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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…]

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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…]