wall around the plot too confining because deer will be reluctant to spend much time in it if they do not have enough escape routes. “Piling up the trees also creates good habitat for a variety of wildlife, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing to leave the trees you knock over,” Lytle added. “I have foxes and woodchucks living in mine. It’s pretty cool knowing I have a diversity of wildlife on my property as a result of my work.” HOW BIG, HOW MANY? Dougherty says the height of your trees will dictate exactly how much space you need to clear in order to get that necessary sunlight. He typically recommends clearings of at least 3/4-acre. Smaller plots are also more likely to be overgrazed before the season ends in areas with high deer densities. All nine of Lytle’s plots are about a half-acre, but he does not have high deer numbers. “The pines aren’t that tall and pines in general tend to let more sunlight filter through than hardwoods,” he said. “I’ve had very good success with the half-acre plots and they are the perfect size for me because I almost always hunt with traditional archery equipment. If they were bigger I might

Sometimes you’ll need to bring in heavy equipment to carve out a food plot in a forest. It can be expensive, but it can increase the value of your land.

not be able to get a shot at a deer in front of me.” Dougherty notes that a 3/4-acre plot will not equal the same area in plant growth. The shade from the surrounding trees will prevent proper growth along the edge of the plots. Dougherty says a good rule of thumb is that you will lose a distance equal to a third of the height of the surrounding trees. In other words, if the trees are 30 feet tall, expect to have 10 feet of “dead” space around the edges of your plot. Do not be too concerned, though; shade-tolerant native vegetation will fill in and create more food. Blackberries, honeysuckle and other beneficial plants will give deer and other wildlife even more food choices. CHOOSE A SPOT If you have unlimited resources, you can build and maintain a food plot almost anywhere you want. Naturally, you will be limited by steep terrain or perpetually wet ground, but with enough money, you can knock

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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down a hole in a forest, clear boulders and even truck in prime topsoil if you need to. Most of us do not have that luxury, of course, so we have to choose our sites carefully. Dougherty recommends planting hunting plots in strategic locations and a larger feeding plot nearer the center of the property. He prefers smaller hunting plots up to an acre within a few hundred yards of buildings and access points to minimize disturbance of the deer herd. “You want to be able to get in and out of the hunting plots without blowing every deer out of the woods, so I recommend placing them near the property edge, but not so close that neighboring hunting pressure will spook them,” he said. “You should also consider bedding areas. I like to establish plots pretty close to bedding areas because deer will tend to use them during daylight hours more.” Lytle built nine smaller plots on his land for a variety of reasons. First, it gave him the freedom to rotate hunting pressure to avoid burning out specific areas. He can also vary his locations based on wind and other environmental factors, and he considers deer usage as well. “As the seasons change, the deer tend to shift their use of the different plots based on the foods in them,” he said. More important, planting several plots in various locations can have unintended yet beneficial consequences. Lytle was reluctant to plant one food plot because it was poorly drained. Turned out, that was a blessing. His region suffered a major drought, but that plot stayed green and vibrant and he killed a couple of deer off it after other plots literally dried up. WHAT TO PLANT Lytle has experimented with virtually every type of food plot plant available at one time or another. He has since settled on just a few. He is a big fan of Whitetail Institute’s Imperial Whitetail Clover. Dougherty also likes

Whitetail Institute’s products and uses Imperial No-Plow and Secret Spot a lot because they require less labor overall. “I also really like Tall Tine Tubers in northern regions and Imperial Clover is an excellent all-purpose plot because it can withstand heavy grazing pressure, which you’ll get in woods plots.” Lytle can attest to that. He has noticed a distinct pattern as the season progresses. “They’ll be in the big field early in the season, but as soon as they start getting bumped around during gun season, they start working my woods plots over pretty good,” he said. “It was definitely worth the effort to put them in.” W

No Dozer? Is it possible to clear an area by hand and expect to grow a workable food plot? Possible, yes, said Dougherty, but it is going to take a large amount of manual labor. Ideally, look for an area that already has some plant growth, particularly grasses and vines. That is a good indication of decent sunlight penetration. However, you will still have to undergo a lot of work. First, you will have to fell any standing trees and cut them up and push them off to the side. Then you will have to clear the ground of leaves and other debris in order to get seed-to-soil contact. “I know a lot of people who have tried it and they ended up bringing in a dozer to clear the stumps. They just get tired of trying to run their disks and other equipment around those stumps,” Dougherty said. “I think it’s a whole lot better to do it right and spend the money up front.”

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RECLAMATION Food Plots How You Can Turn a Negative into a Positive By Bob Humphrey Photos by the Author

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d Gaw owns a 200-acre parcel of land in western Pennsylvania. On the surface, it is nothing special; just another patch of wooded ground, a place to hunt and spend time outdoors. However, it overlies a formation of sedimentary rock known as the Marcellus Shale Formation, which spans West Virginia, eastern Ohio, southern New York and most of western and central Pennsylvania. Within the impervious limestone beneath this formation is a reservoir of natural gas once thought to be marginally worth the investment to recover. During the past decade, however, geologists have significantly increased their assessments and now estimate the formation contains enough natural gas to support the entire United States consumption for at least two years, though estimates keep increasing.

That discovery has been something of a windfall for landowners such as Gaw, as gas companies are willing to pay more than $2 per acre to lease the drilling rights. However, everything comes with a price, as Gaw discovered soon after signing a lease in 2005. The process of drilling a well affects at least five acres of land per well site, not including construction of access roads. Gas companies are required to restore the property when the well is built, but that typically amounts to little more than a token effort. Former agricultural land can be put back into production, but forested land, such as Gaw's, won’t be restored to its former state — at least not in his lifetime. Gaw looked beyond the problem and saw an opportunity to work with the contractors assigned to restore the site. “Ordinarily, when they fell trees they just make a big pile and burn them,” Gaw said. “We asked them to create a brush row on the windward side of the site.” Normal procedures called for high-compaction grading. Gaw requested low-compaction grading and asked that they not track in the final grade. “We called it the final grade, they called it the ugly grade,” he said.

Stock dams are another good location for reclamation plots. Just make sure your planting addresses potential erosion problems on steep slopes.

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Next came the re-seeding. “Gas companies typically contract out the seeding,” he said, “and contractors are ill-equipped for anything more than more than a quick coating of standard conservation mix.” Gaw took over and planted Chicory Plus. “We had to out-compete the ragweed (which typically takes over such disturbed sites) and stabilize the sloped hillside,” he said. “This gave us a good compromise of stabilizing the hillside, giving whitetail something to eat and competing with ragweed.” The next thing they did was create a gap in the brush line. “We pulled a chunk (of brush) out of the middle and placed it to the side, giving deer a highway to our new food plot,” Gaw said. It was a good start, but Gaw wasn’t done yet. On each well site with grade, there must be a drainage pond, which is graded when the work is done. “We saved that,” Gaw said, creating a year-round water source. However, he still wasn’t finished. “We planted 100 seven-foot spruce trees on the hillside,” he said. “They grew slowly, but are beginning to provide good bedding cover right above that pond.” And on the highest part of the hillside, they planted an orchard of what Gaw calls Charlie Brown fruit trees. “We went to all the local nurseries and picked out their poorer quality, misshapen and otherwise undesirable trees,” he said. “Knowing it would be a low-maintenance situation, we didn’t want to invest a lot of money.”The result was a wildlife Eden instead of an ugly patch of disturbed ground. OTHER RECLAMATION SITES Well sites are not the only areas that can be reclaimed as wildlife food plots. What you do and how you go about it is usually dictated by soils, accessibility and personal goals, according to Whitetail Institute’s Steve Scott. “What you’re capable of doing might depend on what type of equipment you can get into the site to prepare and properly maintain it,” he said. “If you can get bigger equipment in, you have more options to plant perennials or annuals, or some combination of the two. If limited access prevents you from preparing the site correctly, you can still go in and plant annuals like Secret Spot or No-Plow using ATV implements or even hand tools.” Soils also make a big difference when you are planting perennials “On good heavy soil, there is no better choice than Imperial Whitetail Clover,” Scott said. “On well-drained soils, you’re better off with blends like Chicory Plus, Extreme or Alfa-Rack Plus.” It also depends on your goals. “If you want to produce a lot of tonnage for antler growing and fawning,” he said, “use Imperial PowerPlant. “If it’s strictly for hunting — fall and winter — there’s a long list of possibilities including No-Plow, Winter-Greens, Pure Attraction, Tall Tine Tubers, Secret Spot and Whitetail Forage Oats Plus.” Log landings are another example of easily restorable sites. The activity associated with stacking and loading logs leaves a patch of bare soil. The biggest problems, according to Scott, are usually weeds and grasses and compacted soil. “Often, all you need to do is spray with a glyphosate and use whatever equipment necessary to loosen up the compacted soil,” he said. If there is a lot of slash and wood litter, you might need to power-rake the site, too. Then, simply amend the soil according to soil test recommendations, plant and pray for rain. In a similar vein are logging roads. It is probably not news to anyone familiar with food plots and habitat improvement, but logging roads make ideal reclamation projects and great places to plant, often with minimal effort. The act of skidding or hauling logs out does most of the work for www.whitetailinstitute.com

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

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Pre-Book Now!

Imperial ™ POWERPLANT For the past four years we've sold out of Imperial PowerPlant. Each year more product is bagged and more is sold. This year we're offering a pre-booking sale that will guarantee you PowerPlant for the 2012 spring planting season at discounted pricing. To pre-book PowerPlant for next year at the discounted price of $99 for each 50-pound bag. Call our consultants and mention this offer. They will take your information and ship next year a few weeks before planting time.

CALL TOLL-FREE

1-800-688-3030 OR FAX YOUR ORDER TO (334) 286-9723 Offer expires 11/30/11. The early booking cost is $99.00 per 50 pounds plus $17.00 S&H.

Rocky Branch Outfitters The Ultimate Bow Hunt for World Class Whitetails. Illinois is known for itʼs monster whitetail deer, and our guided hunts take full advantage of this fact by hunting managed private lands. We grow mature trophy bucks using Imperial Whitetail Products. Call today to book a hunt in a true bowhunters paradise.

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you. You simply need to soil test, follow the recommendations from the soil test and spread the seed. Deer are far more likely to use narrow, linear plots during the day. And they quickly become travel corridors, too. S t o c k dams are another overlooked reclamation opportunity. The key, according to Scott, is to make sure you do not create an erosion problem on some of the more severe slopes. If possible, you can try to do more drilling, but that is most often not realistic. Scott recommends exposing soil lightly and using products such as Imperial No-Plow or Secret Spot. “In the Northeast our customers have been planting old strip mine ground in recent years. On sites that are accessible, Imperial Whitetail Extreme has been performing extraordinarily well,” Scott said. “It grows great on these marginal soils and it’s a perennial, extremely high in protein and extremely attractive

Bob Walker / Walk erʼs Game Ear

Rocky Branch Outfitters 7390 Hwy 145 South / Harrisburg, IL 62946 (To Book) 618.252.8003 Fax 618.253.4868 www.rockybranchoutfitters.com

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With ATVs and smaller implements you can access and work harder-to-reach sites.

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

Old skid roads make great reclamation plots, and deer are more likely to venture into narrow openings during daylight hours.

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to deer. You get many of the same benefits of Imperial Whitetail Clover. One of the biggest differences is Extreme needs a lot of nitrogen added and Imperial Whitetail Clover does not.” On less accessible sites, he recommends annuals designed for fall and winter, like No-Plow, Pure Attraction, Winter-Greens, Tall Tine Tubers or Secret Spot or Whitetail Forage Oats. Old abandoned orchards can be restored and even enhanced, often with minimal effort, depending on how long they have been abandoned. The first, most important step is removing competition. That means cutting out other trees and shrubs that compete for water, soil nutrients and sunlight. But do not overdo it. Reclaimed orchards can actually be more productive for hunting. A working orchard consists of little more than fruit trees and mowed grass. There is often not a place to hang a stand, and deer seldom venture into them during daylight hours. With an abandoned orchard, remove just enough cover to improve fruit production, but leave enough so deer will still use the area during the day. You can even leave some overstory trees for shade and hanging stands. CONCLUSION In the end, you are merely taking advantage of openings that already exist on your property and following many of the same steps you would follow with conventional food plots. The first thing you need to do under any circumstances is a soil test. “It’s the best money you’ll spend to improve your hunting,” Scott said. You can get soil test kits from a land grant university, the Natural Resources Conservation Service or the Whitetail Institute for about $10. Then you amend the soil as recommended, and prepare the site and plant the seeds. Perhaps best, the cost associated with materials, equipment and labor can often be defrayed or covered entirely by revenues from well leases, timber harvest or agency-sponsored incentive programs. W www.whitetailinstitute.com

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FOOD PLOTS for I Very Busy People By Capt. Michael Veine Photos by the Author

Read on for some awesome food plot strategies that require a minimal investment of your precious time.

n today’s modern world, people are busier than ever. The demands of work, family and other important functions make finding enough time for hunting activities difficult to say the least. Unfortunately, many people are turned off from food plotting because they mistakenly believe that they just don’t have enough time in their busy lives to take on food plot projects. I can certainly relate as my busy spring and summer work schedule as a Great Lakes charter captain makes finding time for food plots very challenging at times. My main hunting property is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) and is approximately seven hours of driving time away from my home in southern Michigan. My fishing charter business keeps me extremely busy from ice out (March) though mid-September. I typically fish seven days a week throughout the spring and summer. During my charter season, I’m busier than a rutting buck in a deer herd with a 1-to-20 buck-to-doe ratio. Fortunately, I have lots of time to hunt after my fishing season is over, but finding time for food plots is always tough. I steal away a day or two during the late spring and head to the U.P. and steal

This food plot was seeded with Imperial Whitetail Clover. This plot was never tilled. Imperial Whitetail Clover is the author’s favorite seeding choice because it creates awesome forage with minimal maintenance.

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Exclusive from the

another day or two for a second brief effort later during the summer, but that is about all the time I can spare during my fishing season. Even with that meager effort, I still maintain nine food plots that encompass about eight total acres. Those food plots have really helped me to achieve a high level of consistent success on adult bucks for over a decade. If I can do it, you can too.

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The key to having great food plots on minimal time is planning and timing your efforts to maximize your efficiency. It also helps to have a food plot strategy tailored for minimal upkeep in the first place. You’ll also need the right equipment, which doesn’t necessarily mean expensive stuff. An ATV with food plot implements can be great for small to medium-sized food plots. I have been using such equipment for many years with great results. I use an older 4x4 with an ATV disc, drag, boom sprayer, broadcast spreader and a drop-style lime spreader. I mow with an old lawn tractor with the deck modified to rise up to a height of about seven inches. Sure, it would be great to have a tractor and all the accessories, and someday I will invest in those niceties, but it’s just not in the cards for my immediate future. Besides, most of my food plots are small little rascals that I created and maintain with just hand tools. I can’t even access them with an ATV. It’s those little micro plots that really put the deer in my sights during hunting season so they are priority-one. The basic hand tools that I would consider essential are a backpack sprayer, leaf rake, shovel, chain saw, string trimmer and a crank-style seed spreader.

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Soil testing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your plantings — of any kind. The Institute is pleased to now provide soil test kits and results for all Imperial products or any other type seeds. (Complete instructions and all related information will come with kits.) Test results include pH, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Fertilizer and lime recommendations for maximum performance from your plantings will be provided. The average turnaround time is 24-48 hours after our lab receives the sample. The charge for the kit and results is $9.95. If ordered alone, add $2.50 shipping and handling for unlimited number of kits. If ordered with other Imperial products there is no shipping charge.

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PLANNING AND TIME MANAGEMENT In a past life, I used to be a project leader where I managed huge computer upgrades that would sometime involve more than 100 people and years of work. That job taught me the huge value of time management and task lists. I’m still a big-time task list guy. You can use a simple word processor to maintain task lists of all the projects, big and small, that need to be done on your land. When I head up to my hunting property for a work stint, I always have a prioritized, coordinated task list showing what I want to accomplish. I try to estimate the time each task will take and will hit the highest priority jobs first and then I’ll knock off the lower priority tasks as time permits. As I accomplish tasks, I cross them off the list and update my main task list when I get back to my computer. That way I can start planning my next work trip to my property. My hunting property task list is a living document. Before a work trip, I like to shop ahead to make sure that area suppliers will have any needed bulk materials such as fertilizer and lime. By shopping ahead, I can oftentimes negotiate favorable pricing on bulk purchases, and they will usually have my order ready for me to load up when I arrive, which saves time too. I always pre-buy all the hard-to-find items though, like seeds and herbicides. That way I know I’ll have the right critical ingredients for my food plots and won’t waste time searching for supplies.

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When available food plotting time is very limited, perennials give the most bang for the buck. I rely very heavily on Imperial Whitetail Clover for the bulk of my food plot acreage because it is easy to establish, hardy, takes minimal time to maintain and the deer love it. Imperial Whitetail Clover is hard to beat when it comes to a spring-through-fall food plot. I feel that it gives me the best overall performance of any product given my time constraints during the growing season. One of my Imperial Whitetail Clover plots was planted 10 years ago. Every year the deer graze it down to the dirt by season’s end, yet it still keeps coming back strong; now that’s

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

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Notice the flooded puddles on this plot on the left. The photo on the right shows the plot during late summer with a mixture of Imperial Whitetail Clover on the high spots and Secret Spot on the low spots.

the kind of hardiness and performance anyone will appreciate. I plant Imperial Whitetail Clover everywhere possible on my U.P. food plots. My main food plot is several acres and it is seeded entirely with

Imperial Clover. I also have two medium-sized plots and they too are 100 percent Imperial Clover. Those three larger plots were bulldozed out of the forest and the seedbed was prepared using an ATV with implements.

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

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

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Those little micro plots really put the deer in your sights during hunting season so they should be priority-one.

I also have a bunch of small micro plots that are of the no-till variety. All those micro plots were prepared the same way, using nothing but hand tools. I first cleared the site with a chain saw and removed all the debris from the ground by hand. A soil test was taken at each site and lime was applied as prescribed. I sprayed with Roundup throughout the growing season until everything was brown and dead. After that, using a large, handheld leaf rake, the sites were thoroughly cleaned up, exposing and loosening the bare dirt. Then, either during late summer or the following spring, I seeded the plots with Imperial Whitetail Clover and fertilized liberally. It is amazing how well Imperial Clover will thrive on a properly prepared, no-till seedbed. I have a few locations where seasonal flooding, tough soil types or heavy trampling by deer or turkeys is not conducive to perennials of any kind. On a new food plot, I typically seed the whole thing with Imperial Whitetail Clover because it requires minimum annual maintenance. If any zones of the plot fail, like areas that flooded, I’ll then plant annuals on those failed zones from then on. That way I’m maximizing forage production while keeping things as simple as possible for minimal maintenance. I’ve had exceptional success using annuals like Imperial No-Plow and Secret Spot. These products are extremely easy to use and super attractive to deer. Site prep is simple: Proper pH is achieved by adding lime. Spraying with Roundup using a backpack sprayer will kill all the plants off. After everything is dead and brown, rake the site down to the dirt, spread the seeds and fertilize liberally. I have a bunch of plots that are a patchwork of Imperial Whitetail Clover and select annuals. Those plots have proven to be deer magnets.

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MAINTENANCE Because my time is often very short for food plot work, I’ve learned to compromise by cutting as many corners as possible on my plots, but there are some tasks that are critical for optimal food plot forage production. Using herbicides on a smart, regular maintenance schedule has been a huge time and money-saver for me. Weeds, grasses and other nuisance plants can out-compete your desired forages. As I mentioned earlier, I free up a couple days during the spring and this is a perfect time to spray herbicides and kill unwanted grasses in my perennial stands. The Whitetail Institute’s Arrest grass herbicide is perfect for this application. Mixed with Surefire Seed Oil, Arrest typically clobbers 99 percent of the grasses with one application and it does not harm clover or alfalfa. During my spring trip, I also spray Roundup on all my annual seeding locations to kill anything taking root there. The Whitetail Institute’s Slay broadleaf herbicide mixed with Surefire Seed Oil is perfect for knocking out those tough weeds that can take over a food plot. It is also a selective herbicide that will not harm clover or alfalfa. I have found that it’s best to vary the application date of Slay from one year to the next. For instance, one year I will apply the herbicide during spring and the next year I will spray it a little later. This way you’ll key in on different types of weeds as they emerge and ultimately keep the whole plot more weed free. During my spring work trip, I also fertilize my perennial stands. I fertilize my food plots using three methods. On my larger plots, I use a broadcast spreader that I pull behind my ATV. On my smaller plots, I use a hand-crank spreader or on the real small areas, I just toss the fertilizer out by hand from a bucket. I’m looking for speed and efficiency. Lately, due to financial reasons and time constraints, I only fertilize my large plots once a year. However, my small plots get two fertilizer applications annually—one in the

spring and the other during the late summer. My soils are very acidic on my U.P. property, so I’m constantly soil testing and applying lime to keep the pH up. I typically do the soil tests during the late summer or fall every year and spread lime whenever I get the chance. On my small plots, I typically apply a little lime every spring. On my larger plots though, liming is a major project that requires a bulk lime delivery and a couple days of labor. I shovel it from a pile into my drop-style lime spreader and then deposit the lime onto the fields using my ATV. To be honest, I hate liming those big food plots, but it is a necessary evil. Because I just don’t have time for a regular liming routine on my big plots, I lime very heavy when I do get the chance. Oddly enough, I typically find time for big liming jobs right during the fall deer hunting seasons after all my deer tags are filled. It’s a symbiotic relationship: Imperial Whitetail Clover feeds and draws deer so I can fill my tags early. Then in turn, I have more time to feed and care for the Imperial Clover. I did some testing where only portions of some food plots were mowed. I found that the unmowed areas actually grew better. Based on that, I’ve stopped mowing my food plots on my U.P. property over the last couple years. It’s true that mowing helps to stimulate growth and that new growth is highly preferred by deer. However, on my plots, the deer are doing the mowing for me. I have put up small fencing enclosures in my plots and was shocked to see how much grazing the deer really did all through the growing season. I still mow my roads and trails and if needed I can mow problem areas in my food plots at that time. Mowing also helps control weeds, but the only way mowing can be skipped or reduced is if you maintain a rigorous herbicide spraying regiment. I suggest doing your own testing with herbicide applications and mowing strategies. You’ll be able to see what works best and may be able to save some time and money. W

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WHITETAIL NEWS

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Last-Minute Food Plots Didn’t get plots planted in spring? No worries. These plantings will attract deer like magnets and can be put in the ground with little time left before opening day.

ing hunting season. There’s yard work to do with the coming of spring and summer. Children have baseball and soccer games scheduled. There are cookouts to attend, summer vacations to plan, and maybe — just maybe — somewhere in there you squeeze in some turkey hunting (hopefully a lot of it, actually). But extra time for planting food plots? “Hmm, I’ll get to that next week,” you promise. And next week becomes the week after that and then the week after that until you find yourself in the middle of a dry, blazing summer with nothing but withered weeds scattered about the ground that should be lush with clover and other nutrient-rich greenery. Well, don’t feel so bad. You are not alone. “For reasons of time, cost or just simple priorities, a lot of well-intended deer hunters find themselves in the same situations,” said North Country Whitetails Craig Dougherty. Fortunately, there are plenty of fall planting options that are designed to grow fast and provide a nutritional boost in the fall and winter that will attract deer to the areas you want to pull them into. TIME IT RIGHT As summer boils into its final weeks, thoughts return to deer hunting, and many hunters suddenly start trying to think of what they can do to improve their odds going into the season. Fall food plots are a great solution, but accept them for what they are. “Fall food plots usually fall into the category of attractants,” Craig Dougherty said. “They are not going to provide the sustained boost that spring plots will provide to grow big healthy deer or grow antlers.”

By Doug Howlett Photos by the Author

I

t happens to a lot of deer hunters every year. Whether you own your own land or manage leased land, your intentions are good. Sitting on a stand or relaxing in camp with your hunting partners toward the end of the season, you’re not quite ready to let the deer hunting bug leave you for another year. This year is going to be different. In spring, you’re going to rally the troops and get those spring food plots planted to hold and grow big bucks on your property. Then life happens. You start getting caught up on the work and projects around the house that fell behind dur-

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By the time fall plots are growing, a whitetail’s antlers have gotten as big as they are going to be that year. “But deer will be able to use them through the fall and into winter to help sustain their energy as other food sources become scarce. So there is still that nutritional benefit,” Dougherty said. Ideally, no matter where you live, whether it is in southern Alabama or upstate New York, you want to plant your plots at least 60 days before the first frost arrives. In New York, where Dougherty lives, that means getting plots planted by mid-August. But don’t just pick a date on your calendar and start disking and planting on that day. You need to look at the weather and try to schedule your planting around that as well. “It’s a balancing act,” Dougherty said. “You need those 60 days before the frost, which will greatly reduce most plants’ growth, but you also need to try to catch some late summer or early fall rains that will help plants take root and begin to grow.” It doesn’t matter what you choose to plant: Without rain, it will obviously not grow. Check weather forecasts and look for high-probability days where a gentle, steady rain is predicted. Then try to get your seed out a day or two before the rains come. This means you might need to take a day off from work instead of waiting for that perfect Saturday.

to wander far for feed, which ones are more remote and off of traveled roads or paths so that deer feel more secure in them, and of course, which ones will best serve the various sectors of your land. You wouldn’t want to plant two or three plots all on the same side of the property, without planting some on the other side. Plantable areas may also include log decks and logging roads. Just because an area of your farm doesn’t have an open area, doesn’t mean you can’t plant deer-attracting foods along a seldom-used logging road. You might even want to identify an open area or two in the woods that will allow you to create a small, isolated plot where no other hunter would expect and that will take little more than some hand implements and elbow grease to plant. Such areas can provide a vital link in your food plot strategy. When you determine which plots you will plant, identify what you want to grow (more on that later), and get soil tests of those locations. This will tell you how much lime and fertilizer ideally needs to go in the ground before you plant. If for some reason you fail to get a soil test, there are general recommendations on the back of the bag of quality seed products. If costs and or time are forcing you to choose between going with lime or fertilizer, go with the lime. While your plants need both, lime to aid your soil’s pH is critical for plants to receive the benefits of fertilizer. Also, you can lime your land at any time and still gain benefits from it months later.

MAKE THE PROPER PREPARATIONS WHAT TO GROW Just like spring plots, most fall plots require lime and fertilizer. For that reason, you should still have soil tests performed wherever you plan to plant. Look at the available open areas you have, determine the amount of total acreage and then decide if you have the resources and time to plant them all. If not, look at which plots are more strategically set near good bedding areas for when hunting pressure turns up and deer are reluctant

Fortunately, recognizing that a lot of us hunters are busy and distracted for various reasons and we don’t always get our plots in when we should, Whitetail Institute has developed high-quality products specifically designed for late summer/early fall plantings and they are designed to germinate and mature quickly. These products include Whitetail Forage Oats

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61


Plus, Winter-Greens, Pure Attraction, Tall Tine Tubers, No-Plow and Secret Spot. Dougherty likes using an annual like Imperial No-Plow with grains and brassicas to give the deer more variety to attract them and provide food throughout the season. If Tall Tine Tubers are planted, deer will be attracted to the leaves after the first frost and they will also dig the tubers out of the ground and eat them when cold weather sets in. At this time of year hunters also have the option to plant a perennial like Imperial Clover, which takes a little longer to get established because it puts roots down first, but it can offer great attraction if planted early enough. And when spring returns, the clover will be going strong and should last for several years, providing your deer herd with high protein levels that will benefit both the bucks with antler development and does while they carry their fawns and produce milk. Even if you’ve procrastinated all spring and well into the summer, you can still plant and grow great food plots that can provide whitetails with the necessary foods to hold and attract them throughout the early and late hunting seasons. “The good thing is that fall plots are some of the easiest to grow, which makes for a much more successful season for the hunters who put in that last-minute effort,” Dougherty said. Not sure what to plant… see the next page. W 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!

When properly limed and with decent rainfall, fall-planted brassicas grow quickly as this three-week-old plot reveals.

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Awesome Autumn Options Not sure what to plant? These Imperial Whitetail seed blends are tailor-made for fantastic fall food plots. Winter-Greens: This annual blend of brassicas is for late summer or fall planting and delivers sweet, tasty leaves that deer will hammer after the first frost. Deer will sometimes eat the leaves even before a frost as well, so from that standpoint there are still some potential early-season benefits. Tall Tine Tubers: Like Winter-Greens, this blend includes leafy brassicas for forage but also includes tubers in the form of turnips, which deer will dig from the ground and eat in the late season. On my place, we’ve grown some turnips from this blend the size of softballs. Pure Attraction: This is a great annual blend that offers fast-growing foods that will sprout quickly and have deer pounding them in the early season and also provides long-lasting hardy brassicas for attraction and nutrition later in the season. The blend includes Whitetail forage oats, winter peas and brassicas. Whitetail Forage Oats Plus: This new annual product from the Whitetail Institute is a top option, especially for early-season hunting. Forage Oats Plus includes Whitetail Institutes proprietary Whitetail Oats, which are winter hardy and are extremely attractive because of their high sugar content. No-Plow: This seed is exactly what it says: It doesn’t require plowing to establish, something of particular appeal to the hunter who doesn’t have the equipment to undertake a massive planting project. This seed blend is great for hard-to-reach spots where a tractor or other implements are hard to get in. To be successful with No-Plow you do need to achieve seed-to-soil contact. Secret Spot: This is the ultimate option for putting a small, hidden, personal food plot in a clearing in the middle of the woods. Just rake out the area and expose and loosen the soil and plant. The seed blend is also fortified with a pH booster. Like with No-Plow, you need seed-to-soil contact to be successful. Extreme: For situations where rainfall is not as plentiful or the soil pH still not where it needs to be, this perennial seed blend makes it easy to get a nutritious plot established. Extreme can be planted spring or fall. I have personally had amazing success with it in fall. Even better, because it is a perennial, it can continue to grow up to five years without replanting saving hunters money over the long haul. W

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Vol. 21, No. 2 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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(Continued from page 29)

Donald Choiniere — Vermont I love Whitetail Institute products because it keeps deer in the area. Here are some of my deer that I shot in Vermont and Canada.

same deer and he’s by far the best buck I’ve seen on our 185-acre farm in more than 20 years. I could only hope to get a shot at him this year. On Friday, Nov. 5, at approximately 8 a.m. I harvested this deer on his way from that plot to a bed. He’ll score roughly 140 inches and is the biggest buck I’ve ever shot. I didn’t expect these kinds of results for several years. This makes me extremely optimistic for the impact this plot will have on the future generations of deer. The amazing thing to me was being able to look at this deer throughout the year and monitor his antler growth. Even better was seeing a buck of this magnitude for the first time in more than 20 years, and even more amazing than that was to be able to take a deer that I felt like I knew. Extreme sure did the trick! Thank you, Whitetail Institute for giving me the tools to make this happen!

brother shoot (he was hunting with my brotherin-law), my son, Abe, was excited for his brother but sort of discouraged. After about ten minutes we had a 10-point come right down the trail eating all the way. Abe got into position for a good shot and downed the buck with his muzzleloader. I was the proudest Dad ever! We estimated this buck to be about 150-inches gross and we are hoping it will make the Ohio Big Buck Club. Thank you Whitetail Institute for making a wonderful product and thanks for the great customer service we receive when we call. Good luck in the woods and God bless!

Jason Hall — Pennsylvania Four years ago we lost the majority of our deer herd to a midge fly epidemic. It wiped out all of our mature bucks and the majority of our

Wayne Hughes — Georgia

does. It affected most of southwestern Pennsylvania. Thanks to Imperial Clover and 30-06 our deer herd is almost back to normal after four long years. Thank you Whitetail Institute!

I planted Extreme last fall and this spring it exploded out of the ground with patches over my knees (I’m 6’3”). At the lowest it was over my ankles. I bush hogged it in May to stimulate some new growth and set up a camera. With a little studying I knew these photos were of the

Gary Lapier — Virginia I watched this buck all summer feeding in my Alfa-Rack Plus food plot. I nicked him 10 days earlier shooting a shotgun off hand from my treestand with rifled slugs at 120 yards. This 11point buck gave me another chance at redemption. I had prayed for another chance to get this gorgeous buck and the Good Lord answered

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

www.whitetailinstitute.com


Jeff Gourlie — Michigan

my prayers. The rack is awesome with a 20-1/2-inch inside spread and nine-inch G3’s and very heavy bases and he scores around 155 inches. The Alfa-Rack Plus food plot, was a big part of his size because no one in my area has agricultural products growing. I called him the Creature Buck all summer, as I filmed him a few times in the food plot. In fact, I actually, had 10 bucks at the same time feeding this summer in my food plot and you might say that blew my mind as I was filming them. By the way, I only own about 16 acres of land with about four acres open and with my house on that part. Needless to say, I was eagerly looking forward to the start of hunting season to pursue the Creature Buck.

to just have small six and eight-pointers. Now we have taken big nines, 10s and a 16-pointer. We love 30-06 Plus Protein too. Deer hit it so hard in the spring we can barely keep up. Thanks Whitetail Institute for great products. Here is a picture of last seasons opening day 10-point. Thank you. I will never stop using Whitetail Institute products!

Thomas Goodman — West Virginia This 10-point buck was killed by my neighbor Mike Eaton last bow season. We were not seeing this kind of buck before I started using food plots. Now it is common. I only have 35 acres but have approximately four to five acres in NoPlow food plots and the deer love it.

Colin Davies — Indiana

Ron Allison — Kentucky

Harvested this bad boy over the Secret Spot this past season on Nov. 18 — gross score 171 B&C. Thanks Whitetail Institute, keep up the great work.

Louie Jensen — Wisconsin We have planted Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack and the deer are there year around. Now we have bucks with brow tines and better mass. We used www.whitetailinstitute.com

Imperial Whitetail Clover is a staple in my seven-acre plot. I have owned my farm for 22 years. Only since my seven-acre plot was planted have I seen so many deer, large racks and turkeys. Now we’ll see 50 plus deer. I am a retired engineer and am happily very challenged with having great looking food plots. Year ’round passion to plots. Since retiring I have acquired a tractor and all implements. Can’t read enough about all this. I enjoy growing more than killing. My cousin (by marriage) Ronnie Bickert killed this 145-inch 12-pointer (8x4) 200 pounds chasing several does in the Imperial Whitetail Clover. Imperial Whitetail Clover truly makes a difference! Thanks for the products Whitetail Institute!

We have 78 acres in the thumb of Michigan. Up until about six years ago, we had been trying to grow food plots using an economy seed mix. The results were disappointing at best with little impact on deer and terrible weed problems. We learned the hard way that the economy seed mix was really a waste of money and time. When we started using Whitetail Institute products everything changed. Since the areas we planted were sloped and drained well, we chose AlfaRack Plus. It grew very well and immediately started attracting deer. My wife, Cindy, noted the increased deer traffic and thought she might like to try deer hunting. She practiced diligently with her 20-gauge shotgun and soon could outshoot my son and me. She has taken a deer each year since. These were does and supplemented our freezer meat nicely. The Alfa-Rack Plus has thrived. The increase in the amount of deer we started seeing from the very first year was tremendous. We have also seen an increase each year in the number of bucks we see both “on camera” and in person. Through fertilization and applications of both Arrest and Slay herbicides we have been able to extend the life of the Alfa-Rack Plus plantings, which are now in their sixth year. Whitetail Institute products have worked very well for us and given me the opportunity to spend some incredible quality time with my wife. I have had the pleasure of sitting next to her each time she has taken a deer. I have found it is just as much fun being the coach as it is actually taking the deer myself. I could not be more proud of her accomplishments. 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. 2 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

65


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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

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

Vol. 21, No. 2 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

67


The Future Of Our Sport Tyler and Raven Becnel – Louisiana Ninety percent of my hunting lease is heavy swamp with a few high areas along the road. I cleared about an acre of small trees and shrubs and established a food plot last spring. I started seeing some good signs of deer activity right away. In September I planted No-Plow and Winter-Greens. As the vegetation grew I was getting some great shots on my trail camera. The plot also gave my daughter the chance to kill her first deer. Now she is hooked on hunting and wanting more.

Gibson Stuart – New York Last November, my dad and I decided to see if we could go get a deer before the season ended. It was cold and it was raining. We ate breakfast and got our hunting clothes on. We got our guns and set off into the woods. Towards evening we found a good spot where we knew they would be bedded down, behind the Imperial Clover field. We sat and waited as the rain would just not stop. About 45 minutes went by and still there was nothing. Once in a while we would see a squirrel here and there but that was about it. Just when I thought we wouldn’t see anything, a large doe came walking in through the woods from the clover fields. It looked like she was moving closer but started to veer away so I couldn’t get a good shot off. Just when the doe went out of sight, we heard a stick snap and then we saw a pretty big buck about 60 yards away. He seemed to have lost the doe’s trail and came towards us. I moved the gun up slowly to my shoulder whenever it went behind a tree. 50…40…30 yards. I was shaking everywhere and I could barely keep my one eye closed. Finally, my chance was there. He moved out into a clearing. I put the site on him, slowly pulled the trigger, and BOOM!! He ran off like I didn’t hit him. We sat there for a moment and I started to get worried. Did I hit him or not? My dad reassured me that they can run pretty far even though you hit them right but I still was questioning. 68

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 2

After a while, we went over to see where he was standing when I shot him. Sure enough, there was blood and hair everywhere. I started to get tingling sensations in my whole body. I was eager to go and find him. We tracked him using the blood and finally after about 70 yards, there he was. My first deer. My mom was with my sister for hockey at the time so when we got home we decided to make a call. First, my dad told her that we didn’t see very much and that we didn’t have much luck. Then he told her that I had a question. When I had the phone, I asked her, is it okay if we get an 8 point mounted? She was overwhelmed. That was my GREATEST HUNT EVER!

5:30 a.m. to get ready. We headed to our stand around 6:45 a.m.. It broke daylight and we heard a shot close but we hadn’t seen anything yet so he played his gameboy for 5 to 10 minutes with volume down. He got tired of that so he turned it off. He then laid his head down against the rail of the 2-man ladder stand and fell asleep. So I watched for both of us. It was about 8:15 a.m. when I saw a buck come into the food plot so I reached over and gave him a nudge. He woke up and I told him not to move that there was a buck standing out there in the food plot. He looked and I asked him if he wanted to shoot it. His answer was YES, YES with excitement. My son got ready and I whistled at the buck to stop him, my son was ready and the shot rang out. The buck jumped straight up in the air and then turned and ran down the hill. My son asked if the had got the buck. As I watched the buck run down the hill, I told him that I didn’t know. As we were watching the buck run down the hill he started to stagger and then crashed over. I turned to my son and said you got him, you got him. My son screamed YEA, YEA. When we got to him I lifted the head up and told him it was a 7-point he screamed in joy. After we were done cleaning the deer he came up to me and thanked me for taking him hunting and gave me a big hug.

Chris Sneed – South Carolina

Pat Cope – Pennsylvania Here is a photo of my 8-year-old son Andrew’s first buck. He practiced shooting his 30-06 with 125 grain low recoil all summer long. Deer season rolled around and he could not wait to go hunting. I got him up at

I wanted to be sure that my 8 year old son, River, would see plenty of deer and not get bored with sitting and seeing nothing so I planted a small food plot with Imperial Clover and oats. We did not get to our stand until 4:45 p.m. but we saw our first 2 does at 5:20. This nice 8-point came to our food plot just after 6 p.m. River missed clean on his first shot but the deer did not run out of the food plot. His second shot was true at 145 yards. By the way, we were hunting within a few miles of the city limits. However, with the food plot, it is absolutely unbelievable how many deer we are holding on a small piece of property. W www.whitetailinstitute.com


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

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239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

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Center the dot for a perfect shot! t Instant feedback at a glance t/PCBUUFSJFT1:MFHBM t /PFYQPTFEQBSUT t 'PVSBYJTBEKVTUBCJMJUZ Available in 4 and 7 pin models Right and Left handed

“If you see the Retina Lock you know you are dead on.� Babe Winkelman Outdoor Secrets

“IQ gives you instant feedback that shows you even the slightest misalignment.� Tom Miranda Expert bowhunter

“With IQ my groups are tighter, especially at longer distances. Two thumbs up!�

www.iqbowsights.com Patent #5,850,700. Other patents pending.

Jay Gregory The Wild Outdoors


you hunt big bucks then practice on big bucks! IIff you GlenDel速 3-D archery targets are BIG! And, they feature oversized, foursided cores that offer up to 10x more shooting surface than the competition! Three sizes simulate 300, 250 and 200 live weight deer.

300 lbs.

250 lbs.

200 lbs.

More core shooting surface means more shots, fewer misses!

more

Full Rut core

more

Pre Rut core

more

Buck core

Easy arrow removal means more practice, less fatigue!

Whitetail News Volume 21.2  

volume 21 issue 2

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