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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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2 Tips For Successful Food Plots: Mowing and Broadcasting

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2 Tips For Successful Food Plots: Mowing and Broadcasting

1. Mowing Perennial Food Plots: Leave Some For the Deer

Mowing your perennials is essential if you wish to have attractive, palatable clover plots. However, you never want to mow all of your perennials at once! Always leave them something to eat. Your deer have been showing up every day for a reliable meal. If you “wipe the table clean” you run the risk of them hopping the fence to find a different source and you might not get them back. Rotate the areas you leave each time you mow so there is always a dependable meal there for your herd.

2. Broadcasting Food Plot Seed: Too Much Can Hurt

A common mistake when broadcasting seed onto a seedbed is putting it on much too thick. To ensure proper coverage, measure your area, measure the correct amount of seed and set your broadcaster lean so the seeds just start to come out. Then cover the area. Your goal should be to cover the entire area and still have seed left in the hopper. Then, go back over the same area (maybe in a different pattern) until all the seed is used up. This is the best way to ensure proper coverage with broadcasters that are not calibrated to speed or driven by the wheels turning.

For more tips on planting a successful food plot read: When Should You Plant Your Food Plot? When to plant can be just as important as what to plant. For example, a hunter in northern Minnesota who wants an all brassica blend should try to plant toward the end of July. On the other hand, a hunter in the deep South wouldn’t plant the same blend until late September.

 
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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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Food Plot Preparation: Plan Ahead for Success

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Late July and August can be a very busy month for wildlife management chores. Dove season is right around the corner as well as archery season for deer. Formulating a plan this time of year on what, when, and where you are going to plant cool season plots can save time and frustration. Waiting until the very last minute and scrambling to find seed, equipment or fertilizer can be a major headache.

Check Your Equipment Now

A great task for this time of year is to go ahead and do a food plot equipment check and see if any repairs are in order before planting season. Pull your tractor under a shade tree and make sure all fluids, belts, hoses, and tires are up to snuff and ready for use. Bush-hog blades can be checked for sharpness, and the gear box for the proper amount of fluid. Discs may have bearings or blades that need to be replaced, this is also a good time to grease all bearing fittings. Fertilizer and seed spreaders are always in need of some repair it seems. Give your spreader a good run through and see if there are any parts that need repair or replacement. These all seem like common sense farm chores, but doing them before planting season rolls around can help fall planting go much more smoothly by avoiding break downs in the field that cost you valuable time.

Killing Weeds Early Can Pay Off

It’s not too early to start thinking about getting fields ready for fall food plots. Fields that weren’t planted in a spring/summer annual are likely grown up in weeds and need some attention before putting a disc in the ground. Overgrown or fallow fields will work up much better if the existing vegetation is killed off. Tall weeds and grasses can be bush-hogged down and followed up by a non-selective herbicide application such as glyphosate. Killing the existing weeds and letting them get good and crispy makes discing or tilling much easier. This results in saving fuel from making less passes with equipment as well as conserving important soil moisture. Making more passes with a disc, plow, or tiller than is necessary can negatively affect your fields by increasing soil compaction and reducing important bacteria and microbes. If you have noticed that some of your round-up (glyphosate) applications are less effective, it is probably not resistant weeds but rather inefficient herbicide transfer to the target weeds. Most of us use well water on the farm to fill up our spray tanks, and this well water is notoriously hard water. This hard water can negatively affect your spray solutions by not allowing certain minerals to bond together. Adding ammonium sulfate (AMS) to your spray tank can greatly increase herbicide efficiency and give you much better kill on weeds. AMS is available in a liquid or water soluble granular form. The granular form is usually added at a rate of 10-17 lbs per 100 gallons of water and 1-3 quarts of the liquid AMS per 100 gallons.

To learn more about creating the best wildlife habitat possible check out: Want Better Wildlife Habitat? Planning Starts Now. Fall is just around the corner and this can be a great time to look at how your season is going and make a checklist of things you would like to improve in the coming year. Call it a new year’s resolution for wildlife management purposes.

 
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Deer Food Plot Tips : Creating Visual Barriers

Have you ever had a really nice food plot that the deer just didn’t seem to use that much, especially during the daylight? One really easy way to encourage whitetails to use a food source is making them feel safe by planting a food plot screen like BioLogic Blind Spot. The older age class of both bucks and does can be really shy of big, open fields or food plots that are void of close cover. Here are a few suggestions you can try to make your food plots as effective as possible.

  1. Creating Screens For Increased Daylight Activity

Create a screen around the perimeter of the plot or areas that allow the plot to be seen by a road or neighbors. We have seen great results from using tall growing blends like Blind Spot to create a transition zone from woods and thickets where the deer are coming from and the food plot. Planting a screen around the field can really help the deer have a b3 Beetter feeling of security and encourage daytime use. If you have plots that are easily seen by a neighboring property or public road, plant a screen to shield the view. You’ll be amazed how the deer know when they can’t be seen.

  1. Hide Your Stand Approach With Tall Varieties

Use blends like Blind Spot or Whistle Back to create a hidden path to your stand. We have all had one of those stands that was in a great spot for an afternoon hunt, but almost impossible to get to without being spotted. The 8-12 ft tall variety of sorghum in Blind Spot can make a great covered path to get you to your stand un-noticed. Just a tractor width wide planting is all it takes. [Read more…]

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Planting for Game Birds : A Little Goes a Long Way

Early June is a great time of year to think about getting some food planted for turkeys, quail, or other birds you plan to hunt. WhistleBack is a warm season blend of sorghum, three varieties of millets, Egyptian wheat, and sunflowers. This mix is designed to produce massive amounts of seed and at the same time offer cover for many species of upland birds. WhistleBack contains varieties that all grow and mature at different heights offering food to birds as small as quail and doves on up to pheasants or turkeys.

Our modern day food plot planting practices are not very conducive to feeding quail, turkeys, etc; we plant every available open piece of ground for our deer and figure the birds will be fine. It doesn’t take a large area to feed a lot of birds and designating a third or a quarter acre section out of some of your deer plots for a strip or perimeter of WhistleBack will go a long way in feeding your game birds.

The plant varieties in WhistleBack will mature around 90 days and once the seed heads mature and dry up, they will begin to naturally drop seeds providing feed for your birds through the fall and winter. This blend also makes a very good bedding area for deer when planted in larger plots, and it can be used for a buffer or a transitional zone between the woods or bedding areas and your other food plots.

The seeds in WhistleBack are all fairly small and ground preparation should be as follows. No-Till drills work great for this blend, and most drills have a setting for planting millet or sorghums. If using traditional planting methods, I would suggest spraying the area to be planted a week to ten days ahead of planting with a non-selective herbicide, such as glyphosate, to kill all existing vegetation. The ground to be planted can then be disked or tilled and then cultipacked to create a firm seed bed. WhistleBack can then be broadcast and lightly dragged or cultipack again to incorporate seed ¼ to ½ inch into the soil.

WhistleBack can use about 250 lbs of 13-13-13 per acre, or an equivalent. All the seed varieties in this blend are nitrogen lovers and it would benefit growth and seed production to implement a secondary nitrogen application 4-6 weeks after germination, much like you would corn. Do your part this year and designate some ground for feeding your game birds.

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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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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…]