Volume 16, No. 1
WINTER-GREENS: Revolutionary New Winter Planting See page 10
■ THREE MAJOR ISSUES THREATEN TRADITION OF HUNTING See page 70
■ TODAY’S TROPHY TRENDS See page 22
CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED 239 Whitetail Trail / Pintlala, AL 36043 Phone: 334-281-3006 / Fax: 334-286-9723
Whitetail Institute of North America
PRESORTED STANDARD U.S. POSTAGE PAID FREEPORT, OH PERMIT NO. 21
In This Issue… FEATURES 10 20
Don’t Miss Late-Season Deer By Graham Rupp The Whitetail Institute introduces a highly productive winter food plot product Extreme for Extreme Conditions Texas hunter finds perfect planting for tough conditions
Today’s Trophy Trends By Brad Herndon An analysis of the best trophy whitetail regions A Very Personal Look at Chicory Plus By Matt Harper New food plot product produces P&Y buck
By Jon Cooner
A revolutionary new feeder
The Gift of Mentoring: Early Education Keeps Hunting Flame Burning By Tom Fegely The key to hunter recruitment is early exposure
Hunter Uses Whitetail Institute products for 15 Years Mineral/nutritional products key to Pennsylvania hunter’s success
Southern Trophies By Larry Porter PowerPlant leads to monster Tennessee bucks
Give Your Plots a Boost By Dan Eastman Use Impact to energize your food plot
Imperial Clover Leads to Buck of a Lifetime
By Julie Wohldmann
Missouri hunter sold on high-quality perennials
Dealing with Grass and Weed Problems By Jon Cooner Properly applied herbicides can increase plot life and effectiveness Welcome to the World of Farming: Equipment List for the Food Plot Manager By Bill Winke What equipment is really necessary and affordable?
Food Plots Build Healthy Herd Massachusetts hunter prefers No-Plow
Food Plots and Baiting: The Battle Continues By Bob Humphrey Does baiting really increase hunter success?
Hunter Has Compulsive Deer Disorder Ohio hunter utilizes Alfa-Rack Plus
The Challenges for America’s Whitetail Hunters By Scott Bestul Three major issues threaten the tradition of hunting
74 Page 78
Seasonal Rhythms Determine Dramatically Different Eating Patterns By John J. Ozoga Understand seasonal nutritional patterns of whitetails
A Message From Ray Scott We must pass on the tradition of hunting
Scientifically Speaking By Wiley C. Johnson, PhD More information on the importance of lime
Deer Nutrition Notes By Matt Harper Some mineral products can actually harm deer
Ask Big Jon By Jon Cooner Real questions from real customers
Fall Planting Dates How I Do It By Bill Winke An in-depth look at an actual deer management program
18 42 78
Field Testers’ Reports Record Book Bucks First Deer – The Future or Our Sport
Vol. 16, No. 1 /
A M E SS AG E F R O M R AY SCOT T Founder and President Whitetail Institute of North America
Late-Season Secret Weapon
Whitetail Institute OFFICERS AND STAFF FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT: RAY SCOTT Vice President of Operations .........................Wilson Scott Vice President............................................................Steve Scott Operations Manager:....................................William Cousins Agronomist & Director of Forage Research.........................Wiley Johnson, Ph.D. Nutrition Director....................................................Brent Camp Deer Nutrition Specialist.....................................Matt Harper National Sales Manager...................................Mark Trudeau Wildlife Biologist.............................................Jody Holbrooks Director of Communications.......................Chris Eubanks Whitetail News Managing Editor ............Bart Landsverk Contributing Writers ...Charles Alsheimer, Tom Fegely, Jim Casada, Brad Herndon, John Ozoga, Bill Winke, Monte Burch, R.G. Bernier, Jon Cooner, Bill Marchel, Judd Cooney, Ted Nugent, Dr. Carroll Johnson, III Product Consultants .............Jon Cooner, Brandon Self, John White, J.B. Smith Dealer/Distributor Sales......................................John Buhay, Jon Cooner, Shawn Lind Habitat Management Specialist...............Neil Dougherty Accounting & Logistics ....................................Steffani Hood Office Manager................................................Dawn McGough Internet Customer Service Manager.............Mary Jones Shipping Manager .................................................Marlin Swain Copy Editor ................................................................Susan Scott Advertising Director........Wade Atchley, Atchley Media
henever I think we’ve covered about every planting situation possible, our research staff comes up with yet another twist on food plots. From several years of remarkable field test reports, we’ve got a real blockbuster food plot planting coming on the market. As soon as I read about it, I knew it would be great for a hunting scenario I’m sure you’ll recognize. I don’t know about your personal experiences, but I frequently find myself in late season holding out till the very last minute for that ideal buck and that perfect shot. Unfortunately, some of the time my food plots are out of synch with my grand plans. They’re eaten down, worn out or plain dead and buried. It turns out late season is not only difficult for deer but hunters, too. Well, hang on to your binoculars. The Whitetail Institute is ready to unveil its late-season secret weapon (read more about it on page 10). It’s called Winter-Greens, and it’s the perfect name because the planting stands tall and stays green in the dead of winter. As a matter of fact, it thrives in tough, late-season conditions, through cold and snow. And
get this — the stuff actually gets BETTER after the first hard frost. To this old Southern boy, it looks a lot like collard greens. Actually it’s brassica, and according to Matt Harper, our deer nutrition specialist, I’m not that far off. The brassicas in Winter-Greens do have a vegetable genetic background. Our own particular brassica blend has been developed to be ultra sweet and is far more attractive than ordinary (often stemmy) straight-forage brassicas. As always, our new product has been thoroughly tested not only in the “laboratory” but by real, live hunters and managers in real-life circumstances all across the country. As a matter of fact, my grandson, Gates (Steve’s son), and his mother took their first bucks off test fields of Winter-Greens this past season. That’s a good testimonial in my book!
YOUR RECIPE FOR HUNTING SUCCESS Try a full “menu” of Whitetail Institute Products at one low price… and get a FREE Video as well! Your Super Sampler Pak includes: • • • • •
SAVE ON BULK ORDERS!
Imperial Whitetail™ Clover — 1/2 acre planting (4 lbs.) Imperial ALFA-RACK™ PLUS — 1/4 acre planting (3.75 lbs.) Imperial EXTREME™ — 1/4 acre planting (5.6 lbs.) Imperial CHICORY PLUS™ — 1/2 acre planting (3.5 lbs.) Imperial N0-PLOW™ — 1/2 acre planting (9 lbs.) • Imperial 30-06™ Mineral — 1 lick (5 lbs) • Imperial 30-06™ PLUS PROTEIN™ — 1 lick (5 lbs.) • Cutting Edge™ INITIATE™ — 1 site (5 lbs.) • Cutting Edge™ OPTIMIZE™ — 1 site (5 lbs.) • Cutting Edge™ SUSTAIN™ — 1 site (5 lbs.) • Imperial WINTER-GREENS™ — 1/2 acre planting (3 lbs.)
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No partial orders can be accepted No substitutions please Orders filled on a first-come first-served basis Offer may be withdrawn without notice Limited quantities available
CALL TOLL FREE
OR MAIL YOUR ORDER TO:
Whitetail Institute • 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043 • FAX 334-286-9723
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1
Special discount rates are available on bulk orders of Imperial Whitetail 30-06™ Mineral/Vitamin Supplement, 30-06™ Plus Protein and all Cutting Edge™ nutritional supplements.
PLUS… a FREE VHS or DVD
“Producing Trophy Whitetails” — 60 minutes on how you can produce top quality deer on your hunting land.
SC I E NT I FI C A LLY SP E A K I N G By Wiley C. Johnson, PhD, Institute Agronomist
“Lime Time” Again
keep track of the questions we get here at the Whitetail Institute, and there is still a lot of confusion concerning lime products and liming. The reason for liming is to correct soil acidity. This allows the plants to uptake the nutrients in the soil that are needed for growth. Acidity is measured by determining pH, which is the soil’s hydrogen (H) content. This is best done from a soil sample in a laboratory. A pH of 7.0 is neutral, less than 7.0 is acid, and more than 7.0 is basic or alkaline. Most crops grow best in a neutral or slightly acidic soil. Most soils that we use for wildlife food plots are acidic and tend to become more acidic as they are fertilized and subjected to increasingly more acid rainfall. Soils become more acid from the surface down, not from the subsoil upward to the surface. Most cultivated soil acidity comes from fertilizer nitrogen. A general rule of thumb is that one pound (unit) of applied fertilizer nitrogen causes soil acidity that requires three pounds of lime to neutralize. Since lime reacts where it is put and does not move in the soil, periodic application of a relatively small amount (one ton or less per acre) of lime goes a long way toward correcting the acid-forming effect of fertilizer and acid rain on the soil’s surface.
It often takes lime months to dissolve into the soil after being spread.
At planting time the required amount of lime, as determined by soil test, is best applied by mixing about half deeply (6-8 inches) with initial tillage and the remainder incorporated later more shallowly (upper 2 inches). If this is not practical for you, put on the recommended amount of lime whenever you can and however you can. This is much better than not enough lime or no lime at all. Several products will reduce soil acidity, but ground limestone rock is by far the most commonly used. There are two kinds of limestone, dolomite and calcite. They are generally equal in neutralizing effectiveness. Impurities reduce limestone’s neutralizing effectiveness but all commercial agricultural lime is at least 90% pure CaCO3 equivalent. So, it comes down to fineness being the critical factor in determining how good different liming prod-
ucts are. Fineness is measured by how much passes through screens of different sizes (mesh). For example, a 10 mesh screen has 10 divisions per inch. Lime held on a 10 mesh screen is almost gravel. Generally, lime must pass a 60 mesh screen to be effective in neutralizing soil acidity. State laws define minimum fineness standards for agricultural lime. Soil test recommendations are based on the minimum fineness standards. Comparisons have shown that particles larger than 10-20 mesh have little or no practical effect, very fine material (100-200 mesh) is the most effective initially, the 60-100 mesh material is just as good by the third year, and the 20-60 mesh material is definitely inferior to the finer particles. Several products that use ultra-finely ground (100200 mesh) limestone are advertised as being more effective than ordinary ground agricultural lime, thus requiring less material to get the same result. This may be true initially, but after three years ordinary lime is just as good. In fact, this sustained effect could be quite an advantage. I recently bought several bags of ordinary ground limestone that was only guaranteed to meet minimum fineness standards that actually was as fine as flour. For most purposes, very finely ground limestone is not necessary, and the neutralizing ability of ordinary “ag lime” is plenty good. W
Vol. 16, No. 1 /
D E E R N U T R I T I O N N OT E S By Matt Harper, Institute Deer Nutrition Specialist
Beware! Deer Poison How improper mineral/vitamin formulation can actually be harming your deer
ou will not find a bigger proponent for the use of quality mineral/vitamin supplements than the Whitetail Institute. After years of studying, researching and practicing mineral/vitamin supplementation on deer, the Whitetail Institute is a firm believer in the benefits deer hunters and managers can expect. That is why typically, Whitetail News articles discuss the benefits of supplying quality nutrition to your deer herd. However, there can be a dark side to mineral/vitamin supplementation, if you are using an improperly formulated supplement, which can be harmful. The Whitetail Institute’s position has always been one of focusing on the aspects and benefits of our products and to explain the science and the research that go into developing deer nutritional products. The Whitetail Institute does not sling mud at competitors, and to be honest, that is not the purpose of this article. This article will not single out any particular products or mention names but instead will point out a few things that can make a product ineffective or possibly even dangerous to deer. That may make the Whitetail Institute poor politicians, but in our experience, deer hunters and managers are more interested in what our products can do instead of what our competitors’ products won’t do. But over the past few years, we have seen some products that have formulation aspects that are a cause of some concern, over both ineffectiveness and possible danger. We felt it was important to point out to our readers some of the things that can be done wrong in supplement formulation and may lead to less than desired results. To begin with, there are several products on the market that may not necessarily be dangerous to a deer, but certainly won’t provide much benefit. The problems found in these products consist of one or more of the following: improper mineral and vitamin ratios, indigestible raw-nutrient sources, improper nutrient level, and a complete lack of a vital nutrient. Many are just glorified salt blocks. Minerals have complicated interactions with each other. Therefore, mineral levels must be formulated so that each mineral works in harmony with the other minerals in the supplement. Ingredient sourcing is also a vital part of deer mineral/vitamin formulation that is often overlooked by many manufacturers. For example, copper derived from the wrong compound can be virtually useless due to lack of digestibility — copper from copper oxide is very low in digestibility, but copper from copper sulfate is very high in digestibility. As far as improper mineral or vitamin levels and/or complete lack of specific minerals or vitamins in a formulation go, the problem needs little explanation. Without the proper nutrients, a mineral/vitamin product supplies little benefit at best. Usually, the reason copper oxide is used is because the manufacturers are uninformed and/or because it is cheaper. MINERAL TOCICITY Although the errors in formulation we just discussed can decrease the effectiveness of a product, there are other errors in formulation that can actually
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1
cause problems. One such problem is mineral toxicity. All minerals can be toxic if consumed at high enough levels. To become toxic, minerals must be consumed at levels that exceed the required amount. Minerals have independent thresholds in which exceeding required levels will show signs of toxicity. With some minerals, there is a high threshold where it can be fed at several times the required amount without becoming toxic. Other minerals have a very small threshold, and toxicity occurs when the mineral level exceeds the requirement by only a small amount. For example, the toxicity threshold for zinc has been found to be fairly high in ruminant animals where zinc toxicity was tested. This means that toxicity only occurs when zinc is formulated at an excessively high level in the diet. That is not say that you should over-feed zinc, as this may cause many other problems not necessarily associated with toxicity. Furthermore, even though zinc has a high toxicity threshold, excessively, high levels can still cause toxicity, especially when these levels are consumed for a long period of time. SELENIUM At the other end of the scale is selenium. Selenium has a relatively small threshold for toxicity. In other words, toxicity can occur when the requirement is exceeded by a relatively small amount. In fact, the amount of selenium that can be used in a complete diet is government-regulated for many ruminant animals such as cattle, goats and sheep. In most cases, the maximum allowed in a complete diet is 0.3 ppm (milogram/kilogram = milograms of selenium per kilogram of total diet). Therefore, it is important when formulating a mineral/vitamin supplement to not have a selenium level that, when consumed at a typical amount, will cause the overall diet to have a selenium level exceeding 0.3 milograms of selenium per kilogram of total diet. In the side bar of this article, I have described an example using a hypothetical supplement containing 60 ppm of selenium, consumed at 2 ounces per deer per day, with the deer
eating a total of 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of diet per day. In this example, we find that the resulting selenium consumption would be 0.75 ppm or milograms per kilogram of total diet. This is a little over double the regulated amount for most ruminants (for more details, see sidebar). Will this supplement cause toxicity in deer? Technically, a selenium toxicity level in deer has not been established. However one thing is for sure: in our example, the supplement, based on a deer eating 4.5 kilograms of total diet, including 2 ounces of the mineral/vitamin supplement, will certainly cause the selenium in the diet to exceed the regulated amount of 0.3 ppm (milogram/kilogram). Keep in mind that this regulation was put in place due to the small threshold between selenium requirement and toxicity. It is important to note that the regulatory amount of 0.3 ppm is used for domesticated ruminants and is also commonly accepted by most deer nutritionists as the maximum level to be used in diets. Disregard for the safety factor imposed by the regulatory number in product formulation, if not considered dangerous, should at least be considered reckless. One factor we did not consider in our example is additional selenium coming from natural forages. Certain soils have a high selenium content making the forage have a higher than normal level of selenium. If you combine a high selenium supplement with forages already high in selenium, toxicity concerns become even greater. Yet another factor to consider is that selenium has been shown to build up or be stored in body tissues. Prolonged over-consumption of selenium may also place a deer at risk of toxicity. In other words, problems may not occur right away, but over time, symptoms may begin to show up. In some cases, however, symptoms may not be very apparent, which is the case for animals suffering from chronic toxicity. In cases where acute toxicity occurs, symptoms can include emaciation, loss of hair, soreness and sloughing of hooves, anemia, blindness, staggering, paralysis and death. Again, we need to
understand that selenium is a vital trace mineral in a deer supplement. However, selenium formulation should be based on the best information we have available in terms of maximum amounts of selenium that should be supplemented in a diet. As I mentioned before, disregard for the safety factors built in by commonly accepted maximum selenium levels is risky and a disservice to deer hunters and managers. INAPPROPRIATE INGREDIENTS Another major problem I have seen is the use of ingredients not normally used in animal supplements. These ingredients are not typically used because of the side effects and problems they may cause. One example is an ingredient called sodium carbonate. This is not to be confused with sodium bicarbonate, which is often used in animal feeds as a source of sodium and a buffering agent. Sodium carbonate (sodium ash), rather, is normally found in the chemical industry serving a multitude of various functions but is commonly used in detergents as a water-softening agent. Without getting into a lot of chemical jargon, sodium carbonate is fairly volatile in terms of chemical reactions, which is why it lends itself well to water softening. However, sodium carbonate is not normally used in the feed industry because of the undesired effects it may have on animals. Primarily, the biggest problem with sodium carbonate is that it has a very high pH, around 12. This high alkaline level may cause damage to the nasal passages, sinuses and the respiratory system. In fact, the MSDS sheet for sodium carbonate warns of these very side effects. In comparison, sodium bicarbonate has a pH of about 8, which is why it is favored in animal diets. The 05REM1130Model700SPS_HalfPg_WN.qxd
problems that can occur with extended use of sodium carbonate are obvious; nasal passage, sinus and respiratory damage. The reason sodium carbonate is used is because it is an attractant but mainly because it is very cheap. It is cheaper than sodium bicarbonate and even cheaper then regular salt in most cases. The price, and most likely the manufacturers being uninformed, are the likely reasons why these products are even on the market. Now that I have sufficiently scared you away from using deer mineral/vitamin supplements, I would like to bring up something I mentioned at the beginning of this article. Mineral/vitamin supplementation can dramatically improve the quality of your deer herd. Increased antler growth and larger body weights are only of few of the benefits you can see. However, some of the products I have seen on the market do not use a sound nutritional basis in their formulation. At the very least, these products will be ineffective and in some cases may even be detrimental. The safest way to go is to use products designed by companies that have professional nutrition experts working for them. The Whitetail Institute mineral/vitamin supplements and nutritional supplements, such as 30-06 Mineral products and the Cutting Edge line of products, were developed by deer nutrition professionals with years of education and experience. As a member of the research staff at the Whitetail Institute, I can assure you that our products are formulated by experts who know deer nutrition and product formulation. So the next time you are browsing the selection of deer mineral/vitamin supplements, keep the things we talked about in mind. There are products out there that can benefit your deer herd, but if you are not careful, you may choose a product that will cause more harm than good. W
■ Selenium Toxicity >>>>> o help explain selenium formulation, let’s use the following example. Lets say a deer is going to eat 10 pounds of food per day. This is equivalent to 4.5 kilograms. This means that the maximum amount of selenium the deer should consume in that day should be 1.35 milograms (0.3 milogram X 4.5 kilograms of diet = 1.35 total milograms of selenium). Now lets say that you are using a mineral/vitamin supplement that contains 60 ppm of selenium. Using a consumption of 2 ounces per head per day (typical consumption of free choice minerals), a supplement containing 60 ppm (milogram/kilogram) of selenium would supply a total of 3.4 milograms of selenium (2 ounces = 0.125 pounds and 60 ppm = 27.27 milogram/pound, 0.125 X 27.27 = 3.4 milograms of selenium). So in this example, we have exceeded the daily regulated amount by slightly more than 2 milograms. Another way of looking at is by comparing the regulated milogram/kilogram of selenium to actual milogram/kilogram of selenium the deer is consuming. In the example, we have been looking at a deer eating 4.5 kilograms of total diet including 2 ounces of a supplement containing 60 ppm (milogram/kilogram) of selenium. In this calculation we would find that the deer would be consuming 0.75 milogram of selenium per kilogram of diet, which again is more than double the regulated amount of 0.3 milogram/kilogram. (Total selenium consumed, 3.4, divided by the total diet (4.5), 3.4/4.5 = 0.75 milogram/kilogram or ppm.)
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Vol. 16, No. 1 /
ASK BIG JON By Jon Cooner, Institute Sales Consultant
Common Questions— Straightforward Answers
“Scent-Proof” Blinds Make Perfect Sense! Patented
Scent Exhaust Piping
You advertise that Whitetail Institute perennials can last three to five years or longer. What do I have to do to make them last that long?
This is one of the most common questions our inhouse consultants receive. Whether or not your perennial plot will last up to three to five years as intended depends on a number of things. Mother Nature must cooperate, of course, but there are factors you control that can heavily influence the life span of your Whitetail Institute perennial plot. These include choosing the correct forage for your soil type and performing the maintenance steps recommended by the Whitetail Institute for that forage. To choose the correct forage for your conditions, be sure to consider the soil type in which you will be planting. Remember that Imperial Whitetail Clover and Chicory Plus are intended for heavy, bottomland soils that hold moisture well. Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus is designed for good soils that are well drained. And all three require a minimum of 30 inches of rainfall per year. (The eastern half of the U.S. gets over this 30 inch minimum.) Imperial Whitetail Extreme is designed to thrive in a variety of well-drained soils in areas that receive a minimum of 15 inches of rainfall per year. All of our perennial blends also do best in a properly prepared seedbed. If you can’t work the soil, then consider Imperial No-Plow or Secret Spot, which can be planted without ground tillage. When maintaining your plot in later years, be sure to fertilize according to the maintenance instructions published by the Whitetail Institute on each bag of seed and on its Web site, www.whitetailinstitute.com. These instructions include fertilizing your plot each year. Also, if you are concerned that you may have a grass problem in your Whitetail Institute perennial plot in the spring or summer, be sure to spray the plot with Arrest grass herbicide proactively in the early spring, as soon after green-up as possible when grass has started to grow but is still in seeding stage, meaning before it matures to a height greater than 12 inches. If your Imperial Whitetail Clover or any clover or alfalfa plot shows signs of invasion by broadleaf weeds, consider spraying the plot in early spring with a solution of Slay weed herbicide and Surefire surfactant. To control broadleaf weeds in Alfa-Rack Plus, Chicory Plus or Extreme, be sure to keep the tops mowed out of your plots during spring and early summer and then once again in the early fall to keep any upright annual weeds from having the opportunity to create seed heads. The Whitetail Institute recommends mowing as a normal maintenance practice for all its perennial blends. Don’t mow, however, when conditions are unusually hot or dry or within one week before or after you have sprayed the plot with a herbicide. While disease, insects and drought can also affect the lifespan of a plot, grass and weed competition is the most common source of problems, and thankfully, these are factors that you can control to a great degree. Be sure to closely follow all label directions when using Arrest, Slay or any other herbicide or adjuvant.
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I live in Florida, and my hunting property is in Illinois. I did not have a chance to spray for grass in early spring, and now my clover plots have mature grass in them. Can I do anything to control the grass at this stage?
Yes, but there are a few things you should consider before you decide to try. Weed and grass removal is best accomplished when grass and weeds are very young and still in seedling stage, meaning before they have matured to a height greater than 6-12 inches. They will be much more difficult to control after they mature, but not necessarily impossible. First, it makes sense to do a cost/benefit analysis to see whether you will come out better financially by replanting. If your plot is already several years old and toward the end of its natural life span, choked with mature grass and weeds, or both, starting over by preparing your seed bed for a new planting may be a more cost-effective option. If you are dealing with mature grass or weeds, the herbicide label will also give you additional mixing instructions for such situations. In some cases, these include the addition of adjuvants and stronger mixing rates. Don’t ever mix an herbicide solution stronger than recommended by the label, though — if you do, you could kill your plot. Always strictly follow all label instructions on Arrest, Slay, Surefire and any other herbicide or adjuvant. It may also be advantageous for you to mow mature grass and weeds before spraying the plot. If you do so, be sure to wait at least a week after mowing before applying a herbicide and a week after applying a herbicide before you mow. (See article on page 50.) If you are facing weeds that are not of a type the Arrest and Slay labels say they are designed to control, or if mature grasses and weeds are much taller than your forage plants, you also have the option to apply a non-selective glyphosate herbicide, such as RoundUp, to the plot by means of a wick bar. A wick bar is an herbicide-application device that, like a conventional sprayer, consists of a tank to hold herbicide and an applicator bar. However, instead of spray nozzles, the bar wipes herbicide onto the plants it touches. If adjusted correctly and with the correct herbicide mixture so that herbicide is applied only to what the applicator touches, a wick bar can be used to apply a comprehensive herbicide directly to weeds without killing the forage plants beneath. These suggestions are not a guarantee that you will be successful in controlling mature grass or weeds, but they offer the best options if you elect to try it.
Can I use Winter-Greens as a cover crop for Imperial Whitetail Clover or Alfa Rack Plus?
Yes. However, due to the size of the plants in Winter-Greens, it is best to add a maximum of only about 2 pounds per acre when using Winter-Greens in that application. That will leave space for the clover, alfalfa and chocory to develop. W
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1
FA LL P L A NT I N G DAT E S
for Imperial Whitetail® Clover, Chicory Plus™, ALFA-RACK™, ALFA-RACK PLUS™, EXTREME™, Secret Spot™ and NO-PLOW™
Call for planting dates Do not plant in fall Aug 1 - Sept 1 Coastal: Sept 1 - Oct 15 Piedmont: Aug 15 - Oct 1 Mountain Valleys: Aug 1 - Sept 15 Aug 10 - Sept 30 Sept 1 - Nov 1 North: Aug 1 - Sept 15 South: Aug 15 - Oct 15 North: July 15 - Aug 20 South: July 20 - Aug 25 Aug 1 - Aug 31 Aug 1 - Sept 15 Sept 15 - Nov 15
North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15 North: Aug 25 - Oct 15 South: Sept 5 - Oct 30 North: Sept 5 - Oct 15 Coastal: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Oct 15 Coastal: Sept 25 - Oct 15 Piedmont: Sept 1 - Oct 5 Mountain: Aug 25 - Oct 15 North: Sept 15 - Nov 15 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 25 South: Oct 5 - Nov 30 Aug 1 - Sept 1 Aug 20 - Sept 30
SOIL TEST KITS Now available through the
Soil testing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your plantings — of any kind. The Institute is pleased to now provide soil test kits and results for all Imperial products or any other type seeds. (Complete instructions and all related information will come with kits.) Test results include pH, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Fertilizer and lime recommendations for maximum performance from your plantings will be provided. The average turnaround time is 24-48 hours after our lab receives the sample. The charge for the kit and results is $9.95. If ordered alone, add $2.00 shipping and handling for unlimited number of kits. If ordered with other Imperial products there is no shipping charge. Please send ______ soil test kits at $9.95 each. Add $2.00 shipping and handling for each order regardless of number of kits desired. (There is NO shipping charge if kit is ordered with other Imperial products.) Cost of kit includes test results.
SHIP TO: Name _________________________________________________________________ Address _______________________________________________________________ City _____________________________________ State ________Zip _____________ Phone _____________________Email _______________________________________ ❏ Check or Money Order enclosed Payment: : Charge to: ❏ MasterCard ❏ Visa ❏ Discover Credit Card # ______________________________________ Exp. Date ____________ Signature ______________________________________________________________
Mail to: Whitetail Institute • 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043 or CALL TOLL FREE 1-800-688-3030
Vol. 16, No. 1 /
Don’t Miss Out on Great Late-Season Deer Hunting Introducing a Revolutionary New Winter Planting By Graham Rupp
t was my third full day on stand and I had seen very few deer. The cold and the snow and lack of activity were wearing on me. Just a few short weeks prior I had seen plenty of deer, including some beautiful bucks, but today was a different story. I had never been more optimistic about a late-season December hunt. But something was amiss. Finally, I abandoned my stand that was positioned in a wooded thoroughfare. I walked up a big hill from where I could see everything. I sat with my binoculars, scoping out the situation. I watched as a parade of deer made their way one by one through the foot of snow on the ground to an unpicked soybean field on an adjacent piece of property. The property I was hunting—which was carefully managed with all of the right food plots—had out-attracted this neighboring property all season long. But now the deer had abandoned my food plot mecca for some soybeans. I did not understand. I watched until the sun went down and, after plodding out through the snow, I drove over to talk to the farmer. He explained he couldn’t let me hunt because of a promise to a relative. He also expressed surprise about the amount of deer that were in the soybean field he had been unable to pick. 10
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1
I told him they were all deer that had left my property. As we talked, it occurred to us that the key was the recent snowfall. The deer preferred my plots, but my plots were buried. So, they went for the easy meal—the soybeans that were still protruding through the snow cover on his property. I never did bag a buck during that late-season hunt. Holding out for Mr. Big didn’t pay off, and I still blame it on the snow cover. But now, I have insured against this ever happening again. WINTER-GREENS GETS TASTIER WITH WINTER WEATHER Some plot plantings become less attractive with cold weather and hard frosts. Others may not lose their allure but, when buried in snow, they require more effort than the deer are willing to expend, especially if there are alternative food sources that require less effort. The Whitetail Institute’s new late-season food plot product, Winter-Greens, is the answer to these winter problems. A brassica blend, Winter-Greens is designed specifically to attract deer in late season. Winter-Greens is the most effective late-season food plot product you can plant. It works two ways. First, brassicas by nature actually sweeten with a hard frost. To be pre-
cise, the first hard frost triggers plant maturity, which in turn results in a sweeter taste. It’s like a banana. When it’s still green, a banana is not very tasty. Once mature or ripe however, a yellow banana is very tasty. Brassicas just require a hard frost to mature and get tasty. So, while other food plots are becoming less appealing, or are getting eaten down, Winter-Greens is getting better. And don’t think the deer don’t know it! The second reason Winter-Greens works is because brassicas stand tall and stay green, even in heavy snow. They won’t get flattened like so many other plants. So, had I supplemented my food plot plan with Winter-Greens, my deer would have stayed on my property and would not have moved to the uncut soybeans. It was a hard-earned but valuable lesson. WINTER-GREENS IS PREFERRED 4-TO-1 OVER OTHER BRASSICA-BASED FOOD PLOTS The Whitetail Institute knows food plots. It also knows brassicas. Brassica has been a late-season food source component in various Whitetail Institute food plot products since 1993. One of the biggest obstacles the Institute researchers had to overcome with a pure brassica blend was palatability. Researchers tested hundreds of brassicas www.whitetailinstitute.com
and brassica blends and after years of testing, finally discovered a specific blend of “hybrid” brassicas that proved to be incredibly attractive and produced tons of forage. In fact, in “cafeteria tests” performed using wild, free-ranging whitetail deer across the U.S., Winter-Greens was preferred over other brassica food plot products by at least 4-to-1. That’s right, 4-to-1. Now that’s a considerable difference.
You and I will buy Winter-Greens because it will attract deer to our property for late-season hunting. But there is another tremendous advantage to Winter-Greens. It also gives our deer an exceptionally nutritious, easy-to-eat food source during the most difficult time of year for deer— A grazing guage shows the amount of browsing on a test field of winter. Winter- Greens. Let’s face it, we want big bucks. And bucks get big when they get the nutrients necessary to grow antlers during the antler-growing season. That is the main mantra of The Whitetail Institute’s Imperial HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR FOOD PLOT STRATEGY Whitetail Clover and other food plot products. That said, a WITH WINTER-GREENS buck can have the best nutritional food sources available starting in the spring when he begins to grow antlers, but if Winter-Greens is an annual. I recommend that you he is in sorry shape due to the rigors of winter, his system is determine where your deer tend to hang out on your propgoing to direct a lot of those nutrients to his body. erty during the late fall or winter and then supplement your The point is this: all things being equal, a buck that is food plot plan with a plot of Winter-Greens in that particuhealthy going into the antler-growing season will produce a lar area. We already know deer will naturally follow the path better set of antlers than a buck that is a victim of the hardresistance when it comes to food. Why make it any of least ships of winter. more difficult for them? Winter-Greens, because it does so well in the snow and You will most likely have some activity on your Wintercold and because it is so readily available to the deer, will Greens plot before the first frost, but the majority of activgive your deer a better start on their antlers. Of course, this ity will occur after the first HARD frost. At this point, the applies to the health of your does too.
P L A NT I N G DAT E S
WINTER-GREENS MAKES YOUR HERD HEALTHIER
deer will make a decision based on the taste and availability of other food sources relative to Winter-Greens. In other words, don’t expect the deer to ignore other food sources and make a beeline to your Winter-Greens plot just because you’ve experienced a hard frost. But once other food sources lose their appeal (and they will) or once the snows come and other plots get covered, that’s when Winter-Greens will really attract the deer. Remember the situation I described at the beginning of this article and the availability component of Winter-Greens. You could very well, with the right conditions, have a virtual deer parade to your Winter-Greens plot. Another huge advantage of Winter-Greens is it is extremely drought tolerant. With just reasonable amounts of rainfall, Winter-Greens will produce a lot of high-quality winter food. DON’T TAKE THE CHANCE OF A POOR LATESEASON HUNT
We all learn through experience. And you have the opportunity to learn through my experience. Don’t be left out in the cold if you have the opportunity to hunt in the late season. Plan to incorporate Winter-Greens into your food plot strategy. Frankly, after watching that parade of deer in December, a Winter-Greens plot could very well create a situation where, given the right cold and/or snowy conditions, you could have deer coming from all around to your property. It could be one of those magic moments when you have the best hunting of the whole year. It’s a distinct possibility when you plan to attract late-season deer to your property with new Winter-Greens! W
for Imperial WINTER-GREENS™ Call for planting dates Call for planting dates
North: Sept 5 - Nov 1 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15
July1 - August 1
North: Aug 15 - Oct 1 South: Sept 5 - Oct 20
Coastal: Feb 1 - March 1 Southern Piedmont: Feb 15 - April 1 Mountain Valleys: March 1 - April 15
North: Sept 5 - Oct 30 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15
July 15 - Sept 15 Aug1 - Oct 1 North: July 15 - Sept 15 South: Aug1 - Oct 1 North: July 20 - Aug 1* South: July 15 - Aug 15*
Coastal: Sept 1 - Oct 1 Piedmont: Aug 15 - Sept 20 Mountain Valleys: Aug 5 - Sept 15 North: Sept 15 - Nov 15 Central: Sept 25 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15 July 15 - Sept 1
July 1 - Sept 15 Aug1 - Sept 30 July 15 - Sept 15 Sept 15 - Nov 15
Vol. 16, No. 1 /
H OW I D O I T By Bill Winke
Management Plan Basics in the Midwest
y primary hunting property is actually a working agricultural farm. Not that it is a profitable one, mind you, but we plant most of the open land in either corn or soybeans on something of a rotation. Compared to other parts of the Midwest, the soil and lay of the land on this farm are not conducive to high crop yields. If you then throw in some crop depredation from deer on top of that, and maybe a drought or two, you have the recipe for lousy farming income. Given the low return on this farming land, it would have been a simple matter to offload the responsibility for feeding my deer onto my poor neighbors by simply putting the entire farm into CRP a few years back. I even thought about it but decided that I would shoulder the responsibility for the deer myself and continue to keep the farm in crop. This would serve two purposes. First, it would provide much better nutrition than brome grass CRP, and second, it would keep me honest in my efforts to control the herd numbers. As I’ve quickly learned, protecting deer is not managing deer. You have to harvest them aggressively (the right ones) or you will never consistently produce good bucks – even in the Midwest. And, if you are trying to farm the land, an aggressive harvest is critical to preserving any hope of income. To help in that regard, I expect anyone that hunts the farm to shoot as many does as they can. As a result, the population is at least stable, possibly dropping slightly. Not all of my neighbors are on the same program, so it is definitely an uphill battle. That is the backdrop for my management plan, one that includes food plots, habitat improvement and aggressive doe harvest as its core ingredients. Here is how those pieces work together and why I plant what I plant and where I plant it.
AGGRESSIVE DOE HARVEST The author shot this buck last season as it approached a food plot.
As mentioned, protecting is not managing, so we shoot a lot of does. I use kind of a finger-to-the-wind yardstick in determining how many to shoot. Basically, the quota is opportunity-driven. We shoot as many as we can and worry about the consequences of over-harvesting should it ever occur (unlikely). When the opportunity presents itself, we fill antlerless tags regardless of the time of the season. As the population goes down, in theory, the opportunities will go down, and the total kill will decrease. I also look at the crop damage in the fields during the summer and let my related anger level help in determining the aggressiveness of my fall harvest goals. Having a huntable number of bucks around is great, but having so many deer that you can’t grow crops is not great. Something has to give. The deer have to give. The easiest time to shoot does is when food sources are limited. During much of the fall, the farm is brimming with food; but when the farmer picks the crops and the deer and turkeys eat all the acorns, everything starts to close in around the food plots. This is an important part of the overall plan. Though I hunt
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1
the plots some during the rut, I hunt them exclusively during the post-rut and late season when the deer are glued to them. Early in the hunting season, my food plots keep does in the area so the bucks will hang around during the rut; and late in the season, the plots focus the feeding patterns of the same does more tightly so they are easier to kill. I also end up taking out a number of the does that come in off the neighbors, too, during this time, so it is anything but an exact science. HABITAT IMPROVEMENT Habitat improvement is a wide category, but when I use this term, I am mostly concerned with improving the native browse and thickness of the habitat within the timbered acres of the farm. This is an ongoing project that I gnaw away at each year. In simple terms, my kind of habitat improvement boils down to removing all the trees from the timber that serve no purpose commercially or from a wildlife standpoint. Since I am not a big squirrel
hunter, hickories are on the top of the list for removal, as are any kind of elm, most small ash, all the ironwood and most of the basswood, etc. Of course, you should ignore my advice on which trees to cut, because I am not a forester and cutting trees is a highly personal thing. I’m probably more aggressive than most people because I like thick cover for a number of reasons. Plus, every area has certain species that flourish either to your benefit or detriment. Consult with a professional forester before you start on any timber management programs. Part of this management plan includes the regular commercial harvest of mature timber. Right now, I’m on roughly a 10-year rotation. Every 10 years I should be able to take some kind of commercial timber harvest off the ground. That serves not only to provide income but also to recycle the habitat by increasing the amount of sunlight that reaches the ground. Bucks seek out thick cover when they feel pressured, and it is the primary source of native browse. I also like thick cover because it is easier to hunt – the deer don’t see you coming and
going as easily. Timber stand improvement should be a very important part of any whitetail deer (and timber) management plan. It benefits the commercial trees and it improves habitat and native browse. Since Iâ€™m on a 10-year program, every year I remove the junk trees from roughly 10 percent of the farm so that after 10 years I am ready to start over again from the beginning.
TOTAL FOOD PLOT PLAN I have two kinds of food plots on the farm, agricultural crops and Imperial Whitetail Clover plots. The agricultural fields feed some deer during the summer, but by far, the most important source of summer food is the high-protein clover. Deer need protein as early in the spring as they can get it. Granted, they find some good
The authorâ€™s timber/native-browse program is ongoing, but removing trees with no commercial or wildlife value is at the top of the list.
early nutrition in weeds and browse (the result of my aggressive timber stand improvement efforts), but when the weeds begin to mature, the deer increasingly turn to my Imperial Clover plots. This usually happens around late May in my area, right when the bucks are really putting on their antler growth. I make it a goal to have a good clover plot for every 80 acres of land (every 40 acres would be even better). That way, any deer on the farm is within a short walk of a highly nutritious summer food source. To accomplish this goal, I use the back ends and steep slopes of the open field points that extend into the timber. These portions of the fields produce very limited crops anyway because they are so vulnerable to drought and deer or turkey damage. So rather than fight it, I use these areas for my Imperial Clover plots. When the deer come out of the timber heading for my crop fields, the first thing they hit is an Imperial Clover field. Most of these are small (one to two acres), but it is amazing how much valuable forage you can grow in such a small plot with well-maintained Imperial Clover. Even the local farmer who plants my crops is amazed by the production of these small plots. My agricultural fields also factor into the plan. They provide great winter food sources after continual freezing and grazing have all but flattened my Imperial Clover plots. The small patches of soybeans and corn that I leave standing at the back corners of the fields become the number-one food source. Again, these are often just an acre or two in size, sometimes a bit larger. I treat my Imperial Clover as vital food for spring, summer and fall and a great place to hunt during the early parts of the season; and I treat remnant patches of my agricultural crops as great late fall and winter food sources and valuable winter nutrition. It is not necessarily a cheap plan, but if you keep your deer numbers under control, it doesnâ€™t have to cost an arm and a leg to supply them with a full plate of annual food either. HOW I PLANT MY IMPERIAL WHITETAIL CLOVER PLOTS
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