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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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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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TIPS TO GET YOUR NEWLY PLANTED SEEDLINGS THROUGH THE HOT SUMMER

Protection

First and foremost, put tree protectors, A.K.A tree tubes, around each and every seedling on planting day. They accelerate growth and protect your plants from deer and other plant destroying critters. Don’t plant a tree without them.

Weed control

Aggressive weeds, including grasses, will rob your seedlings of necessary moisture and nutrients. You can provide mechanical control with a hoe or weedeater, or chemical control with a contact herbicide such as glyphosate. No matter your choice, keep at least a 3 foot radius weed free around your prized plants during the growing season. [Read more…]

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6 Tips for Drought Proofing Food Plots

WEST POINT, MS – This time of year means that parts of the whitetails’ range are or could soon be under a drought. Following these six steps for drought proofing food plots could mean the difference between having some food for deer or a complete withered failure.

Select the right location. You can’t just select any open spot and expect success. As an example, if you choose a spot that has beach sand for soil, you shouldn’t expect much. First and foremost, the site needs to be able to sustain your selected crop.

Time your planting properly. While we definitely have predetermined windows for when specific crops should be planted, one should be adaptable and open to planting when there is ample moisture to germinate the seed and get the new seedling off to a good start. Obviously, if you’re an absentee landowner, you may have a prearranged date on which you have to plant. But if you have the flexibility, you should wait until just before a rain event to ensure adequate soil moisture will be present.

Soil preparation may be the most important detail. These ideas will help to make more moisture available to your plant’s roots:

If soil moisture is limited or dry times are expected, it’s best to reduce the amount of times you turn the soil. Every time you work the soil valuable moisture is lost.  Frequent disking dries out the soil and leaves less moisture available for seed germination.
A tiller requires fewer passes to achieve the same results as a disk. It can create a suitable seedbed with a single pass, where a disk would require numerous passes to achieve the same results.
If you have a hard pan, removing the hard pan by sub-soiling periodically allows the plant’s roots to penetrate deeper so they’re able to access moisture that would otherwise be unavailable if a hard-pan is present. During dry conditions the presence of a hard pan causes the topsoil to dry out more quickly. Deeper roots result in increased drought tolerance. 
Eliminate weed competition. Unwanted competition will steal valuable moisture from your crop. Controlling competition with the correct herbicide is vital if you wish success during dry spells. Once your crop becomes established it will often shade out the competition, which also helps to conserve topsoil moisture. [Read more…]

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How Deep Should My Food Plot Seed be Planted?

How Deep Should My Food Plot Seed be Planted?

M.O.-Game Keepers (1)

One of the most common mistakes when planting food plots is improper soil coverage, whether it be too deep or to shallow. The question “how deep should I plant the seed?” is a question with several variables. Very small seeds such as rape, clover, chicory, turnips, or alfalfa need very little soil covering for good germination. Often times these small seeds get disced in or planted in a field with a fluffy seed bed with a lot of airspace and the result is very poor germination. These tiny seeds just don’t contain the energy to push up through 2 inches of dirt. [Read more…]

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4 TIPS FOR BECOMING A BETTER BOW HUNTER

M.O.-Game Keepers (1)With the warmer months of summer approaching quickly, archery season for big game is starting to feel not so distant. Some states have whitetail, elk, and mule deer seasons that start as early as mid August. It’s a cliché statement that’s it’s never too early to begin some practice shooting but it’s the truth. I committed last year to start shooting in June in preparation for archery season and a mid November hunt in the Midwest, I fully believe the extra practice paid off as I had to make a difficult 46 yd shot on the last day of the hunt.

  1. Practice

Weekly practice doesn’t have to be a chore, shooting a few dozen arrows 2-3 days a week can really help you stay tuned in to your equipment and form.

  1. Confidence

I still get excited anytime I’m fixing to get a shot on a whitetail, plenty of practice ahead of time gives you the confidence you can make the shot even with some buck fever. [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…]