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Pheasant Hunting 2017 Gary Howey

  It will not be long before the upland Game Bird season opens up. Several of the states are reporting that their pheasant numbers are down.

  I have talked with several wildlife biologists about this and they have given several reasons for the decrease in pheasant numbers.

  First is the fact that in some areas, they had dry year and moisture, the dew that the young chicks needed was hard to come by.  Secondly was the fact that last season’s numbers were also down.  Lastly, but probably the most important reason is the fact that much of our CRP had disappeared. When commodity prices were high and the dollars the government gave per acre for taking the fields out of production, into CRP were low and much of the CRP plowed under.

  Without the habitat, we just are not going to see the bird numbers others and I saw while growing up in Watertown, South Dakota during the “Good Old Days.”

  The reason that South Dakota has birds is simple; they realize the thousands of dollars their State bird, the Ringneck Pheasant brings into the state’s economy.

  South Dakota definitely have more habitat than Nebraska, the state I reside in and In Much of South Dakota; they farm for pheasants taking care of what habitat they do have.  They do a number of things to enhance the habitat, making it more attractive to wildlife.

  In South Dakota, you will see sloughs; some hold water while others are no more than muddy swamps.  When they plant trees, many of them are specifically suited for wildlife. Many farmers will leave a few rows of corn or sorghum in the field each year, helping wildlife to survive during the harsh South Dakota winters.  This habitat helps to assure that the birds have cover to protect them from predators flying overhead and the food and cover needed to make it through the long winter months.

  This, along with the fact that game preserves stock birds heavily helps to ensure good bird numbers during the season.

  Some folks have the misconception that pheasants can live in the row crops, the corn and bean fields.  Maybe, in years past, but not today as the row crops no longer have pigeon grass and weeds between the rows, they are clean.  Sure, pheasants will move into them to feed before harvest and on what little waste grain there is after harvest, but row crops do not cut it for wildlife habitat.

  In areas where there was dry weather, successful hunters this season may have to hunt areas adjacent to water.  It really does not have to be much, as a small slough, creek, or pond will work.

  Another tip that is worth listening to is to hunt the smallest tracts of land, patches of weeds etc. The larger CRP fields or state hunting grounds are hunted hard.  As soon as one group comes out one end, another group is heading in the opposite end of the field.

  Most hunters tend to pass up these small weed patches or small clumps of trees.  These places can really hold good numbers of birds, those pushed from the larger fields, find safety, and shelter in these small tracts of land.

  It does not take a Rhodes Scholar to figure it out, many of the larger tracts of land are hunted hard and the birds are looking for a place to rest and get away from all the noise and shooting. [Read more…]

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It’s Time to Start Planning Your Fall Food Plot

                                                                                                               

Fall is right around the corner and it’s time to start planning your Fall Food Plot,whether you have an existing food plot or starting a new one from scratch,it’s a great time to add trees. Tree’s provide browse, cover and food making them a smart long term investment to any property.

Fall planting gives two cooler, damper growing periods – fall and spring – before a new tree faces hot summer conditions. Fall really is a good time to plant because:
Shorter days, less intense sunlight, more rain, and the cooler temperatures of early fall mean less stress (i.e. “transplant shock”) 
Newly planted trees tend to lose less moisture through their leaves in fall than in summer, which lowers water demands.
Bugs and diseases that are in high gear during summer mostly wind down and/or disappear to hibernate as fall progresses.
Planting in the fall gives them a head start on growth the following spring. Root systems will start to grow once the ground thaws, long before the soil can be worked by human hands and any new plants can be put in.

Adding Dunstan Chestnut trees to your food plot can be as simple as clearing a “spot” for your tree or clear- cutting an area.  If you are planning on planting trees this fall, make sure the area is weed free by removing existing weeds or clearing a spot in your food plot so the tree doesn’t have to compete with weeds or annuals for water. Hand weed, use herbicide and or lay some ground cloth down to prevent weeds from choking out your tree.

Water is the single most important factor for tree survival. If the year you plant is like the severe drought experienced by the Midwest several summers ago, if you do not water your trees they will die. The truth is that many trees die from too little or too much water during the first few months after planting. Trees are likely to get too little water in well-drained soil and too much in soil that is poorly drained.

If you plant in the fall, water in at planting, and then 1x/week until they lose their leaves and go dormant with the onset of winter. Resume watering after leaf out in the spring. Make sure water is applied to the original root ball. Adjust water according to soil type, temperature, rainfall, and other irrigation.

It is not necessary to fertilize in the fall and in fact, we do not recommend it. Fertilizing too late in the season can cause trees to grow when they should be shutting down for the winter. This tender new growth, when pushed too late in the season is also more susceptible to winter injury.

During the first couple of years, chestnuts grow best when weeds and grass are kept away from the trunks. Also during their first few years of growth, the trunk should be protected with grow tubes. These are plastic tubes that act as mini-greenhouses that enhance the growth of young trees and give protection from the activities and feeding of deer, rabbits, and mice. They also help protect the tree from spray and drift from herbicide and offer some cold protection in late season frosts.

“Deer and other wildlife seek a variety of food types every day,” said R.D. Wallace from Chestnut Hill Outdoors. “If you’ve ever watched whitetails move through the woods, you know they stop frequently to nibble on leaves and mast. When you concentrate a variety of preferred foods in a relatively small area like a food plot and enhance it with mast-bearing trees like Dunstan Chestnuts, it creates a variety deer can’t resist. The deer are seeking the nutrition that other leafy foods do not provide. They’ll spend more time on your plot, which increases your chances of success.”

Chestnuts are chosen by deer over all other nuts because of their taste and nutrition. They are high in carbohydrates (40%), contain up to 10% high-quality protein. This provides the critical easily usable energy source over all other available foods during the Rut in the fall. Chestnuts have no bitter-tasting tannin – and a deer’s taste buds are 1,000 times as sensitive as humans. Deer prefer White Oak acorns over Red Oaks because they contain less tannin, and this is why deer prefer chestnuts over all acorn. Some Oaks can take decades to produce nuts, while the Dunstan Chestnut starts producing at 3 to 5 years!

The Dunstan Chestnut Tree is a great investment because it is an American x Chinese hybrid bred in the 1950’s by plant breeder Dr. Robert T. Dunstan, that is blight-resistant, produces early and annually. The Dunstan produces a large, sweet, easy to peel nut making it an excellent Orchardist tree for human consumption, as well as an excellent food plot tree.

We will start shipping our one-year-old Dunstan Chestnuts this fall at the end of September. The seedlings are 18 to 36″ tall shipped UPS in their pots to your doorstep. This is the perfect size/age to plant in fall, stick a grow tube on it and watch the growth begin in the Spring.

We are getting ready to ship two-year-old Dunstan Chestnuts in 3-gallon pots to specific Rural King stores. Chestnuts, Persimmons and Pear trees will be shipped to the Co-op feed Dealers this fall. Expected to arrive before or by Labor Day. A list of stores will be posted on our website and emailed to you as soon as it’s been confirmed. 

Please visit our website or call our office and ask about our Deer Candy and Deer Magnet Persimmons, Dr. Deer Pear and Thanksgiving Pear that will also be available for Spring 2018, to extend your harvest.

Visit our website: chestnuthilloutdoors.com or call our office 1-800-669-2067 for more info.

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More Habitat = More Wildlife Gary Howey

  The latest pheasant outlook for South Dakota just came out and I do not want to say it is a Doom and Gloom report, but they are indicating that the states pheasant numbers are down significantly.

  To some, especially those who do not live in the upper Midwest, those that travel a long ways to hunt the state bird may think twice about making the trip.

  Well, let me tell you, if I were those individuals, I would not let the report alter your plans as even if the numbers are down, which they could be, there are still more pheasants in South Dakota than in any two or three other states in the U.S.

   In South Dakota and other upper Midwestern states, there has been a huge acreage allocation of Conservation Reserve Plantings (CRP)  land and because of this new habitat, wildlife will not only survive, but also should eventually increase in numbers.

  In my neck of the woods, we are seeing a few more birds and the reason for that is because of the low commodity crop prices and the new CRP bill, which allows good quality land to be pulled out of production and planted to native grasses.  These fields that once produced row crops are now in the CRP program where trees and bushes are planted as well as native plants and grasses. These native grasses; Switchgrass, Indian Grass, Sedgegrass, Little Bluestem or Side Oats Grama which grow best in the heat of the summer will take longer to establish. The first year CRP plantings may look as if there are few grasses and wild flowers with a lot of weeds, but once these grasses start to grow, they will eliminate many of the weeds found in the field the first year. These grasses provide excellent wildlife habitat, giving not only pheasants, but also all wildlife a place to live.

  Some plantings are not huge, maybe just the irrigation pivot corners, while others could be a hundred acres or so, no matter what the size, every little bit helps. [Read more…]

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Improving Perennials for Early Season Whitetail

 

A lush and healthy perennial plot can be the perfect ambush site on early-season whitetails. If you have some good perennial fields such as clover, chicory, or alfalfa, here are some things you can do to get them sweetened up for that perfect 20-yard shot.

Fertilize for a Burst of Growth

A good dose of fertilizer just before the season can really help your clover take off and get that nice burst of growth when the moisture and cool temperatures from the early fall start coming in. A no nitrogen fertilizer such as 0-20–20 is perfect for legumes, clover and alfalfa. [Read more…]

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Clover Food Plots

Most companies will claim a lifespan of three to five years on their perennials. However, if you care for them properly a perennial stand can last for many years. Perennials like red and white clovers, alfalfa, trefoils and chicory provide dependable nutrition and attraction and are especially important for antler growth, fawn rearing and early hunting season attraction. If you decide to plant a perennial like Non-Typical Clover just follow these words of advice to get the most out of your food plot.

Test Your Soil

It is always beneficial to get a soil test done before you begin. The soil that you begin with will be significant in how long your perennials will last. The pH of your soil needs to be fairly neutral (6.2 to 7.5) if you want longevity from your stand. If you have acidic soil (or a low pH) it doesn’t mean that you can’t grow perennials, it just means that you need to incorporate some lime into the soil to raise the pH and reduce the acidity. With an initially neutral pH a perennial stand can grow-on for eight to ten years or more.

Mowing Clover Food Plots

Perennials should be mowed periodically during the growing season (at least three times). Mowing not only helps to keep broadleaf weeds and grasses at bay, but it also promotes new, more attractive, palatable growth on your perennials. Many people want to plant perennials, because they believe they will be less work since you only plant them once and they last for years but perennials actually need more “tractor time” than annuals. Perennials are less expensive for the production that you receive, but with the maintenance required they will take a bit more work than annuals if you wish to do it right.

Using Herbicide On Clover

In most regions of the country you may also find the need to treat your stand with a clover safe herbicide. Mowing will usually take care of broadleaf weeds, but in severe cases there may also be selective herbicides that will deal with the broadleaf problem, depending upon what type of plants are in your perennial stand. There are numerous brands of grass herbicides that will work over perennial blends like Clover Plus or Non-Typical. If you have questions, contact a habitat consultant at http://www.plantbiologic.com.

Fertilizer Your Clover

It is also important, if you want longevity from your perennials, to feed them from time to time. It’s best to fertilize with what your soil test results recommend. Most often the best fertilizer for clover will recommend around 300 lbs of 0-20-20 per acre annually. Many choose to fertilize at planting time and then during the spring annually thereafter. Some also believe that a boost of potassium during the late summer in the North, or early fall in the South, can increase cold hardiness of the stand. About 200-250 lbs of 0-0-60 per acre should suffice.

For more tips and tricks on caring for your food plots check out “7 Tips To Keep Weeds Under Control”. We know the most common problems in food plots, especially perennials, is weed competition. Weeds rob your plot of essential nutrients, water, and root space. Learn how to keep weeds under control.

 
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http://outdoorsmenadventures.com/13815-2/

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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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Controlling Weeds with 6 Easy Steps

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 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)  Understand What you’re Using

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)  Don’t Wait On the Weeds

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. [Read more…]

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3 Tips To Prepare For Spring And Summer

By this time of the year, most everyone’s hunting season is over or starting to wind down and not many guys are thinking about growing plots or feeding their deer. With some cold and nasty weather still possible for the next few weeks, it’s a great time to sit down and start planning for the upcoming growing season. There may be some things you thought of while sitting in your deer stand this fall that you would like to accomplish on the property you manage.

1)  Soil Preparation

One of the first things I like to do in February and March is pull soil samples on my plots and get them sent in to see if I need to add any lime and see what fertilizer will be needed for my warm season annuals that will be planted in late April/early May. If you had soil samples taken this fall you will already have an idea of where your plots are in needing lime or nutrients. Have an up to date sample of the areas you plant to plant this spring and if the ph is low, have lime spread in the late winter/early spring. This will give the ag lime time to start working on the soil for your spring/summer plots and also those fields that are left fallow through the summer and are typically only planted in the fall. Depending on the size of the screen that the lime is run through at the quarry, the granular consistency of ag lime can take several months to break down and begin to neutralize the acidity in your soil.

2)  Manage Your Perennial Food Plots

Many of us spend a good deal of time throughout the spring/summer managing and manicuring our perennial clover and chicory plots. If you planted perennials this past fall be sure and take the time to mow, fertilize, and spray them through the warm season so they will stay weed free and thriving. With good maintenance and favorable weather, you can get several years of production from a good perennial. Weed competition is the number one problem in managing perennial food plots. The first month after spring green up is when you will see the flush of weeds including grasses and broadleaves start to invade your fields. Catching these weeds early in the growth cycle and spraying them while they are young and actively growing will yield much better results than waiting to spray the weeds when they are more mature. In the south you may lose your clover to the hot weather and dry conditions in July and August, but if these fields are maintained properly through the spring and early summer, they will jump back out from dormancy in late summer/early fall much more quickly and back to that lush field it was in the spring. BioLogic will have two new herbicides called Weed Reaper available this spring for controlling both grasses and broadleaf weeds in legumes like clover.

3)  Equipment Maintenance

Another great time saver for this time of year is equipment maintenance. Your spray rigs, bush-hogs, tractors and trailers have been sitting most of the fall and winter and it’s a great idea to go ahead and do some routine maintenance. Getting your bush-hog blades sharpened and spray rigs calibrated and working properly can be a big time saver when done ahead of time instead of fighting leaking hoses, wore out bearings, and wore out pumps the day you need to be spraying or mowing. In February I like to get all the fluids changed out on my tractor and make sure everything is operating properly. You can also hook up your spray rig to check clamps, hoses, and valves for any possible cracks or leaks. Run clean water through the lines and make sure all nozzles and filters are clean and flowing properly. Late winter is also a good opportunity to go ahead and reserve rented equipment such as lime/fertilizer buggies, spray rigs, etc so you have it available on the dates you need.  

   

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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…]