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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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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…]

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GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR MINERAL SITES

M.O.-Game Keepers (1)This is one of my favorite times of the year. The anticipation of what might show up this year as the antlers begin to develop is always super high. I have even found myself in the past few years putting out Bio Rocks 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 Getting 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.

As with other hunting related tactics, studying an aerial map of the property you plant to create one or multiple mineral sites on can be helpful. As a general rule, one mineral site is needed for every 80-100 acres of land. If you have a high deer density, you may want to increase that rate a little. [Read more…]

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Supplemental Feeding for Optimal Growth

M.O.-Game Keepers (1)For land and property managers trying to get the most out of their deer herd, food plots have proven to be a great way to increase the overall nutrition needed for optimal growth. Along with quality food plots, a supplemental feeding program can really help your deer reach their genetic potential. Most people who assume their deer have “bad genetics” would be surprised with the kind of deer they could grow if they had proper year round nutrition.

1) Free choice trough style feeder

Providing supplemental feed in a free choice trough style feeder is a great way to relieve some of the physical stress on a whitetail’s body. Record Rack makes a product called Golden Deer Nuggets that has a great ratio of fats, carbohydrates, and protein to help deer recover from the rut and get them headed into the spring in top health. I have found deer utilize this just as much as corn and it has a much better nutritional content. Once spring green up hits, you can begin to use the Record Rack Professional 16 or 20% feed for the rest of the growing season.

2) Late Season Food

Deer that enter the spring in top physical shape, rather than having to repair and play catch up, have their best chance of reaching their genetic potential. Doe will have healthier fawns and bucks can have a head start on that next set of antlers when they have a steady nutritional late season/early spring food source. [Read more…]

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WEED-FREE FOOD PLOTS

A weed free food plot tucked into the woods somewhere is a beautiful sight. So how do you keep those pesky weeds out of your favorite spot? BioLogic’s new M.O.-Game Keepers (1)WEED REAPER GRASS CONTROL is designed to knock out all those unwanted annual and perennial grasses that are so common in food plots. Weeds rob your plot of essential nutrients, water, and root space. Given time and opportunity, weeds will quickly mature, produce seed, and overtake a well intended food plot. Weed Reaper herbicide is one of the greatest tools a GameKeeper can utilize to keep weeds under control and get the most out of your plantings. This new herbicide is designed to spray over clover, chicory, alfalfa, beans, peas, lablab and any other broadleaf or legume plot. Use these tips when spraying Weed Reaper for best results.

1. Read The Label – The information on the herbicide labels contain great info and will identify what weeds they control and what crops it is designed to protect.

2. Spray when grasses are young and thriving – If you wait to spray when they are tall and mature, the results will often be less than desirable. If weeds are already tall and maturing, mow first and return 7-10 days later to spray the new re-growth.

3. Spray in good conditions – Cloudy and still days are best. Windy and rainy days do not make for good conditions to spray in. [Read more…]

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3 Tips for Seeing and Harvesting Bigger Bucks

M.O.-Game Keepers (1)Most hunters want to see more and bigger bucks on their hunting property. Some believe it will take a long time and be too much work so they never even try. In fact, it really doesn’t take that much effort to see noticeable results and as far as time, remember it normally takes four years for a buck to produce a trophy caliber “crown.” With a small amount of planning and a little patience, these three strategies will show big results over a relatively small amount of time. Just like most things – “you get out of it, what you put into it.” 

1) Selective Harvest

How difficult is it to squeeze a trigger or free a bow string? Selective harvest can be the most important of these three tactics for several reasons. For one, obviously, dead deer don’t grow. A buck must be allowed to reach maturity to really show you his best set of antlers.

Because of how dispersal works in the whitetails’ world, you must also harvest does. A given piece of land will hold and sustain “X amount” of deer. Because of the territorial tendencies of whitetails, if you aren’t removing some does a large matriarchal society that just keeps getting bigger and bigger will develop. Then, when a buck disperses from his birth range and begins searching for where he will take root and spend the rest of his life, he may not be able to stay on your property because all of those spaces are filled by does. To see more bucks balancing the ratio is very important.

Because of the stress that an imbalanced buck to doe ratio causes, by balancing the ratio you will also see bigger bucks. Because of having to breed more does than each buck should along with other social stress factors, you should see a noticeable increase in antler size if you balance the sex ratio. By removing does you also cut down on the amount of mouths feeding on the remaining food. Harvesting the correct amount of does can be a win/win/win. [Read more…]