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In This Issue… Features 6

44

Beware of Fast Food Minerals By Matt Harper It is important to have a good understanding of what minerals are and why understanding them will help your whitetail herd.

12

Planting Spring Perennials… Worth the Work By Scott Bestul The author has the opinion that planting springtime food plots are tougher than late-summer plots, but with far larger benefits.

17 from mistakes. 26 Learning

Killer Ideas for Using PowerPlant into Fall and Beyond By Jon Cooner To see the full benefits PowerPlant can offer, you need to extend your thinking. This article tells you how.

20

New Imperial Whitetail Turkey Select Chufa By William Cousins The Whitetail Institute is pleased to announce its newest forage product, Imperial Whitetail Turkey Select Chufa for turkeys and waterfowl.

22

Spring Gobbler Season Opening Day By Rusty Welch

26

Land Management Projects

By Hollis Ayres

48

Realistic Buck Goals — When Good Enough is Good Enough! By Bob Humphrey

54

Trophies of Grace

56

Hunting Wars — Let’s Stop Bickering

62

Imperial Whitetail Clover: The Most Significant Food Plot Forage Product Ever

By Tracy Breen By Jordan Howell

By Whitetail Institute Staff

Departments 4 24

A Message from Ray Scott Field Testers Report Stories and Photos

36

Record Book Bucks Stories and Photos

51 68

By Bill Marchel Learning from mistakes.

32

Soil Tests Still First Step to Food Plot Success

New Arrest Max Selective Grass Herbicide

Food Plot Planting Dates First Deer — The Future of our Sport

54

By Whitetail Institute Staff The newest generation herbicide is a technical marvel.

34

How to Run Your Own Food Plot Business By Jeremy Flinn

62

The most significant food plot ever!

38

Digestibility — More Important Than Nutrient Level By Matt Harper

®

Whitetail Institute OFFICERS AND STAFF

Ray Scott Founder and President Wilson Scott Vice President of Operations Steve Scott Vice President, Executive Editor William Cousins Operations Manager Wayne Hanna, Ph.D. Agronomist & Director of Forage Research Mark Trudeau Director of Certified Research Frank Deese Wildlife Biologist Jon Cooner Director of Special Projects Brandon Self, Tyler Holley, John White Product Consultants Daryl Cherry Director of Sales Scott Thompson Upper Midwest Sales Manager Clare Hudson Northeast Sales Manager Dawn McGough Office Manager Mary Jones EDI & Invetory Specialist Teri Hudson Office Administrator Accounts Receivable Kim Collins Customer Service Marlin Swain Shipping Manager Bart Landsverk Whitetail News Senior Editor Charles Alsheimer, Tracy Breen, Matt Harper, Mark Kenyon, R.G. Bernier, Bill Marchel, Michael Veine, Dr. Carroll Johnson, III, Dean Weimer, David Hart Contributing Writers Susan Scott Copy Editor George Pudzis Art Director Wade Atchley, Atchley Media Advertising Director

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WHITETAIL NEWS 3


A Message from RAY SCOTT Founder and President of the Whitetail Institute of North America

Raising The Bar, Again!

M

We create the best possible food plot products there are and then immediately start working to make these products even better. We continue to raise the bar.

y son Steve and I have had a long running disagreement about the food plots on our hunting lease. I can’t stand anything being in the plot other than what we planted. I despise grass and weeds. Steve, on the other hand argues that a few weeds and grasses in our plots are mostly irrelevant as long as the forage we planted was dominant and there was enough of the forage to support the deer herd. Because of this ongoing disagreement, several years ago I welcomed the arrival of Arrest Herbicide which had been specifically developed to control grasses in food plots. It was effective, easy to use and as far as I was concerned it was the ultimate insurance for all the time and money and effort put into our plots. Cheap insurance. And it was ultimately economical since I knew controlling grass could extend the life of my plots considerably. As far as economics, when you think about all the money you spend every year to improve your hunting success — from lease payments and firearms to ammunition and tree stands — food plot seed purchases are a very small part of your hunting budget and yet they are the most important for attracting and holding deer. It’s only logical to go one step further and protect your crops with the most effective herbicides you can find. When I heard rumblings about our research team testing a new herbicide for grasses my ears perked up. I checked in with my son Wilson, vice president of the Whitetail Institute and he confirmed we did indeed have a “new” product. Actually it was completely new chemistry called Arrest Max. How could Arrest be better, I asked. “Pop” he said, “it’s more effective and it’s cheaper to use.”(One pint of Arrest Max will make a full one acre of spray solution). I was excited and proud when I heard this news because it is what the Whitetail Institute does. We create the best possible food plot products there are and then immediately start working to make these products even better. We continue to raise the bar.

I think you will be interested to read Dr. Carroll Johnson’s article on page 32. From a respected scientist, it is nothing less than a rave review for new Arrest Max which he calls a “technological marvel.” To quote Dr. Johnson: “Previously Arrest was the standard means to control annual grasses in food plots. Arrest had a stellar reputation for consistent performance. If you liked Arrest, you will be overjoyed with Arrest Max. Arrest Max will do everything that Arrest can do, but does it better. This is particularly the case for grass control such as johnsongrass, bermudagrass and quackgrass. Simply put, Arrest Max is superior.” Testimonials don’t get any better than that. Oh Yea, one more thing. Arrest and new Arrest Max along with Slay herbicides have almost ended mine and Steve’s ongoing disagreements on weeds and grasses. Almost! CORRECTION: It has been brought to our attention that we made a small but critical error in the last sentence of “Honeybees — Big Things Come In Small Packages” (Whitetail News, Vol. 23, No. 3). The article was written in an effort to explain the crucial role honeybees play in Whitetail Institute research and development as well as food production worldwide. Our error was our statement about worker bees when we said that “…he’s vital to the food you eat.” In fact, all worker bees are female. While this one-word error may seem minor, we agree that it isn’t. First, accuracy is the hallmark of our articles. Second, we will always treat a lady as such, especially when she is one who has such a huge positive impact on all our lives. So, our apologies to the world’s worker bees for our error — and our thanks for all that you do.

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BEW ARE of fast food minerals

By Matt Harper Photos by the Author

eing raised a farm kid, I would like to consider myself fairly handy when it comes to building or fixing things. Give me a chunk of wood and I can build (or at least cobble together) just about anything. On the other hand, hook me up with a 220-volt metal-melting apparatus called a welder, and I and anyone around me will be lucky to escape with their lives. I remember my only welding experience. I was building brackets for shop shelves, and after an hour’s worth of feverish work, I tested the new shelf with one quart of oil and watched the entire shelving system crash to the ground. 6 WHITETAIL NEWS

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So although welding is not my forte, I know a few terms I can throw out if I'm with some hard-nosed metal melters. I can say, “Yep, smooth bead on that weld” or maybe, “You need the right welding rod for the job.” I really don't know what much of that means, but it sounds good, and unless you are pulled in the deep end of the pool by a real welder, you have decent chance of keeping your man card. The point is that you might know a couple of terms associated with the subject matter, but beyond that, the knowlwww.whitetailinstitute.com


edge well dries up and you're winging it. If I asked you what you know about deer minerals — in terms of what they are comprised of and why — I would wager that many people would throw out things like calcium, salt or maybe even phosphorus. And regarding the why question, I'm sure the largest percentage of answers would be to grow big antlers or attract deer to a specific area. If you answered in any of these fashions, you would be correct. Calcium, salt and phosphorus are major parts of most deer minerals and a result of using them — if you use one formulated correctly — would be increased antler growth and deer attracted to the site. There’s little wonder that these are terms that most people are somewhat familiar with, because this is how most deer minerals are advertised and marketed. However, this is only a part of the deer mineral story. There are many other components, all of which are vital to the effectiveness of a deer mineral and, in most cases, these other components are the difference between an effective product and one that lacks results.

What Are Minerals, and Where Do They Come From? Before we go into detail on the lesser-known players involved in a deer mineral, it’s important to have a good understanding of what minerals are and where they come from. Minerals are defined as inorganic crystalline chemical elements and originate in the soil. In general, minerals are broken into two categories: macro minerals and trace minerals. Macro minerals are those needed in larger quantities for normal body functions and consist of elements such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, chloride, magnesium and potassium. Micro min-

erals are the second category and are defined as minerals needed in smaller quantities but nonetheless needed for proper body function. Commonly used trace minerals found in deer minerals are copper, zinc, iron, manganese, iodine, selenium and cobalt. It is this category that folks discuss least and often know less about. A soil’s specific mineral content depends on the type of rock formations in the area. For example, one source of calcium is limestone, so theoretically, an area with large amounts of limestone deposits should also contain a large amount of calcium in the soil. Age of the soil is another critical factor to mineral content. Newly formed soils, such as those formed by glacial movement, are typically high in many minerals, as glacial movement grinds rocks and then deposits the minerals when they recede. Agricultural practices will have a large impact on mineral content, as will erosion.

Why Are Mineral Supplements Needed? Minerals are used by vegetation as it pulls mineral from the soil to support growth and reproduction. They are replenished through the slow process of rock degradation, the faster process of degradation of organic materials and the even faster process of manual fertilization. Mineral content can also be positively or negatively affected by soil shifting through water or wind erosion and many other processes. Animals get mineral from consuming vegetation, consuming other animals or getting it directly from the soil. Although some soils are richer in minerals than others, nearly every soil is lacking in one or more essential minerals. As vegetation pulls minerals from the soil, replenishment is needed by one of the aforementioned methods. If the

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soil does not naturally have the types of rock formations to supply specific minerals, that soil will be low in that specific mineral(s). Further, heavy agricultural practices will deplete minerals from the soil, and those must be replaced consistently through fertilization. But even then, most agricultural fertilizing practices do not cover all of the mineral categories. So what you end up with, even in fertile soils, is a lack of sufficient amounts of one or more minerals to produce maximum results in the deer herd. The critical word is “maximum.” If mineral supplements are not used, does this mean the deer herd will suffer high levels of mortality? That's possible but not likely. What will occur is lower body weights, decreased milk production and decreased antler growth, as well as many other symptoms. One example is a ranch I worked with in Texas that ran a low-fence, free-range hunting operation. Deer there continually suffered from broken racks — more than what would be expected. A soil analysis showed several mineral deficiencies that were likely causing an antler density issue. A mineral supplement can help to fix problems like that outfitter was having. Most of us who practice deer management are not just trying to have the deer herd survive but rather want deer to exhibit their full genetic potential, which cannot be done if there are mineral deficiencies in the diet. If you question this, you might want to ask why cattlemen give free-choice mineral to their cows on pasture, even in areas with productive soil. Because it has been proven that doing so will increase milk production, body weights and calf growth. It has also been shown to improve breeding success. So if we take a whitetail deer that produces nutrient-rich milk or grows bone on its head, and we recognize that the requirement for mineral is higher (percentage of diet) than that of a beef cow, it makes sense why a mineral supplement would be beneficial and produce results.

Trace minerals, although needed in small amounts, are vital for overall production

Trace Minerals: The Forgotten Group The title of this article is “Minerals — The Untold Story.” As we discussed, most people have heard of the macro minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, salt (sodium chloride) and maybe even magnesium and potassium. But most people do not have a very good understanding of the importance of trace minerals. If you look at a label for a deer mineral and compare a couple of products, you might see that they have similar macro mineral levels. However, a difference in trace mineral levels is typically found and can clearly distinguish the effectiveness of one product over another. That’s not to say that more is necessarily better, but it’s one indicator. But other factors need to be considered, such as trace mineral source, as some sources (compounds) are more digestible/available than others, and the ratios at which the trace minerals are blended. I will not go into a lot of detail on the ratios, as it would take an entire other article, but suffice to say, if you have too much of one trace mineral compared to another, it can affect the effectiveness of the entire mineral formula. Trace minerals have many functions, some of which are directly related to antler growth, and some of which are indirectly related to antler growth. Keep in mind that antlers are secondary characteristics of a buck, so his body weight and health have to be maximized for antler growth to be maximized. Some trace minerals are involved in enzyme activity, which affects digestion that affects body weight and that has been shown to affect antler size. Further, some trace minerals are involved in immunity, which affects health, overall body condition and eventually antler size. Still others are used directly for antler production. Regardless, trace minerals will most definitely have an effect.

Copper

Minerals not only improve antler growth but will help the entire deer herd, from doe lactation to fawn growth.

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Copper is one of the trace minerals that is directly linked to antler production. One major function of copper is bone formation, and considering antlers are basically bone, a direct effect can be made. Copper is vital in collagen production, which is the major prowww.whitetailinstitute.com


tein found in growing antlers. Copper is also involved in hemoglobin synthesis and enzyme activity. Copper also has been shown to produce an immune response reaction. Copper comes in many forms, but the most common is copper sulfate. Copper sulfate is far more bioavailable than copper oxide.

Iron One of the major functions of iron is hemoglobin production. The growing antler requires an extreme amount of blood flow, as it carries nutrients to the growing tissue. Therefore, iron becomes a main factor in the overall system. The source of iron in a mineral is very important. Iron from iron oxide is nearly completely unavailable to deer. Therefore, the sourcing to look for is iron sulfate. Often, iron oxide is used as a colorant because it's inert to most animals.

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Zinc Zinc is another trace mineral that can be directly linked to antler growth, as it's needed for bone development. Zinc is also involved in many enzyme activities, thus being critical to overall digestion of food stuffs. Like copper, zinc has been shown to improve immunity and is linked to hoof health in particular. Zinc sulfate and zinc oxide are bioavailable, with the sulfate form being slightly more available, but both are commonly used.

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Cobalt Cobalt has one major function that is considered in ruminant diets. Cobalt is a component of vitamin B12 and is needed in the rumen for vitamin B12 synthesis. The common sources of cobalt are cobalt carbonate and cobalt sulfate, both of which are available and used in mineral formulation.

Manganese Manganese is an activator to many enzyme systems and is involved in fatty acid synthesis, and cholesterol metabolism making manganese critical for digestive system functionality. Manganese is also one of the trace minerals directly involved in bone (antler) growth, as it is involved For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute

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in the bone formation and growth. Typical manganese sources found in mineral formulation are manganese sulfate and manganous oxide.

Iodine is involved in thyroxin formation, which is a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland. Iodine has been shown to produce an immune response. Iodine sources include calcium iodate and EDDI.

favorite fast food restaurant chain, it might taste awesome and is cleverly marketed but supplies little in terms of quality nutrition. Not all minerals are created equal. I am not saying there is anything wrong with a fast food deer attractant, but keep in mind that some, if not most, are just that; an attractant and not a true mineral supplement. Most fast food minerals are mostly salt (sodium chloride). Some have dozens of ‘minerals’ in them but if you look at the ingredient tag, they are still almost all salt.

Selenium

Conclusion

The major function of selenium is vitamin E absorption and retention. In turn, vitamin E is important for proper muscle function and reproduction and is an antioxidant. Therefore, without selenium, vitamin E usage suffers. Interestingly, even though much is not known about selenium, there are many soils deficient in selenium, and positive results have been seen when selenium is supplemented in these areas. However, selenium also has a low threshold between needs and toxicity, so you have to be very careful not to have too high a level in the overall diet. The most common selenium source is sodium selenite.

Mineral supplements (where they can be legally used) are a great tool in improving your overall herd productivity. Reams of data prove that in domestic ruminants and thousands of field observations from across the country have shown dramatic improvement in deer quality when a mineral supplement is used. Of course, after reading this, you now understand that there are dramatic differences in products, so make sure you choose a product that has been properly formulated with the criteria we have discussed before you make your purchase. Whitetail Institute’s deer mineral/vitamin supplements are a great option and products I have used successfully on my farms. Products such as 30-06 and 30-06 Plus Mineral or the trio of Cutting Edge products were developed with the properly formulated criteria to help deer maximize their potential. Also, you now know that the important aspects of a deer mineral are not just calcium or salt. Trace minerals play a valuable role and are often times overlooked by consumers and mineral manufacturers. Now, however, you are armed with the information you need to not only help in your purchasing decision but also with some bits of knowledge you can repeat to your hunting buddies that will make you sound knowledgeable and cool. I'm not sure which is the more important. ^

Iodine

Fast Food Deer Minerals When examining deer mineral supplements, you need to be aware of the difference between products formulated with the intent of supplying needed minerals at the right level in the right ratios, with the purpose of improving overall deer herd productivity, versus what I call fast food deer minerals. A fast food deer mineral is one that comes in a highly attractive, colorful bag, typically with a very cool name. It can be highly attractive to deer but, from a nutritional standpoint, falls far short of what is needed. Much like a burger and fries from your

How to Properly Set Up a Mineral Site Food plots rarely work well if you simply walk out with a bag of seed and scatter it about without any preparation or forethought. To have effective, heavily used mineral sites it likewise takes a little work and forethought. First, if you have not used a mineral product on a property, I suggest trying several test sites. For example, if you have an 80-acre farm, I would start with maybe six to eight test sites where you use only a few pounds per site. Deer are finicky and will ignore one site and flock to another even if it is the same product. I like to have about one site per 20 acres (maybe one per 10 acres with greater deer density) so you will eventually end up with about four sites. It is best to have them spread out evenly across the property, but that depends on what the property looks like in terms of cover, food and other factors. In the end, the deer will tell you which sites they want to use. There is not any need to hide it from the deer, so find a heavily used trail or crossing of two trails. Back off that trail or crossing about two to three feet and using a rake or shovel, scratch down into the dirt. Apply the mineral directly on top of the dirt. You can also try using a mineral feeder or trough but in most cases, deer prefer getting it right off the ground. Mineral feeders work, but it normally takes time for the deer to get used to them, and if there is product on the ground next to the feeder, they will typically go for that first. I like to place sites in cover and not out in the open and never where they can be seen by someone driving by the property. Deer feel more comfortable in cover than in the open and there is no need to tempt a passerby. When you have found the sites the deer prefer, stick with those sites year after year. Studies have shown that when a doe finds a site, it will bring its fawns back to that site, thus training the offspring to use that area even after they go off on their own. ^

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Planting Spring Perennials… WORTH THE WORK By Scott Bestul Photos by Charles J. Alsheimer

“In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.” — Lord Alfred Tennyson

hat’s a line from a Tennyson poem that’s stuck in my head since my days as a college English major. Which, as those who know me realize, was a very long time ago. And even then, when I had girls on the brain and found myself in a targetrich environment, spring wasn’t about searching for love. It was about turkey hunting. And trout fishing. And picking a bunch of mushrooms. If a young lady wanted to tag along, that was, of course, more than OK with me. As long as she didn’t get in the way too much. 12 WHITETAIL NEWS

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Of course, many years later, I’ve changed my attitude some. Now spring is about all the same things, but has been expanded to include planting food plots. And the same rule applies to any woman who wants to join the fun. Naturally, spring is the universally acknowledged planting season. My farmer friends have it down to a science, and foodplotters — if they’re smart — follow the lead of farmers whenever they can. There’s a lot to be said for establishing food plots in the spring, but doing so comes with its share of challenges. In fact, I’ve come to view planting springtime food plots as far tougher than the late-summer variety… but with a far larger benefits package. What follows is a look at some of the challenges and rewards of that practice.

The Bennies As mentioned, there’s a lot to be said for planting when farmers do. In many areas of the country, soil moisture is excellent (sometimes too good), and the seeds you plant will get a nice jump-start toward germination. And the long summer growing season will give Imperial Whitetail Clover and other perennial food plots an excellent chance to establish a solid root system that will let it endure challenges, such as periodic drought and tough winters. Deer will benefit, too, naturally. Assuming your perennial plot takes off to the races, it’ll provide nutrition for whitetails at a deceptively critical period: early to mid-summer. Despite warm temps and otherwise simple living, does are lactating, and bucks are doing their best to be Booners. Abundant green, high-protein forage is a critical niche in this process, and a killer perennial plot is your answer. With these positives, why don’t more folks plant perennials in spring? For starters, we’re busy and lazy. Who among us doesn’t hit spring and think of all the fun, chores and nonwhitetail stuff we could/would/should be doing? (Yeah, that’s me). And then there’s this: Spring plots are just harder. There’s the typical prep work, and then there’s just more commitment to maintenance. You can’t sugarcoat this process. I liken the care and feeding of a late-summer/early fall plot to shepherding a teen-ager through high school. Spring plots are seeing a toddler though to college. But you know what? It’s so worth it that I’m going to guilt you into the process. So let’s figure out how to do it right.

The Prep You don’t have to read many issues of Whitetail News to understand the importance of plot preparation. In my mind, it’s even more important on a spring perennial plot. Take the time to do this right. Get some soil samples. (Big hint, just because I like you for reading this far: Send it in the folks at Whitetail Institute. They’ve been down this road for miles and know — even better than you do — what you’re trying to accomplish.) Then, follow the recommendations for lime and fertilizer. If you’re a veteran of the food plot wars, you al-

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ready know why this drill is important. If you don’t, look it up. And again, all the info you need is on the Whitetail Institute website or can be explained by phone at (800) 688-3030. This is important stuff, people. It’s tempting to think, if you’re a hobby farmer like we all are, that a lush, emerald-green food plot is doing the best job it can. But I’ve watched enough deer feed in food plots, and they make their preferences clear in a hurry. Some food plots just taste better to them than others, and in my experience, food plots that have been limed, fertilized and don’t have to battle weeds too hard fall in the “this-tastes-better” category. So the message is clear in my book: Take the time to do prep work right, and it’ll be worth the effort.

The Maintenance This is where the proverbial crap hits the fan. Jump-start a perennial plot in spring, and you’re committed to nurturing the thing … at least if you want maximum results. Lots of bad things that can happen to food plots occur during summer, and if you want your planting to flourish, you’re going to need to roll up your sleeves and battle them. Although I view this as enjoyable work — a labor of love — many do not. So just be honest with yourself. If you’re committed to helping your plots achieve their potential, follow the steps ahead. If not, well go ahead and plant them anyway, but don’t expect the same results. Weed competition is the most obvious problem facing any spring perennial plot. And not long ago, that hurdle was difficult to overcome. Fortunately, much of that has changed, thanks to heightened knowledge and better tools.

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Spraying herbicides has long been a go-to tactic for farmers, but until recently, food plotters didn’t have the option. Then the Whitetail Institute broke new ground by offering Arrest MAX and Slay herbicides. Arrest MAX is designed for controlling a range of grasses that invade and threaten food plots. Slay does a similarly devastating job on broadleaf baddies. Both of these herbicides can be applied easily from an ATV or tractor sprayer, depending on the size of your plot (A hand sprayer can also be used for Arrest MAX).In my experience, spraying herbicides is most effective when target species are relatively new and/ or growing, which means it’s best to spray in late-spring/ early-summer period, or three to five days after mowing. For the best results, mix each herbicide with Sure-Fire Seed Oil, which helps the spray adhere to the plant and increases the product’s effectiveness. Drawbacks of spraying are cost and timing. Mowing is the traditional (and still effective) method for removing weed competition. Clipping perennial plots helps control weeds by cutting off the stem of the plant and retarding future growth. Hopefully, aggressively growing clover (for example) will then out-compete the weed species and go on to flourish. But there’s an often-neglected benefit of mowing; to keep the clover in its youngest growth stage possible. To help ensure you get the three to five years performance from your perennial plants, plan to mow two to three times during the first growing season. Make sure you prevent the weeds and grasses from seeding out. This results in maximum palatability and attractiveness for deer. (Remember the “this-tastes-better” rule? Well that’s the motto for clover-growers everywhere.)

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Taking the time to prepare your food plots right is essential to success.

And Even More Long-Term Maintenance It would be nice if a summer’s worth of mowing and spraying would be the cure-all for a perennial plot. Sorry, Sparky. All those steps we took the previous spring and summer should be repeated, including the soil test. And the lime. And the fertilizer. And the herbicide. And the mowing. In addition, an increasing number of perennial growers are using frost-seeding to improve their initial plantings. Because it’s not uncommon for clover plots to have holes in them (empty spots where seeds failed to germinate or a gap was simply left unseeded), frostseeding allows the grower a second chance to plug the holes. As the name implies, frost-seeding is best done in late winter or early spring as snow melts (according to the region) or frost melts from the soil. Seeds spread in this period will work into the soil readily, thanks to the natural swelling and heaving of the ground. Even better, those seeds will get a huge jump-start on any weeds.

The Reward If all this sounds like a heckuva lotta work, well, it is. But here’s the thing: Perennial plots have a long life expectancy — up to five years, in some cases — and if you’ve got a ton of plots to do, the realization that you don’t have to re-do every plot every season is certainly worth considering. In fact, you can argue that perennial plots are the perfect solution for the lazy man mentioned earlier. After the thing is established, the normally hard (and time-consuming) labor associated with food plots simply gets easier. Most important, though, is the benefit to deer, turkeys and other wildlife. That glowing patch of green you sweat and toiled over will not only suck in a bunch of critters from snow melt to late fall, it will provide them with the high-protein forage they crave at critical points in the season. If there’s not a feel-good bent to that, I haven’t told my story very well. ^

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Not just for Spring and Summer —

“Killer” Ideas for using PowerPlant into Fall and Beyond

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f you’ve planted Imperial Whitetail PowerPlant before, you’ve seen for yourself the jungle-like, thick, tall foliage it produces — foliage that will hold deer and provide them with abundant protein during spring and summer to help maximize antler growth and overall herd health. To see the full benefit PowerPlant can offer, though, you need to extend your thinking into fall and beyond. That’s when PowerPlant can also help you increase your odds of hunting success.

By Jon Cooner

Fall No article about PowerPlant would be complete without discussing why it’s such an excellent tool for providing deer with huge amounts of protein during spring and summer. We’ll cover that, but first, here are some ideas for ways to use PowerPlant that can boost your odds of hunting success during fall and beyond. I’ll start by asking a question: What’s the most important thing you want your favorite hunting plot to do during hunting season? For most of us, the main thing we want our fall hunting plots to do is attract and hold deer, especially during daylight. Generally, that takes two things: a forage that deer find highly attractive and a site that offers deer a feeling of safety. Most of us have heard this statement before, and it’s entirely correct: “No matter how tasty a forage is to deer, they won’t use it during daylight unless they feel safe doing so.” What makes PowerPlant such a uniquely excellent tool during hunting season is that it satisfies both requirements; it’s highly attractive as a food source and as cover for deer.

Recommended PowerPlant Plot Size It’s common for PowerPlant to grow as high as six feet tall and

produce a stand that’s so thick you’d have to kick your way through it, and when PowerPlant establishes, it can regenerate and continue to grow even as deer feed on it. To help PowerPlant establish, it’s a good idea to plant enough of it to minimize the chance of early overgrazing. The Whitetail Institute recommends a minimum plot size of one acre planted with 25 pounds of PowerPlant in areas with normal deer densities, and a minimum plot size of 1.5 acres planted with 50 pounds of PowerPlant in areas with high deer densities. Although these are larger than the suggested minimum plot size for other Whitetail Institute forage products, the extra size offers additional options for hunting season you might not have considered.

Turninga aPowerPlant PowerPlantStand Standinto a Fall Kill Turning into a Fall PlotKill Plot One big benefit of the thickness, height and larger plot sizes recommended for PowerPlant is that they encourage deer to use standing PowerPlant as a bedding area. Instead of completely removing a PowerPlant stand to make room for a fall annual, consider mowing lanes through the PowerPlant stand and replanting them instead. There are several keys to getting the best results from this tactic. First, don’t take out so much PowerPlant that you destroy its attraction as a bedding area for deer. Very generally speaking, you might want to mow about three or four lanes through an acre stand of PowerPlant. Also, keep the lanes relatively thin— say about 15 to 20 feet wide. If you do it correctly, you’ll likely find that deer bedded in the remaining PowerPlant will step in and out of the lanes during the day, making for a killer hunting setup. Second, don’t remove the clippings from the mowed lanes before you plant the lanes in a fall annual. Instead, lightly disk the clippings

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WHITETAIL NEWS 17


into the soil. By then, the legumes in PowerPlant might have produced seed pods, and by tilling them in before you plant your fall annual, the seeds from the clippings can create new, tender growth, enhancing the attraction of the lanes further. Third, be sure to take your most commonly prevailing wind direction into account. If you’re a gun-hunter, be sure to orient the lanes so that you can look down them from a stand location that will be downwind. Certainly, wind direction is also important to a bowhunter, but because shots will be so much shorter, you might want to change the number, width and direction of lanes you put in. Consider installing one or two lanes per stand, but keep them thinner. Taking wind direction into account for stand placement, orient each lane so it passes upwind and within bow range from the stand. By having fewer lanes and keeping them thinner, deer might tend to use the lanes more as a travel path through the PowerPlant. Finally, by planting the lanes in a fall annual, you can extend the forage attraction aspect of the site into late fall and beyond, even well after the PowerPlant is gone.

Using PowerPlant as a Travel Corridor across Larger Open Areas Whether you hunt 20 acres or 1,000 acres, most of us plant hunting plots in available spaces. Examples include natural clearings, pond dams, old home sites and gaps in stands of planted pines. If you also have a larger open area that deer only feel safe crossing at night, such as two wooded areas separated by an open field, consider using PowerPlant to provide travel cover. Keeping in mind the recommended plot-size minimums for PowerPlant, this tactic can create a funnel effect, concentrating deer and encouraging them to travel during daylight.

Spring and Summer So far, we’ve discussed ideas for using PowerPlant to your advantage during hunting season, after it has served its primary purpose. Although these ideas should help increase your odds of success during hunting season, don’t forget PowerPlant’s primary purpose: to provide deer with lots of protein during spring and summer. One reason Whitetail Institute products continue to lead the food plot industry is that they’re scientifically designed specifically for food plots for deer. The Whitetail Institute’s research and development team demands forages that offer browse tolerance; attractiveness to deer; high nutritional content; early seedling vigor; rapid stand establishment; resistance to heat, cold, drought and disease; and other factors. Although all these goals are important, one is an absolute deal-killer when it comes to Whitetail Institute forage research: attractiveness. Put simply, any potential forage component or product must first and foremost be as attractive to deer as the Whitetail Institute can make it, and if it doesn’t pass that test, its life as a Whitetail Institute forage candidate is finished. Palatability. For any forage to be highly attractive to whitetails, it must be as tender as possible. The reason lies in the nature of the small-ruminant digestive system of deer. Because the rumen (the chamber of a ruminant animal’s stomach that houses bacteria that break down food and produce nutrients absorbed into the animal’s

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bloodstream) of a deer is smaller than rumen of larger ruminants such as cattle, deer cannot use stemmy or tough forages nearly as well as cattle. That’s why deer seek out the most tender portions of plants, such as newly emerged leaves, shoots and buds. One way the Whitetail Institute addresses that requirement in PowerPlant is by using true forage-type components in the blend. Take the soybeans in PowerPlant, for example. Unlike agricultural soybeans, which grow a trunk that becomes stemmy with lignin as it matures (making it much less palatable to deer), the forage soybeans in PowerPlant grow as supple vines, which stay tender and highly palatable to deer. Again, that’s not to say that ag-soybeans aren’t attractive to deer. They certainly are. But understand that isn’t the Whitetail Institute’s focus. The Whitetail Institute is committed to developing only the most attractive forage products it can make. And when it comes to soybeans for use in deer food plots, the vining soybeans in PowerPlant are simply better because of their superior palatability as well as other reasons we’ll discuss.

Set Your Sights on

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High Protein Content As mentioned, PowerPlant is purposely built to deliver lots of protein-rich foliage during spring and summer. No nutrient is more important to deer during spring and summer than protein. It’s during this time that bucks are growing new antlers, beginning with the velvet antler, which is about 80 percent protein. Likewise, does need lots of protein during spring and summer as they reach the later stages of pregnancy and then must produce milk for their newborn fawns, and a higher protein diet can help does produce more milk. The legumes in PowerPlant (forage soybeans, Lablab and peas) aren’t just any legumes. They have been carefully selected by the Whitetail Institute to do the specific job required: produce lots of high-protein forage for deer. PowerPlant delivers protein, and it does so in spades.

Tonnage and Longevity “I planted beans (or peas) for my deer this spring. Once they got a foot or so tall, the deer wiped them out in just a week or two.” If you’ve been a deer hunter for a while, you’ve probably heard another hunter say something like that — or said it yourself. When you consider that antler growth occurs over about 200 days, it stands to reason that any forage that lasts only a couple of weeks will be of limited benefit in improving antler size, milk production and overall herd health. That’s why the Whitetail Institute also designed maximum longevity into PowerPlant. One way is by using the vining soybeans I mentioned earlier as a forage component in PowerPlant instead of agricultural soybeans. Unlike ag-type beans, when PowerPlant is established, the forage soybeans in PowerPlant can actually regenerate and continue to grow, even as deer feed on them. In addition to the legumes that make up PowerPlant’s forage components, PowerPlant also includes small amounts of a sunflower and a high-quality wildlife sorghum as structural components. The sunflowers and sorghum act as a lattice for the vining legumes to climb and maximize production instead of growing along the ground. The combination of seeds in PowerPlant helps it better withstand grazing. For more information about PowerPlant, call the Whitetail Institute at (800) 688-3030 or go to www.whitetailinstitute.com. ^

B Brillion, rillion, WI WI 54110 54110 8 855.320.0373 55.320.0373

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WHITETAIL NEWS 19


NEW Imperial Whitetail

Chufa

By William Cousins

he Whitetail Institute is excited to announce its newest forage product, Imperial Whitetail Turkey Select Chufa for turkeys and waterfowl. You might wonder why the Whitetail Institute is offering a product specifically for turkeys and waterfowl when, from day one, the Whitetail Institute has focused all its efforts toward developing the highest quality food plot products for deer. The reason is pretty simple: many of the Whitetail Institute’s customers manage their lands for a wide variety of wildlife and, through its experience and long-term relationships with leading agronomists, growers and seed producers across the U.S., the Whitetail Institute is able to help meet those diverse food plot needs with high-quality chufa seed. The Whitetail Institute name ensures that Imperial Whitetail Turkey Select Chufa is of the highest quality the Whitetail Institute can provide.

Chufa — General Description Chufa is a perennial sedge that produces underground tubers. Also known as “ground almonds” and “tiger nuts,” chufa tubers rank tenth

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among the most important waterfowl foods in the United States, and they’re an important, high-energy food source for turkeys and other birds. Whitetail Institute customers have discovered that Imperial Whitetail Clover is a turkey magnet but still many believe chufa is the number-one preferred choice for turkeys. Designed for planting in the spring, chufa plants produce tubers as they grow throughout the summer, and as the foliage dries in the fall, turkeys attack the tubers with a vengeance.

of soil types, also including clay, clay loam, loam, sandy gravel and sand. Soils with pH values between 5.5 and 7.5 are optimum. Production is generally lowest in sand. Maximum tuber production occurs in soils that remain moist. Chufa adapts well to temporary or seasonal flooding, provided the plants are not completely submerged. Prolonged flooding during the growing season or drought conditions can severely reduce tuber production and reduce chufa survival.

Sunlight Requirements Chufa plants require lots of sunlight. As little as 30 percent shade can substantially reduce tuber production.

Soil Type and Moisture Requirements Silty, clay soils in a moist environment are optimum for chufa tuber development. Even so, chufa plants adapt well to a wide variety

Planting Dates Planting dates vary from April to June. Exact planting dates recommended for your area are printed on the product bags and are also available at www.whitetailinstute.com. Do not plant Imperial Turkey Select Chufa until you are certain there is no remaining chance of spring frost after planting. It takes approximately 100-120 days for Turkey Select to reach maturity. Be sure you allow Turkey Select at least this much time to mature before the first frost of fall arrive.

Planting Instructions Planting Instructions for Turkey Select are also printed on the product bags and are available at www.whitetailinstute.com. Under optimum growing conditions, chufa plants emerge quickly, grow rapidly, mature and produce tubers before other competing plants have time to shade them out. In sites where it is anticipated that competition from native grass and/or broadleaf weeds may be high, it can be a good idea to incorporate glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup™- brand and similar generic herbicides) into seedbed preparation before planting. Repeated applications of glyphosate before planting may be required to control some broadleaf weeds. Wait at least seven days after spraying glyphosate before planting. Be sure to read and follow all label directions when using glyphosate or any other herbicide. Again, glyphosate is recommended only for use during seedbed preparation prior to seeding. Do not use glyphosate to try to control grass or weed competition in an existing chufa stand. Imperial Whitetail Turkey Select Chufa is available in 10 pound bags that will plant 1/4acre, and 1-acre cases of four bags. [Note: The states of Michigan and Connecticut do not allow the importation of chufa seed into those states.] If you have questions about Imperial Whitetail Turkey Select Chufa, give the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants a call at (800) 688-3030. The consultants are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Time, Monday through Friday. ^ For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute

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WHITETAIL NEWS 21


Spring Gobbler Season Opening Day

As the whippoorwill and barred owl calls fill the cool morning air, the Old Dominion turkey hunters awaken from a deep hibernation. It’s opening morning of spring gobbler season. Just the notion that one "might" hear a gobble will get hunters out of bed long before the alarm clock sounds in those early hours before dawn. — Rusty Welch, Virginia Photo by Tes Randle Jolly

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I woke up earlier than usual on Thursday morning. My wife asked, did you get called into work early this morning? I just chuckled. No dear, spring gobbler season opens Saturday. I’m gonna go listen for a bird before work. I heard that familiar, hmm... as she rolled back into the covers. My good friend, Bill, owns a small piece of land a short drive from my house and I planned to hunt there with my son on opening morning. I figured a couple of days of scouting were in order. I poured a cup of coffee and headed out the door. Once I arrived, I started walking slowly towards the back of the property where Bill, my son Owen and I had planted several food plots. I knew from past experience the turkeys would be using these plots. After listening for only a short time, I knew where three gobblers were roosting but they were accompanied by hens. I had some good information but unfortunately, it was time to head into work. Mission accomplished. I had the same plan for Friday morning except I was able to stay at the property longer. I was in full camo this time and

two hours before sneaking out on my belly. Later that afternoon, I had a chance to tell my son all the news. I could see it in his eyes as I was talking, he was just as excited as I was! On Saturday morning we eased into our set-up about an hour before first light. Shortly before daybreak we heard all three gobblers soundoff right where I hoped they would be, close to us! The only problem was, I could hear they were still with the group of hens. I started talking turkey back and forth for a few minutes and, somehow, was able to call two gobblers away from all those hens. In a short time, the two toms were headed our way! They hung up in sight of my strutter decoy at 100 yards. They both started gobbling, trying to get my hen decoy to leave my strutter. Not to be outdone, I started softly clucking and purring on my slate call. I encouraged them with some love talk and finally coaxed them to come take care of business face-to-face. First, they would have to take care of the intruder. Strutting, spitting and drumming the pair walked right past my two hen decoys. They were close enough that you could feel it when they drummed. As the Rusty Welch, right, and his son, Owen pair made their way up used an Imperial Whitetail Clover plot to help to the strutter decoy, I bag these gobblers. could see both would have no less than teninch beards and one-inch spurs. There was no need to call any more. They were here, standing face-to-face with my strutting decoy. It was like the heavyweight main event was about to start. “Let's get ready to ruummbble!” Ding-ding! It was sorta like a Mike Tyson fight. It lasted less than a minute. After both gobblers finished stomping my strutting decoy, it was our turn. Owen shot first using my 12 gauge dropping the first tom at 18 yards. I shot the second tom a few seconds later at 22 yards using Owens 20 gauge, all the while running the video camera. It was an amazing show! prepared to put my eyes on the birds. I set up a few hundred yards This was our first double. We had two long-beards down in our from the food plots where the turkeys eventually flew down. To my clover plot at 6:49 a.m. This was a special opening morning for a fasurprise, two toms were together with a group of ten hens. The third ther and his 15-year-old son. A hunt we will remember for a long time gobbler was off in the distance by himself. While the morning was unto come. folding, the hens were feeding and bugging in the Imperial Whitetail This hunting story is in memory of my loving father, Ronnie Welch. Clover plot and the two toms just strutting around them. I was forHe passed away on April, 23, 2014. He loved to hear me tell about my mulating a plan for Saturday morning. I could hardly wait to tell my outdoor adventures. I love you Pop. ^ son what I had encountered! I glassed this group of birds for almost For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute

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WHITETAIL NEWS 23


REAL HUNTERS DO THE TALKING about Whitetail Institute products…

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killed this monster in our Imperial Whitetail Clover plot on opening day last season. He gross scores about 150 inches. Year after year, we are able to harvest trophy bucks like this one on our Imperial Whitetail Clover plot. We are really looking forward to many more years of an awesome Imperial Clover plot. Imperial Whitetail Clover is by far the best advantage you can have for growing and holding big bucks on your farm all year long, year after year. Thanks Whitetail Institute!

Zack St. Romain – Louisiana

y 10-year-old son Gavin has set the bar high for all of us. During the Iowa early Muzzleloader season, he killed this buck which gross scored 173-4/8 inches. Even more amazingly he gross scored 165 inches as a main frame 8-point. His brow tines are 12 and 11 inches. We’ve been using Whitetail Institute products for over 20 years, and to say we are pleased is an understatement. I guess that’s pretty obvious when we’ve been using them for so long. We think Gavin’s buck is a descendant of the 206-inch buck with long brow tines a friend killed on our land several years ago. We’ve raised our standards (except for kids) to the point to where we don’t shoot anything less than 4-1/2 years old, and we have killed 160-inch plus deer every year for the past 10 years. We use mostly Imperial Whitetail Clover but also use Extreme, Winter-Greens and also use Secret Spot. All these products have performed well but the Imperial Whitetail Clover continues to amaze us. It is extremely hardy, lasting for years through the cold and severe droughty times. The nutrition it provides is helping our deer reach their genetic potential at maturity and that’s a big part of why we constantly shoot 160-inch-plus deer. But best of all, the deer love it. We see deer in our Imperial Whitetail Clover plots all the time, whether it’s noon or midnight. We have seen as many as 49 deer in an Imperial Whitetail Clover plot at one time. I also want to mention that Whitetail Institute customer service is the best I’ve ever experienced anywhere. We thank Whitetail Institute for not only their products and customer service but for the effort they put into developing these products and for helping dreams come true, even for a 10-year-old.

Bill Knight – Iowa

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en years ago, I made the commitment to search for and buy some land for hunting. Because I had to balance price and location, I settled on a piece of property with lower price per acre that had limitations, including poor soil. First thing first — I restricted access and limited hunting and then started farming with Whitetail Institute products! I had to bust up compacted soils (logging decks) and add lots of lime then start planting. In 10 years, a property that barely held a deer track when I bought it has exploded with deer — the attached photo is the largest I have yet to kill and the fourth buck I saw that day. He stepped into the No-Plow food plot eight minutes before the end of legal shooting time. On top of that, the same day I killed this one, a friend’s 16year-old son killed a nice 9-pointer — the third time a friend’s son has killed his first deer on my property! Imperial Whitetail Clover has worked wonderfully and this year I also planted some No-Plow, both of which have absolutely been mowed to the ground. Oh, by the way, we have lots of turkeys, too. Keep up the great work Whitetail Institute — I’ll be placing my order for more Imperial Whitetail Clover this winter so I can plant this spring.

Mac Morgan – Virginia

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smoked this guy at 20 yards in a Chicory Plus plot. He weighed 222 pounds dressed! Just thought I’d share a pic of my food plot success! Thanks again Whitetail Institute for your products and your help!

Kevin Bailey – Pennsylvania

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e planted Imperial Whitetail Clover in the spring five years ago, and still have about 60 percent coverage on the four acres we planted. I live in North Carolina, and my hunting land is in western New York. I have three plots that I planted and I find that the deer like the smaller plots with cover close by. We have about 500 acres and have seen much bigger antlers since about three years ago. If we harvested a 120-class deer before then we were lucky. Now we have harvested deer up to 150-class and have seen better. The photo of my son Kurtis with his buck speaks for itself.

Kevin Kovel – New York

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have been using Whitetail Institute Products exclusively on the family farm since starting our food plot program six years ago. We have noticed a dramatic increase in mature buck activity on our trail cams. It is not uncommon to have over 500 pics on one camera in a two-week period. We use Imperial Whitetail Clover, Tall Tine Tubers, Pure Attraction, 30-06 Minerals and other Whitetail Institute products. They are helping increase overall herd health and producing some awesome racks. The proof is in these two photos of two bucks I killed the past two seasons.

Chris Reeder – Illinois

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ere’s a picture caught on cam at our hunt club in Stapleton, Ga. On behalf of 3D Hunt club, I’d like to give credit to Whitetail Institute. Thanks for the support that you’ve given us. 30-06 is all that and then some.

Cedric Crumbley – Georgia

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WHITETAIL NEWS 25


LAND MANAGEMENT PROJECTS

Learning From Mistakes By Bill Marchel Photos by the Author

dove headlong into managing my land for deer and other wildlife when I first purchased property in central Minnesota about two decades ago. A farmer I was not. I was as green as a plot of Whitetail Oats Plus. However, as an outdoors photographer and writer, and a lifelong hunter, I felt I had a fair knowledge of nature and its ways. Early on I made many correct land management decisions, but I also messed up on many projects which ultimately lead to additional work, time and money spent. Let’s look at some of my poor decisions so you can avoid the same mistakes I made when you plan your land management projects.

Think First When I first began carving out small sections of my land (1/8-acre to one acre) in preparation for food plots, I soon realized my property was strewn with rocks. Not just a few stones here and there, but hundreds, actually thousands of rocks up to boulder size in even my smallest plots. I spent hours and hours digging rocks. During the process I realized a wooden-handled shovel couldn't cut the mustard. I upgraded to a

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shovel with a fiberglass handle. I eventually got pretty good at prying even large rocks to the ground's surface. To dispose of the rocks, I’d simply haul them into the woods along the edge of the plot. To accomplish that I'd carry them by hand, use a wheelbarrow, or tow them in a trailer behind my ATV. A lot of work, but eventually I’d have a plot mostly free of stones. Great, at least for a few years. Later, I decided to custom-shape my food plots, and make them larger. Well, you guessed it. I had to again move all those rocks that I had tossed or piled just off the plot. Had I thought ahead initially, I could have placed them in a pile or piles where "for sure" I would not need to move them again. Yes, that ploy would require more work initially, but ultimately less work in the end. Lesson learned.

voles invaded my “plantation.” The deer ate the twigs, the rabbits nipped off the main stems at snow level, and the voles girdled the tree trunks below snow level. Now, years later, I can count only about five apple trees that survived the onslaught. I would have been much better off planting fewer trees, and then protecting them with fencing or tree tubes until they were large enough to thrive. I experienced similarly poor results when I planted rows of evergreens for sight barriers along the a road that borders one edge of my land. Initially I used a tree spade to plant two rows of evergreen seedlings in strips I had prepared simply by mowing the existing grass and brush. The native vegetation, particularly the grasses, outgrew

Preparation Is Key Another project that ended in disaster was a tree-planting effort. During winter I used a chainsaw and a handheld brush cutter to clear brush and trees on about two acres of my land. In spring, when the snow melted and the ground thawed, I planted several hundred bare root fruit and nut-bearing saplings ranging in size from two to four feet tall. Each tree required I dig a hole — not an easy task due to all of the roots and rocks in the soil. As the summer progressed, I watched the native vegetation regenerate, and soon “my” trees were not observable in the lush re-growth that resulted from exposing the soil to the sun. No problem, I figured. I’ll just trim back the native vegetation to give my trees a head start. Well, that was fine until winter. Then deer, cottontail rabbits and

Clearing areas by cutting down and burning timber is hard work but is well worth the time.

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my evergreen seedlings and quickly shaded them out. I also had trouble with pocket gophers. The underground varmints ate the roots off the trees that did survive. Now I have much better results by spraying the weeds and then tilling the soil in the fall to remove all the native grasses. The newly exposed weed seed base germinates the following spring so I need to cultivate those weeds prior to planting in the then weed-free soil. I’ve also gone to planting two-year-old evergreen transplants instead of seedlings. Transplants have a well-developed root system giving them a head start on the weeds that eventually do grow. I also spend some effort each spring trapping the pocket gophers. I don’t get them all, but I have reduced the population and the damage they do to my trees.

Timber Stand Improvement Tricks Anyone who owns hunting land knows there are ways to improve the native habitat on your hunting property. Each winter I choose a selected area and perform what land managers call a timber stand improvement (TSI.) TSI can be anything from clear-cutting, to hingecutting, or in my case selective cutting of trees and shrubs. I remove the “trash” trees and leave the trees I consider valuable to deer and other wildlife. Initially I would attack a selected site, chainsaw in hand, and drop stunted, dead, or unwanted trees here and there. At the same time I was careful not to cut nut or fruit-bearing trees. I also would leave the occasional mature tree of various species for future tree stand placement. I would then limb the downed trees, and pile the limbs in huge

stacks to be burned. Then I would saw the tree trunks into firewoodsized logs and pile them up to dry. I don’t burn firewood but a friend does, so I later haul the logs out using my ATV and a wagon for him to pick up. All sounds good, right? Well, not exactly. First of all, I can't tell you how many times I stacked logs in a spot where I couldn’t get at them with the ATV because the trees I left standing were in the way. So, when it was time to haul them out, I had to move them again to a spot I could get to with my ATV and trailer. The second mistake was stacking the limbs and brush too close to the very trees I left standing. Later, when I’d touch a match to the pile, I’d realize in disgust the twenty-foot-high flames and intense heat surrounding the burning pile scorched and killed the trees I purposely left during my TSI. You’d be surprised how far away from a huge burning pile of brush a tree can be and still suffer damage, even when burning on a cold winter day. I’ve finally learned to stack the firewood where I can easily get at it, and pile the limbs where I can burn them without damaging or killing the trees and shrubs I chose to leave.

Test the Soil Over the years I’ve written about my wildlife farming practices, and fielded many questions from those who have similar interests. I must admit, I’ve been a bit of a hypocrite when answering some of the queries from my colleagues.

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WHITETAIL NEWS 29


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“Before you do any planting, be sure to get your soil tested,” I’ve told prospective food plotters. Several years ago my food plots failed to produce the lush plants I had been used to producing. I wondered why. Then I realized it had been four years since I last tested the soil in my various food plots. “Do as I say, not as I do,” I thought to myself as I reviewed the soil test advice I had given to other food plotters. That spring I vowed to test the soil in my plots in an effort to solve my obvious problems. “When planting food plots a soil test is the most important thing you can do,” said Steve Scott, vice president of the Whitetail Institute. “In fact a soil test can be the difference between the best food plot you can imagine, and total failure.” I ordered six soil test kits from the Whitetail Institute of North America. The kits cost less than 14 bucks each, and came with a soil container, a submission form, and a pre-addressed return envelope. I followed the simple instructions included with the kits, and sent them off. I was somewhat amazed how quickly I got a response when just a few days later the results arrived via e-mail, an option to receiving hard copies via the USPS. The results were a rude awakening for me. Initially, I assumed the problem with my poor crop production was going to be acidic soil. In other words, I thought I would need to add lime to raise the pH of the soil. But the soil tests showed that only two of the six plots I tested had a low pH. Had I just randomly applied lime to all plots, as initially planned, I would have wasted time and money, and ultimately ended up with soil perhaps too alkaline. One of the two acidic plots (for identification purposes I labeled it Plot #5) test results showed a pH of 6.0. Optimum pH for growing most plants is 6.5. Therefore, according to the test results and recommendations, to raise the pH from 6.0 to 6.5, I would need to apply 3,200 lbs. of lime per acre. Since Plot #5 is 1/2 acre in size, I simply cut the suggested amount in half and applied 1,600 pounds of lime. That sounds like a lot of lime, and it is, but proper pH is very important for optimal plant growth. And lime is very inexpensive, especially when purchased in bulk. And once the proper pH is obtained, I may not need to re-lime for several years. Plot #5 was also deficient in potassium (K) and nitrogen (N). The other important element to plant growth, phosphorus (P) was adequate. At the time I planned to plant Whitetail Oats Plus in the plot in August. According to the test results I will need to apply 90 lbs. of 34-0-0 to satisfy the nitrogen (N) needs, and 40 lbs. of 0-0-60 to up the potassium (K) to an optimum level. It’s as simple as that. Without the soil test I likely would have applied more fertilizer than necessary and not enough lime. I would have spent about the same amount of money on Plot #5 but with poorer results. I like the way the Whitetail Institute spells out the results and recommendations of the soil tests. The forms are much easier to read and comprehend than test kits I’ve used from other sources. You don’t need to be a seasoned farmer to correctly analyze and apply the recommendations. Easy-to-understand soil gathering instructions are also included with each kit. To purchase soil test kits go to www.whitetailinstitute.com or call 800-688-3030 ext. 1. We’ve all heard of the saying used by carpenters. “Measure twice, cut once.” Well, a land manager's saying might go like this: “Think twice, save time, work and money.” ^ / Vol. 24, No. 3

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New Arrest Max Selective Grass Herbicide Newest generation herbicide is “technological marvel”

— Dr. W. Carroll Johnson III

By Whitetail Institute Staff

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ontrolling grass is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your Whitetail Institute and most other perennial forage stands remain as thick, lush, nutritious and attractive as possible, and that they can last as long as they are designed to last. The Whitetail Institute’s new Arrest Max is the newest generation of selective grass herbicides designed to help you do just that — and even better than original Arrest. Without question, Arrest is a very good grass herbicide. Arrest provides consistent control of most kinds of grass and has been an indispensable tool for food plot managers for years. So, you might wonder why the Whitetail Institute would look for anything better. There are two reasons. The first underlies everything the Whitetail Institute does: The Whitetail Institute is obsessed with providing the very best products it can offer. The second is that grass control is so important. In fact, it’s one of the most important steps in spring perennial-forage maintenance. If you’re used to spraying Arrest as part of spring perennial-forage maintenance, you’ll have no trouble shifting over to Arrest Max, because they’re similar in how and when you use them. The big differences between Arrest and Arrest Max are even more good news: Arrest Max controls perennial grass even better, the mixing instructions are even easier and Arrest Max will let you stretch your food plot dollars farther. One pint of Arrest will make enough spray solution for up to 1/2-acre. One pint of Arrest Max, though, will make a full one acre of spray solution for Whitetail Institute perennials.

Arrest Max is designed to provide optimum control when grass is still young, before its roots have had time to mature. If possible, try to spray Arrest Max before the grass grows to a height of about 12 inches, at which point most grasses will have mature roots. Arrest Max can still control grass that has been allowed to mature, but repeated applications two to three weeks apart might be required. This is also true when dealing with tougher, perennial grasses. Even so, grass age is somewhat less of a problem with Arrest Max than it was with Arrest, especially if you tank-mix Arrest Max with the Whitetail Institute’s Sure-Fire Crop Oil Plus (highly recommended when you’re dealing with mature and/or perennial grasses).

What is the Recommended Mix Rate for Arrest Max? Here we see another improvement over Arrest: The Arrest Max label shows that a single mix rate of one pint of Arrest Max per acre is appropriate for controlling grass in Whitetail Institute perennial stands. And it’s just as easy to figure out the spray mix for 1/2-acre plots; just use 1/2 as much of each component (and 1/4 as much for 1/4-acre plots). Plots Smaller than 1/4 acre. If your plot is smaller than 1/4 acre, a small backpack sprayer or even a hand sprayer might be a better choice than a larger sprayer. Although the Arrest Max label provides

Enhanced Grass Control Arrest Max is a new and improved selective grass-control herbicide that’s specifically designed to control grass in Whitetail Institute and most other types of perennial forage stands — and do so even better than Arrest. That can be a big benefit when you're trying to control Johnsongrass, Bermudagrass, Quackgrass, Fescue, Orchardgrass, Foxtail, Goosegrass and other tough, resilient grasses. You can find the full list of grasses Arrest Max controls on the Arrest Max label right on the Arrest Max package as well as at www.whitetailinstitute.com.

When Should I Use Arrest Max? The best time to spray Arrest Max is during a window of time during spring and early summer. The window begins as soon as you see grass starting to actively grow (actually growing taller). Arrest Max is a foliar-uptake herbicide, meaning it enters grass through its leaves, so the grass must be actively growing to take in the herbicide. For the same reason, don’t spray Arrest Max when the grass isn’t actively growing, for example because of seasonal dormancy or when growth has been slowed by excessive heat or drought. Arrest Max will be rainfast one hour after spraying.

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mixing rates for one gallon of spray solution at a time, it can be difficult to accurately measure very small quantities of herbicide and SureFire, especially in the field. Instead, consider mixing the solution recommended above for 1/4 acre in a new, clean five-gallon gas can, and then transferring the solution to the small sprayer as needed. If you have any solution left when you’re through spraying, don’t try to save it. Instead, dispose of it according to label instructions.

Additional Information What is Sure-Fire Crop Oil Plus? Sure-Fire Crop Oil Plus is an adjuvant (something that enhances herbicide activity); specifically, an agricultural oil. Unlike other types of agricultural oils, Sure-Fire is specifically designed with the food-plotter in mind. Surefire is vegetable based, not petroleum based, and it also contains an anti-foaming agent, which makes it much easier to correctly mix herbicide spray solutions. When should you add Sure-Fire Crop Oil Plus to your Arrest Max spray tank? Arrest Max already comes with an adjuvant in it, but sometimes it’s a good idea to add Sure-Fire to the Arrest Max spray tank as well to boost the herbicide’s effect even more. An example is when the grasses to be controlled are mature and/or perennial. In such cases, Sure-Fire is highly recommended for use with Arrest Max. If the grass in my food plot is tall, should I mow it before spraying Arrest Max? No. This is one of the many great things about Arrest Max and that makes it even easier to use than Arrest. How long after spraying Arrest Max will it be rain-fast? One hour.

How will I know Arrest Max is working? Treated grass tends to show a reduction in vigor and growth fairly quickly, but it can take a week or two for you to see real evidence of control. Generally, you’ll start seeing damage to the youngest parts of the grass about seven to 14 days after spraying, followed by a progressive collapse of the rest of its foliage. It may take a bit longer for some kinds of grass or if the weather is usually hot or droughty. If some of the tougher grasses start to regrow after about two to three weeks, spray the same Arrest Max solution again for additional control. Can I use Arrest Max on perennial forages other than Whitetail Institute perennials? The answer depends on what the forage is. It can be used on any clover or alfalfa plot. If you’ll be spraying a perennial forage other than a Whitetail Institute perennial, you must check the Arrest Max label to determine whether Arrest Max is approved for use on that forage and, if so, the correct Arrest Max rate for it. Can I use Arrest Max to control grass in annual forages? Arrest Max is designed for controlling grass in Whitetail Institute and most other perennial forage stands. For information on controlling grass in annual forage stands, call the Whitetail Institute. What size does Arrest Max come in? Arrest Max is available in pint bottles, which are sold individually or in four-pint cases. If you have any questions about new Arrest Max, Sure-Fire Crop Oil Plus or any other matter concerning grass and weed control in food plots, call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030, extension 2. The consultants are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday. The call and the service are free. ^

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Vol. 24, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS 33


How to Run Your Own Food Plot Business By Jeremy Flinn Photo by Dusty Reid

efore you think I’m going to give away the secrets to running a successful food plot business such as the Whitetail Institute of North America, I’m not. That’s not applicable to anyone reading this article. We all love to plant food plots, and we take it seriously — so seriously that one of the best ways to be successful at planting food plots is to run it as a business. You’re the owner, of course, and deer are your customers. To create the best nutrition and hunting opportunities on a property, you must provide the services and products deer want. 34 WHITETAIL NEWS

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It’s no different than going into a restaurant. You have certain expectations when you enter the establishment. If it’s an Italian restaurant, you expect spaghetti to be on the menu. Likewise, deer expect to have certain types of food available at various times of year. For example, during summer, deer expect to have access to lush, highprotein plants such as soybeans, lablab and cowpeas, such as Whitetail Institute’s PowerPlant mix. If you don't have these on your property, it’s likely the deer will not be on your land as much as you would like. You can plant for the time of year you're targeting, which we will discuss later, but providing all the options the customer (deer) want yearround will ensure that you will have the most customers (deer) possible.

A Loaded Menu When we go out to eat, we're likely craving a certain type of food. It might be related to time of year, like barbecue in summer, but it’s likely what we’re feeling at that moment. To some degree, deer probably base their nutrition decisions on what they feel, but more likely, their decisions are driven by what their body tells them they need during that time. That’s not to say they're going to eat something that doesn’t taste good just because it’s healthier than other options. But during certain times of year, deer must have specific things. During summer, they must have protein. The demand for protein during the antler-growing and fawn-producing season is intense, so even though deer probably love the taste of soybeans and other warm-season annuals, the amount of protein they ingest is much more important. But here’s the problem when you only plant for one part of the year: That’s the only time your customers will show. Most of us plant for hunting, so you might think that's a shortcut and that you can save time, money and energy and still achieve results if you plant for only your time in the woods. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Whitetails seek security in their food source. If you plant solely in fall, your property won’t provide what whitetails want and need the rest of the year. For example, if you plant Tall Tine Tubers for hunting season, you will definitely attract deer onto your property. But if the neighbor plants PowerPlant in addition to Tall Tine Tubers, the consistency of having more food available throughout the year will likely keep deer coming back to that property over yours. Seasonal plantings are very popular, and much like the seasonal specials you can find at a restaurant. But there are also old standbys; those items that you can have any time of the year. For deer, these are perennial food plots such as Imperial Whitetail Clover. Clover, chicory and alfalfa are the standbys that can provide a great source of food nearly all year. In fact, most properties should have at least 40 percent of their food plots in perennials. Not only are they nutritious, they are highly attractive during hunting season.

Quality Service, Successful Business Businesses learn quickly that even with the best products, your business will fail if the service is bad. It’s no different with the food plots. You can plant the highest-quality food plots, covering all times of year, but without the proper service, it will fail. This starts before seed is in the ground. The more effort you put into the prep, the more successful the actual planting. This can include doing a soil test to ensure the pH is optimum for the food plot species www.whitetailinstitute.com


you are planting to working the ground for a great seed-to-soil contact. After planting, the service doesn’t stop. Maintaining perennial plots such as Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack Plus with herbicides and top dressing cool-season annual plots such as Winter-Greens with fertilizer all require attention. The service you provide as a deer manager to your deer herd will help determine your success when hunting season rolls around. The service you must provide also includes the response from your customer. If deer are destroying a food plot, you likely need to kill more deer or plant more food plots. It is your responsibility to take in the deer’s input and reviews and make your business better. The success of this part of the business rests solely on your shoulders. The products will perform, but it depends on the foundation laid by the business owner. It will also depend on your employees. The employees in this case are your equipment, such as tractors and ATVs. Not that we can all go out and purchase new food plot planting equipment, but we must make sure they can at least do the job. If your employees are slacking or not qualified, the business is likely to struggle.

Grow the Business Eventually, surrounding properties will start to adapt to the strategies you’re using to succeed. To keep your top spot and the properties’ continuing success, you must grow the business. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make more or bigger plots. You need to grow your business through knowledge and specialization. As you plant food plots and hunt the property, you are gaining valuable intelligence on what is working and what is not, and even some tricks to make you more efficient. All of this helps you grow your business. Not all businesses need to grow in size to be more successful. They can introduce a new piece of equipment or an employee to make the company more efficient. The more efficient, the more profits you are likely to make. So if you become more efficient with prep and planting, you will be more successful at running your food plot business. So don’t think that bigger is instantly better. Fine-tuning your food plot strategy will make you more successful and grow the business in a different way. If you find out that deer are crushing your Imperial Clover and Chicory Plus, you might look at turning more of your annual food plots to one of these perennials. Food plot acreage stays the same, but the amount of food year-round increases, and your deer love to feed on it, because of the knowledge you've gained through years of running your food plot business. Running a food plot strategy is not any different than running a successful business. You provide deer what they want when they want it. Service backs up the products and ensures the consumers get what they ordered, and you grow the business when ready. Success will be immense. It’s a job many of us would love to do full time, so the next time you begin laying out your strategy, think about it as your business. Someday, people might be calling you to help them develop food plots on their property. ^

Jeremy Flinn is a professional wildlife biologist from Missouri. He is currently the Midwest and Northeast regional wildlife biologist for Cabela’s and has managed thousands of acres for private landowners across the country. For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute

Vol. 24, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS 35


Whitetail Institute RECORD BOOK BUCKS‌

Dick Rushing — Illinois I hunted some as a teenager, quit for 20 years and then got back into it about 15 years ago. I have property here in Illinois that I hunt with family members and a few friends. I planted my first plot of Imperial Whitetail Clover about 10 years ago and have been using it ever since. It attracts deer better than anything else I have ever used and it also helps hold the deer on the property. I've got a lot of trail cam pictures of deer digging through the snow to get to the Imperial Whitetail Clover. Also the bucks are larger with bigger racks and the does and fawns seem healthier since the Imperial Whitetail Clover plots were planted. Last year was a great one for me. I had pictures of a giant buck on trail cameras that I was fortunate enough to take with my muzzleloader late one afternoon as he stepped out into one of my Imperial Whitetail Clover plots. He was rough scored at just over 210 inches, and that’s after he had four points partially broken off. He weighed right at 300 pounds live weight with 19 points. The guys at the meat locker said it was the heaviest deer and biggest rack they've had in five to 10 years. Another nice benefit of Imperial Whitetail Clover is the turkey population has doubled on the property. Thanks, Whitetail Institute.

Ryan Kern — Wisconsin

Dave McGlone — Michigan

Hunting around our food plots we see more does and fawns feeding on Imperial Whitetail Clover. The first week in November, does were feeding in Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot, and a big buck showed up. I shot him and he scored 173-3/8. One happy hunter! Thank you Whitetail Institute for all you do for hunters.

I have been using the Whitetail Institute products for over 20 years with great results. Many of my friends and peers have noticed my success with these products and are now also using them with similar success. We compare results from the different Whitetail Institute products on our different fields and soil types. Having Whitetail Institute consultants available for advice on an 800 number is a great service. I have 30-06 Plus Protein licks available at each field and hunting location. This past season was an excellent year. We harvested three trophy bucks and my grandson got his first deer with a bow. It was a nice 8-point taken over a Tall Tine Tubers field. Bryce is 10 years old and this was his first year bowhunting. My son Nathan and I had amazing success, both on Oct. 5 with bows at different locations. Both spots were new fields of Whitetail Oats Plus. Nathan’s buck scored 136-4/8. I also harvested a trophy 8-point with a bow over a

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í˘ą í˘ł Whitetail Institute Tall Tine Tubers field on Dec. 8. Enclosed please find photos of our bucks taken this past season over Whitetail Institute Products. Thank you Whitetail Institute for your products, your staff and the expert advice and assistance over the last 20 years I’ve been using Whitetail Institute products. The help has taken our hunting success and property management for whitetails to a new level. Keep up the good work.

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Keith Lantta — Minnesota I am a big fan of Imperial Whitetail Clover. After two years of planting it on my 80 acres I killed this buck. He was feeding on the clover when I shot him. My neighbors claim they noticed an increase in large bucks in the area since I purchased the property. I just logged the property and look forward to putting Imperial Whitetail Clover on all the roads.

Sherwin Van Kooten — Colorado Another successful season! All three of these bucks were harvested off Whitetail Institute plots. The buck in photo 1 was seen on one of our trail cameras, which was placed in between our Alfa-Rack Plus plot and our PowerPlant plot. We knew he was traveling between these plots at night and it would only be a matter of time before he made a mistake. On a snowy November afternoon, the buck chased a doe into the PowerPlant plot, and I shot him at 35 yards. We currently have the following Whitetail Institute products on the farm: Alfa-Rack Plus, Imperial Whitetail Clover, Edge, Chic Magnet, Secret Spot, Whitetail Oats Plus and PowerPlant. I can’t thank Whitetail Institute enough!

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Marc Morse — New York The property which my father and I use Whitetail Institute products on is located in western New York. We first bought this 33-acre piece of land knowing that deer were present but how many and what quality was unknown. The first year with our property we attempted sweet corn as well as Whitetail Institute’s Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus and Imperial Whitetail Clover. The sweet corn was over taken by the drought, but both the Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus and Imperial Whitetail Clover did well. Using deer cameras, it was apparent that the deer were taking well to both the Clover and Alfa-Rack. The second year we expanded our food plots and continued the use and expansion of the Clover and Alfa-Rack. In the second year, the deer became more accustomed to the food and its location. I took this beautiful and respectable 10-point in bow season from our property the second year, scoring gross 1317/8. (Photo 1) The third year we expanded with the use of Chicory Plus in a spot tucked in the woods. It is now a beautiful bright green field of Chicory Plus. The most important and wonderful thing í˘ą about these products is that in the three years it has been in use, it has proven to bring the deer to us and feed their offspring year after year. This year there has been an incredible increase in deer traffic and we have a wide range of up and coming bucks all the way up to large mature bucks, all coming and going to a relatively small 33 acre piece of land. And that is why we use Whitetail Institute products!.

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Send Us Your Photos!

Do you have photos of a buck that qualifies for the Pope & Young, Boone and Crockett or your state record books that you grew or 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. Email your digital photos and a 3 to 4 paragraph story telling how you harvested the deer and the role our products played to info@whitetailinstitute.com or send them to:

Whitetail News, Attn: Record Book Bucks, 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute

Vol. 24, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS 37


Digestibility More Important than Nutrient Level By Matt Harper Photos by the Author

There are those who like chili without beans and some poor, misguided souls who prefer chili without meat. The latter choose that option based on ideology and the former out of deference for those who will be spending time with them the next few hours. Yes, beans are a notorious food, but so too can be salads loaded with leafy vegetables. So what's the common denominator? Probably the bigger question in your mind is, “Why in heck is he talking about foods that cause gastrointestinal issues?” The answer to both questions is digestibility. These food sources are high in fiber, and our monogastric stomachs have trouble digesting some of the fiber found in these types of foods. That's why people with “slow movement” issues are encouraged to eat more fiber. A large part of the fiber component is not digested and passes quickly through the system. Aside from those types of issues, people often shy away from particular types of food that “don't agree with them.” There can be multiple reasons why a particular food doesn’t sit well on someone’s stomach, but in many cases, it boils down to that per-

son’s inability to properly digest it. The title of this article is a fairly bold statement. After all, nearly every food plot product touts the protein level or some other nutrient level that the product can provide. Without question, nutrient level is extremely important, but if a deer cannot digest the food source or can only digest a small portion of it, nutrient level becomes obviously less beneficial. Let’s say, for example, that a food plot is providing 25 percent protein and that food plot will make up about two pounds of the deer’s daily intake. That equates to about 0.5 pounds of protein

Here are three different food sources, all of which will be more palatable to deer at specific times of plant maturity.

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changes often caused by the food sources being consumed by the deer. If a deer has a predominantly fiber-based diet, cellulolytic bacteria will be abundant. If starches such as grains become a large portion of the overall diet, amylolytic bacteria will increase, and the percentage of other bacterial types will decrease. This decrease is caused by amylolytic bacteria proliferating more because of starch availability and also a slight drop in pH, which does not favor cellulolytic bacteria. For a deer to be healthy it must have a healthy rumen microbial population that can break down the food that deer consume. It is common and even natural for rumen microbial populations to shift slightly. It is only when dramatic shifts occur that significant problems might arise.

Browsers vs. Grazers

Brassicas are highly digestible and supply needed carbohydrates to deer during the cold winter months. provided by the food plot. Now let’s say that the food plot has a digestibility level of only about 50 percent. The protein amount the deer is actually using is 0.25 pounds. Let’s say you have a food plot that provides 20 percent protein but is 70 percent digestible. If the deer eats the same amount of the food plot, that deer will receive 0.28 pounds of protein. So even though the protein level is lower, the digestibility level offsets it, and the total protein the deer uses is greater. Keep in mind that these are just arbitrary numbers, but they illustrate the point that digestibility must be considered along with nutrient level.

The Rumen Bear with me in this section as I get deep into the science of digestibility. To understand digestibility, you first have to understand how a deer’s digestive system works. Deer are ruminant animals. What this means is their stomach is comprised of multi-chambered sections including the reticulum, omasum, rumen and abomasum. Of these four, the rumen comprises the largest portion and is the core of a deer’s digestive system. When you are field-dressing a deer and accidentally cut into the grayish balloon-like thing and aroma springs forth, you have found the rumen. The rumen is a large fermentation sack that is home to millions of microbes. The microorganisms depend on the deer as a host, and the deer depend on the microorganisms to break down food into nutrients that can be digested and used by the deer. This is called a symbiotic relationship, meaning that each party is dependent on the other. The two largest groups of microbes are bacteria and protozoa. Bacteria can be broken down into cellulolytic bacteria, which degrade cellulose; hemicellulolytic bacteria, which degrade hemicellulose; amylolytic bacteria, which degrade starches; proteolytic bacteria, which degrade proteins; and lipolytic bacteria, which degrade lipids, or fat. Protozoa can be grouped into two categories: ciliate and flagellate protozoa, with the majority of rumen protozoa falling under the ciliate group. Protozoa species specialize in the type of nutrient they degrade and use, much like bacteria. The rumen environment is typically not static and shifts in the population amounts of the types of bacteria and protozoa, with these

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With all of those critters in a deer’s rumen, you might think they could digest about any forage. Although they can digest many types of forage, the digestibility range of deer is rather small. Deer are small ruminants compared to cattle, which are considered a large ruminant. There is really nothing scientific in the classification. It simply means that one has a small rumen and the other a large rumen. A larger rumen equates to more surface area and more papillae, which are finger-like protrusions that cover the rumen wall and are the home of the microbial colonies. The more surface area and papillae, the larger the microbial population can be and the more effect fermentation can have on a wide range of forage types and qualities. Cattle fall under the classification of grazers, which means they nonselectively consume vegetation. Before anyone cries foul, yes, cattle select food sources to a certain degree. However, compared to small ruminants, cattle are non-selective and graze along with their wide muzzles, eating grasses, forbs, grains and whatever happens to be in front of them. Deer, on the other hand, are considered browsers or concentrate selectors. That means they will pick and choose the food they consume. They might walk past lush grass to get to a clover field or even walk past one clover field to get to another. They might pick the leaf off of a plant but not eat the stem. And they might browse in a food plot, eat some acorns and then go pick at some standing corn,

Oats in the vegetative stage are highly attractive and digestible. Plants four to eight inches high are optimal. www.whitetailinstitute.com


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Imperial Whitetail Clover was developed to have larger leaves and thin stems for increased digestibility. all within 30 minutes. The primary reason for this type of eating behavior is that with a small rumen, they have to pick and choose the type of vegetation or the particular part of a plant they can digest. Because deer have limited fermentation capability as compared to a large ruminant, the leaf off a plant might be much more digestible than the stem (and normally is), so they pick off the leaf and leave the rest. A couple of examples are kernels of corn versus the rest of the plant and alfalfa leaves as opposed to the stems. You can grind up the corn, cob and the stalk and feed it to cattle, and they will do well with it, or you can feed a bale of alfalfa hay to cattle, and they will eat leaf, stem and all. Feed the same to deer, and they will pick out the kernels of corn and the alfalfa leaves and leave the rest. Further, deer might ignore a food source until each reaches a growth phase when it becomes more highly digestible. You might ask, “Doesn’t taste play a role in preference?” To a certain degree, yes, but is the taste preference a reflection of digestibility? I don’t know, but it's interesting that you rarely see deer eat anything they can’t digest unless there is no other food available.

Food Plots and Digestibility So how can you apply any of this information to your food plot program? If your food plot program is designed to improve the herd through nutrition and/or to attract deer, you must consider the digestibility of what you are planting. Spring, summer and early fall are critical times for quality nutrition for your deer herd, as this is when nutrient demands are highest. Does are in lactation and using huge volumes of nutrients such as protein, energy and minerals to produce nutrient-rich milk to raise fawns. If you have ever seen a doe milking twins or triplets in July, you probably notice that her body condition looks poor, and she appears gaunt and sunken in. A high-quality food source that provides needed nutrition will help her raise large, healthy fawns and will also supply enough nutrients for her to help maintain body condition. Bucks are in the heart of antler growing season in spring and summer and, similar to does, have the highest nutrient demands during this time. Sixteen to 18 percent protein is needed for bucks and does to achieve maximum production efficiency. To supply these needed nutrients for this time of year, my go-to food plots are legumes such as clover and/or alfalfa. Further, I prefer perennial varieties to help ensure the food source is there immediately upon spring green-up and

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lasts well into fall. But just using any type of clover or alfalfa will not necessarily achieve the best possible results. Digestibility needs to be considered, which is why for many years my perennial legumes of choice have been Imperial Whitetail Clover and Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus. The Whitetail Institute developed Imperial Whitetail Clover with deer in mind, which is important, as it has characteristics different from most clovers varieties on the market. Most clover varieties were designed for hay production for cattle pasture mixes. If you remember our discussion about the difference between cattle and deer, cattle have the ability to digest mature, thicker-stem vegetation. A hay variety clover or even most pasture clovers were designed for fast growth and to produce large quantities. To accomplish this, these clovers typically are comprised of a heavy stem to support the rapid growth and to mature quickly for harvesting. On the other hand, Imperial Whitetail Clover was designed to have a very thin stem and a larger leaf. What this means is that digestibility for deer is much higher, which improves the attractiveness and the utilization of the food plot. Similarly, Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus was designed using a specific grazing alfalfa that is more slow-maturing, thinstemmed and heavy-leafed than hay varieties, making it more digestible and attractive. These are the reasons thousands of users of these products report seeing deer walk through other food sources to get to Imperial Whitetail Clover and/or Alfa-Rack Plus. A good illustration of this is watching an alfalfa hay field after it has been cut for hay. New, tender growth sprouts, and deer activity on the field is high. As the days pass and the plants grow and mature, activity becomes increasing less as digestibility drops. Conversely, with Alfa-Rack Plus using slow maturing alfalfa, deer activity remains high and constant. Digestibility must also be considered for fall and winter food plots. Because fall and winter food plots consist of mostly annuals, you need to consider what and when you plant to match it with when you want the deer to use those plots whether it is for nutrition or hunting or both. My fall plots are primarily brassicas, winter wheat and coldhardy oats. Oats like those found in Whitetail Oats Plus and Imperial Pure Attraction are highly palatable and digestible, especially during their growing or vegetative stage. I live in Iowa, so I plan my plantings of these forage types in early September, with the goal of having the plants about four to six inches tall when bow season starts the first of October. This maximizes attractiveness and the amount of food available. When the temperatures drop below freezing and cold winter weather sets in, I turn to my brassica plots. I plant my brassicas in late July or early August to allow for plenty of time before a frost inhibits growth. I like to use a brassica variety such as Imperial Winter-Greens and/or Tall Tine Tubers that contain tuber varieties, as it will give deer the green tops of the plants and provide highly digestible tubers that deer use throughout winter.

Conclusion If you are throwing a dinner party and want people to show up, soybean husks, ground corn cobs and salad rich in woody plants would probably not be the best choice. That is unless everyone coming suffers from constipation. Instead, you will want to serve good-tasting foods that do not cause digestive problems. In the same way if you want deer to use your food plots and want to supply your deer with the nutrients they need and can digest, you must consider digestibility. ^ www.whitetailinstitute.com


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Soil Tests

Still the First Step to

FOOD PLOT SUCCESS By Hollis Ayres

harlie Reynolds is a hunter who manages his family’s farm in Missouri. He’s also a food plotter and, as he says with a chuckle, “the poster child for how important it is to get soil pH right!” Performing a laboratory soil test and following the lab’s recommendations for lime and fertilizer are the best moves you can make to ensure food plot success — and to save money at the same time. In this article, you’ll see Charlie explain how he learned that important lesson the hard way.

All Whitetail Institute forage products come with planting dates and planting instructions on the package. Those are also available at whitetailinstitute.com. The planting instructions are short and designed to be easy to follow. That means, though, that you should follow the instructions step-by-step and not cut corners if you expect to get the best results. Of all the factors that influence food plot success, other than using high-quality seed, none are more important than making sure soil pH is neutral (6.5 to 7.5) by adding lime to the soil if soil pH is low, and that any low levels of important nutrients in the soil, such as phosphorous and potassium, are brought up with fertilizer. As you’ll see from the real-world example that follows, it pays to test your soil with a laboratory soil test kit any time you’re considering buying lime or fertilizer. The Whitetail Institute soil test kit offers the precision that only a qualified soil testing laboratory can provide, which lets you make sure your forage plants have access to all the nutrients they need to thrive — and make sure that you don’t waste money on excess lime and fertilizer purchases. “Our family’s farm was purchased back in the late 1990s,” Charlie said. “About half the property is in timber, and the rest is open areas that had been leased for farming. After we got the property, we con-

44 WHITETAIL NEWS

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tinued to lease some of the fields to a local farmer to bring in some income. A few years later, we also started taking an active approach in managing the timbered areas to help bring in some extra money and to sustain them. “It wasn’t until about six or seven years ago, though, that we started experimenting with the idea of planting food plots. When I look back on where we started, I can tell you that our level of knowledge today is way beyond what it was in those early days. Back then, we really struggled because we didn’t understand some basic things that can make a huge difference — things that are so important that they can determine whether you will have a great food plot or not, and in some cases whether what you plant will even survive or not. The most important things we learned are how crucial it is to make sure your soil pH is in optimum range before you plant, and that the best way to make sure you do that is with a laboratory soil test kit. “Before we started planting food plots, we noticed that folks who were hunting the farms around ours seemed to be harvesting more deer and bucks with bigger antlers. The only thing we could tell that they were doing that we weren’t was planting high-quality food plots specifically for the deer. So, we set aside a few spots for food plots near the woods in some of the hay fields and areas the farmer had been planting in crops such as corn, sorghum and beans. We disked up the ground, put down some fertilizer and planted. The results weren’t what we had hoped they’d be. The forage plants came up, but they didn’t seem to grow very quickly, and the plots never really got thick and lush. We did see a few more deer, but we had hoped for a better result all around than we got. “One day, I was telling one of our neighbors about the marginal results we’d gotten with our food plots, and he suggested that we call the Whitetail Institute for advice. He said the Whitetail Institute had consultants who really know their stuff and who will help folks over the phone for free. We called the Whitetail Institute’s consultants to figure out what might be going wrong. When I told the consultant how we’d planted and described the problems we’d seen, I was surprised that his first question was, ‘Did you do a laboratory soil test before you planted?’ I told him that we had not because we figured that since the farmer’s hay and crops had done fine in those areas, we assumed the forage we’d planted would too, especially since we’d fertilized before we planted. “The consultant said that when he helps customers diagnose food plot problems, he almost always starts with a laboratory soil test — www.whitetailinstitute.com


by reviewing the report if the customer did do a soil test before planting, or by having them perform a laboratory soil test if they didn’t. He said, “That way, we can determine exactly what your soil pH and soil fertility levels are, and that will either eliminate those as causes or point the finger at them.” To understand why that’s important, you need to know two things. First, plants can freely uptake nutrients from the soil only when soil pH is within a certain range. Otherwise, nutrients are bound up in the soil in a way that inhibits the plant from freely accessing them. Second, the soil pH range in which plants can freely uptake nutrients from the soil isn’t the same for all kinds of plants. The optimum soil pH range for most high-quality forage plantings for deer is neutral soil pH, or a soil pH between 6.5 to 7.5. When such forages are planted in soils with soil pH below 6.5 (acidic soil), nutrients are bound up in the soil so the forage plants cannot freely access them, and the lower the soil pH is, the more the forage plants will struggle. Many farm crops, vegetables and other kinds of plants, though, are able to freely uptake nutrients even when soil pH is slightly acidic. “That,” Charlie said, "was a real eye-opener. We followed the consultant’s advice and had the Whitetail Institute test our soil for us, and when we got the report back, I called the Whitetail Institute to go over it. Again, the consultant started with soil pH, which the reports showed was around 5.5 for all of our plots. He explained that just because crops and hay grass grow well in an area doesn’t mean that food plots automatically will too, and that our case was a perfect example. Soil pH of 5.5 is fine for hay grass and the crops the farmer had grown, but it is too low for high-quality forage plants. “The soil test report called for about two tons of lime per acre. We added the recommended amount of lime to each food plot and disked it in during the spring and then replanted the next fall. We also stuck to the laboratory’s fertilizer recommendations, and we found that we didn’t really need as much fertilizer as we had used the first year. That year, our food plots were way, way better. They looked great and were even greener than we expected. The forage plants grew quickly, and they stayed real thick even after the deer started grazing them hard. Some of our Imperial Whitetail Clover plots are now going on their fifth year since we last planted them, and they still look as good and are still attracting deer as much as ever.”

SOIL TEST KITS Whitetail Institute

Soil testing is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your plantings — of any kind. The Institute is pleased to now provide soil test kits and results for all Imperial products or any other type seeds. (Complete instructions and all related information will come with kits.) Test results include pH, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Fertilizer and lime recommendations for maximum performance from your plantings will be provided. The average turnaround time is 24-48 hours after our lab receives the sample. The charge for the kit and results is $10.95. If ordered alone, add $2.90 shipping and handling for unlimited number of kits. If ordered with other Imperial products there is no shipping charge. Please send ______ soil test kits at $10.95 each. Add $2.90 shipping and handling for each order regardless of number of kits desired. (There is NO shipping charge if kit is ordered with other Imperial products.) Cost of kit includes test results and consultation.

SHIP TO:

Name ________________________________________________________________

Address ______________________________________________________________

City _______________________________________State ______Zip _____________

Phone _______________________Email ___________________________________  Check or Money Order enclosed Payment: :  MasterCard  Visa  Discover Charge to:

Credit Card # __________________________Exp. Date _______Sec. Code________ Signature _____________________________________________________________

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

Why Have a Qualified Soil Testing Lab Test Your Soil? That can be answered generally with one word: precision. First, only a qualified soil testing laboratory can accurately determine what soil pH and soil fertility (levels of crucial nutrients in your soil) are. Second, soils differ widely in capacity to hold lime activity and fertilizer, and only a lab can scientifically analyze your soil’s characteristics accurately enough to develop very precise recommendations concerning lime and/or fertilizer that you’ll need to add to the soil if levels are low. Most cheap probes, slurries and other such do-it-yourself soil test kits simply cannot provide the level of accuracy necessary to precisely tell you those things. And precision isn’t just important for making sure you buy the lime and/or fertilizer that is needed to bring the soil into optimum growing conditions. The precision of laboratory soil testing also lets you make sure that you don’t waste money buying lime and/or fertilizer you really don’t need. All Whitetail Institute forage products come with deFor the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute

Vol. 24, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS 45


fault lime and fertilizer recommendations on the back of the product bags for situations in which a laboratory soil test isn’t available. Frankly, though, that’s rarely if ever the case, because high-quality laboratory soil tests are widely available. You can get them online at whitetailinstitute.com, through many of the retailers that carry Whitetail Institute products, and from most major agricultural universities. Also, consider that the default recommendations are designed to cover as many planting situations as possible. That being the case, the default recommendations will rarely be exactly what’s actually needed, and if they are spot on, it is only by pure chance. In most situations, the default recommendations might be too much lime and/or fertilizer or too little. The bottom line is that only a laboratory soil test will allow you to make sure your forage plants have access to all the nutrients they need to grow vigorously and provide you with a lush, healthy, highly attractive and nutritious forage stand — and save you money at the same time. The Whitetail Institute soil test kit is designed with food plotters in mind. It provides all the precision of a laboratory soil test, and the report is designed to be easy to understand. It even provides suggestions for commonly available bagged fertilizers that will meet the report’s recommendations. If you have your soil tested through Whitetail Institute or a lab other than the Whitetail Institute’s and have trouble understanding the report, call the Whitetail Institute for assistance. As Charlie says, “The phone call I made to the Whitetail Institute and the advice they gave me about soil testing is the best advice I’ve ever received about food plotting, and our hunting continues to improve because of it.” ^

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46 WHITETAIL NEWS

/ Vol. 24, No. 3

Visit us on the web at

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Realistic Buck Goals — This buck won’t make anyone’s record book but was about as good as I could expect in the area I was hunting.

When good enough is good enough! We’re not all hunting 3,000-acre farms in Iowa. Hunt the top 10 percent where you live. By Bob Humphrey Photos by the Author

After several hours of sitting on a crisp, clear November morning, I was feeling the effects of cold and immobility. However, expecting that other hunters were similarly afflicted and would soon be stirring, I forced myself to stay put. Another 30 minutes passed before I heard the sound of rapid footfalls approaching from the dense cover behind me. I lifted my gun and was scanning for movement when the buck broke cover, pausing in the small opening below me as he glanced back over his shoulder. This was it; decision time. He was obviously tense, and in two bounds would be across the clearing and back into thick cover. I quickly counted points, and when I got to four on one side, I shouldered my rifle, found vitals in the scope and fired. His next two bounds proved to be his last. I’d barely reached the fallen deer when another hunter arrived on scene from roughly the same direction the buck had come. “You get him?” he shouted. “Yup,” I proudly proclaimed. “Good one?” he answered back.

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“Good enough,” I responded. And that was a fairly accurate statement. He was no giant — not even big enough for a shoulder mount — but his antlers would eventually end up on a plaque and take their rightful place among other similar-sized deer on my wall. He was a buck that in a different place and time I would have passed up. But considering the circumstances, he was about as good as I could have hoped for, and I had no regrets. The outdoor media — including books, magazines and television shows — provides a great service to hunters. We offer tons of useful information on the latest gear and tactics for growing and harvesting deer. But we have, perhaps inadvertently, done something of a disservice to hunters as well. Magazine covers and outdoor television programs emphasize big bucks. Sure, that’s what we’re all after, what we dream about. And those monsters are out there. But their proliferation in the media sometimes contributes to unrealistic expectations among hunters about our odds of actually bagging one. Some — perhaps much — of the responsibility lies with the consumer. No one is trying to dupe www.whitetailinstitute.com


you into thinking there’s a big buck behind every tree. We’re merely showing you what’s possible in the right conditions. It’s up to you to take into account all the variables that go into producing and harvesting a big buck. You have to realize just how rare they are, and the odds are better in certain places. If you don’t hunt in one of those places, you might need to revise your objective. Set realistic buck goals by targeting the top 10 percent in your area.

Geography First, you need to determine what that top end is. It is sometimes said, “If you want a big buck, hunt them where they live.” To find that out, you need only look at the record books. In 2001, Dr. Joel Helmer conducted a comprehensive analysis of record-book data from the Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young Clubs (see tables 1 and 2). If you hunt in one of the big-buck states, you might have a legitimate chance at a buck that will score in the top 10 percent of all deer nationwide. Conversely, if you live in a state such as Maine, which might only produce one or two B&C deer a year, you might want to lower your expectations or travel to hunt. There can also be considerable variation within a state. The recent boom in big bucks and changes in management practices prompted Helmer to update and refine his analysis, incorporating records from up to 2005 (Table 3). He noted that anywhere in Wisconsin offers decent odds, but Buffalo County leads the nation with 520 entries. Illinois comes in at No. 2, with the “Golden Triangle” of west-central counties being the best region. Eastern or southern Iowa are tops in that state, and much of Kentucky’s reputation is based on its western counties. Hunters in southern Ohio and Indiana have far better odds than their counterparts in northern counties. Meanwhile, northern Missouri and eastern Kansas lead those states. Record books, harvest maps and tables provide a gross analysis, but further refinement sometimes illustrates wild-card areas. For example, Helmer’s results highlighted rings of high-ranking counties around East Coast suburban areas such as Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, Pa. If you live outside those areas, the odds go down — sometimes considerably.

What’s a Trophy? So far, we’ve just talked about antler score, but hunters define trophies differently. For some, any mature buck is a trophy. Again, my home state of Maine provides a prime example. Antlers are a luxury, and deer that must endure long, harsh winters don’t often grow record-book racks. But those 4-, 5- or 6-year-old North Woods bucks, some with dressed weights approaching 300 pounds, would meet most any hunter’s definition of a trophy. Much the same applies to other regions of the country as well.

How Bucks Get Big Big bucks can turn up almost anywhere, but certain factors influence the probability. Let’s back up a moment and look at the three main ingredients in the recipe for big antlers. First, a buck must have the genetic potential to achieve trophy status. Most do. There are always exceptions, but they’re usually the result of some aberration, disease, mutation or injury. Next, you need good habitat (including the highest quality food you can provide), and as most food plotters know, it all begins with the soil. I once asked a deer biologist why certain parts of his state produced more big-antlered bucks. He admitted he had no hard evidence but pointed out those areas had the best soils. Research from several states with widely disparate antler quality supports that contention. Areas with the best soils produced more big bucks. Deer don’t eat soil, but the plants they eat are only as good as the soil they grow on. Last, bucks with good genetic potential, living in good habitat still need to reach an age where they can realize that potential. The buck I shot in the opening passage illustrates why they often don’t. He was a very healthy young deer with good antler characteristics and a ton of potential — a deer that if left to reach maturity would almost certainly achieve trophy status. But where I live, hunting pressure is so heavy that very few bucks ever live past 2-1/2. In fact, my state has the highest proportion of yearling bucks in the annual harvest of any state in the nation, and I live in one of the most heavily hunted regions

Keep in mind that your goals might not be the same as those of other hunters, particularly younger hunters who have not yet experienced the same level of success.

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www.whitetailinstitute.com


Food Plot Planting Datesâ&#x20AC;Ś PLANTING DATES FOR IMPERIAL CLOVER, ALFA-RACK PLUS, EXTREME, NO-PLOW, CHICORY PLUS, CHIC MAGNET AND EDGE    

   

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

 

Feb 1 - Apr 1 Aug 1 - Sept 30 Feb 1 - Apr 15 Sept 1 - Nov 1 North: Mar 15 - May 1 Aug 1 - Sept 15 South: Mar 1 - Apr 15 Aug 15 - Oct 15 Apr 1 - June 15 July 15 - Sept 5 Apr 1 - May 15 Aug 1 - Sept 15

   

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

  21  22

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

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

Aug 1 - Sept 15

  

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



Call for planting dates Call for planting dates

Aug 1 - Sept 30 Aug 15 - Nov 1 North: Aug 1 - Sept 30 South: Aug 15 - Oct 15 July 15 - Sept 5 Aug 1 - Sept 15



Aug 1 - Sept 15



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



Sept 1 - Oct 30

 

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

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

   21  22

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

Aug 1 - Sept 15 Aug 20 - Sept 30

PLANTING DATES FOR WINTER-GREENSâ&#x201E;˘ AND TALL TINE TUBERSâ&#x201E;˘    

 

Call for planting dates Call for planting dates July 1 - Sept 10* Coastal: Aug 15 - Sept 30 Southern Piedmont: Aug 1 - Sept 15 Mountain Valleys: July 15 - Sept 15 July 15 - Sept 30

 

North: July 15 - Sept 30 South: Aug 1 - Oct 10 July 1 - Aug 30



July 1 - Aug 30 July 15 - Sept 15* Sept 15 - Nov 15 North: Sept 5 - Nov 1 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15



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

Aug 1 - Oct 1

For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute

      21  22

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

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

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

Vol. 24, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS 51


of that state. The only time I have the luxury of passing up younger bucks is when I travel out of state.

Remedies The solutions are obvious, though not necessarily easy. Forget about genetics, because there’s little or nothing you can do to improve genetics on free-range deer, even in tightly controlled circumstances. There’s plenty you can do to improve habitat, which we need not go into, as the pages of Whitetail News are packed full of great information on that. Well, other than to say if you plant food plots with Imperial products, you’ll not only attract more deer, but the bucks will grow larger racks. Ask any state biologist and they’ll tell you their most effective deer management tool is you — the hunter. What you kill — and just as important, what you don’t kill — will ultimately determine the quality and composition of your deer herd. Obviously, the smaller your property, the less control you have over harvest. You can have the best management program in the county, but if your neighbors don’t follow similar objectives, it could significantly affect results. One way to overcome this is by forming a cooperative.

Get Real Regardless of where you hunt, you need to put things in proper perspective to get a realistic idea of what you might expect to kill. Even where they are more abundant compared to other geographic areas, big bucks are still rare. Go back and look at those maps of the top trophy-producing areas. Then look at the number of licensed hunters. From 2009 through 2011, Wisconsin hunters had the most B&C entries of any state, with 241. In each of those three seasons, more than 600,000 deer hunters entered the woods dreaming of being one of the lucky few. During that same span, Indiana had the most entries as a percentage of total buck harvest, with .084. That means only eight out of 100 successful buck hunters made the books. Meanwhile, anyone who has deliberately hunted mature bucks will tell you they are a different animal. By the time they reach age four, those big bucks have become masters at avoiding hunters. It might look easy on TV, but even those guys have spent weeks, months, even years trying to catch up with an older deer. Many also have the benefit of outfitters who know their land and the deer on it intimately — a luxury few of us have. Many factors are beyond your control, such as existing habitat, where you live, land-use practices on adjacent and surrounding properties and how much you can afford to spend on management. All these need to be factored into the equation to derive a realistic estimation of what the land you hunt can produce. Setting unrealistic goals will only lead to frustration and disappointment. In the final analysis, you have to set your individual goals based on what you can reasonably expect based on all the variables. I have no objections to trophy recognition clubs. They help promote the sport. But I’ve reached a point in my hunting career where a trophy is defined more by the circumstances involved in taking an animal than by the number of inches its antlers measure. Don’t get me wrong, I still seek out big-antlered bucks. But if an adult buck with a “decent” rack comes along, I probably won’t hesitate to pull the trigger or release an arrow, especially if the encounter is a direct result of my efforts. ^

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Table 1. Top Ten B&C and P&Y Whitetail States, 1830 through 2001 Rank 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

State Entries Iowa ..............................................615 Minnesota ....................................608 Wisconsin ....................................589 Illinois ..........................................552 Texas ............................................316 Missouri .......................................285 Kentucky .....................................279 Kansas ..........................................255 Ohio .............................................235 Michigan ......................................155

(Source: Dr. Joel Helmer, 2001)

Table 2. Top Ten B&C and P&Y Whitetail States, 1980 through 2001 Rank 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

State Entries Illinois ..........................................509 Iowa ..............................................507 Wisconsin ....................................395 Minnesota ....................................293 Missouri .......................................244 Kentucky .....................................242 Kansas ..........................................235 Ohio ..............................................199 Texas ............................................159 Indiana .........................................138

(Source: Dr. Joel Helmer, 2001)

Table 3. Top Ten P&Y States, as of the Last Recording Period (2009 through 2010) Rank State .................................Entries 1. Wisconsin..................................1,088 2. Illinois ...........................................499 3. Indiana..........................................325 4. Ohio ..............................................320 5. Kansas...........................................319 6. Iowa...............................................317 7. Missouri........................................221 8. Pennsylvania ................................207 9. Minnesota.....................................196 10. Texas.............................................156 11. Michigan.......................................135 12. North Dakota ...............................133 13 Kentucky ......................................126 14. Nebraska .......................................114 15. New York......................................106 (Source: Pope & Young Club) Table 4. Top 5 States with Highest Harvest of 3-1/2-year-old and Older Bucks (2010). State Percentage Arkansas .......................................................68 Louisiana.......................................................65 Texas .............................................................59 Kansas ...........................................................56 Oklahoma......................................................51 (Source: QDMA 2012 Whitetail Report)

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TROPHIES OF GRACE A unique ministry appeals to men By Tracy Breen Photos by the Author

ach winter, I bounce from state to state, dinner to dinner, giving hunting seminars and sharing my testimony. As a result, I am used to the typical decor found at wild-game dinners. A typical church will hang a couple of deer heads, make a wildlife scene or two and decorate the dinner tables with empty shotgun shells and other outdoor gear. This past year, I spoke at Spring Lake Church in Green Bay, Wis. I was told when I was picked up at the airport that the church had an impressive display of deer heads. What I found when I walked into the church was far more than impressive; it was jaw-dropping exciting. It left me speechless for several minutes. On the wall behind the pulpit were roughly 40 bucks that collectively had more than 10,000 inches of bone on their head. As I walked up to them, I quickly started to recognize some of the bucks on display. Each buck was labeled with a name and its antler score. Some of the bucks, such as the Jordan Buck or the Beatty Buck, are deer most of us have heard about, but as I walked around, I saw other monster bucks — many I had never heard of until seeing them that night. All 40 of the shoulder mounts belong to a ministry called Trophies of Grace, which has two divisions: Northern and Southern. I was speaking in Wisconsin, so it was the Northern division that was displayed on the walls, but the ministry actually got its start in Florida, where the Southern division of Trophies of Grace is located. Trophies of Grace was started by the Porter family in Pensacola, Fla. “Back in 2002, my family and I started a ministry we called the Men’s Barn Meeting,” Scott Porter said. "We eventually built a barn, and every month, we offered a free steak dinner. At the barn, we had several mounts on the walls. One day, my brother Mark and I started talking about how neat it would be to travel around and bring the mounts to different men’s events around the country. One thing led to another, and a gentleman who had several mounts offered to give us his mounts so we could use them in the ministry." The mounts the Porters were given were of a variety of species. “The mounts helped us move in the right direction, but we thought if we were really going to use mounts as a ministry and help churches draw big crowds to their events, we would need many impressive bucks that would really attract hunters to an event,” Porter said.

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Monster bucks aren’t easy to find in Florida, so the Porters realized they would need to have replicas made. “We eventually contacted Klaus Lebrecht from Wisconsin and had him make 30 replicas for us,” he said. “As you can imagine, having 30 replicas made and then having shoulder mounts done on each of them is extremely expensive. In most cases, the bucks cost several thousand dollars each to have mounted. We prayed about it, and over time, people donated a lot of money that helped us cover the cost of getting the mounts done. It was a lengthy process. The replicas were made in Wisconsin, the capes came from Indiana, and we had a local taxidermist here in Florida mount the deer.” You can have a variety of replica collections made, depending on how much money you want to spend. All of the collections contain well-known bucks that are household names among hard-core deer hunters. “The scores of the bucks in our collection averaged 224 inches apiece,” Porter said. “When people look at a wall of bucks that have an average score that high, they can’t stop talking about it which is exactly what we wanted.” Trophies of Grace was officially started in 2008. “After we had the mounts, we hit the road often,” Porter said. “We offer the display to churches holding game dinners all over the country as a way of getting men interested in the event who normally wouldn’t go to church. The response has been amazing. This ministry gives a church the ability to tell their local community through their advertising that they will be having a worldclass trophy whitetail display. Having such a display at a church really gets people talking before and after an event. As a result, over the years, our ministry has grown tremendously, and now we travel a lot with Trophies of Grace.” The story does not end there. In 2011, Jim Panetti of Wisconsin was traveling to visit a ministry in Florida and happened to visit the church the Porters call home. “When I pulled in the parking lot, I noticed a large trailer that was wrapped with graphics that said Trophies of Grace,” Panetti said. “I was curious about the trailer and the deer, so when I was inside the church I asked about the trailer, and I was introduced to Scott Porter’s dad, Jim Porter. It was very neat to me to see what they were doing, so I decided I wanted to do the same up here in Wisconsin.” Panetti decided he wanted to have 40 bucks mounted, and many of the bucks in the collection score more than 300 inches. Seeing the display on the wall is very impressive. “My wife wasn’t very excited about spending a fortune on deer mounts, but I decided this was a wonderful ministry opportunity and went ahead and had 40 replicas mounted,” Panetti said. “Today, my wife sees how this is a ministry, and I have her support, but you can imagine what any spouse would say when you tell them you want to spend $250,000 on deer heads.” The Porters were instrumental in getting Panetti started, so in return, Panetti had 10 more monster bucks made for the Southern division of Trophies of Grace. The Southern division now has 41 mounts, and the Northern division has 40 bucks. Between the divisions, Trophies of Grace is traveling to dozens of churches each year and telling the story behind Trophies of Grace and the story behind some of the bucks. “We often get up and talk about a couple of the bucks before the www.whitetailinstitute.com


main speaker gets up,” Panetti said. “People like the stories behind these big bucks. Many of the stories, just like the Jordan buck, are really neat.” Trophies of Grace has special trailers with special equipped carts for hauling the mounts. They have storage buildings just for the mounts, and the men of the ministry spend countless days on the road each year traveling. It is clear this ministry is a labor of love. “We love going to men’s events and seeing hunters from all over the country,” Porter said. “We hope the mounts help bring more men to the events we attend, which in turn results in more men hearing the gospel.” I have spent time with both divisions of Trophies of Grace. One thing I can’t help but notice is how many of the bucks in both displays were killed by average Joes. Seeing the big buck displays and hearing the meaning behind Trophies of Grace is awesome. Knowing that most of these monster bucks were killed by normal people is refreshing in today’s hunting world. All too often, wealthy and famous hunters kill a large portion of the monster bucks each year. But these replicas are proof that anyone can kill a trophy buck. Many of the monster bucks in the Trophies of Grace display were killed by hunters who took hunting very seriously, but some of them were killed by guys with old out-of-date guns who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I guess there is hope for all of us. You don’t have to be a big buck expert or have lots of money to kill a monster buck, and you don’t have to be perfect to be saved by God’s grace. Some might think big bucks and church don’t go together. Trophies of Grace has proven that the Lord can use anything to reach the lost, including big bucks.

Why the Name Trophies of Grace? Scott Porter is often asked why his family named its big buck collection Trophies of Grace? “Every time a hunter tags a buck, he wants to mount it and hang it on the wall,” he said. “It is a trophy for that hunter. But a real trophy is a life that is changed by Jesus Christ. We are a trophy of God’s grace. So we thought the name Trophies of Grace would be a good fit for how we feel about Jesus.”

The Cost Trophies of Grace is a 501c3 non-profit. As a result, it isn’t interested in making money. When a church asks the organization to come and share its display, staffers simply ask that all of their expenses get covered and that the church consider making a donation to the ministry. Visit www.trophiesofgrace.net or www.trophiesofgracend.org to learn more about Trophies of Grace, or to book the author for a wild-game dinner, visit www.tracybreen.com. ^

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Vol. 24, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS 55


Hunting Wars... —

LET’S STOP BICKERING By Jordan Howell Photos by the Author

s hunters, we have certain issues we feel strongly about. No matter what part of the country we hail from, there are several topics hunters discuss most often. This can sometimes result in heated debates. Why? What causes this tension between hunters? What can be done to stop it? To answer these questions, let's examine how our sport began. Hunting has a long and storied tradition in North America. From Native Americans to the pioneers and mountain men who settled this country, hunting began as a means of survival. Certainly, the phrase “hunting is a way of life” really meant just that to the earliest inhabitants of this continent. After centuries of progress, development and industrial growth, hunting has become less about survival and more

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about sport. Very few people nowadays rely solely on harvested game for survival. Nonetheless, hunting is in our blood. It’s an instinct passed down from our ancestors centuries ago. Unfortunately, that instinct remains hidden and untouched by many people today. Because of constant urbanization, hunting is considered by many as silly, pointless and even cruel. Fortunately, though, there are still millions of us who understand and appreciate the hunting culture and heritage.

The War of Access Unfortunately, as America’s urban sprawl grows larger, access to hunting land is becoming harder for hunters. In fact, loss of property is the number one cause for hunters leaving the sport. Many hunters become frustrated with having to settle for hunting small pieces of property or crowded public grounds and give up hunting. Many believe that the effort is no longer worth the reward. Disputes about hunting land access can even spawn disagreements between friends and family members. www.whitetailinstitute.com


In many heavily hunted areas, gaining access to the best hunting spots can resemble cutthroat warfare. Hunters tend to get upset when they feel like their hunting spot is being encroached upon or threatened. This has also created problems for many landowners, which further contributes to the problem. Many landowners have simply decided to not allow hunting to avoid conflict and drama between hunters. The only surefire way to escape these issues is to own your own hunting property, which many hunters simply cannot afford to do. Unfortunately, hunting has become a rich man’s game. The cost of a lease in prime deer country can top $10,000 a year, and land prices for hunting property have skyrocketed. All of these things make it continually harder for the average hunter to gain access to quality ground. We should keep that in mind and keep a cool head when situations about land access arise.

The War of Opportunity With access becoming harder to gain, hunters want to have the most opportunities possible to be successful under the circumstances. I believe this is what spawns many conflicts about the type of equipment or tactics hunters use. Some hunters don’t want other hunters to have opportunities they believe give them an unfair advantage. For example, hunters are constantly arguing about these subjects at seminars, deer classics, online forums, hunting magazines or anywhere else in the hunting community. It seems as if bowhunters are always mad at gunhunters, gun-hunters are mad at bowhunters, bowhunters are mad at crossbow hunters, non-baiters are mad at baiters and so on. There always seems to be conflict. I believe this type of behavior is giving our sport a black eye. In a recent survey, more than 22 million people reported that they hunted at least one day during the year. That’s a lot of people, all with different personalities, tastes and opinions. There is no possible way to get that many hunters to agree on every issue. However, just because we disagree doesn’t mean we cannot be agreeable. Most discrepancies between hunters stem from one or both sides not being fully informed or fully understanding other points of view. Let’s use the widely debated issue of baiting as an example. A recent survey showed that most hunters who oppose baiting live in states that have never allowed baiting, and the majority of those in favor of baiting live in states that allow it. So many of those who bash baiting have never tried it and might not have an entirely accurate opinion of what it is like. Baiter haters might think using bait is like

Hunters should try to make a good impression whenever they come into contact with non-hunters.

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shooting fish in a barrel and deem the act as unethical. Well, consider a test that was conducted a few years ago on a 600-acre farm in North Carolina. Half the stands on the property were placed near bait (which is legal there), and the other half were placed along funnels, trails, and other traditional ambush locations. After the season, it was noted that 45 percent of the deer harvested were taken over bait, but 55 percent were taken without the aid of bait. More deer were harvested without the use of bait, but it's still the hunter’s choice whether to use it. In such a situation, I think the matter of ethics is a personal decision each hunter must make. If a hunter believes baiting would be unethical, he doesn’t have to use it. But that hunter should not criticize another hunter who decides to use it when legal.

The War of Weapons The same attitude can be applied to any other issue, such as a hunter's choice of weapon. I have listened to some astounding conversations between hunters about the right to use a certain type of weapon. Crossbows seem to be the latest topic guaranteed to get steam rolling out of a few people’s ears. Despite this, more states are allowing crossbows during general archery seasons. This has upset many bowhunters. I admit, I'm confused regarding all the fuss being made about this issue. I can't understand how someone should be able to tell another person that using a certain weapon is wrong when the law says it's legal. I don’t think I will ever hunt with a crossbow, as they just don’t appeal to me. However, if allowing another weapon will get more people out in the woods, we should be in favor of that. I don't care if it’s a .300 Win. Mag., crossbow, compound bow, spear or slingshot — as long as you can cleanly and humanely kill game with that weapon and it’s legal, I’m all for it. "Variety is the spice of life" might seem like a silly old expression, but it rings true for hunters. I once asked famous gun-hunter Larry Weishuhn why he never bowhunts. His reply was quick and simple. With a smile he said, “Because the single most glorious smell in the world is freshly burnt gunpowder I have just fired at a deer.” I can respect that. And although we cannot expect other hunters to share our exact views on every issue, we have a responsibility to respect each other and work together as a unified group. Sometimes it might be difficult for us to understand a different point of view, especially if we are passionate about our viewpoint. Consider something dear to my heart: growing and managing a property for trophy bucks. I love trying to produce the best deer I can on my hunting properties. I love everything about it. I actually feel a touch of regret when I shoot a mature buck, because I know the saga of that deer is finished. There won’t be any more trail camera photos of him, no more sheds or any more tweaking stands to get closer to his bedroom. In the past few years, I have passed up dozens of young bucks, hoping they make it to maturity, knowing many of them will not. Sometimes, I nearly convinced myself I was crazy for passing so many other bucks. And many of my friends told me I was absolutely nuts for passing up any bucks. This brought up an interesting question. Why do some hunters seemingly not care about managing the deer herd? The answer I came up with is simple: We hunt for different reasons. That’s something I think many of us take for granted at times. Some of us are very concerned with trophy hunting and managing the deer herd, but others are simply not that concerned about it and are happy with any deer. Some only hunt for the meat, others just to get away from the stress of life.

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And there’s nothing wrong with that. I silently cringe every time I hear someone say they shot a button buck, and admittedly, it’s hard not to unload on them about how ridiculous that is and tell them they should wait for a doe if they only want meat. But in truth, I have no more place to do that than someone else does to tell me I shouldn’t pass up young bucks. If I would rather eat a tag sandwich than shoot a young buck, that’s OK. If someone else would rather shoot a button buck to have meat in their freezer than go home empty-handed, that’s okay, too. It’s a tough pill to swallow for folks serious about herd management, but it’s also a reality we all have to accept. Each of us hunts for different reasons, and sometimes that gets lost in the midst of everything. I love the challenge of everything I do: planting food plots, managing habitat, letting deer grow, chasing those older bucks and trying to somehow capture all that on film. But if all that were taken away and I had no cameras, food plots or properties that held big bucks, I would still hunt for fun.

The War of Offense and Defense If you have played sports, you have probably heard that defense wins championships. I disagree. Let’s imagine that we were playing a basketball game against one another. If your team dominates on defense the entire game but my team scores 50 points and yours only scores 49, I still win. That’s the situation we are faced with today. So many people I talk to think the most important thing is to defend our right to hunt against anti-hunters. I believe this is the wrong approach. Why do we need to defend ourselves as hunters? When someone takes a defensive stance, that usually means they did something wrong. As hunters, we aren’t doing anything wrong. We are simply expressing our God-given right to fend for ourselves, do a little grocery shopping in the woods and enjoy the camaraderie of the sport with family and friends. We should never apologize or feel bad about being hunters. We have nothing to be defensive about. I will never defend my right to hunt to anyone. Instead, I will play offense. What do I mean by that? Well, when we start bickering and fighting amongst ourselves, it hardly appears that we are unified. Rather, we are showing that we have been consumed by an internal war. The result is a big black eye to our great heritage of hunting. When this happens, organizations such as PETA and the ASPCA don't have to do much to cast us in a bad light. We are doing it to ourselves. They can simply stand back and watch the embers burn us from the inside out. I’m sure they say, “Look at these hunters. They can’t even agree amongst themselves.” All we do is add fuel to their fire. I think it’s our responsibility to promote the good in hunting and the outdoors. We can do that by being ethical and responsible hunters and by standing next to our fellow sportsmen and women, even if our opinions differ from time to time.

The Reality of War Overall, hunter numbers are declining. Those of us who remain must carry the torch and pass our hunting tradition on to the next generation. This is important if we want the hunting way of life to continue. Moving forward as a unified offense will do more for our sport than any amount of bickering amongst ourselves. If we can accomplish this, anti-hunters will have no ammunition to throw at us. Then we will have succeeded and can continue to pursue our game unhindered by any government, organization or, especially, each other. ^ www.whitetailinstitute.com


Imperial Whitetail

CLOVER

The Most Significant Food Plot Forage Product Ever

By Whitetail Institute Staff Photo by Charles J. Alsheimer

umber One. The Gold Standard. The Genesis. The Breakthrough. The Industry’s Benchmark for Quality and Performance. All these distinctions describe Imperial Whitetail Clover. Even so, no single tribute can do Imperial Whitetail Clover justice because it is all of these, and more. In fact, today we can see in hindsight that Imperial Whitetail Clover is the single most important food plot breakthrough ever in the history of the industry. The introduction of Imperial Whitetail Clover by the Whitetail Institute in 1988 marks the genesis of the entire food plot revolution. Perhaps no clearer acknowledgement of that fact exists than the following statement by the Quality Deer Management Association, which appears in the introduction of its book, Quality Food Plots, Your Guide To Better Deer and Better Deer Hunting: “The birth of the nationwide commercial food plot industry unquestionably began in 1988 with the launch of Imperial Whitetail Clover by the Whitetail Institute.” Since then, the records of the Pope and Young Club and the Boone and Crocket Club show an increase of more than 500 percent in the average, annual number of record-book buck entries. Imperial Whitetail Clover remains to this very day the number-one food plot planting in the world and the standard by which all food plot products in the industry are measured. The introduction of Imperial Whitetail Clover in 1988 is considered a milestone in deer management because it brought a unique idea to reality. The idea was that just as forages are developed for other specific purposes, such as grazing by cattle, new forages could also be scientifically developed specifically to meet the unique attraction, palatability and nutritional requirements of whitetail deer. That idea started with Ray Scott. Most folks are aware of the story of how Imperial Whitetail Clover came to be, so I’ll give you the short version. One late-summer day back in the 1980s, Ray made his regular annual trip to his local seed store to buy seed for his fall food plots. When loading the seed, the seller gave Ray a bag of clover seed as a “freebie” to show his appreciation for Ray’s patronage. Ray planted the clover seed along with other seeds he had purchased in a large, buffet-style food plot, and by chance he happened to plant the clover seed out in the middle. When hunting the plot later, he noticed that deer walked straight through his other forage plantings to get to the clover.

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A few weeks later, a friend of Ray’s hunted the plot. Without mentioning what he’d noticed about the clover preference, Ray asked his friend to watch to see whether the deer preferred any of the forages more than the others. After the hunt, his friend reported the same observation Ray had made earlier — that the deer walked through the other forages and “made a beeline to whatever is planted out in the middle.” That was enough for Ray to start trying to figure out why. He rewww.whitetailinstitute.com


searched the clover variety planted in his buffet plot and found that it had been developed by Dr. Wiley Johnson, a professor of agronomy at Auburn University. Ray contacted Dr. Johnson and asked him if he thought he could develop varieties of clover specifically for deer and food plots. Ray convinced Dr. Johnson to join the Whitetail Institute team, and the rest as they say is history. Development of Imperial Whitetail Clover began with selection of more than 100 clover varieties worldwide to be used as breeding stock. These candidates were then crossbred, and the resulting offspring analyzed for defined traits specifically important to use in food plots. Examples include quick stand establishment, early seedling vigor, rapid growth, sustained palatability (especially important for whitetails!), resistance to disease, tolerance of heat, cold and drought, high nutritional content and, of course, exceptional attractiveness to deer. Only the offspring best exhibiting these traits were retained for further crossbreeding, which continued over seven years until only one clover variety remained — a new clover variety specifically and scientifically designed for deer. During initial development and the continuing improvement of Imperial Whitetail Clover, testing has been performed on wild, free-ranging deer from the Deep South to the far northern states and Canada to ensure that it is as attractive as the Whitetail Institute can make it, and that it will perform well in a wide range of climates. The Whitetail Institute continues to follow a rigorous real-world testing process to this day when improving existing forage products and developing new ones. Today, Imperial Whitetail Clover continues to serve as the standard for both the entire food plot industry and for the Whitetail Institute

itself. For the industry, the standard is one of performance and Imperial Whitetail Clover continues to set the bar by which all other food plot plantings are measured. As stated by the NRA in the April, 2008 issue of American Hunter, magazine, “The Whitetail Institute of North America is the preeminent supplier of wildlife seed products that help hunters attract and grow healthier deer” and “To meet the whitetail’s need for protein, some seed companies have developed high-protein clovers and mixtures geared especially for wildlife. At the forefront of this research is the Whitetail Institute.” As for the Whitetail Institute itself, the standard is one of scientific process. Just as it did when first developing Imperial Whitetail Clover, the Whitetail Institute still relies on exhaustive scientific research, development and testing as it continues to improve its existing forage products and develop new ones. Imperial Whitetail Clover is designed for good soils that hold moisture, and it can last up to five years from a single planting. Planting and maintenance instructions for Imperial Whitetail Clover are on the product bags and also available at www.whitetailinstitute.com. You can also call the Whitetail Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030, extension 2. As you read this article, you can be sure that Whitetail Institute forage research, development and testing is ongoing across the United States to make sure that Imperial Whitetail Clover and other Whitetail Institute food plot products are the best the Whitetail Institute can make. And remember, with the Institute’s dedication to exhaustive research, development and testing, you can be sure that when the Institute finds a way to make Imperial Whitetail Clover even better, it will do so. So stay tuned. ^

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WHITETAIL NEWS 63


^HITETAIL NEWS 2015 READER’S SURVEY Complete the survey below and mail to

Whitetail Institute of North America 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 Attention: Reader’s Survey Your returned survey is your entry into our random drawing for prizes from the manufacturers shown below. Deadline to be eligible for drawing is June 1, 2015 Surveys received after June 1, 2015 will not be eligible for prizes.

10. What is the average size food plot on your property? ___________________ 11. How many days annually do you spend preparing your hunting land for hunting? ____________________________________ 12. How many days annually do you spend scouting your land for deer? ________ 13. How many cameras do you use when scouting?________________________ 14. How many days will you spend hunting your leased and private property?____ 15. How many days will you hunt deer? ________________________________ 16. How many days will you spend hunting Turkeys on your property? _________

Name __________________________________________________________

17. How many days will you bow hunt?_________________________________

Address_________________________________________________________

18. How many days will you gun hunt? _________________________________

City____________________________________State _______Zip _________

19. How many days will you muzzle loader hunt?__________________________

Telephone (_______ ) ______________________________________________

20. How many different people will you take hunting during deer season? _______

E-mail __________________________________________________________

21. How many new hunters do you introduce to deer hunting a year? __________ 22. What is the average length of time you keep an issue of Whitetail News? ____

Average annual income: _____________________________________________

23. How many friends or hunting buddies read your copy of Whitetail News? ____ 24. In the coming year, list three pieces of hunting equipment you plan to

1. How many acres do you own to hunt on? ____________________________

purchase? ____________________________________________________

2. How many acres do you lease to hunt on?____________________________

____________________________________________________________

3. Do you own a truck?____________________________________________

25. In the coming year list two pieces of agriculture equipment you will purchase to

4. What make and model truck? _____________________________________

help prepare your property and food plots?___________________________

5. Do you own an atv or utv? _______________________________________

If necessary, use a separate piece of paper for the following two questions.

6. What size atv or utv do you own?__________________________________

26. What is your favorite section of Whitetail News?_______________________

7. Do you own a tractor? __________________________________________

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8. What size tractor do you own? ____________________________________

27. What would you like to see added to Whitetail News? ___________________

9. How many total acres of food plots do you plant annually? _______________

____________________________________________________________

Submit your survey to be entered to win one of these great prizes: • One Grizzly Cooler • Two Packs of Rage Broadheads • One Rage Bow Quiver • Rage Hat with Rage Sweatshirt • One Pack of Nockturnal Lighted Nocks • $100 Gift Certificate to use on whitetailinstitute.com • 4 lb. Bag of Imperial Whitetail Clover 64 WHITETAIL NEWS

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REAL HUNTERS DO THE TALKING about Whitetail Institute products… (Continued from page 25)

T

hought I would send a stunning trail cam pic in front of some Whitetail Institute Imperial PowerPlant on my property and another pic of the same deer in a plot planted three years ago with Alfa-Rack. We are three years into QDM on 300 acres in western Maine. We actually have one deer with a larger rack this year, but we only have nighttime pics of him that aren’t great. We call this guy Brutus (we are using a Julius Caesar theme this year)

and have seen him for a couple of years. Last year I took a nice 7-point over a plot planted in Tall Tine Tubers. Since buying the land three years ago, I am building one plot per year. They are relatively small, but we don’t have a huge herd, so my small plots seem to be working

I

have been deer hunting in Ohio for over 30 years and have killed many deer during that time. Having inherited a 200-hundred acre farm five years ago, I started taking my responsibility of improving the habitat for the deer and other wildlife a lot more seriously. Over the years, I have tried every product and every combination of products in my food plots. This past spring, I decided to overhaul all of my food plots using Imperial Whitetail Clover and Alfa-Rack. I created approxi-

pretty well. The first year, I planted a small plot with AlfaRack (second picture is in this plot). Last year I made another small plot and planted with Tall Tine Tubers, and this year planted that plot with PowerPlant which has done amazing. This year, I cleared a third small plot next to a 100 acre hardwood swamp and planted with Winter Greens which has come in very nicely and is getting hammered right now. Hopefully we will take Brutus this year. Whitetail Institute products are helping keep deer on our 300 acres as well as providing great nutrition for both racks and bodies.

Barry Kallander – Maine

mately a dozen small food plots. These are all located in thickets and small clearings near a creek and woods. In additional plots, I planted Whitetail Oats Plus and Tall Tine Tubers for my fall and winter food sources. My first set of trail cam pictures told me I was on the right track. Bachelor groups of bucks in velvet along with countless does and fawns told me I had a setup the deer liked. The first payoff for me was getting hundreds of wildlife pictures. The second payoff was the opportunity to sit in my stands and observe the wildlife partake of the bountiful crop that I had a hand in establishing. And the third payoff was the harvesting of a trophy buck, (and a mature doe), culminating a successful year of planning and work. Thank you Whitetail Institute for providing great products and valuable customer service in the use of those products!

Michael Hoyt – Ohio

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A

ttached is a photo of a buck that is hitting a 3006 Mineral pit. I call the big non-typical “Hooker,” and I’ve been getting pics of him for three years now. Looks like he really likes the 30-06 Minerals! Don’t see very many bucks this big in the U.P. of Michigan.

Joe Blake – Michigan ^

Send Us Your Photos! Do you have photos and/or a story of a big buck, a small buck or a doe that you took with the help of Imperial products? Send it to us and you might find it in the Field Tester section of the next issue of Whitetail News. Email your digital photos and a 3 to 4 paragraph story telling how you harvested the deer and the role our products played to info@whitetailinstitute.com or send them to: Whitetail News, Attn: Field Tester Response,

239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 Vol. 24, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS 65


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Please add $18.00 for shipping and handling for each 50 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

IMPERIAL ALFA-RACK

Please add $18.00 for shipping and handling for each 46 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

PLUS™ YOU SAVE $60.00

IMPERIAL CHICORY

PLUS™ YOU SAVE $60.00

Suggested Retail: $289.96 (33 lbs. - 2.25 Acre Planting)

Suggested Retail: $289.96 (28 lbs. - 4.5 Acre Planting)

Price with coupon: $229.96

Price with coupon: $229.96

Please send _____ 33 lb. quantities of Imperial Alfa-Rack PLUS™ Alfalfa-Clover Blend.

Please send _____ 28 lb. quantities of Imperial Chicory PLUS™. TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______ Please add $18.00 for shipping and handling for each 33 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

Please add $18.00 for shipping and handling for each 28 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

IMPERIAL WINTER-GREENS™ YOU SAVE $70.00

IMPERIAL PURE ATTRACTION™ YOU SAVE $25.00

Suggested Retail: $239.96 (24 lbs. - 4 Acre Planting)

Suggested Retail: $94.96 (52 lbs. - 1 Acre Planting)

Price with coupon: $169.96

Price with coupon: $69.96

Please send _____ 24 lb. quantities of Imperial Winter-Greens™.

Please send _____ 52 lb. quantities of Imperial Pure Attraction™.

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______

Please add $12.00 for shipping and handling for each 24 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

Please add $18.00 for shipping and handling for each 52 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

IMPERIAL TALL TINE TUBERS™ YOU SAVE $70.00

IMPERIAL WHITETAIL EDGE™ YOU SAVE $60.00

Suggested Retail: $199.96 (24 lbs. - 4 Acre Planting)

Suggested Retail: $289.96 (52 lbs. - 2 Acre Planting)

Price with coupon: $129.96

Price with coupon: $229.96

Please send _____ 24 lb. quantities of Imperial Tall Tine Tubers™.

Please send _____ 52 lb. bags of Imperial Edge™.

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______

Please add $12.00 for shipping and handling for each 24 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

Please add $18.00 for shipping and handling for each 52 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

IMPERIAL TURKEY SELECT™ YOU SAVE $20.00

IMPERIAL “CHIC” MAGNET™ YOU SAVE $50.00

Suggested Retail: $149.99 (40 lbs. - 1 Acre Planting)

Suggested Retail: $139.94 (9 lbs. - 3 Acre Planting)

Price with coupon: $129.96

Price with coupon: $89.94

Please send _____ 40 lb. quantities of Imperial Turkey Select™.

Please send _____ 9 lb. quantities of Imperial “Chic” Magnet™.

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______

Please add $18.00 for shipping and handling for each 40 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

COUPON

66 WHITETAIL NEWS

/ Vol. 24, No. 3

Please add $9.50 for shipping and handling for each 9 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

PRICES

NOT

AVA I L A B L E

ONLINE

www.whitetailinstitute.com


DISCOUNT COUPONS - Order Today! “KRAZE” Liquid Deer Attractant YOU SAVE $9-$18

ARREST MAX™ HERBICIDE YOU SAVE $7.00 to $50.00 Suggested Retail: $49.95 (1 Pint - 1 Acre); $189.99 (1/2 Gal. - 4 Acres)

Suggested Retail: $77.94 — 6-Pak, $48.96 — 3-Pak

Price with coupon: 1 Pint - $39.95; 1/2 Gal.- $138.96

Coupon Price: $59.94 or $39.96 Please send _____ n 6-Pak KRAZE @ $59.94 Please send _____ n 3-Pak KRAZE @ $39.96

Please send _____ pint(s) of ARREST MAX™ Herbicide. Please send _____ 1/2 gallon(s) of ARREST MAX™ Herbicide. Call for larger quantities.

TOTAL $_______

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______ Please add $7.00 for shipping and handling for each pint or 1/2 gallon ordered. (Not available in Canada.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

Please add $12.00 for shipping and handling for EACH 6-Pak or $10.00 for EACH 3-Pak. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

IMPERIAL 4-PLAY

BLOCK™ YOU SAVE Up To $25.00

Suggested Retail: $59.95 (4 oz. - 1 Acre); $159.95 (1 Pint - 4 Acres)

Suggested Retail: $59.96 and $29.95

Price with coupon: 4 oz. - $44.95; 1 Pint - $134.95

Coupon Price: $34.96 or $19.95 Please send _____ n 2-Pak Blocks @ $34.96 Please send _____ n 1 Block @ $19.95

Please send _____ 4 oz. Package(s) of SLAY™ Herbicide. Please send _____ Pint(s) of SLAY™ Herbicide. Call for larger quantities.

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______ Please add $7.00 for shipping and handling for each 4 oz. package or pint ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

Please add $12.00 for shipping and handling for EACH Block or $18.00 for EACH Double Pack. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

Apple OBSESSION “Super” Deer Attractant YOU SAVE $20.00 - $35.00

IMPERIAL

EE FR GHT! EI FR

Suggested Retail: $119.96 — 6-Pak, $59.97 — 3-Pak

NEW!

SLAY™ HERBICIDE YOU SAVE $15.00 to $25.00

Coupon Price: $84.96 or $44.97 Please send ___ Apple OBSESSION 6-Paks @ $84.96 Please send ___ Apple OBSESSION 3-Paks @ $44.97

MAGNET MIX™

Suggested Retail: $119.95 — 6-Pak, $69.95 — 3-Pak

Coupon Price: $39.96 or $64.98 Please send ___ Magnet Mix™ 6-Paks @ $64.98 Please send ___ Magnet Mix™ 3-Paks @ $39.96 TOTAL $_______

TOTAL $_________

No charge for shipping and handling. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

No charge for shipping and handling. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

IMPERIAL 30-06™BLOCK™ YOU SAVE Up To $13.00

We Offer

Suggested Retail: $59.96 and $29.95

SMALLER SIZES Of Most Seed Products Call 800-688-3030

Coupon Price: $46.96 or $24.95

Please send _____ n 2-Pak Blocks @ $46.96 Please send _____ n 1 Block @ $24.95 NEW!

TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______

For Details

Please add $12.00 for shipping and handling for EACH Block or $18.00 for EACH Double Pack. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

IMPERIAL 30-06™Mineral/Vitamin Supplements YOU SAVE $25.00 Suggested Retail: $90.97 and $99.97 (60 lbs.)

* Important: Shipping & Payment Information * Please Include Daytime Phone Number For UPS Shipments and Any Questions We May Have About Your Order.

Coupon Price: $65.97 or $74.97

Name:_____________________________________________________________ Shipping Address: (No P.O. Box) ________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ City: ____________________________________State: ________Zip:__________ Daytime Phone: ___________________________Email: _____________________

Please send ____60 lb. quantities of 30-06™ n Original 30-06™ @ $65.97 n 30-06™ Plus Protein @ $74.97 TOTAL Including shipping and handling $_______ Please add $19.00 for shipping and handling for each 60 lbs. ordered. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

Payment Method:

n Check or Money Order Enclosed Charge to my: n Mastercard n Visa n Discover Credit Card#: ________________________Exp. Date: ______Sec. Code ________ Signature:__________________________________________________________

“KRAZE” Flavored Deer Attractant YOU SAVE $40-$65 EE FR GHT! EI FR

YOU SAVE $20 to $35

Suggested Retail: $119.99— 6-Pak, $69.96 — 3-Pak

Coupon Price: $54.96 or $29.99 Please send _____ n 6-Pak KRAZE @ $54.96 Please send _____ n 3-Pak KRAZE @ $29.99

Mail To: Whitetail Institute of North America

TOTAL $_______

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

No charge for shipping and handling. (Canadian residents call for shipping charges.) Please enclose with shipping and payment information.

COUPON

PRICES

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For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute

ONLINE

Vol. 24, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS 67


Tony Torretta – Missouri Attached is a picture of my son’s first turkey. My game camera provided evidence that the birds were hitting the Imperial Whitetail Clover first thing in the morning for a quick bite on the early spring growth, and then strutting their stuff for all to see.We set up before first light, and had two longbeards fly down right to the plot, just out of reach of the 410. As we watched, a few jakes snuck in behind us and stepped out at 10 steps! We only have about four acres, but our Imperial Clover food plot consistently draws abundant wildlife and provides excellent opportunities for our family.Thanks again for great products!

Vance Barker – Alabama I am 8 years old. While hunting a small No-Plow food plot on some new property, my dad saw a deer and told me to get ready. It was 3 pm and the deer walked to our end of the field about 30 yards from the double ladder stand. I was nervous and shaking a little. When my dad tried to hand me the rifle, the deer looked up and saw us. We sat real quiet and the deer finally started to feed, but looked up several times. It took about 10 minutes for me to finally get the .243 around and lined up on the buck. When I shot, the deer ran off, and I told my dad I knew I had him. We waited about 30 minutes and found the deer 50 yards from the field. I was excited and happy to get my first buck! I then helped drag the buck back to the field and helped load him on the four-wheeler. I could not wait to get home and tell my mom and all my friends. Thank you Uncle Wade for letting us have fun this season.

68 WHITETAIL NEWS

Andy Weichers – Iowa This is a picture I took of my 14-year-old nephew, Blake Dunakey, and his first ever buck taken during the Iowa youth season. Not too bad a way to start! Teaching him a little about how hard work with food plots can pay off big! Blake’s family just purchased 10 acres last year. This summer, Blake, his dad, John, and I mapped out some areas and turned dirt for two different food plots. One of the plots was planted into Pure Attraction and the other into Winter-Greens in late August by Blake, John and I. Blake and John had been seeing this buck on camera all summer on a mixture of 30-06 and corn and as season drew near they stopped the feeding so they could hunt this buck. He was killed from a ground blind while working from one plot to the other following behind two does. Goes to show that even on a small acreage, food plots can make a difference!

/ Vol. 24, No. 3 www.whitetailinstitute.com


Wes & Hiedi Belanger – Minnesota As a mother of two little boys, I thoroughly love bowhunting for the peace and quiet of the fall! Last summer we worked our new land and made two food plots. I had bowhunted a few prior years, but no luck yet. My husband’s cousin and wife came to help shingle our new house, and the guys encouraged us ladies to take the afternoon off to go hunting. I was tucked up against a patch of willows in a ground blind on the east edge of a plot of Tall Tine Tubers enjoying my book with a distant sound of the nail gun on the roof. Seven deer, does and fawns, started to come into the southwest edge of the plot. They walked around pulling up turnips about 60 yards away from me well out of my range and headed to the north. They walked out of the plot, and I thought I wasn’t going to get a chance at them. They weren’t finished snaking though, and turned back to the east towards me. They kept walking a little closer as their heads were down munching away. Finally they were just under 30 yards away and the lead doe turned broadside! My heart was pounding but I was pretty confident, so I drew back and let my arrow fly! The deer took off running. I sat still, but I had to call my husband on my cell phone and whispered the good news. When I couldn’t sit still any longer, I got out of the blind and went and looked where I hit the doe. I found my arrow that was bloody but no good blood trail. She was probably closer to 32 yards away, so it was a little lower shot than I would have liked, so we waited over night to make sure she didn’t get up and run at all. The next morning, I had to go teach Sunday school, so my husband and his friend very kindly tracked (and gutted) my deer for me! She had only gone about 60 yards into the brush and laid down. Now I had my first deer ever and the two little boys in the picture were proud of their mom!

Jason Say – Pennsylvania Just wanted to send this photo of my 12-year-old son Colin’s first buck! They have been absolutely hammering the Whitetail Institute food plots on the new lease we have. This one came in and was just chowing down on the Pure Attraction. I was and still am obviously really excited and proud. Now it’s time to shoot one of the big ones that is coming in!

Kristi Soignet — Mississippi Here is a picture of my first buck taken last Dec. 30. His stats are: 8 point, 174 pounds, 18 inch inside spread. I was on family land in Mississippi, hunting in a box stand, overlooking a beautiful Imperial Whitetail Clover food plot. The morning started out very cold at about 24 degrees, I had to walk to the box stand where I had decided I wanted to hunt. I chose this stand because it was the easiest for me to get to and it had my heater in it. Little did I know it would turn out to be the hunt of a lifetime for me. I got to the stand about 5:45 a.m. I sat for a while in the dark with my heater on just listening for the woods to begin their symphony. For what seemed like ages I watched the squirrels play, running up and down tree trunks, jumping from branch to branch Around 9:00 a.m. I was getting cold again so I closed the windows and turned on the heater. After about 20 minutes I reached down to turn the heater off and when I sat up there was a buck in the road slightly to my right about 40 yards. No doubt he was a shooter. He went through a small patch of woods and walked into the food plot to my right like he didn't have a care in the world. I was so nervous because I had to get the window open, my gun out the window and the buck in my sights. At this point I refused to look at his head I only wanted to see where I wanted my bullet to go. I knew I had to get him to stop so I made a noise "mah". He stopped I eased the trigger back, NOTHING HAPPENED. In my excitement I had forgotten to take my gun off of safety, so I quickly did this. By this time he had started walking again but still not alarmed (???). I figured it worked once so I tried again “mah,” he stopped. Not taking my eyes off the spot right behind his shoulder I again eased the trigger back. "BOOM” I knew I hit him by the way he bucked and then he ran towards a patch of woods to my right. When he got to the edge of the woods he stumbled, got up and ran across the road to his left and into another patch of woods. By this time I was shaking so bad it took several attempts to call my husband. I told him “Come get me,” he said “you shot something,” all I could say was “a buck.” A short while later my husband and my brother-in-law pulled up on the 4-wheeler. They asked which direction he ran all I could do was point, that's when my brother-in-law said is that blood all over that tree. Sure enough when he stumbled at the edge of the woods he hit a tree and from there the blood trail was easy to follow. My husband stepped back and said “OK mama he's your buck, you lead.” Well I was just so overwhelmed by it all, my husband spotted my buck in the woods before I did just a few steps later. He turns to me with this look of pure joy and disbelief, “Kris, you got yourself a wall hanger.” My husband hugs me and says “Your mama was with you" (she passed away three months ago to the date). We went see my buck, I put my hands on that beautiful animal, everything after that was a blur. ^

Email your First Deer digital photos and story to info@whitetailinstitute.com or send them to Whitetail Institute of North America, 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala 36043, Att.: First Deer Dept. For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute

Vol. 24, No. 3 /

WHITETAIL NEWS 69


W H I T E TA I L I N S T I T U T E A P PA R E L CAPS All our Whitetail Institute caps and visors are made from top quality cotton, and feature detailed embroidered logos and graphics. Caps: $9.95, Visors: $8.95

Beige Logo Cap

Hunter Orange Logo Cap

Black Logo Cap

(Please add $5.50 for shipping and handling.)

Camo Logo Cap

Pink Ladies Logo Cap

Beige Logo Visor

SHORT SLEEVE TEES All our Whitetail Institute tees are made from 100% preshrunk cotton, and feature screen-printed back and breast pocket designs. Short Sleeve Tees: S-2X: $13.95, 3X: $16.55 (Please add $5.50 for shipping and handling.)

Back Design

Front Chest Design

Front Chest Design

Front Breast Design Upper Back Design

Whitetail Institute Official Logo Short Sleeve Tees

Upper Back Design

Whitetail Institute Short Sleeve Tees Available sizes: S to XXXL Available colors: Yellow, Black

Available sizes: S to XXXL Available color: White

70 WHITETAIL NEWS

/ Vol. 24, No. 3

Call Toll Free To Order: 1-800-688-3030 or Mail Your Order With Payment To: Whitetail Institute of North America, 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043 Fax Orders To: (334) 286-9723 www.whitetailinstitute.com


WHITETAIL NEWS VOL 24.3  

WHITETAIL NEWS VOLUME 24 ISSUE 3

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