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Volume 16, No. 1

$4.95

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

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CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED 239 Whitetail Trail / Pintlala, AL 36043 Phone: 334-281-3006 / Fax: 334-286-9723

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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

22 32

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

34

Sweeney X-Feeder

By Jon Cooner

A revolutionary new feeder

36

The Gift of Mentoring: Early Education Keeps Hunting Flame Burning By Tom Fegely The key to hunter recruitment is early exposure

39

Page 22

Hunter Uses Whitetail Institute products for 15 Years Mineral/nutritional products key to Pennsylvania hunter’s success

44

Southern Trophies By Larry Porter PowerPlant leads to monster Tennessee bucks

46

Give Your Plots a Boost By Dan Eastman Use Impact to energize your food plot

48

Imperial Clover Leads to Buck of a Lifetime

By Julie Wohldmann

Missouri hunter sold on high-quality perennials

50 52

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?

60

Food Plots Build Healthy Herd Massachusetts hunter prefers No-Plow

62

Food Plots and Baiting: The Battle Continues By Bob Humphrey Does baiting really increase hunter success?

68

Hunter Has Compulsive Deer Disorder Ohio hunter utilizes Alfa-Rack Plus

70

The Challenges for America’s Whitetail Hunters By Scott Bestul Three major issues threaten the tradition of hunting

74 Page 78

DEPARTMENTS 4

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

5

Scientifically Speaking By Wiley C. Johnson, PhD More information on the importance of lime

6

Deer Nutrition Notes By Matt Harper Some mineral products can actually harm deer

8

Ask Big Jon By Jon Cooner Real questions from real customers

9 12

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

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Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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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

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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!

Ray Scott

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

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1-800-688-3030

OR MAIL YOUR ORDER TO:

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

ONLY 99

$169 4

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.

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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

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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

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Vol. 16, No. 1 /

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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ASK BIG JON By Jon Cooner, Institute Sales Consultant

Common Questions— Straightforward Answers

“Scent-Proof” Blinds Make Perfect Sense! Patented

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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?

Q

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?

Q

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.

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Can I use Winter-Greens as a cover crop for Imperial Whitetail Clover or Alfa Rack Plus?

Q A

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

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

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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

Whitetail Institute

Soil testing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your plantings — of any kind. The Institute is pleased to now provide soil test kits and results for all Imperial products or any other type seeds. (Complete instructions and all related information will come with kits.) Test results include pH, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Fertilizer and lime recommendations for maximum performance from your plantings will be provided. The average turnaround time is 24-48 hours after our lab receives the sample. The charge for the kit and results is $9.95. If ordered alone, add $2.00 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

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Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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Don’t Miss Out on Great Late-Season Deer Hunting Introducing a Revolutionary New Winter Planting By Graham Rupp

I

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

Whitetail Institute

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

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Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

11


H OW I D O I T By Bill Winke

Management Plan Basics in the Midwest

M

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.

Bill Winke

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

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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

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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 I’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

Bill Winke

The author’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 doesn’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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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

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I already offered a few thoughts on site selection, but let me go a little deeper into that subject, as I feel it is very important to the overall effectiveness of the clover plots. The sites I selected for my clover plots had three things in common. First, they were not locations where I could plant and harvest commercial crops effectively or efficiently. They were either small fields tucked back in the timber, corners of larger fields where it is hard to turn large farm equipment, or spots where deer damage would be very high if I planted conventional agricultural crops. Finally, all the plots were located in areas that I could get to during the summer with a mower to keep the plots clean and dominated by tender re-growth. The last criterion is just as important as the first two. Early on, I tried to plant an Imperial Clover plot at the end of a point field, thinking that I could simply mow it before the corn got too high, and the clover would take care of itself the rest of the way. That was a mistake. It became weed-infested and all but disappeared in just one year. If you are going to mow your clover plots early, you have to mow them twice – the second time in mid summer. It is possible, though not ideal, to get by with mowing the plots just once. However, that single mowing has to take place in early summer, well after commercial crop fields are too tall to drive through. For several years, I lived on a large property owned by a number of deer hunters (myself included) where we had all the equipment needed to plant and maintain every kind of food plot. It was my job to see the work

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BUCKHAmmer NAILS THE COMPETITION. ®



Who makes the heaviest, hardest-hitting, most accurate slug in the woods? The BuckHammer® recently went head-to-head with a leading competitor, and the truth wasn’t the only thing that got laid out. We’ll present the results of our testing and you can judge this battle of the big boys for yourself.

For complete comparison results, take the BuckHammer Challenge at www.buckhammerchallenge.com.

Remington® BuckHammer®

vs. A LEADING CompetitOR

BuckHammer slugs are up to 13% heavier than the competition.

BuckHammer is nearly three times more accurate in cold weather.

We don’t include the sabot when measuring slug weight. Our competitor does. We had them weighed – minus the sabots.

The competition’s wads are prone to breakup in temperatures of 30ºF and below. Cold weather doesn’t keep you out of the woods, but it could keep you from getting a deer if you’re not using BuckHammer. Remington® BuckHammer®

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Remington BuckHammer®

Competitor

2 3/4" 12-gauge slug – 547 grains*

2 3/4" 12-gauge slug – 485 grains*

BuckHammer delivers up to 17% more downrange energy. Look to BuckHammer for devastating power at long distances. Slug weights and 100-yard velocities were used to calculate 100-yard energy levels.

Calculated 100-Yard Energy Levels

Remington 12-gauge 2 3/4" BuckHammer (ft. lbs.)

1,258

Competitor’s 12-gauge 2 3/4" Slug 1000

1500

2000

Five-shot group size couldn't be measured because one shot missed the paper entirely. Four shots on target – 8 1/4"

The competitor’s 2 3/4" 12-gauge slug’s accuracy plummets right along with the temperature because the wad turns brittle and breaks apart (right).

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500

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100-yard groups shot at 30°F with 2 3/4", 12-gauge slugs. Sample targets (above) display the largest cold-weather group sizes by the BuckHammer and our competitor.

*All weights are for slug only, minus the sabot.

0

Competitor

At 25 yards, the 2 3/4" 12-gauge BuckHammer mushroomed to 1.5X its diameter.

At 100 yards, the 2 3/4" 12-gauge BuckHammer opened to 1.2X its diameter.

Competitor At 25 yards, the competitor’s 2 3/4" 12-gauge slug (right) fragmented. At 100 yards, the competitor’s 2 3/4" 12-gauge slug (right) broke apart.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE and Save FIVE BUCKS. Visit www.buckhammerchallenge.com to take the BuckHammer Challenge. You can see the complete comparison test results, including those for the rest of the BuckHammer line and two other loads from our competitor. Then download the rebate coupon for $5.00 back on three boxes of BuckHammer slugs.** **Visit www.buckhammerchallenge.com for coupon and complete details.

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done in exchange for living on the property free of charge. By the time I left, I had 65 different plots. I learned a lot about establishing and maintaining Imperial Clover. However, my wife and I have since sold out of that corporate farm and bought land of our own. I haven’t yet made the commitment to buy all the needed equipment, so I am at the mercy of a local farmer. I have worked out a deal to borrow a tractor and brush hog from a neighbor to mow my plots, however. In theory, it works pretty well. My winter plots are the result of the normal farming, which is a contract operation. I pay the farmer to put in and take out my crops so I can leave whatever I want to leave. This is a very efficient way to get winter plots. The smaller

Imperial Clover plots last roughly three years and don’t take as much time or equipment. So, I can usually get the farmer to roll in for a day and re-establish clover plots when that is required. The plots are on a rotation where I am redoing roughly one-third of the plots every second year. I have about 15 acres (the biggest plot is four acres) of Imperial Clover so I need to replant roughly five acres every other year. With the right equipment, that doesn’t take very long. First, I get a soil sample tested at the local co-op. I always want my pH to run as close as possible to 7.0, so I usually end up having to apply some lime. It is all but impossible to get someone to come in with a lime truck for just a few acres, so I buy bagged lime from the co-op

Bill Winke

Although the author’s property includes and is surrounded by row crops, and that deer food source is factored into his management plan, higher-quality forages, such as Imperial Whitetail Clover, are also planted.

and apply it with an ATV mounted spreader. This method is very inefficient and takes a lot of passes to get the proper rate, but it is worth the effort. If you have the equipment, consider having a load of lime delivered to your property and then use a shovel and rear-mounted tractor spreader to apply it. The manager at the local co-op can recommend someone who will deliver the lime. A pile of lime will last for several years. Of course, many co-ops will deliver bulk amounts of lime and spread it for next to nothing. After liming, I wait until the first dry spell of spring and then apply the fertilizer the same way – with the ATV spreader. I use the levels of phosphorous and potassium recommended by the soil test. Next, the farmer goes in and tears the field up with a power-takeoff driven field tiller that mounts on the 3point hitch of his tractor. Any heavy small disk would also work. I have had limited success when broadcasting the seed and dragging it in. We have had the best success by drilling the seed into the ground using the drill’s shallowest setting. The press wheels behind each drop tube assure good seed-to-soil contact. Now all I need is rain. I have never sprayed my Imperial Clover plots with a grass herbicide, but I understand it works well to clean them up after year two. I probably will consider it in the future. During the first two years, the aggressive growing tendency of the clover smothers out the grass competition. To gain weed control, I mow my plots regularly. During a normal summer, I will mow the plots twice – once in mid-June and once in mid to late July. During a dry summer, I usually skip the second mowing to reduce stress on the plants. I fertilize with a maintenance dose of potassium and phosphorous during the spring each year. That’s how I do it. W

Another Sign of Superior Research and Development. Chicory Plus is the latest in the Whitetail Institute’s continuing effort to develop products that are both 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.

FREE Trial Offer! Call 1-800-688-3030 Offer 1- only $8.95 (shipping and handling) FREE all new video or DVD / FREE N0-Plow TM FREE Imperial Clover TM / FREE Extreme TM FREE Alfa-Rack TM PLUS / FREE Chicory PLUS TM (each sample plants 100 sq. ft.)

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The Whitetail Institute / 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, Alabama 36043

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

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Customers do the talking about Phil Kelly – Alabama

Adam Harrington – Indiana

Here is the picture of the Alabama 14 point buck I shot last season. He scores 150 inches. I shot him at 4:00 in the afternoon in an Imperial Clover plot. I had seen him in there as well the last time I hunted it for over an hour, but was unsure how big he was as I was over 300 yards away. We were filming for TV and when we reviewed the tape we realized we missed a great buck. Luckily the next time I hunted it, there he was again! He came in early, all by himself to feed. Thanks for a great product!

Jay Raifstanger – Massachusetts My brother John and I planted Secret Spot on our land in Massachusetts. It wasn’t long before we started noticing

These are two bucks I have harvested since planting Whitetail Institute products two seasons ago. Needless to say we will be planting more next year. larger bucks in the area. My brother shot these two nice bucks near where we planted our Secret Spot. I shot this 211 lb. 8-point on our adjacent property. I can’t wait to experiment with your other products in the years to come.

Justin Paulsen – Illinois I planted three 2-acre plots of AlfaRack on my property. I have seen a great increase in the deer herd and the size of deer. The deer I have harvested increase in size every year. Two years ago I got a 147 inch 9-pointer. Enclosed is a picture from last year, a 16-pointer scoring 181 3/8 inches. The sheds are also in

the picture. They grew 33 inches in one year! The deer graze the Alfa-Rack fields like cattle. It grows great and I would recommend it to anyone. I also enclosed a picture of one of our Alfa-Rack fields. You can see how thick and lush it is. 18

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

and my 3 year old son Colby. I thank you all and keep up the good work.

Victor Domke – Michigan T.J. Moore – Kentucky I’m writing you to tell you how much I am pleased with your product. I live on a 110-acre farm that I have hunted for the last 6 years. I planted about 5 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover last spring. The clover did great. I started seeing a lot more deer on my farm. At the start of this year’s bow season I saw some good bucks on my land, a lot more than I had ever seen before. This year during gun season I was hunting my farm and I harvested the big buck we had been seeing in one of my food plots. The buck had a 22-inch inside spread and was an 8-pointer. The buck grossed 151 and netted 145. It is the biggest buck I have ever harvested and you can bet I will be planting more Clover. I have enclosed a picture of the buck taken with me

I had a new spot to hunt last year next to a power line. I tried No-Plow under the power lines. Even this year with dry weather and poor soils, enough came up to help funnel deer past my stand. I was lucky enough to get this 10-point. He had 5 smaller bucks with him. www.whitetailinstitute.com


Institute products… Nate Zeroth – Minnesota I planted Alfa-Rack in spring of 2002. I have seen more deer and have had many encounters with deer while bow hunting. Here is a picture of a nice buck in the Alfa-Rack food plot with a

appeared to fit most of our criteria – soil type, longevity, deer usage, and nutritional value. After adding lime to get our pH levels up, we are really starting to see more and more deer. Even though our neighbors have fields planted in alfalfa and clover, the products from Whitetail Institute are obviously more attractive to the deer, especially late season. The two photos are the Imperial Alfa-Rack’s first week of growth after we planted it and then three weeks later. You can see how well it grew.

John Stanton – Missouri 2

1

3

in each of the three plots than we had ever seen before, even an outstanding six by six. What a year not to buy a permit! If you look close enough at photo two, you can observe how much the 2 clover has been grazed and worked down by the deer. Keep in mind that this is in the middle of November, in Nebraska and our plots are surrounded by corn, soybeans, alfalfa and winter wheat. We had also experimented with competitive brands along with the Imperial Clover. As you probably suspect the others were a total waste of time, money and effort. The deer and other wildlife were definitely not interested in these other products. We are so impressed with the Imperial products we have ordered a six-acre bag for additional plantings and have plans to bring another friend, who lives in western Nebraska, on board in the spring. Once again, I would just like to say “Thank You” to you and your staff for the outstanding products and continuous support as a field tester.

Ken Ferrari – New York

4 smaller one behind him, and a photo of the buck I took with a bow on October 21 this past fall.

Cindy Mulvey – Missouri With only forty acres and limited farming equipment as well as lengthy droughts it was essential for my husband and I to find a wildlife food plot that would fit our needs and most importantly attract wildlife from our neighbors’ rich

farmlands. After a lot of trial and error, we decided to try Whitetail Institute products, starting with the Imperial Whitetail Clover and Imperial Alfa-Rack since they

www.whitetailinstitute.com

Property was purchased in April of 2002. Photos #1 and #2 are representative of the class of antlered bucks we had that first year. Photos #3 and #4 are representative of what we kill now since planting food plots. We first planted Imperial Whitetail Clover in the fall of 2003.

Mike Smith – Nebraska Whitetail Institute, you’ve done it again! Thanks to the Whitetail Institute for the outstanding products, I am happy to report a very successful deer season. I have enclosed two photographs as proof of the benefits the Imperial Whitetail Clover has afforded my sons and I. The first photo is prior to planting Imperial Clover. Although my son Zach’s first deer was a nice one, it did not have the size we had been hoping for. That’s when we decided to plant the Imperial Whitetail Clover. My sons Archie and Zach, along with hunting buddy Steve 1 have Adams, been field testing for the Whitetail Institute for just about two years. As you can see from the second photo, what a difference the Imperial Clover has made. We did not hunt the first year, but had more deer

Just wanted to say thanks for the No-Plow blend. I put it in August 18 and I shot my biggest buck ever in November. He is a nice 10 pointer.

Tom Pecore – Oklahoma On November 13th of this year, my 16 yearold son, Andy and I went hunting with my younger brother Ron and his 14 year-old son Tyler. I am enclosing some photos for you to look at that are of the deer we shot during bow season over some of our food plots that we planted with your products early this past spring. I have never been one to beat my drum, but these photos are worthy of a beat or two. The photo taken of my brother, Ron, in the dark is of an 8-point that weighed out at 225 lbs. The next picture of the blond haired boy in a white shirt is of 16 year-old Andy holding the 300 pound 12-pointer that little Tyler shot. Then there is a picture of myself (Tom) my son Andy, and 14 yearold (cousin — nephew) Tyler holding his 300-pounder. But there is more to this story than what is seen in the photographs. You see, a little over a year ago, our father, Ed Pecore unexpectedly passed away in his sleep in Colorado. Our father was a career military man who always found (Continued on page 66) Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

19


TEXAS

Extreme for Extreme Conditions

R

obert Valasquez lost use of his legs about 10 years ago, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his passion for hunting. The Texas hunter planted a food plot of Extreme, a Whitetail Institute perennial blend, in September in North Texas; and even though there was very little rain, the plot did well. It was this plot and Valasquez’s hunting dedication that helped him bag a very nice buck. “Apparently, Extreme utilizes morning dew as a way to get moisture,” Velasquez explained. “Texas has been in somewhat of a drought this year. I have a little 165acre ranch in North Texas that sits against the Brazos River about 15 miles north of Possum Kingdom Lake. Ever since we started planting Extreme three years ago, we have been seeing more big bucks like the one I shot. I am in a wheelchair due to an accident I had about 10

Matt Hinckley – Michigan I planted Extreme on my property, and in two weeks, it was 4 inches tall and the field was full of deer tracks. The first night I hunted the field I had three shooter bucks within 10 yards. Great stuff. Jack Asbridge – Missouri I used Extreme for the first time last year, and it is great. We see more bucks in the area, and several were big antlered bucks. Fred LaGoy – New York Extreme grew very quickly. Deer, bear, turkeys and rabbits loved it. More does thus more bucks seen. Mal Orahood – Ohio My father owns a 100-acre farm. Only 10 acres are woods. I planted Extreme and drew deer from the neighbors. I watched them gallop across CRP ground to get to it. We saw 13 deer at one time in it — nine does and fawns and four bucks. I couldn’t be happier. Robert Woods – Texas Extreme is great in Texas. The deer seem heavier and healthier. It was the only crop to survive this year.

years ago; but with the help of a good buddy, we’ve constructed ground blinds overlooking several food plots. This year was my lucky year. I finally got a shot off on a nice buck and was able to harvest him. Velasquez chose Extreme because of the climate in North Texas. He knew Extreme was developed to thrive under harsh conditions. “I have been trying to establish a good plot rotation program on the property, and so far it seems to be working great with Institute products. I am going to try PowerPlant this spring.” “You just never know if you’re going to get enough rain; so when Extreme came out I was excited that someone had finally created a product that would grow in places where it just doesn’t rain that much,” he said. “The soil on my ranch is sandy loam, but as you get closer to the river, it is red clay. I grew up hunting in Utah and New Mexico, and I wanted to teach my kids how to hunt and enjoy the great outdoors. I have two sons and a daughter, and they all enjoy hunting. My daughter killed her first deer last season. It was a small spike buck that I let her take. It was a great first deer. “When I first purchased the property, we were seeing deer, but mainly does and an occasional buck here and there. There were always smaller young bucks that roamed the place. Since we started planting Extreme two years ago, however we have been seeing larger bucks that frequent the plots. “I also use the 4-Play mineral blocks and Cutting Edge and can see that the deer love them. We have an abundance of wild turkey on the property and they seem to like Extreme too. “I was lucky to have simply been out hunting the weekend I killed my big deer. It was my son’s last football game of the season and probably the last time he would ever play the sport. He was a senior, so I couldn’t miss his last game. The football game ended about 11 p.m., and it takes about two hours to get out to the ranch. By the time we left, it was midnight, so we didn’t arrive at the ranch until 2 a.m. A friend and I went by ourselves since it was too late to take the kids with us. “We just couldn’t miss opening weekend. We slept for three hours and were up around 5 a.m. I made it to

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• For varied pH soils, 5.4-7.5 • Requires only 15 inches of rainfall per year • Suited for well-drained, sandy or poorer-quality soil

Seedling Extreme.

Mature Extreme.

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

Robert Valasquez didn’t let being confined to a wheelchair stop him from harvesting a great buck in north Texas.

the blind about 5:45 a.m., a little later than I had hoped, but it was still dark.” Velasquez gets around with an ATV. “A good friend built ground blinds so that I can wheel right into them,” he said. “At first light I started to hear the turkeys come down off their roost down by the river, and the sandhill cranes started flying overhead to their feeding grounds,” he said. “It was a cool, beautiful morning and a great time to be out in the woods. I was enjoying the morning when I noticed movement in the mesquite trees and watched a little fork-horn buck trot out and into the field of Extreme to feed. “I could tell he was a little jittery by the way he kept flinching and looking back into the mesquite trees. He stayed in the plot about 15 minutes until he finally bolted into the sanctuary. I call a little 20-acre area that is thick with oaks the ‘sanctuary’. It’s a place we do not enter and the deer feel safe. Another 15 minutes passed by and movement again caught my eye. I noticed a bigbodied deer making his way through the mesquite trees toward the field of Extreme. When he finally came out of the mesquite, he raised his head, and I saw he had a pretty nice rack. I pulled out my binoculars and glassed him and quickly counted his points on my side. I saw three up so I knew it was at least an 8-pointer and was certainly a shooter. “The nice 8-pointer made it to the field but stayed on the edge behind a couple of mesquite trees. He was there about five minutes when something caught his eye, and he began to trot fast toward it. Seeing my opportunity to bag him start to slip away, I grunted. He didn’t respond, so I grunted again, and he heard it. He stopped. By that time, I was already pumped up, and it took me a little while before I could squeeze the trigger. Just as I pulled the trigger, he spooked and my shot hit him too far back. I didn’t think I hit him at all and was pretty angry with myself for missing such a good opportunity. “After about an hour of thinking about what had happened and continuing to glass the area for signs of the big buck, I figured I had missed my chance. It was 6:50 a.m. when I caught movement and saw antlers protruding through the trees. The buck stepped out, limping. I pulled the trigger and put him down. I am just thankful the buck didn’t run off and die somewhere else.” W

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Today’s Trophy Trends An analysis of the best trophy whitetail regions

By By Brad Brad Herndon Herndon

D

The basic 8-point taken by Henry Reynolds grosses 160 inches and field-dressed 247 pounds. It was taken from a region of Indiana containing a low deer population.

22

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

Brad Herndon

eer eer hunting hunting is is exciting exciting and and especially especially so so when when you’re you’re trytrying ing to to kill kill your your first first trophy trophy whitetail. whitetail. Back Back in in the the 1980s, 1980s, II remember remember opening opening the the pages pages of of aa hunting hunting magazine magazine and and reading reading about about The The Magic Magic Triangle Triangle in in Illinois. Illinois. My My eyes eyes lit lit up up as as II read read about about aa triangle triangle of of counties counties in in west-central west-central Illinois Illinois that that were were producing producing quantities quantities of of some some of of the the highest highest scoring deer in North America. America. As As you you probably probably have, have, II could could imagine imagine myself myself posing posing with with one one of of these these magnificent magnificent animals. animals.

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… you will see that over the past five years Illinois has produced more Boone and Crockett bucks per square mile than any other state. This is probably no surprise to you. Kentucky, on the other hand, may raise some eyebrows with its No. 3 ranking. And when you see Delaware placed in the No. 6 position over the past five years, you may think I’ve lost my mind. Maryland may also be a surprise to you. As my knowledge about deer hunting increased, I began writing how-to deer hunting articles back in 1987. In addition, I put into place databases in which I could record various types of information pertinent to trophy whitetails. These databases included all Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett entries, typical and non-typical. With this wealth of information at hand, for the past several years I have been able to predict trends within North America, such as the hottest future locations for big bucks. In this particular article, I will share some trophy trends that will be both fascinating and surprising to you. I’ll even revisit that magic triangle of counties in Illinois to see how they are doing. On the flip side, I’ll also share some roadblocks I see ahead in the trophy-hunting road – problems that you will hopefully be able to avoid, or cure. Now let’s take a look at the first shocker. BUCKS BY THE SQUARE MILE Accompanying this story you will find a chart showing the number of square miles it took for a state to grow a Boone and Crockett buck, both all-time and over the past five years. For your information, to make the all-time B&C record book, a typical whitetail has to net at least 170 inches, and a non-typical buck has to net 195 inches or more. These are obviously brute bucks. The figures were obtained by taking the square mile figures for each state from a Rand McNally Road Atlas and then dividing them by the B&C entries from each state. These types of figures are important to us as deer hunters because, when coupled with other statistics, they more accurately reflect the true possibilities we have of tagging a book buck within each state. For example, one state may have a few more record book entries than another state, but if its land area is four times larger, it generally doesn’t present you with the highest odds of success. Going to the square mile chart, you will see that over the past five years Illinois has produced more Boone and Crockett bucks per square mile than any other state. This is probably no surprise to you. Kentucky, on the other hand, may raise some eyebrows with its No. 3 ranking. And when you see Delaware placed in the No. 6 position over the past five years, you may think I’ve lost my mind. Maryland may also be a surprise to you. Well, there are reasons why each state is currently ranked where they are in the chart. Let’s take a look at those reasons and what we can learn from them.

between Iowa and Kansas. Regarding The Magic Triangle in Illinois, it’s still producing quantities of megabucks. Eight out of the top 10 B&C counties in Illinois are still found in this magic triangle. Kentucky, meanwhile, a state I’ve been telling hunters to watch for many years, cranks out B&C bucks at an everincreasing rate because of a change in management plans 13 years ago. This was when they switched to a oneantlered-buck-only limit; and despite a fairly long rifle season during November, their record book numbers are truly impressive. Indiana switched to a one-antlered-buck limit three years ago, and over the past two years, Indiana and Kentucky have recorded the greatest percentage increase in bucks scoring more than 150 inches. Ohio just recently changed to the one-antlered-buck rule as well, and I expect an increase in The Buckeye State’s already great book entry numbers. Their firearms season in 2005 was from Nov. 28-Dec. 4. This season falls out of the rut, and with a short four-day muzzleloader season in December, high firearm hunting pressure is of short duration. Coming to Iowa, it can’t be beat for top-end typicals. In history, there have been 137 typical bucks that have netted 190 inches or better. Iowa has grown 22 of them, Illinois

15. The top Iowa typical is the Wayne Bills buck at 201 4/8 inches. With their buck firearms season not starting until December, great whitetail genetics and fertile soil statewide, farm-rich Iowa will continue to crank out topnotch bucks for the foreseeable future. In the near future, both Kansas and Wisconsin will continue to grow numbers of book bucks. Kansas because it has always had an excellent deer management program in place, and Wisconsin because it is taking serious measures to control their deer herd size (more on this later). In 2006 Wisconsin is proposing several novel changes, including a free antlerless tag with a bow or gun license in some zones and an unlimited number of anterless tags in some regions. And where required, the Earn-A-Buck program will be implemented, meaning you must harvest a doe before an antlered buck can be harvested. Before continuing, I want to mention Delaware and Maryland. Delaware is a small state (only 1,955 square miles). The Atlantic Ocean forms its eastern border. Maryland lies to the west. With 40,000 deer, and 85 percent of its land private, Delaware does its best to keep the deer herd in check with liberal deer harvest limits. It even has a quality deer management program in place; and as unlikely as it seems, some real boomer bucks roam this coastal state. The state’s top typical goes 185 4/8 inches. Maryland is also an excellent big-buck state and has been for many years. Obviously the biggest problem in these two eastern seaboard states is obtaining permission to hunt on the private land. If you have a relative who owns land there, consider giving them a call. You might be surprised what walks by. DANGER STILL LURKS

Illinois has a three-day firearms season in November and a four-day firearms season in December, a management strategy they have used for a long time. This low firearm hunting pressure during the rut allows many of The Prairie State bucks to grow to old age. Of course, the fact that Illinois contains outstanding deer genetics and some of the richest soil on earth also factors into the successful trophy-buck-growing formula. When it comes to top-end trophies, Illinois is unbeatable. Over the past five years, Illinois has produced 75 percent more typical bucks (28 to 16) scoring more than 180 inches than the second best state, Ohio. When it comes to non-typicals scoring more than 210 inches, Illinois has cranked out 140 percent more of these brutes (43 to 18) than the second best state, which is a tie www.whitetailinstitute.com

Mel Johnson’s world-record typical bow kill scores 204 4/8 inches. It came from Peoria, Ill., in 1965. Illinois is currently the hottest trophy buck state in the nation.

Brad Herndon

MANAGEMENT PLAYS A KEY ROLE

Thus far, most states I’ve discussed have been from the Midwest, the breadbasket of bucks, so to speak. However, even in this hotbed of trophy whitetails, there is a danger lurking when it comes to growing trophy bucks, one that Midwestern deer managers – both at state level and individuals – must be on the alert for. This danger involves an everincreasing deer herd, a factor that can negatively alter deer health and antler size. Without doubt, the Midwest, overall, is the top producer of book bucks in our nation, especially the areas bordering our river drainages. In 1988 one expert I know mentioned that fact, and he also made some comments worth reviewing at this time. “It is my opinion,” he noted, “that areas in which the deer herd has exceeded the carrying capacity of the land and has crashed two or more times, that it never again will produce large quantities of quality animals.” Certainly this is a statement some hunters might not agree with. Let me pitch in another comment he made in 1988 before you judge his accuracy. “Recently, I conducted research in Kentucky, near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers,” he said. “Never have I seen such potential for trophy buck production. Yet, the hunters of that region have not realized the trophy quality of the area.” Obviously he was way ahead of his time in realizing what makes, or doesn’t make, a big buck factory. Certainly he was right in picking Kentucky as a great book-buck state, and I agree with his statement regarding the consequences of too many deer in a region. Even back in 1988, when he was predicting big buck hotspots, he noted that Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

23


“The Mississippi River Delta contains some of the finest soils and genetics to be found anywhere within the whitetail’s range; however, population and management problems in the extreme southern delta eliminate this region from consideration.” As you may have noticed, no state in the southeastern part of our nation has been one of the top picks for trophy bucks. Some say the genetics just aren’t there to consistently grow high-scoring whitetails. James McMurray of Louisiana would argue this point.

During the late 1980s, James McMurray was a member of a hunting club that leased the land now known as Big Lake Wildlife Management Area. It was typical to see 100 deer per day and never see an antler. Then the state purchased 20,000 acres of this private land, and the federal government bought 50,000 acres adjacent to it. The state opened this region to the public, and deer hunters flocked into the area and used either-sex deer hunting permits to dramatically reduce the deer herd. As the herd became smaller, hunters headed elsewhere. Soon there were few hunters and few deer, but an abundance of food was now available for the remaining whitetails. James McMurray realized the potential of this region, and on Jan. 4,1994, he dropped the hammer on a 29-point brute of a deer that scored 281 6/8 inches! It stands as the ninth best non-typical of all-time. This buck was tagged in Tensas Parish, which is located along the fertile Mississippi River basin. Again, consider what our expert said in 1988 about the Mississippi River Delta and the overabundance of deer. Also consider the results when the deer herd was brought down to the carrying capacity of the land.

tunity to grow to maturity in regions with a plentiful amount of highly nutritious food. Unfortunately, effective statewide quality deer management programs are not the norm in the Southeast. Alabama, for instance, had a 3-point antler restriction in only Barbour County during the Hunter’s Choice gun season in 2005, which ran from Nov. 19 to Jan. 31. The limit

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE SOUTHEAST In 2004, Tony Lewis dropped a 6x5 Dooly County, Ga., typical that stretched the measuring tape to 181 4/8 inches, making it the seventh best typical in state history and the highest-scoring typical killed in the state in 18 years. It’s not surprising this monster came from Dooly County since it has been under an experimental state quality deer management program since 1993. Certainly the McMurray and Lewis bucks show the potential of southeastern bucks if they are given the oppor-

Chris Eubanks, Institute Director of Communications, displays his 2003 195 0/8 net rifle kill from western Kentucky – one of the hottest new trophy states in the country.

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

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail / Pintlala, AL 36043

800-688-3030 www.whitetailinstitute.com

Research = Results.

24

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

www.whitetailinstitute.com

Chris Eubanks

Mike Wheeler displays his 187-inch, 10-point bow kill from eastern Kansas – a state with an increasing reputation for producing big bucks.

Mike Wheeler

THE BAYOU BRUISER


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P R E DAT O R .


Square Miles It Took to Grow a Boone and Crockett Buck Last 5 Years State Rank

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Illinois Wisconsin Kentucky Ohio Iowa Delaware Indiana Missouri Maryland Kansas

Square Miles

215 245 278 279 297 391 399 621 651 687

All-Time Rank

State

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Wisconsin Iowa Illinois Kentucky Minnesota Ohio Maryland Indiana Missouri Kansas

Square Miles 70 72 73 98 115 115 158 176 182 229

Boone and Crockett's Top 10 Typicals Rank

Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

213 5/8 206 1/8 205 0/8 204 4/8 204 2/8 204 2/8 203 3/8 202 6/8 202 0/8 201 4/8

Year

1993 1914 1971 1965 1967 2000 2003 1992 1918 1974

Location

Hunter

Saskatchewan Wisconsin Missouri Illinois Canada Kentucky Saskatchewan Saskatchewan Minnesota Iowa

Milo Hanson James Jordan Larry W. Gibson Mel Johnson Stephen Jansen Robert W. Smith Hubert Collins Bruce Ewen John A. Breen Wayne A. Bills

* Boone and Crockett Bucks: Includes all weapons and picked-up racks)

during this long season was two deer per day, and one could be an antlered buck. Certainly these regulations allow an incredibly high harvest of antlered bucks each year. And while these regulations also encourage hunters to kill a high number of antlerless deer, the state’s hunters don’t harvest a sufficient number to keep the deer herd in check. If we could suddenly switch the deer population of Illinois to 2,000,000 animals (Alabama’s present total), and give the hunters there a buck-a-day limit for 74 days, how many Boone and Crockett bucks do you think would

26

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

be coming out of Illinois? I’ll answer the question. Not many. So while there are certain regions of the Southeast under quality deer management that do produce good bucks, a little research quickly reveals most deer management strategies in the Southeast are not geared toward growing more mature bucks. Fortunately, private property under management can be another matter, especially when surrounding property owners have a similar management strategy.

FOOD PLOTS AND THE RECORD BOOKS A few years ago I wrote an article about the high number of record book entries over the previous 10 years and how these high numbers were at least somewhat tied in to the food plot revolution started by the Whitetail Institute in 1988. They started providing the quality products and information and hunters started drastically expanding the use of food plots. I believe food plots played a big role in the 500% increase in record-book bucks, but in saying that, we

www.whitetailinstitute.com


Boone and Crockett's Top 10 Non-Typicals Rank

Score

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

333 7/8 328 2/8 307 5/8 304 3/8 295 6/8 294 0/8 284 3/8 282 0/8 281 6/8 280 4/8

Year

1981 1940 2003 2001 1995 2004 1892 1973 1994 1987

Pope and Young's Top 10 Typicals

Location

Hunter

Rank

Score

Missouri Ohio Iowa Illinois Mississippi Illinois Texas Iowa Louisiana Kansas

Picked up Picked up Tony Lovstuen Jerry Bryant Tony Fulton Scott Dexter Unknown Larry Raveling James McMurray Joseph H. Waters

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

204 4/8 203 3/8 197 6/8 197 6/8 197 1/8 196 6/8 195 7/8 195 2/8 194 2/8 194 0/8

must also remember that the deer herd in many Pope and Young's Top 10 Non-Typicals parts of the nation at that Score Year State Hunter Rank time was still expanding, meaning excellent native 1 294 0/8 2000 Ohio Michael Beatty browse was still available in 2 279 7/8 1962 Nebraska Del Austin 269 7/8 2000 Missouri Randy Simonitch 3 most regions to comple4 267 1/8 2003 Illinois David Jones ment the nutritious food 5 262 7/8 1998 Kansas Dale Larson plots. 6 257 0/8 1988 Kansas Kenneth B. Fowler However, when it 7 255 6/8 2004 Kansas Ron Ewert, Jr. comes to whitetails, things 8 253 1/8 2003 Iowa Brian Andrews change rapidly. In the past 9 250 6/8 1994 Kansas Kenneth R. Cartwright two years I have seen a 10 250 4/8 2000 Illinois Andrew French III continuing, and alarming, trend occurring throughout the nation. Namely, too many deer hunters, including hunters managing property, are not harvesting enough does. This results in the deer population getting out of control and the native browse being destroyed. Once this occurs, it takes an incredible effort to restore a region to its true deer-growing potential. Top 10 Pope and Young States An accompanying picture shows Henry Reynolds with Typical Bucks Scoring 150 or More Inches a basic 8-point buck that grossed 160 inches and fielddressed 247 pounds. It was taken in 2004 in Indiana farm Number State Rank country with few deer. Only 34 miles away, deer hunters 1 Illinois 1,001 have leased a majority of northwestern Washington County 2 Wisconsin 701 hunting land. Mature bucks there will field-dress 100 620 Iowa 3 pounds less and score 40 to 50 inches less in antler size 4 Kansas 442 because the region is overpopulated with deer. Other than 377 Ohio 5 Minnesota 319 6 farm fields, food plots and acorns, the thousands of deer in 7 Indiana 208 this county have very little food supply. 8 Missouri 176 134 Kentucky 9 THE CURE 10 Michigan 115 Nationwide, I see this trend happening in pockets in some of our best trophy whitetail states. Hunters must be educated to the fact they must harvest does, and quantities of them, or this trend will continue. Once the herd is under control, then products such as Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus, Alfa-Rack PLUS, Extreme and others, can be planted in food plots to keep the deer fat and healthy while the native browse is allowed to recover. As I see it, the trend of the future will be for states to implement regulations that will in some way result in www.whitetailinstitute.com

Year

1965 2003 1962 1986 1991 2000 1995 1999 1977 1981

State

Hunter

Illinois Saskatchewan Iowa Minnesota Alberta Illinois Minnesota Illinois Iowa Colorado

Mel Johnson Hubert Collins Lloyd Goad Curt Van Lith Don McGarvey Ray Schremp Barry Peterson Kent Anderson Robert L. Miller Stuart Clodfelder

Top 10 Pope and Young States Non-Typical Bucks Scoring 170 or More Inches Rank 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

State Illinois Iowa Wisconsin Kansas Ohio Minnesota Missouri Indiana Kentucky Nebraska

Number 282 171 154 145 91 79 47 40 28 26

hunter’s taking a sufficient number of does each year to keep the herd in check. The states that do this job best will be the top buck states in the future. In addition to the Wisconsin regulations I’ve already noted, several more methods are listed in the sidebar.

My Top 10 Picks for a Boone and Crockett Buck 1. Illinois 2. Iowa 3. Kansas

4. Kentucky 5. Ohio 6. Indiana 7. Wisconsin

Vol. 16, No. 1 /

8. Missouri 9. Maryland 10. Minnesota

WHITETAIL NEWS

27


Illinois – Top 10 B&C Counties 1. Fulton 2. Pike 3. Adams 4. Morgan 5. Jo Daviess 6. Schuyler 7. McHenry 8. Greene 9. McCoupin 10 Jersey

Jo Daviess

Stephenson Winnebago McHenry Boone

Carroll

Ogle

De Kalb Kane Du Page

Lee

Whiteside

Kentucky – Top 10 B&C Counties 1. Hart 2. Christian 3. Lewis 4. Henderson 5. Ohio 6. Butler 7. Grayson 8. Hopkins 9. Kenton 10. Casey

Lake

Cook

Kendall Rock Island

La Salle Grundy

Mercer

Putnam Stark

Warren

Fulton

McDonough

Livingston

Woodford

Peoria

Henderson

Kankakee

Marshall

Knox

Hancock

Will

Bureau

Henry

Iroquois

De Witt

Logan

Champaign Vermilion

Menard

Piatt

Cass

Brown

Macon Douglas

Sangamon

Morgan Scott

Pike

Ford

McLean

Tazewell Mason

Schuyler Adams

Edgar

Moultrie Christian

Coles Shelby

Calhoun Greene Macoupin

Clark

Montgomery

Cumberland

Jersey

Effingham Jasper

Fayette

Crawford

Bond Madison Clay Richland

Marion

Clinton St. Clair

Wayne

Washington

Jefferson

Monroe

Hamilton White

Perry

Randolph

Lawrence

Wabash Edwards

Franklin Jackson

Saline Gallatin Williamson

Union

Johnson Pope

Hardin

Pulaski Massac Alexander

Kenton Boone Campbell Gallatin Bracken Carroll Grant Pendleton Mason Trimble Lewis Robertson Owen Harrison Henry Oldham NicholasFleming Scott Franklin Bourbon Shelby Jefferson Bath Rowan

Greenup Boyd Carter

Elliott WoodfordFayette Montgomery Lawrence SpencerAnderson Clark Menifee Morgan Jessamine Hancock Nelson Johnson Powell Mercer Martin Henderson Wolfe Breckinridge Madison Washington Daviess Hardin Magoffin Estill Union Boyle Garrard Floyd Lee Marion Larue Breathitt McLean Webster Grayson Pike Ohio Lincoln Owsley Jackson Crittenden Rockcastle Taylor Casey Perry Knott Hart Green Hopkins Livingston Edmonson Muhlenberg Butler Clay Caldwell Laurel Letcher Adair Leslie Pulaski BallardMcCracken Lyon Warren Russell Barren Metcalfe Christian Knox Logan Carlisle Marshall Harlan Cumberland Todd Wayne McCreary Trigg Allen Monroe Bell Simpson Whitley Clinton Hickman Graves Calloway Fulton Bullitt

Meade

Wisconsin – Top 10 B&C Counties 1. Buffalo 2. Outagamie 3. Vernon 4. Waupaca 5. Shawano 6. Douglas 7. Chippewa 8. Crawford 9. Grant 10. Dunn

Bayfield Douglas Iron Ashland

Vilas

Sawyer

Washburn

Florence

Burnett Oneida

Price

Forest Polk

Rusk

Barron

Marinette Lincoln Langlade

Taylor Chippewa

St. Croix

Menominee

Dunn

Oconto

Marathon Shawano

Eau Clair

Pierce

Door

Clark

Pepin

Portage

Wood

Buffalo

Waupaca

Kewaunee

Outagamie

Brown

Jackson Trempealeau

Waushara

Winnebago Calumet

Adams La Crosse

Manitowoc

Monroe Marquette Green Lake

Juneau

Fond du Lac

Sheboygan

Vernon Columbia

Ozaukee

Dodge

Sauk

Richland

Washington

Crawford Dane

Iowa

Jefferson

Milwaukee Waukesha

Grant

Racine Rock

Green

Lafayette

Walworth Kenosha

Iowa – Top 10 B&C Counties 1. Allamakee 2. Clayton 3. Dubuque 4. Jackson 5. Jefferson 6. Appanoose 7. Marion 8. Monroe 9. Madison 10. Warren

Osceola

Lyon

Emmet

Dickinson

Worth

Winnebago

Howard

Mitchell

Winneshiek

Kossuth O’Brien

Sioux

Plymouth

Clay

Ida

Woodbury

Carroll

Boone

Greene

Story

Allamakee

Chickasaw

Dubuque

Jones

Benton

Tama

Marshall

Buchanan Delaware

Black Hawk

Grundy

Clayton

Fayette

Bremer

Butler

Hardin

Hamilton

Webster

Calhoun

Floyd

Franklin

Wright

Pocahontas

Sac

Crawford

Monona

Humboldt

Buena Vista

Cherokee

Cerro Gordo

Hancock

Palo Alto

Ohio – Top 10 B&C Counties

Jackson

Linn

Clinton Cedar Harrison

Shelby Audobon Guthrie

Dallas

Polk

Madison

Warren

Jasper

Poweshiek

Johnson

Iowa

Scott Muscatine

Pottawattamie

Adair

Cass

Marion

Mahaska Keokuk

Washington Louisa

Mills

Montgomery Page

Fremont

Adams

Taylor

Union

Ringgold

Clarke

Decatur

Lucas

Wayne

Monroe

Jefferson

Wapello

Appanoose Davis

Henry

Des Moines

Van Buren Lee

Kansas – Top 10 B&C Counties 1. Barber 2. Clark 3. Butler 4. Lyon 5. Stafford 6. Coffey 7. McPherson 8. Reno 9. Kingman. 10. Sumner

Cheyenne

Rawlins

Decatur

Norton

Phillips

Smith

Jewell

Rooks

Osborne

Mitchell

Republic

Washington

Nemaha

Marshall

Brown

Thomas

Sheridan

Graham

Doniphan

Pottawatomie Jackson

Clay

Riley

Leavenworth Jefferson Wyandotte

Ottawa Lincoln Wallace

Logan

Gove

Trego

Lane

Ness

Ellis

Shawnee

Geary

Russell

Wabaunsee

Dickinson

Douglas

Johnson

Franklin

Miami

Saline Morris

Ellsworth Greeley

Wichita

Scott

Rush

Osage Lyon

Barton Rice

McPherson

Marion

Chase Coffey

Pawnee Hodgeman

Finney Hamilton

Stafford

Kearny

Anderson

Linn

Harvey Reno

Edwards

Greenwood

Woodson

Allen

Bourbon

Butler Gray Stanton

Grant

Haskell

Morton

Stevens

Seward

Ford

Sedgwick

Pratt Kingman

Kiowa

Wilson

Neosho

Crawford

Elk Sumner Meade

Clark

Comanche

Barber

Harper

Cowley Chautauqua

Montgomery Labette

Defiance

Lake

Lucas

Fulton

Williams

Ottawa Wood

Henry

Cuyahoga

Sandusky

Erie

Seneca

Huron

Paulding

Ashtabula

Geauga Trumbull

Lorain Medina Summit

Portage

Hancock

Putnam Van Wert

Mahoning

Wyandot Crawford Ashland Wayne Richland

Allen

Stark

Columbiana

Hardin Marion

Auglaize

Mercer

Morrow

Jefferson Knox

Logan Shelby

Delaware Licking

Miami

Noble

Perry

Hocking Ross

Meigs

Pike

Brown

Adams

Washington Athens

Vinton

Highland Clermont

Monroe

Morgan

Pickaway

Warren Clinton

Hamilton

Belmont

Muskingum Fairfield

Greene Fayette

Butler

Guernsey

MadisonFranklin

Clark Montgomery Preble

Tuscarawas Harrison Coshocton

Union

Champaign

Darke

Carroll

Holmes

Jackson

Scioto

Gallia Lawrence

Indiana – Top 10 B&C Counties

Atchison Cloud Sherman

1.Adams 2. Geauga 3. Highland 4. Licking 5. Preble 6. Pike 7. Portage 8. Clinton 9. Meigs 10. Fairfield

Cherokee

1. Warren 2. Porter 3. Franklin 4. Greene 5. Fayette 6. Putnam 7. Lake 8. Parke 9. Bartholemew 10. Jennings

La Porte Porter

Lake

La Grange Steuben St Joseph Elkhart

Pulaski

De Kalb

Noble

Marshall Starke

Newton Jasper

Kosciusko Whitley

Allen

Fulton

Huntington Wabash Cass Miami Wells Adams Carroll Grant

White Benton

Blackford

Howard

Warren Tippecanoe Clinton Fountain Boone

Jay

Tipton Delaware Madison Randolph Hamilton

Montgomery Henry

Vermillion Parke

Vigo

Putnam

Hendricks

Owen

Monroe

Jackson

Wayne

FayetteUnion Franklin

Ripley

Jennings

Martin Daviess

Pike

Rush

Bartholomew Brown

Greene

Atchison

Worth

Putnam

Mercer

Nodaway

Schuyler Scotland

Clark

Harrison Gentry

Sullivan

Adair

Grundy

Holt

Knox

Lewis

Daviess

Andrew

De Kalb

Linn

Macon

Livingston

Shelby

Marion

Caldwell

Buchanan Clinton

Ralls

Chariton

Carroll

Platte

Monroe Randolph

Ray

Clay

Pike Audrain

Saline

Howard

Lafayette

Lincoln

Jackson

Boone

Montgomery Callaway Warren

Cooper Johnson

Pettis

Cass

St. Charles St. Louis St. Louis City

Moniteau Gasconade

Cole Osage

Henry

Morgan

Benton

Bates

Jefferson

Miller St. Clair

Maries

Camden

Hickory Vernon

Crawford Washington

Phelps

Pulaski Polk

Cedar

Franklin

Dallas

Iron

Dent

Laclede

Ste. Genevieve St. Francois Perry

Barton

Madison

Dade Greene

Webster

Bollinger

Shannon

Lawrence

Wayne Christian

Stone

Scott

Carter

Douglas

Stoddard Howell

Barry

McDonald

Cape Girardeau

Reynolds

Texas

Wright

Jasper

Newton

Taney

Mississippi

Butler

Oregon

Ripley

Ozark

New Madrid

Pemiscot Dunklin

Maryland – Top 10 B&C Counties 1. Charles 2. Kent 3. Queen Anne’s 4. Prince George’s 5. St. Mary’s 6. Talbot 7. Anne Arundel 8. Caroline 9. Wicomico 10. Baltimore

Allegany

Washington

Garrett

Cecil

Carroll

Harford Baltimore

Frederick

Baltimore Howard City Montgomery

Kent

Anne Arundel

Queen Anne's Caroline Talbot

Prince George's Charles

Calvert Dorchester

St. Mary's

Dearborn

Wicomico

Worcester Somerset

Ohio

JeffersonSwitzerland Scott

Orange Gibson

Shelby

Decatur

Lawrence Knox

Hancock

MorganJohnson

Clay

Sullivan

Marion

Missouri – Top 10 B&C Counties 1. Pike 2. Adair 3. Macon 4. Lincoln 5. Callaway 6. Knox 7. Warren 8. Franklin 9. Harrison 10. Mercer

Washington Clark

Dubois

Warrick Vanderburgh Spencer Posey

Crawford

Perry

Floyd Harrison

Some people claim... “You reap what you sow.”

Minnesota – Top 10 B&C Counties 1. St. Louis 2. Lake 3. Otter Tail 4. Houston 5. Wabasha 6. Winona 7. Chisago 8. Todd 9. Koochiching 10. Morrison

Roseau

Kittson

Lake of the Woods Marshall Koochiching Beltrami

Pennington

Cook

Red Lake Polk

Lake

Clearwater Itasca St. Louis

Norman

Mahnomen Hubbard Cass

Becker Clay

Aitkin

Crow Wing

Wadena Wilkin

Carlton

Otter Tail

Todd Grant

Pine

Mille Lacs

Morrison

Douglas

Kanabec Benton

Traverse Stevens

Pope

Isanti

Stearns

Big Stone

Chisago

Sherburne Anoka

Swift Meeker

Kandiyohi Lac qui Parle

Washington

Wright

Chippewa

Ramsey

Hennepin McLeod

Carver

Renville

Yellow Medicine

Dakota

Scott Lincoln

Sibley

Lyon

Redwood

Goodhue

Rice

Le Sueur

Nicollet

Wabasha

Brown Pipestone

Rock

Murray Cottonwood

Jackson

Nobles

Steele Waseca

Blue Earth

Watonwan

Olmsted

Mower

Freeborn

Faribault

Martin

Dodge

Winona

Fillmore

Houston

My Top 10 Picks for a Pope and Young Buck 1. Illinois 2. Iowa 3. Kansas

4. Wisconsin 5. Ohio 6. Indiana. 7. Minnesota

8. Missouri 9. Nebraska 10. Kentucky

With Summit ATV... You can count on it! Illinois – Top 10 P&Y Counties

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28

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

1. Pike 2. Lake 3. McHenry 4. Lasalle 5. Brown 6. Peoria 7. Jo Daviess 8. Kane 9. Will 10. Clark

Jo Daviess

Stephenson Winnebago McHenry Boone

Carroll

Ogle

Lake

De Kalb Kane Du Page

Lee

Whiteside

Cook

Kendall Rock Island

La Salle Grundy

Putnam Stark

Fulton

Iroquois

De Witt

Logan Menard

Adams

Champaign Vermilion Piatt

Cass

Brown

Macon Morgan

Pike

Ford

McLean

Tazewell Mason

Schuyler

Livingston

Woodford

Peoria

McDonough

Kankakee

Marshall

Knox Warren Henderson

Hancock

Will

Bureau

Henry

Mercer

Douglas

Sangamon

Scott

Edgar

Moultrie Christian

Coles Shelby

Calhoun Greene Macoupin

Clark

Montgomery

Jersey

Cumberland Fayette

Effingham Jasper Crawford

Bond Madison Clay

St. Clair

Wayne

Washington

Jefferson

Monroe Randolph

Richland

Marion

Clinton

Lawrence

Wabash Edwards

Hamilton White

Perry Franklin

Saline Gallatin

Jackson Williamson Union

Johnson Pope

Hardin

Pulaski Massac Alexander

www.whitetailinstitute.com


■ New Regulations >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> tates can pass regulations to try and control their deer populations, but without the cooperation of the hunters, these regulations will be worthless. Iowa is one of several states taking serious measures to try and control their deer herd

S

size.

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o

Last fall they had a three-day firearm season the Friday, Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving where only antlerless deer could be killed. In addition, in their southern zone, Iowa enacted a seven-day special rifle season in late January to shoot antlerless deer. They also allotted a total of 19,000 more antlerless permits. A hunter can buy an unlimited number of antlerless permits for $10 each, as long as they are available for his area. One bow hunter I know killed 16 does and two megabucks from his property last November in Iowa. Another killed 40 does from his property and only one monster buck. These are smart deer managers who are assuring their deer stay healthy by keeping the deer numbers within the carrying capacity of the land. You should do the same. In upcoming years, you will see more and more unique hunting regulations that will encourage the harvest of does. Here’s one of my ideas. When the deer herd gets too large in states with one-antlered-buck limits, 10 bonus points could be issued to a hunter for each doe harvested. Once a hunter accumulates 50 bonus points, he would be entitled to one more antlered deer for that year only. This rule would absolutely result in a higher doe harvest. If you’re reading this article, you obviously have an interest in trophy bucks. If you want to go to another state to kill a buster deer, the information I’ve listed in the accompanying charts will show you the top states and counties in which to hunt. Keep in mind when reading the charts that I consider many factors when making my predictions. B&C bucks per square mile are a factor, but so are the number of deer hunters in each state, the deer herd size and even the type of terrain in each state and how easy it is to hunt. Kentucky, for instance, contains vast stretches of hilly land, a type of terrain where the wind is tough for a bow hunter to shoot. Therefore Kentucky might rank much lower for the bow hunter than for the firearm hunter. If you can’t go out of state to hunt, then you will be concerned about what you can do on the property you hunt to increase the quality of your deer. The first thing you must do is be honest with yourself. Look at your forested areas and evaluate whether the timber is over-browsed. If you have what looks like a high-water line in your woods, then you have way too many whitetails. Similarly, if you can see 100 yards in the woods because it’s so open, you may have a deer overpopulation problem. If you can see 200 yards in the woods, you clearly have a problem. If this is your situation, you must take action, and quickly. Killing 10 to 30 does per year and properly taking care of them is hard work, but in many areas it must be done. You can’t see 100 deer per day and have trophy bucks too. It just doesn’t work that way. You must keep your deer herd within the carrying capacity of the land. I hunted in Indiana for 25 years before I ever saw a spike buck on private land. Now they are common in many regions. That indicates too many deer and not enough food. This brings up another factor you should consider – antler quality. If mature bucks 10 years ago were scoring an average of 135 inches in your area and field-dressing 180 pounds, and weigh 40 pounds less and score 110 inches, then you probably have a significant deer overpopulation problem, insufficient food for the deer, or both. As the deer’s food sources decline, you will notice the following change in the mature buck’s antlers: a decrease in inside spread; fewer points on their main beams; less main beam length; and less mass in the main beams, especially as they go past the midway point in their length.

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Iowa – Top 10 P&Y Counties 1. Allamakee 2. Dubuque 3. Van Buren 4. Warren 5. Winneshiek 6. Appanoose 7. Linn 8. Marion 9. Des Moines 10. Monroe

Dickinson

Emmet

O’Brien

Clay

Palo Alto

Cherokee

Buena Vista

Osceola

Lyon

Worth

Winnebago

Mitchell

Howard

Floyd

Chickasaw

Winneshiek

Kossuth Sioux

Plymouth

Ida

Woodbury

Cerro Gordo

Wright

Franklin

Humboldt Pocahontas

Calhoun

Sac

Crawford

Monona

Hancock

Carroll

Hamilton

Webster

Boone

Greene

Story

Grundy

Black Hawk

Tama

Marshall

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Clayton

Fayette

Bremer

Butler

Hardin

Allamakee

Buchanan Delaware

Dubuque

Jones

Benton

Linn

Jackson

Clinton Cedar Harrison

Shelby Audobon Guthrie

Dallas

Polk

Jasper

Poweshiek

Iowa

Johnson

Scott Muscatine

Pottawattamie

Adair

Cass

Madison

Warren

Marion

Mahaska Keokuk

Washington Louisa

Mills

Fremont

www.whitetailinstitute.com

Montgomery Page

Adams

Taylor

Union

Clarke

Ringgold

Decatur

Lucas

Wayne

Monroe

Wapello

Appanoose Davis

Jefferson

Henry

PO BOX 3090 RAPID CITY, SD 57709-3090 CALL (605) 348-5150 FAX (605) 348-9827

Des Moines

Van Buren Lee

Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

29


Kansas – Top 10 P&Y Counties 1. Butler 2. Pottawatomie 3. Shawnee 4. Bourbon 5. Washington 6. Douglas 7. Sumner 8. Greenwood 9. Linn 10. Marion

Cheyenne

Rawlins

Greeley

Hamilton

Stanton

Morton

Norton

Republic

Phillips

Smith

Jewell

Rooks

Osborne

Mitchell

Washington

Nemaha

Marshall

Brown

Doniphan

Atchison Cloud

Sherman

Wallace

Decatur

Ohio – Top 10 P&Y Counties

Sheridan

Thomas

Graham

Pottawatomie Jackson

Clay

Riley

Leavenworth Jefferson Wyandotte

Ottawa Lincoln Trego

Gove

Logan

Ellis

Shawnee

Geary

Russell

Wabaunsee

Johnson

Douglas

Dickinson Saline Morris

Ellsworth Wichita

Scott

Lane

Rush

Ness

Osage

McPherson

Rice

Marion

Pawnee Hodgeman

Finney

Miami

Chase Coffey

Linn

Anderson

Harvey

Stafford

Kearny

Franklin

Lyon

Barton

Reno

Edwards

Greenwood

Woodson

Allen

Wilson

Neosho

Bourbon

Butler Gray Grant

Ford

Sedgwick

Pratt

Haskell

Kingman

Kiowa

Crawford

Elk Sumner Stevens

Seward

Meade

Clark

Barber

Comanche

Cowley

Harper

Chautauqua Montgomery

Labette

Cherokee

1. Meigs 2. Ross 3. Vinton 4. Licking 5. Athens 6. Delaware 7. Lawrence 8. Preble 9. Gallia 10. Geauga

Wisconsin – Top 10 P&Y Counties 1. Buffalo 2. Trempealeau 3. Waupaca 4. Shawano 5. Columbia 6. Marquette. 7. Jackson 8. Jefferson 9. Portage 10. Outgamie

Iron Ashland

Vilas Florence

Burnett Oneida

Price

Forest Polk

Barron

Rusk

Marinette Lincoln Langlade

Taylor Chippewa

St. Croix

Menominee

Dunn

Oconto

Marathon Shawano

Eau Clair

Pierce

Door

Clark

Pepin

Portage

Wood

Buffalo

Waupaca

Outagamie

Kewaunee Brown

Jackson Trempealeau

Waushara

Winnebago Calumet

Adams La Crosse

Manitowoc

Monroe Juneau

Marquette Green Lake

Fond du Lac

Sheboygan

Vernon Columbia Richland

Ozaukee

Dodge

Sauk

Washington

Crawford Iowa

Dane

Jefferson

Grant

Milwaukee Waukesha Racine

Lafayette

Green

Rock

Wood

Erie

Seneca

Huron

Trumbull

Lorain Medina Summit

Portage

Hancock

Putnam Van Wert

Mahoning

Wyandot Crawford Ashland Wayne Richland

Allen

Ashtabula

Geauga Cuyahoga

Sandusky

Stark

Columbiana

Hardin Marion

Auglaize

Mercer

Jefferson Knox

Logan Shelby Union

Licking

Miami Clark

Noble

Perry

Hocking Ross

Washington Athens

Vinton

Highland

Meigs

Pike

Clermont Brown

Adams

Monroe

Morgan

Pickaway

Warren Clinton

Hamilton

Belmont

Muskingum Fairfield

Greene Fayette

Butler

Guernsey

MadisonFranklin

Montgomery Preble

Tuscarawas Harrison Coshocton

Delaware Champaign

Darke

Carroll

Holmes

Morrow

Jackson

Scioto

Gallia Lawrence

Indiana – Top 10 P&Y Counties

Bayfield

Sawyer

Ottawa

Henry

Paulding

1. Parke 2. Vigo 3. Jefferson 4. LaPorte 5. Marshall 6. St. Joseph 7. Ripley 8. Greene 9. Kosciusko 10. Martin

Douglas

Washburn

Defiance

Lake

Lucas

Fulton

Williams

Walworth Kenosha

La Porte Porter

Lake

Steuben St Joseph Elkhart La Grange

Newton Jasper

Pulaski

De Kalb

Noble

Marshall Starke

Kosciusko Whitley

Allen

Fulton

AVERAGE NUMBER OF RECORDBOOK BUCKS REGISTERED PER YEAR

WabashHuntington Cass Miami Wells Adams Carroll Grant

White Benton

Blackford

Howard

Warren Tippecanoe Clinton Fountain Boone

Jay

Tipton Delaware Madison Randolph Hamilton

Montgomery Henry

Vermillion Parke

Vigo

Putnam

Hendricks

Owen Sullivan

Marion

Hancock

MorganJohnson

Clay

Shelby

Decatur Monroe

Bartholomew Brown

Greene

Martin Daviess

Pike

Franklin

Dearborn Ohio

JeffersonSwitzerland Scott

Orange Gibson

Wayne

FayetteUnion

Ripley

Jennings Lawrence Jackson

Knox

Rush

Washington Clark

Dubois

Warrick Vanderburgh Spencer Posey

Crawford

Perry

Floyd Harrison

Minnesota – Top 10 P&Y Counties

Jay Gregory Host, The Wild Outdoors

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Lake of the Woods Marshall Koochiching Beltrami

Pennington

Cook

Red Lake Polk

Lake

Clearwater Itasca St. Louis

Norman

Mahnomen Hubbard Cass

Becker Clay

Aitkin

Crow Wing

Wadena Wilkin

Carlton

Otter Tail

Morrison

Douglas

Pine

Mille Lacs

Todd Grant

Kanabec Benton

Traverse Pope

Stevens

Isanti

Stearns

Big Stone

Chisago

Sherburne Anoka

Swift Meeker

Kandiyohi Lac qui Parle

Wright

Washington

Chippewa

Ramsey

Hennepin McLeod

Carver

Renville

Yellow Medicine

Dakota

Scott Lincoln

Sibley

Lyon

Redwood

Goodhue

Rice

Le Sueur

Nicollet

Wabasha

Brown Pipestone

Rock

Murray Cottonwood

Jackson

Nobles

Steele Waseca

Blue Earth

Watonwan

Dodge

Olmsted

Mower

Freeborn

Faribault

Martin

Winona

Fillmore

Houston

Missouri – Top 10 P&Y Counties 1. Boone 2. St. Louis 3. Jackson 4. Putnam 5. Macon 6. Pike 7. St. Charles 8. Callaway 9. Scotland 10. Clay 10. Adair.

Atchison

Worth

Putnam

Mercer

Nodaway

Schuyler Scotland

Clark

Harrison Gentry

Sullivan

Adair

Grundy

Holt

Knox

Lewis

Daviess

Andrew

De Kalb

Linn

Macon

Livingston

Shelby

Marion

Caldwell

Buchanan Clinton

Ralls

Chariton

Carroll

Platte

Monroe Randolph

Ray

Clay

Pike Audrain

Saline

Howard

Lafayette

Lincoln

Jackson

Boone Cooper Johnson

Pettis

Cass

Montgomery Callaway Warren

St. Charles St. Louis St. Louis City

Moniteau Cole

Gasconade Osage

Henry Benton

Bates

Jefferson

Miller St. Clair

Maries

Camden

Hickory Vernon

Crawford Washington

Phelps

Pulaski Polk

Cedar

Franklin

Morgan

Dallas

Iron

Dent

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A Very Personal Look at Chicory Plus Another success story from the Whitetail Institute By Matt Harper, Institute Deer Nutrition Specialist

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hen a new product from the Whitetail Institute comes on the market, you can bet that it has been growing on my farm as well as up to a hundred others across the country for at least three to four years. Actually, one of the fringe benefits of heading up new product development for the Whitetail Institute is that I get to try a multitude of different exper-

imental food plots. In fact, if you saw my farm in Iowa, you would see that it is literally a cornucopia of deer forages. The Institute has a very strict research protocol, and many products never make it to the market. But when we develop a product that passes the gauntlet of testing and becomes part of our product line, I already know from personal experience the benefits it can pro-

Iowa’s Matt Harper takes another Pope & Young buck on a morning he didn’t plan to hunt.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

• Features incredible drought resistance and unsurpassed heat tolerances. • Amazing protein levels, up to 44%. • WINA-100 CHICORY is highly attractive all year, even in the droughty period in late summer and early fall. • Blended with the No. 1 food plot product, Imperial Whitetail Clover for yearround, green food plots. • Perennial plants can last three to five years. • Performs in a wide pH range (6.5 to 7.5). • Also fills the gap if clover production should dip.

vide. The 2005 hunting season was a perfect example of what I am talking about. We first began working with the new Chicory PLUS product five years ago. That’s when I planted my first test field and knew right away we were on to something big. The blend of chicory and Imperial Whitetail Clover made a product that had some very interesting advantages. Chicory is a highly drought-tolerant plant that does well in conditions that range from drier, welldrained soils to slightly-draining soils. On the other hand, Imperial Whitetail Clover performs best in heavier, moisture-holding soils. Combined together, the result was a food plot that was ideal for “transition” or “variable” soil conditions. When planting food plots in locations that included well-drained and level, moisture-holding areas – plots with varying topography – the blend of chicory and Imperial Whitetail Clover was ideal. Also, we found that Chicory PLUS was perfectly suited for food plots that had varying soil types, both well-drained (sandy, for example) and heavy soils. In these food plots, the chicory performed well in the porous soils and the Imperial Whitetail Clover performed best in the heavier soils. In the “transitional” areas of the plots, both forage types performed equally well. Chicory PLUS also worked well in food plots that were fairly moist at certain times of the year but tended to dry out later in the summer. It was especially productive in food plots planted in areas where excessive summer heat and drought temporarily slowed clover growth. In short, Chicory PLUS was a food plot planting that was extraordinarily versatile and could literally metamorphose itself to match the soil conditions. The key to Chicory PLUS was the development of the Whitetail Institute’s exclusive WINA-100 Brand Chicory. We wanted to develop the most attractive chicory on the market, so we began specific selection of chicory focusing on attractiveness. The selection process eventually lead to a chicory type that in cafeteria tests proved far more attractive than other chicory types. The key to this attraction was in the characteristics of the leaf. Chicory normally has a waxy, leathery leaf structure that is high in hard-to-digest fibrous material. WINA-100 Chicory has a soft, non-waxy leaf making it much more attractive than other chicory types. When we combined WINA-100 Chicory with Imperial Whitetail Clover, we knew we had a winner. In 2004, I planted a new version of the chicory/Imperial Clover test blend that would prove to be the exact blend used in Chicory PLUS. It was a 1/2acre plot in a small creek bottom, consisting of fairly well-drained, soil. Because the terrain was flat, the soil held moisture most of the year. However, during late summer and periods of extended dry weather, the soil would get rather dry due to its sandy nature. It was an ideal place to plant the Chicory PLUS test plot. The plot sits in the flat bottom area at the end of a long, sloping crop field. All along the western side of the plot runs a wooded draw that is approximately 80 yards wide and separates the crop field on the east from an alfalfa field on the west. As you can imagine, there are a lot of food choices for the deer in the area; but from camera observations and personally viewing the field, I noticed most of the feeding activity occurred in the Chicory PLUS food plot. Over time, the overall configuration of the food plot began to adapt to the soil moisture conditions. Through most of the year, the food plot would be a good mixture of WINA-100 Chicory and Imperial Clover. During the months of August and September however, when heat and drier conditions prevailed, the food plot began to change in appearance. Along the western side of the field where the food plot was sheltered from

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afternoon sun, the food plot remained as it had early in the summer – a combination of chicory and clover. In the middle and eastern side of the plot, where it received full sun and thus experienced drier soil conditions, the chicory became the most prevalent forage type. Later, in early fall, when moisture and cooler temperatures returned, the clover came back as before. The Chicory PLUS food plot performed exactly how it was designed to perform. Now let’s visit the 2005 Iowa archery season. Using cameras to monitor deer usage was part of the overall testing procedure. I captured several good bucks on camera, but the 10-pointer that walked in front of my camera in early July was an exceptionally good buck. I only got the buck on camera that one time, but it was enough to know that he was in the area and was most likely using the food plot as part of his home range. In early September, I hung a stand about 25 feet up an old walnut in the wooded draw bordering the western edge of the food plot. The stand location was about 60 yards off the food plot, overlooking an intersection of two major trails that ended up dumping into the plot. The stand was located in an area dominated by mature walnuts and oaks, but farther north up the draw, the trees give way to brush and tall grass, making an ideal deer bedding area. The site made a perfect ambush spot between a bedding area and feeding area. I thought there would be a good chance that during the rut, bucks would be cruising the draw, checking trails for a hint of a receptive doe on her way to feed in the plot. This search would ultimately lead the bucks to the intersection underneath my stand. On Nov. 6, I left my house at 4:45 a.m. and headed to my farm with a couple of friends that were going to

be hunting with me that morning. I was actually not going to hunt that morning because I had to leave early for a business trip. My plan was to take my hunting partners out and then go back home. At the last minute I decided to grab my bow and sit a couple hours in the stand closest to where I would park my truck. It just so happened this stand was the one set up in the draw next to the Chicory PLUS test plot. I thought if nothing else, I could scout a little from the stand, as I had not yet sat in it that hunting season. It was a beautiful and quiet morning. There was little activity until around 7:30 a.m. when a doe walked out into the Chicory PLUS food plot and began to feed. She seemed a little nervous and was constantly looking over her shoulder at the thick brush across the plot from where I sat. As we all know, this will get you a little excited as her body language indicated there was probably another deer in the brush that had not yet come out onto the field. But no other deer showed up. I was going to get down and sneak back to the truck at 8 a.m. It was now 7:50 a.m. I was messing around with my pack, trying to get my equipment packed up to leave. I heard a commotion out in the food plot and looked up to see the doe bolt toward my direction. Then I knew there was a buck. I grabbed my bow and waited. Seconds later a buck exploded onto the field in hot pursuit of the doe. Unfortunately, it was a 7-point 1-1/2-year old that appeared to be insane with passion for the fleeing doe. I turned to hang my bow back up when I noticed the doe was heading directly for my tree. I didn’t want to have my stand location busted, so I froze and waited to see how things would play out. The doe sped past the stand with the young buck making tracks across the food plot after her. When the buck neared the edge of the draw, he suddenly slammed

on the breaks, throwing mud and leaves everywhere. The buck stared straight past me up the trail that meandered deeper into the draw. As love-sick as this young deer was, I knew it had to be something substantial to spook him this bad. I slowly craned my neck to the right and standing 30 yards away was the 10-pointer I had captured on my trail camera earlier that summer. Even though I had never seen the buck alive and in person and had only gotten one picture of him, I knew it was him. He was wide and very symmetrical, but what gave him away was his slightly split brow tines. The two bucks where in a stare-down so neither noticed as I stood and came to full draw. The big buck’s vitals were blocked by a big oak tree, so I had to wait until he bristled, laid back his ears and began stiff-legging toward the young buck. Finally, at 21 yards, he stepped into my shooting lane and gave me a perfect broadside pose. I triggered my release and sent my arrow cleanly through both lungs and out the other side, coming to rest deeply sunk into the muddy bank on the other side. The buck only made it about 50 yards before expiring. Needless to say, I was glad I decided to hunt that morning. I have been working with the Whitetail Institute now for nearly seven years and have been planting test products on my farm since the first week I started. It is still a working farm as it was before we started putting in test food plots. The quality and quantity of deer on my farm has increased dramatically, even though I live in the middle of farm country with some of the best whitetail genetics in the country. I immensely enjoy the research behind test plots, but I have to admit, the end result of harvesting a great whitetail buck is the icing on the cake. W

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

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Sweeney X-Feeder: Blends up to four separate components By Jon Cooner

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radition, and excellence — if you look at the history of any company that has changed the way people think, you’ll find that these were among its original and continuing long-term goals. Nowhere is that more true than in the deer-nutrition industry. Hunters hoping to harvest a record-book buck these days have a much better chance of success than ever before. Over the past 20 years, the average, annual number of Boone and Crockett and Pope & Young record book entries has increased 500 percent, and the reason is pretty simple — today’s deer hunters and managers are highly educated and increasingly committed to the science and practices commonly referred to as quality deer management. With that being the case, we hunters would be remiss if we did not recognize the debt of thanks we owe those few whose foresight and drive served as the catalysts for the revolutions we deer hunters and managers are enjoying today — pioneers like Ray Scott and John and Doris Sweeney. The deer-nutrition industry owes its birth to Ray Scott, who while hunting on his property near Montgomery, Ala. in the 1970s noticed that deer consistently gravitated toward a certain type of clover he had planted. The event sparked an idea, and within a few years, Scott had brought the idea to fruition by founding the The Whitetail Institute. With the help of renowned plant geneticist Dr. Wiley Johnson, the Institute developed its first product, Imperial Whitetail Clover, and the rest, as they say, is history. By that time, John and Doris Sweeney had already started a revolution of their own, in the automated-feeder industry. The Sweeneys started out in the 1960s making high-quality timers, but by 1970 their business had grown so well that they set up a dedicated shop in the Texas Hill Country and began manufacturing automated wildlife feeders. Over the years, the Sweeneys’ business continued to flourish, and Sweeney Enterprises now offers extensive lines of feeders for a broad variety of wildlife and other applications. Even though Scott and the Sweeneys had not interacted on a professional basis in those days, they shared a common belief — that by offering products of only the highest-quality and then backing them up with top-notch customer service, they would build healthy businesses that would simultaneously benefit their customers and our hunting way of life. Deer nutrition has come a long way since those early days — light years actually, and so have the Whitetail Institute and Sweeney Enterprises. The Institute’s Imperial Whitetail Clover started the entire food plot revolution, and the Sweeneys’ first automated feeders were the genesis of the wildlife and fish-hatchery industries. Neither company was content to simply rest on its prior successes, though, and each has continued to maintain its unwavering focus on providing only the highest-quality products, exhaustively tested and backed up with dedicated customer service. As a result, their offerings remain the standards by which all other products in their industries are measured. The Whitetail Institute and Sweeney Enterprises continue to meet the needs of their customers with innovative 34

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

solutions. One such product offered by the Whitetail Institute is Cutting Edge, a highly advanced, three-part nutritional supplement system for deer. Cutting Edge far surpasses the performance of traditional mineral/vitamin supplements and helps hunters and managers push their deer to achieve the maximum rack size and health their genetic blueprints will allow. Cutting Edge Initiate is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of deer during the few months of late winter and early spring, Cutting Edge Optimize for the crucial 200-day antler-growing and fawning period of spring and summer, and Cutting Edge Sustain throughout the fall and harsh winter months. Unlike other supplements, Cutting Edge can be blended with corn or soybeans. Since traditional scatter feeders could not efficiently deliver a blend of Cutting Edge and grain to deer, though, Cutting Edge customers were limited to delivering it by either troughs or ground sites. While Cutting Edge works beautifully in either of those applications, some hunters and managers preferred to use automated feeders, and existing scatter-feeders that spread single components such as corn just didn’t allow them the flexibility to provide a balanced diet that deer need to reach their maximum genetic potential for antler development, weight and overall health. What was needed instead was a high-quality automated feeder that could blend multiple components just prior to delivery, do so in controlled amounts, and deliver it in a manner so that the entire blend would reach the deer. Thankfully, that need has been filled, and very well, by a remarkably innovative new feeder available from Sweeney Enterprises — the revolutionary new XFeeder. From the outside, the X-Feeder resembles other Sweeney feeders. It is basically a cube that can be mount-

ed on legs or hung from a tree or rack and dispenses its contents through an opening in its bottom. But take a look inside the top of an X-Feeder, and you’ll see the ingenious internal design that makes the Sweeney X-Feeder so unique. Unlike traditional feeders that have a single chamber, the X-Feeder is designed with four adjustable chambers that are separated from one another by walls in the shape of an X between the feeder’s internal corners. The unit can hold up to four separate components and be programmed to dispense as much or little of each as the hunter or manager desires, resulting in a truly custom mix. As the components are released and come together, two vibratory motors attached to the internal funnel blend them into an even feed/mineral mixture without caking and then drop the completed blend into a stainless steel trough. The X-Feeder can be programmed to blend two, three or four separate components such as corn, oats, wheat, beans, minerals or other supplements in whatever ratios you want and then automatically deliver the complete mix to your deer. It can also be used as a timed trough feeder or as a standard scatter feeder during hunting season. The X-Feeder holds approximately 600 pounds of feeds or minerals and is equipped with Sweeney’s premium timer that can be programmed to feed up to 24 times per day. And in keeping with Sweeney’s continuing commitment to high quality, the X-Feeder comes with a three-year unconditional warranty. In short, if you are looking for the most versatile automated feeder on the market, Sweeney’s new XFeeder is the ticket. For more information or to order the Sweeney XFeeder or any of the Whitetail Institute’s products, including Cutting Edge, call (800) 688-3030, ext. 1 anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit www.whitetailinstitute.com. W

Sweeney X-Feeders are also available with Realtree Hardwoods® HD™ camo finish.

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The Gift of Mentoring: Early Education Keeps Hunting Flame Burning By Tom Fegely All Photos by Tom Fegely

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Serious mentoring is more than taking a couple hours to show a kid how to shoot a deer gun or volunteering time to help teach a hunter safety course. The way to keep a flame burning in a young hunter’s heart is to get him or her into the sport early and often.

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he word “mentor” has found a growing use in hunting circles in recent years as a reference to hunters who give of their time, knowledge and dedication in introducing kids to hunting. Mentoring is nothing new, although it was once more a familiar practice than it is today. “My Pop and Uncle Russell were my mentors I suppose,” a friend said when we discussed the practice one night in deer camp. “I learned a lot about work from them – the kind of work that comes from owning a milk business. “My education included hunting,” he added. “But you don’t see that as much today because there don’t seem to be as many kids who have someone to show them what hunting’s all about.” It’s certainly true that today there are fewer youth whose boots are muddied by farmland soil. What was once country is today suburbia, with patches of hillside woods and farm fields yielding to costly houses. The influence of peers and the daily distractions of sports, school activities, computers, computer games and just “hanging out” now cost kids big chunks of time, energy and money. Hence, the stage is set as the number of youngsters who hunt continues its rapid decline. Only 4.23 percent of Americans ages 6-15 old hunted in the year 2000. As for newcomers to hunting, studies show that the older a person is when he or she begins to hunt, the less likely such a person will stick with it. Conversely, when it comes to youth, the younger a person is when properly introduced to hunting, the more likely he or she will stay with it. The average hunter’s age is 47. That’s much of the rea-

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son the hunting industry has adopted mentoring via youth hunting programs as one of its bigger campaigns. But that’s another story. In an upcoming issue of Whitetail News we’ll focus on some new and promising programs such as recently passed legislation in Pennsylvania’s House and Senate titled Families Afield. It appears to be a commendable effort to recruit new youth hunters and to retain or encourage the return of kids and adults who may have given up hunting for one reason or another. Mentors will play the key role in this exciting program, which will stretch nationwide via the efforts of state game agencies, the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, National Wild Turkey Federation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. EACH ONE, TEACH ONE The key to bolstering hunter numbers – especially youth hunters – is for adult sportsmen to become aware of the influence they can have as an “each one, teach one” candidate. Understanding the role of mentors is the initial order of business whether as part of an informal program or one organized by a sportsmen’s club or special interest group. Serious mentoring is more than taking a couple hours to show a kid how to shoot a deer gun or volunteering time to help teach a hunter safety course. The way to keep a flame burning in a young hunter’s heart is to get him or her into the sport early and often. One type of mentoring is provided by experienced and concerned adult hunters whose students may be young

family members, neighbors and others whose moms, dads and uncles are members of hunting camps or have private lands on which to hunt. The purpose of their volunteer participation is to delve a bit deeper into the preparation that makes for safe and successful hunts. Hunting is more than dressing in camo or orange and following someone into the woods. GETTING KIDS INVOLVED Late last summer as my wife and I began tending to our 35-acre Pennsylvania woods in preparation for the upcoming bow season, we issued an invitation for four of our eight grandkids to help out in readying the land for the fall hunts. Ranging in ages from 7 to 11, the four tykes (three boys and a girl) had all expressed interest in hunting, but they knew they would have to wait for their twelfth birthdays. As a reward for their help and not wanting them to become discouraged by waiting too long a time, we (my wife, two sons and me) offered to allow them to accompany us on a hunt, but not until they completed a job or two to benefit the deer woods and the hunters using it. Step one was for mentor and student to visit the 10 treestands and two blinds scattered across the property. The first order of business was to check the stability of each stand and make safety strap adjustments. A determination was then made as to which blinds would best benefit from planting a fast-growing annual to serve as a deer attractant. That was followed by reading the directions on the bag and preparing the soil and sowing seed accordingly.

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The influence of peers and the daily distractions of sports, school activities, computers, computer games and just “hanging out” now cost kids big chunks of time, energy and money. Although the adult helped and served as advisor, most of the work was done by the youngster in charge of a particular treestand. It didn’t take long before the kids were raking, clearing weeds, seeding, liming, fertilizing and dirtying their hands in exchange for joining their mentor on a hunt later in the year. As none of the youngsters were yet eligible for a license (age 12 and older), they did not carry a deer rifle or bow afield. Only the mentor carried a bow or firearm. The youngsters were given unloaded BB guns to simulate the need for firearms safety and learn how guns and bows are taken into and out of treestands via a long rope. The favorite site was a large treestand we named the “Double-wide,” which stands at the far western corner of the property. As the kids hunted on different days, they all had use of the Double-wide. This avoided elbow room problems as the entire blind, covered in a camo pattern, allowed for a bit more fidgeting and leg movement than would be enjoyed in an open stand. UNDERSTANDING MINI-PLOTS One of the reasons for making the kids earn the privilege of hunting is to create an understanding of the varied efforts that go into preparing for productive time afield, from habitat work to treestand repairs. One of the mentor’s jobs was to supply the youngster with rapidly-germinating seeds such as Secret Spot, my personal favorite for embellishing mini-plots scraped out in the middle of the woods.

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No tillage is necessary and weeds can be removed with a garden rake. Even a 7-year-old like my granddaughter made a substantial effort in clearing the small plot, broadcasting seed and learning about this new aspect of deer hunting. Such “personal miniplot” patches are best placed 10-15 yards from a treestand or ground blind, which will be visited several times before the season and, perhaps, a time or two during the season with one of the family mentors. Last year I noticed the kids taking pride at finding deer droppings, tracks, rubs, scrapes and any other sign that the plot had visitors. Additional pleasure was also derived as seeds began to sprout and the tiny plots began to “green up.” For

the kids, the term “food plot” began to show up in their conversations. “Getting kids involved early on is what is going to make them stick with hunting,” said Bill Wary, a retired school psychologist and lifelong hunter. “There’s always plenty of competition for their time, and the better their background and understanding of hunting, the better the chance they will stay with it.” If you’re one of those hunters who want to give something back, consider adopting a youngster as a hunting partner. It may demand a bit of sacrifice on your part, but being a mentor will not be without its rewards, whether it’s helping build or position a treestand or sowing and tending your own food plot. Mentoring is something each of us can do. That is, to take it upon ourselves to introduce at least one potential young hunter to the outdoors and hunting this year and every year. It doesn’t necessarily demand going afield with a gun or bow, although it may, depending on the youngster’s age and maturity level. Simply exposing a kid to the outdoors by taking him or her along on a pheasant or squirrel hunt or walking in a woodlot and looking for signs of wildlife is often the way to open the door ... and open a kid’s eyes and mind to hunting and the great outdoors. W

It didn’t take long before the kids were raking, clearing weeds, seeding, liming, fertilizing and dirtying their hands in exchange for joining their mentor on a hunt later in the year.

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PENNSYLVANIA

Hunter Uses Whitetail Institute products for 15 Years

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obert Curtis is a trend setter. The Pennsylvania hunter started using Whitetail Institute products about 15 years ago. And now, a decade and half later, he has a solid deer management program that includes highly nutritious food plots. “I got hold of some of the No-Plow first,” Curtis recalled. “Then I started planting Imperial Whitetail Clover. If you take care of the Imperial Clover it will last you four or five years.” Curtis manages roughly 1,000 acres of hilly, rough terrain. This mountainous land is blessed with red and white oaks and chestnuts but a large percentage is not tillable. After a lot of hard work, he had two Imperial Whitetail Clover food plots that were approximately four acres each. “Some of the plots were old fields,” Curtis said. “This country used to have real small farms years ago. I made one of the plots with a bulldozer and it was a lot of work. I made another one from an old quarry. This was a mining area and they cut a lot of blue stone around here. There’s not a lot of soil in these mountains. As a matter of fact there is only a couple of inches of soil before you reach bedrock.” Over the years, Curtis has expanded his food plots as the Whitetail Institute expanded its product line. Curtis now has almost 20 acres planted in Whitetail Clover, Alfa-Rack and Extreme. He has matched each food plot choice to the terrain and soil type. He reports all the plots are lush, green and drawing in more deer. “I still have the three- or four-acre clearing in Imperial Whitetail Clover and that one is really nice,” he said. “I see deer in it all the time. I have another three acre plot that’s planted in Imperial Clover. I also have one acre in Alfa-Rack. It’s up higher on the mountain in real dry, rough terrain. Then I’ve got two plots in Extreme. They’re not very big, but they’re doing very well. As you can imagine, Curtis’ mountainous terrain isn’t exactly perfect for growing quality forages.

Cutting Edge Bryan Brown – Missouri I’ve got three holes in roughly a 20-foot square foot area that I freshen up with all three Cutting Edge products at different times of the year. The deer tear it up. Paul Stephens - West Virginia After two years of using all three Cutting Edge products, I wanted to let you know our hunting is noticeably better. Our heaviest 3-year-old ever harvested was 170 pounds. This past season we took two that weighed over 195. Thanks for a great product. Rick Simons - Minnesota Thanks to John White at your office for explaining the Cutting Edge product line to my dad. We‚ve used Optimize for four years and the deer are tearing the licks up. This past season was our best so far. I finally took a deer that was bigger than Dad’s. Tony Crafton - Mississippi They hit the Cutting Edge Optimize lick locations all summer, and stayed with it until the end of the year. I know you’ve got a winner and look forward to putting it out next summer.

30-06 Minerals Robert Pepin – Michigan 30-06 Mineral is a deer magnet! We have deer coming in to the 30-06 day and night, all year long! Joseph Condia – New York I have put down your 30-06 Minerals and the deer just love this stuff! I dug a small hole one afternoon and put down the minerals. I checked it the next morning and it was mostly gone and the deer had doubled the size of the hole. The deer just love this stuff. Bill Anderson – Ohio The 30-06 Plus Protein is exceptional. The deer just continue to devour the ground. If they continue, I might end up with a new pond! Dennis Brabham – Texas 30-06? They love this stuff!

PRODUCT POINTERS

CUTTING EDGE • The most advanced nutritional supplement ever made • The only seasonal nutritional supplement

• Provides deer the required nutrients needed for each season • Simply pour on the ground or use in feeders • Very attractive

30-06 MINERAL 30-06 PLUS PROTEIN • Excellent mineral supplement for warm-season months • Provides vital minerals for maximum antler growth

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• Very attractive • Simply pour on the ground

Robert Curtis has worked hard to provide quality nutrition on his rough ground in Pennsylvania. He’s been rewarded with better quality bucks.

“You have to make sure your pH is good,” he said. “The ground around here is real sour, so you have to lime it to keep the pH up. We also mow our food plots twice a year. The deer quality is much better in the area since we started using food plots.” And with the healthier, higher-quality herd comes hunting success. Curtis has shot some excellent bucks because of his food plot management. “I can’t get up in a tree stand because I’ve got artificial knees, so I’ll set up a blind on trails that are leading to the food plots,” Curtis explained. “I rifle hunt and muzzleloader hunt with an old flintlock and I’ve shot a couple of nice 10-point bucks. One of the 10-points weighed 167 pounds field dressed. We guessed him at 31/2 years old. I have them both mounted. A guy from Maine also shot a real good 8-point on the property. “I’ve got plans for three more areas that I’m clearing that I want to plant in food plots. They’ll be in Alfa Rack and Imperial Clover,” he said. Curtis strongly recommends using 30-06 Plus Protein mineral supplements along with food plots. He said the nutrition provided by the supplement has resulted in larger, thicker racks on his bucks. “It’s definitely worth using the supplements along with food plots,” he said. “I have collected a lot of antlers over the past 10 to 15 years, and the same age deer had smaller racks before we started using 30-06 Plus Protein. The racks have gotten bigger and bigger throughout the years as I used Institute products. In fact, one shed I found is huge and I’d really like to have its owner on the wall.” W

Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

39


O F N O RT H A M E R I C A

Since 1988

Whitetail Institute

Jim Altepeter – Illinois I purchased this property four years ago for deer hunting. The previous owner of the property hunted it regularly and wanted to sell it because he never saw any big deer to

left shot by John Phillips scored 133 3/4. He is an 11 pointer with a 21 1/2 inch spread. Mine on the right was a 9 pointer and scored 113 3/4. We had a great year thanks Imperial Whitetail Products and Mathews Outback Bows. hunt. The property is only 40 acres, with 10 acres of woods. So after I purchased the property I put up a game tracker camera to see what kind of deer were in the area, and how many deer. I then planted Imperial Whitetail Clover along the edge of the woods, started putting out 30-06 Plus Protein and noticed a difference in the first year in the bucks’ antlers. The bucks’ antlers were very small and poor on one side, but once I started the 30-06 their antlers became more symmetrical. And the clover field brought more deer into the area. After only 4 years of owning this property I harvested the biggest buck I had ever taken. This year I passed on many of the bucks that in years past I would have taken, but because of the game tracker I knew there were big bucks coming to the clover plot.

Jim Murray – Iowa

Jason Caley – Kansas I was hunting in Kansas last year with my good friend Mike Wheeler from ‘Wheelers Whitetails’. I have known Mike for many years and have always looked up to him for his hunting knowledge. Mike was a pioneer of sorts. Nobody I had ever been around and none of the hunting videos I watched had ever talked about food plots or Imperial Clover in the early to mid 90’s. He showed me all of his Imperial Whitetail Clover plots. I was amazed. Being an average hunter, with average results, I had no idea the impact these plots would produce. His deer were bigger in body and rack size, and more predictable. His hard work was paying off, and if you have seen his trophies, you’ll know what I mean.

Jamie Hoene – Illinois I have small plots of Imperial Whitetail Clover around the edge of the woods. The deer love it. I shot a nice 10 point coming off the Imperial Clover. (photo enclosed.) He is a 2 1/2 year old deer with good tine length and mass. I

missed a better deer a week later during gun season out of same stand.

Emil Kuhl – New York I planted Extreme last spring. This fall we observed several bucks feeding in the Alfa-Rack and Extreme plots. We have used Alfa-Rack since 1997 in the Adirondacks and harvested several nice bucks. I also planted two Alfa-Rack food plots in Southern New York. This past late bow season we harvested two great bucks about four hours apart within 60 yards of two Alfa-Rack food plots. The buck on the

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

the Imperial Clover plot. It’s the largest deer taken on lease so far. I made a bad shot on the buck with my bow. So I let the buck stay over night. I found the deer the next morning but the coyotes found him before I did. Thanks for a awesome product like Imperial Clover. The buck scored 133 Pope and Young. Thank you very much.

Alfa-Rack is my favorite food plot product. I have shot most of my large bucks off this product. They range from 130 to the 160. Cutting Edge is a high quality attractant and I saw more deer using this product and larger antlers were grown. I’m not very good at telling stories so I sent these pictures because the proof is in the pictures. These are some of the deer that I shot since I started using your products.

Frederick Rineholt – Louisiana I planted Imperial Whitetail Clover in 2002 in South Louisiana. The deer were eating so much that I had to plant more just to keep up with them. I took this nice 11 point on

Over the next several years my hunting got better and better. Using Imperial Clover food plots, lots of work, lots of practice and heavy scent control my deer hunting became a lot more fun. I had been hunting a food plot and seen very good deer activity. It was very warm that week, highs in the 70’s The does would fill these clover fields every day, and I knew it was only a matter of time until a trophy stopped by to check up on them. At about 3:40 there were not any deer feeding yet, but I caught movement to my left in the north side of the ditch coming through the brush. I looked back and saw that it was a good buck coming up the brush line to the food plot. The wind was dead wrong. I shoot left handed, every thing seemed backwards. There was a dead www.whitetailinstitute.com


RECORD BOOK BUCKS… tree on the ground I had ranged at 37 yards. I begged my brain to slow my heart rate down, but the adrenaline just kept pumping. The buck finally presented me a shot while standing over that log. I was elated!! I had just harvested the best buck of my life. The buck grossed 173 1/8 inches. 19 inches coming from the second main beam. He has even a third beam that comes out and has a drop off of that. What an awesome animal.

Edward Lockwood – Maryland I am sending you a photo of the buck my 12 year old nephew, Hunter Lockwood shot with a bow last November. This buck was shot only 50 yards from a 2 acre Imperial Whitetail Clover plot. It’s the first deer he has taken with a bow. We took another buck that scored 135 Pope & Young.

yards away to the nearby 50 yard mark and turned around feeding back and forth. 85 yards, 50 yards back to 85 yards. This continued for what seemed to be a lifetime. Finally, he turned once again walking straight to me, he never stopped. As he approached my previously marked 40 yard spot I knew that was my only shot. As his head went behind the red oak I had marked at 40 yards I drew and released a shot behind his left shoulder. After an hour I approached my best harvest yet. All I could see was horns. As I looked him over in awe I couldn’t even speak. I just looked at the sky above and thanked God for the opportunity. The official score isn’t available at this time but he is definitely qualified for Pope & Young’s books. My nephew also took his first respectable buck near an Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot. We had a 7 pointer and an 11 pointer. I think luck might have something to do with this, along with Imperial Whitetail Products.

Jeff Blank – Wisconsin I planted Imperial Whitetail Clover behind my house and immediately started seeing more deer. I also noticed them coming to the plot earlier. After watching 13 different deer, (4 bucks, and 9 does) on October 3rd I got to bow hunt on the afternoon of October 5th when this 8 point

I would just like to let you know I have been using your products since 1988. I use Imperial Whitetail clover, NoPlow, Secret Spot, and 30-06 Minerals. I do not know any better way to show you how good your products work than this picture. I have three Pope & Young bucks on the wall myself and a lot more just missing the books. I would just like people to know, if they use your products and let the small bucks walk, they too can have a chance at one like this.

Denny Turpin – Virginia

me to attract and hold more deer year ‘round. And this helps get them to the ages needed to reach their potential. This bruiser (photo enclosed) came in for a late afternoon snack of Extreme.

Nathan Kedrowicz – Wisconsin Imperial Whitetail Clover is undoubtedly the best food plot blend on the market. There are deer in it at all times of

came running to the clover. I took him at 10 yards. He weighed 215lbs. dressed. Imperial Whitetail Clover is a great product. Thanks.

Kent Heimer – Missouri Thanks to Whitetail Institute and their good products my 20-year-old son, Darin Heimer, was able to harvest this 12 point buck with his bow. At this time we have 15 acres of

I have noticed a lot more sightings in the general area around the Imperial Whitetail food plots. We don’t harvest our deer out of the food plots, just catch them coming or going from them. This past season turned out to be a good one. I had been watching a group of bucks during the summer and fall and just couldn’t wait for bow season. The first morning of bow season arrived. As I watched anxiously, nothing was happening, 7:00 am nothing, 7:15 nothing, 7:28 there he comes over a small hilltop. He traveled from 85

Imperial Whitetail Clover, Alfa-Rack and Extreme. This is only our second season of using these products so we look forward to a long relationship with the folks at Whitetail Institute. Our farm is in the Northeast corner of Missouri close to the town of Philadelphia.

Bob Witzel – New York Just a quick note to say thanks for great products that work. Being in an area that has great trophy potential but a mostly “Brown is Down” mentality, your products enable

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the day in summer and fall. It is not unusual to see 10-15 bucks at a time on it. We’ve also seen 19 different bucks and 7 “shooters” on the Alfa-Rack. Enclosed is a picture of a 140” class Pope and Young and another photo showing more of our results. Thanks for the products! W

Send Us Your Photos! Do you have a photo of a buck that qualifies for the Pope & Young, Boone & Crockett or your state record books that you took with the help of Imperial products? Send it to us and you might find it in the Record Book Bucks 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: Record Book Bucks 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043

Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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TENNESSEE

Southern Trophies Editor’s Note: This story was submitted by Larry Porter of Tennessee.

I

t was a hot November day in west Tennessee, not a day you would consider good for deer hunting. The mosquitoes were out and it was sunny and about 80 degrees. But I had two hours before my 13year-old daughter’s basketball game, and I was itching to go deer hunting. I had joined a deer hunting club with some of my buddies, and this would be my first time to hunt this new property. I had access to 500 or so acres that are mostly woods, with some set aside farmland. We have three food plots of Imperial Whitetail Clover and we use PowerPlant too. The Imperial Clover is scattered all across the property. The food plots work great as you will see in the quality of deer they’ve helped produce. I will be planting more of them next year. The Imperial Clover is by far the best clover on the market. I picked up my son’s muzzleloader and got my mosquito spray and off I went, as the farm is only 10 minutes from the house. I thought this could be as much of a scouting trip as a hunting trip since I knew nothing about the farm. I am a handicapped hunter, and if it weren’t for my trusty ATV getting me to and from the field, I would have had to give up hunting 25 years ago when I had a massive stroke. I am very blessed that over time I have regained almost all abilities except the use of my legs, but I can get around with the use of a cane. Through the help of my family and friends and the grace of God, I have still been able to enjoy hunting and fishing. When I got to the field, I grabbed my muzzleloader, fanny pack, doe estrus scent and my grunt call. It was 4 p.m., and I had an hour and a half to hunt. I always carry a drag rag doused with doe-in-heat scent behind my ATV to help cover my scent and also to hopefully attract bucks. I spotted a nice, big tree

Wayman Smith — Georgia I’ve used PowerPlant for three years now, and it gives me the cover near my clover fields I’ve been missing. The deer actually stay in it all day long. Scott Leak — Virginia My first year with PowerPlant was ‘05, and I’m planting again this spring. It is the first bean or pea product that my deer did not destroy before it had a chance to develop. Thanks for a superb product. Russell Langenfelter — Minnesota PowerPlant worked well last year. They fed in the field until late fall, and I took my second-best deer right on the edge of the field. Tomas Thomas — Oklahoma Send me another couple bags of PowerPlant. It’s a good product that I wish I had found about 10 years ago. The amount of forage produced is better than I’ve ever seen.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

Tennessee’s Larry Porter took his largest buck ever. As a matter of fact, it is the largest buck he’s ever seen.

stand (belonging to one of my friends) that I thought might be a good spot, as it was overlooking a field in the river bottom. I rode my ATV, dragging my drag rag, along the edge of the field and parked in the bushes behind the deer stand. I tried my best to get up in the stand but it just wasn’t going to happen, and I almost fell out trying to get situated. So I climbed down and fixed a comfortable spot under the deer stand and leaned my muzzleloader against the first step of the ladder. As I peered through the ladder, I could see the cars and trucks going by on the highway. The thought ran through my mind that I was just wasting my time, but I told myself to just enjoy being out in the woods and sit there until dark. I’ve always thought the best way to deer hunt was just to be quiet and sit still and let the deer come to you. An hour went by and all I saw were two squirrels. Without any deer activity, I decided it couldn’t hurt anything to try my old grunt call. I could still smell the scent of doe estrus on my fingertips. I grunted a few short grunts. What happened next left me in disbelief. In my 40 years of hunting, I’ve never seen anything like it. A monster buck bolted from a thicket, looking for a fight or at least to protect his territory; and he was heading right at me from across the open field. It happened so quickly that when the buck stopped, he was at 75 yards; but I hadn’t had time to even get my gun ready. I have a scope on my muzzleloader, but it didn’t take any kind of optics to tell this buck was a shooter. I managed to get my gun up and get my

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Larrt Porter’s son, Tyler, also took his best buck ever.

sights on him, but he started walking again looking for the other buck. His hair was all bristled, and his ears were laid back as though he was ready to fight. When he stopped at 60 yards, I pulled the trigger, and I couldn’t see a thing for a couple seconds. When the smoke cleared, all I could see were

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antlers — big antlers like I’ve never seen before. I waited 10 minutes to be sure he wasn’t going to run off, and that was the longest 10 minutes of my life. At 5:10 p.m., I got on my ATV and rode up to him. He had 13 points and some of the longest points I’ve ever seen. He had mule deer forks on both sides and drop tines on both sides. The deer had a 22-inch spread and weighed 175 pounds. It was the nicest deer that I’ve ever seen. I’ve never been a big believer in using a grunt call, but after this hunt, I will never be caught without it. There’s no doubt the combination of my deer scent and a grunt call did the trick on this old buck. Looking back on that deer hunt, I almost didn’t even go. Had my daughter wanted to shoot basketball before her game, then I would never have gone deer hunting. Also, I had those thoughts of “it’s just too hot and the deer won’t be moving.” Then, after I did go hunting, I almost talked myself into leaving early. So the bottom line is if you get a chance to go deer hunting, you better go. You never know what’s going to happen. I have hunted for 40 years and spent thousands of hours in the field, but you just never know when it’s going to happen. It’s kind of like that old saying, “A bad day of hunting is still better than a good day at work.” Also, my 20-year-old son, Tyler, killed a nice buck, 140-class, while we were hunting together. Our county rarely has bucks like this, so it’s really unbelievable that we both got two of the nicest deer taken in our county. We were so excited. I've scouted for the last 10 years trying to put him on a big one. He’s killed more than 40 deer before but nothing like this one. W

To register for Whitetail E-News, visit our website at

www.whitetailinstitute.com and click on Email Newsletter, call 1-800-688-3030 or fill out this form and mail it in.

Whitetail Institute of North America Email Newsletter 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 Name _______________________________________ Address______________________________________ Phone _______________________________________ Email Address_________________________________

Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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H

Give Your Plots a Boost

Heavy browsing can stress a food plot. The author recommends using Impact to help forages recover faster after browsing.

Dan Eastman

By Dan Eastman, Wildlife Consultant

unters are continually bombarded with how-to basics on food plot development and product selection. Unfortunately, less information is available to take you to the next level — after your plot is established. Along with proper soil preparation, lime, fertilizer, mowing and grass and weed control, there is more you can do to produce exceptional food plots. Today, we have come a long way from our initial food plot projects just to attract deer. Now, we think more like a dairy farmer maintaining a herd. Every step we take requires serious consideration about the nutritional and environmental impact it will have on the local deer. In our first years of plantings, we were happy to get the product to grow and were happy to see that the deer really liked what we planted. As we became addicted to food plots and what they did, we found more of our time was dedicated to researching forage nutrition. Much of what we learned came from agricultural literature designed for farmers. Did you know that a farmer knows that the first cut has the most nutrition and that if a crop grows past a certain number of days you lose a percentage point a day in protein for some types of vegetation? As a food plot manager, this information is useful. Regular mowing is a key to keeping the new growth that maintains the highest nutritional value for the animals (mowing also helps control grass and weed problems). Frequent applications of Impact — a high-nutrient liquid plant growth stimulant — provides you with exceptional growth and healthier plots. We generally apply Impact twice a year on a plot — once in the spring and again mid to late summer. Impact also helps us in Vermont with our very short growing season (60 to 70 days). Frequently, we will apply Impact to a Secret Spot patch or to a plot cut late

Exclusive patented formula available only through the Whitetail Institute of North America and authorized dealers.

ADD IMPACT

To To Your Your Deer Deer Forage Forage Planting! Planting! Once again, the Whitetail Institute of North America takes the lead in improving nutrition for Whitetail deer. This time, the product literally goes to the root of the problem to create better forage. Imperial Whitetail IMPACT™ is an exclusive, patented plant growth stimulant that is applied directly to deer forage - both planted and natural. Results are amazing!

• Roots grow bigger and deeper producing a hardier, more drought-resistant planting

• Plants grow faster for quick forage establishment

• Plants taste better to deer, creating a natural ”DEER MAGNET”

• Plant protein and mineral content increases up to 30% providing more nutrition for better quality deer and antler growth • Traditional plantings of wheat, rye and oats are especially improved Your food plots will be greener and the deer will spend more time on YOUR side of the fence with Imperial IMPACT™. Call now for more information and we will send you our 60-minute video, ”Producing Trophy Whitetails.“ All you pay is $4.95 to cover shipping and handling. Specify VHS or DVD.

1-800-688-3030

$39.95 Value

Whitetail Institute of North America • 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043

Call for your FREE VIDEO! 46

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

The Whitetail Institute is proud to offer the WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE. This interesting plaque displays the jawbone and teeth of the critical first eight years of a deer’s life. The display measures 11 inches wide by 21 inches tall and is handmade of quality pine, sealed and protected with special lamination. The unique aging device is being used by the best deer biologists in America. It is fascinating to view and interesting enough to be displayed in your den, hunting lodge or camp. If you have serious management interest in the progress or decline of your deer herd, the WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE is an invaluable management tool. After a few hunting seasons of aging deer using this technique, you will actually be able to determine fairly accurately the age of your deer on the hoof. Jawbones and teeth reproductions represent deer from 1-1/2 years to 8-1/2 years old. Remember, the only way to accurately age deer is by the wear on the deer’s teeth. Our WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE shows you everything you need to know about these wear patterns and will help you make intelligent decisions about your deer management program. Every serious sportsman should have a WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE. With it, you can determine the age of each deer harvested. With this knowledge you are on your way to developing a deer management program that will lead to bigger and better-quality deer.

$

7495

+ $9.00 S/H

Call now at 1-800-688-3030 and order your WHITETAIL AGING PLAQUE for yourself or your hunting club.

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in the summer so there will be more forage when the deer need it in the fall. This past fall we saw plots grow six inches in two weeks with an application of Impact. Why does Impact create such an incredible growth response in plants? The secret is in the way the plant absorbs the nutrients. Unlike fertilizer, Impact is applied onto the leaves as a liquid and not dispersed on the ground in pellet form. The liquid form on the foliage is instantly absorbed and utilized. Also foliar applications (spraying) don’t require the soil pH to be optimal for Impact to be utilized, although proper pH is always preferred.

Impact isn’t your off-the-shelf liquid fertilizer. It is a specially blended plant growth stimulant that makes anything green and growing more healthy and nutritious.

A:

Even the wees in my plot are bigger since I sprayed Impact. Why? Impact works the same on any plant, so plots with weed problems may become overtaken. In this situation, you may not want to use Impact until you get the weeds under control.

Q: A:

food plot makes the plot more desirable. Impact makes vegetation grow faster and be more nutritious. So let’s summarize. Why should you start using Impact? Better quality food, higher yields and bragging rights. Remember, higher quality food means bigger antlers, heavier body weight and better tasting venison because of the marbling throughout the meat, making old mossy horns taste great while providing an exceptional mantel piece. W

: Can I use Impact on native vegetation?

Here are some of the common questions I have been asked about Impact: Is Impact the same as what I can by at a local coop?

Q:

Q: A:

Yes, I often recommend this when there is little natural vegetation around a food plot. Experience has shown that a 20 to 50 foot buffer zone around a

PRODUCT POINTERS

IMPACT

The author applied Impact to this Imperial Extreme food plot, and the lushness of the forage indicates its health.

Dan Eastman

• Helps plant grow a larger and deeper root system, creating more nutrient and moisture uptake, which helps produce a hardier, more drought resistant plant. • Helps plants grow faster for quick forage establishment — attracts deer to your food plots quicker. • Plants will taste better creating a “deer magnet.” • Plant protein and mineral content increases up to 30 percent, providing more nutrition for better quality deer and antler growth. • Keeps the grass greener on your side of the fence.

3-D Leafy Bugmaster™ 2-Piece: U.S. Patent #436,715, #6499141, U.S. 6,910,223,B2 3-D Field Lite™ 3-Piece: U.S. Patent #D436,715, #6499141, U.S. 6,910,223, B2 Visor Pro™: U.S. Patent #D436,715, U.S. Patent 6,910,223, B2

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Vol. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

47


MISSOURI

Imperial Clover Leads to Buck of a Lifetime Editor’s Note: This story was submitted by Julie Wohldmann of Missouri, a 21-year-old student at Truman State University and an avid deer hunter.

M

y Grandpa, Charles Wohldmann, and the rest of my family use your Imperial Whitetail Clover at our farm. We have had great luck with it, and it helped me take a great buck this year. My stand overlooks one of our Whitetail Clover plots. Actually, everyone has a stand on a Whitetail Clover plot. At 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 12, 2005, at our family farm in Pike County, Mo., I experienced something truly amazing. I arrived at my stand a little before 5:30 a.m., got everything situated, loaded my gun and just sat and listened to the woods. About 15 minutes later, I heard two bucks fighting on the hill behind me. It was an amazing

David Allen, — Arkansas Imperial Whitetail Clover is the best product I’ve used. I’m converting all plots to it this fall! I observe deer every day in food plots! Blake Allen — Georgia First planted Imperial Whitetail Clover in 2001. It really brought in and held the deer on my property! Kills increased right away and have continued to meet expectations. Buck activity has been greater with larger racks and bodies. Matt Bremer — Idaho The deer are congregating at the Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot. Dan Schultz II — Michigan We see 20 to 30 deer nightly all winter digging in snow up to 18 inches deep to get to the Imperial Whitetail Clover. This stuff is great.

sound and was something I had never heard before, except on TV. I could hear their racks hit and one get pushed in the leaves, and try to push back. This went on for a few minutes, and then I heard one pawing the ground. After that, I heard something coming down the hill. I knew it had to be one of the bucks I just heard. I could hear his rack hitting the tree branches on his way down. He sounded really close, but because it was pitch-black out, I couldn’t see anything; but I kept watching, hoping to catch a glimpse of his silhouette. Then, I saw something moving in my clover field, so I grabbed my binoculars to see if they could pull in enough light to see him; and they did. There was a huge, beautiful buck eating clover about 15 yards in front of me. I just sat there watching him, thinking maybe he would stay out in the field until it got light enough that I could get a shot. But he didn’t stay, and after a few minutes, he walked off. Then I heard another sound of something walking on that same hill behind me. I saw a big-bodied animal walking along the creek that runs just under my stand, but he went by too fast for me to get a look at him in my binoculars. I thought it might have been the other buck because of the size of his body. After hearing the fight and seeing one big buck for sure, I was really excited and had a great feeling. I knew even if I didn’t see those deer again, I had just experienced something that many hunters would love to see and hear but never have the chance. When it finally started to get light, I heard movement and grunting all over the same hill I had heard the bucks. Then I had a 6-point chase a doe in circles all around my stand, just grunting his heart out at her. I also had a fork-horn chase a doe right in front of my stand. Then about 30 minutes later, two does came out onto my field. At this point, I thought I was getting spoiled seeing all these deer, and then two more bucks came out. One was another 6-point, and the other was a little spike. I had shots at all of them; but after seeing that

PRODUCT POINTERS

IMPERIAL WHITETAIL CLOVER

48

• Up to 35% protein • Perennial, 3-5 years longevity • Plant 1/4 inch or less depth

• Plant eight pounds per acre • Genetically designed specifically for deer • For soils that hold moisture

Seedling Imperial Whitetail Clover.

Mature Imperial Whitetail Clover.

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

21 year old Julie Wohldmann enjoyed a thrilling hunt on a Missouri farm. It was a hunt most hunters only dream of.

monster in the morning, I was holding out for him. After the deer ran off, it was quiet for another halfhour until I heard leaves rustling on the hill. I looked, and saw a group of turkeys. I took a second glance and saw a 6-point buck chasing a doe straight through the turkeys. The turkeys scattered in the air and on the ground. About an hour later, I had two more bucks walk into my field; but they still weren’t big enough. It was quiet until about 3 in the afternoon when I saw a nice-sized buck dart across the far edge of my field. I couldn’t count his points, though I could see a rack. He was gone in the blink of an eye. At about 3:30 p.m., I had a little doe come onto the far edge of the field and stare right at me. She would eat and then look at me again. She sensed something wasn’t right, so she walked off. At 4:30 p.m., I heard something coming down the road on the hill behind me. I looked, and it was a beautiful buck. It was not quite as big as the one I had seen in the binoculars earlier that morning, but he was bigger than most. I got my gun up, and the buck turned to walk along the ledge of the creek — the same place I had seen the silhouette moving earlier that morning. My hand was steady as a rock because I knew I would only get one shot with the way this buck was walking. I waited until I had the shot and POW! I knew I got him. He ran about 25 yards and was down. When I walked over to see him, all I saw was a huge rack coming up from the ground. I could not believe it. That’s when my heart started pounding. My Dad came down about 5:15 p.m. from his stand, which was up the hill and I said, “I think I got one!” He couldn’t believe it and said, “That’s a beaut! That’s a beaut!” And he gave me a huge hug. “That’s a wall hanger,” he said. One of the best parts about killing the buck was not just the rush of taking such an amazing animal but making my dad so proud. Words can’t describe the look on my dad’s face and how it made me feel when he saw my buck for the first time. He’s someone I have always looked up to and respected. This was my first year hunting alone. Last year I killed my first buck with my dad out of his stand, and this year I built my own stand. Everything I have learned about hunting and appreciation and love for nature has been from my dad, grandpa and uncles. They are the best. They all couldn’t help but smile. My 11-point buck scored just under 150 and has the biggest rack of anything ever killed at our farm. I wanted to share this story and let people know that good things happen to those who wait—even if they are girls— and to let others know what an exciting hunt Whitetail Clover can provide. 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 super-nutritious 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.

F R E E Tr i a l O f f e r ! - C a l l 1 - 8 0 0 - 6 8 8 - 3 0 3 0 Offer 1- only $ 8.95 (shipping and handling) FREE all new video or DVD / FREE N0-Plow TM / FREE Imperial Clover TM FREE Extreme TM / FREE Alfa-Rack TM PLUS / FREE Chicory PLUS TM (each sample plants 100 sq. ft.)

Offer 2- only $19.95 (shipping and handling) Same as Offer 1 PLUS FREE 30-06 TM Mineral (5 lbs.) / FREE Cutting Edge TM Supplement (5 lbs.) 2 3 9 W h i t e t a i l T r a i l / P i n t l a l a , A L 3 6 0 4 3 / www.w h i t e t a i l i n s t i t u t e. co m


Dealing with Grass and Weed By Jon Cooner, Institute Product Consultant

Problems I

There are a few things you should consider when deciding whether to embark on a catch-up project to try to control mature grass or weeds in an existing Whitetail Institute perennial plot.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

f you’ve ever planted anything, you’ve undoubtedly had unwanted grasses and weeds show up at some point. The same is true of Whitetail Institute perennial plots. Even if you planted the plot according to Whitetail Institute guidelines, you can bet that grass and/or weeds will probably appear sometime during the life of the plot. There are a couple ways to control grass and weeds that show up in perennial plots after planting — mowing and, if appropriate, applying selective herbicides such as the Whitetail Institute’s Arrest grass herbicide and Slay weed herbicide. Mowing is a recommended step in maintaining Whitetail Institute perennial plots during the spring and summer, and for a number of reasons, including weed control. Keeping weeds mowed so that they never have a chance to flower (produce seed heads) can break the reseeding cycle of annual weeds. The key is to mow weeds soon after they appear and, if necessary, keep mowing them periodically throughout the spring and summer to prevent them from flowering. Just don’t mow if it’s hot and dry. Mowing during the spring and summer also helps keep perennials highly attractive by stimulating them to produce lush, new growth. Because Whitetail Institute perennials grow from the root system and can live for years without relying on flowering to reseed themselves — a process that robs plants of huge amounts of nutrients and energy— mowing them helps keep nutrients and energy in the foliage where they are available to deer. Selective herbicides such as Arrest and/or Slay may also be appropriate for use in grass and weed control, depending on a number of factors, such as forage blend and types of vegetation infesting the plot. Arrest is labeled as appropriate for controlling most kinds of grass in any Whitetail Institute perennial plot and in other varieties of clover and alfalfa. Slay is labeled as appropriate for controlling many kinds of broadleaf weeds in Imperial Whitetail

Clover, Alfa-Rack and other varieties of clover and alfalfa. Be sure to check Arrest and Slay labels for additional information on the proper use. The labels are also available online at www.whitetailinstitute.com. For optimum results, grass- and weed-control efforts should be started early. The Whitetail Institute recommends that its perennials be mowed starting shortly after green-up each spring. Also, if grass or weeds are to be controlled with Arrest or Slay, the best time to spray them is shortly after the grass or weeds emerge and before they grow to a height of six inches. But what if you didn’t control your grass and weeds early and now your plot is infested with mature grass or weeds? Is all lost? Not necessarily. It will be much harder to control grass and weeds once they mature, but it may not be impossible. Only you can decide whether to try to eliminate the infested plants or start over with a new planting. The following tips may help you make an informed decision and, if you decide to try to control mature grass and weeds, maximize the results of your efforts. There are a few things you should consider when deciding whether to embark on a catch-up project to try to control mature grass or weeds in an existing Whitetail Institute perennial plot. First, it makes sense to do a cost/benefit analysis to see whether you will come out better financially by throwing in the towel and starting over with a brand new planting. In the long run, replanting may be the better option if your plot is heavily infested and/or several years old and near the end of its intended lifespan. Also keep in mind that, while mowing mature grass and weeds may make them more susceptible to the effects of Arrest or Slay, the plants will still be mature and, therefore, harder to control than seedlings. Weather should also be considered since you should not mow or use Arrest or Slay when it is excessively hot, dry or droughty. If you decide to try to control mature grass and weeds

www.whitetailinstitute.com


Whitetail Institute

rather than starting over with a new planting, be sure that you get started a month or more before grass and weeds in your area will begin to go dormant in the fall. This is necessary because grass and weeds must be controlled when they are actively growing. Start by mowing your plot to a height of six inches, and then wait until grass and weeds show signs of new growth (usually a week or two). Once new growth is apparent, spray the entire plot with Arrest and/or Slay if appropriate, and use the maximum concentration for the herbicide as listed on its label. The addition of an adjuvant, such as a surfactant or crop oil concentrate, to the Arrest spray mixture is not required for Arrest to control seedling grasses. However, adding an adjuvant to the Arrest spray mixture according to label instructions may increase its effect on mature grasses. If you are trying to control both grass and weeds in clover or alfalfa, spray Arrest first, and then spray Slay a minimum of three days later. Arrest and Slay begin to work almost immediately, but be patient. You should start to see grass and weeds starting to yellow within two to three weeks. Then, be sure to resume your grass and weed control efforts, including periodic mowing. Again, remember that spraying mature grass and weeds may not be as effective as compared to spraying seedlings. These tips should help you make an informed decision on whether to spray a plot infested with mature grass and weeds and how to spray it, or simply replant. Maintenance recommendations for Whitetail Institute perennials are provided on the back of each product bag and are available on-line at www.whitetailinstitute.com. The Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants are also standing by to answer your questions about food-plot maintenance at our toll-free number, (800) 688-3030, ext. 2, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday. W

â–  Other Important Information Concerning Grass and Weed Control >>>>>>>>>>> rrest can be used on all Whitetail Institute

A

forage blends, and Slay is labeled as appropriate for use on some Whitetail Institute forage

blends but not on others. Slay contains a pre-emergent that is residual. Timing of herbicide applications may be affected by many factors, including the time since the last mowing, weather conditions, age of the food plot and other factors. Be patient, because although Arrest and Slay begin to work almost immediately, it can take a few weeks for the weeds or grass to begin to yellow. Arrest and Slay produce best results on seedling weeds and new growth, but recently planted plots may not be appropriate for herbicide application. Always read and follow the label instructions when using these, or any other, herbicides and adjuvants (crop oil, surfactant or sticking agent). If you have any questions, call our in-house consultants at 800688-3030, ext. 2.

Ensure the success of your food plots. Our line of herbicides protect your investment by making sure that the plants you have so carefully planted can compete with grasses and weeds for nutrients and water. Arrest kills most grasses, but won’t harm clover, alfalfa, chicory or Extreme. Slay eliminates broadleaf plants and weeds, and is safe for clover and alfalfa. Both herbicides are extensively field-tested and can be easily applied by 4-wheeler or tractor sprayer. Easy and effective protection for your crop.

The Whitetail Institute / 239 Whitetail Trail/ Pintlala, AL 36043 / 800-688-3030 / www.whitetailinstitute.com

Treated

Un-Treated

Research = Results.

www.whitetailinstitute.com

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Bill Winke

Large tractors and large implements can prepare the ground and plant food plots quickly. Purchasing large equipment, however, is not feasible for most hunters.

Welcome to the World of Farming Equipment List for the Food Plot Manager Earthway

By Bill Winke

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

www.whitetailinstitute.com


W

hen you lease or buy a piece of hunting land, your first inclination will be to hire someone to plant and maintain your food plots. It is a great plan. You won’t need to put in all the time, and you won’t have to buy all the equipment. Too bad that plan ultimately is likely to fail. Here is how it will go: The first year might work out all right; the farmer will be enthusiastic, but after that, he will likely lose interest in all the small work that goes into a detailed deer management plan. Soon he will turn his focus to other projects that make him more money for his time, and your work will slide down his to-do list until it is at the bottom. You may still get him to do certain types of jobs, but it will on his schedule, not yours. It happens almost like clockwork; the only exception being if you are able to strike up a friendship with a farmer who is more or less retired, still has all the equipment, doesn’t live far away and will do your work as much for recreation as for the money. There aren’t many of these guys around. Eventually, if you are serious about your food plot program, you will find that you need to buy the equipment yourself. Then you can control when the work gets done. Planting and maintenance will happen at optimum times rather than just when it is convenient (usually after the optimum time). You will face a number of steep learning curves: which equipment to buy, how to run it, how to maintain it and what practices are required to produce the results you desire. Unfortunately, there is only one way to learn — dive right in. Welcome to the world of farming.

designed to kill existing vegetation. Burn-down adds about $25 per acre depending on how much herbicide you need to take down the stand of weeds. That’s not a big expense if you’re only doing two or three acres, but it adds up fast when you bump up the size of the operation. In my experience with food plot farming, tilled soil will

Kunz Engineering

One of the most important implements for a food plot manager is a cultipacker, like this one made by Kunz Engineering.

also produce a better crop than untilled soil. Tilled soil warms up quicker to cause more complete seed germination. I’ve done it both ways — full-till and no-till — and fulltill has produced the best results. The improved production and money savings offset the extra time invested. There are many tradeoffs in the tillage decision including annual rainfall, soil types, etc., but you will rarely go wrong tilling the soil, especially when planting forage blends that include clover and alfalfa. Other factors: Sometimes it makes sense to open up a new field using no-till practices. That allows you to get a good weed and grass kill the first year before planting and then you can come back and till the soil in subsequent years. Some slopes are simply too steep to permit tillage as a sound soil conservation practice. If the land you are setting aside for food plots is subject to erosion, you should use a no-till solution whenever possible, even if that means hiring someone else to plant that ground. Also, if you’re planting food plots on CRP acres (regulations permit you to plant up to 10 percent of your total contract acres in food plots), agents from the county office will dictate the practice you must follow when you change your conservation plan to include food plots. On certain slopes they will likely restrict you to only no-till planting. Tillage decision vs. equipment needs: There is no question that having the no-till equipment gives you the most flexibility because you can also use the same tools for full tillage planting. If you plan to go this no-till route, get your checkbook out; you will need a no-till drill. They are very expensive, even when you buy used equipment. For example, a new 7-foot drill that you can pull with a small tractor will cost at least $12,000. A decent used model will likely cost about half that amount. So, if you are trying to do this on a moderate budget, forget about the no-till equipment for now and focus on tillage solutions. THE BASIC TASKS In this section, I’m going to detail the most basic tasks you will need equipment to perform.

One important decision you will make pertains to tillage. You have a few options here — full tillage, minimum tillage and no-till. I suggest that you go the full tillage route for several reasons — not the least of which is the cost of a no-till drill which could well cost as much as your tractor. Additionally, when you till the ground, you eliminate the initial herbicide application (called a burn-down) that’s www.whitetailinstitute.com

Summit ATV

THE TILLAGE DECISION

Summit’s ATV flip-disk does a fantastic job breaking the dirt. When you’re done just flip it over and drive back to camp, eliminating the need for a trailer in many cases.

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4-Wheeler mowers like the Bush Hoh model shown are extremely versatile and do a great job keeping food plots cut without the need for an expensive tractor. Plot mowing is an excellent way to control weed competition and can also do mowing around the house.

stays wet for several days, but this is far from optimal. You need to compact the soil, then lightly drag or use a cultipacker to insure good seed-to-soil contact, especially with

products such as Imperial Whitetail Clover, Chicory Plus, Extreme and Alfa-Rack Plus. Next, you will need a brush-hog to mow and maintain

With Secret Spot you can keep your favorite hunting location between just you and the deer. This easy-to-plant annual blend makes it a snap to put in a nutritious, attractive forage without attracting the attention of anyone other than the deer. Minimal ground preparation with just a rake or hoe is all it takes to plant a super-nutritious forage that deer will love. Keep your spot a secret; share the results with your friends.

FREE Trial Offer! Call 1-800-688-3030 Offer 1- only $8.95 (shipping and handling) FREE all new video or DVD / FREE N0-Plow TM FREE Imperial Clover TM / FREE Extreme TM / FREE Alfa-Rack TM PLUS FREE Chicory PLUS TM (each sample plants 100 sq. ft.)

Offer 2- only $19.95 (shipping and handling) Same as Offer 1 PLUS FREE 30-06 TM Mineral (5 lbs.) FREE Cutting Edge TM Supplement (5 lbs.)

The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043 www.whitetailinstitute.com

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

www.whitetailinstitute.com

Bush Hog

First, you may want to kill weeds before you plant or till and sometimes after plot establishment. That means you need a sprayer of some kind. A good sprayer is a very important piece of equipment, and you don’t want to skimp here because you will use it a fair amount. One of the local farmer’s co-ops where I live will come and spray even small food plots, but they charge by the hour rather than by the acre. If you have more than a couple of acres to do, this might be a good option. It will save you time over the long haul and money over the short haul. Again, you give up some control of timing; however, most co-ops have proven fairly responsive to this kind of request because they have trucks out all the time spraying for commercial farmers. You will only run into timing snags if you have a specialty job that doesn’t fall into one of their normal chemical mixes. For example, if you want to apply a grass herbicide to your legume plot, you may have to wait a while. Second, you will need some kind of tillage equipment. The most basic piece of tillage equipment is a simple disk appropriately sized to fit behind your tractor or ATV. Deep tillage equipment is nice but you can add that to the list later. A simple disk will get you started. Third, keeping with the basics theme, you need something to apply your seeds to the ground. The most basic approach is to simply buy a seed spreader for your ATV or tractor’s power take-off drive and then devise a system for incorporating the seed into the ground to assure good seed-to-soil contact for complete germination. For this kind of incorporation, I have used everything from pulling a piece of cattle panel fencing weighted with a log behind an ATV to a cultipacker that presses the seeds into the ground. If you aren’t drilling the seed into the ground, you need some method for creating the needed soil compaction required before and after seeding. Don’t be temped just to spread the seed on top of the ground ahead of a rain and hope for the best. You may get decent germination if it


your perennial plots and to control areas of brush that you want to convert to food plots. It is very hard to do this work with an ATV, though there are ATV-mounted mowers that are effective. It takes a stout mower to handle the rough work you will ultimately require from your mower/brush-hog. Fertilizing the soil is the final task that you will have to perform, no matter what you plant or how you plant it. The easiest way to fertilize your plots is to go to the local fertilizer/seed co-op and rent a fertilizer cart already filled with the fertilizer blend you need for the planting. This is standard practice at most co-ops. The second option is to buy a rear-mount fertilizer spreader for your tractor or ATV (obviously larger for your tractor). This permits you to handle the job more easily if you are doing only a few acres and don’t mind buying the fertilizer in bags and applying it yourself. The size of the job should dictate your equipment choice in this matter. GOING SMALL If you only plan to plant a few small plots, one to three acres total, it doesn’t make sense to buy farm equipment. You should be able to hire your neighbor to do most of the real work for you. However, as mentioned in the introduction, you will find that your work will take second priority to his other farming practices. If the weather permits only a small planting window, you will often lose out. Additionally, you will need some equipment to maintain your plots. No matter how you look at this, you are either going to have to borrow or buy some equipment eventually. I know one group of deer hunters who manage 800 acres in southern Indiana. They conduct their entire food plot program, with the exception of selected large plots, with an ATV. ATV-mounted accessories have been improving every year, and they are now good enough to present a viable

The powerful appeal of Magnet Mix is now available in a handy, 4-part block. Just break apart the block and place the sections wherever you want the deer to gather. In addition to being enormously attractive to deer, the formula in the 4-Play block contains a combination of essential vitamins and minerals. Four times the attraction in the block; four times the deer activity on your property. Because of the Magnet Mix line’s incredible attractiveness, some states may consider it bait. Remember to check your local game laws before hunting over Magnet Mix products.

800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.com The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

Research = Results.

www.whitetailinstitute.com

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option for the small-acreage food plot farmer. Because these products have only been on the market for a few years, there isn’t much used equipment available, so you will likely have to buy new equipment. If you want to go with something more substantial than the ATV implements, you will need only a few small pieces of junior-sized farm equipment. Here is what you will need: ATV-mounted system: (all prices approximate) • Sprayer with 10-foot boom: $300 to $700 • 60-pound capacity spreader: $150 to $250 • 4 to 5-foot food plot disk: $700 to $900 • Plot mower: $2,500 to $4,000 Small tractor system: (prices based on used equipment on auction) • Tractor (25 to 50hp): $3,000 and up • 5 to 8–foot disk: $500 to $900 • -PTO spreader 300 to 900 lb capacity — NEW $350 to $450 • 4 to 5-foot brush-hog mower: $500 to $1,000 GOING BIG

GroundBuster’s lime spreader can be used both behind a 4-wheeler or tractor. This is one accesory that has not been available for a 4-wheeler application until recently. It allows anyone to spread lime, even on the most remote locations.

B-I-H Enterprises

Big is a relative term. No pure food plot operation can be properly termed “big” when compared to commercial farming ventures. I call it big if you have more than five acres of food plots. At some auctions, the small tractors and implements bring top dollar because there are now so many hobby farmers. Here’s a realistic equipment list and what you can expect to pay at auctions: • • • •

Larger utility tractor (50 to 80 hp): $5,000 and up 6 to 10-foot light-duty disk: $500 - $1,000 6 to 8-foot brush-hog mower: $600 to $1,200 PTO-driven 18 to 21-foot boom, 110 gallon sprayer: $400 and up

Making food plots just got a whole lot easier

Rocky Branch Outfitters

with the Till-Ease Model 543 chisel plow / field cultivator. The Model 543 is equipped with rigid shanks that are capable of penetrating hard ground and making deep seedbeds. Most other ATV tillage equipment can only scratch the surface on hard ground. In many cases deep seedbeds are the key to a stronger, faster growing food plot. Cultipacker Also Available! The Till-Ease Model 2148 Cultipacker is another great addition to our line of tillage equipment. A cultipacker is a great tool for providing the proper seed to soil contact. That translates to faster more dependable seed germination.

The Ultimate Bow Hunt for World Class Whitetails. Illinois is known for it’s 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. Exciting spring turkey hunts are also available.

Bob Walker / Wal ker’s 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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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

MODEL 543 FEATURES Up to 6 inch depths, 43 inches wide. Cutting coulters for cutting light trash and reducing clod size. Tongue adjuster for different hitch heights and tool leveling. Pinned shanks for quick adjustments and easy removal. Electric lift with ATV controls. Weight racks. Optional drag harrow attachment and turning shovel kit.

MODEL 2148 48 INCH CULTIPACKER

MODEL 543 CHISEL PLOW / FIELD CULTIVATOR

2100 Welland Rd. Mendota, IL 61342

(815) 539-6954 www.kunzeng.com www.whitetailinstitute.com


“This IsThe Smoothest Riding Utility Vehicle I’ve Ever Used” “I’ve used utility vehicles on our farm, hunting lodge in Georgia and our camps in Colorado and Canada for years. This is the smoothest one I’ve ever ridden. I don’t even spill JOHN WILSON my coffee. Fact is, tests with Farmer & accelerometers show it’s Chief Guide almost 49% smoother Trophy Quest, Inc. than the best selling Georgia Colorado utility vehicle. And Canada the smooth ride is just the beginning. The Bush Hog® Trail Series® Utility Vehicles also deliver better traction, better standard features and Bush Hog’s famous dependability.”

Also available in Bush Hog Red and Deep Forest Green.

See the accelerometer test results, performance video and Bush Hog Utility Vehicle features including true four-wheel independent suspension, on-demand four-wheel drive, continuously variable transmission and Detroit Gearless Locker® at www.bushhog.com/whitetail See the performance of Bush Hog’s All Terrain Vehicles at www.bushhog.com/whitetail

BUSH HOG, L.L.C. • P.O. Box 1039 • Selma, AL 36702-1039 (334) 874-2700 • Dept. WI- 06 • www.bushhog.com/whitetail

Bush Hog Utility Vehicles. Better Ride Than Bucking Competitors.


GOLD TIP

368 South Gold Tip Dr Orem, Utah 84058 800.551.0541 www.GOLDTIP.com

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

www.whitetailinstitute.com

Earthaway

4-Wheelers give you the option to use one piece of equipment at a time or as this photo illustrates a Earthaway seed spreader followed by a cultipacker.


• PTO-driven spreader: 3-point hitch 300 to 900 pound cap: $350 to $450 (New)

Try to get a warranty of some kind from the dealer. If tions that advertised the model I wanted before I found a he insists that the only terms are “as is,” you are no better good one with medium hours that fit the budget. I saved off than if you bought the same piece on auction where about $3,500 from what that same tractor would have HOW TO BUY AND WHERE TO BUY you would likely pay less. cost from a dealer. That ended up being about a 15 perWhen buying ATV implements, you will need to go cent savings. For about $4,500, you can buy ATV implements to Implement dealer: Most implement dealers will sell through a specialty retailer such as an ATV shop or directhandle small plot work, and for about $10,000, you can both new and used equipment. Of course, you will get the ly through the Internet. buy what you need to handle everything else. The best very best gear if you buy new, and you will also get a Buying the equipment needed to plant your own situation occurs if you can pool your resources with a great warranty. However, if you are working on a limited food plots is a very good idea if your requirements exceed neighbor who is also planting food plots for deer. You will budget, new equipment may just be too expensive. When a few acres. In the end, you will get much better results have similar requirements and can split the cost. Here are you buy used from an implement dealer, you save yourself and you will gain a sense of accomplishment and pride in the two primary places where you can buy the equipment the time of attending numerous auctions; and if you are your farming efforts. It adds yet another dimension to Advertorial #3_0306 4/6/06 9:41 PM Page 1 you need. lucky, you will get some assurances that the piece you are your role as steward of the land. W Auctions: I enjoy going to farm auctions. They are buying is quality. great social events in rural America. It is fun to talk to farmers, to eat chilidogs, bid on few things and watch the to-and-fro of the auctioneer. However, there is also a more tangible reason to go to auctions. In my experience, they are definitely the cheapest source of real equipment, but By Steve Bartylla there is always a risk when you buy “as is.” When you buy arely do hunting products come along that radically alter how I approach hunting. Over all the years, I can point cheap, the piece you are bidding on may actually be worn to few products that have taken my game to a new level. First there was the emergence of strap-on treestands. out. If there are a bunch of farmers standing around Next came compound bows. After that, Scent-Lok and Scent Killer emerged. Finally, Double Bull Archery opened watching you buy something cheap, you can almost bank my eyes to hunting from the ground. Each one of these products has made me a more effective hunter. on the fact that you will be putting a whole lot more The latest product to accomplish this is the Heater Body Suit. On the surface, one may question how a hunting bag, money into that piece of equipment before you are done. specifically designed to keep hunters warm in the most brutally cold conditions, can be the target of such a bold Auctions are the ultimate in capitalism in action. You statement. Those that follow my work realize I rarely make statements like that and never do without solid reasons. may sometimes get a great price, but the result of the Obviously, with an unconditional “You stay warm or your money back” guarantee, the Heater Body Suit does keep experience definitely epitomizes the statement, “Let the hunters warm. Also, with the crisscross strap system that keeps the suit up during the shot, along with the ultra quiet buyer beware.” Take someone with you who knows how fabric and a zipper system designed for easy, quiet use, the Heater Body Suit meets the requirements of serious hunters. However, none of that is near enough for me to qualify it as a revolutionary product. to size-up equipment to help you buy quality. There are always a few warning signs when buying any piece of What takes it to that next step is what it enables me to do on those days from the mid 30°’s F. to -20°’s F. It simply allows me to dress nearly the same from the season’s opener to its close. Previously, I had to either accept sweating on equipment: bearings, worn parts that signal other possithe way into the stand and the odor that goes with it or deal with adding and removing layers as my activity levels or ble problems, oil leaks, a certain noise, etc. A kick here temperatures changed. Now, none of that is a concern. Whenever it’s in the 30 ’s F. or lower, I simply dress to the level and push there will tell volumes to someone who knows that I’ll be slightly chilled when I arrive at stand, slip into the suit and adjust the zipper up and down to regulate an ideal what they are doing. Every piece of equipment has wear heat level. More often than not, I’m even able to remain unzipped enough to allow me to hold my bow and be ready for points and problem areas. A friend who has bought and action. I can now have all of this, without sweating, extra movement, and odors caused by changing layers! sold farm equipment a few times is worth the price of a The crowning jewel is that I no longer must practice and adjust my sight with each new bulky layer added. Whether few auction lunches and maybe even a finder’s fee. it’s a bow or a firearm, adding bulk changes shooting form. The more bulk the more the form is altered. If adjustments If you can’t find someone to go with you to the aucaren’t made to the sight or scope, accuracy will be compromised. Since I now always wear minimal layers, my shots are always as natural as they were on opening day! When all of that is added up, one can see why I feel safe in saying that tion, ask a local farmer about the problem areas with the the Heater Body Suit is one of those elite products that have taken my game to a new level. pieces of equipment you are looking to buy. He will likely tell you exactly how to spot a problem piece before you To learn more about The Heater Body Suit, contact: Heater Clothing, Inc., buy it. 14302 Pigeon River Rd., Cleveland, WI 53015; (888) 565-2652; www.heaterbodysuit.com In the end, you will likely have to attend several auctions to gather the pieces you want at good prices. For example, I wanted to buy a 125-hp tractor for the large farm I was managing at the time. I attended three auc-

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WHITETAIL NEWS

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MASSACHUSETTS

Food Plots Build Healthy Herd

R

ay Keddy Jr. from Massachusetts started using No-Plow and Imperial Whitetail Clover four years ago. Keddy was committed to building a healthy deer herd and knew if he wanted bigger bucks he had to invest in quality products. “I got started with a small amount of Imperial Clover seed that a local feed store had,” Keddy remembered. “Instead of using the standard clover and winter rye, I decided to give the Whitetail Institute products a try. I found out they worked great and deer would definitely come to the No-Plow and Imperial Whitetail Clover. At first, when I figured about how much seed I needed to plant my plots, it seemed like a lot to invest.

But after a couple of years, it’s proven its worth. The plots are still growing strong with some thanks to the farmer that manages my fields.” Currently, Keddy is managing about four to five acres of food plots. And he is seeing first-hand the attraction of No-Plow, Imperial Whitetail Clover and also Alfa-Rack. “I’m seeing the deer working through the oaks and winter rye and heading straight to the Imperial Whitetail Clover, Alfa-Rack and No-Plow fields,” he said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get to my favorite blind when you work from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The deer have already beaten me to the food plots.”

Massachusetts’ Ray Keddy, Jr. is producing bucks that prove the Northeast can provide great hunting.

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IMPERIAL NO PLOW • Up to 36% protein • Annual • Plant 1/4 inch or less depth • Plant 18-25 pounds per acre • Fast growing • Perfect for logging roads and clearcuts • Minimal tillage equipment required No-Plow contains a mixture of plants that mature and attract deer from early fall through late winter.

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

The first trophy buck Keddy shot was a wide, high 8-point (buck in the upper left of the photo). “He had come to the field the first year after I planted it,” Keddy said. “He came to do battle with another beautiful buck. I watched in amazement as the two bucks fought for over 30 minutes in the field and back out again. I’ll never forget the sounds and the visual experience of that day. It will probably never be duplicated again.” The 11-point (buck in the upper right of the photo) was killed the following year. Keddy had been scouting the buck all summer but was afraid that the construction of his new home might frighten the deer onto another’s property. “I had built a house that summer and I was afraid with all the noise and commotion that this monster wouldn’t be around long,” he explained. “To my surprise, when shotgun season opened, he came to the lush Imperial Clover field right behind two does.” Two bucks were shot from the same stand in 2004. A nice 8-point buck (buck in the bottom left of the photo) was taken just before last light, trailing a doe right into the Imperial Clover field. “I couldn’t have asked for better hunt,” he said. “It was just after some light snow, and the deer were coming to get something to eat. The other buck (the buck in the bottom right of the photo) was taken by my father on the last day of the season. This buck has an impressive 28-inch spread and weighed more than 200 pounds, which is great for a Massachusetts deer. I know this year will be just as good because the products I have planted are still growing strong with minimal effort. “I saw more than 20 deer in this same field just last week including two bucks fighting. I enjoyed watching the show as many does and some small bucks were feeding. It was like a night at the movies with some popcorn and a good view. “I have also noticed that the does in the last couple of years have been giving birth to more fawns, and the yearlings have been sprouting nubs a lot sooner. The year-old spikes have 8- to 12-inch spikes instead of the 4- and 6-inch spikes. I know the nutrition is there, for bucks and does alike.” W

Tony Oakley — Alabama No-Plow is a great product! It germinates very fast, and deer are feeding on it in three weeks. Great for bow season. Mark Manincor — Michigan I’ve planted No-Plow and had good success with it. I would also like to congratulate you on wonderful products. We have seen more deer during all times of the day since using your products. Bucks of all ages are coming to the plots during hunting season. We never saw anything like this before in the 30-plus years that the property has been hunted. Joel Hall — North Carolina The No-Plow not only attracts deer but also allows me to use it for erosion problems where other seed will not grow! Jeff Rosak — Pennsylvania We are entering our fifth year of management since we started using No-Plow and Imperial Whitetail Clover. The average weight of all age classes has increased every year. We manage with our neighbors who harvested one of Pennsylvania’s top-100 typicals. I saw seven bucks the first Saturday of rifle season, which is unheard of in western PA.

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Food Plots

B

and

aiting:

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Russell Graves

I’ve hunted whitetails in more than two dozen states. Some allow baiting while others do not. And I’ve spent many hours pondering the question of baiting from a social, ethical and biological perspective. 62

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

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T

he West Texas wind had been howling around my box blind for several hours; but as the late afternoon sun began lengthening the shadows, the wind finally slacked off. The surrounding mesquite and cactus scrub seemed devoid of life, and the sudden calmness only served to amplify a feeling of desolation. Then, a nearby feeder went off; its sudden ringing nearly launched me from my seat. No sooner had the spinner finished broadcasting corn when deer began materializing out of what, just seconds before, had seemed like a lifeless desert. First came a pair of skittish does, followed shortly by a spike, later a 5-pointer, more does, then more bucks. The bucks seemed to get sequentially bigger — first the reckless yearlings, then a brace of sleek, 2-year-old 8points. It was exciting, but these weren’t the deer I had flown 1,500 miles to hunt. It wasn’t until shooting light was almost gone that he came — a mature 10-point. With only a scant few minutes to spare, he finally stepped into range. But as I drew back my bow, a sudden twinge of guilt flashed in my psyche. It felt like cheating; it was almost too easy. I grew up in New England, where baiting is not only illegal, but abhorred. This was the first time I’d ever hunted over bait, and though I was genuinely impressed with the number of animals I saw each day, I still felt just a little uneasy about the whole thing. My moral dilemma passed quickly though, and I sent a spiraling shaft toward the buck’s vitals. Since then, I’ve hunted whitetails in more than two dozen states. Some allow baiting while others do not. And I’ve spent many hours pondering the question of baiting from a social, ethical and biological perspective. The ethical questions can be debated ad nauseam, though ultimately, I believe if the practice is allowed by law, it’s up to the individual hunter to decide. As hunters and biologists, we are more concerned with the social and biological issues. Recent years have seen more widespread legalization and acceptance of baiting, particularly in states with burgeoning urban and suburban deer populations. The justifi-

cation is that it provides a more effective way to control deer numbers. However, if we’re going to try and sell that message to the non-hunting public, we need facts to back it up. And a recent study puts some gaping holes in that argument. THE SOUTH CAROLINA EXPERIENCE South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) biologist Charles Ruth has been researching the subject of baiting and how effective it is from both a hunting and management perspective. At the Quality Deer Management Association’s (QDMA) 2005 annual conference, Ruth discussed recent research he’s conducted in his home state. The results were both surprising and enlightening. Ruth’s study area, the state of South Carolina, provided an ideal laboratory. In the 18-county upstate area known as the Piedmont, baiting is prohibited by DNR regulations. In the Coastal Plain region, it is not addressed in regulations, and thus allowed by default. “It’s a real weird situation how we got where we are,” said Ruth. The difference is primarily attributable to history. “There were always deer in the Coastal Plain,” he noted. Hunting in that region was done predominantly with dogs. “Baiting was never an issue.” By the late 1970s, and especially the mid-1980s, the region saw a rapid shift to still hunting. “Since there was no law against it, people started baiting, and now it’s entrenched,” Ruth added. “To a large extent, we’ve moved past what I would call baiting, and into supplemental feeding.” In this case, supplemental feeding refers to largescale feeding programs (not mineral/vitamin supplement feeding). The Piedmont situation was quite different. Formerly, deer were absent. There were some restoration efforts, but most of the population growth was natural and gradual. By the late 1950s, the DNR established a hunting season. As

deer numbers were low, they prohibited hunting over bait. This divergence has led to a lot of confusion. Many residents don’t understand the difference, and they feel the DNR is being arbitrary and capricious in their regulations. “There’s ongoing pressure to prescribe baiting as acceptable practice,” Ruth said. “It’s not prescribed in the Coastal Plain; it’s simply permitted by omission.” Meanwhile, DNR biologists do not support baiting due to biological, social and ethical issues. South Carolina’s high deer population exacerbates the baiting problem. “Many believe that hunting with bait leads to better hunter success and higher harvest rates,” Ruth said, “and this should lead to a better deer management situation.” DNR biologists disagreed, and they set out to prove it. What they did, quite simply, is compare harvest and effort between the two aforementioned regions over roughly a four-year period. In their experiment, the Piedmont, with no baiting, represented the control, while the Coastal Plain represented the treatment. They also made two assumptions: first, deer densities across regions were comparable, and second, there were no effects due to season length. Ruth noted there is a perception that deer densities are much higher in the Coastal Plain. While he believes densities are similar, he admits the Coastal Plain may have slightly more deer. He also acknowledged that the Coastal Plain has a longer season — 140 days — versus 109 days for the Piedmont, which may have influenced some results. RESULTS “The results,” Ruth said, “were shocking. And the more data we gathered, the more our findings were reinforced.” For starters, the Piedmont’s total deer harvest was 33 percent greater than that of the Coastal Plain. More important from a management standpoint was the doe harvest, which was 41 percent higher in the Piedmont; and the number of does harvested per buck, which was 12 percent higher in

Bob Humphrey

Baiting primarily originated in Texas, where many hunters rely on the attraction of corn feeders to harvest deer.

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WHITETAIL NEWS

63


Food plots are much more beneficial to whitetail than baiting. A quality food plot is available 24/7, 365 days of the year and with food plots you don’t have unnatural congregations of deer.

likely due to more nocturnal behavior. While Ruth did not have any supportive data, it’s reasonable to assume if hunters are harvesting 33 percent fewer deer over bait, then deer numbers will also increase. “You stand a chance of unnaturally supporting a higher deer population,” he cautioned. This practice is diametrically opposed to the concept of quality deer management. Your property will hold more deer than the land could support on its own, and even with

supplemental feeding, habitat will suffer, making you a slave to a very expensive feeding program. Furthermore, because deer are harder to kill, you have far less control over sex and age ratio of your population. There are also other social implications. One Ruth looked at was deer-vehicle collisions. Despite the Piedmont having a 33 percent higher human population, it had seven percent fewer deer-vehicle collisions per capita.

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 AlfaRack Plus.

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The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail Hope Hull, AL 36043 w w w. w h i t e t a i l i n s t i t u t e . c o m

Research = Results. 64

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

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Bob Humphrey

the Piedmont. That may be significant to a biologist, but what about a hunter? Not only did hunters kill more deer where baiting is prohibited, but they expended less effort to do so. Results in the Coastal Plain were even more revealing. Not surprisingly, Coastal Plain hunters accounted for more days afield, which Ruth attributed to the longer season. However, they had to hunt longer to take a deer. Piedmont hunters accounted for six percent fewer days per deer harvested. These results were counterintuitive and naturally beg the question: Why? “We know through research that baiting changes deer movements and distribution,” Ruth said. He cited other research that shows when bait is available, deer tend to visit bait sites more at night, and it is mostly younger animals that visit during daylight. He also cited results from one study area in South Carolina where baiting had evolved to supplemental feeding. There, the ratio of night visits to bait sites compared to day visits was 25:1. Given these results, if your goal is to harvest more deer, baiting may actually work against you as a hunter; and as Ruth pointed out, “it’s not going to help you much from an overall management standpoint.” Baiting can also be the first step on a slippery slope. Ruth has observed a growing trend from baiting to supplemental feeding. Looking at the effect of bait on body condition and local deer densities, he observed that both increase as you move from baiting to supplemental feeding. For his example, he compared data from an area with supplemental feeding and a nearby wildlife management area that doesn’t allow baiting or feeding. “In the area where feeding took place, deer had greater body weights in nine of ten sex/age classes,” Ruth said. “So you can artificially prop up your deer physically.” Hunters in the supplemental feeding area spent 34 percent more man-days per deer harvested. Again, this is


It won’t make you a better hunter, and based on Ruth’s research, won’t make you a more successful one either. Meanwhile, the general public does not view food plots as baiting. Baiting also unnaturally partitions the resource. “We often hear of baiting pitting hunters against one another,� Ruth said. Imagine, you have a sound QDM program in place and have expended hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on building food plots to grow healthier deer. Then a week before the season, your neighbor dumps a pile of corn over on his side of the property line, hoping to take advantage of all your hard work. It hardly seems fair to the wildlife manager that created food plots, even though we now know that the neighbor with the corn pile may be less successful because of the bait.

WHAT ABOUT FOOD PLOTS? Ruth was quick to note there is a difference between baiting and planting food plots. “Food plots are part of an overall habitat management plan that also benefits other species,� he said. “The food plot is out there 24/7, 365 days of the year. You don’t have unnatural congregations of deer, and as a result, they’re less susceptible to disease issues.� Obviously, a lot depends on your food plot layout: how big your plots are, how many you plant and what type of forages they contain. Food plots, however, are much more akin to concentrated natural food sources. Again as Ruth pointed out, they’re out there 24/7-365, unlike a pile of corn placed a week or two before the season, and maintained only until the season ends. They’re part of the landscape, and deer visit them more like they would a natural food source.

â–  Comparison of deer harvest data between Piedmont (P) and Coastal Plain (CP) regions of South Carolina. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Total Deer Harvest

P CP

Deer harvested per square mile 16.1 12.1

Doe Harvest

P CP P CP

8.1 5.7 1.02 0.91

Variable

Harvest Rate of Does per Buck

Region

Exclusive from the

CONCLUSION

This photo, supposedly from Wisconsin, shows how winter baiting can create unhealthy deer densities and interaction.

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ASPECTS While not directly part of his research, Ruth also discussed some of the negative social and political aspects of hunting deer with bait. “The general public accepts management and hunting for food, but baiting is generally not acceptable,� he said. “It weakens public support for long-term wildlife management programs.�

The South Carolina study gives us as hunters and land managers some interesting food for thought. Ethical questions notwithstanding, a good many hunters could argue that baiting is an effective way to kill deer. And my experiences in Texas have certainly demonstrated that, under certain conditions, it can be true. However, Texas is very different from South Carolina, and many other places for that matter. And when you also consider the social and ethical aspects, the negatives seem to far outweigh the positives. Food plots, on the other hand, represent a more effective and acceptable alternative. Admittedly, the primary reason we create them is to increase our hunting success. But those of us who have forsaken the quick-fix baiting offers for the more labor-intensive practice of building food plots, typically have a larger objective in mind. We also want a healthy deer herd, living in a healthy environment. Instead of candy, we give them the proper nutrition they need for a year-round diet. And we can better manage our herd for proper sex and age ratio. W

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WHITETAIL NEWS

65


Customers do the talking about (Continued from page 19) time to take his three boys hunting and fishing. I can remember the first time either one of us got our first deer and the pure joy that came over our father. Many times he would get up and make the trip in the woods with us and we all would get a deer but Dad. The reason, he always made sure that we had the best hunting spot, the best equipment and he went to great lengths to instill in each one of us the joy of the outdoors and the reverence that all hunters need to have when harvesting the game.

As we grew older and things like college, work, marriage, our own kids, we were spending less time with our father in the woods. We, my brother and I, were also not spending anytime together hunting or fishing. We were always too busy doing what ever we thought was more important and we failed to remember the many lessons of family love that was taught us by our father. In dealing with his passing, we both came to realize the impact our Dad had on our lives and we both saw that we were not passing those lessons on to our own sons. So this past year, my brother Ron and I made a pledge. We will hunt again together as brothers and this time we will take our sons with us and when we are not alone in our tree stands, we will share stories of great hunts with our Dad. We found ourselves spiritually and we found each other again. The hunt was over and we were heading home. Since Andy and I had the longest distance to drive, we found ourselves in the middle of Kansas on a moonless night, with every star that one can imagine shinning brightly in the heavens above us. Heading south, I happen to look into my rear view mirror and I noticed that the sky behind us was green. I pulled over and turned off the truck and Andy and I sat on the tailgate, speechless, looking at the Northern Lights. Red, green, blue, white, yellow and so many variations in between. After a few moments I looked at him and asked him if he remembered the last time we saw them and after a pause, he said that he did. It was with him and me, Uncle Ronnie, Cousin Tyler, and Opa (that is what the grand kids called Dad). I told that I remembered that too. After a long pause, he turned and looked at me with tears running down his cheeks and said that, "Opa is still here with us, isn't he Dad?" I said, "Yes he is Andy, and he is enjoying the great hunt." My brother and I talk on the phone now more then we have in the last ten years and we are again planning on next years hunt. We can hardly wait till Andy, Tyler, uncles Tom and Ron and, yes, Opa, get back into the woods again for another great hunt.

Gary Knowles – North Carolina Planted Extreme on a logging road through the

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

swamp. I started noticing a lot of doe and big buck tracks in food plot. Set up a trail camera November 13th on the food plot. Killed this 13point November 19th beside the food plot. Had the film developed the following week. This is picture of the one I killed on the food plot. This year there is another plot to plant next to a road. I will be planting Imperial Extreme again. Oh yeah! On November 16th I killed a 15-point in the same area where the 13 point was killed. What a year!

in North Texas and even though we have had very little rain since the plot has been growing nice. Apparently the Extreme utilizes the morning dew as a way to get moisture. Texas has been in somewhat of a drought this year. I have a little 165-acre ranch in North Texas that sits against the Brazos river about 15 miles north of Possum Kingdom Lake. Ever since we started planting Extreme we have been seeing more big bucks like this one. This is my third year planting Extreme. I am going to try Power Plant in the spring. I am in a wheelchair due to an accident I had about ten years ago but with the help of a good buddy we've constructed ground blinds over looking several food plots. This year was my lucky year I finally got a shot off on a nice buck and was able to harvest him. I have been trying to establish a good plot rotation on the property and so far it seems to be working great with your products.

Michael Varanese – Ohio

Jayson Deziel – North Dakota Here is a photo of the buck I took during rifle season. I passed up on many good bucks before I finally took this mature 4 x 4. Thanks to 30-06 Mineral this buck really grew

There is nothing like Imperial Whitetail Clover, I harvested these two bucks using the product. Thanks Whitetail Institute.

a great rack. He has a 19 1/4 inside spread and over 11” G-2’s and 8” G-3’s.

Robert Velasquez – Texas I shot this nice buck as he was entering a field of Extreme. I planted this plot at the end of September here

Russ Longrie – Wisconsin I’ve hunted almost all my life on public hunting land. Several years ago CWD was discovered in Wisconsin. At this time a lot of land became available. We were able to get 160 acres in Jackson county. I have been a user of your product for over 10 years and I am a true believer. Last year I talked my hunting partner into buying Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack. The products came up great, and he

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Institute products… had instant We results. bought trial cams and got pictures of four huge bucks coming to the food plot. Last year I shot the big-gest buck I ever saw in my life. The buck was a 12-pointer, 220 lbs., 21.5 inside spread and green scored 163 5/8. ( P h o t o enclosed) I want to thank you for making great products and we plan on planting 2 more acres.

Lamar Zimmerman – Pennsylvania

David Peacock – Missouri

S i n c e using Imperial Whitetail Clover our deer numbers have increased. One must let the 2 1/2 year olds go to make this size. See photo. 23-inch outside s p r e a d . Remember does bring in bucks. What is recommended in Whitetail News works for me. Try it, you will see.

I live in Missouri and harvested this 180-class buck with a muzzleloader as it made its way from bedding cover to one of my food plots. I have one acre of your Imperial Whitetail Clover and one acre of Alfa-Rack planted next to each other and it helps keep the deer on my farm and draws them out of the cover in good shooting light. Thanks for the fine products.

Howard Smith – Vermont I planted a plot of your Extreme this summer and proceeded to take my first big buck on my land after 26 years! He was chasing 5 does that were headed right for the plot! Thank you for all your hard work, and research devotion.

Alton Chambless – Arkansas Enclosed please find a picture of my daughter-in-law, Ja Chambless with a nice 10-point buck shot over a plot of your Extreme. I have used your products since around 1994 when I planted approx 4 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack. It lasted about 8 years with only minimal maintenance, (i.e. Clipping and spraying.) I did lime it at planting and repeated again in 5 years to adjust pH. I also

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fertilize it after spraying each spring. This plot was awesome. We saw more deer and turkey on it than ever before and the quality of the bucks has improved dramatically. Since moving our hunting activities to a new area in 2001, I planted have your Extreme with success. The new area we are hunting is very sandy and does not hold moisture well enough during dry periods of summer. I would like to thank you for providing a great product and look forward to hunting over the Extreme for years to come.

Chad Tucker – New York I planted Extreme and I’m impressed. The deer absolutely engulfed this stuff. This buck was taken last fall. It was working his rub line around my Imperial Extreme food plot. This buck had 13-inch G-2s. I can’t prove it but I am pretty sure I owe a thank-you to you guys at the Whitetail Institute.

Jeff Lukhard – Virginia I currently have eight acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover planted, between feeding plots and hunting plots. I know that for antler development, protein is the best year round food source. I have seen the results of all my hard work. This year I harvested an eight, a nine, and a twelve-point buck.

(See photo). A friend of mine also harvested a nice eleven-point buck on Thanksgiving Day. I am very impres-sed with the quality of your Imperial products. I will continue to use and recommend them for years to come. I also enjoy all the stories, and informative issues of Whitetail News you provide. Please keep up the good work.

Rupert DeMent – North Carolina Since using Imperial Whitetail Clover, deer on our farm seem to be more healthy and have bigger racks. They really love this product. I killed this 11-pointer non-typical with an 18 1/2” inside spread. This is a great buck for a state where dog hunting for deer is legal. Best of all, my eight year-old daughter was in the stand with me.

Paul Hoggard – Tennessee Since using Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack, I’ve noticed more buck activity on my farm. The products have had a huge impact on the deer population. They are healthier and larger body size. Last fall I took an 2 1/2 year-old eight-point with a 21 1/2 inch spread, nice mass and an even rack and it field dressed 167 lbs. I was even asked it he was taken in Illinois. Now I can be more selective about what is shot on my farm. W

Send Us Your Photos! Do you have a photo and/or story of a big buck, or a small buck or 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. 16, No. 1 /

WHITETAIL NEWS

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OHIO

Hunter Has Compulsive Deer Disorder

R

ich Mutt is told by his friends that he has “compulsive deer disorder.” His love for managing deer led him down the trail to the Whitetail Institute in the late 1980s when he heard about Imperial Whitetail Clover. But it wasn’t until five years ago that he was able to put his knowledge of Imperial Clover and other products from the Whitetail Institute to the test on his 50 acres of rolling hills in Ohio. “The first thing I did four years ago was clear out a plot right down the middle of the woods,” Mutt said. “Then I dragged it with a scrapper. My land has oaks, maples, pines and hickory trees. As a matter of fact, I have about every tree imaginable in my woods. Up where I planted the food plot, my soil was pretty rocky so I had to bring in a dozer and clear it out. I really had to work at it. As long as my food plot had sunlight, it came up pretty good. I have two acres that include Imperial Clover, No-Plow and Alfa-Rack PLUS. I’ve really

James Glasgow — Alabama Deer prefer Alfa-Rack over all of our other food plot varieties. Michael Selby — Maryland The only time I do not see 10-15 deer in the evening in the 3 acre field is when the acorns start to drop then the number drops to 5-10. James Whitney — New York Used Alfa-Rack and the bucks could not stay away. I enjoy all year long going to my land and watching the deer and turkey. This would not have been possible without your products. James Jurek — Texas Since planting Alfa-Rack I have noticed more deer on our property. Tim Young — West Virginia We planted a small plot of Alfa-Rack. Every time we visit the plot we see deer.

been impressed with Alfa-Rack PLUS and will start using more of it this year. “Last year I disked my food plot up with my 4wheeler, but I wasn’t getting enough sunlight after the trees would leaf. I thought I had it right, but I had to cut a whole bunch more of the trees to let more sunlight onto my plots. Now I’ve got a pretty good-looking plots. I also sprayed my plot with Arrest to get rid of my grass problem and I’ve also used the Cutting Edge mineral supplements. It all works together.” Mutt scored on a big buck in 2005. He shot an 11point that scored 140 inches. “I’ve seen some bigger ones out there,” he said. I’ve always had healthy deer on my place. They love to graze in the food plots. I’ve seen them walk right past the corn and eat the food plots. “I watched 16 deer that day before the big buck came in. I could see the food plot from where I was sitting. I had 10 does below my stand shortly before he showed up. At about 6:30 p.m., the deer all left. I don’t know why because I’m up around 30 feet. Then about 15 minutes later I saw two bucks. One of the bucks was the 11-pointer. I had seen him before, and I took him. I had to get my brother and his buddy to help get him out.” The buck field dressed about 220 pounds. “There are some big whitetails around these parts,” he continued, “and I’ve waited patiently for a buck like this. The year before I had a horse in front of me, but I couldn’t get a shot at him. I had another big one in front of me the year before that but couldn’t get a shot off at him either. “I’ve got stands all around and I know where the deer come in. I hunt mostly on the corners of the property — I don’t hunt in the middle of the woods. This food plot is surrounded by woods on each side and it’s a whitetail magnet.” “I’ve really enjoyed managing my 50 acres. Especially with Institute products. I like them so much, I’m going to start selling them at my business.” W

PRODUCT POINTERS

IMPERIAL ALFA-RACK PLUS

68

• Up to 30% protein • Perennial, up to five years longevity • Plant 1/4 inch deep or less • Plant 14 pounds per acre

• Designed for well-drained soil • Contains X-9 alfalfa technology, chicory and Imperial Whitetail Clover

Seedling Alfa-Rack Plus.

Mature Alfa-Rack Plus.

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

Rich Mutt is making his 50-acre Ohio farm all it can be. The 11point in the photo is just one example.

COMING UP IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF

• Manipulating the Landscape for Hunting Success • Creating a Hunting Hotspot • Tricks for Taking Does — Without Hurting Your Buck Hunting • Trespassers! What Should You Do?

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The Challenges for America’s Whitetail Hunters Three major issues threaten the tradition of hunting By By Scott Scott Bestul Bestul

I

Whitetail Institute

t’s the end of another deer season, which marked my 33rd autumn chasing whitetails. Those three-plus decades have flown by at warp speed. But perhaps even more amazing to me is how rapidly whitetail hunting has changed since I began chasing deer in the 1970s.

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Today’s hunters — even greenhorns with but a few seasons under their belt — seem so far ahead of deer nuts from my generation. Twenty-first century deer hunters know deer behavior and biology far more intimately than most experts of a few decades ago. Hunters refer to themselves as “managers” and can identify deer by age-class, know how to attract whitetails through proper habitat management and food plot plantings, and make informed decisions about which deer to harvest to improve their herd. In addition to this herd knowledge, today’s hunters enjoy improvements in equipment that would boggle the minds of yesteryear’s deer gurus — better guns and bows, scouting cameras, tree stands, camouflage, rangefinders; the list is long and seems to keep growing. Such light-speed progress leads to a natural curiosity about the future. If deer hunting has evolved so rapidly in the last few decades, what changes and challenges lie in the immediate future? Though no one has a crystal ball, I spend a lot of time talking to hunters, biologists, landowners and other folks with a vested interest in whitetail management. Chatting with them has led to a short laundry list of issues that will surely affect how we manage and hunt whitetails in years to come. Here’s a sneak peek.

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In many areas, the whitetail herd is out of control, which results in numerous negative aspects.

food shelves, as well as giving sportsmen excellent PR. However, most donation programs suffer from inadequate funding and require lots of effort and manpower to start and maintain. This will be an ongoing — but critical — challenge for the future. KEYS TO THE CASTLE

More and more kids are growing up in the city, away from nature, and along with many activities competing for their time, fewer kids are participating in the tradition of hunting.

R.G. Bernier

It’s no secret that whitetails are as abundant now as at any time in recorded history. Indeed, in many areas, deer populations have become so high that they’ve negatively impacted native vegetation and habitat for other wildlife. And of course, overpopulated whitetails cause problems for people, too — crop damage, vehicle collisions and the spread of Lyme disease. Finally, unnaturally dense herds also elevate the risk of disease transfer (CWD and bovine TB, among others) for whitetails themselves. None of this is earth-shattering news, of course. But future hunters — perhaps more so than ever before — will be called upon to keep deer populations in tune with available habitat. Perhaps no one knows this better than Keith Warnke, deer ecologist with the Wisconsin DNR. Though Warnke’s toughest job is dealing with the Badger State’s CWD problem, he sees controlling whitetail numbers — through annual and aggressive antlerless harvests — as Job One across the state. “My chief concern will be, as always, population control,” he said. “Maintaining a responsible number of deer on the landscape has always been the function of hunters, and we can’t let that role slip away. Unfortunately, the challenge will become ever greater as hunter numbers decline and access becomes more difficult. But we need to promote hunters to the world as herd managers, and we need to take that role more seriously in the future than we ever have. We don’t want to look back in 50 years and have society say ‘How could you not manage that deer herd?’” Many states encourage antlerless harvest by offering liberal doe tags and/or holding special seasons, and that trend shows no signs of weakening. In Wisconsin, however, the DNR has taken things a step further, establishing “earna-buck” requirements in management units that fail to meet antlerless harvest goals. While these seasons are never popular, hunters seem to accept them more readily now, and I expect to see more states adopt them when deer populations surge. Indeed, some private deer clubs and individual groups have instituted such guidelines voluntarily, requiring hunters to shoot one (and sometimes more) antlerless deer before hunting for a buck. Though game managers can pass doe tags out like candy, one harsh reality of the modern hunter has become evident; the average sportsman typically doesn’t require much venison and many quit after shooting a deer or two. This makes venison donation programs, such as Hunters Feeding the Hungry, critical to keeping doe harvests high. In addition to giving hunters an “excuse” for shooting more does, these programs provide much-needed meat for local

Whitetail Institute

THE NUMBERS GAME

Though a constant complaint of today’s deer hunters is gaining access to hunting property, it’s a safe bet that tomorrow’s whitetailers will face an even tougher job of finding a place to enjoy their sport. This problem is among the most difficult to solve, as it is so broad and multifaceted. In some regions, prime lands are being leased or sold to exclusive clubs or wealthy individuals. In others, once-public areas are being lost, as paper/timber companies sell off parcels to pay their bills. And of course, the desire for many Americans to buy a chunk of land in the country and build their dream home has resulted in even more land being divided up and often closed to hunting. Finally, the continued juggernaut of urban sprawl — a by-product of our booming human population — promises to usurp even more hunting ground and elevate the challenge of hunters to get on the ground to kill deer. Even in a largely rural state like Iowa, the urban deer control is a big concern to DNR biologist Willie Suchy. In a recent conversation, Suchy listed “managing metro deer populations, which we hope to do by keeping as many areas open to hunting as we can,” as one of his primary management concerns for the future. Obviously, there are no easy solutions to this far-reaching and complicated problem, but it has been addressed through some innovative programs. Perhaps chief among them are those that involve state agencies leasing private land and opening it to hunters. Kansas and South Dakota, for example, sport the Walk-In Hunting Area (WIHA) program, while North Dakota sponsors Private Land Open To Sportsmen (PLOTS). In Montana, Block Management areas allow deer hunters access to some prime ranch land. These programs are examples of innovative, pro-active approaches to the access issue and should serve as a model for other states in the future. Hunting in metro/suburban areas promises to present some of the steepest access challenges for tomorrow’s deer hunter. However, it’s not an insurmountable one, as Vol. 16, No. 1 /

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has been proven in my home state of Minnesota. In the seven-county area that includes the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, state (and local) hunting groups have combined to form the Metro Bowhunters Resource Base (MBRB). Working with the DNR, the MBRB helps communities struggling with expanding deer herds by setting up special hunts in parks, natural areas and on small parcels of private land. MBRB trains hunters and sets up special hunt rules tailored to meet the community’s needs. It’s a wildly successful model that needs to be emulated in more states right now and well into the future.

Most deer hunters have read about the nationwide sag in hunter numbers. There are simply a smaller percentage of us on the landscape than ever before, and you don’t have to be a sociologist to realize the implications for our sport. Fewer and fewer people live close to nature, which not only reduces the number of people who understand hunting’s role in managing game populations, but also the number of young people who’ll participate in our cherished traditions and keep them alive. Hunter recruitment is, and will contin-

The difficulty of finding hunting land is driving more and more hunters out of the sport.

Whitetail Institute

RECRUITING WARS

ue to be, perhaps our chief hurdle as we look into the future. The most obvious solution to the problem, of course, is to get kids involved. But as legions of well-meaning hunters have discovered, such a task is easier said than done. As Wisconsin biologist Warnke told me, “Most hunters have at least one kid they can take out and recruit to the sport. Unfortunately, catching and keeping their attention isn’t always simple.” Indeed, with the fast-paced lives today’s kids lead, there are many activities vying for their attention. Couple that with the shrinking access issue faced by even veteran hunters, and it’s no wonder that getting kids excited about deer hunting can be a tall challenge. What’s the answer? Youth-only hunts and seasons are certainly a step in the right direction. Many states host special youth hunts in state parks and other areas typically closed to hunting. These areas are perfect for beginning hunters, as deer numbers are typically high and the chances for success greater than in many areas. Other states, like Alabama, Missouri and Iowa, set aside a special time frame when only kids can hunt (often with firearms, and well ahead of the general gun season opener), and I feel these seasons are an outstanding idea. Not only do the rules typically require each child to have an adult, non-hunting mentor (which helps parents/mentors to teach appropriate skills and bond with the neophyte), but the seasons are held in early fall, when the weather is more enjoyable and deer more relaxed. It doesn’t end there. In taking a more aggressive, proactive stance toward recruiting tomorrow’s sportsmen (and women), some groups are reaching out to kids of even younger ages. The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) provides training, technical assistance and equipment to schools willing to teach archery skills to their students. With its primary roots in Kentucky, this program has been wildly successful wherever it’s been tried. Though certainly not all these young shooters will become diehard whitetail hunters, many will catch the bug and nearly all will gain an appreciation for the shooting sports. And without a doubt, tomorrow’s deer hunters will need all the understanding they can get. Finally, there’s a growing, nationwide movement to reduce the minimum age at which kids are allowed to hunt. In many states, the minimum hunting age is 12, and in some states, youngsters have to be 14 to be afield. Many hunting advocates and some groups (most notably the National Wild Turkey Federation) have lobbied to reduce these age requirements, arguing that many kids simply aren’t interested in the sport by the time they can legally participate in it. I definitely believe this issue needs to be discussed and explored. Anything that can be done to “catch” youngsters who have an interest in hunting before they “stray” to other sports or activities is of utmost importance. CONCLUSION Some readers of this magazine might be disappointed that I didn’t delve into any of the myriad deer-specific issues that interest hardcore whitetail hunters. Quality deer management, nutrition, habitat improvements and refined hunting techniques are all topics that serious deer nuts (including me) always enjoy studying. Though these issues are certainly important and fascinating, I feel they’re simply the tip of the iceberg in the world we call deer hunting. Of primary importance to all deer hunters is our ability to look at the big issues that affect our sport — not only how we hunt whitetails on our “back 40,” but on how deer are managed wherever they’re found. If each of us can do our part to address the three issues discussed above, I believe deer hunting, and deer hunters, will be better off. And I’m similarly confident that — just as we have so many times before — America’s whitetail hunters will prove themselves up for the challenge. W

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By John J. Ozoga

G

iven good nutrition, female whitetails are extremely prolific, bucks approach their maximum potential body and antler growth and deer populations flourish. Conversely, poor nutrition leads to physically stunted deer that exhibit poor productivity and high natural mortality rates. Traditionally, forest management served as the primary means of improving deer nutrition, especially on public lands. However, nowadays many private land owners utilize food plots and commercially available food and mineral supplements, in order to enhance deer nutrition. All too often, however, the whitetail’s natural biological rhythms are rarely considered. That is, unlike domestic livestock, the whitetail’s behavior, digestive processes, physiology and resultant nutritional needs change seasonally. Individual requirements also vary according to the animal’s sex, age, and reproductive state and environmental pressures. One cannot manage whitetails successfully without a basic understanding of how deer adjust, behaviorally and

This buck feeds in a PowerPlant food plot in June. A buck’s nutritional needs vary greatly from season to season.

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physiologically, to meet their nutritional needs, which change with the seasons. RUMINATION AND FERMENTATION Whitetails are ruminants — cud chewers adapted to eating vegetation — and possess a compound, four-chambered stomach. The first chamber, also the largest, is the rumen, where food is stored before being brought back up in “cuds” to be chewed. This system allows for fast and selective food gathering, a large capacity for food storage and leisurely cudding and chewing — a clever eat now, chew later, adaptive anti-predator strategy. After being regurgitated and chewed, food goes back into the rumen and reticulum chambers, where fermentation by micro-organisms (bacteria and protozoa) produces nutrients that can be readily absorbed and used for energy. The residual materials pass into the other chambers, the omasum and abomasum. Highly digestible food may pass through the rumen in

SELECTIVE FEEDERS Whitetails are highly selective feeders. Like other ruminants, they require some fiber in their diet for normal rumen function. However, unlike moose and elk, or domestic livestock, deer have comparatively less rumen storage capacity and less ability to digest highly fibrous or lignified materials. They must also feed more frequently. As a result, whitetails must be more selective in their feeding habits, searching out and consuming the most nutritious and easily digested plants available. Normally, they will muzzle or hold plant parts in their mouth, swallowing those that are succulent and easily digestible but rejecting others that are dry and high in fiber. There is also evidence that deer can detect and avoid eating compounds that inhibit the action of rumen microorganisms. At low concentrations, these so-called “secondary compounds” seem to have little or no impact upon rumen function, making whitetails’ habit of eating small amounts of a variety of plants a natural safeguard against consuming too much of any toxic substance. Robert Brown, professor at Texas A&M University, also observed that deer have a special problem with lignin. “Not only is it indigestible,” he noted, “It can make other nutrients in the food less digestible by binding to them. And secondary plant compounds such as tannins and other phenolics can make both protein and cellulose less digestible.” The whitetail’s diverse nutritional requirements largely explain why deer forage the way they do. That’s why they

Generally speaking, the more nutritious the food, the faster it passes through the digestive system. Obviously, the more food a deer can consume, the more nutrients it can assimilate and the faster it will grow and gain weight. www.whitetailinstitute.com

Whitetail Institute

Seasonal Rhythms Determine Dramatically Different Eating Patterns

a few hours, whereas more fibrous or lignified (woody) material may remain in the rumen for days. Generally speaking, the more nutritious the food, the faster it passes through the digestive system. Obviously, the more food a deer can consume, the more nutrients it can assimilate and the faster it will grow and gain weight. The fermentation process, or breakdown of food by the rumen microbes, is the main difference between ruminants and simple-stomached animals. One advantage of such a digestive system is that it allows an animal to digest cellulose and other complex carbohydrates found in browse and other fibrous foods typically consumed by deer in winter. This means deer can meet their energy needs from nutrients consumed in food plus those synthesized by the bacteria and protozoa that live in their rumen.


range may not exhibit the stark, overused appearance one would expect, the land’s nutritional base and capacity to naturally sustain healthy deer steadily declines with continued overuse.

walk along slowly, eating “some of this” combined with “a little of that,” thereby selecting the proper mix of nutrients to meet their immediate dietary needs. RESPONSE TO CHANGE

AUTUMN The whitetail’s feeding habits are extremely variable and opportunistic, in addition to being highly selective. Their diverse feeding habits change with the seasons, allowing them to choose a wide variety of foods, including grasses, sedges, fruits, nuts, forbs and mushrooms, in addition to portions of those shrubs and trees that best meet their nutritional requirements. Since their diet changes so dramatically with the seasons, it’s also important to note that their digestive tract can change with diet, but gradually so. The amount of saliva produced, the lining of the rumen and the rumen’s size, for example, change seasonally to compensate for the shift from eating succulent summer forage to a more-fibrous winter diet, and back again to more luscious foods with spring green-up. However, it takes two to three weeks for the rumen microbes to completely adjust to a new diet.

Commencing about mid-March, in response to increasing hours of daylight hours (photoperiod), deer change immensely in basic physiological processes and general behavior. Their metabolism rises and they become more active, pregnant does carry rapidly growing fetuses, young animals resume body growth and adult bucks start growing antlers. It’s a time when huge amounts of nutritious forage in the form of succulent new herbaceous growth high in protein, energy and essential minerals and vitamins are essential to herd welfare. Bucks also require minerals and vitamins for antler growth, but researchers still debate the exact amount. The whitetail’s spring diet is probably more diverse, in terms of quantity and quality, than it is during any other time of the year. It can change rather sharply within a few days, as governed by soil type, rate of snow melt, temperature, amount of moisture and other factors. On a northern range, the deer’s spring diet can change from being nutritionally poor to excellent within a few days. There are many complex nutritional relationships that make diet diversity important for whitetails. Even good deer foods vary in their specific nutrient value. Early forbs, legumes and grasses, for example, tend to be highly digestible and contain high levels of protein, phosphorus and potassium. On the other hand, leaves of woody species, although poorly digestible, provide significant amounts of fermentable cell solubles, and high calcium content. Also, eating certain plants tends to aid in the digestion of others. Researchers have learned although some plants may be high in protein or digestible energy, they are too low in nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium or sulfur for adequate rumen function. But such nutrient-deficient plants may be utilized if they are eaten in combination with other plants high in the deficient elements. Hence, forages cannot be ranked low in quality simply because they do not meet all the whitetail’s nutritional demands. Whatever the reasons may be, poor nutrition during the spring period will impact the health and well-being of all deer. An inadequate spring diet will cause poor growth among young deer, retard buck antler growth and contribute to poor fetal development, ultimately leading to high newborn fawn mortality. SUMMER Good nutrition during summer is critical for favorable fawn growth. If the doe receives insufficient protein to support normal milk production, her milk will be of uniformly

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During the most brutal periods of winter, deer will resort to any forage that is available, even very fibrous forages.

high quality but the total amount produced will decline. Hence, a doe living on poor range might produce a limited milk supply and ultimately raise relatively small fawns because of it. If fawns are to achieve their maximum skeletal size and body weight prior to winter, they require nourishing forage that has from 14 to 22 percent protein content. When researchers compared performance on diets containing 8, 13 or 20 percent protein, female fawns were found to make maximum gains on 13 percent protein while male fawns performed maximally on 20 percent. The fawn also needs minerals in their diet for proper growth. By comparison, yearlings, which also are still growing, require 11 percent protein, whereas mature animals may require 6 to 10 percent protein in their diets for body maintenance. Some researchers suggest that if crude protein levels in deer forage fall below 6 to 7 percent, rumen function is seriously impaired. Individual plant species and plant parts change in their nutritive value with maturity. Certain forbs, grasses and even sedges may be succulent and highly digestible when they first appear, but become hardened and fibrous at maturity. Therefore, in a chosen feeding area, an expanding deer herd can systematically and drastically reduce, or even eliminate, certain preferred plants. At the same time, other plants may increase either because they’re less palatable, resistant to grazing, or both. Although severely overgrazed

John Ozoga

SPRING

With the shortening days of autumn, whitetails become more active — almost unbelievably so. Autumn is not only the whitetail’s breeding time, it is also that critical period when deer prepare for the forthcoming, stressful winter season when their nutritional needs change and when patterns of deer range use change. Energy-rich foods high in carbohydrates such as acorns, beechnuts other starchy mast crops, as well as apples, cherries, grapes and a host of wild-growing and cultivated crops are choice foods because they promote fattening. When available, a deer will eat about 1.5 pounds of acorns daily per 100 pounds of body weight. Because fat reserves can be metabolized more readily than protein for energy needs when nutritious forage is scarce, storing fat in autumn is a mechanism that enhances deer survival during the winter months. Like other seasonal events in the whitetail’s life, the accumulation of fat is cued to photoperiod and is hormonally controlled. It is an obligatory process, meaning that all deer are inclined to become fat in autumn. Adult bucks usually commence fattening earlier than other deer. They are also the first to molt into their winter coat, usually in early September, about the time they shed antler velvet. Prime-age bucks will be “hog fat” by early October, but may lose 20 percent or more of their body weight during their four or five weeks of strenuous rutting activity and enter winter relatively lean. Because fawns must simultaneously grow and fatten, they seldom achieve their maximum size and fatness until December. Given favorable nutrition, however, they may double their body weight between weaning and the start of winter. As a result, fawns are particularly sensitive to the adverse effects of deer overpopulation, drought or early snow cover that may bring about food shortages for them in autumn. The importance of digestible energy versus protein content in the autumn diet of fawns was demonstrated in our studies at Cusino. During a 10-week period, fawns provided diets high in energy (3,000 kcal per kilogram of pelletized feed) exhibited better body growth and fatness, as compared to those fed low (2,700 kcal) energy diets, regardless of feed protein content (16.2 percent or 6.6 percent). As a result, we concluded that level of protein in the autumn diet of fawns had minimal impact upon their wellbeing, whereas even minor reductions in the amount of digestible energy slowed their growth rate and decreased their level of fatness. Surprisingly, however, even fawns on restricted autumn rations accumulate some fat at the expense of additional skeletal growth. In other words, healthy fawns tend to be skeletally large and fat, whereas malnourished fawns may be fairly fat, but stunted. Autumn nutrition also affects older female whitetails. The pattern of coat molt, rate of fattening and the conception rate (and date) among adult does may be quite variable but will hinge heavily upon their nutritional status prior to the rut. Yearling does are especially sensitive to nutritional stress because they must put on appreciable body growth during the summer months — as much as a third of the yearlings might fail to breed if subjected to nutritional shortage prior to the rut. We often see nursing does in red summer coats longer than does that fail to raise fawns. One reason for this difference is chemistry, claims Canadian researcher George Bubenik. Prolactin, “the hormone from the pituitary gland that, when declining and acting with other hormones, signals the Vol. 16, No. 1 /

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body to produce the winter coat, is also the hormone that regulates lactation,” said Bubenik. “The level of prolactin associated with milk production is at odds with the low level associated with hair growth. The other reason is energy. Both processes drain the doe’s energy reserves, and she cannot accomplish both at once.” Molting, a process that averages about three weeks in duration, is metabolically expensive. The four to five pounds of hair produced by the average adult deer each season requires a diet especially high in protein. And, according to Bubenik, “The drain on energy and protein reserves deer experience during the molt explains why animals in good physical condition molt first — before weak bucks and late-born fawns as well as before lactating does. In fact, a late onset of the development of wooly fur is a better (and easier-to-read) indicator of under nourishment than the estimation of [body fat].” Come autumn, deer still wearing red — most likely nursing does and fawns — probably don’t have much body fat. However, the ones already molted into their brown-gray winter coat — more likely adult bucks — may already possess heavy fat deposits. Generally speaking, if deer are able to meet their dietary energy needs in autumn, they will probably satisfy their needs for other nutrients as well. Forages that are high in digestible energy are usually immature plants that are also high in protein, minerals and other essential nutrients but relatively low in fiber. However, autumn nutritional shortages can set the stage for severe consequences during winter. WINTER The freezing temperatures and snow cover that accompany early winter in the North cause deer to shift from eating succulent, highly nutritious herbaceous forage to subsisting upon less-nourishing woody browse. The

change in diet results in a negative energy balance, meaning more calories are burned to meet basic body needs than are consumed in food. Deer can easily lose 15 to 20 percent of their body weight over winter but few can withstand a 30 percent weight loss and still survive. There are many trade-offs — involving nutrition, shelter and predator risk — in the whitetail’s bid for winter survival. Above all, they must become very energy conservative. Their adaptive traits involve an array of timely behavioral and physiological adjustments, including shelterseeking behavior, reduced movement activity, reduced metabolism, voluntary restriction in food intake, and intense socialization. As winter progresses, whitetails gradually acclimate to the season. They shift into low gear, metabolically speaking. They show sharply reduced thyroid function, their heart rate decreases and they cut their metabolic rate by about 50 percent. Healthy deer reduce their mid-winter food intake by about 30 percent, even when highly nutritious feed is available. Therefore, instead of accelerating body heat production to compensate for cold exposure, the whitetail’s metabolism actually declines. By mid winter, acclimated whitetails adopt a form of dormancy, or semi-hibernation, quite similar to that demonstrated by the black bear. In the process, deer become quite resistant to nutritional shortage and climatic stress. The fermentation process is especially important to deer when only low-quality food is available, as is commonly the case during winter. However, deer are by no means super-ruminants. They can not utilize some woody browse species as well as cattle can and have difficulty surviving on highly lignified foods. The rate at which deer can digest food depends upon its cellulose content — succulent food being more rapidly broken down than fibrous foods. The very slow rate at which low-quality browse — such as spruce, balsam and timothy hay — passes through the digestive tract explains

why deer can “starve” with a full stomach. In order for deer to digest high-energy foods, they must be in relatively good physical condition and harbor healthy rumen microflora. Starving deer generally exhibit altered rumen function due to decreased concentrations of rumen microflora and volatile fatty acids. When these animals consume large quantities of energy-rich food, such as corn, they can die of toxic acidosis — a build-up of lactic acid in the rumen. Each deer has a certain starvation threshold beyond which it can no longer survive. Physically stressed animals, in particular, incur irreversible damage to their rumen lining, and their rumen microflora lose their ability to digest cellulose. The whitetail’s adaptive system of seasonally changing physiology is not infallible and does not guarantee winter survival. Toward the end of winter, the whitetail’s physiology changes, deer become more active, their metabolic rate rises and they need more food to meet their basic needs. Hence, food shortage during the late-winter/early-spring period can prove devastating to local deer herds. CONCLUSIONS The quantity and quality of their food, as well as the whitetail’s behavior, physiology and nutritional requirements, change markedly with the seasons. Fortunately, deer have evolved the ability to select a mix of forages that balance their nutritional demands and are physiologically adapted to withstand rather severe nutritional hardship during mid winter. It’s the periods of high-energy demand, during spring and autumn, when food shortage can be so detrimental to their physical well-being and productivity. The goal of deer habitat management should be to increase plant diversity. While food plots and supplements may enhance the whitetail’s diet, they should not be expected to completely replace natural forage. W

30-06 mineral /vitamin supplements are the best products available for the buck, and that’s no bull.

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 our exclusive scent and flavor enhancer 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.

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 herd and maximum antler growth.

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.

Research = Results. The Whitetail Institute

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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

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Pintlala, Alabama 36043 / 8 0 0 - 6 8 8 - 3 0 3 0 / w w w. w h i t e t a i l i n s t i t u t e . c o m

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The Future Of Our Sport STEVE SCOTT — ALABAMA It just doesn’t get any better. I’m one of the fortunate men in this world who the good Lord blessed in many ways. One who married way out of my league. Some say I outkicked my coverage. Anyway, Kelly (I guess in a temporary state of insanity) said YES 15 years ago. I knew I loved her and knew she was good, but I just didn’t know at the time just how good she really was. She ranks in the top two sweetest people I’ve ever known. Without a doubt the sweetest person I’ve ever known is my mom, who passed away a little over two years ago. My wife is on her way to catching up in sweetness. She is the best mom I could ever ask for my two sons and a wife that is second to none. What does all this have to do with hunting? Well that’s what makes me the luckiest man alive. First, I had the best mom anyone ever had. Second, I have the best wife anyone ever had. Third, I have two of the finest sons a man could ask for. And now my wife and kids are all getting into hunting. Does it get any better? I don’t think so. Last year my oldest son, Gates, killed his first deer — a giant 10-point buck. My wife was thrilled for him. And after hearing the stories and realizing that Gates had no fear of his gun and its kick, said, out of the blue, “Can I try to shoot his gun and go hunting.” Uh-well, Uh-YEA. Like a lot of ladies and kids (myself included 30 years ago), Kelly said she always “kinda wanted to go hunting” but was scared of the gun and its kick. If you know a kid or lady who might have some apprehension about a big deer rifle, check out Remington’s Managed Recoil — it is truly unreal. Kelly and Gates are incredibly accurate because the 270 they shoot barely kicks with this ammo. Anyway, after hunting last year with me and passing on some does and small bucks (Kelly wanted to be able to mount her first deer), we 78

WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 1

hunted some more this year. Wouldn’t you know it she gets a 9-point that is bigger than the 10-point Gates killed last year. Oh my gosh, I’ve created a monster. I thought Gates was wound up by wearing out my cell phone and truck tires, but Kelly took it to another level somehow. We even met my sister and her family in the Wal-Mart parking lot to show it off. The truth be known, I might be more proud and excited than she is. Now who wants their mom to out-do them in sports? Not Gates. He and I hunted together for the next few months passing on probably 25 to 30 bucks — a few nice ones, too. But after I said no each time when he asked, “Is it bigger than mamas,” he’d say, “Let’s wait.” Good things come to those who wait. Gates took a great 14-point on what was probably the last day we would be able to hunt this year, and there was probably 15 minutes of shooting light left. What a heck-u-va year. My wife and oldest son kill great bucks and my youngest son Jackson, who’s 8, has killed a big fox squirrel with a .22 and a bird with his BB gun and will be ready to get him a deer in a year or two. I’m looking forward to sharing a lot more great hunting seasons with my family. I am the luckiest man alive.

LARRY COMLEY — INDIANA I was surprised to see Imperial Whitetail Clover come up so fast because, in the past, when planting clovers, they did not really take off until the following year after being planted. The Imperial Clover was up and growing strong in just a couple of months. Opening day came, and the rut had already started and was still going strong. My best friend, Pete Taylor showed up with his daughter Starla and they headed out to the stand. They did not have to wait long because at 7:10 a.m. (right on time) came a nice 6point buck right down the lane, heading straight for the Imperial Clover. When the buck turned broadside to enter the clover patch, she shot. She made a great hit, and the buck only ran about 40 yards before going down within sight. This was not the biggest buck I’d seen or got pictures of in the clover, but for her first buck it was a monster. When asked what she thinks about the sport of hunting, she’d reply, “What a rush, I’ve never gotten a rush from anything like this before in my life.” Hours later she still has a case of spaghetti legs, so I’d say she’s hooked for the rest of her life. You just have to look at the smile on her face. Thanks Whitetail Institute for helping make this happen. It’s memories like these that

will last a lifetime and make all the time and hard work really pay off. So thanks again.

RONNIE DEXTER — KENTUCKY This is 8-year-old Conner Douglas Morgan (my grandnephew). He took his first deer, 134-pounds (field-dressed weight) 8-pointer, on Nov. 12, 2005, while hunting with me on my farm in Crittenden County, Ky. We were hunting from a box stand located in a fence row between 2-acre and a 3-acre food plots of Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack. He made a perfect 25-yard double lung shot with a youth model .223 with a red dot scope. Conner is the third youngster to get their first deer on this farm. After bow hunting now for 40 years, my biggest thrill comes from seeing a youngster bring home that first deer. Thanks to the Whitetail Institute for products that make hunting an enjoyable adventure for young and old alike.

CHAD DANIELS — NORTH CAROLINA After several years of owning our land, I finally cleared a 3/4-acre area for a food plot. I decided to plant Alfa-Rack Plus in the secluded food plot. Once the food plot matured, I was amazed by the amount of deer traffic and deer sign in the area, scrapes and rubs in places they were never in before. I was seeing 10 to 20 deer in the food plot in the evenings. October 14, 2005, turned out to be the best day in the woods I have ever had. I picked up my daughter, Lauren Daniels (age 7), from school and we rushed home to the stand overlooking the AlfaRack Plus. This was going to be the day she decided she was ready to try and harvest her first deer. Shortly after getting settled, a nice 4-point buck stepped out at 135 yards, and she made a perfect shot. What a day!! Thanks for your superb product, and we will continue to plant AlfaRack Plus. Enclosed is a photo of Lauren’s first deer. W www.whitetailinstitute.com


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Whitetail News Vol 16.1