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  • Whitetail Institute of North America

    239 Whitetail Trail / Pintlala, AL 36043

    Phone: 334-281-3006 / Fax: 334-286-9723



    Volume 21, No. 3 $4.95





    PERMIT NO.314

  • 5 x 6

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  • Whitetail InstituteOFFICERS AND STAFF

    Ray Scott Founder and PresidentWilson Scott Vice President of Operations Steve Scott Vice President, Executive Editor

    William Cousins Operations Manager Wayne Hanna, Ph.D. Agronomist & Director of Forage Research Mark Trudeau National Sales ManagerJustin Moore, Frank DeeseWildlife Biologists Jon Cooner Director of Special Projects

    Brandon Self, John White Product Consultants Daryl Cherry, Greg Aston, Javin Thomas Dealer/Distributor Sales Steffani Hood Dealer/Distributor Analyst Dawn McGough Office Manager Mary Jones Internet Customer Service Manager Teri Hudson Internet and Office Assistant David Dickey Shipping Manager

    Bart LandsverkWhitetail News Senior EditorCharles Alsheimer, Tracy Breen, Jim Casada, Matt Harper, Brad Herndon, Bill Winke, R.G. Bernier, Bill Marchel, Michael Veine, Dr. Carroll Johnson, III,

    Ted Nugent, Dean Weimer, David Hart Contributing WritersSusan Scott Copy Editor George Pudzis Art Director Wade Atchley, Atchley Media Advertising Director

    Page 8

    Page 16

    Page 32

    In This Issue

    Features5 Intr

    oducing a New

    Perennial for 2012

    Imperial Whitetail Ed


    By Whitetai

    l Institute Staff

    The Whiteta

    il Institute of North

    America is proud t

    o announce the

    development and r

    elease of a

    perennial forage m

    ixture that

    combines heat tole

    rance, drought

    tolerance and wint

    er hardiness in a

    single mix that de

    er absolutely


    8 Why Deer Ea

    t What They

    Eat Unraveling t



    By Matt Har


    The answer

    is simple: For food


    to be effective, dee

    r must utilize them


    so it is important t

    o have an

    understanding of w

    hy deer eat what

    they eat, and the a

    nswers can all be

    found in the openin

    g paragraph;

    availability, taste an

    d digestibility.

    12 PowerPlant

    Racing Fuel

    for Antler Growth

    By Jon Coo


    If you want

    to win that race by


    your deer grow th

    e largest antlers

    they can by fall, yo

    ull need a special

    high-protein racing

    fuel. That fuel is

    Imperial Whitetail Po


    16 Turkeys: The S

    pring Food

    Plot Equation

    By Sam Par


    Often, the

    best food options f


    longbeards are log

    ging roads, wildlife

    openings and food

    plots with the

    years first green sh

    oots of vegetation.

    19 Follow the D


    for Planting Succe


    By Wilson S


    Much has b

    een written in thes

    e pages

    about the Institute

    s exhaustive

    product developme

    nt, real-world

    testing and produc

    t preparation. You

    might not have rea

    lized, though, that

    the Institutes comm

    itment to product

    quality extends eve

    n to its planting-

    date recommendat

    ions and planting

    instructions, so do

    nt cut corners with


    24 Springtime is

    Spray time

    By Whitetai

    l Institute Staff

    32 A Passion for


    Unites Family

    By Tracy Bre


    Long before

    husband and wife


    hunting teams wer

    e part of the

    outdoor TV landsca

    pe, and long

    before there were

    outdoor programs

    dedicated to gettin

    g women involved

    in the outdoors, Ja

    nice Maxfield was


    36 Why I Plant i

    n Spring

    By Dean We


    44 Write Your O

    wn Hunting

    History Logbook

    is a

    Tool for Success

    By Whitetai

    l Institute Staff

    48 The Ever-Pre

    sent Question:

    Nutrition vs. Attra


    By Matt Har


    54 10 Reasons Fo

    od Plots Fail

    By Brad Her



    4 A Message fr

    om Ray Scott

    11 Food Plot Pla

    nting Dates

    30 Field Testers


    Stories a

    nd Photos

    40 Record Book


    Stories a

    nd Photos

    42 The Weed Do


    64 First Deer

    The Future

    of Our Sport

    www.whitetailinstitute.com For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute Vol. 21, No. 3 / WHITETAIL NEWS 3

  • 4 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

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    A MESSAGE FROM RAY SCOTTFounder and President Whitetail Institute of North America

    Your Own Back Yard

    There is a song from the Roaring Twenties that tells us happiness lies rightunder your eyes back in your own back yard. I heard that sentimental oldsong recently on a player piano and I had to agree. I know that the bestthings literally ARE in my own back yard in Central Alabama.

    Because thats how I feel about my part of the world with its great huntingand fishing. The area I call home is known as the Black Belt, a geographicalregion named for its rich dark soil. It cuts a swath across the state from east towest and as you can imagine from its definition, it enjoys a longstanding and his-toric agrarian tradition. Even better, it is home to superb natural resources,including two of Americas favorite game critters whitetail deer and blackbass.

    I dont think its any coincidence that my hometown of Montgomery is thebirthplace of no less than three influential outdoor organizations. It is where Ifounded the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) in 1968 and it is whereJackie Bushman founded Buckmasters, built Im proud to say, on the basic modelof B.A.S.S. Then in 1988 I founded the Whitetail Institute of North America,inspired by my frustration at not being able to find a really good whitetail forageand my determination to improve the less-than-desirable deer quality we suf-fered with at the time. Im happy to say both situations were taken care of.

    With my interest in both hunting and fishing, I was excited when I was invitedto participate in a new state initiative called Alabama Black Belt Adventures, a

    program designed to spotlight and promote the states exceptional outdoorresources, especially its hunting and fishing lodges. Thats frankly what promptedme to open my own bass lakes and home to a limited number of groups at RayScotts Trophy Bass Retreat.

    As much as anything however, I felt gratitude knowing that there are individu-als out there who not only treasure our outdoor heritage on a personal level butare willing to expend considerable time and energy to protect and enhance itsfuture for all.

    I know that similar efforts on local levels or statewide are being made allover the country, sometimes against a mighty strong headwind. Hunting is asacred tradition in the Black Belt and the South in general. However, in a fewother regions, hunters must fight constantly simply not to lose ground.

    But with perseverance and the kind of knowledge and support the WhitetailInstitute provides, we can be more certain that the next generation of whitetailhunters will continue a proud tradition of responsible management and dedica-tion to conservation principles that will ensure that our sport not only survivesbut thrives in all of our own backyards.

    Ray Scott

  • The Whitetail Institute of NorthAmerica is proud to announce thedevelopment and release of a peren-nial forage mixture that combines heat toler-ance, drought tolerance and winter hardinessin a single mix that deer absolutely devour.Imperial Whitetail Edge is the latest additionto the Whitetail Institutes industry-leadingline of forage products for deer. Edge is theresult of five years of the same scientificresearch, development and real-world testingprocess that make Whitetail Institute forageproducts the gold standard of the industry.That means you can rest assured that Edgewill perform well in a variety of climatesranging from Florida to Canada and attractdeer like a magnet.


    Extremely palatable forageto deer that provides out-standing energy and nutri-tion

    Five years in WhitetailInstitutes research, develop-ment and testing program

    Perennial mixture (last up to 5 years from asingle planting with proper management)

    Up to 44 percent protein Penetrating and prolific root systems which

    enhance drought and heat tolerance Winter hardy Best performance on medium/heavy to mod-

    erately well-drained soils Optimum soil pH: 6.5 to 7.5


    The Whitetail Institutes research, develop-ment and testing process are entirely goal-ori-ented. That goal is product quality and high per-formance in a wide range of categories thatinclude: early seedling vigor, rapid stand estab-lishment, drought and heat tolerance, diseaseresistance, persistence, nutritional content and,of course, attractiveness to whitetails. Over thefive years of Whitetail Institutes research, devel-opment and testing of this product, Edge hasmet or exceeded the Whitetail Institutes strin-gent standards which ensure success for yourherd management and hunting success.


    Like most other Whitetail Institute forageproducts, Edge is a carefully designed blend ofseveral plant species that have traits that pro-vide optimum performance in the field and opti-mum results for your deer herd.

    We use blends for a couple reasons: 1) Rarelywill a single plant type perform at the highestlevels in all test categories; 2) Mixtures canadapt to the variable growing environments andconditions found throughout different growingregions and even in the variable conditions ofyour own food plot. You will find one of thecomponents may be predominant in shady, wetarea, while another component prevails in asunny, dry area.

    Because all the components are selected forfield performance and deer preference andnutritional benefits, the flexibility of the blendensures good food availability and nutritionthroughout your entire food plot. Thats why theWhitetail Institute takes such care in selectingforage components that complement eachother, and then determine the optimum ratios inwhich to combine them.

    As a result, you can be sure that, like allWhitetail Institute products, Edge is well suitedto a broad range of environments from theSoutheastern U.S. to Alberta, Canada, and ishighly preferred by deer. Edge contains the fol-lowing forage components, some of which willbe familiar to those who have planted otherWhitetail Institute perennials. Edge includes

    www.whitetailinstitute.com For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute Vol. 21, No. 3 / WHITETAIL NEWS 5

  • proprietary forage varieties available only in Whitetail Institute products.Persist Forb: The backbone perennial in Imperial Whitetail Extreme.

    Sweet, deeply rooted, cold/heat tolerant, and drought resistant. Persistperforms well on light to medium-heavy soils in well-drained sites.Optimum soil pH of 6.5-7.5. X-9 Grazing Alfalfas: The same high-tech grazing alfalfas found in Alfa-

    Rack Plus. Deeply rooted, winter hardy and extremely attractive to deer.Because these are true grazing alfalfa varieties, they have an excellentleaf-to-stem ratio. Like any alfalfa, X-9 grazing alfalfas should be planted insoils with soil pH of 6.5 or above. WINA Perennial Forage Chicory: The same proprietary perennial forage

    chicory found in Imperial Whitetail Chic Magnet, Alfa-Rack Plus andExtreme. Deeply rooted. More palatable to deer because its leaves dontbecome leathery and waxy like other chicories traditionally planted fordeer. Specially Selected Sainfoin Variety: High-protein legume that produces

    protein levels similar to those produced by high-quality alfalfas. Sainfoin isa non-bloating legume which increases palatability. Winter hardy as well asdrought and heat tolerant to withstand hotter, dryer environments. Thesainfoin variety included in Edge has been specially selected for its out-standing deer preference compared to all other sainfoin varieties tested bythe Whitetail Institute. WINA Golden-Jumpstart Annual Clovers: These are the same propri-

    etary clovers included in other Whitetail Institute perennial and annual for-age blends. These clovers sprout and grow very rapidly, providing fastgreen-up and attraction.


    Edge includes Rainbond, a high-tech coating component that containswater-absorbing polymer beads. These polymer beads act like a mini-reservoir, absorbing up to 200 times their weight in water that would nor-mally be lost to evaporation or percolation through the soil, and keeping itright next to the seed as it germinates. The beads continue to absorb morewater as the moisture in them is depleted. The seed coating and Rainbondon Whitetail Institute products dramatically improves seed-to-soil contactwhich is critical for successful seed germination and plant establishment.


    Planting Dates. Edge is suitable for spring or fall planting in most areas,and during a single yearly planting date window in others. Planting mapsfor the United States and Canada are provided on the back of the productbags as well as on-line at www.whitetailinstitute.com. Soil Type, Drainage and Soil pH. Edge is designed for medium or heavy

    soils in sites that are moderately well drained. As with any alfalfa or prod-uct containing alfalfa, soil pH should be within neutral range (6.5-7.5) at thetime of planting. Equipment Requirements. Equipment required to prepare the seedbed

    for Edge and to maintain the established forage is the same as for anyWhitetail Institute perennial forage product. Seedbed preparation includesthe incorporation of lime (when soil pH is below 6.5) by disking or tilling,and smoothing the seedbed with a cultipacker or drag-type implement toeliminate soil cracks and spaces before seeding. Maintenance includesmowing a few times in the spring and, if possible, once as fall approaches.Edge stands should also be sprayed for grass each spring if needed. Bag Sizes. Edge is available in 1-acre (26 lbs.) and 1/4acre (6.5 lbs.)

    sizes. If you have any additional questions about new Edge, call the Whitetail

    Institutes in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030. The call and the serv-ice are free. W

    6 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

    The Whitetail Institute239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

    Research = Results

  • Is it is just me or does it seem like sometimeduring the past 20 years our communitieshave been inundated with eating establish-ments? When I was a kid, we had two restau-rants in my hometown, one where you had cof-fee (maybe breakfast if you were lucky) and theother you went to after church on Sunday fordinner (lunch for city folks). And at these dinersyour choices were anything that included meatand potatoes, maybe eggs at the breakfast joint.Today, I think there are more than 12 restaurantsin that town with food to match any dining pref-erence including a host of ethnic foods andgood old Americana. Actually your choices areendless, which can be good or bad dependingon the flexibility of your digestive tract. I am nottoo adventurous when it comes to trying newfood but I did try some Thai food one time andlets just say I spent a lot of time alone for thenext few hours.

    So you may be asking yourself what all thisrambling about food and restaurants has to do

    with food plots and deer management.The answer is simple. For food plots to be

    effective, deer must utilize them, so it is impor-tant to have an understanding of why deer eatwhat they eat, and the answers can all be foundin the opening paragraph; availability, taste anddigestibility.


    Over the past few years I have had huntersshare with me literally hundreds of differentfood stuffs that they swear deer love. There arethe obvious ones but add to that pumpkins,watermelons, all types of landscaping plants,cattle feed and on and on. On one occasion, Ihad someone tell me that deer love fescue. Ihave never experienced this nor have I heard ofdeer eating fescue with regularity and certainlynot as a preference. I asked him what types offorages the deer in his area have available tothem. He answered with the enlightening state-

    ment that fescue was just about the only avail-able food source.

    So basically, the deers choices were starvingor eating the fescue. I have also had huntersshare with me the food plot forages that theyfeel work the best in terms of deer preference. Afew of the forage types mentioned were a bitsurprising in that they were varieties that nor-mally do not win the deer attraction contest.After a bit more inquiry I discovered that inmost cases, the forages they were growing werethe only ones that would grow successfully inthe type of soil in which they were planting, thusthe only forages available to any degree.

    In these cases, I like to use the analogy ofgoing to a buffet. If you show up early at thebuffet and youre greeted with a plethora ofchoices including your favorite juicy rib eyesteak, what do you think you will choose? Nowlets say you get stuck in traffic and you get tothe buffet line late in the evening. The choiceshave been picked over pretty good and all that

    8 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

    By Matt HarperPhotos by the Author

    Even though standing corn is available, deer are often-times drawn to the brassicas underthe snow. If you didnt have brassicas, the deer

    would likely be in standing corn.

  • is left is some dried-out meatloaf.Do you just go home? Of course not, because

    it has been a long time since lunch and yourestarving, so you will eat just about anything thatis eatable. I used two extremes in the analogybut the fact is that with multiple choices of food,one will move progressively down the food pref-erence scale depending on availability. Have youever had deer seemingly disappear sometime inearly fall only to find them munching on whiteoak acorns? Or maybe you notice less usage onyour food plots for a few weeks in spring whennatural browse is lush and bountiful?

    While both of these examples do have thebenefit of deer being able to browse in cover, itis also true that at these specific times of theyear a food source that deer prefer is available.The take-home message is that it is hard todetermine what food source is more preferredthan another if you only have one or two choic-es. As the diversity of available food sourcesincrease, so will the likelihood of determiningtrue forage preferences.

    My first experience of testing forage prefer-ence occurred several years ago when I plantedmy first food plot. We had an 18-acre hay fieldthat was primarily red clover and deer wereoften seen browsing in the hay field. I planted aone-half-acre Imperial Whitetail Clover fieldnear the edge of the 18-acre hay field in order totest if deer truly preferred Imperial Clover overother clovers. The first day of hunting season, Isat in a stand overlooking the bottom and wasshocked to see deer move thru 18 acres of hayclover and congregate on the one-half-acreImperial Clover field. If I had not planted thefood plot, I am sure that the deer would havecontinued using the hay field, but when I madeImperial Clover available to the deer herd, a dis-tinct preference was obvious.


    In the discussion of why deer eat what theyeat, it would only make sense that taste wouldplay a part in the food preference. In fact, itseems a bit obvious but in reality, the actualtaste of the food stuffs deer prefer is some-what less than obvious. Its pretty tricky to getdeer to fill out a taste survey as to what flavorsthey prefer and the incredible diversity of foodthat deer consume makes it difficult to pinpointspecific flavors. However, there is one type oftaste that unquestionably deer are attracted toand that is sweet. Many years ago I was talkingto some university researchers and they told methat the best way they could lure deer into aspecific area to catch them with a net cannonwas to use apple pie filling.

    You may say, Of course, its apples, deer loveapples. I certainly dont disagree but I wouldsuggest that a more exact statement is thatdeer like sweets. Pour molasses out on theground and likely you will have deer attracted tothat spot and for that matter, just pour sugarout and deer will be lured to that area. To furtherillustrate the point, deer are most attracted toapples when they ripen and their sugar contentincreases. Persimmons, berries and other typesof soft mast are all most attractive to deer whenthey ripen and the fruit is at its sweetest stage.Acorns are not particularly sweet but some areless bitter than others such as white oak acorns,and it would seem that the less bitter the acorn,the more attractive it is to deer.

    You have all either witnessed or heard thatbrassicas are most attractive after a frost. Thereason is that the frost forces the plant tomature and ripen which involves a buildup ofsugar content in the leaves. Imperial Winter-

    Greens tends to be more attractive than othervariety blends because the brassica hybridsused in the mix are primarily derived from veg-etable (garden) varieties as opposed to the for-age varieties found in most of the other brassicaproducts and thus are less bitter. I would beremiss not to mention salt in a discussion ontaste. Salt is a difficult attractant to categorizebecause deer are attracted to salt when they areexperiencing a mineral imbalance in the body. Inthe spring and summer when plants are lushand vegetative, they are high in potassium. Thishigh potassium level in the diet causes deer tocrave salt in order to get sodium to balance outthe potassium level in the diet. So does thatmean that deer are attracted to salt because ofthe taste or is it more of a physiological func-tion? It is somewhat of a chicken-or-the-egg-type question, but because salt becomes lessattractive to deer when plants start to matureand the potassium level drops, I would suggestthat it is more physiological than purely a tasteattraction. It would also appear that some typesof starches and oils are attractive to deer suchas those found in grains and hard mast althoughthe actual taste attraction is less apparent.


    While availability and taste are two major fac-tors affecting the food sources deer eat, thedigestibility of a food source is an influencerthat seems the most consistent and predictable.In order to understand the idea behind the rela-tionship of digestibility and food source prefer-ence you first have to have an understanding ofhow deer digest their food. Deer are ruminantswhich means they have a stomach that has foursections or regions, each performing specificfunctions. These four sections consist of a retic-ulum, rumen, omasum and abomasum.

    The reticulum is involved in controlling theflow of food particles either into the rumen orout of the rumen and back to the mouth. Theregurgitated food-stuff bolus is then furthermasticated (chewed) to break down the digestawhich is especially important when breakingdown fibrous material. The reticulum is alsocalled the honeycomb as the internal surfacehas the appearance of a honeycomb which actsas a filter trapping larger particulars. The oma-sum is less understood but is likely involved insome nutrient absorption and the control ofdigesta flow from the rumen to the abomasum.

    The abomasum or true stomach functions ina similar fashion to the stomach of a monogas-tric (single stomach). Gastric juices found in theabomasum create a low pH environment thathelps to complete the digestion of food parti-cles to allow nutrients to be absorbed in thesmall intestine. The heart of the ruminant sys-tem is the rumen, the largest section of thestomach. The rumen of a deer is a volleyball-

    www.whitetailinstitute.com For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute Vol. 21, No. 3 / WHITETAIL NEWS 9

    The author plants multiple forages in areas hell huntas deer usage will change from forage to forage

    based on the stage of maturity.

  • sized sack that is the home of millions of livingmicroorganisms. The microbial populationsfound in the rumen have a symbiotic relation-ship with the host (deer) and are in large partwhat gives a deer the ability to digest fibrousmaterial. Food particles enter the rumen and arebroken down by the microbial populationsresulting in the production of compounds thatdeer can digest and utilize. Without a healthymicrobial population, deer would lose their abil-ity to digest many of the food sources they con-sume. Cattle are also ruminants and thereforeare often related to deer in terms of their eatinghabits. The difference, however, is that cattle arelarge ruminants where deer are small ruminantsand are described this way not necessarily interms of overall body size but rather in the sizeof the rumen. As mentioned earlier, a deersrumen is roughly the size of a volleyball but incomparison, a cows rumen is roughly the size ofa beach ball. The larger the rumen, the moresurface area and in turn the larger the popula-tion of microbial colonies. A higher populationof microbial colonies gives the host animal theability to digest forages with a greater variabili-ty of digestibility.

    Therefore, cattle, being large ruminants, havethe ability to digest poorer quality material witha higher NDF (neutral detergent fiber) com-pared to deer. NDF is a good indicator of foragedigestibility for deer as it represents the total

    fiber content of forages. The content not foundin NDF are cell solubles (starch, protein and sug-ars), which tend to be more easily digested. Inother words, the higher the NDF, the morefibrous the forage will be and less digestible theforage will be, especially to deer. For example,cattle can derive nutrition from mature, stemmy,low-quality hay that is high in NDF where deercould literally starve on the same diet.

    Put a bale of alfalfa hay in front of a cow andshe will eat the entire bale where a deer will like-ly eat only the leaves and not the stems as theleaves are less fibrous and more digestible.When you take this knowledge and apply it tofood plot forages, the less fibrous the plant, themore digestible and more attractive it will be todeer. Fiber is found in the highest levels in thestructural part of plants such as the stems.

    Therefore, it would make sense that a foodplot with less stems and more leaves would bemore attractive to deer. This solves part of themystery as to why the deer on my farm browsedmore heavily on the Imperial Clover instead ofthe 18 acres of hay clover. Hay clover is designedprimarily for cattle production and to producetonnage. To produce large quantities of hay, theforage needs the stem structure to support themassive growth, and since cattle can derivenutrition even from the fibrous stem, plantbreeders of hay clover allow for heavy stems.

    Because deer do not have as great a capacity

    to digest stems, Imperial Whitetail Clover wasbred to be heavily leaved with smaller stems,thus making it more digestible and attractive todeer. Maturity also plays a role in digestibility.Plants that are vegetative (in the growingstage) are more digestible than mature plants.You may have noticed deer activity is alwaysgreatest in a hay field just after it has beenmowed. This is because after mowing, the plantbegins shooting up new tender, lush growththat is high in digestibility. So the longer a plantcan stay vegetative, the longer it will be attrac-tive to deer, which is one of the major factorsthat influence food plot design at the WhitetailInstitute. The preference for new growth alsoexplains why deer utilize natural browse mostheavily in spring.


    Deer can be unpredictable and I am in no waysaying that you can tell what a deer is going toeat 100 percent of the time. I have seen deer eatthings with no logical reason as to why they areeating that food source. However, if you keep inmind the three factors we discussed availability,taste and digestibility you will be able to ac-curately predict more times than not what deerprefer to eat at certain times. And that predictionmay very well give you an advantage when nextdeer season rolls around. W

    10 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

  • www.whitetailinstitute.com For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute Vol. 21, No. 3 / WHITETAIL NEWS 11

    PLANTING DATES FOR DOUBLE-CROSS, PURE ATTRACTION AND SECRET SPOT Call for planting dates Call for planting dates Aug 1 - Sept 1 Coastal: Sept 1 - Oct 15 Piedmont: Aug 15 - Oct 1 Mountain Valleys: Aug 1 - Sept 15

    Aug 1 - Sept 30 Sept 1 - Nov 1 North: Aug 1 - Sept 15 South: Aug 15 - Oct 15

    July 15 - Aug 25 Aug 1 - Aug 31

    Aug 1 - Sept 15 Sept 15 - Nov 15 North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

    Sept 1 - Oct 30 North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

    Coastal: Sept 25 - Oct 15 Piedmont: Sept 1 - Oct 5 Mountain: Aug 25 - Oct 15

    North: Sept 15 - Nov 25 South: Oct 5 - Nov 30

    Aug 1 - Sept 1 Aug 20 - Sept 30

    July 1 - Aug 15 June 15 - July 15 July 15 - Aug 31 July 1 - Aug 15

    PLANTING DATES FOR WINTER-GREENS AND TALL TINE TUBERS Call for planting dates Call for planting dates July1 - August 1* Coastal: Aug 15 - Sept 30 Southern Piedmont: Aug 1 - Sept 15 Mountain Valleys: July 15 - Sept 15

    July 15 - Sept 15 Aug 1 - Oct 1

    North: July 15 - Sept 15 South: Aug1 - Oct 1

    North: July 20 - Aug 1* South: July 5 - Aug 15*

    July 1 - Aug 15

    July 15 - Sept 15* Sept 15 - Nov 15 North: Sept 5 - Nov 1 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

    North: Aug 15 - Oct 1 South: Sept 5 - Oct 20

    North: Sept 5 - Oct 30 Central: Sept 15 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

    Coastal: Sept 1 - Oct 1 Piedmont: Aug 15 - Sept 20 Mountain Valleys: Aug 5 - Sept 15

    North: Sept 15 - Nov 15 Central: Sept 25 - Nov 15 South: Oct 5 - Nov 30

    July 15 - Sept 1 Aug 1 - Sept 30 July 1 - Aug 15 June 15 - July 15 July 15 - Aug 31 July 1 - Aug 15

    * Earlier (spring) planting dates may be ap-plicable. Call Whitetail institute for moreinformation.

    ** For northern Pennsylvania, earlier (spring)planting dates may be applicable. CallWhitetail Institute for more information

    IMPORTANT!For optimal production, plant atleast 50 days before first frost.

    Food Plot Planting Guide

    Call for planting dates Apr 1 - July 1 Apr 15 - June 15 Aug 1 - Sept 1

    Coastal: Feb 1 - Mar 1 Sept 1 - Oct 15 Southern Piedmont: Feb 15 - Apr 1 Aug 15 - Oct 1 Mountain Valleys: Mar 1 - Apr 15 Aug 1 - Sept 15

    Feb 1 - Apr 1 Aug 1 - Sept 30

    Feb 1 - Apr 15 Sept 1 - Nov 1

    North: Mar 15 - May 1 Aug 1 - Sept 15 South: Mar 1 - Apr 15 Aug 15 - Oct 15

    Apr 1 - June 15 July 15 - Aug 25

    Apr 1 - May 15 Aug 1 - Aug 31

    Mar 20 - May 15 Aug 1 - Sept 15

    Sept 15 - Nov 15 Feb 5 - Mar 1 North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

    Feb 15 - Apr 1 Sept 1 - Oct 30

    North: Sept 5 - Nov 15 South: Sept 25 - Nov 15

    Feb 1 - Mar 1 Coastal: Sept 25 - Oct 15 Piedmont: Sept 1 - Oct 5 Mountain Valleys: Aug 25 - Oct 15

    North: Sept 15 - Nov 25 South: Oct 5 - Nov 30

    Mar 1 - May 15 Aug 1 - Sept 1

    Feb 1 - Apr 15 Aug 20 - Sept 30

    Apr 15 - June 15 July 1 - Aug 15

    May 15 -July 1 May 1 - June 15 July 1 - Aug 15

    May 15 - July 1






  • Make no mistake about it: Antler growth isa race. Given that the antler-growingwindow of each spring and summer onlylasts about 200 days, its no wonder that antlersare the fastest growing animal tissue on earth. Ifyou want to win that race by helping your deergrow the largest antlers they can by fall, youll needa special high-protein racing fuel. That fuel isImperial Whitetail PowerPlant.


    When managing free-range deer tomaximize antler size, the specific goalis to make it possible for bucks torealize as much of their geneticpotential for antler size as they can.Your management approach shouldbe designed to achieve that goal asfully, quickly, and directly as possible.

    The three main factorsinfluencing rack size

    are age, geneticsand nutrition.

    Each factor presents management hurdles that cant be completely elimi-nated in most free-range situations, but they can be managed to varyingdegrees. As NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt once said, In life there aresome hurdles you get over and some you dont," and although he wasreferring to auto racing, the same is equally true of managing free-rangebucks toward larger antlers. The key is to identify the hurdles, and addressthem in a way that offers the greatest potential to maximize antler size asquickly and directly as possible. Age. One rule in deer management that cant be changed is the role of

    age in antler size: a buck cannot grow the biggest set of antlers he has thegenetic potential to grow until hes mature (about 5-1/2 to 6-1/2 years old).Accordingly, any manager whose goal is to maximize antler size shouldallow his bucks to mature before harvest. In a free-range situation, theeffect of age-based harvest restrictions might be limited to some degreeby the generally high mortality rate of young bucks from non-hunting

    related causes and the tendency ofbucks that live longer to sometimesrelocate. Even so, a management planthat allows bucks to be harvestedbefore maturity will never yield fullbenefits in antler size. Put simply, youhave to let them grow up. Genetics. Another common feature

    of many management plans is culling removing mature bucks exhibitinginferior racks from the herd to keepthem from breeding and passing on

    their genes. Over time,

    12 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

    By Jon CoonerPhotos by Whitetail Institute

  • www.whitetailinstitute.com For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute Vol. 21, No. 3 / WHITETAIL NEWS 13

    culling bucks with inferior genetics can reduce the number of mal-formed racks (a well-formed antler on one side, and a stunted antleron the other) and even racks that are well-formed but structurallysmaller than the manager desires (removing 6- or 8-pointers so thatonly bucks with more points do the breeding) can improve genetics.However, culling can carry practical limitations, especially in free-range situations.

    Absent scientific testing, the manager has to rely on observationalone to judge the quality of a bucks genetics, and in some casesobservation alone may be an uncertain gauge. A buck whose rackappears to show sub-standard genetics may have simply injured hisvelvet antlers, which might return to full form the next year.

    Moreover, even when bucks with inferior genetics are accuratelyidentified, improvement in the herds average rack size due to theirremoval may take a while to show up. Does pass on their genes totheir offspring, and you cant tell much about a does genes by obser-vation. Also, in free-range situations bucks from outside the propertymay move onto the property, bringing their genes (good or bad) withthem. Either may delay or dilute the benefits of culling.

    In many free-range cases, managing only to improve genetics maynot yield larger rack sizes at all. Inferior genetics is a much less com-mon problem in most free-range situations than you might think.Bucks in almost all areas have the genetic potential to grow far biggerantlers than they ever actually grow because they are nutritionally lim-ited by the food Mother Nature provides, die before reaching maturity,or both. Nutrition. Unlike age and genetics, limitations inherent in natural

    food sources can be largely overcome and virtually immediately,barring unforeseen weather catastrophes. Accordingly, the smartmanager will do what he can with age and genetics, and focus hardon supplementing nutrition. To see why, put yourself in the followingsituation, and then ask, What would Dale do?

    Lets say youre a race car driver whos nearing the end of a race.You know it will take you one full tank of fuel to finish, but your gastank is almost empty so you make a pit stop to take on more fuel.Which of the following actions during your pit stop offers the fastest,most direct results: (A) installing a larger gas tank in your car or (B)filling the tank thats already on the car? Obviously, (B) will get you toyour immediate goal with the shortest delay. If you want to extendyour cars range for future races, then certainly install the larger tank.But do that next; for now, filling the existing tank will get you to thefinish line, and with as little delay as possible.

    e Whitetail Institute239 Whitetail Trail Pintlala, AL 36043

    800-688-3030 whitetailinstitute.comDeer Nutrition Is All We Do! Research = Results

    Deer love fresh springlegumes, so much in fact thatthey typically clean out anentire planting before theplants are well established.e mix of high-proteinannuals in PowerPlantbetter withstand heavygrazing to produce a highvolume crop thatcontinues to thrivethroughout the heat ofsummer, providing deerwith not only excellentforage, but withattractive beddingareas as well. Inuniversity testingPowerPlant producedmore tonnage peracre than any otherspring/summerannual. eyllcome for thesucculent plantsand stay to bedand make yourplot their home.

  • FUEL

    And when youre filling the tank, whether for a NASCAR race or anantler-growth race, remember that it will take racing fuel to get full per-formance. Like a race car engine tuned for racing fuel, the nutritionalaspects of antler growth are also specific and narrow, and you wont getfull performance if you rely on low-octane pump gas. Lets break it down. Protein. Entire books have been written about the nutrients involved in

    antler growth, and explaining their complex interaction is beyond thescope of this article. For our purposes, well narrow it down to this: themain nutrients involved in antler development are protein, minerals andvitamins, and of these, protein is king. Antler growth starts with the velvetantler, which is 80 percent collagen (a protein), and a hardened antler isstill about 45 percent protein. When you take into account that the antler-growing window only lasts for about 200 days, you can see howimportant it is that deer have access to lots of protein if they are tohave an opportunity to max-out on antler size.


    Protein. Just as a race cars engine likely wont run well onlow-octane gas, deer usually cant get anywhere near theprotein they need to maximize antler size just from whatMother Nature provides. Generally, deer need about 16percent to 18 percent dietary protein. Natural foodsources, though, generally offer 10 percent protein orless (usually less). Palatability. After spring green-up, some natural forages can

    quickly become too tough and stemmy for deer to effectivelyutilize. Like cattle, deer are ruminant animals that can utilize awide variety of natural forages. Unlike cattle, though, deer aresmall-ruminants, meaning that they can only utilize specific parts ofplants within a very narrow palatability range. You dont have to bea scientist to see that deer are built to process only the most ten-der forages. Just compare a cows muzzle and mouth to a deers.As grazers, cattle can digest tough, stemmy forages, and they have awide, flat mouth well suited to mowing off pretty much anything theycome across. Deer, though, are browsers or concentrate selectors,meaning that they select only the most tender parts of plants, and theirnarrow, sharply pointed muzzle, long tongue, and front of their mouths(incisors only on the bottom, and a hard pallet on top) are suited to nip-ping off carefully selected parts of a plant. Availability. Consider that right when a buck is well into growing his

    early (velvet) antler, Mother Natures gas station may not even be open. Inmany parts of the country (especially the further North you go), naturalforages can take a while to present themselves in substantial quantitieswhen the antler-growing process begins, and they can be exhausted or oflow palatability well before it ends.

    In most cases, natural food sources are of sufficient nutritional contentand availability for deer to grow antlers and live normal lives. Trying tomaximize antler size on natural food sources alone, though, is like trying towin NASCAR race when all you have is low-octane fueland you donthave enough of it to even get the car to the finish line. The solution isequally clear: get racing fuel in sufficient amounts for us to cross the finishline as quickly as possible.


    If you want to get full performance from the antler-growing engine,then youve got to give your bucks the racing fuel it was designed for, andenough of it. When youre racing to maximize the size of the antlers yourbucks will be carrying next fall, fuel them with PowerPlant. Its designed to

    get more antler-building protein into your bucks than any other annual for-age product the Whitetail Institute has tested. Protein. First, No other competing product the Whitetail Institute has

    tested produces as much tonnage of high-protein forage during the 200days of spring/summer antler growth as PowerPlant. Period. Palatability. Second, PowerPlant is specifically designed to be highly

    palatable to deer and stay that wayeven after it establishes and matures.The key lies in the type of legumes included in the blend: theyre true for-

    age varieties. Certainly deer will eat agri-cultural soybeans and can benefit fromthem nutritionally, but like a race car youllbe able to push antler growth as high aspossible if you provide your bucks with aforage specifically designed for the unique

    needs of deer. The forage-type legumes in PowerPlant(soybeans, Lablab and peas) are quite dif-ferent from their agricultural cousins. At

    PowerPlants heart is a forage soy-bean, which is superior to agri-cultural-type soybeans in anumber of ways when used asa deer forage. For example, un-like agricultural soybeans,which grow a trunk that be-

    comes stemmy with lignin as itmatures (making it much lesspalatable to deer), the forage

    14 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com


    for Imperial PowerPlant

    May 20 - June 30 May 1 - June 30 April 1 - May 31

    Plant PowerPlant during the dates shown foryour area once soil reaches a constant (day andnight) temperature of at least 65F.

  • www.whitetailinstitute.com For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute Vol. 21, No. 3 / WHITETAIL NEWS 15

    soybeans in PowerPlant grow as vines, which stay more tender and highlypalatable to deer. Also unlike agricultural soybean varieties, once PowerPlantis established, it can regenerate as deer feed on it. The addition of smallamounts of sorghum and sunflowers to PowerPlant maximizes the growthrate and foliage production of the vining legumes by allowing them toclimb instead of running along the ground. As a result, PowerPlant growsinto a thick jungle of succulent, protein-rich forage that deer will oftenbed in as well as prefer as a forage. Availability. Third, PowerPlant establishes and grows quickly, providing

    the huge amounts of protein bucks need during formation of the velvetantler and later to help maximize the size of their antlers. And PowerPlantis designed to keep on producing tons of high proteineven into the fall inmost areas.


    Order Early. Each year, the Whitetail Institute prepares its springPowerPlant supply based on demand forecasts. Sometimes the Instituteforecasts demand pretty well. In three out of the last four years, though,demand has exceeded expectations, and some customers who wantedPowerPlant but delayed ordering went without. So, be sure to orderPowerPlant early. Youll find early-ordering discounts here in WhitetailNews (Page 62). Take advantage of them now.Planting Dates. The recommended planting window for PowerPlant in

    your area is shown on the back of the product bags. Planting maps arealso available on-line at www.whitetailinstitute.com under the Productslink. Be sure you wait to plant PowerPlant until soil temperatures reach aconstant temperature, day and night, of at least 65 degrees. If youre notsure when that is in your area, then contact your County Agent or a localfarm-supply store to find out when farmers will be planting their agricul-tural soybean crops this spring. Then, plant your PowerPlant at the same

    time, or even a week or two later. Weed Control. Weed competition is rarely a problem with PowerPlant

    once it matures because by then its foliage is so thick that virtually no sun-light can reach the ground. Even in its early growth stages, PowerPlantusually grows quickly enough that weeds usually dont present a signifi-cant problem. If you plan to plant fallow ground thats heavily infested withgrass or other weeds, or youre otherwise concerned that grass or otherweeds may compete heavily with PowerPlant during its early growthstages, then you might consider including a Roundup-type herbicide intothe planting instructions (available on the product bags and also atwww.whitetailinstitute.com). Heres how: Before spring green-up, add anylime recommended by your soil test (if a soil test isnt available, then addone ton of lime per acre), and disk or till the lime into the top few inchesof the seedbed. Then, wait until grass and weeds have emerged and areactively growing again. Once weeds are actively growing again, spray thesite with a Roundup-type glyphosate herbicide solution. (Tip: AddingSurefire Seed Oil to the spray solution can help the herbicide work evenbetter. Surefire is available from the Whitetail Institute.)

    After you spray, wait until both of the following have occurred beforeyou plant: (A) at least two weeks have passed since you sprayed, and (B)soil temperatures have reached a constant temperature of at least 65degrees (F). Once both have occurred, go ahead and fertilize and plantaccording to the Whitetail Institutes published planting instructions. Whenyou plant youll be disturbing the top inch or so of the seedbed to coverthe PowerPlant seed with a light layer of loose soil. Even so, its highlyunlikely that disturbing just the top inch or two of soil will bring enoughdormant weed seed to the surface to compromise the performance ofPowerPlant.

    Order your PowerPlant now, and give the bucks on your hunting groundthe best opportunity to grow the biggest antlers they can. Youll be gladyou did next fall and winter. W

  • Meteorologists must not turkeyhunt. Well, maybe some of themdo, but not most. If they did,theyd surely lobby their respective stategame agencies to ensure that spring turkeyseason opened when the weather was warmand comfortable. If youve turkey huntedmuch, you know thats not always the case.

    I experienced that firsthand last spring, when Wisconsins second turkeyperiod coincided with howling winds and sub-freezing temperatures.Although I didnt enjoy dressing like I was on a late-season duck hunt, I wasfairly optimistic.

    Sure, the birds would still be wadded up in large winter groups. Yes, theyprobably wouldnt gobble much. And of course, I wouldnt be able to sitfor more than an hour or two without being miserable. However, a friendsforesight had given me an ace in the hole: an early-season food source.


    Many folks underestimate the importance of food for turkey huntingbecause turkeys arent very picky at the buffet. Just ask Lovett E. WilliamsJr., one of Americas best-known turkey biologists.

    Turkeys are among the most resourceful feeders, consuming hundredsof different kinds of insects, other small animals and plant parts, includingalmost everything that is edible and some things that are not, Williamswrote in Wild Turkey Hunting and Management.

    At various times of year, turkeys prefer seeds, insects, grasses, leaves,waste grain, and hard and soft mast. Throughout much of spring, summerand fall, they have abundant food. However, as any wildlife farmer knows,natural chow can be scarce in late winter and early spring, so turkeys willseek out the best food sources in their home range. Often, the best optionsare logging roads, wildlife openings and food plots with the years firstgreen shoots of vegetation. Turkeys use openings throughout the year, butwhen those openings represent the best food option early in spring, theycan congregate there en masse.

    Grasses and clovers are good plants to use in your wildlife openingsand are especially important to wild turkeys, according to the NationalWild Turkey Federation. They offer excellent foraging and brood habitatfor adult wild turkeys and turkey poults. These plants can produce a largeamount of seed, which benefit mature birds, and attract hordes of insects,the essential element of a young turkey's diet. Additionally, grasses andclovers help control erosion when planted on roads, logging decks and fal-low fields.

    With little maintenance, grasses and clovers planted together will pro-vide several years worth of high-quality habitat for wild turkeys and otherwildlife.

    Thats what my friend had figured the previous year, when he plantedseveral food plots specifically for turkeys. The plots double as great white-

    By Sam ParrishPhotos by Tes Randle Jolly

    16 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

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  • tail habitat, of course, but he locates them in areas where early-seasonbirds will use them heavily.

    Well-managed feeding cover should be located near favored seasonalroosts, Williams wrote. Aldo Leopold called this juxtaposition an exer-cise in geometry.


    The food plot Id chosen to hunt opening day was tucked neatly beneatha massive hardwood ridge and was bordered on the other side by a creek.Several large winter flocks had roosted in the tall oaks and hickories muchof the winter, and based on the tracks and scratching in the food plot,theyd found a favorite early-spring food source. And with winter-likeweather entrenched over Wisconsin, I figured an easy early-season foodsource would attract hens and that a gobbler or two might follow.

    I didnt hear any roost gobbling that morning, but Id counted on that.Actually, that made my decision to camp out at the food plot even easier.It made little sense to move and try to locate a turkey in the open Aprilwoods if they werent talking.

    An hour passed with no action, and I started to long for the warmer daysof late spring turkey hunting. Just as I was about to shift my weight andget some blood back in my toes, a blue head popped up from the creekbottom on the other side of the plot. Several more followed.

    Hens, I thought. No longbeard, though. I wonder where hes at.An ear-splitting gobble from farther up the creek bottom provided my

    answer. He was following the hens to the field. I dared not move with the hen flock so close. The birds pecked at the

    green shoots in the plot and slowly filtered past me onto the open hard-wood ridge. After they had disappeared from sight, however, the gobblerstill hadnt showed, so I clucked and purred lightly on my slate.

    Sure enough, drumming filled the air, and I looked up to see the birdslowly walking and strutting into the food plot, following the path the henshad taken. I slowly shifted my gun to the left and counted down the dis-tance until he was at 40 steps. Then, I squeezed the trigger and droppedthe gobbler in his tracks.


    As I picked up the long-spurred gobbler, I thought about the simplicityof the hunt. Sure, it hadnt been a classic morning full of gobbling action,but the quiet wait had been well worth it. When conditions arent ideal,turkey hunters must adapt, and food plots give a great early-season fall-back plan.

    I hope my buddy puts that plot in again this year. In fact, I think Ill helphim do it. W

    18 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

    The new Turkey Skinz are a fully feathered cloth skin/cape layered with real turkey feathers. This system completely wraps your existing decoy in realistic and natural appearing feathers. We all know feathered decoys are more effective but the cost has been prohibitive until now. Turkey Skinz are the solution at a fraction of the cost of a stuffer so bring that old decoy to life and sit back and enjoy better results on your next hunt.


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  • www.whitetailinstitute.com For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute Vol. 21, No. 3 / WHITETAIL NEWS 19

    WBy Wilson Scott

    Photos by Brad Herndon

    hitetail Institute forage

    products are considered by experts

    to be the gold standard of the food

    plot industry. The reason is product

    quality and much has been written in

    these pages about the Institutes

    exhaustive product development,

    real-world testing and product

    preparation. You might not have

    realized, though, that the Institutes

    commitment to product quality extends

    even to its planting-date recommendations

    and planting instructions, so dont cut

    corners with either. In this article, well

    explain why its so important that you not

    depart from the Whitetail Institutes

    recommended planting process, including

    our recommended planting dates and

    published planting instructions.


    The key to getting optimum performance from your forage plantingbegins with our first dont skip step: Make sure you select the rightWhitetail Institute forage product for each site. Factors that should affectyour choice include physical characteristics of the site and whether youwant the forage to perform year-round, for one fall and winter, or for onespring and summer. Each of these factors can vary from plot to plot, andyoull need to consider them all to select the correct forage for each site.

    Physical factors include rainfall, soil type and slope, equipment accessi-bility and sunlight. Lets take soil type and slope as an example. ManyWhitetail Institute forage products perform well in similar soil types andslopes, but there is a limit. Consider Imperial Whitetail Clover and ImperialWhitetail Extreme, which are at the opposite ends of the moisture-require-ment spectrum. Imperial Whitetail Clover is designed for good soils thathold moisture, while Extreme is for good or lighter soils as long as the siteis well drained. Neither may perform as well as designed if it is planted ina plot with a soil type and slope thats ideal for the other. Lets take equip-ment access as another example.

    All Whitetail Institute perennials and most Whitetail Institute annualsshould be planted in a seedbed that has been prepared with, among otherthings, ground tillage. If your site isnt equipment-accessible, then yourseedbed-preparation efforts will be limited, and that can negatively affectthe performance of Whitetail Institute perennials and most of its annuals.However, that doesnt mean that you are out of luck. Rather, you just needto make sure you select No-Plow, BowStand or Secret Spot, which arehigh-quality forage products specifically designed to flourish with minimalground preparation. In fact, no matter what planting situation youre fac-ing, with very few exceptions, the Whitetail Institute has a forage productspecifically designed to meet your needs. Its easy to determine whichproduct to plant in each of your sites. Each Whitetail Institute forage prod-uct states the soil type its designed for right on the bag.

    An article to help you select the correct forage for each site is also avail-able at www.whitetailinstitute.com under the Products link. And remem-ber if you still have questions, our highly knowledgeable in-house con-sultants are just a phone call away.


    Once you select the correct forage for each site, the next dont skipstep is to make sure you know when to plant it. Each Whitetail Institute for-age product is designed to be planted within a specific window of datesduring the spring, fall or both, and every Whitetail Institute forage productcomes with its own planting date map right on the back of the bag. Thesame planting maps are also available on-line atwww.whitetailinstitute.com. You can see an example on page 11 of thisissue.


    Let me assure you the Whitetail Institute went into considerable detailto set the planting dates for each product. If you were to compare theplanting-date maps for several Whitetail Institute forage products, youdnotice that while the dates for planting certain products are the same forsome areas, the maps for other products may have different sets of plant-ing dates for different regions within the same state. Even so, weather pat-terns can vary a bit from one year to the next, and we know that our cus-tomers are more in tune with current weather patterns in their particulararea than we can be. So, to use our planting maps to best advantage, plantnot only within our published planting dates for the product youve select-ed, but plant once the ideal conditions arrive during those dates.

    With Whitetail Institute perennials, you can fudge a bit and plant a little

    before or after the arrival of ideal conditions (as long as you are still withinthe planting dates). Whitetail Institute perennials, for example, are coatedwith Rainbond, a proprietary polymer seed coating that actually absorbsup to 200 times its weight in water from the soil, and keeps it right next tothe seed as it germinates and starts to grow. If conditions are dryer thanideal when the seed is planted, the coating can also help the seeds survivelonger without rain than raw seed. With other products, though, you mustwait until ideal conditions arrive (within our published planting dates)before you plant. An example is PowerPlant. Because PowerPlant containssummer forage legumes (soybeans, Lablab and forage peas), it should notbe planted until soil temperatures reach a constant (day and night) tem-perature of at least 65 degrees. If you plant PowerPlant, or any summerbean or peas before that, theres a good chance the planting will suffer.Beans and peas are among the most fragile of all seeds; if you plant themin cool, moist soil, they can rot in as little as one day, so be sure you dontplant before soil temperatures have reached 65 degrees, regardless ofwhether youd still be within our published planting dates if you plantedearlier.


    If you plant outside our recommended planting dates, does that meanyour forage planting will automatically fail? No, but the risk will certainlybe elevated. One reason is that the forage roots may not mature in time tohandle extreme weather and thats just with normal weather patterns how often in your area has hot/dry or cold weather arrived earlier thanusual? When most seeds germinate, part of the seedlings root systemmust develop before the growing plant appears above ground. WhitetailInstitute perennials develop comparatively substantial root systems under-

    20 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

    Applying fertilizer on pH neutral soil is essen-tial. Otherwise, you maybe wasting money.

  • www.whitetailinstitute.com For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute Vol. 21, No. 3 / WHITETAIL NEWS 21

    ground before they start to grow above ground in earnest, and plantingtoo late in the spring can leave the forage too immature to handle the heatand drought of summer. Likewise, if you plant after our fall planting dates,you run an increased risk that the forage might not be able to handle ahard freeze that arrives early, or that the plants wont be at their optimumwhen cold weather arrives.

    Sometimes, customers call to ask if it is okay to plant outside our pub-lished dates because the weather in the area has been mild. We point outthat whats important is not what the weather has been, but what it will be.Its whats coming that matters, and forecasting the weather is obviouslyan inexact science.

    So, rather than planting outside our dates, it is a better idea to wait toplant until your next planting window, and then use the interim time to doa good job of preparing the seedbed, i.e. liming, weed control, etc.


    Like all Whitetail Institute forage products, each fall annual is scientifi-cally formulated with multiple forage components in specific ratios tocomplement each other, providing top performance from the planting dur-ing the seasons for which it is designed. If you plant them in the spring, thecool-season components may be damaged or killed by the hotter, dryerweather of late spring and summer.

    As is the case with the planting date maps, planting instructions for eachWhitetail Institute forage product is printed right on the back of the prod-uct bag and are also available on-line at www.whitetailinstitute.com.


    Dont skip or cut corners with any step in the Whitetail Institutes pub-lished planting and maintenance instructions. To see why, consider our

    perspective in drafting planting instructions for our products. Everything we do at the Whitetail Institute is done with our field testers

    in mind, and we know that long, complex planting instructions are the lastthing our customers want to deal with. We also believe that overly detailedinstructions would actually be a disservice to our field testers. One reasonis that customers whove been with us awhile already have a feel for thefiner details. Another is that the questions that arise from folks new to foodplotting are so broad that an all-inclusive set of instructions would take upthe whole back of the product bag.

    To provide planting information in a way that will be the most useful toall our customers, we keep the published planting instructions for eachproduct as short as possible. Then, we provide informational backups tothe written instructions in several forms. These include immediate accessto highly knowledgeable in-house consultants through our toll-free num-ber, (800) 688-3030, during business hours, responsive emails that areinformative and timely, and our DVD, Producing Trophy Whitetails, whichwe include with seed orders by customers who havent already received acopy. And unlike other companies who charge for customer support, theWhitetail Institute offers these services free to its customers. By structur-ing our planting instructions in this way, every field tester (whether expe-rienced or new to food plots) has the basic information he needs in thepublished instructions, plus several avenues to get quick, knowledgeableinformation if he still has questions.

    The best way to approach planting instructions is to realize that everystep in the instructions is important, or it wouldnt be there.


    The planting instructions for all Whitetail Institute forage products(including the full-preparation instructions for No-Plow, BowStand andSecret Spot) advise you to get a laboratory soil test if at all possible. As an



    Quality Control Specialist since 1997


    W&47).3, 94 43* *251477-* 431> 4:9 ..9 >4: 3+++.+.9+



  • alternative, the instructions say to add one or two tons of lime per acre ifno soil test is available.

    First, making sure that soil pH is neutral (between 6.5 and 7.0) is the sin-gle most important thing you can control to ensure that your planting willbe successful. Most fallow soils have low, or acidic soil pH (below 6.5),and when those soils are planted without raising soil pH first, fertilizer iswasted because nutrients are bound up in the soil and inaccessible to theforage plants. As a ballpark, if you plant in a soil pH of 5.0, youll be wastingmore than 50 percent of the fertilizer you put out. In monetary terms, thatmeans that for every $100 spent on fertilizer, at least $50 will be wasted.

    The best way to make sure your soil pH is in the neutral range (and if not,then how much lime you need to add to the seedbed to raise it) is a labo-ratory soil test. High-quality laboratory soil tests are available for about $10from the Whitetail Institute, agricultural universities and County Agents.Again, be sure you use a soil test kit that actually sends soil off to a quali-fied laboratory for testing thats the only way to be sure youll be addingexactly the amount of lime (and fertilizer) you need without wastingmoney on lime and/or fertilizer you really dont need.


    Our next dont skip step might be better described as a make-sure-you-understand step: Before you put out small seeds, make sure theseedbed has been smoothed to eliminate any cracks the seeds might fallinto. That can be done with a cultipacker (roller) or a home-made dragmade with a piece of chain-link fence with concrete blocks on top foradded weight.

    Seedbed firmness and smoothness prior to seeding are very importantfor any forage requiring a prepared seedbed. Seeds are referred to aseither large seeds or small seeds, and as youd guess, that describes theseeds physical size. For example, large seeds include oats and beans,which are much bigger than tiny clover, chicory and brassica seeds.

    The difference in size makes how you prepare the seedbed prior toseeding extremely important. Unlike a seedbed for larger seeds, which cangenerally be planted after disking or tilling provided the soil is not tooclumpy, a seedbed must be thoroughly smoothed before planting smallseeds. Small seeds must be planted on or very near the surface of theseedbed. If they fall into a crack or are otherwise buried more than about1/4-inch or so, they wont have enough energy for the seedling to push upto the surface, and theyll die. Larger seeds should be covered by a rela-tively thin layer of loose soil.


    Try not to put out more seed than the Whitetail Institute recommendsfor the product youve selected. Whitetail Institute seeding rates havebeen calculated based on exhaustive research data at the WhitetailInstitutes Certified Research Stations as well as by Field Testers acrossNorth America to ensure that they are optimum for that specific product.Every Whitetail Institute forage product comes with the recommendedseeding rate right on the package. Going substantially over our recom-mendations on seeding rates can actually cost you. Youll be spendingmoney to buy extra seed you really didnt need and in some cases it caneven compromise the quality of your stand.

    As for stand quality, think about one square yard of your seedbed.Within that square yard, you have only so much room for forage plants togrow and fully mature their roots. If you crowd that space with too manyforage plants, that can cause the plants to battle for root space. Verycrowded situations, can cause the roots to be stunted and can result inlower drought resistance and smaller plants above ground. How to seed. A question our in-house consultants are often asked is,

    The seed rate is so low how do I put such a small amount of seed outon my whole plot? To make sure you buy only the seed you need and to

    plant it to ensure broad, even coverage, we recommend using a shoulderspreader.

    First, set the gap in the spreader to the correct size opening. The high-quality Earthway shoulder spreaders available from the Whitetail Instituteactually have a chart on them that shows what setting to use for differentsizes of seed. For other shoulder spreaders, set the gap by eye specifi-cally try to set it so that it looks like theres no way enough seed will comeout. In short, if the gap looks a hair too narrow, then youre likely right onthe money.

    When your gap is set, put one-half the seed allotted for the plot into thebag. For example, lets assume that youll be planting one acre of ImperialWhitetail Clover, for which the recommended seeding rate is 8 lbs. peracre. To start with, put only 4 lbs. of seed into the bag. Then, put that seedout walking north/south, and leaving 12 feet between each pass. Then,repeat, putting the other half of the seed out while walking east/west. Thatway youll have broad, even coverage with no gaps, and your forage plantswill have room to grow.


    Whether or not the seed should be covered and, if so, how, are addition-al dont skip steps. Or, more accurately, they are dont fail to understandsteps. Heres what you need to know in a nutshell: Large-Seed Products. PowerPlant, Pure Attraction and Whitetail Forage

    Oats Plus include large seeds. These should be covered by a thin layer ofloose soil. Small-Seed Products: All other Whitetail Institute forage products are

    small-seed products. A. If you used a cultipacker (roller) to smooth and firm the seedbed

    before broadcasting your seed, then cultipack once more after seeding topress the seed down against the firmed surface of the seedbed.

    B. If you used a weighted drag-type implement to smooth the seedbedbefore broadcasting your seed, then do nothing further after you put theseed out. It will naturally settle right where it needs to be.

    Notice that in neither case are you covering small seeds.

    22 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

    A soil test is anessential step for aproperly managed

    food plot

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    Finally, dont forget to follow the WhitetailInstitutes published maintenance instructionsfor Imperial perennial forage stands. The mostimportant of these concern grass control andmowing. Grass Control. Since most grasses tend to

    survive and reproduce through their root sys-tems, controlling them in food plots is usuallybest accomplished with a selective herbicide.The Whitetail Institute offers Arrest, a selectivegrass herbicide that can be sprayed to controlgrass in any Imperial perennial stand, and in anystraight clover or alfalfa stand. The Institute alsooffers Slay, which is more a broadleaf-weed her-bicide but which will control a few of the heaviersedge-type grasses. Slay can be sprayed onestablished (sufficiently mature that at least twoof the trifoliate leaves have unfolded) ImperialWhitetail Clover, and on any other straightclover or alfalfa. Before deciding to use Arrest,Slay or any other herbicide it is imperative thatyou check the label to be sure that (A) the her-bicide will control the grass or other weedsyoure facing and (B) do so without harmingyour forage plants. Mowing. If possible, try to mow established

    Imperial perennials a few times in the spring,and if you can, also in late summer or early fall(but, of course, not when the plants are stressedsuch as by excessive heat or drought). There aretwo reasons:

    First, mowing can help perennial forageplants remain even more lush, nutritious andattractive; much like pruning a bush, mowingforage plants can help them produce thickerfoliage, and produce it at lower levels on theplant.

    Second, mowing before the forage plantshave a chance to flower allows them to retainthe substantial energy and nutrients that areexpended when a plant flowers. Mowing canalso help break the reseeding cycle of upright,annual weeds. Again, to get that benefit youneed to mow before weeds flower.

    This is true of all Imperial perennial stands,except Extreme, which should be allowed toflower, and for the flower and its seeds to dry atleast once a year before mowing. MowingExtreme after it flowers and the flowers dryhelps re-seed the stand, and mowing helps scat-ter the seeds very effectively. To know when tomow Extreme for reseeding, watch the flowers.Theyll turn lavender, and then brown. Oncetheyre brown and dry, mow the plot.

    For more information about these, or anyother matter relating to Whitetail Institute prod-ucts, food plots in general, contact the WhitetailInstitutes in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030. W

  • Once hunting season is over,it can be easy to forgetabout our perennial foodplots. If possible, try to avoid thattemptation because controlling grassand weeds in perennial forage standsis important, simple, and pays off in awide range of ways, especially for thenext hunting season and for years tocome. The Whitetail Institutes Arrestand Slay herbicides are excellenttools in any weed-control arsenal,and theyre specifically designed withfood plots in mind.


    The answer is simple: we need to sprayperennials for the same reason we change theoil in our cars maintenance is easy, but nec-essary if we want our food plots to last as longas they were designed to last. And like carmaintenance, there are two big reasons tokeep grass and weeds in our food plots undercontrol; because it maximizes performance,and it saves us money in the long run. Nutritionally speaking, spring and summer

    are extremely important times in the lives ofdeer. Thats when bucks are growing antlers,and does are pregnant and, later, producingmilk for their newborn fawns. Each of theseprocesses takes huge amounts of nutrients,especially protein, and it takes high-perfor-mance forages to make sure they have all the

    protein they need. Whitetail Institute perenni-als are, in fact, high-performance forages.Theyre designed to provide huge amounts ofprotein and remain highly palatable. If youwant your perennials to remain as lush, nutri-tious and attractive as theyre designed to be,though, youll have to do your part, and thatincludes controlling grass and weeds. Also, just as keeping our cars maintained

    will save money in the long run, keepingweeds and grass in check can maximize thelife of perennials. And that can really pay off.One of the main reasons for planting perenni-als in the first place is that theyre designedto last for multiple years from a single plant-ing, which means you save the expense ofhaving to replant every year. And be sure youunderstand failing to control grass andweeds will shorten the life of your perennialsjust as not changing the oil in your car willshorten its life.

    24 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

    By Whitetail Institute StaffPhotos by Whitetail Institute

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    The number one priority in maintainingperennial food plots is controlling grass. Ifyou dont control grass in a timely manner,

    it can take over the plot in a hurry. Wiley C. Johnson, III, Ph.D.

    Of all the information Dr. Johnson hammeredinto our brains, none was as often-repeated asthis one. If you want your perennials to last aslong as they should, you must control grass andweeds. Arrest and Slay are excellent tools forkeeping grass and weeds in check. If youvewondered whether they are right for your par-ticular planting situation, this article should giveyou the information you need.


    When maintaining perennial foragestands, herbicides should be considered as

    one tool within an overall weed-controlplan. The overall plan should be integrated,

    meaning that it should include cultural,physical (or mechanical) and chemical

    weed control measures as appropriate tothe forage being maintained and the

    weeds you want to control. W. Carroll Johnson, III, Ph.D.Whitetail Institute Weed and

    Herbicide Scientist

    As we get started, realize that no herbicide isgoing to be the answer to every weed and grassproblem. Instead, as Dr. Johnson advises, herbi-cides should be considered one tool within anintegrated plan to control weeds by attackingthem from as many different angles as appropri-ate in the situation. Cultural weed controlmeans keeping the forage itself in good shape healthy, and vigorously growing, making itharder for weeds to compete. Physical (ormechanical weed control means taking physi-cal action against weeds, for instance by mow-ing them or pulling them up by hand.Chemical weed control, of course, means her-bicides.

    When it comes to formulating an integratedweed-control plan, each situation will be differ-ent. Thats why Dr. Johnson said as appropri-ate to the forage being maintained and theweeds you want to control. In some cases, aweed-control plan may include all three meas-ures cultural, physical and chemical. In others,only two or even just one may be the optimumapproach.

    Below, well explain how to determinewhether a herbicide is appropriate for yourintended use and, if so, how to mix the spraysolution and apply it correctly. Well start with afew preliminaries youll need to know.


    Herbicides are chemicals that control (kill)weeds or suppress them (keep them at bayenough to minimize their negative effects incrops), and they are described as either non-selective or selective. Non-selective herbi-cides kill or damage any plant they enter. Anexample is glyphosate, the active ingredient inmany Roundup brand herbicides and genericequivalents. Selective herbicides kill or dam-age some plants (weeds) without harming oth-ers (crops). Examples include the herbicidesoffered by the Whitetail Institute, Arrest andSlay.


    The herbicide label is the only source of infor-mation concerning the selection and use of theherbicide that is absolutely certain to be cor-rect. It would be hard to over-stress how impor-tant it is that you consult the herbicide label inall matters relating to the use of any herbicide.If you dont follow the label information andinstructions exactly, you may get no activityfrom the herbicide or even damage your forageplants any number of results, and none ofthem are good. So again, read and follow alllabel instructions on any herbicide. The labels

    Ensure the success of your food plots.The Whitetail Institute line of herbicides protect your investment by making sure that the plants you have socarefully planted can compete with grasses and weeds for nutrients and water. Arrest kills most grasses, but

    wont harm clover, alfalfa, chicory or Extreme. Slay eliminates broadleaf plantsand weeds, and is designed for clover and alfalfa. Both herbicides areextensively field-tested and can be easily applied by 4-wheeler or tractorsprayer. Easy and effective protection for your crop.


    The Whitetail Institute 239 Whitetail Trail, Pintlala, AL 36043Research = Results


  • will tell you whether or not the herbicide is appropriate for your intendeduse, how to mix the spray solution, apply it, and dispose of any leftoversolution everything you need to know about the herbicide. To get theinformation you need from the label in order to correctly decide whetheror not to use it, you need to understand how the labels are set up. As wego through that, it might be helpful if you pull up the Arrest and Slay labelson your computer so that you can refer to them as you read along. TheArrest and Slay labels are available online at www.whitetailinstitute.com/products/herbicides.html.


    The herbicides appropriate for maintaining existing forage stands areselective in that they are designed to control weeds without harming for-age plants. However, no readily available herbicide is appropriate for use incontrolling all types of weeds in all types of forage stands. Instead, as wellexplain in more detail below, you have to first make sure that the selectiveherbicide you choose will (1) control the specific weeds you are facing, and(2) do so without harming the specific forage plants youre maintaining.

    Thats because herbicides work by interfering with one or more criticalparts of the weeds life and/or reproductive process, and weeds surviveand reproduce in many different ways. Also, different weed types mayappear very similar but have very different life and reproductive processes.To make matters even more difficult, some weeds and forage plants liveand reproduce in ways so similar that no readily available herbicide willcontrol the weeds without harming the forage plants.

    If youre confused by herbicides, dont feel bad. Youre certainly notalone. Youd have to be a weed-and-herbicide scientist to understand allthe technical details of exactly how each herbicide works. The good newsis that you dont have to understand all the technical details because thatwork has been done for you, and all you need to know is the comparativelysimple, step-by-step process that has been set up for you to take advan-tage of it.


    Arrest and Slay are selective herbicides offered by the Whitetail Institute

    26 WHITETAIL NEWS / Vol. 21, No. 3 For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute www.whitetailinstitute.com

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    Call 1-877-849-0767 or visit www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org

    A h u n t e r s w o r l d c

    s p a r a d i s e a n l a s s fi s h i n g

    n d

    Arrest and Slay are selected herbicides offered by the Whitetail Institute of North America and specifically designed

    for controlling grass and weeds in food plots.

  • www.whitetailinstitute.com For the latest promotions, sales and news visit www.Facebook.com/WhitetailInstitute Vol. 21, No. 3 / WHITETAIL NEWS 27

    and specifically designed for controlling grass and weeds in food plots.Arrest is designed to control most kinds of grass, and it is labeled for usein any Whitetail Institute perennial forage stand, any other straight cloveror alfalfa. Slay is designed to control many kinds of broadleaf weeds and afew heavier grass types, and it can be used in established stands ofImperial Whitetail Clover, and any other straight clover or alfalfa. Both arewithin the family of herbicides referred to in the industry as small-weedherbicides, which are designed to provide opti