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www.whitetailinstitute.com See page 46
n MEMORABLE FAMILY ADVENTURES See page 18
Farewell to a Food Plot Pioneer
DR. WILEY JOHNSON Volume 16, No. 3
In This Issue… F 18
Dr. Wiley Johnson, 1930-2006
A look at the life and accomplishments of the man that helped define the food plot industry By Jon Cooner, Institute Director of Special Projects
Dr. Wiley Johnson Page 18
The New Consulting Arm of the Whitetail Institute The Whitetail Institute introduces Wildlife Management Solutions
An Extreme Product for Extreme Conditions
An Opening for Youngsters Fields and food plots provide great starting places for turkey hunting By Brian Lovett
Loving Your Land Land ownership brings many rewards By Jim Casada
“Got Protein” PowerPlant, a warm-season annual, delivers impressive results By Jon Cooner, Institute Director of Special Projects
Family Adventures: It’s the Little Moments That Matter
A look at a revolutionary perennial By Jody Holbrooks, Institute Wildlife Biologist
Spend a Nickel to Save a Dime … and Time Proper soil preparation and quality seed products pay off in the long run By Bill Marchel
Digestion – A Piece of the Deer Nutrition Puzzle
Some of the best memories are made in the outdoors with the family By Brad Herndon
Dear Whitetail Institute … An amazing story from a Whitetail Institute customer By Brett Van Hoveln
Analysis of the ruminant digestive system, Part 1 By Matt Harper, Institute Deer Nutrition Specialist
Postemergence herbicide greatly improves quality and longevity of forage plantings By Dr. W. Carroll Johnson III
Creating Sanctuaries and Food Plots With Native Warm-Season Grasses An interesting approach to improve deer habitat By Monte Burch
Family Adventures Page 46
What Should I Plant? Answers to the No. 1 food plot question By Matt Harper, Institute Deer Nutrition Specialist
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
In This Issue… D E P A R T M E N T S 5
A Message From Ray Scott
Customers do the Talking About Institute Products
Whitetail Institute Record Book Bucks
First Deer: The Future of Our Sport
Spring Planting Dates
Farewell to a food plot pioneer
Deer Nutrition Notes Homemade minerals: Do-it-yourselfers beware By Matt Harper, Institute Deer Nutrition Specialist
Turning Dirt Part one: Considerations for the first-time tractor buyer By Mark Trudeau, Institute National Sales Manager
Ask Big Jon Common questions – straightforward answers By Jon Cooner, Institute Director of Special Projects
14 Sound Advice for Tractor Buyers Page 8
How I Do It The “big six” in developing monster bucks By Rick Mears
Tips to Grow Big Bucks Page 14
YOUR RECIPE FOR HUNTING SUCCESS
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Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 FAX 334-286-9723
A M E SS AG E F R O M R AY SCOT T Founder and President Whitetail Institute of North America
Farewell to a Food Plot Pioneer
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 .............................................................TBA Nutrition Director....................................................Brent Camp Deer Nutrition Specialist.....................................Matt Harper National Sales Manager...................................Mark Trudeau Wildlife Biologist.............................................Jody Holbrooks Director of Special Projects...............................Jon Cooner 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, Bill Marchel, Judd Cooney, Michael Veine, Steve Bartylla , Dr. Carroll Johnson, III Product Consultants .............Jon Cooner, Brandon Self, John White, J.B. Smith Dealer/Distributor Sales......................................John Buhay, Greg Aston, 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
he Whitetail Institute lost a great friend and team member with the passing of Dr. Wiley Johnson. My first meeting with Wiley back in 1987 has become part of Institute lore, and some of you may know the story. I was very frustrated with the whitetail plantings of the time, but I new from personal experience and amateur testing that my deer definitely preferred certain clovers to other popular forages. A local feed-and-seed store manager recommended a clover variety, and my deer liked it. I later discovered the identity of the very agronomist who had designed that clover variety. His name was Dr. Wiley Johnson, and I was surprised to find that he lived nearby, at Auburn University.
al basis. Over the years, Dr. Johnson continued to improve Imperial Whitetail Clover and develop other forage blends for the Institute. Everyone at the Institute loved “Doc” Johnson and enjoyed watching him quietly work in the greenhouse and fields, patiently and meticulously tending to his plant breeding. As soon as he heard that Dr. Johnson had passed away, the Institute’s Director of Special Projects, Jon Cooner, sat down to write the Institute’s tribute to Dr. Johnson. That tribute appears on page 18 and also includes Jon’s own personal thoughts about this truly remarkable man. Dr. Johnson was devoted to his family, his career and his
I met Wiley for the first time shortly thereafter. What I found was a delightful and thoughtful man, a brilliant agronomist and a highly respected and popular professor. I challenged Wiley to create the perfect perennial clover specifically for whitetail deer. He accepted, and Imperial Whitetail Clover was born. It was the first deer nutrition product ever offered to American hunters and land managers on a nation-
community. His gentle presence is, and always will be, missed.
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
D E E R N U T R I T I O N N OT E S By Matt Harper, Institute Deer Nutrition Specialist
Homemade Minerals Do-it-yourselfers BEWARE
any Americans tend to be “do-it-yourselfers.” Maybe it’s because we are only a couple hundred years removed from the pioneers and settlers that cut out a life and existence from the wilderness with their own hands. This same Do-It-Yourself spirit is still living strong in the descendants of those early Americans. One only has to travel through any medium-sized, city and he will find a Home Depot and a Lowes Home Improvement sitting oddly close to each other. Even in rural communities, you will find some store where you can go pick up the supplies to build your new deck, lay tile or complete whatever project is on the agenda for that weekend. Heck, we even have restaurants where you can cook your own steak. While I am a big believer in the do-it-yourself spirit and am a practitioner myself, there are certain things that are better left to a professional. For instance, let’s say you need to have your appendix taken out. Probably
best to have a doctor do that. OK, so that is a little extreme, but there are many other less gruesome examples. One of which is the attempt of some well-intended deer hunters and managers to put together their own deer mineral/vitamin supplement. For the better part of my professional career, I have been designing, developing and formulating nutritional products for deer including mineral/vitamin supplements. From the first day I sat down to work on putting together a product, I had well-intentioned people calling me and asking me about how they could go about piecing together a “deer mineral” on their own. Knowing the pitfalls and problems that these folks could run into, I eventually developed an analogy to explain the difficulties of such a practice that I use to this day. Putting together a mineral/vitamin supplement is exactly like using a complicated and intricate recipe to prepare some kind of culinary dish. This recipe will call for very
exact amounts of each ingredient, often times using specific brands of ingredients and putting them together in detailed sequences with exact mixing times and baking times. Failure to adhere to any part of this recipe will end up in a failed finished product. Putting together a mineral/vitamin supplement for deer is nearly identical to this procedure. First, let’s examine some of the aspects of formulating a deer mineral/vitamin supplement. You must first know the levels of nutrients needed in the final product. You must then be able to put ingredients together in such a way that they meet the levels you are looking for. In order to do this, you will need to know how to convert percentages, ppm (parts per million), mg/lb, IU/lb and KIU/b. You will next need to know what ratios these nutrients need to be in proportion to each other in order for proper digestion and utilization to occur. Next, you must be able to determine the appropriate source of the nutrients, as some nutrient sources are digestible to deer and others are not. Finally you will need to be able to mix these ingredients, some of which are added in extremely small amounts, into a homogeneous mix. This sounds like a daunting task; and to be honest with you, unless you have had the appropriate training and education along with having the right equipment, it is indeed a daunting undertaking. More than a difficult task however, improper formulation and manufacturing can end in results ranging from little or no benefit to actual harm to the animal. The following are a few of the more common examples of homemade mineral/vitamin supplements:
CATTLE MINERALS A very common practice is to use a cattle mineral as a deer mineral. At first glance, this may seem to make sense, as they are both ruminants and should have the same mineral and vitamin needs. In actuality, even though they are both ruminants, the two species differ greatly in their mineral and vitamin needs. You only have to look at the physical characteristics of deer and cattle to see the differences. First and most obvious, is that cattle do not grow, shed and regrow antlers every year. In fact, cattle do not have antlers at all but rather have horns which are made up of completely different substances than antlers. There are further differences including a higher concentration of minerals in doe’s milk as compared to cattle. In general, deer require much higher levels of minerals and vitamins than cattle.
Home made mineral supplements can actually be harmful to deer.
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
DICALCIUM PHOSPHATE AND SALT Dicalcium Phosphate, commonly known as dical, is a compound containing calcium and phosphorus. Because many have read and have been told that both calcium and phosphorus are important to antler growth, dical is often used as the base ingredient in a homemade mineral mix. However, because it is very bitter and therefore unpalatable, it is mixed with high levels of salt to get the deer to eat it. Because of the salt, the deer will eat it but are the deer actually getting what they need? There is no question that deer need calcium and phos-
Exclusive from the
phorus for optimal antler growth. But they also need a whole host of other nutrients not found in dical including magnesium, copper, zinc, as well as several others. Furthermore, these nutrients need to be in the appropriate ratios. Minerals have complex interactions with each other and require exact ratios between them to be utilized properly. For instance, you may have all the calcium you need but if you do not have adequate amounts of zinc, you will get under-utilization of both. A simple mix of dical and salt does not have the appropriate ratios.
A BIT OF THIS, A BIT OF THAT Yet another example of homemade minerals is putting a blend together using several different products and ingredients. Most of these start out with a livestock mineral of some sort and then other individual mineral and vitamin ingredients are added to it. Here is where some real problems can occur. Not only is there the chance that ratios and amounts will be incorrect resulting in under-utilization, but bigger problems such as toxic levels of minerals may occur. This threat arises from the fact that end quantities are unknown due to the nature of simply adding unknown levels of nutrients together. All minerals can be toxic, and if you just start throwing a few things together because it “seems like it should work” you may be setting you and your deer up for some problems. Along with this, you should consider how well you will be able to mix the various ingredients together. In most professional mills, several thousand pounds are needed for proper and thorough mixing to occur. Many homemade minerals add up to a few hundred pounds at best and are mixed with a shovel in a big tub. These are commonly call “bath tub mixes”. Proper mixing simply can not be done in this fashion. I am all for do-it-yourself. But as you can see, putting together a deer mineral/vitamin supplement when you are not trained and experienced to do so may not be the best way to practice this American tradition. It is best to use a product developed by a company who has a professional staff with years of experience and research in mineral/ vitamin formulation. Without question, the Whitetail Institute is the leader in this field with proven products such as Imperial 30-06, 30-06 Plus Protein and Cutting Edge Nutritional Supplements. So if you want to build on that deck, by all means take a trip down to your local lumber yard, call some buddies and get to work. But if you are looking to add a mineral/vitamin supplement to your deer management program, call the Whitetail Institute. W
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Plus… FREE VHS or DVD!
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Vol. 16, No. 3 /
T U R N I N G D I RT By Mark Trudeau, Institute National Sales Manager
Part One: Considerations for the First-Time Tractor Buyer
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
tractors, you’ve probably heard them say something like, “I have a 50-horse tractor.” That’s because over time, it has become customary for people to quickly identify tractors in conversation simply by manufacturer and Hp rating. However it may not mean that the particular tractor has enough power to do what you want it to. Analyzing your power requirements starts with a basic understanding of what the term “power” means in the context of tractors from a practical standpoint. To put things in perspective, let’s look at a commonly familiar term - horsepower. Hp is basically just a standardized way to measure power. According to the standard, one Hp is required to move 330 pounds a distance of 100 feet in one minute. What we need to know, though, is the amount of Hp that a given model can deliver where you need it to do a specific job. That is described in tractor conversations as either “Engine Hp” or “PTO Hp.” (Note: There’s also something out there called “Drawbar Hp”, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.) Engine Hp: Technically, this is the amount of horsepower a tractor’s engine puts out when sitting still and running without trying to move anything. However, when most folks talk about a given tractor’s engine Hp in conversation, they’re usually referring to the tractor’s ability to pull something, such as a plow or disk.
f you’ve been a Whitetail News subscriber for a few years or seen our food plot segments on TV, you know that we’ve talked a lot about how to prepare food plots with ATV equipment or even simple hand tools. It’s true that ATVs can be very effective tools for food plot work, but the time may come when you decide to move up to a tractor, and when you do, there are a few things to consider before you lay down your cash. This article, while certainly not exhaustive of the topic, should provide you with good information to help you start your search. Tractors suited for food plot work are generally of three types. “Agricultural tractors” are large, heavy-duty tractors suited to commercial farming. “Utility tractors” are smaller, less powerful or both than agricultural tractors, but heavy duty and usually sufficient for private farms and small commercial farming operations. “Compact tractors” (some manufacturers refer to these as sub-compact or compact-utility tractors) are smaller, less powerful or both than utility tractors and suited for small, private farms. All offer more functional capability than lawn-and-garden tractors and ATVs, and they can be had with necessary features, such as a PTO and three-point hitch, which most lawn-and-garden tractors lack. Step One: Identifying Your Needs: At first blush, this might seem a simple question. If the heaviest duty you will regularly ask of your tractor is ground tillage, the temptation can be to immediately jump to the conclusion that we “just need something that will pull a disk.” It’s almost never that simple, though, so it’s a great idea to sit down with pen and paper first and make a needs list. First, consider how much acreage you will till each year, how rough the terrain is (e.g. sloped or flat, heavy or light, sandy soil), and how much time you have to do the work. If you have heavier soils or otherwise more mechanically stressful conditions to deal with, then you might be served with a heavier-duty tractor. Second, consider what sorts of jobs you expect to accomplish with your tractor. Take into account your heaviest anticipated use because if you have to continually operate your tractor at peak output, it will age the machine. Third, consider practical issues, such as what kinds of implements you will use and whether they will attach to the front or the back of the tractor. If you will have to transport the tractor to and from your property, also be sure to consider whether your vehicle is up to the job. Fourth, consider how much time you have to do your tractor work. If you are like most of us, and your time is limited, you may need a more-powerful tractor so you can work at a faster pace. Step Two: Finding the Right Tractor: Once you’ve completed your needs list using the criteria above, you really only have three variables to consider in finding the right tractor for you. These are power, size and cost. When it comes to power, a question commonly asked by folks just getting into tractors is, “What horsepower tractor do I need?” If there was ever an over-generalized question, this is it! If you’ve been around folks who are discussing
PTO Hp: This is the amount of Hp the tractor has available at its “PTO” (power takeoff unit) to lift things and to drive rotational implements such as brush cutters and post-hole diggers. Special Considerations Concerning Smaller Tractors: If you are considering buying a smaller tractor to pull something such as a plow or disk, additional factors that can increase traction are especially important. Consider purchasing a four-wheel-drive model, which can offer greater pulling ability than a comparable two-wheel-drive model. Also, stick with cleated, agricultural-type tires instead of turf tires to maximize traction. Traction can also be increased by adding weight to the tractor. Common methods of adding weight are hanging cast-iron plates on it, or filling its rear tires up about three-quarters of the way with a liquid such as calcium chloride and one-quarter with air. Add only enough to get the traction you need because a certain amount of tire slippage actually helps protect the drive train, and excess weight can also over-compact the soil. Cost Issues: When purchasing a new tractor, remember to check with the manufacturer for information about any rebates that might be offered. Also be sure to compare what comes standard on each model. What you save on a lower price tag can be quickly negated if you have to add optional features to one model that would have come standard on another. Desirable features include power steering, an outlet for a remote hydraulic cylinder if necessary and, if you will be adding cast-iron weights, a weight bar at the front. If you are considering buying a lower-quality or gray-market tractor to save money, remember the old saying, “You get what you pay for.” That statement was never truer than it is here! There are some good lowpriced models out there, but others may break easily and lack parts and service availability. In such cases, you’d be better off buying a well-maintained, used tractor manufactured by a reputable company than a new one with a cheap sticker. When shopping for a used tractor, apply the same criteria mentioned above for new tractors. When you find one that has raised your interest, make sure that its systems, including its safety features, are present and in good, working order. Your tractor should have a seatbelt and, if it does not have a cab, an OSHA-certified ROPS (rollover protective structure). A prudent buyer will also pay a few bucks to hire a reputable tractor mechanic to inspect a used machine prior to purchase rather than relying on the representations of the seller. And pay him for his time – “you get what you pay for” applies to tractor mechanics too. By now, you should be getting a feel for how to go about choosing a tractor to meet your food plot needs. In a nutshell, you are looking for a good-quality tractor with the features you need, enough power to handle your heaviest anticipated use, and in a size that you can haul if you need to. By approaching your search in an organized manner using the step-by-step analysis provided above, you should be able to wade through the multitude of offerings in the food plot tractor market and find exactly the right tractor for your needs. W
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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
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 â€“ in the fields and in the record books. We do the research. You see the results.
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ASK BIG JON By Jon Cooner, Institute Director of Special Projects
Common Questions — Straightforward Answers I have planted Imperial Whitetail Clover for years, and your instructions say to maintain it with a zeronitrogen fertilizer. I planted some Extreme this year, though, and I saw that you do recommend nitrogen. Why the difference? Basically, the difference is “nitrogen fixation,” a process that the perennial plants in Imperial Whitetail Clover undergo and that those in Imperial Extreme do not. Nitrogen is key to rapid forage growth; plants need nitrogen to produce chlorophyll, and the more chlorophyll they can produce, the faster they can grow. Nitrogen-fixating forages, such as the clovers in Imperial Whitetail Clover, begin to form nodules on their roots shortly after they begin to grow. Bacteria in these nodules convert nitrogen from the air into organic forms that these plants, and to some extent other plants growing around them, can use. A little nitrogen does need to be added at planting to get nitrogen fixators up and going, but after that, additional nitrogen is not necessary. In fact, adding additional nitrogen can slow the plant’s nitrogen fixation (if it doesn’t need to fix its own nitrogen, why would it?) and can also stimulate competition from grass and weeds. Some plants, including the perennials in Imperial Extreme, are not nitrogen fixators,
so nitrogen must be added in the form of higher-nitrogen fertilizers, both at planting and during annual maintenance. Why do your instructions for planting Extreme, Winter-Greens and No Plow suggest top-dressing with additional high-nitrogen fertilizer a month or so after planting? Good question! There are three reasons (or perhaps one reason in three parts). First, nitrogen is crucial to rapid forage growth — plants need nitrogen to produce chlorophyll — and the more chlorophyll they can produce, the faster they can grow. Second, the perennial plants in Extreme and the plants in No-Plow and WinterGreens are not nitrogen fixators (they don’t convert nitrogen in the air to a form they can use), so nitrogen must be added in the form of high-nitrogen fertilizer. Third, unlike phosphorous and potassium (the second and third numbers on the front of blended-fertilizer bags), nitrogen (the first number) doesn’t stay around long once it is exposed to the environment. That’s why we recommend applying high-nitrogen fertilizers (for example, 22-0-0, 33-0-0. 34-0-0, or 46-0-0) 45 days or so after planting to boost forage growth in our forages
that are not nitrogen fixators (e.g.: Imperial Extreme, No Plow, Winter-Greens and others). How well will No Plow grow in soil that is very acidic if I don’t add lime before I plant? The simple answer is potentially not as well as it would if you follow all of the planting instructions, which include the addition of lime to the surface of the plot. Acidic soil is actually optimum for some plants, such as some grasses and garden ornamentals for example. Deer forages, though, generally tend to perform best in a soil pH of 6.5-7. No Plow is a very forgiving forage blend when it comes to soil pH; it will tolerate lower pH but note that I said "tolerate." If you want your No Plow to perform up to its best potential, the safe thing to do is follow all of the planting instructions, including adding lime. Adding lime for No Plow is an even easier process than liming the soil for a perennial planting. Liming the seedbed for No Plow requires less lime, and tilling the lime in is not required. So, don’t skimp on liming or any other recommended planting step. Those steps are there for a reason, and if you skip steps, you will probably not enjoy the results you could have had if you’d followed all of the planting instructions. 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.)
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, Alabama 36043
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
| B a s e S l ay e r s
No question, Scent-Lok’s new BaseSlayers™ with ClimaFleece™ is great news for hunters, not so good for the deer. Advanced performance insulating and moisture management fabrics keep you warm and comfortable in the coldest weather. And unlike anti-microbial systems that only control bacteria-generated odor, BaseSlayers’ activated carbon technology adsorbs and eliminates all types of human odor. Those big bucks will step right up. How you intend to greet them is your call.
Be the DOMINANT
© 2006 Scent-Lok Technologies, a division of ALS Enterprises, Inc.
P R E DAT O R .
H OW I D O I T By Rick Mears, Pennsylvania
The “Big Six” in Developing Monster Bucks tened as the student. Now my property is home to many deer, and more importantly, many “wall-hangers.” How was this accomplished? It took hard work, commitment, and patience. I first had my property timbered with select cutting. This was not only necessary for the property, but it was vital for the deer herd. The brushy tops and thick undercover provided great food sources and protective cover for fawns. Once this was done, I began to erect stands for hunting as well as observation points. I instantly saw an increase in deer numbers simply because does had prime habitat for raising fawns. The downside was it put our buck-to-doe ratio at about 1:5. This was nowhere near where it needed to be. After some research and conferring with the Institute again, I realized I had to put doe hunting high on the priority list. We spent two seasons with the attitude of “shoot the does.” This began to pull our numbers to a 1:3 ratio, which was better, but not yet where we wanted it. We still weren’t seeing mountable bucks. I contacted the Whitetail Institute once again. I decided to put three acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover in to complement the cornfields and thick cover. This was a start in upping the protein levels of the deer. It began to supply the protein to balance the carbohydrates from corn, grains and apples from our orchards. The herd’s
Big bucks like this can result from a sound management strategy, applying concrete rules, being patient, and staying focused on what you are trying to accomplish.
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
very whitetail hunter dreams of shooting “the big one.” The biggest problem the hunter faces is finding that prized deer. In Pennsylvania that was almost impossible to do until the last two years. Two seasons ago the state placed antler restrictions on hunting deer to allow the bucks to reach more maturity. In Pennsylvania we had historically killed off 90 percent of our antlered deer each season. Hunters had the mindset that getting a buck was what it was all about. Convincing hunters to let deer reach their prime was not easy. The Game Commission, led by Gary Alt, finally did it and hunters are already seeing bigger bucks. That is natural when you simply let a buck age a year. Deer that get to live an extra year will, as common sense suggests, produce larger racks. With more than one million hunters though, you must do more to produce trophy deer since many of those will still be shot. I own 90 acres of prime whitetail land, and with my brother-in-law’s adjoining land, we have roughly 130 acres of ideal habitat. We have always had antler restrictions of six points or more long before the Game Commission implemented the statewide plan. Even with this we were still only seeing “nicer” 8-points and some small 10-points. This is when I contacted the Whitetail Institute for some assistance. Something had to be missing. The Institute stepped in as my counselor, and I lis-
diet was becoming more balanced. Pat Heide, (my assistant project manager), and I noticed for the first time some sizable antler growth. I harvested a nice 10-point buck that year but we wanted more mass on the antlers. Dan and Bill Grobe, both close friends of mine, shot nice 8- and 9-points, respectively, the following year. The story was the same. Nice racks, decent spreads, but not enough mass. One more time I contacted the Whitetail Institute. They advised me to implement a year-round mineral supplement program. I set up two mineral stations and supplied deer with supplements all through the year. I rotate from Initiate to Optimize, to Sustain. I use Sustain from November through February. This allows bucks to regain their lost weight from the rut rapidly. A deer will only put most of its energy into antlers after their bodies are sufficiently replenished. Sustain helps accomplish this. In March I begin to use Initiate so the bucks have the boost they need to pump up their racks to their potential. This finally has added mass to the antlers of my herds. In the summer I switch to Optimize. This helps the bucks polish off their racks so they can reach full potential. After only one year of this, the results were evident; after two years it was astounding. My brother Paul shot a 140-class 8-point two years ago, and last season Pat shot a 152-class, 15-point. Rich Firmstone, a family friend, also harvested a large 9-point – all mountable deer. This does not include many other bucks that were shot but weren’t quite this nice. Our buck to doe ratio is now much better. Of the last 14 deer photographed, 10 were bucks and all were “shooters.” That is amazing in just a three-year span. Shooting does and providing enough food and nutrition for the bucks to stay on the property has made all the difference. The final thing I did, on the advice of the Whitetail Institute, was create two sanctuaries. These are areas we never venture into. I have a 10-acre area and a 7-acre area. I have provided my deer herd with what I consider to be the “big six” in developing monster bucks. One, I have created excellent cover. Two, I have planted awesome food sources. Three, I supply year-round supplements. Four, the deer have two streams and several springs for water. Five, I have allowed the deer to age properly. And six, I have provided mature bucks with a sanctuary. Everything I have done and accomplished was with the help of the Whitetail Institute. You can achieve the same things. All you have to do is implement a sound management strategy, apply concrete rules, be patient, and stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish. Sure, some of our deer are shot by neighboring hunters, but common sense says if I have the food, cover, minerals, water and sanctuary, I will have the most big bucks staying on or heading to my property. It is worth giving up one or two to harvest three or four. In the last five years I have learned how to manage whitetail deer. I not only manage for the bucks, but also the does. It is all thanks to the counseling from the Whitetail Institute. Anytime I have called they have helped, guided and instructed me in what to do. You can do the same. Give the Whitetail Institute a call. W
Customers do the talking about Institute products… Stan Coleman – Alabama
Imperial No-Plow grows great. Draws deer like a magnet in late fall. This deer was taken on a small patch of NoPlow. Gross score 140 weight 203 lbs. Thanks a lot for your amazing products, I’m a firm believer that it makes me a more productive hunter and it would do the same for anyone who decided to start using Imperial products.
Jerry Burns – Georgia I have used Whitetail Institute products for about 10 years now in four different states including MO, IL, SC and GA. I now live in Georgia but still travel home to the Midwest every year to hunt in MO and IL. We use your products not just for their tremendous nutritional values but also for the incredible palatability that they seem to have. It’s been our experience that if the Imperial Whitetail Clover is planted properly deer will seek it out over just about everything else available. We have strategically used the clover in many different way. Not so much to hunt directly over but to create and draw deer through certain transition areas where we can get in and out of undetected. We basically use the clover as
our magnet because there is no doubt they will come to it if you plant it. One instance out of many occurred this bow season. We had replanted all of our clover plots on a farm we hunt in Illinois. We were very excited abut it because we planted more clover than we had ever had on this particular farm before. However, due to an extreme drought most of what we planted never had a chance to make like we really wanted it to. To compensate we bought several acres of standing corn from the farmer hoping it would make up for our lack of green food plots. When we arrived at the farm to hunt and prep our standing corn plots we drove the tractor thru what were supposed to be nice green clover food plots and found mostly grown up weeds. There was one exception however. There was about 1/8 of an acre that had come up in one cove that usually stays pretty moist. We went ahead and mowed it because the temps were still pretty warm and thought it might still grow some. Due to the small size of the plot though we doubted it would factor at all in how the deer used the farm and made no plans on hunting in the immediate area. Two days into the hunt we knew for a fact we had misjudged the drawing power of even 1/8 of an acre of Imperial Whitetail Clover!!! The deer wouldn’t stay out of it. Here we had bought all this corn and the deer were coming to a clover plot that was maybe 20 x 30 yards wide. We quickly adjusted our strategy for hunting the farm and I harvested a 10 pointer with my bow that grossed 153 inches on my first climb within 250 yards of the clover. It’s nice to know where the does are going to be during the rut!!! If you know that you can make a pretty good game plan on how to hunt the bucks looking for them. I wish I knew how many times we have used your products to put the does right where we wanted them when we wanted them there. Thanks for a great product and for a neat publication like the Whitetail News to keep us all updated on your progress and new products!!! Enclosed is a picture of the deer that was mentioned in this letter.
Bill and Mitch Aski – Wisconsin Imperial Whitetail Clover is an excellent product – deer visit casually throughout the year – but really aggressively in winter months. Alfa-Rack is also an
souri on a high knoll which does not receive much rain. I also used No-Plow in a small remote area. It was amazing. It grew in great and provided a good plot deeper in the Wisconsin property. PowerPlant is by far the best food plot choice on both our Wisconsin and Missouri property. Highly sought out by deer in and around the area. Holds deer early summer to mid winter in both states. I’ve only been using 30-06 for 2 years. But deer visit the remote mineral sites often in both states.
Matt Lawyer – Indiana Imperial Whitetail Clover is the best thing I’ve done for my deer hunting and herd health. It is a continuous high quality food source. I don’t ever have to mow my plots because deer mow it for me. Our plots support a tremendous number of deer. Also, we have a plot of Extreme that
is thriving on a sandhill that is suitable for nothing more than watermelons! I can’t believe how hearty the plot is for the conditions it is growing in. Looks great and holds deer every evening. Enclosed are 2 photos. The picture with my two boys is from 2 years ago and the buck scores 136”. The other picture is from last year and the buck scores 151”. Both were killed in the same Imperial Clover field. Great products make for great success.
John Michael Dilday – Illinois I used PowerPlant and 30-06 at the same time and the deer really started hanging in the area all year. The mass of the bucks rack increased considerably. Included is a picture excellent product Its healthy and vibrant. I have it right next to Imperial Whitetail Clover. Deer visit and browse regularly. I will be trying Extreme in Miswww.whitetailinstitute.com
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
Customers do the talking about of the deer killed on our property the opening morning of first deer season. All were killed before 10:00 a.m.
Joel LaPierre – New York I can’t say enough good things about Imperial Whitetail Clover. This product is the backbone of our entire QDM program. We have tried the other guys’ products and their results don’t even come close to how the Imperial Whitetail Clover performs. We plant Imperial Whitetail Clover following good planting practices and it
comes in very uniform over the entire field. Then we cut the clover once the first year which makes the clover come in much thicker and drowns out any grass or weeds that might have started.
Every year after that we mow the clover twice which makes the clover come in thicker each time and keeps the grass and weeds out. Using Imperial Whitetail Clover provides such lush food plots you could compare your product to an all you can eat prime rib buffet. So why would the deer want to jump the fence to feed over at slim pick-ins café. So where do you think the deer are hanging out? Also the average body weights have increased approximately 15% according to our data collection from our doe harvesting. I am enclosing some photos of deer taken from our hunting property. Keep the great products coming. I can’t wait to try some of your new Winter-Greens.
Dave McGlone – Michigan After using your 30-06 Plus Protein for almost 10 years now, we are seeing much nicer bucks than we ever saw in the past. As you can see by the enclosed photo last year’s 10 point was confirmation of the value in your 30-06 Plus Protein minerals. We had a few opportunities at small and medium 8 points during early bow season, but we wanted to let them grow. Your advice to us years ago, “Let the little ones go, so that they can grow” has also played a big role in our success. You suggested that we plant food plots, 16
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
raked those massive antlers in the branches. I believe that Whitetail Clover, No-Plow and 30-06 Mineral all play a big part in improving the quality of the deer that live on my property. Thank you.
Rick Garr Sr. – Kentucky other than the typical rye-wheat-oats which everyone plants, and that we need to soil test, lime and fertilize as required. The expert staff at the Whitetail Institute has provided a lot of guidance over the years and is greatly appreciated. Our area has been known as a small buck area. But with the help of the Whitetail Institute and a lot of hard work, the results are showing. We’ve been taking nice 10 points and 8 points almost every year. It’s hard to watch a nice 8 point walk away, but it’s a good feeling to know that there are nicer bucks in the neighborhood, thanks to your products and help. We’ve planted the Imperial Clover as our front and back yards around our camp. It only made sense to us that if we were going to maintain a yard around the camp, it might as well be Imperial Clover. You may want to suggest to others that Imperial Clover makes a great yard. Our deer and turkeys hit it so hard that we seldom have to mow it. Maybe once or twice a year. And it’s kind of nice to have an additional food plot even though we don’t hunt it. It’s there for the wildlife and they use it a lot, of course mainly when we’re not there, but it certainly helps keep the deer and turkeys in our area. Keep up the good work and be sure to tell the staff we said thanks for all the help.
I planted my first plot of Imperial Whitetail Clover 4-5 years ago and the second plot this Spring. Imperial Whitetail Clover is the preferred food source for my wildlife year around. Since I planted the food plots I have noticed the increase in deer body and rack size. Attached is a picture of an 8 point buck, which is around 160 Boone & Crockett.
Gary Jasken – Minnesota We’ve only used Whitetail Institute products for the last couple of years, but it appears that they keep the deer from migrating out of our hunting area during the winter as in previous years – possibly never to return. We caught
Paul Marcotte – Iowa We caught a visitor to the PowerPlant food plot. She appears to be jumping for joy.
Phillip Robidoux – Missouri My wife and I bought our 120 acre farm in January 2000. In the spring of 2001 I planted my first Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot. I’ve had excellent results with it and took a very nice 8-point from that plot this year. Sorry, no photo of that buck at this time. The photo enclosed shows a monster 11-point I got on my trail camera. I’ve seen him in the Whitetail Clover. He came in to check on does one evening. He made a scrape, stood on his hind legs and
glimpses of this buck last summer and fall. We found one of his sheds in February and were able to tag him in November. Whitetail Institute products keep the deer at home where they belong!
Kirby Lantz – Ohio I killed this buck in southeastern Ohio with a muzzleloader on opening day last gun season. He was just 50 yards from a lush field of Alfa-Rack. (Check out his brow tines that are 10/11 inches and shaped like knives!) My family owns 200 acres of wooded property and we have planted Whitetail Institute products in many of the www.whitetailinstitute.com
Institute products… Glenn Schenavar – Montana
I planted AlfaRack Plus and we see more deer and elk. They also used 30-06 Mineral all year. It’s also a good product. Enclosed are a few photos.
openings. Over the last several years the quantity and quality of deer on the property continues to increase as a result of our food plots. My father often speaks of the last time he saw over 15 deer in our Imperial Clover plot. He raves about Whitetail Institutes products to anyone that will listen! Keep up the great work.
Fred Dotson – Missouri We had a great year in Missouri with 21 bucks taken this year and all were over 120 class. We are using Extreme and other products from Whitetail Institute and get-
ting great results. We will be planting more this spring and look forward to the next year’s results as we should really see the management results in full force. Here are a couple of photos of the guys.
Carl DesLauriers – Maine I planted a three acre apple orchard with Imperial Whitetail Clover and a sample of PowerPlant in Franklin County, Maine. Everything looks great thanks to your advice. It looks like all the hard work paid off, I’ll let you know this winter. There is a picture enclosed.
Dwaine Friesen – Nebraska My food plots of Imperial Clover and AlfaRack are going on 6 years now and are still good. Deer are in them all the time. Turkeys also spend a lot of time on the plots. We
are “sold” on your products. Enclosed are pictures of two bucks taken off our plots.
Rev. Donovan Larkins – Ohio Shekinah Ranch has a unique approach to teaching Life Skills, Fostering Character Development & Leadership Training. We are a non-profit organization with a 501.c3 status dedicated to bringing maximum impact in the lives of youth and young adults. With the use of outdoor educational programs such as horsemanship training, environmental conservation education and animal education we have developed an interactive/hands on approach to help the community we serve develop the leadership skills necessary for successful living. After relocating our outdoor education program to a new one hundred and twenty (120) acre parcel I first needed one question answered: Could we develop a quality food plot and wildlife management program on only one hundred and twenty (120) acres. Having contacted experts on deer management we were assured that there are very effective programs with much less than one hundred and twenty (120) acres. This was our green light to move forward. After coming up with an initial management program we still needed to make a decision on a food plot product.
After reviewing the information from the Whitetail Institute more closely I was impressed to learn of their continued research for testing and production. The concept seemed interesting that they would invest to do scientific research to produce hybrid offspring of clover that produced maximum attractant and nutrition. The information they provided about deer nutrition, minerals and antler growth is what I was in search of. One of the other factors that helped me in my decision for our program was to find that the Whitetail Institute is the leading company in food plot forage production and I wanted a product that by design was intended to produce maximum results. Now three years into our food plot/wildlife management program we are pleased and amazed at the results. It has taken a lot of hard work, consistency, commitment and some willingness to make changes when necessary but now we are beginning to live out the fruit of our faith, labor and investment. The invaluable support we receive from the Whitetail Institute is greatly appreciated. The product of the Whitetail Institute is doing exactly what they promised it would do. Three years ago we only spotted one or two turkey. Now in our third year we see groupings of fourteen (14) to thirty (30) and the sizes we see are breathtaking. Whitetail Institute products have taken our wildlife management program to a whole new level. Now when we take youth out for conservation/environmental science or wildlife education they often actually see wildlife. This makes our interactive learning three dimensional. Praise God! We look forward to our continued growing relationship.
Keith Stainbrook – Pennsylvania I have used other products, and had the deer walk thruough them to get to the Imperial Whitetail Clover. I have also used 30-06 Mineral and the deer will swim to it. See photo of our results.
Shane Hubber – South Carolina In 1996, I joined a 350 acre hunt club in Enoree, SC. At the time, we had no turkeys and only a few deer with small bodies and racks. In 2000, I heard of the Whitetail Institute of North America and purchased a 12 acre planting of Imperial Whitetail Clover. The first year, we did not see a big
(Continued on page 62) Vol. 16, No. 3 /
Wiley C. Johnson, PhD, was the Agronomist and Director of Forage Research for the Whitetail Institute for many years. Internationally renowned in his field, he created the original Imperial Whitetail Clover formula and went on to develop Advantage and Insight clover and other Institute products. He died July 20, 2006, in Auburn, Ala., where he enjoyed a distinguished career at Auburn University.
Dr. Wiley Johnson 1930 - 2006 By Jon Cooner
self-centeredness. The rain would be a welcome relief to n July 20, 2006 I was returning from a business trip farmers and planters, but I had seen it only as a matter of out of state. The trip itself had been productive, but personal discomfort. Also at that very moment, Dr. the return leg would prove sadly eventful. Half way Johnson’s family and close friends were just beginning to home, I got a call from the office informing me that Dr. absorb his loss, and I felt embarrassed at having been upset Wiley Johnson had passed away. by something as trivial as wet clothes. I spent the rest of A severe thunderstorm had broken just as I’d left the the trip home in silence thinking about that, about Dr. Interstate and dropped onto Alabama’s back roads toward Johnson, and about how much he meant, personally as well home. Central Alabama had been unusually dry throughout as professionally, to everyone who had the pleasure of the summer, and as the first few drops hit my windshield I associating with him. found myself staring at them with a bit of wonder. The Dr. Johnson was a gifted educator and a scientist’s scidrops quickly turned into a raging downpour, and as the entist. During his distinheavens seemed at once to guished, thirty-five-year pour out all the moisture career as a Professor of they had held back for at Auburn Agronomy months, I quickly reached to University, Dr. Johnson start the windshield wipers. served on numerous graduOn the first pass, the driate-student committees and ver’s-side wiper malfuncwas highly respected as an tioned, continuing past the advisor of Auburn’s underwindshield’s edge and graduate agronomy majors wedging itself into the gap and the Auburn Ag between the truck and the Ambassadors. He received side mirror where it uselessnumerous college and unily twitched back and forth. versity awards for his dediLeft without forward visibilicated teaching and studentty, I immediately pulled to advisory programs, and he the shoulder of the road and found great personal gratifiwaited for the weather to cation in the level of profesimprove. After awhile, the sional excellence achieved downpour showed no sign by his former students, who of abating, so I got out, fixed comprise an impressive list the wiper in the rain and of Who’s Who in Southern resumed my journey. Agriculture. As I got underway Of the many stories I again, I took an inventory of Dr. Johnson and Ray Scott examine Whitetail heard about Dr. have my soaked clothing and was Institute forages. Johnson, the one that has aggravated that, after havstuck in my mind is a convering not rained much for sation Ray Scott told me three months, it would rain about shortly after Dr. Johnson’s death. “I asked Wiley one now – right when I did NOT need it. Shortly thereafter, I day, ‘Wiley, in all your years as a teacher, how many stureceived the cell-phone call from The Institute’s Director of dents did you fail?’ Wiley responded, ‘I didn’t fail any of Operations, and I immediately launched into a tirade about them - I taught them.” Dr. Johnson’s reply speaks volumes my bad luck. He allowed me to vent before telling me that about his character and his quality as an educator. Enough Dr. Johnson had passed away. said. The news floored me. I had just seen “Dr. J” the very After his retirement from Auburn University in 1992, Dr. morning I had left on my trip. He had stood in the kitchen Johnson continued his professional career as Director of of our office preparing his lunch and, with his customary Research and Plant Breeding for the Whitetail Institute of broad smile, wished me good luck. And now … he was gone. North America. In some ways, Dr. Wiley Johnson was as As I drove on, I felt more than a little guilty over my 18
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
much an icon of the Whitetail Institute as is its founder, Ray Scott. It was Dr. Johnson who Scott contacted in the late 1980s with an idea of creating as perfect a perennial deer forage as possible. The collaboration resulted in the development of the Whitetail Instituteâ€™s first proprietary clover, and the rest, as they say, is history. The forages Dr. Johnson helped develop for the Institute during his years as its Director of Research and Plant Breading have been planted by sportsmen and managers on over a million acres throughout North America and continue to be the backbone of the Instituteâ€™s deer-forage blends, which remain the industry standard. Although I had not known Dr. Johnson as long as others in our company, I learned a great deal from him, both professionally and personally. From a professional standpoint, I often took advantage of his wealth of knowledge about agriculture and appreciated that he always took time to help me understand things, no matter how rudimentary. He freely shared his substantial knowledge, openly and without considering it proprietary. Perhaps this is one reason he was such
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Vol. 16, No. 3 /
Dr. Johnson examines a test plot in 2003.
30-06 mineral /vitamin supplements are the best products available for the buck, and thatâ€™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 enhancers which mean deer find, and frequent, the ground sites you create by mixing these products into the soil. You can be assured 30-06 was created with deer, not cattle, in mind.
30-06 and 30-06 Plus Protein contain all the essential macro and trace minerals along with vitamins A, D, and E necessary for a quality deer herd and maximum antler growth.
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
2 3 9 W h i t e t a i l Tr a i l
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
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
an outstanding educator; it is certainly one reason I learned so much from him and respected him so much. I also consider it to Dr. Johnson’s great credit that he gave his opinions without qualification – he was not one to waffle. If asked a question that could be answered with “Yes” or “No,” then that was the answer he gave. That courageous quality is rare these days. Dr. Johnson’s articles also helped me write more effectively. Our company’s magazine, Whitetail News, is published three times each year, and Dr. Johnson contributed one or more articles to nearly every issue. Often, he was asked to write articles about such things as soil pH, lime activity and sprayer calibration, topics that most would find extremely cumbersome. However, he was gifted at writing such articles in a way that made them enjoyable as well as informative. Even with all his professional accomplishments, Dr. Johnson’s greatest impact in my own life was more personal than professional. I’m sure he did not realize this impact, since we only encountered one another in a professional setting and interacted about business. Instead, he stood as an example from which one could learn if he took the time to notice. Others here at the Institute knew Dr. Johnson longer than I, and everyone seems to have his own favorite Dr. Johnson story. I examined those stories again in my mind as I drove, and it occurred to me that while all were humorous, none had even the slightest tinge of baseness, and that, I believe, is a testament to Dr. Johnson’s character - he was unquestionably a gentleman. Dr. Johnson also appeared to me to be right-minded, both from what I personally observed and from what I learned about him from others, before and after his death. No one I know can recall Dr. Johnson ever having been anything other than thoroughly gracious, and anyone who ever experienced the directness of his gaze, firmness of his handshake and warmth of his smile will not find that sur-
prising. His appearance and actions were simple and quiet, with no effort wasted on the egocentric; one might not even realize that Dr. Johnson was working around the office on a particular day until he passed by on the way to the greenhouses or stopped to enjoy his modest, customary lunch of a sandwich and an apple in the company kitchen. His activities outside his professional work with the Institute also show the kind of man he was - loving and committed to the things that matter in life. Dr. Johnson was the grandfather of four, father of two and husband of one. He first met Elizabeth Ann Calvin, the young lady who was to become his wife, when he was only 15 years old, and they courted during buggy rides through the mountains of western North Carolina. They married after college and remained together ever since. Dr. Johnson was only thirteen years old when he lost his own father, and the responsibility of being the only male in the family helped shape his character. A testament to Dr. Johnson’s own quality as a father is evident in the remarks his son, Dr. Carroll Johnson, made at father’s graveside: “On Saturday morning, I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the yard at Dad’s house in Auburn, and I needed a pair of work gloves. I had left mine at home in Georgia, but I found a pair of Dad’s work gloves in his truck. Work gloves are like a pair of boots - they need to be broken-in to fit the user’s hand. Dad’s work gloves fit me perfectly, and that made me realize that Dad had been preparing my brother and me to wear his gloves in another way – so that we would be ready to stand at the front of the family as its leaders. Dad set a very high standard in an unassuming way, and my brother and I are now able to wear our Dad’s gloves. “To all men with young children or grandchildren, I would like to present my father as an example of a great father who spent a lot of time with my brother and me, and our children. A great father spends time in all sorts of ways with his kids, even when they are grown. A great father sets
high standards for his children and lives his life to the same high standards. That way, his gloves can be worn by his children.” Dr. Johnson also freely gave of himself to his community and his fellow man. He was heavily involved in PTA, an active member of the First Presbyterian Church for 49 years, and a volunteer at the Auburn Food Bank and its outreach effort, The Brown Bag Program. He was a member of the Auburn Lions Club, served as its president and received the Melvin Jones Fellow Award in 2003 for outstanding service to Lions International. He also served for many years in Boy Scouts of America, and as his family recalls of that endeavor, “Nobody could cook pancakes over a campfire like Wiley. He treated many boys for yellow-jacket stings by using a poultice of chewed Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco. You will never find that in a BSA manual.” If Dr. Johnson were to be described in a single sentence, his sons could likely do a better job of it than I. However, to me Dr. Johnson was simply this: a lamp shining on a lampstand for all to see. Although he has left us, the good fruit of his life remains. All of us at The Whitetail Institute of North America will miss Dr. Johnson, and we deeply respect and appreciate his contributions to our company and to all of us as individuals. I know that I will think of him often, and of his last lesson to me … especially when it rains.
Dr. Johnson's family and The Whitetail Institute have received requests for information on where friends of Dr. Johnson might make a contribution in his name. Dr. Johnson's family has suggested that donations be made to the Food Bank of East Alabama, one of the many charitable endeavors to which Dr. Johnson contributed substantial time and other personal resources during his life. The Food Bank of East Alabama may be contacted as follows: Food Bank of East Alabama, 375 Industry Drive, Auburn, AL 36832, or at (334) 821-9006 or (334) 821-4697 (fax). W
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Vol. 16, No. 3 /
Postemergence Herbicide Greatly Improves Quality and Longevity of Forage Plantings By Dr. W. Carroll Johnson, III, Ph.D.
rrest is a postemergence graminicide â€“ a herbicide that controls emerged grasses. Its active ingedient was registered in 1983 for use on soybean and cotton. Later, other crops were added to its registrations. Its products have recently been packaged and marketed for small acreage specialty crops. Arrest is registered for use on forage legume plantings. Many consider such herbicides to be indispensable tools for managing food plots. These herbicides consistently control emerged annual and perennial grasses, with minimal phytotoxic effects on broadleaf crops. Arrest can be used on most broadleaf forages including clover, alfalfa, brassica, chicory, and forbs. While these herbicides are simple to use and nearly foolproof, there are recurring questions that need to be answered.
HOW DOES ARREST KILL GRASSES? The foliage of grasses quickly absorbs Arrest and other postemergence graminicides. Once inside the leaf, Arrest is translocated through the vascular system of the 22
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
grasses and accumulates in growing points. Growing points can be in the above ground buds and, in the case of perennial grasses, in the underground growth buds. Growing points are more numerous in large weeds than in small weeds, thus making large grasses more difficult to control. Arrest inhibits amino acid synthesis in the growing points of grasses, thus symptoms are first seen in the growing points, not in the whole plant. While visible symptoms are slow to develop, the growth of treated grasses ceases long before symptoms are expressed. The accumulation of Arrest in the growing point of grasses is not particularly efficient, thus grass control efficacy is largely dependent on environmental conditions that favor herbicide absorption, treating small grasses, using an appropriate rate, following adjuvant recommendations (as stated on the label), and thorough spray coverage. If any of these conditions are compromised, grass control efficacy will be reduced, although Arrest and other postemergence graminicides are among the most consistent herbicides available.
HOW CAN I TELL IF ARREST IS WORKING? Beginning about five to seven days after Arrest treatment, an unfolded leaf blade in the whorl (growing point) can be easily removed, showing a brown, partially decayed base of the leaf blade (Figure 1). This is typically the first symptom of Arrest activity on grasses. These symptoms progress to yellow leaves, beginning with the growing point and spreading to the entire plant (Figure 2a). After about 14 to 21 days, the entire plant essentially melts away (Figure 2b).
DOES A CROP OIL CONCENTRATE NEED TO BE USED WITH ARREST? This is a confusing issue, since there are differing adjuvant recommendations among similar herbicides. A crop oil concentrate helps postemergence herbicides penetrate the leaf cuticle. Arrest does not need a crop oil concentrate adjuvant since there are surface active agents included in
Figure 1. Within five days of treatment with Arrest, the unfolded leaf blade of a grass can be easily removed showing brown, decaying tissue at the base.
the commercial formulation and the Arrest use rate is increased as further compensation. This is useful to the customer by not having to procure another product. It should be noted that other similar herbicides may not be formulated the same as Arrest and require a crop oil concentrate for maximum efficacy. The often stated phrase - “follow the herbicide label” – is the solution to the confusion.
HOW LONG DOES ARREST NEED TO STAY ON A PLANT TO PROTECT FROM WASH-OFF? Arrest is quickly absorbed by grasses giving the herbicide excellent protection from wash-off. Arrest is adequately absorbed one hour after application. As with any herbicide, avoid applying Arrest if rainfall is imminent or during droughty conditions. A weed scientist’s cliché is worth remembering: “If conditions are good for plant growth, then conditions are good for herbicides”.
Figure 2a. Texas panicum, an annual grass, showing whole-plant symptoms of sethoxydim efficacy seven days after treatment.
HOW IS ARREST USED FOR PERENNIAL GRASS CONTROL? This is a common question—from the South on johnsongrass, to the North and Mid-west on quackgrass. A key fact to remember is that perennial grasses propagate by seed and overwintering vegetative structures (roots, rhizomes, tubers, and stolons). Vegetative structures tend to re-sprout, guaranteeing the need for multiple applications of Arrest per year for acceptable control. Once it warms in the spring and perennial grasses begin sprouting from the overwintering structures, the first application of Arrest needs to be made. Subsequent applications should be timed according to re-growth, which can be two to four weeks after the initial application. When treating perennial grasses with Arrest, use the high end of the rate range. This entire regime will likely need to be repeated the following season. This is due to perennial grass seedlings
Figure 2b. The same Texas panicum plant showing general decay 16 days after treatment. Sethoxydim immediately ceases growth of treated grasses, although symptoms are slow to develop.
sprouting from dormant seed and continual re-sprouting from the surviving vegetative structures. It is safe to say that perennial grasses are a pest you learn how to manage the best you can and accept a few survivors. While perennial grasses are difficult to manage, Arrest makes the job possible. Several years ago, I wrote an article in Whitetail News on grass control with this family of herbicides. In that article, I presented a brief history, including a personal recollection of the reaction of North Carolina peanut growers in 1982 the first time they saw them demonstrated in research plots. It was a major developmental breakthrough in weed control technology and in the peanut farmer’s eyes – a miracle. Without a doubt, Arrest is a valuable weed control tool for managers of food plots, just like it is for peanut farmers. The grass control Arrest provides will greatly improve the quality and longevity of forage plantings. As with any herbicide, read and follow all instructions on the herbicide label. W
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
Research = Results.
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
Whitetail Institute Introduces Wildlife Management Solutions:
or many years, the Whitetail Institute has performed on-site consulting for customers from Long Island to South Texas who seek highly specialized, professional assistance in making their properties the best deer-hunting lands they can be. In the past, this service has not been formally advertised. Demand continues to increase, though, and as always, the Institute is listening. As a result, we are pleased to publicly announce the availability of Wildlife Management Solutions, a consulting option for those who wish to spare no detail in developing
The New Consulting Arm of the Whitetail Institute the hunting potential of their properties. Availability for 2007 is extremely limited, and projects will be accepted strictly on a first-come-first-served basis. One reason the Whitetail Institute continues to be the leader of the deer-nutrition industry is the level of service we provide all our customers. Our in-house consultants are available at our toll-free number to back up the finest deer nutrition products in the world with dedicated support. We remain ready to answer your questions about our products, your land, your hunting strategies and anything else related
to the sport we love â€“ hunting whitetail deer. And this is true whether the property you hunt is 10 acres or several thousand. Either way, you can expect the Institute to continue to provide the advice and support you need to make your deer hunting the best it can be. Developing larger properties involves the same issues as smaller tracts. These include, for example, forage selection, soil analysis, equipment selection, planting techniques and perennial maintenance. Larger properties, though, can present additional issues that are unique. These include, for
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Quickly and easily maintain trails and food plots with the AcrEase rough cut mower. = Wide 57 inch heavy duty deck. = 20-22 HP electric start engine options. = Deck height adjustment from 2-8 inches. = Twin blade design for added mulching. = 4 tires for added support and close trims. = Capable of cutting 2 inch dia. brush and saplings. = Pull directly behind or fully offset to the side.
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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
The new consulting service from the Whitetail Institute will offer detail explanations for plot location, planting instructions, plot maintenance, etc.
Working ground with an ATV just got a whole lot easier with the Till-Ease Model 543 Chisel Plow / Field Cultivator. Break hard ground and prepare deeper more productive seedbeds with ease. = Up to 6 inch depths, 43 inches wide. = Cutting coulters for cutting light trash. = Electric lift with ATV controls. = Rigid shanks for easy penetration in hard ground. = Weight racks. = Optional equipment.
tured for the customer who wants highly specialized, allinclusive service. For a flat fee plus expenses, our most senior experts will visit your property, perform an extremely detailed analysis and deliver a detailed report of our findings and recommendations concerning every aspect of your property as it relates to deer hunting. This includes soil analysis and supplementation recommendations, plot-system layout, plot location, plot design, forage selection, planting techniques specific to soil types, equipment selection and use, and issues related to other intended uses of the property. Wildlife Management Solutions is available for projects
requiring a minimum of two days of on-site work. This initial two-day on-site service will be provided for $2,500, plus expenses per day. Each additional on-site day will be provided for $2,000 plus expenses per day. If you have been looking for an all-inclusive, highly professional consulting service, or if you just want to leave the decisions to the experts, look no further—the Whitetail Institute has you covered. Just give us a call at (800) 6883030, ext. 2, and ask for information on Wildlife Management Solutions. Again, we cannot stress too strongly that availability is extremely limited, and clients will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. W
n Tackling a Major Management Project >>>>>>>>>>>>>> The Whitetail Institute’s consulting service will survey your property and provide recommendations for food plot plantings.
H example, how to design a multi-plot plan in which each plot relates to the others, deal with widely varying soil types, select specialized forages, rotate forages over time, incorporate mineral and supplement stations, manipulate deer travel patterns, and incorporate a deer-hunting program into any other intended uses of the property. Where special circumstances such as these exist, nothing can match an on-site evaluation and a tailored program to maximize the manager’s results. Wildlife Management Solutions is specifically struc-
ow I came to be a consultant for the J.B. Hunt Big Horn Lodge is unimportant. What is important, however, is how overwhelmed I was on my first ride through its thousands of acres of beautiful landscape in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri. As I assessed the property, my head was full of issues about soil analysis, plot and stand locations, protein levels of forages, browse lines and water sources. As the ranch manager, I needed to be successful, and I knew I needed help. Through industry contacts, I was referred to the Whitetail Institute of North America, and at the Institute’s suggestion, I enlisted the services of the Whitetail Institute A-Team, Wildlife Management Solutions. The Institute promised that its Wildlife Management Solutions team would assess the property and formulate a detailed plan that, if followed, would make the Big Horn Lodge a premier whitetail property. Following the team’s visit to the ranch, I received a detailed and comprehensive report that alleviated my stress about the issues I faced. The plan has been easy to follow, and my results continue to demonstrate that my investment in the services of Wildlife Management Solutions was a wise one. Anyone in a similar position should consider utilizing the knowledge, experience and professionalism the Whitetail Institute’s Wildlife Management Solutions team provides. Jeff Lampe, Manager J.B. Hunt Big Horn Lodge , Missouri
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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Vol. 16, No. 3 /
Dougherty’s Revised Habitat and Food Plot Book is Truly New and Improved N
eil and Craig Dougherty’s first book, “Grow ‘Em Right,” became a best seller and industry standard almost overnight. It motivated thousands of hunter/landowners to give habitat development and food plots a try and helped create quality deer hunting for thousands outdoorsmen. The new Revised Edition will do even more. Unlike some revisions that change a word here and a photo there, “Grow ‘Em Right-Revised Edition” has undergone a major overhaul. It features dozens of new photos, page after page of revisions, three new cutting-edge chapters and two essays which are changing the way people think about whitetail management. Neil is known for his property layout and deer hunting prowess, and he reveals many of his secrets in “Professional Property Layout” and “The Answer is Blow’n in the Wind”. These two “growing and hunting mature deer” chapters alone are worth the price of the Revised Edition. Craig’s essays on Aldo Leopold and land stewardship are already classics. New information is included on food plot maintenance, using chemicals to defeat weeds, and new and improved
seed blends. Of special interest to food plot enthusiasts will be “Planting by the Compass,” a fresh new chapter on how to match seed blends with food plot locations to maximize hunting success. According to Neil, “We revised the book because things are happening so fast in the food plot and deer world. New chemicals, new seed blends, new equipment and new reader questions made our first book--well, a little dated. I also developed a number of new property layout and hunting techniques which I was eager to get in print. I am very proud of this book.”
“Many first edition owners have already bought the “Revised Edition” and are even happier with the new book,” commented Craig. “Our first book motivated thousands to give this stuff a try; our second teaches the basics while introducing our readers to some pretty advanced hunting and management concepts.” It’s a “must read” for land managers, serious deer hunters, and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Price $19.95, pages 280. W
Grow ‘Em Right — Revised Edition by Neil and Craig Dougherty Features… • Dozens of new photos • Page after page of revisions • Three new cutting edge chapters • Two essays which are changing the way people think about whitetail management • 280 pages
Property layout and deer hunting secrets revealed in… • “Professional Property Layout” • “The Answer is Blow’n in the Wind”
New information on… • Food plot maintenance • Using chemicals to defeat weeds and new and improved seed blends • How to match seed blends with food plot locations to maximize hunting success
95 Plus $0.00 S/H
Call Toll Free To Order
Whitetail Institute of North America • 239 Whitetail Trail • Pintlala, AL 36043
Every person who purchases a book will be entered into a drawing to win a FREE TRIP to "Kindred Spirits Ranch" Craig and Neil Dougherty's private hunting ranch in New York. 3 day hunt, meals and lodging in Oct 2007. Does not include transportation and license. Valued at $2,500 Winner must have IBEF certified bow hunting course if bow hunting and hunter education certificate for gun hunting.
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
RAGE AD PAGE 27
Dear Whitetail Instituteâ€Ś By Brett Van Hoveln
have been an avid deer hunter for more than 20 years. I bought my first farm in western Illinois in October 1996 specifically to hunt the trophy bucks that Illinois is known for. This property was no different than any other farm in Illinois. It had all the basics: food, water and cover. So when November rolled around, I sat in many different stands for three weeks wondering why the best buck I saw was a 1-1/2 year-old eight-point.
This buck scores 243 inches and may be the largest wild whitetail ever harvested on video., If not, who really cares? It is truly awesome!
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
This buck is still alive as far as I know.
I was in the heart of big buck country with all the basic ingredients every deer could ask for, or so I thought. So where were all these huge bucks that western Illinois is famous for? What was wrong? I did not overhunt it; I was extremely scent-conscious; I hunted 25 feet or more off the ground; and there were no signs of trespassers. I was not doing anything any different than what had been successful for me in the past 12 years. In fact I was more conscious about every move I made. After two long months of sitting in treestand after treestand wondering if I had made a big mistake buying ground so far away from where I lived, I decided to make the long drive back over and hunt it one last time. This snowy, icy, freezing day taught me one of the most important lessons about deer hunting that I have ever learned. As I arrived at the property I could see that the area had considerably more snow than I had back home in central Illinois, and it had been there for a couple of days. My plan of attack that afternoon was to go and hunt the only food source on my property. It was a three-acre picked soybean field, that just happened to connect to another 30acre picked soybean field of my neighbors, which in turn connected to yet another 100-plus-acre picked soybean field belonging to yet another farmer. When I pulled into the lane I was happy to see that I was the only human that had been there. I thought this might be the night to finally have a chance at a real whopper. My hopes soon faded away like the blowing snow when I staggered through the deep snow for almost a half-mile to reach the field. When I looked across the field I saw a beautiful blanket of deep snow completely undisturbed. Although it was a beautiful sight, it was not what I expected. I had hoped to see deer feeding in it. Heck, I would have been happy to just see deer tracks in this field. There was nothing but smooth undisturbed snow. By now I was thoroughly disheartened after hanging a treestand where I could also watch my neighbor’s field that night. As I sat there freezing and questioning my sanity, while www.whitetailinstitute.com
This buck is 164-7/8 and just one of many trophies the author has grown.
looking all around at the pretty snow-covered fields and woods, I realized that it all looked the same. Come to think of it, the last 10 or 15 miles of my trip here all looked the same. Snow fields and timber separated by roads. The entire county looked the same so why would many (or any) deer want to come to my property when everything was the same as far as you could see? My property was no different in terms of what it had to offer the deer at this time of year than my neighbor’s or his neighbor’s ground. As you probably have figured out by now, this hunt ended without a single deer sighting. Before climbing out of my treestand though, I was determined that this was never going to happen to me again. Not the getting skunked part that can happen to the best of hunters from time to time. But the part where my property was the same as my neighbors was never going to happen to me again. I take my hunting too seriously to allow that to happen. I knew I needed something to plant that would offer the deer something nobody else around had, therefore making my property special to them. That is when I started researching food plots. I remembered back in 1988 a friend of mine named Larry Sandage bought a bag of Imperial Clover from the Whitetail Institute of North America and had good results on his property with this seed. But me being the slow learner that I am, I decided the deer in Illinois did not need that stuff. Everyone, including me, told Larry he was crazy for throwing his money away on something called a food plot when our whole state is one big food plot. Boy were we wrong. Look at how food plots have exploded in the hunting industry. I challenge you to open one magazine and not stumble over an article with the words “food plot” in it. Now, who was it that started this multi-million dollar industry? Oh, I remember, it was those crazy people at the Whitetail Institute. Folks, whether you like it or not, food plots are here to stay and keep getting better every year and the Whitetail Institute kicked this whole thing into motion almost 20 years ago. They not only
stepped way out on a limb, but they jumped off the limb and into the market with one of the best products ever – Imperial Whitetail Clover. I hate to think how many more big bucks I could have had on my wall if I had started using that crazy new product back then. In the spring of 1997 after several phone calls to the Whitetail Institute’s help line, a bag of Imperial Clover was on its way to my farm. I planted this in my three-acre picked bean field and it grew almost instantly. That spring I killed my first turkey on the farm after watching it feed in the food plot for nearly 10 minutes. That same fall, I put my motion sensor camera up on the edge of this field, and got numerous pictures of several very mature bucks along with flocks of turkeys in the field. During the fall of 1997 I was not able to hunt my property very much because my daughter was born a little earlier than expected. But the few times I was able to get over there, I saw and videoed several shooter bucks, and I almost closed the deal on one particular 150inch animal 50 yards from the Imperial Clover field. This was so much more than I could have hoped for. I could not wait for the 1998 season. Included with this article are the results of my 1998, 15minute hunt over my Imperial clover plot. The eight-point buck was shot after 15 minutes of sitting in my stand overlooking the clover field. He was walking out of the woods straight into the field when I dropped him in his tracks. Later that winter I returned to the field for one last hunt. Just like the year before, there was about eight inches of snow on the ground. Although I did not harvest anything on that night, it was well worth the drive. I saw and videoed deer and turkeys digging through the snow and kicking it up like a snow blower to get at the Imperial Clover. Remember, the year before there was not a single track in this same field, let alone a sighting. It just goes to show that even one bad night hunting can teach you a lesson you will never forget. It sure taught me that I will never have a year that there won’t be a food plot on my farms. Vol. 16, No. 3 /
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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
Since 1997 I have expanded my farms and my food plots. One spot is like an overgrown pasture where I paid a guy to bulldoze the property and clear it. I put down potash and lime, then disked it two or three times and broadcast the Imperial Clover and Imperial Alfa-Rack and let the rain soak it in. I put more potash in the next year, as well. I’ve got real dark rich bottom ground soil. My Imperial Clover is extremely thick and lush. It looks beautiful. But I also have areas where Imperial Alfa-Rack is needed because of highland and fast-draining soils. I have almost two acres of the Alfa-Rack. I just want to give deer a variety of stuff. I have tried several other food plots brands. I have video proof of deer walking right through these other name-brand food plots to eat in the Imperial Whitetail Clover. As complicated as the food plot choices get, it is nice to know that some original things still can’t be beat. Also included in this article are pictures of some of my better bucks taken in or near food plots from the Whitetail Institute. One particular buck is my favorite. He grosses 164 7/8 B&C as a basic eight-pointer with three sticker points. I have numerous pictures, video and sheds from this deer. I passed him as a 140-inch eight-point buck in 2001, and my poor friend George Huston missed him on video with a bow in 2002. I was fortunate enough to harvest him on video Nov. 13, 2003. He was 6-1/2 years old at the time he was shot. He was walking right to my two-acre Imperial Clover field that morning when I shot him with my Mathews bow. In the picture notice how tall and green the Imperial Clover still is in November. There is nothing else that green at that time of the year. No wonder the deer like it so much. This particular deer lived the last three years of his life enjoying Imperial Clover. Also take notice of the buck that, as far as I know, is still alive. The photo was taken Aug. 5, 2005. The good Lord allowed me to harvest a magnificent creature on Oct. 3, 2005, on video. From what I understand, it is the largest recorded wild whitetail ever taken on video. It was supposedly the largest bow kill in North America that year. It grossed nearly 243 inches as a 28-point buck. It was shot and videoed as it left a food plot. This taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of small food plots amidst the vast amounts of agriculture fields throughout the great state of Illinois. So on that cold December day back in 1996, I learned a hard but rewarding lesson about how to make my property pleasantly different and attractive to the local deer herd that call my place their home. I like to hunt over my food plots. On the plots surrounded by timber I hunt the trails going to it. I never go through the food plot to get to the stand. I never let my scent blow into the food plot. It’s completely surrounded by timber so I have stands set up around it so I can hunt it with every wind. Thank you Ray Scott, Wiley Johnson and the entire staff of the Whitetail Institute for having the courage and foresight to pioneer what is a huge industry in today’s hunting world. So many hunters have been rewarded by harvesting animals that might not have grown or been taken without your help. Keep up the great work! W www.whitetailinstitute.com
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t used to be, hunting from a blind meant hunting blind. You could never see in every direction. The Matrix 360o changes that!
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Spend a Nickel to Save a Dime … and Time By Bill Marchel
y initial attempt at planting food plots to attract deer and other wildlife to my 70 acres located in central Minnesota was futile. Looking back, I now realize I wasted money — and more importantly valuable time — by trying to take shortcuts during my early planting efforts. Managing private lands for wildlife, especially whitetails, has become very popular in recent years. Properly implemented food plots and other habitat projects will dramatically increase deer numbers and herd health on your property, especially when combined with a deer harvest plan. 32
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
But food plots don’t just happen. A lot of money and many hours of labor are required, and proper planting procedures must be followed or most of your efforts will be wasted. I know. I learned all this the hard way – by trial and error, with an emphasis on the error. The following paragraphs summarize my successes and failures, with information you can use in the future to save you money and time when implementing your food plots. On my first attempt at planting a food plot, I simply took a handful of seeds and tossed them onto the ground in a likely location. “With all that seed on the ground, the resulting clover plants will out-compete even this waist-high native vegetation,” I reasoned. Well, I was wrong, and deep down I guess I knew it wouldn’t work. When the archery deer season arrived, not a clover plant was to be found, nor a deer. The following summer, a bit more determined, I mowed the native vegetation prior to planting the clover seed. This time, instead of tossing the seed on the ground, I spread it in nice and evenly with a hand-held seed spreader. A few weeks later, I had to look hard to find any clover plants among the native vegetation, which by then had grown a foot high. There was still too much competition for the clover. That winter I carefully read whatever information I could find about planting food plots. One common denominator I noticed among the various articles was that good results could not be expected without proper soil preparation. So, armed with this accumulated knowledge, the following summer I rented a backpack sprayer and used it to apply herbicide to the native vegetation. A few weeks later I raked away as much dead vegetation as I could and planted rows of corn in my food plot, which measured a measly 30 feet by 50 feet. The corn grew, but without the proper fertilizer the cobs reached only about four inches in length. By the time www.whitetailinstitute.com
Spending a little extra money for the proper equipment helps get more production out of food plots.
the archery deer season arrived in mid-September, the cobs were gone, consumed by hungry raccoons and squirrels. Well, plans A, B and C didn’t work, so it was time to devise plan D. I knew from my past failures that plan D would have to be dramatically more involved than my previous attempts. It was obvious I would either need to hire someone with the proper equipment to clear land, prepare the soil and plant my food plots, or I would need to purchase the equipment myself. After some thought and research, I elected to buy the equipment and do the work myself, even though I had no previous farming or gardening experience. From a purely economic standpoint, I probably would have been better off to hire someone to do the work. But I looked forward to working my land and applying all the new techniques I had read about. Also, the work is good exercise. As it turned out, managing my land for wildlife has evolved into far more than a hobby; it has become an obsession. Even though I enjoy working on my food plots, I realized during my unsuccessful attempts at planting that cutting corners only wasted money, and each task took additional time – time that could have been spent working on additional projects, or even fishing. So when it came time to purchase my equipment, I bought the best and most versatile I could afford. Since most of my property is lowland, I knew buying a farm tractor was not the answer because getting stuck on the way to and from my remote food plots was going to be a problem. So I bought an ATV and equipped it with a three-point hitch and farming implements. A few other helpful accessories included a winch, a cultipacker, a utility trailer, a fertilizer and seed spreader and an herbicide sprayer. I’m amazed at the work I can accomplish using my ATV equipped with the proper attachments. In most cases, an ATV outfitted with the necessary accessories can do nearly all the work of a farm tractor; it just takes a bit longer.
The author discovered cutting corners in soil preparation resulted in failed food plots.
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
I also bought a chainsaw and a powerful hand-held brush mower. Both are used for clearing land for future food plots, trail maintenance and for forest management. My initial equipment investment was substantial, but I’ve never looked back. Plain and simple, any hobby costs money. Also, I now use my ATV for all sorts of chores other than planting food plots such as plowing snow, yard work and landscape projects. Heck, I even use the winch to remove the hide from deer I’ve harvested. Using the proper equipment has helped me to prepare and plant 10 food plots, which range in size from 1/4 acre to one acre. It was a lot of work. I battled countless rocks, tree roots and head-high reed canary grass in soils ranging from gooey peat to baked rock-hard clay. But I knew from my previous failures that the work would pay off in future food plot production. My next money-saving strategy was to get a soil test for each plot. The results were real eye-openers. My lowland plots had a pH of 6.5 and needed no lime to grow Imperial Whitetail Clover. But one of my food plots located on a piece of high ground had been previously farmed and the soil had a pH of only 5.6. I needed to apply about 1 1/2 tons of lime per acre to bring the pH up to 6.5. During my food plot research, I heard the saying many times, “Lime doesn’t cost, it pays.” So for several weeks, each time I went to town I purchased 1,000 pounds of lime in 50-pound bags and hauled it home. When I had stockpiled enough lime to “sweeten” all my food plots, I
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
More and more hunters are using ATVs and utility vehicles to establish food plots. Since many hunters already own an ATV, purchasing a few implements is less expensive than buying a tractor.
Relatively inexpensive ATV/utility vehicle implements, such as those made by Summit and Kunz, allow food plot managers to quickly and easily establish food plots.
transported the bags to the plots via a utility trailer pulled behind my ATV. Then, I spread the lime 100 pounds at a time using a spreader attached to the rear rack on my ATV. It was a lot of work, but it took only one afternoon to complete. The soil tests also proved the soil in all my plots was very deficient of potassium. In fact I needed to apply about three times as much potassium as phosphorus. Had I just applied a standard 10-10-10 fertilizer, I would have wasted money, and the quality of my food plots would have suffered. The one variable affecting our food plots that we cannot control is the weather. Drought, extended periods of cold or hot weather, untimely frosts and other weather extremes will reduce plant production in even the best food plots. But, healthy vigorous plants, which result from proper planting practices, will be affected less and recover more quickly following those weather extremes. The results of my food plot planting efforts have been dramatic. My lush green plots are deer magnets, and other wildlife such as rabbits and ruffed grouse also feed in my plots. I have given numerous tours of my property to other hunters and have yet to have anyone say their food plots are in better condition. One hunter, while gazing at one of my Imperial Whitetail Clover plots made a comment â€œIt looks good enough to eat. I wish I would have brought a fork and some salad dressing.â€? W
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
MATHEWS SPREAD AD PAGE 36
MATHEWS SPREAD AD PAGE 37
“Got Protein?” PowerPlant Delivers! By Jon Cooner
rotein!” Any time antler growth is discussed, the conversation always includes protein, and the reason is simple – protein is vital if a buck is to maximize antler size. If you are looking to maximize the amount of protein available to your deer during the critical 200-day antler-growing season of spring and summer, you need look no further than Imperial PowerPlant. 38
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
PowerPlant is one of the few high-quality deer forages that offers thick cover. Deer often bed in a mature PowerPlant plot.
What is it about protein that’s so crucial during this time of year? There are a number of reasons. Bucks are beginning to re-grow their antlers in spring. The first stage of antler growth is the development of the “velvet” antler, which is comprised of up to 80 percent protein (collagen), and a hardened antler is 45 percent protein. Later in the antler-growing season, bucks will deposit minerals on this velvet matrix, hardening it until it is solid. The first step, though, is to grow the size of the velvet antler as much as a buck’s genetic makeup will allow. And protein is not critical in antler formation alone. Although we commonly refer to the 200-day stretch of spring and summer as the “antler growing” period, one should not assume that antler-growth is the only natural process that heavily relies on protein. During this same period, protein is equally critical to the rest of the herd. Doe milk is extremely high in nutrients, including protein. And fawns also require high levels of protein as they rapidly grow during the spring and summer. Exactly how much protein deer need during the spring and summer is a matter of some debate, but it is generally recognized that bucks require about 16 percent protein when building their antlers, does about 18 percent when they’re lactating, and fawns up to 20 percent (some of which they get from their mother’s milk). To be clear, these are the optimum levels – amounts required if deer are to reach their genetic potential. Unfortunately, natural forages of spring and summer are generally low in protein – often only 3 to 8 percent, and their availability to deer drops off sharply in most areas as August approaches. Commercial plantings, which were developed for the cattle market, are often not much better in terms of protein content, often running only around 7 to 10 percent protein. Even with these low protein levels and lack of availability, deer can “survive,” but a manager who wants to push his deer as far as their genetic blueprints allow will have to supplement the protein shortfall.
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
The first step in providing deer with supplemental protein is to plant high-protein perennial food plots. Whitetail Institute perennial blends, such as Imperial Whitetail Clover, “Chic” Magnet, Chicory Plus, Alfa-Rack Plus and Extreme can provide deer with as much as 44 percent protein. PowerPlant, though, can be an excellent supplement to Whitetail Institute perennial forages and, in some cases, even a viable alternative. Savvy managers recognize that high-protein annual plantings, used in conjunction with perennials, can yield major benefits. The more high-protein food sources deer have available, the more likely they will access all the protein they need. Also, providing deer with a forage that’s highly attractive and also doubles as cover during the spring and summer can help hold deer on the property, and even influence travel patterns to a certain extent. Finally, adding a top-quality, high-volume source of protein during the spring and summer can even increase the carrying capacity of the land. These needs prompted the Whitetail Institute to develop PowerPlant. PowerPlant is extremely prolific and can generate literally tons of high-quality, high-protein forage during the antler-growing period of spring and summer. As a matter of fact in an unsolicited, independent study by Michigan State University, PowerPlant produced the highest amount of tonnage of all tested plants. Unlike other spring/summer deer annuals on the market, PowerPlant is specifically designed to be used as forage by deer. This point may seem minor at first, until one investigates a little further. Let’s start with a quick comparison of the differences between types of forage plants, specifically agricultural varieties historically planted for deer, and true forage varieties, such as are included in Imperial PowerPlant. Agricultural soybeans, for example, do offer high protein. However, their utility is less than optimum when they are used as a deer forage. Agricultural soybean plants quickly become “stemmy” and less palatable to deer as
A doe and her fawns visit a six-week-old PowerPlant plot.
they mature and the amount of lignen in their stems increases. They also don’t tolerate grazing very well, often either being completely wiped out in short order or dying as soon as they are bitten off by deer. These are not necessarily flaws, but products of the purpose for which they were engineered – for optimum bean and pea production,
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not as a high-protein grazing source. In contrast, the forage varieties of beans, peas and LabLab in PowerPlant are highly graze-tolerant, and once established, they can continue to vigorously grow even after being bitten off by a deer. In addition, PowerPlant’s forage plants do not become stemmy as they mature the
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up to 30% providing more nutrition for better quality deer and antler growth • Traditional plantings of wheat, rye and oats are especially improved Y o u r f o o d p l o t s w i l l b e g re e n e r a n d t h e d e e r w i l l s p e n d m o re t i m e o n Y O U R s i d e o f t h e f e n c e w i t h I m p e r i a l I M PA C T™. C a l l n o w f o r m o re i n f o rm a t i o n a n d w e w i l l s e n d y o u o u r 6 0 - m i n u t e v i d e o , ” P ro d u c i n g Tr o p h y W h i t e t a i l s . “ A l l y o u p a y i s $ 4 . 9 5 t o c o v e r s h i p p i n g a n d h a n d l i n g. S p e c i f y V H S o r D V D .
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WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
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way agricultural varieties do, but remain tender and palatable throughout their lives. The forage plants in PowerPlant grow extremely quickly, and in order to maximize production, the Institute includes small amounts of structural plants in the blend to allow the forage vines to climb. These include sunflowers and an extremely high-quality wildlife sorghum, chosen not only for their ability to act as a lattice for the vining forage plants but also for the benefit their seeds provide other wildlife. As a result, PowerPlant grows to a thick mass of high-protein forage, in which deer will often bed as well as feed, and in which turkeys often nest and raise their poults So far, we’ve talked about using PowerPlant in conjunction with Imperial perennials. But, are there times when a planter might elect to go with PowerPlant alone? The answer is an unqualified, “Yes!” PowerPlant can be an option if you have conditions that are less than optimum for planting Imperial Whitetail Clover or Alfa-Rack Plus. PowerPlant can also withstand hot, dry summer conditions if it gets some rain during the first few weeks after planting. The key in such situations is to plant early enough to take advantage of the last rains of spring and early summer, but not so early that you run any risk that the newly planted PowerPlant will be subjected to a late frost. And what if you’ve missed your spring planting dates for your favorite Imperial perennial? In such cases, PowerPlant can be a great option for providing your deer with critical protein during the spring and summer until you can plant your perennials in the fall. Again, remember that PowerPlant is an annual blend. It is designed to spend all it has during the 200-day antlergrowing period, and it will provide cover and forage until the first frosts of fall. However, your PowerPlant plot does not have to remain dormant for the rest of the year. Disking your PowerPlant in a few weeks before your fall planting dates, and then planting No Plow or Winter-Greens can be
a great option for those seeking to keep the plot going year-round. In such cases, it is fairly common for the beans and peas in PowerPlant to sprout after having been disked under, providing No Plow or Winter-Greens with an additional cover crop during its early stages. PowerPlant is also easy to plant. Start in early spring by performing a soil test. For optimum results, PowerPlant should be planted in a seedbed where soil pH is at least 6.0 and with as little weed and grass competition as possible. Be sure to use a proper soil test kit – one that sends soil off to a lab, and not the do-it-yourself kits, which aren’t consistently accurate. Then in early spring, add any lime recommended by your soil-test report to the surface of the plot. As soon as possible in early spring, disk the lime thoroughly in to the top few inches of soil, and smooth the seedbed with a heavy, fence-type drag. Try to do this before spring green-up if possible. In areas subject to heavy weed and grass invasion, a great option can be to wait several weeks after spring green-up for weeds and grasses to return, and then spray the prepared seedbed with a glyphosate herbicide such as RoundUp. In many areas there are literally millions of dormant weed and grass seeds in the ground, and when you till the soil, you will almost certainly bring many to the surface where they will germinate and grow. By tilling in lime and smoothing the seedbed early before green-up, you can allow these weeds and grasses to return and then control them with RoundUp before planting PowerPlant. This is not a mandatory step, but remember that you will be fertilizing your PowerPlant with nitrogen fertilizer, which can also stimulate weed and grass growth. So if you are concerned that weeds and grass might compete with your PowerPlant during its early stages, spraying with RoundUp before planting can be a great idea. A 50-pound bag of PowerPlant will plant 1 1/2 to 2 acres. In areas of high deer densities, plant 50 pounds per 1
1/2 acres. In spite of its prolific growth, PowerPlant, too, can be overgrazed if subjected to extreme grazing. In such cases, plant larger areas. Since its introduction, PowerPlant has continued to prove itself a winner. Independent academic studies have confirmed that of the available spring / summer annuals on the market for deer, PowerPlant outperforms them all. If you are looking for a blend to provide maximum protein, unsurpassed graze tolerance even during the hot summer months when natural forages dry up, PowerPlant is the answer. No other annual food plot planting, branded or generic, can compare. W
n PowerPlant FACTS >>> • Legume-based spring/summer annual food plot planting • Designed as a companion to Imperial perennials, for planting alone, or in conjunction with No Plow or Winter-Greens for year-round plot usage • Provides growth-enhancing diversity • Blend of three legumes, including LabLab and special soybeans developed for prolific growth • Combined with fast-growing, tall, palatable forages which help protect legumes from over-grazing • Rapid establishment • Easy to plant • More tonnage per acre than other spring/summer annuals • Provides exceptional bedding cover for deer and brood habitat for turkeys
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.
F R E E Trial Offer! - Call 1-800-688-3030 Offer 1- only $ 8.95 ( s h i p p i n g a n d h a n d l i n g ) FREE all new video or DVD / FREE N0-Plow TM / FREE Imperial Clover TM FREE Extreme TM / FREE Alfa-Rack TM PLUS / FREE Chicor y PLUS TM (each sample plants 100 sq. f t . )
Offer 2- only $ 19.95 ( s h i p p i n g a n d h a n d l i n g ) Same as Offer 1 PLUS F R E E 3 0 - 0 6 TM M i n e r a l ( 5 l b s . ) F R E E C u t t i n g E d g e TM Supplement (5 lbs.)
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. www.whitetailinstitute.com
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
O F N O RT H A M E R I C A
Gary Friend – Illinois I bought a mere ten acres of ground in when I retired, consisting of five acres of field, and five acres of timber. A friend of mine told me about the Whitetail Institute and let me watch your tape! Not being a farmer, I went by your tape’s instructions. I bought a rear tine tiller for my lawn mower, made your homemade cultipacker, limed, fertilized, and planted Whitetail Clover in the Fall. The Jump Start flourished (Photo 1). On November 8, I arrowed my best buck that netted 133” Pope and Young 100 yards from the clover patch (Photo 2).
small finger that the deer used to come out into the field. I shot the buck in the attached photo at 25 yards hot on a doe heading for the field. It rough scored 145 3/8. It’s my largest 8 point and largest with a bow. I swear by Imperial Whitetail Clover and tell everyone they are wasting time planting anything else. The deer in my office prove it.
Tim Callahan – Iowa Imperial Whitetail Clover adds additional benefits to what is already high quality agricultural ground! I notice 21/2 yr. old and 3-1/2 yr. old deer score 120 to 140 where neighbors are not seeing it as good. Your products make it easier for me to manage my property and grow quality
right under my stand. He is only 8 points but he has towering tines and his body was huge – well fed from the best food product for deer on the market. Thank you Whitetail Institute for the best food plots!!!!
Kurt Pesch – Minnesota I purchased a few acres of land in Northern Minnesota and had the opportunity to try out your products, Imperial Whitetail Clover, Alfa-Rack Plus, Imperial Extreme, 30-06 Mineral and Cutting Edge Nutritional Supplements. My daughter’s boyfriend, Troy, had an idea for cutting out a clearing in a small area that was sheltered by pine trees and had small aspen trees. It looked like a perfect spot for a secluded clover field.
3 animals. Enclosed are photos of two deer my friend, Tom, and I have taken.
Derek and Megan Grimsrud – Kansas Here is the testimony to your awesome product- I was hunting about 40 yards from a food plot of Whitetail Institute’s Alfa-Rack. During the course of the week we had several big mature bucks coming to the plot following does and fawns. There was so many deer coming to the plot I It was educational when I got the Whitetail News magazine along with the clover (You don’t just promote your product) you help us hunters. On November 8, four years later I arrowed my new best buck yet. 60 yards from the clover. He had nearly a 23” inside spread and a live weight of 350 pounds via the chest measurement method. He’s in the 150 class (Photo 3). I don’t know how unusual it is to take 2 trophies on the same day four years apart, but I do know it’s a day I want to be in the woods. Next year I also plan on planting Alfa Rack. Thank you Whitetail Institute, it’s been a great learning experience for me, and it’s paying off more than I’d ever dreamed.
Keith Shipman – Indiana I planted about 1-1/2 to 2 acre spot of Imperial Whitetail Clover and at first I didn’t think it was working. It just would not grow. Then I realized due to the amount of droppings in it that the deer were keeping it clipped down. I hunted just off the edge of the clover field last year about 40-50 yards in, on a 42
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
knew that it was just a matter of time before the big 8 that we were after came in. Sure enough the morning of Nov. 17th he was right behind a mature doe that frequented the Alfa-Rack food plot. As she left the plot, she dragged him
We cleared a two acre area of small trees and plowed it. We had perfect planting conditions; it started to rain as soon as we finished fertilizing and planting Imperial Whitetail Clover. The clover took off fast. We had a month of nice rain and then a month with no rain but it didn’t seem to hurt the clover. I attached a trail camera to a small tree before hunting season and have a lot of pictures of does and three small bucks in velvet coming in to eat the Imperial Whitetail Clover and a Cutting Edge Mineral Supplement area I put at the edge of the field. I hunted this food plot early season a couple of times and saw does, grouse and turkeys eating the clover. My daughter, Kassie, brought me luck on November 3rd. We were in a pine tree in two portable stands next to each other when she saw a buck come in behind me into the edge of the clover field. We had worked out a signal, if something came in from behind me she would tap on my head once for a doe, twice for a buck and three times for a big buck. She tapped me about 10 times to get my attention. I made a 20 yard shot with my bow, we waited about an hour before we went after him. He only went about 15 yards into the brush and there was no ground shrinkage when we found him. This was one of the best days of my life, hunting with my daughter in and aromatic pine tree over a beautiful green clover field, watching grouse, squirrels, and rabbits and having the opportunity to shoot at a nice buck. The picture I have attached of Kassie and my buck are not from the clover field. The clover field is much greener. I still had the rifle deer season coming up in two days and did not want to leave too much scent in the clover field. Thanks, for a great product, I am looking forward to see what next year brings.
Dave Lettre – New Hampshire This buck was taken 2 years after I planted Imperial www.whitetailinstitute.com
RECORD BOOK BUCKS… Whitetail Clover. I saw him many times during the summer. But during hunting season I didn’t get a shot at him till Dec. 11th. It was a snow storm and he came in pawing the snow to get the clover. He scored 131 7/8 and made the Pope & Young book. Thanks for the great product.
Richard Hunt – Ohio Deer graze like sheep in Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack. In most cases you can set your watch by their visits. More buck activity during rut. Early spring to late fall I also see daily usage on my 30-06 mineral and 30-06 Plus Protein licks. I got cam pictures of 31 different bucks in one season using the mineral as well as does and yearlings. Also like clockwork. See photo.
their antler growing stages. We’ll be planting more Imperial this spring! Thanks.
Ben Cox – Wisconsin Enclosed is a picture of my first deer kill with a bow. The deer was shot in an Alfa-Rack Plus field. It was scored as an eight point, weighed in at 197 pounds. For the last 5 years I have followed the Whitetail Institute’s advice on growing and managing whitetail deer. I have found your information to be accurate and right on target. The deer prefer Whitetail Institute products over all others that I have tried. The Whitetail Institute offers the cutting edge in deer management and nutrition.
Stuart Hagen – Wisconsin I’ve enclosed three photos. Photo 1 shows a big buck in Imperial Whitetail Clover. This product is really great. I love
3 Mike Schuller – Pennsylvania More deer stayed on our 60 acre property once the food plot matured. My brother Randy and I have seen excellent results in a very short time. Trail cam photos revealed many large antlered bucks in our food plots that many guys don’t think exist in our neck of the woods. I’ve enclosed picof our tures archery bucks
from the last two seasons. No doubt PA’s new antler restrictions helped these bucks gain some age, but they also had Imperial during products www.whitetailinstitute.com
it. The deer stay around it alot. Photo 2 shows a 145 inch buck I killed a few years ago. Photo 3 shows another 140 inch Pope & Young I killed in the Imperial Whitetail Clover plot.
to 8 bucks in clover the patch along with 20 or so deer. I also have been using 30-06 minerals since 2003. I have enclosed 2 pictures of bucks two that were taken in my Imperial Clover patch this year. The first one is a 17 point buck with a 25 3/8 inch inside spread that was killed with a bow last November. It has been green scored at 175. The second buck is an 8 point that has a 25 1/8 inch inside spread that was killed with a shotgun last December. Thanks for making a great product that really works. I plan on making 3 more Imperial Whitetail Clover fields.
Ralph Whitesell – Missouri I bought my farm in 1999 and started using your products. I now have 10 acres in food plots. My smooth ground is planted in Imperial Whitetail Clover (6 acres), four acres of rough ground I use No-Plow. The six acres of smooth ground was planted in August 2000. I have no plans to redo it at this time. It’s still in good shape. I live in Howell County in Missouri. Deer like I killed this year are very rare. I know it’s the clover. I also use 30-06 Mineral and have for years. The buck scores in the 180’s.
Keith Graham – Illinois I own and manage an outfitters business in Illinois. I have planted around 10 to 15 acres of Imperial Whitetail Clover for over 10 years. It is part of my formula for producing trophy deer. I’ve enclosed a photo showing the results. W
John Corbin – West Virginia I have been using your product since 2003, I know that does not seem like a long time compared to some of your clients but my results have been outstanding!! Since using Imperial Clover I have seen more deer and bigger bucks. It was hard for me to see a deer before I using started Imperial Clover. Since 2003, at times I have seen 7
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. 3 /
DIGESTION – A PIECE OF THE DEER NUTRITION PUZZLE Analysis of the ruminant digestive system – Part 1 By Matt Harper
t is often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Since I fall under that particular gender category, I can say with some expertise that this is a fairly accurate statement. After all, the male variety of Homo sapiens is a pretty simple beast. Supply a few basic needs and we are content. Whitetail deer are not that much different. If you are offended by my comparison, I apologize but you have to admit it’s a very close analogy. Give them food, cover and water and they will more than likely hang out close to where these basic needs are met. To narrow it down, let’s take water and cover out of the equation and just focus on food. Unquestionably, if you supply large amounts of highly attractive, highly nutritious food sources, deer will stay close to these food sources. I think it is fairly well accepted that planting food plots is an extremely effective way to supply these food sources. Much has been written about
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
various aspects of food plots with articles ranging from how to plant to what to plant. This is all good information but little has been said about the subject of the system that utilizes these food sources; the deer’s digestive system. I am a firm believer in the value of seeing the entire picture of any endeavor I am involved with. Knowing how a deer’s digestive system works and how it can influence a whole host of things from food plot preference to deer activity can assist you in finishing the deer nutrition puzzle. So, in this article, we are going to begin a three-part series on the deer’s digestive system. In this issue, we will examine each part of the digestive system and how it works. Creation is an amazing thing. If you study the intricate detail in which living creatures are designed to have hundreds of parts working together in one complete synchronized mechanism, you will truly be astounded. The digestive system of a deer is one such example of a complex system of many parts working together to convert food into usable nutrients. It begins at the mouth. Deer are concentrate selectors or browsers, which means they pick and choose specific types of plants or even specific parts of a plant. The shape of a deer’s mouth coincides well with this particular feeding behavior. Deer have a long pointed muzzle with a fairly long tongue. This shape enables the deer to more easily pick and choose food stuffs. Compare this to the muzzle of a nonselective grazer such as a cow, which has a wide muzzle and acts more like a living lawn mower. Inside the mouth you will find incisors located only on the bottom. On the top is
a hard pallet which is used by the deer to nip off plants and plant parts as the bottom incisors lock the food stuff between them and the hard upper pallet. In the back are molars where the food is masticated by a figure-eight grinding and chewing motion, a similar chewing pattern used by most herbivores. This mastication of food stuffs is the very first step in the digestion process. Mastication is needed for efficient digestion to occur as the food stuffs consumed must be broken down into smaller particle sizes, thus increasing the total surface area of the food stuff. More surface area results in better enzyme activity and microorganism digestion as the food stuffs move further down the digestive system. All of this process is aided by saliva which has several functions. First, saliva is needed to aid in mastication. Also, saliva contains some enzymes such as lipase and pregastric esterase which is involved in the hydrolyses of short chain fatty acids. Yet another function of saliva is to act as a buffering agent. Finally, saliva contains mucin, urea, P, Mg and Cl all of which are needed by rumen microbes. After the food stuffs are chewed and swallowed, they move down the esophagus. The esophagus is the portion of the anatomy that is between the pharynx and the rumenreticulum. The main function of the esophagus is food transport. However, this does not only mean food transports down the digestion system but also back up as food boluses are regurgitated from the rumen-reticulum and brought back to the mouth for further mastication. This process is called rumination. The esophagus has the ability to expand and contract to move the food bolus either up or down during the rumination process. From here we move to the powerhouse section of the digestion system; the four-chambered stomach of the deer. Many people think that a deer has four stomachs. A more accurate description is that deer have one stomach with four chambers. The first of these chambers is a called the reticulum. The reticulum is often called the “honeycomb” due to its many irregular mucosal layers found there. These layers function as a filtering agent, trapping larger particles so that they can be further broken down before passing on through the digestive system.
Other than filtration, the major function of the reticulum is contraction for moving food stuffs back up the esophagus or to the rumen. Next in the digestive system is a structure that is the largest part of the four- chambered stomach called the rumen. Any one who has ever field dressed a deer knows exactly what the rumen is even if you may not have known what it was called. The rumen is the large paunch, sack or bag (whichever terminology you prefer) that you avoid cutting into at all cost. For if you cut into this sack, a foul smelling, normally green substance will erupt from it, making the rest of the field-dressing job substantially more unpleasant. The smell comes from gases produced by fermentation of food stuffs. The fermentation is facilitated by billions of microorganisms that inhabit the rumen in a synergistic relationship with the deer. These microbial colonies consist of several different types of organisms such as bacteria and protozoa and a vast amount of the other microbes. Each microbial type has the ability to digest specific types of compounds. For example, some are cellulolytic microbes while others are amylolytic and yet others are lipid-utilizing species. Each has specific functions and requires certain rumen environmental conditions in order to maintain healthy colonies. Therefore it is important to maintain a rumen environmental balance that is conducive to efficient rumen function and corresponding digestion. We will discuss rumen health in greater detail in part two of this series. As food particles enter the rumen these microbial populations begin to digest and break down the particles. Through this fermentation process, the food stuffs are broken down into nutrients that can be digested by the deer. It is this microbial action in the rumen that allows deer and other ruminants to be able to digest fibrous materials. Not all food stuffs are immediately digested but are regurgitated in the form of a bolus and pushed back up the esophagus by the reticulum. There the bolus is once again chewed and swallowed making its way back down to the rumen. This rumination process gives the deer the ability to get as much nutrition as it possibly can out of the food it consumes. After food stuffs leave the rumen, they enter the omasum, the third part of the ruminant stomach. The omasum is probably the least understood of all the ruminant system. However, we do know that the omasum acts as a filter and controls the flow of digesta from the rumen to the abomasum. It is also speculated that some nutrient absorption occurs in the omasum. From the omasum, digesta next enters the fourth and final section of the ruminant stomach called the abomasum. The abomasum functions very much like a mono-gastric www.whitetailinstitute.com
A deer’s long nose, long tongue and teeth configuration is specialized for browsing particular forages, not grazing everything like cattle.
Keeping plots free of grasses and weeds not only extends plot life, it makes the plot more attractive to deer since a “clean” plot doesn’t force deer to pick and choose through the undesirable forages.
stomach such as what you or I have. The abomasum has secretory tissue that excretes HCL and other gastric juices that finalize the breaking down of food stuffs. Because of the high acid level, the abomasum is highly acid as opposed to the rumen which is fairly neutral in pH. The next stop in the deer’s digestive system is the small intestine. The small intestine is comprised of three specific areas called the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. The duodenum receives excretions from the pancreas, liver and intestinal wall. These secretions further assist in digestion. The other two areas, the jejunum and ileum are major nutrient absorption sites. Some of the nutrients absorbed include protein, minerals and vitamins. This is not the only
absorption site but one of the main ones. From the small intestine, digesta moves to the lower gut or the large intestine. The large intestine is comprised of the cecum, colon and rectum. The large intestine has several functions including water absorption and filtration of indigestible material followed by excretion. So there you have it – from when the food is first consumed to when the waste is excreted out. As you can see, the ruminant digestive system is a very complex but highly efficient system. It is perfectly adapted to the efficient digestion of plant material. Join us in part two of this series as we take what we have learned and apply it to how we develop and design our management program. W
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Vol. 16, No. 3 /
Family Adventures: Itâ€™s the Little Moments That Matter By Brad Herndon
t was 3 p.m. as Steve Brewer and his son, Jessie, eased toward their food plot. After pushing a few stakes in the ground, Steve placed a mesh camo blind around them and he and Jessie settled in. An hour later a doe fawn ventured into the field about 50 yards away. Jessie had practiced with his 50-caliber muzzleloader often during the summer, so this doe was well within the nine-year-old boyâ€™s shooting range.
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
Yes, your sons and daughters still have the opportunity to have memorable experiences picking up fishing worms, just as I did years ago. Never underestimate how little things like this can influence them in a positive manner. Who knows, those worms — when used on a fishing trip — may also turn into another memorable experience for your family. “You’ll need a rest,” Steve whispered to his son. “I’ll get down on my hands and knees and you can use my back to aim off of.” After Steve got in position, Jessie rested the gun on his dad’s back and placed the deer in his scope, just like he was practicing shooting. When everything looked right he eased the safety off and squeezed the trigger. The doe dropped in its tracks. Jessie never said a word, nor did he say anything when he got to the deer. Eventually, he just smiled. Sometimes words don’t have to be said when something happens. This was one of those moments; a dad standing with his son who had just killed his first deer. Priceless, as the commercial says.
“You got him! You got him!” Wayne yelled. “Come out here!” Within seconds the boys were admiring the huge bird with their proud dad. The longbeard weighed 23 pounds and had a 10-1/2 inch beard. Stories of the hunt were told and retold and many pictures were taken. I love to hear stories such as this. And there is a reason this hunt occurred. “Even though I never pulled a trigger,” Wayne Bowden told me, “this was my best time afield ever because of the love I have for my sons and family. I will never forget that day with Nevin and Forrest. I once had the same experience they had because my dad took me hunting. I was once the boy.”
I WAS ONCE THE BOY RELATIONSHIPS ARE THE BACKBONE OF HUNTING After driving for two hours, Wayne Bowden and his two sons, Nevin, age 10, and Forrest, age seven, finally arrived at their hunting lease. Wayne and two buddies manage the land for whitetails and have taken several trophy bucks from it. But this hunt was to be different. This was Nevin’s first wild turkey hunt. After getting their equipment out of the vehicle, including their portable ground blind, Wayne and the boys made their way toward a secluded field. Once there, they set up the blind, put two hen decoys out in the field, and went over final instructions. “Nevin,” Wayne said, “be sure to hold the gun steady, right on the base of his neck. Squeeze the trigger, don’t jerk it, or you’ll miss. Make all of your movements slow.” These were instructions he had told him many times. Right after daylight a hen pitched into the field, then another hen, then two jakes. Disappointingly, they moved off out of range. Shortly a hen came out of the woods only 20 yards from them. “Dad, there’s one right there!” Nevin whispered. Sure enough, a huge gobbler Wayne hadn’t seen was tailing the hen only 25 yards away. “Nevin, get on his head and shoot!” Wayne said excitedly, but quietly. However, because Nevin was using a tripod to hold his gun up and help him aim, he couldn’t move fast enough to get on the tom. “Nevin, you’ve got to shoot!” Wayne repeated. “I can’t see his head,” Nevin shot back. “It’s the white thing on the front of him,” Wayne whispered desperately. It was then he noticed Nevin’s gun was tight against the side of the blind’s window. If he didn’t shoot soon the gobbler would be out of view. “Boom!” As the shot echoed in the woods the big tom collapsed in a heap. After making sure Nevin put the gun’s safety on and laid the firearm on the ground, Wayne raced to the tom, putting his best body press on him. Meanwhile, the boys were laughing hysterically. This was one of the funniest things they had ever seen their dad do. www.whitetailinstitute.com
Thus far in this article I’ve talked about two successful hunts dads and their sons had – one for deer and one for wild turkey. Both hunts will always be remembered by the youngsters hunting, and by the dads who took them afield and who were so sharing and patient with the boys. Yes, hunting for big game like deer and wild turkey is special. Keep in mind, however, that the bond a father, or mother, form with their children while in the outdoors goes far beyond the realm of deer and turkey hunting. Love–and the friendship and bond-building that goes with it – has no limits as to what is meaningful. Sometimes the smallest, most seemingly insignificant activities are what leave the sweetest, longest-lasting memory. I was raised in Starve Hollow, a pleasant valley nestled in the rolling hills of southern Indiana. We lived on 40 acres that consisted of hardwood hills and several small fields that were scattered near two streams that meandered through our property. My dad worked in a large city, but when he was home he liked to play the part of a farmer. I remember one warm spring day in particular. Dad was on the old Ford tractor breaking up one of our larger fields, about four acres in size. He was pulling an ancient two-bottom plow behind the tractor and the clay ground rolled over grudgingly. I was walking in the furrow behind the plow watching for any big, juicy earthworms that might be turned over in the soil. Every so often a large old worm would wiggle out of a clod and I would pitch him in the tin can I had in my left hand. It took several rounds of walking, but the old tin can was eventually filled with earthworms, with a little dirt thrown in for good measure. Yes, my dad and I were going fishing. Oddly, I have no recollection of whether we caught any fish that day. Yet the memories of picking up the worms remain as clear as a crystal in my memory. In my mind, I can still see dad sitting on the tractor, the soil rolling over, the size of the worms, and I can even recall the special smell of
the freshly broken ground. It seems as if it happened yesterday, not over 45 years ago. Today, modern farming has changed and most farmers use no-till farming methods. No, worms aren’t going to be turned over in the soil by most modern farmers. Fortunately, this isn’t true to any large degree with those of you managing for deer. Most food plot soil is still broken up using farming implements much like my dad was using: a small tractor and a single or double bottom plow. Yes, your sons and daughters still have the opportunity to have memorable experiences picking up fishing worms, just as I did years ago. Never underestimate how little things like this can influence them in a positive manner. Who knows, those worms--when used on a fishing trip-may also turn into another memorable experience for your family.
FISHERMAN JACK My wife, Carol, was in one end of the boat, I was sitting in the other end, and our seven- year-old daughter was in the middle. The boat was anchored near shore where several swirling bluegill were nesting. We rigged live night crawlers on three hook harnesses and tossed our lines in the midst of the beds, letting the sinkerless night crawler float slowly toward the bottom. Almost every time the line tightened just after it hit the water and we would have on a giant snub-nosed bluegill. After catching several slabs, JoLinda was reeling in yet another one when, out of the blue, she exclaimed, “They don’t call me fisherman Jack for nothing!” Carol and I cracked up when we heard that one. We have no idea where JoLinda came up with the idea for her statement, or why she said it. Kids are kids. All we know is that it was extremely funny and Carol, JoLinda and I still talk about it 28 years later. It is one of many precious outdoor memories we share with our daughter.
A THANKSGIVING TROPHY Bryan Barnett and his son, Clayton, parked on their lease last Thanksgiving morning, grabbed their guns and headed down a logging road leading into a valley. Slipping along, they noticed two deer in front of them. The deer were aware of their presence, however, and Bryan’s stalk on them proved unsuccessful. Deciding to take a break, Bryan sat down on an old stump while young Clayton reclined against a tree. It should be noted at this point that Clayton was after the second squirrel of his life, not a deer. Within minutes, Clayton was surprised to see a large fox squirrel hop up on a log in front of him. It was so close he couldn’t move. Playing it smart, Clayton waited until the bushytail turned its back to him, Vol. 16, No. 3 /
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The activities you can pursue in nature with your family are almost unlimited. Get your wife, daughters and sons involved in everything that is happening on your land or lease. Don’t forget about those grandchildren either. Go beyond sharing with your immediate family and get nieces, nephews and friends in on the fun. And what about the little burr-headed kid next door who doesn’t have anyone to take him hunting? Take him. He can be a forever friend as well. then raised his 20-gauge shotgun and fired. The number 6 shot stopped the old fox squirrel in his tracks. “Dad, I got one!” Clayton yelled. “And a gray squirrel just came out of a dead tree and went up a tree in front of me.” Bryan, who was looking the other way, quickly joined his son and congratulated him. “Give me your gun, Clayton,” Bryan said. “Walk around to the other side of the tree the gray squirrel is on and maybe I can get him.” Sure enough, when Clayton eased around the tree, the gray squirrel slipped around the tree and exposed himself to Bryan. Quickly Bryan had the squirrel on the ground. He and his son had just pulled off their first double! I bet a lot of you reading this were thinking about deer when you read the words A Thanksgiving Trophy earlier. Well, let me tell you something; Clayton’s fox squirrel was a trophy. In fact he and his dad split right down to Tolliver’s Hunting & Fishing Supplies where the owner photographed Clayton with his prize and even weighed it in, just like he did the whitetails that day. Clayton’s grizzly old fox squirrel weighed a whopping 1 pound and 14 ounces! I heard about this great hunt Thanksgiving afternoon when Mr. C, as I call him, phoned and related all of the
details to me. He couldn’t have been more excited if he had killed a trophy whitetail. I can assure you if we could fast forward twenty years this hunt will still be lodged firmly in the memory banks of both Clayton and his dad. Yes, small game hunting on land you own or lease is one more way you can build wonderful relationships with your children. Don’t limit what you do with them because of the pursuit of a trophy whitetail.
WHAT TOPS A BOONE & CROCKETT MEMORY? Let’s assume you have a 150-inch buck on your property that you would dearly love to kill. Let’s further suppose you’ve taken your 5-year-old son or daughter hunting with you on a warm sunny day. You’re sitting in a large stand enjoying each other’s company when you glance over and see a 125-inch buck coming your way. Your youngster sees it too. With eyes as big as silver dollars, they look up at you and say, “Daddy, shoot it! It’s huge!” What do you do? Do you let it go and try to explain to them it wasn’t a big enough deer? Or do you shoot a lesser buck than you really wanted and share an experience with your child that neither of you will ever forget?
n Let Them Shoot >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
hen deer hunting with youngsters or any other person new to the sport, let them shoot what makes them happy. Don’t make them hold out for what you want them to shoot. They will just naturally work their way up to bigger deer the more time they spend afield. Building their enthusiasm for nature and hunting is what you’re after at first. Keep in mind there are numerous people besides children out there who want to take up the sport of hunting. Last spring I took my sister Margy turkey hunting for the first time. She eventually killed a jake bird and was tore up like a train wreck. “Sign me up for next year,” she said. In deer season we put up a ladder stand for her on one of our leases. She killed a mature doe the first day of firearm season and a six-point buck the next weekend. “I want an eightpointer next year,” was her comment. She had a wonderful time and can’t wait until this year’s hunting seasons start. Margy is 51 years old. Likewise, Carol and I took Lori and Bryan Barnett turkey hunting on our land last spring. Bryan killed a nice jake and Lori killed a buster four-year-old tom. We all had a blast and have talked about the hunts numerous times since then. They now have their own lease they and their two children are enjoying it together. Roam your property with kids and share your knowledge of nature with them. They will love you for sharing the neat things you know. Antler hunting is one sport they may enjoy. Remember to keep sessions short most of the time since their attention span may not be very long. And be sure to mix up the activities in nature so they can experience a variety. Take plenty of pictures. I didn’t start my writing and photography career until I was 43 years old. Before then we rarely took a picture, something we regret. With all of the point-and-shoot and digital cameras now on the market, pictures are easy to take, and it isn’t all that expensive either. Teach kids and other adults how to shoot both bows and guns. Almost all people find shooting to be fun. Be a patient coach, encouraging them in every way you can. This will help preserve the sport of hunting for future generations.
I bet I know how most of you will answer these questions. Yes, taking a 125-inch deer with your child on property you both have been involved in managing is an experience that would be hard to beat. After that little guy or gal is grown and gone, you may have the money to go on one of those monster buck hunts to Canada. You may even kill a Boone & Crockett buck in the process. And yes, you’ll share stories about that hunt with your family and friends as they admire the mounted deer in your home. But when your hair is gray and thinning, and wrinkles crease your face, I can tell you what hunt will be most discussed when your child returns home to visit. It will be about that 125- inch buck harvested so many years before. Yes, quality time spent in nature with your children will make you friends forever.
THE FULL MEAL DEAL Managing your land for deer is great fun, especially when your family is involved. Let them help you pick out the seeds you’re going to plant. You might even let your kids plant a little plot of their own so they can watch “their” seeds grow into a lush food plot. And of course they can watch deer feed in the plot all summer, which will help them learn a lot about deer behavior. However, don’t neglect to teach them about all aspects of nature. Hunting turkey and deer gets most of our attention today, but small game hunting is actually more important since it gives young hunters more action and allows them to learn about nature quicker. Let them experience www.whitetailinstitute.com
Fishing, like hunting and anything outdoors, can produce special memories.
squirrel, rabbit, quail, pheasant, grouse and other types of hunting that your property may have. I know the memories of my first rabbit and squirrel is just as vivid as my first deer kill. Also be sure to teach them about the goodies that can be gathered in nature as well. A friend of mine took his small daughter mushroom hunting on his land and I can still remember the smile on her face as she posed with a big bag of morels. And one lady I know remembers the times she and her daughter cut wild asparagus in the beauty of spring, then fried the delicious vegetable up for dad that night. We let our daughter experience the fun of picking wild blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, dewberries, huckleberries, grapes, elderberries, and other fruits. We also picked up walnuts, hazelnuts and bushels of hickory nuts. All of this food, by the way, is delicious eating and can be used in a variety of recipes. We also accumulated a dandy Indian artifact collection by prowling the fields together and made several hundred dollars a year digging ginseng. Time was spent identifying flowers, trees, bugs, and various other intriguing items in nature. We played in the creeks too. As you can see, the activities you can pursue in nature with your family are almost unlimited. Get your wife, daughters and sons involved in everything that is happening on your land or lease. Don’t forget about those grandchildren either. Go beyond sharing with your immediate family and get nieces, nephews and friends in on the fun. And what about the little burr-headed kid next door who doesn’t have anyone to take him hunting? Take him. He can be a forever friend as well. As I come to the close of this article, so too will you come to the close of your hunting career some day. Seriously consider what I have said and take the words to heart. You can manage for trophy deer and still share with others. Don’t be a selfish deer manager. Instead, form hunting and other outdoor related relationships with a variety of people. Be friends forever with as many people as you can. The memories you share together will enable you to relive all of those special moments you enjoyed in nature throughout the years. Remember: your influences on other people and the memories they have of you are all you will ever leave behind. Make them count. W
Whitetail Institute products are available in SMALLER BAGS. Call and ask our consultants about these smaller packages that plant from 1/10- to 1/2-acre.
Call Toll Free: 1-800-688-3030 Vol. 16, No. 3 /
Imperial Whitetail Extreme is one of the hardiest, highest protein and most attractive perennial blends ever developed.
An EXTREME Product for Extreme Conditions Whitetail Institute
By Jody Holbrooks, Institute Wildlife Biologist
n a perfect world, we would all be planting our food plots in areas with rich, heavy bottomland soils that receive at least thirty inches per year in rainfall. For those of us in that category, well, we can count ourselves lucky. Now, however, those of us who don’t enjoy those luxuries can be lucky too. The Whitetail Institute has a revolutionary forage blend for areas that received lower rainfall or highly drained soil – Imperial Whitetail EXTREME. Most areas in the eastern United States enjoy at least thirty inches per year in rainfall, which is sufficient to sustain most forages commonly planted for deer. Even so, some soils are so highly drained that even with ample rainfall, many forages can struggle. Once across the Mississippi River you’ll find that average rainfall levels drop off dramatically. Add to this the unexpected droughty conditions that Mother Nature has thrown at many of us over the past few springs and summers, and you can see the source of demand that prompted the Whitetail Institute to develop Extreme – an incredibly drought-resistant perennial forage blend. Extreme provides deer with a highly attractive, nutritious, cold- and heat-tolerant perennial forage in areas thought before to be completely unsuitable. Most forages require – at a minimum – 30 inches per year in annual rainfall. Extreme will tolerate as little as half that – only fifteen inches per year. (Extreme also flourishes in higher rainfall areas all across the eastern half of the United States.) Also, soil pH, the most critical factor that a planter can influence to achieve optimum performance from a forage, should be at 6.5 or higher for most forages, and some will struggle if even slightly below this level. Not so with Extreme, which will tolerate soil pH as low as 5.4, a level unheard-of before Extreme was introduced. The driving force behind the Whitetail Institute’s research and development is and always has been customer demand. We pay close attention to the comments and requests of our Field Testers and directly incorporate that feedback into our continuing efforts to upgrade exist50
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
ing products and develop new ones. Nowhere is this more evident than with Extreme. Before the introduction of Extreme, our in-house consultants regularly received calls from Field Testers asking us to develop a perennial forage blend that would tolerate extremely difficult growing conditions. We received calls from Oklahoma and Northern Idaho asking for a low-rainfall forage, from Central Florida and Texas asking for a forage that would tolerate sandier soils, from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan asking for a forage that would tolerate low pH soils that would not hold lime well and from Pennsylvania asking for a forage that would flourish on old strip mine ground. These customer needs set us on our way to research and develop a forage blend that has truly opened up areas of North America previously inhospitable to perennial forages for deer. When developing Extreme, however, we knew that tolerance to low rainfall and low pH wouldn’t be enough. Yes, the forage would have to tolerate rough conditions, but it would only meet our rigorous standards if it were highly nutritious and attractive to whitetails as well. Extreme is a
high-quality, protein-rich food source that provides necessary nutrition to deer on a year-round basis, and includes the protein critical to trophy rack production, doe lactation and overall herd health. Perhaps our greatest surprise, though, was realizing how incredibly attractive Extreme really is. We knew deer would eat it, but our research showed that Extreme’s attractiveness even rivals that of the number-one food plot product in the world, Imperial Whitetail Clover. When asked to look back to before the introduction of Extreme, Institute founder and president, Ray Scott, commented, “Before introducing Extreme, we had been quietly working for some time on a low-rainfall, lower-pH perennial forage blend. As always, we were determined not to release Extreme before we had absolutely proven that it would perform up to Institute standards. As soon as Extreme entered the testing phases outside our offices, we quickly found that what we had seen in our own, in-house testing was being seen all over the U.S. by our Certified Research Stations under real-world conditions. The deer were absolutely tearing into the Extreme. We knew it was a
n What you need to know about new Imperial Whitetail Extreme >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> • • • • • • • •
Packed with top-quality protein (up to 36%) Lasts up to five years without replanting Thrives in tough soils that can’t support other food plots Tolerates pH levels as low as 5.4 Grows in areas that receive as little as 15 inches annual rainfall Resistant to heat, cold and drought Stays green longer than most other food plot plantings Highly attractive to deer
winner, and it was hard to contain our excitement and keep it under wraps until we had finished testing it.” Scott continued, “Once Extreme hit the market, demand was incredible, especially with Field Testers who lived in lower-rainfall areas of the country. Ever since then, the calls have poured in from our Field Testers, telling us how well the Extreme was performing and thanking us for developing it as an option for folks in tough planting situations.” “Extreme is not meant to replace Imperial Clover, AlfaRack or any other Institute perennial blend,” says Scott. “You should always choose the right forage blend for your particular soil type, drainage and rainfall. If you’re in good soil and get ample rainfall, then you have a broader range of choices in the Imperial line of products. If you don’t, though, try Extreme because it continues to offer topnotch nutrition and attraction in areas where it’s difficult to grow other forages.” Extreme will also grow in areas with normal annual rainfalls of up to 60 inches as long as it’s planted in soils that drain. Also, while Extreme can withstand lower pH levels than other perennial food plots, it performs even better at levels from 6.0 to 6.5. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised, though,” says Scott “to see how many Field Testers who do receive ample rainfall and have good soils are choosing to plant Extreme. As a matter of fact, many customers with good planting conditions who already have other Institute forages such as Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa Rack Plus are planting Extreme, just to give their deer variety.” After years of testing at hundreds of sites, Dr. Wiley Johnson and the Institute have given thumbs up to the seed blend and made it available to food plot managers all over North America. Dr. Johnson described Extreme in more detail when it was released. “The primary component of Extreme is an evergreen forb. This is a very durable plant that produces a deep tap root, which allows it to thrive in harsh climatic regions and grow up to 15 inches tall while maintaining high palatability. Along with the evergreen forb, the seed blend includes hardy varieties of chicory and clover. “It not only delivers protein, it’s extraordinarily attractive to whitetail,” Dr. Johnson continued. “As a matter of fact, at test sites around North America, deer crowded into Extreme food plots during all seasons. And many Field Testers observed deer in the food plots at all times of the day as well. Other wildlife, like turkeys, geese and rabbits are also highly attracted to the product.” Planting dates for Extreme are similar to those for Imperial Clover and Alfa-Rack. Most areas can be planted in the Spring or Fall with a few exceptions. A 56 lb. bag of Extreme plants approximately 2.5 acres. There are also 28 lb. and 5.6 lb. bags available. And like Imperial Clover and Alfa-Rack, Extreme can last up to five years without replanting, providing vital protein to whitetail herds season after season. W www.whitetailinstitute.com
Extreme is a blend of evergreen forbs, chicory and clover. It thrives in dry, hot, cold, low-pH, low-nutrient conditions.
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
An Opening for Youngsters Fields and food plots provide great starting places for turkey hunting By Brian Lovett
veteran Alabama turkey hunter once told me he’d rather kill a gobbler in the woods any day before trying to shoot one in a field. And after almost 20 years of chasing spring turkeys, I wholeheartedly agree.
BUT THAT WASN’T ALWAYS TRUE.
THE CASE FOR OPEN SPOTS In hindsight, I think my early field tactics came from more than inexperience. For any veteran spring turkey hunter, the thrill of the game lies in the gobble and tactics you employ. However, to a neophyte, visual confirmation — that is, seeing the bird — is very exciting. Food plots and other open areas naturally attract turkeys (see the sidebar), especially when the first green shoots of spring or leftover food from the previous season
attracts hungry birds. And because the view is wide open, food plots and fields allow new turkey hunters to see and observe more turkeys than they’d ever see in the timber. That's very important from a learning standpoint. Turkeys are fascinating critters that do things no other animal does. They strut, gobble, spit and drum, peck at the ground and exhibit a myriad of other unique behaviors. The sun strikes their feathers like a thousand facets of obsidian, and their red, white and blue heads shine like lighthouses during a foggy morning. When new turkey hunters see those things for the first time, they’re often awestruck. In fact, merely watching a gobbler do his thing for a few minutes is often enough to hook a young turkey hunter for life. Further, when youngsters learn about turkey hunting, one of the lessons they hear most is, “Turkeys have very keen eyesight, and if you move, they will spook.” If new turkey hunters can watch a turkey and even perhaps shift their gun or otherwise move with the bird in sight, they learn the important skill of slow, subtle movement in the heat of battle. Conversely, if they move hastily or at the
When I started turkey hunting in 1990, I didn’t know much about turkeys, but I knew they liked fields and other open areas. So of course, that’s where I hunted them. I couldn’t call very well, and I was petrified at the thought of busting turkeys while slipping through the woods. So I usually staked out some decoys, plunked down near a fieldedge oak and sat. And then sat some more. And if I could stand it, I sat even longer. Believe it or not, that simple strategy worked. During one early turkey season, my brother-in-law and I stumbled upon a breeding flock in a hidden corner of a corn-stubble field. Naturally, we set up there the next two days, and my brother-in-law killed his first gobbler. On the fourth morn-
ing, I had the choice of chasing a hard-gobbling roosted bird or sitting in the field corner. You guessed it; I chose the field corner. And do you know what? I killed my first longbeard later that morning. Those memories prompt a smile nowadays because, of course, my early tactics betrayed my inexperience. Yet years later, the simple fact remains: Food plots and other open areas are great places for youngsters — or anyone, for that matter — to hunt turkeys.
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
wrong time, they learn the painful lesson that turkeys indeed have tremendous eyesight. Field or food-plot edges also provide easy setups that let mentors teach youngsters the basics. When you hunt a field edge, you must find an ideal set-up for a new hunter. That could come in the form of a big white oak just off the food plot or, if the new hunter is active and impatient, perhaps a pop-up blind set in a strategic location. Blinds often provide the best option for children because they hide the inevitable movement of youngsters. Further, they're nice because young hunters aren’t backed against a tree for hours with dog ticks crawling up their legs. Whether you use a blind or traditional set-up tree, the set-up must be comfortable, and it should hide the hunter as much as possible. After you’re situated in a good set-up, you can begin teaching a young hunter the basics, including calling, gun position, staying still or moving slowly, and watching and listening for the subtle signs that turkeys are nearby. If you’ve done your scouting, you’ll likely be rewarded when turkeys enter the food plot and put on a show. Then, your new hunter can begin to learn how to stay still and maintain his composure during the heat of battle. Whether they succeed is immaterial. Win or lose, they'll take a powerful lesson away from that day, along with the excitement of seeing wild turkeys up close and personal.
But despite being tricky, field turkeys are not impossible. For one thing, the size of a field has a lot to do with the difficulty of a gobbler. A longbeard in the middle of a 500acre beanfield is quite different than a tom in a 20-acre food plot. The bird in the small plot is surrounded by cover, which affords you the chance to maneuver on him. If you’re hunting with a newcomer, however, your
Of course, the down side of hunting turkeys in a field is that, well, they’re in a field. Field turkeys are often categorized as the toughest birds to hunt, perhaps being surpassed only by henned-up field turkeys. When birds are in the open, they can see danger from left, right, in front, from above and — yes, to a great degree — from behind. If you goof up, they'll leave that field quicker than you can say “tag soup.” 06REM879_HalfPg_WingmasterTurkeyPROMO_WN.qxd 12/12/06
Young hunters can learn a lot by hunting in open spaces. They can see how birds react to calling and each other. 12:23 PM
strategic moves will be limited, so let’s assume you’re set up on a field edge waiting for the turkey. Your most important moves should have been made days earlier — when you scouted. Unless they fly into a field from the roost — which they do often, by the way — birds must come through the timber to reach a field. As they do so, they leave telltale signs of their presence and travel paths. Scout for tracks, droppings, feathers and dusting areas. Listen for birds in your hunting area before the season. Hear where they gobble from the roost, and then — whether through locator calls or just letting birds gobble on their own — track their location through the woods. Note how they move across the terrain, and where and when they enter a field or food plot. Putting a few of these pieces together before hunting goes a long way toward solving the puzzle. If you can’t intercept a bird as he enters the field, don’t give up. Try to work him toward you. You'll need to use decoys to provide visual reassurance to your calling. After all, if a bird hears a hen but looks toward the source and sees nothing, he’ll know something isn’t right. It also helps to set up a few yards in the woods from the field; not directly on the field edge. This gives you the advantage of being in the shadows. Further, if a bird pinpoints your calling and looks for the hen, it won't seem unnatural if the source of the calling is unseen within the timber. Don’t overcall to field turkeys. Yes, they’ll gobble and put on a show — but that’s often all they’ll do. When you hammer at a bird, it gives the impression that the “hen” is red-hot and will eventually come to the gobbler for some action. In addition, it lets a bird pinpoint your calling better, which can lead to trouble. Start with soft, subtle yelps, clucks and purring. If a bird appears, don’t call when the turkey is looking at you. Wait till he struts or lowers his head. Further, call just enough to keep the bird interested. And if he’s coming, shut up!
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www.whitetailinstitute.com ©2007 REMINGTON ARMS COMPANY, INC.
Vol. 16, No. 3 /
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from them, and between them and a gobbling bird. That way, when a turkey clears the rise or obstruction, it's in range, and a hunter can shoot the bird the second he sees it. However, a young hunter will usually hesitate at that moment, and if a gobbler doesn’t see the “hen” that was just calling, he’ll inevitably lower his head, tuck his wing and rubber-neck away, knowing something isn't quite right. It’s much easier to coach a youngster while preparing to shoot a field turkey vs. a bird in the timber. Field hunts usually unfold relatively slowly, so you can talk a child or first-timer through the process and calm them down, if necessary. In the woods, as mentioned, the action is usually quick, and your instructions might get lost in the translation during the tense moment of truth.
Food plots provide great places for youth to enjoy turkey hunting.
OPEN SHOTS Fields and food plots provide another great advantage for new turkey hunters. After a bird is in range, the shot is usually wide open. That’s rarely the case in the woods. In a field, youngsters can watch a turkey as it approaches. By doing so, they get a firm idea of when a bird is in range. Also, they can witness a turkey’s behavior. Is the gobbler spooky? Is he preoccupied by a hen? Is he coming to the decoys? Or has he drawn a line in the sand, refusing to approach farther? All that is easy to see in a field. The biggest upside might be at the moment of truth, when it’s time to shoot. This is when inexperienced turkey hunters fail more than any other time. They’re often unsure about a shot and very nervous. Being able to track a turkey as it approaches, know that it's in range and determine that the bird is offering a good shot — ideally with the head and neck held high — young hunters feel much more secure about pulling the trigger. In the woods, experienced hunters often set up with a terrain rise or similar visual obstruction 20 to 30 yards 54
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
Editor’s Note: Brian Lovett is a writer from Oshkosh, Wis. His third turkey hunting book, “Hunting Pressured Turkeys,” was recently published by Stackpole Books.
n Food Plots Provide Attraction Advantage >>>>>>>>>>> There are many reasons to hunt gobblers in food plots or agricultural fields, but the best reason is obvious: Fields and food plots attract turkeys. Turkeys thrive in places that feature a mix of mature timber and open areas — especially open areas with lots of food. “Turkeys take advantage of any foods they can,” says Lovett Williams Jr., a noted turkey researcher and contributing editor for Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine. “They sometimes remember good sources of food and revisit those places, especially open areas with a wide variety of plants and insects. “Turkeys eat a lot of green stuff, especially grasses. Actually, they eat many hundreds of plants, and clover is only one of them. One reason [they] eat plant leaves is for moisture. Their digestive process produces water from the plants and many other foods.” “Turkeys like open places and may visit [them] to see what they can find. People do not examine turkey craws and gizzards very much, but when they do, they are surprised at the variety of foods in any one crop. I have shot turkeys scratching around oak trees where there were many acorns on the ground, and when I opened the crops, they would have only a few acorns — or maybe none at all.” Andrea Mezera, assistant upland wildlife ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, says food plots and similar areas will attract turkeys when the plants green up in spring and also through summer, when brood hens bring their poults to the best food sources. “Clover does attract insects, such as grasshoppers, which turkeys feed on. This is especially important for young poults, as insects provide food that’s high in protein, which is good for the developing poults.”
If everything fails and the birds just seem to want to go their own way, there are two more little tricks you can employ. The first is merely to watch where they head, take an educated guess at their destination and then try to head them off. You’ll guess incorrectly more often than not, but it’s worth a shot. Try to pick out ridges gobblers might roam, or big timber where they might loaf in the heat of the day. The other tactic is to guess where birds might leave a field. Turkeys seldom walk the entire length of a field or food plot. Instead, like a football player who runs out of bounds before being hit, they'll often traverse much of the field but then exit before reaching the other end. Where will they do that? Take a guess. Look for logging roads, cattle gates, subtle finger ridges or patches of open timber. Try to set up or reposition there on field turkeys, and hedge your bets with subtle calling. If you guess correctly, you’ll have outsmarted a field turkey — the toughest bird of all.
If nothing else, fields and food plots provide great starting places for new turkey hunters. Even if the neophytes don't shoot a bird in the open, they’ll usually see them and get a good idea of what’s required in spring turkey hunting. And those lessons will serve them well throughout their turkey hunting careers, whether they prefer to sit on a field edge or chase hard-gobbling birds in the timber. W
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Loving Your Land Land ownership brings many rewards By Jim Casada less tidbits of wisdom offered by Will Rogers: “Buy land. They ain’t making any more of it.” Then too, it was increasingly obvious that the timber industry in my part of the world, and nationwide for that matter, was in the process of a great shake-up. That translated to a great loss of leases for hunt clubs. Sure enough, the club to which I belonged, along with the one I had been a member of before switching, both lost their leases within a year of our purchasing the land. The writing was on the hunter’s wall, at least from my perspective. I had to get some land of my own or it was quite possible I would suddenly discover I didn’t have anywhere to hunt when I just wanted to run out for a couple of quick hours on a stand. Sure, I had a few land-owning friends who would wel-
Harvesting game animals from your own property is a special event.
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
wo and a half years ago I took a step that might be variously described as foolhardy, risky, shrewd or farsighted. It’s all a matter of perspective. After considerable debate with my wife and a great deal of reluctance on her part, we purchased 93 acres of land in an adjacent county. This came at a time in our lives (I’m a year removed from the magical date of 65 years, 10 months when I can draw full Social Security benefits without any penalty on money I earn) when most couples would be cutting back, consolidating, or maybe taking the steps that constitute the human equivalent of being put out to pasture. Yet there was method and considerable thought underlying what some might consider my madness. For starters, I’ve always been a firm believer in one of the count-
come me for hunts from time to time, but it’s easy to wear out your welcome in such situations. I also wanted a place where my son-in-law could hunt when he had time, some land where I could wander and wonder to my heart’s content, a place to pick blackberries and cut a Christmas tree, and, truth be told, some land to love and eventually pass on to my loved ones. At first sight, the 93 acres aren’t anything special. Roughly 60 percent had been logged five or six years prior to my purchase. Fortunately, at least from my perspective, it hadn’t been replanted in pines to create what is sometimes referred to, with considerable justice from my perspective, as biological “pine deserts.” Instead, it had grown back with a mixture of pines, sweet gums, brambles, honeysuckle, and wild grapes. In other words, perfect bedding cover for deer, nesting areas for turkeys, and general habitat for small game. The remainder of the land is mature hardwoods, some growing in deep gullies that offer a visual reminder that this land, like so much acreage across the South, was once part of the dominion of King Cotton. It was single-crop farmed until it eroded and became exhausted, then it was left alone. The hardwoods have restored it, and the gullies have real advantages when it comes to hunting and improving the land. They form natural travel corridors for deer, and the oaks offer plenty of food in the fall. Also, two or three of the deeper gullies are tailor-made for building small ponds, although that’s a project for the future at this point. There are also two small branches on the property that flow yearround, and the bottom land along one of them features 15 acres or so where black walnuts dominate. Right now that just means nuts for squirrels and a fine strutting ground for turkeys in the spring (vegetation does not grow well beneath walnuts, and where they are present in goodly numbers the understory tends to be pretty clean). That’s the basic picture, although a bit more should be added to round out the background. The land has plenty of deer, but that can be said of any comparable piece of property here in upstate South Carolina. Turkeys use it off and on, and there are plenty of squirrels, a goodly number of rabbits, and something of a rarity in this part of the world, a sizeable covey of quail. To date the property has yielded two gobblers, six deer, and several squirrels and rabbits. But that’s no way to measure its value or productivity. What really matters runs far deeper than mere game numbers. Gary Sefton, a longtime friend of mine who handles public relations for Woods Wise Game Calls, once put it perfectly: “A man doesn’t mind working on his own ground.” In my case that’s the flat-out gospel truth, and I suspect it holds true for most landowners. In some senses the work is just as rewarding as the taking of game, although obviously productive management is one of the considerations you have in mind when putting a lot of sweat equity into your property. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a long, hard day of putting up and repairing stands, hours of mowing, cultivating, and sowing a food plot, or using a chain saw to clear shooting lanes, the effort comes with specific goals in mind—more game and better hunting. Yet there’s another side to loving the land as well, one that involves meandering and meditating as opposed to working. The first time I walked the boundaries of my small acreage, trying to locate the markers shown on the survey map of the property, it was with a true sense of wonder. Time and again the thought ran through my mind – “It’s mine, and here’s my chance to make something of this piece of ground.” At one point I paused to admire a massive beech tree, carrying initials carved into its bark decades ago. At another I discerned the unmistakable evidence of an old house place that no doubt dated back more than a half century – an old well, a few bricks, and some garlic plants than had persevered through all the years. Even today, after having walked across the property time and again, the joys of discovery and the anticipation of learning more stimulate me in a most self-satisfying fashion. Some examples of those discoveries, especially when www.whitetailinstitute.com
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linked to my overall vision of management, might well be worth sharing. There are two sizable patches of pawpaws along one of the branches which meander through the land, and locating them meant having a great place to bow hunt in the years they bear fruit. Similarly, the locations of three other types of soft mast—persimmon trees, wild muscadines, and honey locusts—have suggested other food
Putting in the work to clear out openings, plant food plots (Imperial Secret Spot shown) and build stands seems much more enjoyable when you own the property.
simmons, tame muscadines, pears, and the like), get more first-rate food plots planted with things like Imperial Whitetail Clover and Winter-Greens in place, and decide on the ideal type of build-it-yourself ladder stand, then construct several of them. Then there’s the matter of fertilizer and lime, both of which are much needed but costly. Likewise, I would also love to hire someone with a dozer for
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.
WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 16, No. 3
Taking a buck on your own land is something many hunters dream of doing.
sources sure to attract deer. The same holds true for two small groves of mature white oaks and the large beech trees scattered across the property. An old logging yard with a huge pile of sawdust and chips is a prime dusting spot for turkeys, while a canebrake of an acre or so is a year-round home to rabbits and a temporary one (usually in January) to woodcock that are migrating through. I’ve learned the favorite haunts of squirrels, located three den trees, and know the lespedeza patches favored by my covey of quail. Similarly, there’s a favored roosting spot for turkeys on a steep bluff, two massive pines that somehow escaped the harsh attention of loggers, and a number of prime listening (for turkeys) and looking (for deer) spots. Nor should the discovery of patches of morel mushrooms in two different places be overlooked, and in no less than five different places I’ve discovered remnants of old tree stands used by deer hunters from yesteryear. Of course loving the land comes at a price, and that isn’t just a matter of annual taxes, expenditures on equipment and improvements, or monthly mortgage payments. There’s the constant concern about trespassers, although catching one individual red-handed, establishing good relationships with neighbors, getting up some signs, and gating off the only vehicular access has helped a great deal. I have one general thought in this regard. In my view, a trespasser is a lawbreaker, plain and simple, and any leniency or “it’s okay this one time but don’t do it again” attitude is a mistake. If you think someone has intentionally trespassed, don’t tolerate it. In one sense, my devotion to these 93 acres is severely restrained. There are lots of things I would love to do, and do immediately. I’d like to construct two ponds of an acre or so each, complete a rifle range (I have this done in rough form but need to build permanent benches and erect a place for targets), and expand my existing group of food plots. I’d also love to plant a number of trees and vines that would outlive me (Chinese chestnuts, sawtooth oaks, per-
a couple of days to improve roads and paths, level some ground in a few spots, and do some other â€œtidying up.â€? All of these things, however, require what my grandpa used to describe as â€œcash money.â€? I guess the redundancy was deserved since he had so little of the stuff in question, and sometimes I feel the same way. There are some money savers such as transplanting chestnut and sawtooth oak seedlings I have grown and rooting muscadines from my backyard by layering ground over runners, but they take time. The answer, of course, is a longrange plan and plenty of patience and persistenceâ€”precisely the sort of characteristics which stand the hunter in such good stead. When we signed the mortgage for our little piece of paradise, my wife confidently predicted that it would be an ongoing testament to addiction reminiscent of lines from a John Prine song, â€œThereâ€™s a hole in Daddyâ€™s arm where all the money goes.â€? In this case she suggested the hole wouldnâ€™t involve drug addiction but rather pouring money into an endless parade of projects that I had in mind from day one or have subsequently conceived. Sheâ€™s exactly right, and I canâ€™t think of a more joyous or rewarding way to spend the few spare shekels our budget offers. I love that land, love improving it, and most of all, get non-stop self-satisfaction from everything I put into it. It wonâ€™t be long now until I can walk along trails, pick blackberries, or camp here with my granddaughter. And the thought of leaving a well-managed piece of the good earth behind me brings a quiet but rewarding sense of well-being to me. Itâ€™s also comforting to know that the value of the land continues to grow quite nicely, but mostly mine is just an ongoing love affair that only those in similar situations can fully appreciate. Thereâ€™s nothing in the hunterâ€™s world that quite matches loving your own land, managing it the best way you know how, and putting game on the family table that comes directly from your own special backside of heaven. W
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