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Establishing Spring Food Plots

With spring in full swing and the woods coming to life after a long winter hiatus, the opportunities for improving habitat for wildlife are numerous. If you live in the south, the soil temperature is ripe for planting, and the Midwest and north are not far behind. If you have had problems in the past establishing spring and summer plots for your deer because of over browsing and high deer numbers, trying to time your planting to coincide with spring green up can be a big advantage. Whitetails love the fresh growth that the woods and thickets explode with during that first few weeks of green up. There is no other time of year when there is such an overwhelming amount of fresh browse

from such a variety of plants. This explosion of vast amounts of new food throughout the woods can take a lot of pressure off of your plots and give them a chance to get some established growth that is more tolerant of browse pressure. It can be hard to realize that you can plant warm season plots like BioLogic’s LabLab or BioMass All Legume this early in the year, but once the threat of frost is gone and soil temperatures warm up to the upper 50’s, it is game on. Also remember to try BioLogic’s Plot Protector kit, this is what I rely on to make sure our plots get established and feed our deer for the entire summer.

 

 

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Managing Whitetails with Minerals: Easy & Effective

Managing Whitetails with Minerals: Easy & Effective very simple but favorite management chore of mine in the spring is establishing new mineral sites. The anticipation of what might show up that year as the antlers begin to develop is always super high. I have even found myself in the past few years putting out mineral rocks and supplements in urban landscapes and backyard woodlots just to see what deer frequent the area even though I have no intention of hunting there. Creating new mineral sites can be especially exciting when you have a new piece of ground to investigate and see what deer are living there and what the potential of the area is. Refreshing old mineral sites or creating new ones is also a good family and kid friendly management activity. It doesn’t require any heavy equipment or long hours, and can be a great way to help teach kids some woodsmanship along the way and why whitetails use mineral licks.

So how do you establish a productive mineral site? It may seem as simple as pouring it in a depression you dig up with your boot or throwing a Bio Rock out on the edge of a food plot. These scenarios will work to a degree, but I like to put a little more thought and effort into my mineral sites and try to get the most out of them in terms of attraction, utilization, and trail camera use for getting an inventory on the deer that are using the area as well as identifying bucks through unique characteristics. [Read more…]

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Managing Whitetails with Minerals: Easy & Effective

A very simple but favorite management chore of mine in the spring is establishing new mineral sites. The anticipation of what might show up that year as the antlers begin to develop is always super high. I have even found myself in the past few years putting out mineral rocks and supplements in urban landscapes and backyard woodlots just to see what deer frequent the area even though I have no intention of hunting there. Creating new mineral sites can be especially exciting when you have a new piece of ground to investigate and see what deer are living there and what the potential of the area is. Refreshing old mineral sites or creating new ones is also a good family and kid friendly management activity. It doesn’t require any heavy equipment or long hours, and can be a great way to help teach kids some woodsmanship along the way and why whitetails use mineral licks. [Read more…]

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PDR Hunt 2016 by Gary Howey

“It’s not about the harvesting of a deer as much as telling the story each kid has of overcoming significant limitations”.

  Clark, S.D. We at Outdoorsmen Adventures television  had the privilege to send our film crew to Clark, South Dakota in September to film at the ninth annual PDR Disabled Youth Deer Hunt.

  Dean Rasmussen, Clark, S.D. developed the hunt honoring his grandson Payton Dean Rasmussen whose life was taken by spinal meningitis in 1999.

  Dean says that the hunt would not have gotten off the ground without the support from many people, including landowners, businesses and agencies.  Sponsored events includes, all arrangements, food, overnight accommodations, rifle, ammunition, deer stands, and transportation to and from the field, all of which are provided to the hunters at no cost.  

  The P.D.R. Youth Hunt allows young children with disabilities to enjoy a carefree weekend of hunting where friends and memories are made.

  The celebration begins the afternoon before when the hunters get an opportunity to meet and to have an opportunity to check out and zero their weapons at the shooting range set-up at the Day Betterment Lodge outside of Clark, S.D. followed by a barbecue dinner. 

  Rasmussen indicated, “Parents and others tell them the biggest reason kids like to come isn’t always because of the hunting experience, although that’s special to them, what they really enjoy is being accepted as they are. For this one weekend, the kids feel like any other kid. The community of Clark is a special place.”

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The youth that attended this years 2016 PDR Youth Hunt with Dean Rasmussen, (Center) Director of the hunt .

that attended this years 2016 PDR Youth Deer hunt in Clark, S.D

  There were twelve youth hunters attended this year’s event from throughout South Dakota and Minnesota hunters at this year event which included; Lane Smith from Gary,  S.D., Austin Clark,  Sioux Falls, S.D., Jorden Steltz, Ortonville MN., Logan Morey, Harrisburg, S.D.,  Marcus Van Dam, Coleman, S.D., Calvin Lozinski, Tauton, MN., Cameron Lewis, Mission Hill, S.D., Ethan Kittelson Good Thunder, MN., Logan Winkelmann Hector, MN, James Byukkonen Tripp, S.D., James Brown Centerville, S.D., and Felicia Charging Elk Gettysburg, S.D. 
 

[Read more…]

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Getting High on Deer Hunting By Gary Howey

The buck was at least two hundred fifty yards out and if something didn’t divert him, he would walk right into the shooting lane I had cleared during pre-season, well within bow range.

  As he dropped into a swale, I cautiously took my bow from the holder, attached my release to the string and waited for him to come over the rise.

 As he came back up on the trail, he glanced from side to side and then stopped,  I knew he couldn’t smell me as the wind was in my face and before coming out had used every scentless product available, using a good cover scent before making my way to my stand.  Once I was there, I checked the wind again, just to make sure it hadn’t changed.

  I was sure I had done everything I needed to do, as I wasn’t moving; my tree stand was camouflaged, as were my bow, face, hands, clothing, backpack and boots.

  The buck stopped, its head moved slowly from right to left, then raised and lowered his head, stomped the ground, snorted and that was the last I saw of him.  I didn’t have any idea as to what has had spooked him; it just didn’t make any sense.

  Somehow, the buck knew I was there but how could he do it, I was motionless, had my stand high in the tree and yet it had me pegged.

  Anyone who has spent much time hunting deer had a similar experience and been busted by a deer’s keen senses.  Most of us have spooked a deer and left scratching our heads, trying to figure out what happened. [Read more…]

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Pre-Season Scouting A little thing that really Pays Off By Gary Howey

  Have you ever noticed how some hunters can be a whole lot more successful that all other hunters that hunt in the same area?

  If you ask a dozen of these hunters why this one individual or Top Gun is so successful, you’ll probably get a dozen different answers.

  Some may say that it’s because he has better habitat and then there’s those that might suggest that no one can be that successful year after year and hunt legally.

  The majority of the hunters may not have a clue, figuring that someone got lucky and continued hunting as they always have and continue to have limited success.

  Once a few of these hunters do their homework, they’ll figure out what they need to do to become as successful as the Top Gun is.

  The homework I’m referring to is “Pre-Season Scouting” or getting out into the field prior to season so you know what’s out there, their favorite location throughout the day and their travel routes.

  Some of you might think that scouting is only for deer hunters, not really as a hunter who gets out into the woods or field before season is way ahead of the game when it comes to opening day.

  Let’s break it down by species and see how scouting will give you one up on the hunter that simply goes out on the first day of the season.

Doves

Dove hunting is a great sport, but without doing some sort of pre-season scouting, and once the season opens, you’re going to do a lot of running around looking for places to hunt which means you’ll have a lot less time for hunting doves.

  Before the season starts, my hunting partners and I are looking for large concentrations of birds. We look for them sitting on high lines, around dams or a food source.

  There is several things doves need, but the main things they require are nesting areas, feed and water.

  Generally in the area where doves roost or nest you’ll find power lines, and there’s nothing doves like better than to rest on an elevated area, allowing them to look things over. Therefore, if you spot a group of doves close to a tree line, it’s a safe bet that that’s where the birds roost.

  Searching out areas where the dove feed is another place you need to check out. Doves love wheat, hemp and ragweed seed, but will make use of any seed they can get their beak around. If there is a harvested wheat field or a weedy draw that contains hemp or ragweed, you can bet that sometime during the day, doves will be in the area will be there filling their crops in these areas.

  Water is what every creature needs and doves after feeding when they are on their way to their roost will have to stop by some dam or stock pond to get a drink before calling it a day. You’ll want to look for a pond that has a bare shoreline as doves need to walk down to the edge of the water to get a drink and will avoid ponds with weeds growing right to the water’s edge.

  If you find a pond with a bare shoreline near what the birds are feeding on as they make their way back to their roost, you best be set up late afternoon just before the sun sets as the birds will be coming to you.

Pheasants [Read more…]

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My Journey into Big Game Hunting By Gary Howey

Hunting Big Game is a great sport, especially when you’re a young kid that grew up in northeastern South Dakota.

  My journey into the sport of Big Game hunting started out rather innocently!  I grew up in Watertown, South Dakota and was always looking for another outdoor adventure, joining Cub and Boy Scouts and reading their publication from front to back as it had stories and information on camping and other outdoor activities.  Then I looked for and read every adventure book available, and especially liked those written by Jack London and similar writers.

  It was my way of getting away, going to places, I thought I would never have the opportunity to go to, and these books opened my eyes to a much larger world than I lived in.

  My idea of hunting when I was a kid growing up in Watertown was being out with my BB gun after stripped gophers in a pasture, stalking squirrels in the woods and rabbits along the Sioux River.

  I loved it, even though many times, I’d come home without firing a shot, yet it was still a great experience and what got me into hunting.  If I hadn’t done it, I may have never gotten into any other type of hunting.

  As I got older, ten or eleven, Watertown Recreation had archery classes at the auditorium, which I took and later became a member of the archery club.

  The archery equipment was furnished by Recreation and we had what we thought was Hi-Tech equipment, our thirty- pound fiberglass recurve bows that shot the best cedar arrows, a dollar could buy!

  We competed in an archery tournament in Minnesota and when we came to the line and looked at all the contestants with laminated wood bows with stabilizers and such; we darn near turned around and went home.

  We were shooting field targets that looked like they were set up a football field away and because our group had only shot short distances, inside the Watertown auditorium, we didn’t have a clue.

  Just as we were about to start the competition, it started to drizzle and after a couple of rounds, the glue holding the fletching on our cedar shafts let go and what little accuracy we had quickly went out the window.

  It’s a wonder I ever picked up a bow again, but I’m glad I did as hunting with a bow has allowed me to expand my hunting experience.

  What exactly is Big Game?  To some, Big Game may not be deer, but to me, someone who, as a youngster only hunted with a BB gun, having the opportunity to go after deer, antelope, bear and elk was Big Game hunting to me.   [Read more…]

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5 TIPS FOR BETTER SOIL PREP

The late summer/early fall planting season is quickly approaching, for guys that live in the far North it’s here. We are often asked what are some tips for good seed bed prep. I believe one of the biggest reasons for poor seed bed prep is trying to work soil with too much green or overgrown vegetation. This problem is magnified when coupled with inadequate equipment.

It is really tough to prepare a good seed bed when you are trying to disc or till under massive amounts of green vegetation. Your disc or tiller simply can’t work as it is supposed to with the tonnage of grass and weeds in the way. A properly timed non selective herbicide application can kill the unwanted weeds and dry them down where your equipment can function much more efficiently saving you a lot of tractor/atv time and fuel.M.O.-Game Keepers (1)

Many who are unfamiliar with herbicides are afraid of spraying a non selective herbicide like round-up (glyphosate) in fear that it may affect their planting. Glyphosate is a contact only herbicide and has no soil or residual activity, in other words if it doesn’t touch the green tissue of a living plant it is non effective. This allows you to spray very close to your planting time to help your crop get a jump start on any weeds. The ideal timing for mowing and spraying can take 2-4 weeks before planting to really get good results, so the time to act is now.

Follow these tips for good pre–planting herbicide applications. [Read more…]

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Now’s is the Time to Prepare for Deer Season! Gary Howey

  One of the major mistakes that deer hunters make is to put off their preparation for deer season until just prior to the opener.

  Deer spend most of their life within a small area and are used to what they see, day in and day out.

  The woods deer live in could be compared to our homes and since we’re in it every day, if something is moved or missing; we’re going to notice it.

  It’s the same way in the woods, if there’s a drastic change in their environment, they’re going to notice it and stay clear until they’re certain that it’s not something that’s going to harm them.

  Deer and other wildlife have to be cautious, as every large predator in the woods are out to make them into their next meal, so if something changes and they aren’t used to it, they’ll become weary and change their patterns.

  This is why it’s a good idea to get ready for this falls deer season as early as possible because, any changes you make now gives the deer time to adjust to them.

  This isn’t much of a problem if you hunt out of the same stands year in and year out because those dark objects in the trees (deer stands) have always been there.

  However, because deer patterns change, chances are you’re going to have to do some modification no matter how long your stand has been there.

  There are several reasons why deer patterns will change, one of these is if the adjacent landowners cropping system changes from corn to bean or from alfalfa to some other crop.

  Changes such as these may cause the deer to not use or quit using the same trails that run into these fields; those, that in past years have ran right past your stand.

  Another might be that emerging vegetation and new trees down the line from your stand now force the deer to swing wide, farther away from the stand, you hunt out of making it a longer shot or out in an area where you have no shot. [Read more…]

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5 FIXES FOR OVER-BROWSED FOOD PLOTS

M.O.-Game Keepers (1)Let’s face it, if you have a problem with your food plots being browsed-down by the time hunting season begins, the problem is likely that you have too few food plot acres for your deer density – simply put, you have too many mouths to feed and not a big enough “kitchen.” Here are some tricks to help you save some of that attractive forage for when you decide to “ring the diner bell.” However, the cure for the problem is aggressive doe harvest and/or increasing your food plot acreage so you overwhelm your herd with abundant forage.

1) Add a Nurse or Cover Crop

Including another food plant that is also attractive or a cover source that grows taller and helps shield the lower growing plants can help deflect pressure. Planting oats or wheat with clover is a prime example.

Blends like Premium Perennial and Perfect Plot are designed with this in mind and come already mixed with brassicas and cereal grains that provide a nurse crop that helps to protect the clovers and chicory. Deer feed on the taller, faster-growing brassicas and grains while the clover and chicory establish themselves. For warm season annuals corn, sorghum, or sunflowers can be combined with cowpeas, lablab, soybeans, or BioLogic’s BioMass all Legume. The taller plants will help shelter the legumes until they can withstand browsing pressure.

2) Milorganite Fertilizer

This is a fertilizer made from bio-solids left after processing sewage sludge. It really doesn’t smell as bad as you may think, but deer do not like it. It can lose its sting after a while, but after the initial application it has fair success at repealing whitetails. [Read more…]