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What happened to Chainsaw?

Question
Hi Grant! Thank you for all the amazing information about habitat mangement. I was wondering, whatever happened to Chainsaw?

Thanks,
Jordan Steele
Springfield, MO

Jordan,

We didn't get any pictures of Chainsaw since once season started.  We haven't found his sheds yet.  No neighbors have reported tagging or seeing Chainsaw.  I hope he shows up next season!

Thanks for watching and enjoy creation!

grant

March 2, 2016

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Does this deer have Chronic Wasting Disease?

Question


Aug 30 at 10:10 PM

Hi Grant,

Hello Grant,
I was hoping to pick you brain. The two attached pictures are the same deer approximately 1 week apart. That was a very big doe. She was even healthier looking three weeks ago. She has been absolutely huge. Now she looks like she's dying. There is another doe that looks like a walking skeleton. Neither doe has had any fawns. The big doe has not had a fawn in three years. She normally looks like a buck with out the proper equipment. Could this be chronic wasting? Also, three of our largest bucks have disappeared after weekly pictures over the last 8 weeks. I'm getting a bit concerned. Thanks for your input.

Regards,

Pete

Pete,

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) usually takes years before the deer show any signs.  Most of the deer that have tested positive for CWD look normal. 

The symptoms you described sound more like Hemorrhagic Disease (H.D.).  H.D. is a virus that transmitted deer to deer by very small biting flies. Deer that contact the H.D. virus go from looking healthy to dead in a matter of days.  H.D. has been studied for more than 50 years. There is currently no vaccine and epidemics of H.D. have occurred throughout the whitetail's range.  Deer herd's always bounce back from H.D.

CWD is 100% fatal and a very serious threat to deer.  You can learn more about CWD at http://www.CWD-info.org.

It the deer are dying from CWD – that's a major game changer for you and all of your neighbors.  I suggest you contact you local state wildlife biologist if you find any fresh deer carcasses.

Hoping for the best,

grant

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What is the appropriate title for Grant’s profession?

Question
Hello dr. Grant
First I just wanted to say that I love your show, and it is very educational. I want to know what you would exactly call your profession besides wildlife biologist. By that I mean like helping people better their land for deer hunting. My name is Chase and hunting is my passion, I play football at MTSU and its my senior year. That being said I have some professional attention from a few teams. What I want to know is how I could start a career in the kind of things that you are doing. My degree is not in biology, quite honestly I have a useless degree of liberal arts. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated thank you and God bless you, your family, and your business.
Chase Pennycuff

Chase,

Congratulations on almost completing your degree and having a successful football career!  That's very exciting!

Some folks call me a consulting wildlife biologist.  It's really no different than a wildlife biologist.  I research and share my results.  Some wildlife biologists work for government agencies. I work primarily for private landowners, but have worked for corporations and government agencies.  

Thank you for asking God to bless my family!  That's a huge blessing to me!  

Enjoy creation and listen to where God wishes to use you!  

grant

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What college should I attend to become a wildlife biologist?

Question
Dr. Grant Woods,

I wanted to thank you for your advice on degrees in Wildlife Biology. I have contacted UGa and Mississippi State for information from Dr. Karl Miller and Dr. Steve Demaris. My dad had came across Dr. Moore at abac.edu.

I had a question because Dr. Moore let me know that a two two or two years at ABAC and two years at UGa would be a good option for me since my family is in Thomasville. The degrees are different one is BAS applied science and the other one is a BS, but only UGa has the Wildlife Biologist degree.

My dad says I can save money going to the local school first get the core classes out of the way and then go to UGa and be better prepared from the core applied classes at abac, Dr. Moore indicated it is highly competitive to get into UGa. Can you give any advice?

Second question I am still in high school but I would like to know how to go about coming to field days next year as an intern? I am prepared to work time before and after the event.

Thank you for your time.

Parker Maroney

Parker,

I've known several wildlife biologists that went to school for two years at ABAC and finished their wildlife degree at the University of Georgia!  I agree with your father – that's a fine program!  

Wherever you go take each class seriously and be intentional about your career objectives.  For example, take the written and speaking communication skills classes very seriously. These skills are essential to all professions!  School choice is important, but not as important as each student's desire to learn and participate in activities that will benefit their career.  

We rarely accept candidates for our intern program unless they are a junior or more advanced in college.  Our internship program is designed to last a college semester.  Most schools give credit for such field experience.  

I hope you will consider doing an internship with us at you progress through a wildlife degree program!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Where can I hunt near Charleston, South Carolina?

Question
Hey Mr. Grant,
i emailed recently wanting to know if you knew any places to hunt in SC,you said you used to hunt the national forest around Clemson,since i live in Charleston that's along way for a hunt,any other ideas.Also what kind of broad heads do you have? i'm shooting a diamond infinite edge at 45 lbs as of know i have muzzy,deer season just started here in SC can”t wait to get out!
Sincerely Clayton

Clayton,

There's 10's  of 1,000's of acres of public and just outside Charleston called the Francis Marion National Forest.  Some of my friends used to hunt both deer and turkey there!  That's one place to start while you are meeting landowners, etc., and looking for other places to hunt!  

Remember to be willing to trade some work for hunting rights!  Many landowners need help planting food plots, etc.!

Enjoy creation!

grant

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How can I get over target panic?

Question
Grant,
I've been shooting a bow for a couple years now, and developed what people tell me as target panic; where I can't hold my pin on target. Do you know how I can treat this? I'm told every bow hunter deals with this at one time or another.

Thanks

Robert,

I've experienced a few bouts of target panic.  A good friend of mine taught me an easy (but not quick) cure for target panic.  I'm very confident his cure will work for you if the steps are followed.

1.  Stop shooting at dots, X's, etc. Stop now!  

2.  Get a good target and backstop and shoot blind bale. Blind bale is shooting with your eyes closed – literally. You are only focused on form. You are not worried about where the arrow hits as long as it's safe.  To learn more about the blind bale technique watch the episode of GrowingDeer at this link:  http://www.growingdeer.tv/?ep=how-to-get-ready-for-deer-hunting-now

3. Use the blind bale technique daily if you can.  You can use this technique almost anywhere if you have a quality target and use the appropriate safety precautions.

4.  ONLY shoot using the blind bale technique for a minimum of 2 weeks! Don't shoot using normal practice techniques to see if the target panic is cured.

 5. After a very minimum of two weeks start each practice session by shooting at least 10 shots blind bale. Don't get lazy and simply start shooting targets.  

6. When you shoot at a target, DON'T SHOOT AT A DOT, X, ETC.!!!! Shoot at a 9″ pie plate, 3D target that doesn't have dots or circles, etc. Start at 5 yards.

Remember – being accurate at archery is all about good form. Having great from at 5 yards equates to good shots at much  longer distances!

The only tough part about curing target panic is being discipline enough to stick to the above program and don't cheat or take shortcuts.  You must retrain your brain and muscles to a good technique.  This is used by pro athletes, law enforcement, etc.

I've had several bouts of target panic. I'd miss 2′ targets at 10 yards and shake like sapling in a wind storm.  I stuck with the above program and continue it today. I start almost every practice session with blind bale and I'm a very confident shooter now!

Let me know how you are progressing! Stick to this program!  

Enjoy creation,

grant 

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What time of year is most beneficial to remove coyotes?

Question
I just read an article in the July 2015 edition of Bowhunter. It was written by C.J. Winand, titled Coyote Update. I've watch most if not all of your videos on your site and have seen the videos about trapping predators to help limit offspring mortality. Most trapping seasons are in the fall, well at least here in Illinois. After reading this article I was curious to hear what you might have to say about their findings. The idea that hunting/trapping coyotes in the Fall don't seem to have much affect on the heard. Should hunting of coyotes be in the late winter months?? Just found it interesting and after watching you videos you appear to take a very scientific approach to your land and wildlife management.

Thanks,
Michael

I tried to attached a copy of the article.

Michael,

I haven't read C.J. Winand's article titled Coyote Update.  

I suspect he's referencing research that showed coyotes can be very mobile and tend to fill areas/territories that aren't defended by other coyotes.  One of the grad students I helped advise published the results of removing coyotes just before and during fawning season.  There was an amazing response in fawn survival!  You can read about that work at:  https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/vangilder_cory_l_200808_ms.pdf

However, in many states, including where I live in Missouri coyote trapping season closes well before fawning season. That doesn't mean there aren't benefits to trapping coyotes during the winter.  I've trapped at my place for years.  Through the years we've noticed an improved fawn survival rate.  It seems trapping during the winter requires many more years to achieve the same results at trapping just prior to or during the fawning season.  

As the State Director of Wildlife in Virginia said recently “…dead coyotes don't eat deer…”  If the predator/prey population is out of balance where you hunt, I encourage you to remove coyotes whenever you legally can.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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How old is this buck from Sedalia, Missouri?

Question
My Dad and I went out the other night to purchase a trail camera to see what new deer may be on our property. Our property is outside Sedalia, Mo and we knew that there had been big mature deer there in the past. We discovered this deer that is giving us some trouble trying to tell the age. We were wondering if you could help.

Thanks,
Will

Will,

That's a good looking buck!  It's tough to accurately estimate the age of deer when part of their body is blocked by plants.  From what I can see it appears his neck merges well above where his chest meets his brisket.  HIs shoulders and hams don't appear to be fully developed and his facial features are very fine (unscarred).  

These are all indicators the buck is likely 2 or 3 years old.  If he's a 2 year old the buck has tremendous potential!  Even if he's 3 years old he's a great looking buck!  

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What can I train to shoot a bow with a heavier draw weight?

Question
Hi,
I am a 13 year old beggining bow hunter, and I was wondering if you have any exercise you could give me to get stronger so that I can to pull my bow back with out as much effort, because right now I'm having trouble keeping my bow steady before I shoot.
Thanks,
Jeremy

Jeremy,

I'm glad you are a fellow bowhunter!  I'm not a fitness expert.  I've read and believe that the best training for shooting a bow is to shoot a bow.  Shooting exercises the exact muscles used for this activity.  I suggest you back off the weight of your bow so you can shoot it comfortably.  This will allow you to shoot more accurately than while straining.  

Shooting a bow that is set to heavy will cause you to develop an improper shooting form.  By shooting an appropriate weight bow you will be more accurate and accuracy is way more important than arrow speed.  As you practice you'll gain strength through repetition! 

Practicing should be fun and rewarding and this will happen if you shoot with a bow that's the right weight and draw length.

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Should I use a cover crop when planting clover?

Question
I'm getting ready to plant some very small deer food plots in the woods and open field edges. I have heard you say that low growing clovers generate faster in high traffic areas. What type of clover is low growing and would you mix other things with it or would you sow it solo?

Thanks,
Tim

 

Tim,

I strongly prefer using wheat as a cover crop when I establish clover during the fall.  The wheat will usually germinate quickly and provide forage while the clover is still very small. In addition, the wheat will protect the young clover from hard rains, harsh sun during dry conditions, etc.

The following spring the wheat will serve to outcompete most weeds. In addition, when the wheat matures deer and turkeys will benefit and be very attracted to the wheat grain!

Once the grain is consumed the wheat straw will decompose and serve as organic matter and fertilize for the clover.

I've had much success using the Monster wheat variety from http://www.EagleSeed.com.

I like a short growing clover.  I avoid most ladino varieties.  I'm experimenting with some newer varieties now and will keep you posted how they perform.

Enjoy creation!

grant

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How much Roundup should be used to treat food plots?

Question
I'm not a farmer and I get very confused on how to read and figure out the proper mixture of roundup to water to kill weeds and grasses before I plant. Any guidance would be appreciated.

David,

I agree!  Herbicide labels can be confusing due to all the legalize.

The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate and it's one of the safest herbicides used today.  Unless there are weeds that are resistant to glyphosate most farmers use 2 quarts of Roundup per 20-25 gallons of water per acre.  

There are many variables such as the hardness of the water, the droplet size produced by the sprayer's nozzles, etc. However, 2 quarts of Roundup mixed with 20-25 gallons of water is a very generic and successful recipe.  

Enjoy creation!

grant

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Will fawns survive if the doe is harvested?

Question
Mr. Grant,
I see does and fawns all the time while hunting, but it always seems the mature does have fawns. And I always end up talking myself out of shooting a doe with fawns. Will the fawns be able to survive without a mother? Any other tips on managing the deer herd would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Wheeler Brewster

Wheeler,

Most state agencies don't allow doe harvest until most fawns are old enough to survive should the doe be removed.  It's often necessary to remove does to balance the number of deer with the habitat's potential to produce quality forage in many areas.  This has been a standard practice for decades in most states and the deer herds have thrived!  

If there are more deer than the habitat where you hunt can produce quality forage or if the adult buck:doe ratio is out of balance in favor of does I suggest you tag some does and allow you and your family to enjoy fresh venison while helping the deer herd!

Enjoy creation,

Grant

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Will you share some of recipes and cooking techniques?

Question
Dear Grant,

Have you ever thought of doing some cooking videos?

Thanks,

Derek

Derek,

Mrs. Tracy has agreed to share some of her preparation techniques and recipes!  Keep watching!   

grant

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Will prescribed fire help native grasses become re-established?

Question
We have a big field that we had in CREP, but it may come out because it is starting to be taken over by other herbaceous plants. My dad is talking about farming it when it comes out, but I think it would benefit the wildlife more if we didn't. I am trying to talk him into a controlled burn that would help bring back the grasses. Could you give me more information about when we would have someone burn it for us and if it would help or not and why.

Logan,

Prescribed fire can be an excellent and relatively inexpensive tool to promote native warm season grasses.  The best results usually occur when prescribed fire is used before the native warm season grasses have started growing during the late spring.  Most other herbaceous and woody plants will have already greened up before the native warm season grasses.  Fire will set back these other species and stimulate the established native warm season grasses and their seeds to grow!  

In areas where ag is the predominate land use, cover can be a limiting factor for wildlife.  Native warm season grasses can provide great cover as well as build huge amounts of organic matter!

Enjoy creation,

grant

 

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What to plant in food plots that are less than an acre?

Question
Grant!

Fellow “Ozarkian” here! haha. I live just south of Branson MO, across the Border in Omaha, Arkansas. So we're neighbors!
Let me first start off by saying thank you for all your efforts and wonderful information, great videos, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. As nothing is possible without him.
Now, on to my question. I'd like to spice up my small food plots, where each is less than an acre, and I'd like your personal input on what version of seed I should get from Eagle since you know our weather, terrain, and layouts down here in the Ozarks. I'd love to use a “multi” type seed where i had clover, beans, wheat, turnips, so that they come up at different times. That sort of seed that works well with other seeds. And the best time frame to seed it.

Thanks a ton Sir,
God Bless,
Allen

Allen,

I've been planting Eagle's Seed's (www.EagleSeed.com) forage soybeans in small plots and then over seeding them with Broadside during mid August (when there's ample soil moisture available.  Eagle's Wildlife Manager's blend works great for smaller plots.  This rotation has both attracted deer and built soil!  Deer love the soybeans all summer and the Broadside blend includes radishes, a forage wheat, and two types of brassicas.

Deer prefer the radishes early, the wheat during the mid season, and the brassicas during the late season!

The forage soybeans are Roundup Ready so it's easy to keep the plots weed-free all summer and the Broadside blend can be seeding into the weed-free beans during the fall. This rotation does a great job of breaking the weed cycle!

Enjoy creation,

grant

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At what age should I “cull” bucks?

Question
Dear Dr. Woods,

Me and some friends were discussing genetics or the lack there of. The questions is at what age do you harvest a genetically inferior buck or a buck that has some sort of antler “problem”? I noticed in one of your episodes that you passed on a buck with an odd rack that looked to be 3 y/o. Do you stick to your guns of only harvesting a 4 y/o and give the inferior gene another year to replicate? or do you harvest the deer at a younger age 2-3 y/o to get him out of the gene pool? Thank you for your time.

Ben

Ben,

Recently we've shared footage of a buck we call Chainsaw!  He has very large antlers several kickers.  I confident almost every deer hunter would gladly tag Chainsaw.  I estimate this buck to be 4 years old. We don't recognize Chainsaw as any of the bucks from our farm last year.  Chainsaw's range also includes a member of our local deer coop and that landowner doesn't recognize him either.  I suspect Chainsaw's antlers are much larger this year than during any previous year.  Had we (or our neighbor) been tagging 3 year old or younger deer Chainsaw may not have survived to express his genetic potential.

I've seen this same pattern many times!  Bucks often don't show their genetic potential until they reach 4 years old or older.  Several spikes that have been tagged or fitted with a radio collar have produced Boone and Crockett level antlers when they matured to 4 years old or older.  

Based on this and several research projects I do recommend passing bucks until the age criteria used where you hunt. It's almost impossible to determine a buck's antler production potential at younger ages.  

Remember that does make a huge contribution to antler shape.  The bottom line is that culling bucks without a known pedigree for several generations on both the doe and buck side is useless.  

Enjoy creation,

grant

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What’s a good backstop to place behind a 3D archery target?

Question
Not s tough question. I have been looking for a solid solution to bow practice where I am able to retrieve arrows without damage or difficulty. I noticed you have a large white square backstop behind your 3d deer target. Can you provide me with a little information on the backstop to include what your thoughts are on it with broad heads or target tips? What it is made out of? Possible distributors?

I have my barn behind the 3d target at my home in the event the 3d is missed (don't want to lose any at the cost of arrows today). You can see my 3d target in the background of the picture I have attached. (No killing at the house. These are off limits! Wife's rules. 🙂 )

Thank you for your advice and help. Wishing you all a very successful hunting season this year! Thank you for all the videos and educational material you have provide not only me but those whom I have shared your site.

Take care and be safe!
Rich Tanner
Warrenton, Virginia

Richard,

Deer feeding behind houseThe large “white square” is a product from a company that is no longer in business.  It is only to be used with field tips.

I often use large round bales of hay as a backstop behind 3D targets. These are inexpensive work work great!  They will decompose over time and need to be replaced.

Thank you for watching http://www.GrowingDeer.tv and for sharing the link with  your friends!

Enjoy creation!

 

 

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Hatch or Predator Raid?

Question
Grant,
I found this nest site last week at my farm in Dallas County. In your opinion, does this look like a successful hatch or predator raid?

I really enjoy your Growingdeer.tv!

Mark

 

Mark,

Turkey poults usually pip or open one end of the egg shell to get out.Some of the shells appear that a chick was successfully hatched. Othershells have been crunched by a predator, etc. Most predators would destroyall eggs, not just one or two.

I suspect the chicks hatched normally and then a predator found the nextand busted a few shells by stepping on them, etc.

Hopefully the chicks are still alive and growing!!

Enjoy creation,

Grant

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Where can I hunt in South Carolina?

Question
Hey mr. Grant,
im a young hunter in SC, i was just wondering if you knew any spots to hunt here,i know you probably get asked questions like this all the time and you obviously cant give away your best spots,however if you could help that'd be great!
Sincerely Clayton Hock

Clayton,

Tracy (my wife) and I used to live near Abbeville, South Carolina! I did my Ph.D., work in Clemson!  While in school I hunted on the National Forest above Clemson and hunted around Greenwood and Abbeville when Tracy and I lived in that area. I had some great hunts on public land. Not many folks are willing to hike into the National Forest in the Mountains above Clemson. There was rarely much sign of hunters 1/2 mile or more off the road.  

I also enjoyed some good hunts near Abbeville, South Carolina. I often traded helping with some projects for permission to hunt private land.  You might attend some local Quality Deer Management Association meetings and ask landowners there if you could trade helping them for permission to hunt!  Many landowners will trade help with planting food plots, preparing stands, etc ., for access to hunt.  

You can find out where local Quality Deer Management Association branches are meeting at http://www.QDMA.com.  There are QDMA branches throughout South Carolina.

Enjoy creation!

grant

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How long will it take for deer to return to an area after it’s been disturbed?

Question
Grant,

I was receiving several day and night pictures of different deer every day on my cellular trail camera. I did some plowing and planting on the food plot, hung a 55gal free choice corn feeder, and disposed of some old feed oats in the garage around the plot. Since doing so 4 days ago I have not seen a single deer on the camera. I moved the camera only 20yds or so. My fiance and I both used bug spray generously while we were there.

What can I do to bring them back?

I know the camera is functioning properly because I'm receiving raccoon pictures.

Thanks,

Neil

Neil,

Deer don't like change.  It can take a week or longer for deer to accept significant changes.  The feeders, smell of the oats, removal of vegetation and plowing all were major changes in the area monitored by the camera. I suggest you simply stay away from the area a few days and allow deer to accept the changes aren't associated with danger.  Once they are comfortable they will return to the plot unless they've found a better food source or one they don't associate with danger.    

Enjoy creation,

grant

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Do some areas have better genetics for producing larger antlers than other areas?

Question
Dr Woods,

Are certain areas in the MidWest more genetically gifted for growing larger racked whitetails? I know you like to discuss whitetail habitat because it can be manipulated to improve antler growth. Genetics not so much in a wild herd. But, won't you agree that the true rate limiting step to growing MONSTER 200″+ whitetails are the genetics specific to that animal(s). Do these 200″ genetics occur at random throughout the range of the different whitetail sub-species. Or, are there areas such as Western WI, South Central Iowa, NE Missouri, etc etc that have higher genetic potential to grow 200″ whitetails.

I know after watching/managing a herd for over a decade in WI (1000+ acres on multiple properties) that certain antler characteristics are specific for certain “micro” habitats. Suggesting, genetics of the local herd of animals may be at play with ample food available and minimal stress on these larger properties. I would love to hear your thoughts…. seeing as the last growing deer tv episode focused on Mississippi study showing that the genetic potential existed, but was essentially masked by inadequate nutrition.

Joshua,

I'm not aware of any research that shows some areas have better genetics than others for producing large antlered bucks.  

You mentioned northern Missouri.  That's a great example!  There wasn't a deer season in any northern Missouri counties when I was a child.  Missouri has great stocking records and many of the deer used to stock the northern Missouri counties were from Taney County – where I live!  So – same genetics in northern Missouri where many BC bucks are tagged and Taney County where a BC buck has never been recorded.  

Clearly the difference in soil quality and forage (soybeans versus timber) accounts for the differences.  Within any location there will be huge genetic diversity among deer.  I don't believe the BC distribution map reflects differences in regional genetic diversity. Rather if reflects differences in habitat quality and management (age structure due to state regulations, etc.).

Enjoy creation!

grant

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How does humidity impact your stand selection?

Question
Grant, I really enjoy growingdeertv. Just finished watching the latest vid of Chainsaw and the interns setting a stand on a glade. The discussion went to the different characteristics of the stand. I thought it very interesting that Adam was saying if the humidity was too high yall would not hunt that stand. Is that a regular practice? Thanx Calvin

Calvin,

Scent carries better during moist than dry conditions.  So we rarely hunt from stands where the wind is likely to swirl when the humidity is high.  During high humidity conditions we are more likely to select stand locations on ridgetops or areas where the wind is not blocked by vegetation or topographic features.  At such locations the wind is much less likely to swirl.

Enjoy creation!

grant 

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Should I spray before I disk?

Question
I'm wanting to put in a brassica food plot and I have got to spray the weeds to kill it out before I can plant. I have glyphosate 50% to spray with how long do I need to wait before I can disk and plant new seed? Would appreciate any insight. Thank you in advance Danny

Danny,

Glyphosate has no activity in the soil.  It's only works by entering plants through green leaves, etc.  So there's very limited value in spraying glyphosate before disking.  The disking should kill all the weeds.

Enjoy creation!

grant

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How old is this buck?

Question
Hi Grant,

I grabbed this picture from my trail cam Monday. Can you estimate the age of this buck by the picture? I'm thinking 4-5 yrs old. ( by the signs you say to look for on the show )

Thanks
Lee

leeimage1

Lee,

The buck in your picture appears to have a swayed back, pot-belly, and his chest sags below where his shoulders meets his legs.  In addition, his shoulders and hams are very well developed.  These are all indicators that the buck is four years old or older. He'd certainly be on my hit list!  

I hope you have a great encounter with him!  

Enjoy creation!

grant

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What are some raccoon trapping tips?

Question
Hello Grant, I really enjoy your videos and your information you guys put out. I'm new to the trapping world and I'm trying my hand at it this coming season here in Pennsylvania. I'm going to be trapping an area that is high in red fox as well as coon. This also happens to be my bow deer hunting spot which has a lot of activity. I was wondering if you could give me some tips and pointers on how to get started. Just as a side note I already have some bait for the traps which i ordered specially made for fox and coon, 2 rebar 18inch stakes for the traps, as well as 2 Victor #1 1/2 traps for the job. I'm sure you get a ton of emails and posts asking for your advice but if you happen to come upon my request it would be much appreciated if you could throw some advice my way. Hunting and fishing and just being outdoors admiring nature and what our great Creator gave us is my life and something I long to do for the rest of my life. I wish you and your family the best of luck on this upcoming deer and trapping season and as always enjoy the outdoors.

Thank You
Andrew

Andrew,

I really enjoy trapping!  I enjoy the activity and working to balance the predator/prey populations!  There are not many red fox where I live due to high numbers of coyotes.  In fact, we saw three coyotes in the yard today.

We have a lot of raccoons.  I trap raccoons to reduce the number of nest predators during the turkey nesting season.  Each fall more raccoons disperse back into my property as there is not much trapping pressure in the surrounding area.

I've been using Duke cage trap for years with great success!  These traps are very easy and quick to set and almost failproof!  I use sweet baits (peanut butter, marsh mellows, orange slice candies, etc., during the early fall and more meat based baits once the temperatures get colder.  This rotation of baits has proven very successful for me!

Enjoy creation!

 

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Will green vegetation burn?

Question
Good Evening Dr. Woods,

Two things: Last weekend I ran into a road block with a 2 acre plot I have. I really needed to burn the plot because there was so many leaves on it. However, I was unsure as to how to properly burn a food plot. I've seen your videos on how to do a prescribed burn on woodland, but not a plot. Will the green vegetation not burn? Please help!!

Next, I've been hearing loads of people take about the new craze of hinge cutting. I've read you can actually funnel the deer from the bedding are you have made, to the travel corridor you have also made, to a blind setup where you are waiting. How come you have never talked about this/added this to your arsenal?

Your friend,

Jim Marshall

Jim,

Green vegetation usually won't carry a fire very well.  Green vegetation is usually full (literally) of water.  Some plants are composed of 70% water!  In situations where you are trying to remove such vegetation it's often best to mow the vegetation and allow it to dry then carefully use a prescribed fire to remove the duff.  The fire can also create a clean seedbed!

I very rarely prescribe hinge cutting.  It can work well the first year or two. However the limbs will rapidly grow toward the sun and shade out any vegetation below.  Deer and most critters need cover from ground level to three feet tall.  Most hinge cutting creates cover above three feet. In a few years when the hinge cutting shades out the ground it's an ugly mess that's difficult to redirect to better type of cover.

Enjoy creation!

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What steps should I take to create a staging area food plot?

Question
Food plot question. I looked at the ask Grant section and got a lot of tips but none fully addressed my question. I hunted a soybean field last season with my stand on the edge of the field/woods facing the field. Not many opportunities in the field occurred but a lot of ‘just out of bow range' activity was going on in the woods behind me. I moved my stand last week near a trail intersection with some decent rubs (last seasons) nearby. It seems like a staging area and i am positive the ‘big 9' uses it to get in and out of the field. There is a break in the canopy where some ground cover grows, it doesn't get browsed. I would like to replace it with some sort of staging forage. Can I use a weed whacker to cut it all down, and lime/fertilize in one day then come back and seed? Or should I “round-up” then come back and rake, fertilize seed. We are getting close to bow season and I don't want to miss this opportunity to hold deer in this area. I am in the Upstate of SC bow season starts in about 5 weeks.

I really like your plan to move off the field edge and create a staging area hidely hole plot!!

Whether it will be best to cut the weeds or use herbicide depends on the species of weeds.  Most perennial weeds will simply sprout back after being cut.  The safest bet is to use glyphosate. You can spray on day (in good conditions) and literally add lime, fertilizer and seed the next.  

Make sure the site receives at least 50% sunshine a day.  Forage crops need sunshine to grow.  I often use a rack or other hand tools to prepare hidy hole plots!  

Let me know how this one turns out!

Enjoy creation!


 

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How can I control grass in my radish food plot?

Question
I planted a food plot (rack radish crush item #1808301 at basspro) about June 12th My friend then unwittingly planted grass over the same area. The grass is obviously higher than the radishes, which have been munched on by the deer a lot as well. The grass is actually doubling over some. My question is, should I mow the area to give the radishes a fighting chance? Will it even help?

Thanks!

Wes

It depends on what type of grass and how mature it is.  There are several grass-specific herbicides such as Poast Plus, Clethodim, etc.  None of them are very effective on grass that's very mature.  So using a grass-specific herbicide depends on the maturity of weeds. You could try mowing but most grass species respond to being cut by growing again if it's during the growing season.  

It may be best to terminate the weeds and crop by herbicide or tillage and plant a fall crop now.  If you take this action, make sure there is plenty of soil moisture before you plant the new crop!

Enjoy creation!

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Is the Mississippi State research that tested whether antler size is limited by genetics or environment factors available in a written publication?

Question
Any chance we can get a hard copy or emailed pdf of the MSU study?

Thanks,

Marc

The results of the recent research by scientists at Mississippi State University that we shared (http://www.growingdeer.tv/#/whitetail-antlers-and-genetics-fact-or-fiction) hasn't been published yet.  It is to be published soon and we'll share a link to that publication when it's available.

Enjoy creation!

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Can deer be conditioned to accept a specific odor?

Question
Grant,

Is it possible to condition a deer to a specific smell? for example Could you apply your scent cover at your stand year round and condition a deer to that particular smell? Where I hunt the wind swirls almost always. I know that the best option would be to have a sealed blind.

Deer in research facilities do become conditioned to accept and not become alerted to certain individuals or smells that would alert wild deer.  

Deer have an incredible sense of smell.  I suspect they can be conditioned to accept any cover scent. However, when the hunter was present the deer would most likely smell the human and cover sent.  I don't believe the cover scent will mask all odors given off by the hunter – including the hunters breath, ongoing death of bacteria, etc.  

Cover scents have been around for decades and still hunters commonly get busted by deer.

Enjoy creation!

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Can bears displace deer from an area?

Question
Hello Dr. Grant, Adam, Family, and Interns,
I live in the mountains of Western NC. I have seen (on trail camera pictures) this year and last, an increase in the number of bears and a decrease in the number of deer on one of the properties my family and I hunt. Are the deer avoiding the area because of the bears?

Background Information:
2 years ago we had pictures of approximately 8-12 different deer and maybe 1 or 2 pictures of bears all season( i think of the same bear). Last year throughout the hunting season we had regular pictures of 2 boar bears, a female with 2 cubs, and 1 adolescent bear. Last year also showed a slight decrease in the frequency of deer pictures and I don't have an accurate count on how many different deer we had pictures of but I can estimate it to be about 8-10. This year (I know it is early but I have only seen pictures of 2 does (each with 1 fawn) and 2 bucks for a total of 6 deer. Bear numbers are exploding. Daily pictures of bears include: 1 big boar, 2 females, one with 2 cubs and one with 4 cubs, and 1 adolescent. This is a minimum of 10 bears total, maybe more.

Thanks in advance for any help or information you can give. My family and I love your videos for both their educational and entertainment value and we love that you share the Gospel through you work.

Your Fellow Hunter and Brother In Christ,
Brent in Western NC

Brent,

Thank you for watching GrowingDeer and for sharing the encouraging words!  

I believe the primary determinant of deer activity is survival.  Deer certainly co-exist with bears in many areas.  However, deer often change habits/patterns when a new or increase of predators occurs.  Given the substantial increase the number of bears where you hunt it's certainly possible that deer in the area have switched to using a different portion of their home range.  

I suggest you don't use any supplemental feed as bears are very attracted to easy groceries.  If you aren't feeding then there's probably not much you can do to discourage the bears from spending so much time where you hunt.  Hopefully some of the bears will move on soon!

Enjoy creation! 

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Is it safe for deer and other wildlife to consume plants treated with glyphosate?

Question
Dr. Woods,

I need to spray 3 small food plots in NW Wisconsin with glyphosate so I can get them planted with fall crops. The deer have browsed most of the good forage out of the plots but they along with some turkeys are still foraging in the plots on a daily basis. I don't want to spray a chemical that will harm the critters. Do I need to worry about deer that try and browse the food plots after I have treated it with glyphosate?

Thanks for the help with this question,
Mark in Wisconsin

Mark,

There are no grazing restrictions on the glyphosate label.   In addition literally millions of deer and other critters have browsed on glyphosate treated crops throughout the U.S. for years without one reported negative response.  There have been literally 1,000's of studies and not one scientific, peer-reviewed study has shown a negative relationship between glyphosate and humans or deer.  

Based on the research to date, and no known negative reports for more than a decade, you should feel comfortable using glyphosate per the instructions on the label.

  

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How many days should a ground blind be in place before hunting from it?

Question
Grant,

When would be a good time to place ground blinds out prior to season?

Thank you,
Jeremy Starner

Deer usually take a while to accept blinds placed in their range.  Some folks do a great job of “brushing in” blinds and deer seem to accept these new “brush piles” quicker than a typical blind.  For the last two years I've been using a Hay Bale blind from Redneck (www.RedneckBlinds.com).  I've found that deer accept these blinds the first day they are put out if there are hay bales in the area.  I've been shocked at how rapidly deer ignore a hay bale blind placed at the edge of a food plot versus a tent style blind!

No matter what style of blind being used, I suggest getting it out as soon a practical.  Every day that deer walk by it without associating with danger makes it a better hunting location!

Enjoy creation!


 

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When should the Broadside blend be planted in northern Mississippi?

Question
I have a question about planting fall food plots. I hunt on about 85 acres, mostly farm fields and lets say 25% woods.
The question is the farmer plants soybeans in May and cuts around Nov. could I spread eagle seed broadside over top of the soybeans and the crop come up? I'm going to plant 3 plots in this same seed mix.One field will be 1 acre and the other 2 plots are going to be long half acres. Whats your thoughts on planting like this; I will also plant in the last part of August. because I live in North MS.
Thanks for your help and keep up the great work on the videos.

Corey,

Broadside should be planted 45 to 60 days before the first expected frost.  The average first frost date in northern Mississippi is during late October (check out:  http://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-mississippi-first-frost-date-map.php).  Based on this information I'd suggest planting during the first week or two of September.  Within that range I'd try to broadcast the Broadside just before a rain.  There will normally be a higher germination rate for seed that's broadcast if it's planted just before or even during a rain.  

This technique usually results in rapid germination and prevents seed from being damaged by desiccation and/or being consumed by rodents and birds.  

You need to check with landowner/farmer to insure they are OK with Broadside germinating before the soybean crop is harvested.  I've used this technique often with great results!

Enjoy creation!

 

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How much Broadside should be broadcast over existing Eagle Seed forage soybeans?

Question
How much broadside should be broadcast in a half acre of eagle seed beans?

There's always some seed that doesn't germinate when using the Broadcast technique.  This can be due to where the seeds land, being consumed by rodents or birds, etc. 

I've had very good success broadcasting Broadside over existing beans at 25 pounds per quarter acre.

Enjoy creation! 

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Why do some deer seem to have fewer ticks?

Question
In my trail cam picks I notice that the larger bucks have fewer ticks between the shoulder blades and on the ears as many of the does and smaller bucks. Is this cause or effect? Are they healthier because they don't have ticks – or do they keep ticks off because they are healthier? Why are some deer's ears and shoulder blades just dripping with ticks, but not others in exact same area?

Thanks!
Rev. H. R. Curtis
Worden, IL

I've had the same observation here at The Proving Grounds!  For example, one of the larger antlered bucks here now is Chainsaw.  We've shown several video clips of him.  It appears Chainsaw has fewer ticks than other bucks and does of the same age class and using the same areas.

I assume for reason Chainsaw doesn't attract ticks as much as the other deer in the area.  This is only a assumption and I'm not aware of any biological facts to support this assumption.

For comparison, Adam is younger and probably healthier than me.  When we work side by side we seem to get about the same number of ticks – as does the rest of our Team.  

If you learn more on this subject, please share it with me!  

Enjoy creation! 

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When should Broadside be broadcast in northern Indiana?

Question
It is time in Northern Indiana to broadcast Broadside in our eagle seed beans. I have a half acre of eagle seed beans how much Broadside do I use? Do I use a half acres worth or less? Azar (aka Big Boy) would like to know! See Pic.

Broadside does best when it's planted 45 – 60 days before the first hard frost.  None of us can predict when the first frost will occur each fall so the best  we can do is use the average first frost date for each area.  The average first frost date for northern Indiana is around the 2nd week of October.  Based on this average I suggest broadcasting the Broadside blend during mid August or so.  I would wait until there is a good chance of rain in the forecast.  The broadcast planting technique works best if the seed are spread just before (or even during) a rain.  

We'll be planting Broadside at The Proving Grounds about the same time as you!

 

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How is Antler Dirt made?

Question
Dr. Grant. I don't have access to Antler Dirt here in Statesboro Georgia. Go Georgia Southern Eagles!!!! How can I create my own with dried chicken manure? Could you provide me with a step by step ingredient list and how much to add per acre? I love your show and have learned so much from you and Adam. Thanks.

Antler Dirt is composted and humified poultry litter.  You can learn more about how it's made by watching: http://www.growingdeer.tv/#/big-antlers-start-in-the-dirt

To build Antler Dirt correctly requires turning it daily and adding beneficial living microbes, etc.  I suspect it would be much less expensive to pay the shipping than to purchase the equipment and all the ingredients.

You might reach out to the guys at http://www.AntlerDirt.com to learn more.  

Enjoy creation!

 

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How old is this buck?

Question
Im here to ask you how old these deer is in the attached pictures are, I hunt a 500 acre area my grandparents own in Morgan county Ohio, only being 17 I have harvested several 130” deer but want something more mature and bigger.

Heavy 8 (2) Heavy 8 (4) Lucky 13 (106) Lucky 13 (114)

I typically only estimate the age of one buck per question. I'll spend some time analyzing the first buck (color pics).
This buck's neck merges with his chest in the brisket area.  There appears to be a hump over his shoulder and his chest sags below where his legs merge with his shoulders.  These are all good indicators this buck is 4 or older.  He'd be on my wish list!  I hope you have a great encounter with him!
 
Enjoy creation!
Grant

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How fast does lime work to alter the soil’s pH?

Question
Hi, my name is Duane Spurgin. I have mainly hunted public ground my whole life but I have recently acquired permission on a 60 acre tract of land. I am located in central Missouri. (Phelps county to be exact) The landowner has given me permission to plant a couple small food plots. Both are approximately between 1/4 to 1/2 acre. I am new to planting food plots so I'm looking for any advice as to what to plant. I've done some research and everything strongly recommends lime but I don't have the time to adjust the pH with bow season quickly approaching and planting season about 2 weeks away. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and god bless

Duane,

Congratulations on accurate some land the manage and hunt!!

It can take months for normal ag lime to totally react with soil. However, the finer particles will begin reacting with the soil within days if there is adequate soil moisture.  I suggest you go ahead and apply lime now. The crops will get some benefit now and more as they mature throughout the fall! 

The finer the grind of lime the faster it reacts with soil. There are some sources of very finely ground lime that has been pelletized so it's easy to spread.  I did some research on high quality pelletized lime years ago and it substantially improved the soil's pH in a month!  

Whether you use standard ag lime or high quality pelletized lime I suggest you spread it as soon as you can!

Enjoy creation!

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Are there ways to improve the germination rate of seed that’s to be broadcast into standing soybeans?

Question
hi mr. woods thank you for answering my question about spreading broadside in the north!! im excited for a qdma field day at my local branch this weekend, anything I should look for or important questions to ask? I sprayed my plot and I have almost a pure stand of growing beans im really happy with eagle seeds habitat seeds, hopefully broadside has same results. my question to you now is im going to broadcast my broadside and some other fall blends to give different variety, when looking at my plots we have had very hot weather and I have a “top crust” if you want to say with cracks, ridges etc, im more concerned with germination or if seeds to deep things of that nature. Is there anything I can do to help like spread top soil by hand or anything to get bit of dirt on top? does it matter?

Thanks again!!
mike

Mike,

I hope you enjoy the Field Day with your local QDMA Branch!  

I wouldn't broadcast the seed into your standing soybean food plot until the chances of rain are very good!  There must be adequate soil moisture for seeds to germinate and survive.  Rain also serves to splash dirt and help cover the seeds!  In addition rodents and birds can consume must of the seed if it lays on top of the ground and doesn't germinate.  

I often broadcast seed during rain with great results!

Enjoy creation,

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What percentage of land should be in food plots?

Question
How many acers do you own? And how many food plots should you have on your land per acer? Also, how many food plots should you have per however many groups of deer?

There are many variables that determine how many acres of food plot there should be on any property.  If the hunting property is an area where corn and soybean crops are commonly grown then food plots, especially during the summer, are rarely necessary.  In these areas food plots during the hunting season can be useful to attract deer after the production crops have been harvested.  

In areas where timber or pasture are the primary land uses then more acres of food plots will be necessary to provide enough quality forage for all deer to express their full genetic potential. Ideally there will be enough acres of food plots that each deer has all the quality forage they wish to consume. 

An easy and accurate indicator that can be used to evaluate the quantity of food to the number of deer in an area is to notice if quality forage such as soybeans is being over-browsed.   If it is then either more acres of food plots should be established or the deer population should be reduced – or both actions at the same time.  

Enjoy creation! 

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Should I overseed Eagle Seed forage soybeans even if they produced a good crop?

Question
Thanks Grant for taking the time to look at my question. I live and hunt in Wisconsin near Trempleau county. I have a 1 acre plot that I planted in eagle seed soybeans this spring, with the expectation that it would provide forage for deer during the summer, but it would be over browsed, probably not set pods, and come late summer, I would be able to overseed it with broadside blend. Well I may have underestimated the browse tolerance of eagle seed beans and they are about knee high (I'm 6'3″) and have totally closed off and created a canopy such that I can't see any bare dirt when I look at them from afar and up close. Not being a farmer and never having planted soybeans before, I'm not sure how to tell if these plants are going to produce soybean pods to hunt in the winter. I don't want to ruin perfectly good beans and at the same time waste the eagle seed putting it in the plot and not have it germinate because the seeds can't get any sun. Similarly, i don't want to be fooled into thinking that these plants will set bean pods, not seed it, have the forage beans die in October and nothing but bare dirt to look at come thanksgiving. Not to mention the weed problem come spring when I try to plant again. Thanks in advance if you have a chance to answer my question.

Like you, I'm amazed every year at how much forage Eagle Seed forage soybeans produce even when being heavily browsed.

Unless there's an earlier than normal frost at your property or you planted a very late maturing variety of Eagle Seed such as Big Fellow or Large Lad it shoulds like the beans in your plot will produce pods.

I really like the many benefits of cover crops!  Some cover crops can provide excellent forage for deer and other game.  When the temperatures are warmer than normal during hunting season deer tend to prefer green forage versus grains (bean pods). By overseeding standing soybeans you can provide deer both greens and grain in the same plot and keep attracting deer during both warm and cold temperatures.  

Eagle's Broadside blend works great to mine or recycle nutrients. That is to say this blend grows in all but the coldest conditions and actively growing plants take up nutrients that otherwise might leach below the reach of new plants next spring.  When the winter cover crop is terminated the decomposing forage and roots release great nutrients for the new warm season crop.  I could go on with benefits of cover crops.

I strongly suggest planting Broadside in your standing crop of forage soybeans.  If you use a no till drill this will create gaps where the sun will reach the soil and allow the Broadside to germinate.  If you plan to broadcast the seed you may wish to drive and ATV through the plot, etc., and disturb at least 1/3 of the forage crown.  This will allow the Broadside to germinate and the remaining beans to produce pods.

I know it sounds crazy to remove a small portion of a plot you worked hard to grow!  However the benefits of a cover crop outweigh any damage to a small percentage of the standing beans.

 

 

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What forages are extremely shade tolerant?

Question
Grant: I have a beautiful secluded area of mature trees along a creek bed whose understory is almost 100% wild oats (which the deer do not eat). What can I plant there (after mowing the oats) that will be an attractive and nutritious deer food? Obviously, this area is heavily shaded. I thought of some type of clover, but when I read about the clovers, they all seem to want quite a bit of sunshine.

Most forages do require at least 1/2 day of sunshine to be productive.  The sun is the source of all energy and with ample sunlight the photosynthesis process doesn't work.

I agree with you that white clovers are about as tolerant as any forage I've tried  You will need to insure there are plenty of nutrients in the soil. All forages are simply nutrient transfer agents and if the nutrients aren't in the soil the  plants can't transfer them to deer.

If the site has a full canopy I wouldn't recommend using your resources to try to establish a food plot in that location.

 

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What liquid fertilizer should I use?

Question
Hi Grant,

Keep up the great work. Love the videos and information that you provide.

I am aware that you utilize Antler Dirt for fertilizing your plots, but in my situation I don not have access to the equipment necessary to apply the Antler Dirt especially in remote areas of my property and was wondering if you could recommend an all around good fertilizer for use with various types of food plots that can be applied with an ATV sprayer? If so what is it and when is the best time apply it considering both spring and fall plantings?

Regards

Plants requires a certain amount of nutrients to grow. I'm not aware of any liquid fertilize that has enough nutrients to work without a base of some traditional or composted fertilizer.

I'm sure there are some great add-on products.

Your best bet may be to build the quality of soil using minimal tillage and good crop rotation.  I've been amazed at how much the soil fertility has improved at my place simply from using soybeans during the warm season and a combination of radishes, wheat, and brassicas (Eagle Seed's Broadside blend) during the fall.

 

 

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Could I spread Eagle Seed Broadside over top of production soybeans and the crop come up?

Question
I have a question about planting fall food plots. I hunt on about 85 acres, mostly farm fields and lets say 25% woods.  The question is the farmer plants soybeans in May and cuts around Nov. could I spread eagle seed broadside over top of the soybeans and the crop come up? I'm going to plant 3 plots in this same seed mix.One field will be 1 acre and the other 2 plots are going to be long half acres. Whats your thoughts on planting like this; I will also plant in the last part of August. because I live in North MS.
Thanks for your help and keep up the great work on the videos.

Great question! Yes, you can definitely plant the Eagle Seed Broadside mix over the standing production beans. See this video for my suggestions on easy food plots over standing crops: http://www.growingdeer.tv/#/secrets-to-quick-food-plots

My only concern is that you don't plant too early. If you plant too early the farmer may have difficulty combining his soybeans in November. You always want to stay on good terms with your local farmer!

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When should the Broadside Blend be broadcast in northern states?

Question
hi Mr. woods like to take a moment and just tell you I really enjoy watching your videos and im glad I found a person in the hunting world who is helping other hunters learn about management practices without charging for there answers. I live in Albany ny and have several acres just in outskirts of the city, high deer density but there are some nice bucks in area. I planted eagle beans for first time and im using a deer barrier system to keep them out, seems effective now and beans are about shin high. I purchased your broadside blend as cover crop and I would like to know at what point should I broadcast over beans, I know its usually 60 days before first frost but are area usually stays dry come September and into hunting season, would it be ok to spread within couple weeks while I still have rain coming or should I wait? also I sprayed glyphosate over beans for weed control would there be a lot of competition with the broadside if weeds are not completely gone?

Thank you very much and keep great videos and the info coming!!
mike

Mike,

It sounds as if you have a great food plot established!  I'm glad you are preparing to overseed the Eagle Seed forage soybeans with Broadside. That's a great technique to keep attracting deer as the seasons change.  

The Broadside or most forage crops will do better with less competition.  If the weeds are turning yellow they will likely be gone before the Broadside germinates.  If not, it might be best to treat the weeds again before planting the Broadside.  

Can you see some of the soil while walking through the plot or have the forage soybeans made a complete canopy?  If there is a complete canopy there won't be much sunshine reaching the soil and allowing the Broadside to germinate and grow rapidly.  If this is the case I suggest splitting the plot in 1/2 and allowing deer to browse half the beans while protecting the other 1/2. Plant the Broadside in the 1/2 where the deer browse the beans and open up the canopy so at least 50% of the soil is receiving sunshine.  

Either way, I suggest planting the Broadside while there is adequate soil moisture.  This will result in a much higher rate of germination and more tonnage produced before the first killing frost.  

Enjoy creation!

grant

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Why is ragweed growing in my food plot even though I sprayed Roundup?

Question
I have bunch of this growing in a new food lot that we planted this spring, and I cant figure out what this is. I don't think its a weed as we sprayed round up twice and let it get nice and crispy before discing up the land. Any input would be appreciated.

The plant in your picture appears to be ragweed.

The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate.  Glyphosate is only active on living leaf surface area.  It won't prevent weed seeds that are in the soil from germinating.  Disking often results in bringing weed seeds within the top inch of soil. These seeds will usually rapidly germinate.  It's rarely necessary to spray Roundup before disking as disking will remove the weeds and Roundup won't keep existing weed seeds from germinating!

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How do you age a doe (female white-tailed deer)?

Question
I love your videos, and can't wait to always see the next one. I consider myself your student. You give good advice on how to discern a mature buck, but where I hunt (Michigan farmland – a veritable paradise for a deer hunter) doe control is necessary, and I also prefer doe meat. I'd prefer to shoot a mature doe to an immature one, when a doe hunt is on. How can one discern a mature doe on the fly and at a distance? I'm sure you're too busy to reply, but I don't doubt many of your viewers would be happy to see an episode, or part of an episode, on that topic. May God bless and keep you and your loved ones.

Thank you for watching GrowingDeer and for asking God to bless our Team!

Tracy, the kids, and I all enjoy venison! Tracy's a great cook and we consume 10+ does each year! So you and I have the same goals.

Just like with humans, does tend to show their age by changing body shape as they mature in patterns similar to bucks. As does mature their posture goes from very straight to having a swayed back and sags in the belly region. Does don't have plastic surgery so changes due to age are probably more pronounced and constant than female humans express. In addition most does will produce fawns each year so they show similar signs of aging compared to humans as some ladies bare a lot of children while others very few or none. In addition most does give birth as yearlings or as two year old does. The age humans produce the first child is highly variable.

I tend to age does on the hoof as immature, prime, and elderly based on the shape of their body.

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How to attract older bucks?

Question
I belong to a hunt club that has 500 acres but my family and I are the only serious hunters. There has never been a 4 year old or older buck seen on the property. The oldest we have seen is a couple of 3 year olds. How do we attract and keep the older bucks?

Based on lots of data from GPS collars placed on mature bucks researchers have learned that they are unique individuals and have different habitats and home range sizes just like humans.  These data also show that the home range size of most mature bucks decreases as they mature.  

Based on these findings it is unlikely to “attract” mature bucks outside their home range. So the secrete to seeing more mature bucks on a given property is to reduce the harvest of immature bucks on the same property.  As long as the bucks are dying in a portion of their range that's outside the property where you hunt, it only requires passing immature bucks to produce mature bucks.  

Hopefully you are part of or can form a neighborhood deer management coop and adjoining landowners will follow the same buck harvest guidelines!  This is a great way to increase the age structure of a local deer herd!

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What fruit trees are a good deer attractant?

Question
Dr. Grant,
Really enjoy your videos, guidance and passion for developing deer management strategies. I've learned a lot from your web site!

This is a suggestion based on an experiance I am happy to be having as a result of a neighbor setting up bee hives on his property. My neighbor set up 4 or 5 bee hives early this spring and I've noticed them all over my wild apple and plum trees when they were in bloom. the droning was incredible! Now the apples and plums have started to grow and I have never seen them producing so much fruit! (I've had the property for 9 years). Some of the plum tree branches are actually breaking under the weight of the fruit. My apple trees, one in particular that is close to my house, seem to have 50% more apples this year. We have also had good rain in the area (South West corner of Wisconsin). So if fruit bearing trees are part of your habitat strategy, Bee hives may be a good investment to promote pollination with a pleasant side effect of being able to collect some honey!

Guess I'll add a question: How does fruit bearing trees and brush such as black caps, rasberries etc, play into your forage habitat planning?
Thanks,
Travis

Travis,

Like you, I have a friend that keeps his bees at our place!  I enjoy the work they do and the honey they make!!

I have a tree plot (fruit and nut producing trees planting within a forage-based food plot) at my place!  Here in southern Missouri I prefer fruit trees as the landscape is primarily covered by oaks.  I usually prefer plums and pears to apple trees simply because apples trees tend to require a lot more maintenance to produce fruit.  I get my tree stock from Flatwood Natives and have experienced good success and I appreciate thier service and advice!

You can see some of the planting and maintenance advice from Flatwood Natives in episode #247 here.

There's lots of native soft mass at my ranch as a results of the native habitat management.  These include wild strawberries, dewberries, blackberries, etc. Most of these ripen long before season opens but do provide a source of energy for deer and other wildlife species.

Thank you for watching http://www.GrowingDeer.tv!

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What herbicide is best for food plots with multiple forage species?

Question
Mr woods thank you for your dedication to deer hunting and conservation in general also sending out great messages for all viewers about time spent in the outdoors and creation. My 5 year old daughter loves to set down and watch your videos with me its also something I don't have to worry about her watching and for that I thank you!

My management question is what can I use to spray on food plots with multiple species of forage such as one plot having chicory, clover and alfalfa in an existing plot that will not kill my plantings. I use glyphosate to kill new areas to be planted but I want something to treat my plots with in early-late spring before weeds mature and take over. I have about 100 acres of my personal land to tend to but also I tend my hunting club that's about 4800 acres of free range land in the tip northeast corner of Alabama. I know some company's sell small bottles of select herbicide but I need something a lot more cost effective. I already mow the plots soon as possible in spring but sometimes that doesn't work out.
thank you Matt

Matt,

Thank you for for sharing the encouraging words and leading by example!  Your daughter is blessed to have a Dad that loves her enough to constantly protect her and spend time with her!

I'm not aware of a herbicide that's safe to use over legumes (clover and alfalfa) and chicory.  Weed control in plots with multiple species is difficult.  You can use most of the grass- specific herbicides over legumes and broadleaf (chicory) with damaging the forage crops.  There are several grass-specific herbicides and all have advantages and disadvantages.  

Mowing rarely controls weeds (grasses or broad-leafed weeds).  This is one reason I tend to plant warm season plots with a single species like forage soybeans and use blends during the cool season.  Weeds are rarely a problem in cool season plots – especially if there has been a warm season forage crop and good weed control during the summer.

Depending on the size of the plots and the number of deer in the area the best rotation I've found for attracting and feeding deer is Eagle Seed forage soybeans during the summer followed by overseeding the beans with the Broadside blend about 60 days before the first expected frost of the fall.

The Roundup ready beans make it easy to keep the plot weed-free during the summer and the Broadside is a great soil builder and deer attractant!

Enjoy creation,

Grant 

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How long does it take to spread lime by hand on food plots?

Question
In the latest video, you show lime being distributed with a hand seeder. But you talk about rates of 2 tons per acre.  How long does it take to spread that much lime using a hand seeder?

Doug

Doug,

I only spread lime on small plots (1/8th of an acre or so) by hand.  This still takes some time, but my spreader holds 50 pounds so I open the flow gauge up wide and spread each load quickly.  I think the effort is worth it as mature bucks readily use high quality forage in small plots that don't receive much hunting pressure!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What is the best type of archery practice for deer season?

Question
Hey Grant, thanks for all the helpful advise you share in your videos. I am a new bow hunter and I was wondering how you practice to get ready for deer season?
Thanks for watching http://www.GrowingDeer.tv!  I've found the blind bale archery practice technique very easy, can be used almost anywhere, and to work extremely well!  Check out this episode of GrowingDeer.tv for step by step instructions!  http://www.growingdeer.tv/#/how-to-get-ready-for-deer-hunting-now

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Does work on a property disturb deer?

Question

Grant,

As a weekly watcher of your series, I can't help but notice on your shows you and your team are always out on your property. It seems like you are consistently working, hunting or taping for the show. This is where my questions lies, how are you always doing something on your property and not pushing the deer to become nocturnal or just leave the property all together?

One of the biggest issues around my WI property is pressure in the terms of people, machinery, etc. always pushing deer out of our area. I have 160 acres which isn't chump change in our parts, but it seems like by the end of summer they have had enough of people and vacate the area.

Do you ever worry about being in the field too much? Are there areas you never go in? Are there times of the year you back off working in the field? Need some help from the Dr. Thanks,

-Jason H.

Jason,

We are constantly working or hunting on our place.  To offset this level of disturbance we have sanctuaries or places that we never go in except to retrieve a harvested deer, look for sheds, or limited management activities such as prescribed fire.

Sanctuaries are a critical part of our habitat!  We design/designate sanctuaries on all of our clients' properties. Is their 20+ acres on your farm that serves as a sanctuary?

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer!

Grant

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Burning and replanting

Question
How can I achieve a soil management goal with out a no-till drill or is that unachieveable? My method now is to burn old fodder and replant, thus leaving my plots bare at times with no food and no protection at times.

Michael,

Prescribed fire can be a great tool in your soil management program!  Fire was a big factor in building the great soils in the prairie states.  You can use fire to remove the duff from past crops and then broadcast seed on plot.  Remember that fire rarely destroys the roots from past crops.  There is often more roots (plant material) under the soil than what is present on top the ground.  The roots will break down creating high quality organic matter and channels for roots of new plants to seek sources of water and nutrients.

When using a fire-based system of preparing a seedbed you will need to select crops that germinate well when the seeds are broadcast on top the soil.  Common crops that work well in this system include clover, wheat (most all small grains), turnips, radishes, buckwheat, etc.

I often plant 20% more pounds per acre when broadcasting compared to using a no till drill because of the seed will be consumed by critters (birds, squirrels, etc.) or won't germinate due to limited seed to soil contact.

This system works best if the seed is planted just before a rain.  Rain prevents the seed from desiccation and helps insure the seed have good contact with the soil.

It's often better to terminate the mature crops with herbicide to insure there's dry vegetation and the fire will effectively burn throughout the whole plot.

The GrowingDeer.tv episode at the following link shows an example of me using fire to remove the duff from an unmanaged pasture to create a food plot:  http://www.growingdeer.tv/#/a-new-buck-and-storm-proofed-food-plots

Be careful with fire and enjoy creation!

grant

 

 

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Where do you send your coyote hides for tanning?

Question
Great information on skinning out a coyote.  Unfortunately, you did not suggest any places that you guys send your hides for tanning.   I want to do the same thing to use as gifts and such but most of the tanneries are $80 and they have to be mount ready.  Which means I have to flesh it out really good.  Please give me some ideas of where I can send my hides to.

I use Moyle Mink & Tannery (http://www.moytown.com/). The quality of work is excellent and prices are reasonable.

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When do bucks shed their antlers in NY state or Ontario, Canada?

Question
When do bucks shed their antlers in NY state or Ontario, Canada?

Jim

It’s common for bucks that are healthy to hold their antlers until mid March or so. There’s so much ag in eastern Kansas that I suspect the bucks are very healthy in your area.

Bucks, does, and fawns will use licking branches (the branches overhanging scrapes) year round. In addition, female fawns often become receptive when they reach about 70 pounds. There are probably some receptive fawns causing bucks to display rut behavior in your area.

After the majority of rutting behavior is over and the testosterone level of bucks begins to decrease they often get together in bachelor groups and will remain in these groups till they begin shedding their velvet next fall.

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Is it normal for the bucks in eastern Kansas to still have antlers in early March?

Question
I noticed that a lot of bucks are still holding their antlers here in eastern Kansas and there are still active scrapes. Is this common to have active scrapes this time of year? The bucks are running in packs like a bachelor group, is this also common?

It's common for bucks that are healthy to hold their antlers until mid March or so. There's so much ag in eastern Kansas that I suspect the bucks are very healthy in your area.

Bucks, does, and fawns will use licking branches (the branches overhanging scrapes) year round. In addition, female fawns often become receptive when they reach about 70 pounds. There are probably some receptive fawns causing bucks to display rut behavior in your area.

After the majority of rutting behavior is over and the testosterone level of bucks begins to decrease they often get together in bachelor groups and will remain in these groups till they begin shedding their velvet next fall.

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

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What crops are good for growing deer in southern Ontario, Canada?

Question
Hi, I hunt a property that has a farmer farming the land and he usually plants either corn, millet bird seed and the odd time he'll plant soybeans. I was just wondering, are these good crops for growing deer? I live and hunt in southern Ontario,Canada, if that would have anything to do with it?

Sounds like you have permission to hunt a good farm! Corn and millet are both great sources of energy for deer (and other species of wildlife)! However, they don't provide much protein for deer. A combination of soybeans and corn (on different parts of the farm) would be great – with the soybeans providing protein during the growing season and corn providing energy (carbohydrates) during the winter. If some of these crops (odd corners, etc.) were left standing during the winter, they would be a great feeding and hunting area! You might consider trading the farmer work days during the off season for him leaving a bit of grain standing for hunting during the winter. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

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Wondering what herbicide do you use in your hack and spray tree elimination?

Question

What herbicide do you use in your hack and spray tree elimination?

Easton

The herbicide used depends on the species of trees to be treated. Glyphosate will work on several species and Tordon RTU works well on locust. Glyphosate doesn't work well on maples. I suggest you Google “hack and squirt” and the type tree to be treated – like “hack and squirt maple” and find information from your area. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

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How can I increase the population of deer on the property and get them to come out in daylight hours?

Question
Hi, my name is Tanner and I am 13 years old. I hunt on a 26 acre property in New Jersey and we have a big problem. We have been trying to get a deer for two years now. We go hunting every weekend ever since we started two years ago. But we see nothing weekend after weekend — no deer. We know they are on the property because trail cameras pick up to 36 deer in one night and some decent bucks too, like 10 and 12 pointers. But they never ever come out in daylight hours. How can I increase the population of deer on the property and get them to come out in daylight hours? It is so bad that I can have over 300 pictures and not one of them are in daylight hours. I love hunting but it is starting to get old going out and sitting through freezing temperatures and seeing nothing day after day. Thank you!

Tanner, it can get tough when hunting a lot and not seeing deer! When I help folks improve hunting on properties that are similar in size to the one you hunt I always try to determine where the best food, cover, and water sources are in the neighborhood. Deer will certainly use neighboring properties so understanding where they are using food, cover, and water during different times of year and weather conditions is very important. Once I get a better handle on where deer are using food, cover, and water I see if I can create the preferred location for one of those resources on the property where my clients hunt. Second – I always have at least 4 stand/blind sites – one for a north, south, west, and east wind. Just as importantly I plan an entrance and exit route for each of those wind directions. It's easy to alert every deer on 26 acres by simply walking to the stand with the wind at my back and letting every deer know to avoid the area while I'm there. Sometimes this means walking around the outside edge of the property or entering from the opposite side to ensure I don't alert deer to my presence. By determining where deer are using food, cover, and water, and approaching, hunting and exiting stands/blinds without alerting deer should allow hunters to punch their tag no matter where they hunt! Finally – I often share with folks to not do the same thing and expect different results. Too often deer pattern hunters more than hunters pattern deer. Remember there are several factors that may impact deer besides the hunter – such as coyotes, bears, or hunters on neighboring properties that alert deer. I look forward to hearing about your results after you try some new strategies!

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What do deer eat when there’s snow on the ground?

Question

I love watching your weekly shows. I have a rather odd question. Where snow accumulation gets real high, 15″ or better, do you suppose turkeys will ingest deer droppings? I told you it was odd! I know there is odd forage above the deep snow that turkeys may resort to. I have a debate with a friend, he thinks they do. I know where deer have dug deep to find corn, can the turkeys still manage to find something left behind? I also know turkeys have fat stored, I believe it is 2 weeks they can go without food and 5 days max without water. If the trap line is slow and the deer hunting has ended, do a segment on turkeys in deep snow!

Nathan

I've never seen or read about turkeys consuming deer pellets. Deer are efficient at removing food value through their digestive track and there wouldn't be much nutrient value in their droppings. However, if a turkey was starving they'd probably try anything! Turkeys certainly consume a very wide variety of foods – from small snakes to lots of types of vegetation! Wicked cold weather and frozen deep snow that they can't scratch through has certainly been reported to cause turkeys to die. Let's hope the brutal conditions change soon!

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Do you field dress the deer or do you make it a practice not to do it in the field for a reason?

Question
 I noticed when loading the deer your father killed it was not field dressed (gutted). By the way, God bless the times you have with your father. My father has passed and I miss the times we had together. Congratulations to him on his hunt! So I was wondering, do you field dress the deer or do you make it a practice not to do it in the field for a reason? I always field dress not far from the location of the kill. Thanks for your advice on this subject. Take care and have a wonderful new year! Be safe! Rich 

I truly enjoy such spending time with my dad! We really enjoyed that hunt!!! My house is just up the hill from where we were hunting – so I took the buck to the house to weigh, etc., and have a clean source of water to dress and remove the meat. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv and stay warm!

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What can I do to either bring the bucks closer to my stand(s) or bring in more bucks to the property?

Question
I just love watching your shows. I pretty much learn new techniques from every show that I do watch. I am 17 and an avid bow hunter. I only took the rifle three times this season. I hunt on private land that my family does not own, but I am allowed to put out feeders, attractants, food plots, etc. I am a deer manager myself, I pass up small bucks and small does all of the time. We only have about 350 acres of land, so there are not many big bucks (maybe 3 or 4). With other guys hunting with rifles (making it easier for them) what can I do to either bring the bucks closer to my stand(s) or bring in more bucks to the property? I've never shot a buck before and I have only killed one doe before and I would really love some advice and tips on bringing them in.

Thanks for reading and paying attention, Nathan

It sounds like you have a good property to hunt. However, it's tough to pattern mature bucks anywhere! I always study the preferred sources of food, cover, and water throughout the seasons/varying conditions and use that information to pattern bucks. Just as importantly, I study where I can place and how I can approach stands without deer patterning me! I consider being able to enter, hunt, and exit the stand without alerting deer just as important as the stand location itself. I enjoy hunting does and providing that natural meat to my family. Don't hesitate to take a few does if there are plenty of deer in your area and enjoy hunting while patterning the local deer herd! Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv and may God bless you with great 2014!

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What greens would you recommend planting in our food plot?

Question

Hi Dr. Woods, I emailed you in early October about why we were not seeing mature bucks. Our luck changed as the season went on and we had multiple encounters with some very good bucks. I alone have spent over 100 hours in the tree stand this year trying to put some antlers on the ground. As hunting goes, some things happened and we just couldn't close the deal. This year we intend on planting about 3 acres of forage soybeans, but we want some short greens next to the beans closer to our stand set ups. This way we have an area for shots. We are avid bow hunters. What greens would you recommend?

Curtis

Check out the current episode at http://www.GrowingDeer.tv (Watch GDTV 215 here) – you’ll see several bucks gorging on Eagle Seed’s Broadside blend and my dad tagging a buck! I tagged several deer this year by placing stands so I could hunt food plots planted with Broadside. The blend of forage varieties in that blend has worked VERY well for me! May you be blessed with some great hunts during 2014!

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Can you plant soybeans without a drill?

Question
Dr. Woods, I am an admiring fan of you and your family shows. My question is, can you plant soybeans any other way than with a drill and still be successful? I only have a 60 acre lease with an acre plot, which is all I'm allowed to plant under my lease. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

James

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv! Soybeans can be planted successfully by preparing the soil (working it with a disk, tiller, etc.) and then broadcasting the seed (I often use a hand spreader) and then covering the seed by using some fencing, logs, etc., to drag the soil. I usually plant about 20% more seed than normal when using this method as some seed won't be covered and birds, squirrels, etc., will consume a portion. Planting just before a rain usually produces the best results. I wish you well with this project!

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What causes a buck’s antlers to shed?

Question

First off I would like to tell you how much I like what your are doing on your website and videos. Also, I have caught some interviews with Christian Berg from Petersen's Bowhunting. Most recently with Korby Taylor, truly great stuff, I really enjoy listening to you. I have an interesting question about antler drop. I live in a unique state for whitetail (Florida). We have the most diverse rut in the US. In fact in Polk County (where I lease) we have yet to have breeding take place (based on the fawn births), while other areas have long since completed. My question is antler drop. My deer rub off the velvet in the 1st week of October. Breeding takes place in……mid/late February. There are already areas in the state (south and north of me 60 miles) that already bred, and have just dropped. I have pics from bucks (most recent was 2 weeks ago) with their antlers. The loooong winded question……what determines the drop in a “normal” non-stressed environment? End of breeding? A set time (i.e. 90 days)? I never thought much about it until now. I am also wondering, can and will they breed (primary phase) well after they drop? Thanks for any time and answers you may provide.

Sincerely, Bo

I agree – Florida is unique! Antler drop is a function of increasing day length and decreasing testosterone. The increasing day length is like a starter cue. This sets the process in action. However, bucks will hold antlers as long as their testosterone is above a threshold. Bucks that get injured, etc., often drop much earlier than healthy bucks. The rate of day length increase is close to the same throughout Florida – but the testosterone levels very significantly as does are mostly bred in some areas and haven't started becoming receptive in other areas. No one (that I'm aware) fully understands why deer follow the breeding patterns they do in Florida.

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What happened to this buck?

Question
I shot an 8 point buck on day 2 of Missouri's deer season. He was a 3 year old, I think. The buck's testes were the size of a peanut shell. Past deer, and even smaller deer, had much bigger testes. I'm wondering if this deer could even breed. What could have happened? He also had a swollen lower left leg but his rack was normal. Thanks for any feedback.  Jeff 

Congrats on harvesting a mature buck! It sounds as if the buck has been injured. Bucks with messed up testes almost always have a deformed/non-typical rack. I suspect he was injured after he shed his velvet and before you harvested him.

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What should we do to improve the hunting and food plots on our small farm in Wisconsin?

Question
I have a few questions. I manage a small parcel of land, 24 acres to be exact, but hunting in our area was tough due to a few factors this year. Now that the season here in Wisconsin is all but over with the bitter cold setting in, I am evaluating my season and all my camera photos to set a new plan for next year and would like your advice or input. My first question is: We have a smaller ag field on the property that a farmer plants in corn for us and I plant the outer edges in food plots. This year I got some more equipment and am looking to plant the whole 4 acres of food plots myself. Would it be best to plant half in an annual like brassicas and half in a mix of clovers and wheat or would it be best to plant one species in the whole field? The land is surrounded by production agriculture with over 100 acres of corn and alfalfa each within a quarter mile. Our land has a hilltop hardwood ridge between two large cedar swamps. The next question is: One of the farms that borders our land is a factory type farm and employs crop damage tags to harvest a ton of deer. I like the fact of the intense doe harvest before and during hunting season but it made it tough from early October to mid December as the deer went total nocturnal and seemed to vanish. I thought it was over hunting of our small parcel but it was a regional problem as we ended up the season with two deer, a nice 9 point and a yearling buck (my wife's first deer). During the firearms season out of a total of 25 people and around 3000 acres of land we did the best. No one saw much of anything buck wise and very few does were sighted, it was not just eyes – all game cameras went dead too like the deer just vanished. Any advice on how to deal with this problem or hurdle? We only access two stand sites to hunt the property and unless working on timber management or food plots we never walk in swamp land or any areas that are known bedding areas. Thanks for your time. Have a blessed new year and I look forward to 52 new episodes of the show, I can't wait every week to see what is next.

Kyle, congrats on your previous successes and thanks for your support! As a fellow Wisconsinite I understand the frustrations that go along with tremendous fluctuations in local deer herd numbers across the state. Not sure where you are at exactly, but I see a lot more deer in SE WI than in N WI, and for some obvious reasons…food, predators, and hunter numbers. We could talk all day about WI deer management, but I’ll choose to save that for another day. Your first question was how you should go about planting the large (4 acre) ag field. My answer would be to experiment. Since the property is surrounded by ag, I would expect little over browsing during the early fall. Thus, I love the thought of providing a smorgasbord of quality forage types in your food plots. The majority should still be planted with grains because my guess is the surrounding farmers till the fields after harvest. Try out a pattern like this: 2 acres of corn, 1 acre of soybeans, ½ acre Broadside (great mixture of brassicas, winter wheat and soybeans made by Eagle Seed), and ½ acre of clover. This will be a great way to view what the deer are preferring to eat during different times of the year. Monitor from an observation stand or time lapse mode on trail cams and hunt based upon what you are seeing. Your second question may be a tough hurdle. From your description it sounds as though the deer numbers are low in your area and the factory farm shoots every doe they can. Tough scenario to deal with because you can’t really blame the farmers for using their ag tags because the crop is their moneymaker. Also, shooting at them with rifles will turn them nocturnal. Maybe you could ask if you would be able to fill their ag tags with the use of a bow before season? Could be a win win. You get to hunt and the deer get shot at less, and eventually learn it is safe to feed during the day again. I hope these suggestions help. Hunt safe!

— Andrew Gall, GrowingDeer.tv

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How should I plant this food plot?

Question
Hello, I planted Eagle Seed beans on a 3 acre food plot this season and had great success. However, my dad and brother have been complaining that the beans are too tall. The major difference between them and I though is my first love is archery and they primarily gun hunt. The beans are perfect in my eyes by adding a huge food source and adding amazing cover but that also means that they are not able to shoot as far as they want into the beans. Would you suggest any pattern or plant changes within the plot to add windows of opportunity? I planted about an acre of Broadside on the other side of the creek with great success. Would it be beneficial to save a lane through the heart of the plot to plant Broadside when it gets closer to fall and lose that extra bean production? The average numbers of deer hitting the plots with this cold front is 25-30 on an evening sit. This is up from previous years due to the amount of groceries I've added.

Thanks for your help,

Brett

Would you rotate and plant beans to the food plot on the “other side of the creek”? I would consider planting all beans to provide the summer forage and then mow a strip in the center of the larger field about August and plant Broadside. This seems the best way to have your cake and eat it also. Or consider an elevated blind like I use to hunt the Eagle Seed beans and allow your Dad and brother an advantage!

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Have you ever tried Milorganite to protect your food plots?

Question

Have you ever tried Milorganite to protect your soybeans or other plants from deer, when they are first sprouting up?

John

I remember years ago when the University of Georgia tried Milorganite in some experiments. It did seem to keep deer from browsing for a few days. I use an all natural fertilizer called Antler Dirt. It seems to do the same, but has a very high organic matter content. You can learn more about Antler Dirt at http://www.AntlerDirt.com. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

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How much of your land have you turned into food plots?

Question

Hey, I was wondering how many acres of land you own? How much of it have you turned into food plots?

Thanks,

John

Tracy and I have about 1,500 acres. We have about 60 acres of food plots. We'd like more but the land is so rough that there's not many more acres that are flat enough so the tractor won't turn over – literally!  You can read more about Our Place by clicking here.

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What food plot crop can I plant to attract deer during bow season?

Question

For the past several years I have been planting Eagle Seed Beans.  It is a great crop and brings in plenty of deer in the late season, after our deer season. What can I plant to get them in the food plot during bow season, October and November?

Thank you,

Frank

Deer are picky eaters! Their preferred foods are based on what else is available at that location and time. What are the deer eating at your place between when they are focused on the soybean forage during the summer/early fall and the pods during the late winter? Do you hunt/plant in an area where there are lots of acorns? I live and hunt where there are lots of acorns. I plant Eagle Seed Broadside blend during August and deer are readily attracted to it until the acorns are present everywhere. Deer tend to abandon all my food plot crops while there are plenty of acorns and then return to the plots when the acorns become less abundant.

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Will setting and checking traps scare deer away?

Question
I was wondering about trapping around the area where I deer hunt. My worry is that I will run the deer out by driving to check traps daily. Will that happen?

Kasey

I set traps very close to the private roads inside my property. Deer are conditioned and accept me driving these roads. I believe the benefits for trapping far outweigh any negative impacts. Unless vehicles are rare on the property where you hunt I doubt it will have a negative impact or alert the herd if you locate the traps close to the roads and obviously avoid food plots, etc. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

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How to conduct a trail camera deer survey in Illinois without attractants?

Question

I was wandering how you would conduct a trail camera deer survey without using any attractants? Here in Illinois we are not allowed to use any attractants so I was wandering what tool you would use on a survey.

Thanks,

Austin

It's tough to get an accurate survey in Illinois due to the no attractants regulations. I put cameras on trails and scrapes (licking branches before season) and know the survey won't be as accurate as if I was using an attractant. I simply look for areas where deer will frequent and do the best I can. I hope you have a great hunting season!

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Is there an alternative to no-till drilling food plots?

Question

Is there any method to mimic no-till drilling? We are thinking of spreading Antler Dirt, then broadcast our seed and then cover it with hay. Would this work?. We don't yet have the funds for a no-till drill or for a tractor at this time. Like you, our land is rugged and rocky. Thanks for your input.

Matthew

One problem with spreading hay is you will likely spread weed and/or grass seed that you don't want in your plot. I think in your case it will be less expensive and produce better results to simply spread more seed (to compensate for a lower germination rate) and hopefully spread the seed just before or during a rain. This works great for small seeds like clover, turnips, etc. It works good with wheat. It doesn't work as well with soybeans and other larger sized seeds. This may mean focusing on planting forage that has smaller sized seed – not a bad program! Rain helps cover the seed by splashing dirt on the seed and burying the seed. It also allows the seed to germinate quickly so rodents and birds don't consume the seed.

Best,

Grant

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Clover food plot maintenance: mow or don’t mow?

Question

I was watching your video on clover plots (GDTV #187). What is your recommendation on mowing? There are some that say mow and some that say don't mow. If the plot is clean and growing good should you mow it especially if the clover is well over knee high? Is there a nutritional difference in the new young clover verses the mature clover?

Thanks,

Rob

Rob,

Yes, new growth is almost always more nutritious. That’s one advantage to mowing. However, mowing causes the crop much stress – so don’t mow if it’s dry and the crop is already showing signs of stress, etc. I also don’t mow if I wish to increase the number of plants in the stand and need the existing clover to produce seeds.

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

Grant

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When is the best time to plant winter wheat in a food plot?

Question
I live in southern Indiana.Is it better to plant winter wheat early in September or toward the end of September into October? Also, can you do a burndown with glyphosate and then broadcast the wheat two weeks later right before some rain? Or do you have to work the ground up?

Wheat can be planted during a wide range of dates. The best time to plant depends on the mission. If there are lots of early season food sources in the area, then it may be better to plant wheat later (mid to late September) so it doesn’t mature past being palatable before deer start using it as a food source. I usually begin planting wheat during early to mid August depending on when soil moisture is available so the forage will be available and attracting deer by the opening of bow season – September 15th – as there isn’t any competing food sources in my neighborhood. Wheat seed, like all crops, needs good seed to soil contact. The existing vegetation can be burned down with glyphosate, but the seed needs to be placed in the soil with a no-till drill or the weed duff removed so the seeds will reach the soil.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What do I do now for my clover food plot?

Question

Thanks for the Monday morning videos. I have loved these for quite some time. Also, thank you for taking a positive stand on the Creator. I HAD a picture perfect crimson clover food plot 6 weeks ago. It fed the deer through the winter and was beautiful this spring. I went back this past week and the native grasses were 18 inches tall and completely blocking out the clover. The grasses are deep green in this area which tells me the clover is still there adding nitrogen to the soil. I think the grass is fescue. What do I do now?

Thanks,

Bob

Bob,

Thanks for the encouraging words! Crimson clover is a winter annual where you and I live – and has about finished its productive season by this time of year in the Ozarks (depending on precipitation amounts). I agree with your observations that the fescue is using the nitrogen provided by the crimson clover and doing well. If the crimson clover is all brown and made a hard seed already, then I would spray the fescue with glyphosate (generic Roundup) to control the fescue before it gets too tall. Once fescue is more than one foot tall it’s tough to control. You could use a grass specific herbicide like Clethodim, Select, Poast, etc., but those herbicides cost more and are not as effect as glyphosate at controlling fescue. If you do control/kill the fescue I’d plant a mixture of brassica, wheat, and radishes in the plot this fall about 60 days before the first expected frost. If the crimson clover has already made a hard seed, those seeds will germinate this fall/next spring and result in another great crop of clover for the early growing season!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What products do you use to spray grass in clover food plots?

Question

I watched the latest video on clover food plots (GDTV #187) and I am wanting to know what products you use to spray grass in clover. I am having trouble understanding how to mix the herbicide. I usually spray our field with a 3 gallon backpack sprayer. I try to spray them around the end of May to the first of June (our farm is in southern Tennessee). I usually spray post but I don't quite remember how I mixed it last year. Any help would be much appreciated!

Drew

Drew,

I use Clethodim to control grass in clover. I follow all instructions on the label, including using a non-ionic surfactant. Clethodim – like most grass-specific herbicides work best when applied when the grass is 4-8″ tall. For the best results, following the instructions on the label! Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

Grant

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What is the best food plot mix to plant in a shady location?

Question

I really like your site and the information your team provides. I have read your food plot information but have a question for you. My hunt club is 400 acres. We have about 16 small food plots. A few food plots are around 7,500 square feet and the majority are around 1,200 square feet. Most are clover mixes and some brassica. I have a private area that has a good bit of pines around it. It is somewhat shady. It is about 1,200 square feet for a possible food plot. With the shade/filtered light what do you recommend as the best type of food source to plant here? I want it to be very active during hunting season. It is located in north Georgia.

Thanks for the help,

Peter

I find hidey holes (small plots off the beaten trail) great locations to kill mature bucks! 1,200 square feet is about 3/100 of an acre. Hence, it needs to be a browse tolerant forage, or time the planting/hunting closely so deer don't consume all the forage before there are good conditions to hunt! White clover is fairly shade and browse tolerant. I suggest making sure all weed competition is removed (using herbicide or tillage) and heavily fertilize the area. Fertilizer will accomplish two goals including making the forage more palatable than other food sources and allowing the forage to continue growing even if there are lots of deer eating at the plot. Another great tool is a Hot Zone electric fence (you may have seen them used on GrowingDeer.tv). These solar powered fences keep deer out until you wish to hunt, then you can create a gap in the fence that funnels deer into a good shooting position.

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

Grant

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Is prescribed fire good for hardwoods?

Question
I really enjoy your weekly show. I spend all of my free time doing the same things on our family property along the Red River near Shreveport,Louisiana. We have some mature/thin/no cover bottomland hardwoods that I would like to improve. I see that you burn your hardwoods a lot but all of the forestry guys around here say that burning hardwoods is bad practice because it makes trees susceptible to disease. I would also like to burn/improve cover in the cottonwood/willow dominant woods along the river bank. It seems like cottonwood leaves suppress understory terribly. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Clay

Thank you for the kind words and for watching GrowingDeer.tv! I'm a huge fan of using prescribed fire. However, prescribed fire under a closed canopy – where limited sun is reaching the forest floor – won't result in much growth of forbs or grasses. Oaks and some other hardwoods are fire adapted and low intensity fire rarely results in much damage to the trees. However, fire can damage cottonwoods and willows.  It's best to define the mission and then learn what tools/techniques are appropriate for that mission.

Thanks again!

Grant

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What software do you use to manage your deer observations and camera images?

Question

What software do you use to manage your deer observations and camera images? Reconyx has some great software to manage deer camera images but I'd like something that also integrates all my deer hunt observation data. Also, I'm trying to purchase another 150 acres adjacent to my current 600 acres up in central Wisconsin. If successful, I'd be interested in discussing having you conduct a property evaluation analysis.

Best,

Jim

I do use the Reconyx software to manage all our trail camera data. I use ScoutLook to manage my hunting observation data – it's by far the best system/program I or my clients have used to manage hunting observation and harvest data.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How will the recent cold weather impact the spring turkey hatch?

Question

First EHD, now the cold spring weather……I wish we could get back to normal on the weather front!! Anyway, based on the late spring and the cold weather and snow this past week, do you think that will impact the turkey hatch this spring? Thanks!

Dean

I doubt many eggs have hatched yet – so the weather that determines that success is yet to come. Turkeys smell a lot when wet and predators can easily follow hens to the nest – called the wet hen theory by Mississippi State – but it’s not a theory any more. I am sure many hens were killed on the nest last week.

Growing Deer (and turkeys) together,

Grant

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How do you prepare the Duke traps for trapping?

Question

I am very much interested in trapping raccoons. I have purchased a half dozen Duke dog proof coon traps to start, as per your videos. I have been to several web sites looking for trapping information on how to prep the traps and have come away confused. The last video with the pro trapper on trapping coyotes and bobcats was great and gave me more info on the sets but not on prepping the trap and tie-down cables, etc. This is where I lack the most knowledge. Any recommended reading? I've searched your FAQ, etc. but have not found what I'm looking for. Thank you for your help and I continue to enjoy all your video postings.

Thanks again,

Charles

I either use rebar to stake down my Duke DP traps or use a D loop (buy at Lowes, etc.) and some 1/8″ cable with fastened loops at both ends. I place the cable around a tree and through one loop and then fasten the loop to the chain on the DP trap with the D Loop. This is quicker and easier than driving stakes. The D Loop is a quick link that screws closed. The snap closed links will open if a critter or the cable hits them right. How the cables are made isn’t as important as insuring they will hold the critter when they tug. You may wish to view past episodes about trapping by looking in our archives.  Go to this link and page down and on the left you will see a Trapping section. In those episodes I think you'll find all the info you are seeking.

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

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What food plot seed would you recommend for around Ontario, Canada?

Question

I have been a long time follower of your site. If you had only a small amount of area to prepare for a winter feed plot, say 1/2 to 1 acre, would you plant it in soybeans or would a turnip brassica blend be more beneficial? I live in Ontario, Canada. We can have winter from mid November to early March. Soil conditions are ok for either forage – just wondering on your advice.

Thanks,

Darren

If your primary concern is to attract deer during the fall and provide quality forage during that season, I'd probably go with a turnip/brassica blend. This is especially true if there are a lot of deer in the area. A few deer can limit the pod production potential of soybeans in a 1/2 acre plot. Therefore, planting soybeans in that plot is a bit of a gamble. However the risk is limited as it's easy to broadcast brassicas into heavily browsed beans about 45 days before the first frost – so a combo may be best! Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

Grant

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How much protein does a deer need and use?

Question

I have a question that I need your advice concerning maximum protein utilization requirements for whitetails. Does a deer have a % limit that can be metabolized and any amount over that provides no benefit? In other words if a deer has access to nutrients of 30 % + protein can it all be beneficial/utilized for physical development regardless of sex or age? Please share your thoughts with me on this topic if my question makes sense. Where do you get these answers to learn more about this topic? I sure enjoy your info on GrowingDeer.tv!!

Harrison

Harrison,

To my knowledge, Cargill (huge feed company that researches and sells to the whitetail market under the brand Sportsmen Choice) has the largest whitetail nutrition research program. There is lots of good information on their website.

Grant

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Do you have a month to month list of things I can do to help the wildlife?

Question

I have 40 acres in Rosebud, MO where nothing has been touched. It has just all grown up right now. Is there anything I can do in January and February to help the wildlife? Do you have a month to month list of things I can do to help the wildlife? I am wanting to start doing some food plots and some timber management in 2013 and any help would be deeply appreciated; this is my first time.

Thanks,

Ed

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv! I would make sure I have plenty of Trophy Rock (60+ trace minerals) out during January. I want it out year round. I tend to create new hidey hole food plots and stand sites at this time also. There are no ticks and the woods are open so visibility is better! We produce a new show each week and all the past shows (160+) are available online. So can easily see what we are doing each week. Thanks again and best of luck with your habitat work!

Grant

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What food plot seed would you recommend for hunting over in October to November?

Question

I would like to put together some food plots in the area I hunt. This area has some pretty harsh winters and the deer migrate out of the area to large cedar swamps for the winter. Is there a seed conglomerate that you would suggest to plant for hunting purposes (Oct/Nov) that matures best before the deer exit the area (Dec)?

Thanks,

Gary

I like a blend of radishes, turnips, and forage brassicas. I like to plant them at least 45 days (preferably more) before the first expected frost.

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

Grant

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What is the best food plot plants that are at a decent price?

Question

My parents and I would like to find some property this summer that we can have our ranch on and use for hunting. My question to you is, what is the best food plot plants that are at a decent price that you would recommend for the Caulfield area of Missouri?

Thank you for your time,

Edward

Edward,

The Eagle Seed soybeans give the most tonnage of high quality forage per dollar and effort. Several university studies have evaluated the forage quality and quantity of Eagle Seed forage soybeans. Remember to have a soil test and lime and fertilize appropriatly as all forages need good growing conditions to express their potential.

Grant

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Could I use a raccoon carcass to attract other predators to my trap line?

Question

I am a believer in recycling and using every part possible in the game I harvest. I recently trapped a big male raccoon and was wondering if I could use the carcass to attract other predators and if so what kind of set would be best? I know that coyotes will eat muskrats and groundhogs but those aren't vegetarians.

Thank you,

Ryan

Ryan,

Yes, other predators are certainly attracted to the carcasses from your trap line! It seems most prefer bobcat – but will come to raccoon carcasses, etc.

Good trapping!

Grant

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What should I plant in the small, shady food plot at my hunt club?

Question

I really like your site and the information your team provides. I have read your food plot information but have a question for you. My hunt club is 400 acres. We have about 16 small food plots. A few that are around 7,500 square feet and the majority are around 1,200 square feet. Most are clover mixes and some brassica. I have a private area that has a good bit of pines around it. It is  somewhat shady. It is about 1,200 square feet of possible food plot. With the shade/filtered light what do you recommend as the best type of food source to plant here? I want it to be very active during hunting season. It is located in north Georgia.

Thanks for the help,

Peter

Peter,

I find hidey holes (small plots off the beaten trail) great locations to kill mature bucks! 1,200 sq feet is about 3/100 of an acre. Hence, it needs to be a browse tolerant forage, or you must time the planting/hunting closely so deer don't consume all the forage before there are good conditions to hunt! White clover is fairly shade and browse tolerant. I suggest making sure all weed competition is removed (using herbicide or tillage) and heavily fertilize the area. Fertilizer will accomplish two goals including making the forage more palatable than other food sources and allowing the forage to continue growing even if there is a lot of deer eating at the plot. Another great tool is a Hot Zone electric fence (you may have seen them used on GrowingDeer.tv). These solar powered fences keep deer out until you wish to hunt, then you can create a gap in the fence that funnels deer into a good shooting position.

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

Grant

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Why do southern Missouri oaks bear more frequently?

Question

Why do southern Missouri oaks bear more frequently and heavier crops than oaks in northern Missouri? It obviously isn't soil quality. Do you think it might be minerals that are more readily available in the Ozark rock? The white oaks and swamp white oaks bear very infrequently in spite of releasing them with chain saws and even fertilizing. These oaks range from 20 to 100 years old. The only oaks to bear a decent crop are pin oaks.

Thanks in advance,

Ron

Ron,

I suspect it's due to later frost dates in the north. Oaks produce flowers and the flowers make acorns. If the flowers are damaged by frost, they won't mature into acorns.

Grant

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Which food plot variety is the best for hunting purposes?

Question

I would like to put together some food plots in the area I hunt. This area has some pretty harsh winters and the deer migrate out of the area to large cedar swamps for the winter. Is there a seed conglomerate that you would suggest to plant for hunting purposes (Oct./Nov.) that matures best before the deer exit the area (Dec.)?

Gary

Gary,

I like a blend of radishes, turnips, and forage brassicas. I like to plant them at least 45 days (preferably more) before the first expected frost.

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

Grant

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What Are The Signs Of Chronic Wasting Disease?

Question

Tomorrow is the opening day for section 4E tomorrow in PA for the firearm season. I read that the disease is starting to spread into PA. What signs can I look for in deer when they are on the hoof and after I shoot one? If I see one that shows symptoms of it should I shoot it? What should I do with it if I do get one that has it, worst case scenario?

Thank You,

Logan

Logan,

The incidence rate of CWD will be very low in your area. The odds of you seeing or harvesting a deer with CWD are extremely low. I compliment you for desiring to be prepared! The best information about CWD can be found at the link here.

Deer in the early stages of CWD show no overt signs. They appear normal. Deer often incubate CWD for years. Deer that are closer to dying with CWD appear droopy, weak, not alert, etc. They will appear sick. Such deer (whether harvested or not) should be immediately reported to the local game and fish department. If you harvest such a deer, submit it to the local game and fish for testing.

CWD has never been shown to be transmitted to humans – NEVER. However, it’s always smart to wear gloves with dressing deer and not cut through the spinal column or other areas of the primary nervous system. I usually simply debone deer.

Don’t let the news scare you about CWD – check the link I shared and enjoy hunting!

Grant

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Do You Have Any Tips For Hunting After The Rut?

Question

Awesome videos! Do you have any tips for hunting after the rut?

Benjamin

I prefer to hunt food sources after the rut. It is best to hunt food sources where mature bucks haven’t been recently alerted. Bucks have been hunted for months now in most areas and are extremely cautious. If such food sources are available in your area, my next preferred location is on the edge of bedding areas.

Good hunting!

Grant

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Jumping Deer?

Question

The property I hunt on is not easy to get into areas where deer are without jumping some. It is a small track of 100 acres. I am not allowed to cut anything on the property like another road or paths. I was wondering by jumping the deer going in does it make then less likely to come back? I usually see deer but it is more midday after jumping some in the early light or dark. Do you have suggestions for getting in and out of places like this as well? Thanks for your help and enjoy the show.

David

David,

Most likely the deer you are jumping (alerting) during entry are at minimum going to be tougher to hunt – if they return by your stand. I'd probably try walking the very edge of the property and then cutting into your stand. This will likely be a longer walk – but will result in more deer encounters. I'd walk the edge that is most favorable from a wind direction. If you jump deer in the same location – I'd find a path that goes around (down wind) that area.

I hope this helps!

Grant

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Barbed Wire Fencing For Food Plots?

Question

I enjoy all the great information you provide on managing your deer herd and managing the land in general. I do have a specific question regarding barbed wire fences: is there a specific height the lowest strand should be to allow fawns to enter my food plots? I manage about 500 acres and the perimeter is not fenced. Therefore, I must fence off my plots from the surrounding landowners occasional free range cattle.

Thanks again for all the useful information.

Denton

Denton,

Folks in Texas commonly use solar powered electric fences to exclude cattle and allow deer access to plots. They typically use one strand about 20″ above the ground. However, if calves are present, two strands at 12″ and 24″ may be necessary. The best value in solar powered fences I've found is the Non-Typical Electric Fence. I use this to keep deer from over browsing small plots until I have time to hunt. Simply don't use the outside strand and deer will readily use the plot while keeping cattle out.

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

Grant

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Local Information and Help With Prescribed Fire?

Question

I hunt in western Illinois in a small town called Amboy. The 25 acre woods that I hunt is VERY thick and I was thinking about the prescribed fire that you always talk about. I'm not sure where to start with it or who I would contact about helping with it. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Dan

Dan,

You are wise to seek counsel about burning before using that tool! I've never burned in Illinois – and am not sure what resources are available for private land there. Most states have a Forestry Commission (name varies a little state to state). They usually offer prescribed burn classes, workshops, and some states offer assistance.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What Should I Plant in My Food Plot?

Question
What Should I Plant in My Food Plot?

This is the most frequently asked question I receive. However, it’s like asking what aircraft I use. I use a helicopter to count deer in the brush country of South Texas. However, a jet works much better to get me to clients’ properties in distant portions of the whitetails’ range. Both aircraft work, but are much better suited for different missions. Similarly many varieties of food plot crops will grow in different areas. However, specific crops should be selected based on a site-specific basis depending on the mission of plot, the soil type of the plot, budget, etc.  Throughout the year, the Growing Deer Team will frequently show and discuss what crops they use to establish specific food plots for specific missions (warm season, cool season, attractant, nutrition). As an example, I use forage soybeans from Eagle Seed for the last few years in plots where the mission is maximum warm season forage with great success. I use a different crop for small, attractant or cool season plots. My best advice to you in this limited space is to research several options and continue to watch here for more shows and tips on this exact subject!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Skin Growth Identification

 

Question
Grant,

I checked my trail camera this morning and found a video of a buck with a black ball hanging from its jaw area. Do you have any idea what it might be?

On another note, I really enjoy GrowingDeer.tv!

Thanks!

Jared

 

 

Jared,

Thanks for the kind words and for watching GrowingDeer.tv!

I suspect the “ball” on the buck is a fibroma that has become detached from the skin.  You may wish to check out the information online at The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks website.

If the deer is harvested and you find out something different, please let me know.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Cover Crop near Public Road

Question
I watched one of your videos about the soybeans that get very tall (4′ to 6′).  What type of beans are these and where can they be purchased?  My property isn’t very big and is almost all open next to a town road.  Currently I plant normal beans surrounded by corn.  I would like to get my hands on these beans so I don’t have to plant corn around the edges all the time.

Thanks,

Michael

Michael,

The forage soybeans I referenced are produced by Eagle Seed.  It is a family owned business, and that family has been selecting soybean traits for literally 40+ years.

However, I'm not sure you should plant the Eagle forage soybeans within sight of a public road.  Deer find the Eagle Seed soybean forage and pods very attractive.  I suspect that may make the deer more visible — at least the corn provides some cover.  This is especially true during the early growth stages when the soybeans are 4'+ tall.

A cover crop that I frequently recommend for similar situations is Switchgrass.  Switchgrass provides great bedding/escape cover and typically stands all winter (even through snow and ice).  I plant it next to public roads so poachers can't see and don't wish to walk through it.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What data should be collected while deer hunting?

Question
I just purchased your book, “Deer Management 101: Manage Your Way to Better Hunting”, and I’m reading it at this time.  You mention keeping a log or journal.  I have been keeping a hunting/work journal for years.  I never seem to have all the information I need on my journal pages.  When you are gathering information on your property what are the main things you record?  Thanks for all the great information you provide.

Ron

Ron,

I record the date, start and stop time of each hunt (morning and afternoon).  I record the time in military style so morning and afternoon are never confused.  I also record where I hunt based on a grid system, I don’t use stand names as stand names change from time to time.  I also record the number of bucks, does, fawns, and unidentified deer observed.  I differentiate between antlered bucks and male fawns.  I also am very careful to never assume!  If I can't positively identify the deer, I list it as an unidentified.  Typically about 30% of the deer I observe are listed as unidentified.

I don't record moon phase, temperature, etc,. as all of those data are available from the Nation Weather Service.  I find the basic information, such as I described above, is more useful than detailed information that doesn't allow me to see the big picture.  On some of my research projects where I'm attempting to address specific questions, my staff and I collect additional data.

In addition to observation data, I collect harvest data (age, body weights, etc.).  I'm a huge fan of using trail camera surveys to monitor a herd's population demographics.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Can corn be planted in the same food plot over multiple years?

Question
Grant,

I know from watching your video that you don't recommend it…but is it possible to grow corn on corn each year?  Based on my property layout corn is the only crop that I can grow other than sorghum or Egyptian wheat that will provide food and screening from neighbors.  The area I'm thinking of is also a powerline easement that lies in a valley.  I was talking to local farmers and my local co-op and was told the only effect was a decreased yield.

Thanks.

Garry

Garry,

Food plot crop rotation is an excellent practice.  However, it is possible to plant corn in the same location multiple years in a row.  However, there is a much better chance of allowing the population of pests specific to that crop to increase significantly as their cycle is never broken by rotation crops.  In addition, different crops usually remove different micronutrients from the soil.  By growing the same crop at the same site year after year this will usually result in depletion of that micro nutrient.

Another consideration is if there is more corn being produced than the critters eat?  If so, it's likely that deer in the local herd are not expressing their full antler or fawn production potential.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What is the best way to kill weeds and grass in food plots?

Question
I have a field that has not been planted in 8+ years.  It is now overgrown with weeds and grass as it is only cut once each summer.  What is a good weed and grass killer that is available to the general public that would still allow me to plant something this spring?

Larry

Larry,

Depending on the species of weeds, Glyphosate (the chemical name of Roundup) is probably the best option.  It usually works best if you use fire first to remove the duff (dead plant material) from the field (check out GDTV 20 for an overview of prescribed fire).  This allows the herbicide to make better contact with the fresh vegetation that will grow after the burn.  If a burn is not an option, mowing or even disking is the next best option.  No matter what option you select for preparation, it's important to remember that Glyphosate is most effective when the new growth is relatively young and there is enough leaf surface area for the herbicide to make good contact with the plant.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What type of soybean and clover are best for whitetail food plots?

Question
Hi Grant,

I love the show and everything you do to help hunters and wildlife managers with our way of life.  What is your favorite type of Eagle Seed bean? I used Eagle Seed Wildlife Managers Mix last year and it work great.  I was wondering which type has the best browsing tolerance and which type produces the most pods?

What is your favorite clover type?  I am trying to figure out what would work best in my area, after a proper soil test and working the ground as needed.

What do you think would be the best fruit trees to plant for the deer?  I started about ten trees (mostly apple with a few pear trees) a couple years ago.

Thank you for your time and help in getting me and others on the right track.

God Bless,

Chad (central Pennsylvania)

Chad,

Thank you for your kind words!  There is a very detailed explanation of each variety of Eagle Seed beans on their website.  I use both Large Lad and Big Fellow per the recommendations on their site.  There are several good varieties of both white and red clovers.  I like clover varieties that put more energy into producing forage than stems.

Deer usually readily use the fruit from both apple and pear trees.  In fact, they readily consume most fruit that they have had experience consuming in the past.  Deer often take some time to learn to eat cultivars of fruit that they haven't been exposed to previously.  However, by using different varieties of fruit, the tree plot may remain productive and attractive longer than when limiting the cultivars to apples and pears.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Broadhead Selection

 

Question
I’m a new bow hunter from Kentucky.  I just started bow hunting this year, I’m only 11 years old.  I don’t know too much about it.  What would be the best broadhead to deer hunt with?  I just bought some Rage SlipCam Rear Deploying Broadheads and I don’t know if they are very good or not. This year I used Muzzy Broadheads and I liked them.

Colton

 

 

Colton,

There are many great broadheads on the market!  I prefer a fixed-blade design so the chance of failure is minimal.  More importantly, I insist that the broadheads I use are literally shaving sharp.  Broadheads kill deer by causing rapid blood loss.  Dull broadheads cause more trauma to deer and therefore deer instantly secrete a hormone that causes blood to clot.  Deer are much less likely to secrete this hormone when hit by a razor sharp broadhead.  To illustrate, think about how much you bleed when you hit your finger with a hammer (not much) versus how much you bleed from a simple paper cut.  Paper cuts don't cause trauma — so our bodies don't release the clotting hormone.

I shoot a Blackout Fixed-Blade Broadhead from Bass Pro.  I had great results on multiple mature bucks using that head last year (GDTV 45).

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Crop Selection for Sandy Soil

Question
Hi Grant,

I recently purchased 40 acres in western Michigan and want to plant crops that will attract deer and enhance antler growth.  The land is sandy and mostly covered by pines and oaks.  However 3 to 4 acres are tree free. Would you recommend any particular nutrients and crops that I could plant in the tree free area that would help me accomplish my goals?  Thank you for your help, and keep those great videos coming!

Pete

Pete,

Congratulations on owning your own Proving Grounds.  Crops are simply nutrient transfer agents that serve to transfer nutrients from the ground to the deer.  So the first step is to ensure there are ample nutrients in the soil by collecting a soil sample and having it analyzed at a good soil lab like Waters Ag.  Check out GDTV 71 for a refresher on how to properly collect and label a soil sample.

I prefer forage soybeans over other types of forage because they are relatively drought resistant, easy to establish and manage, and very nutritious to deer.  Few other crops produce quality forage throughout the entire growing season.  If you are far enough North, white clover works fairly well, but doesn't usually do well in sandy soils and won't produce nearly as much tonnage as Eagle Seed forage soybeans.

Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv and the kind words!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What is the best spring food plot mix for small plots that will attract deer and turkey?

Question
I want to plant some food plots in northern Arkansas in an area with very sandy soil.  What is the best spring food plot mix for small plots that are 1/4 to 1/2 acre in size?  I’m trying to attract deer and turkey.

Thank you,

Justin

Justin,

I would try Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  They handle droughty conditions as well as any forage crop I've tried.  However, if there are a lot of deer in the area, the forage soybeans might be severely browsed in the smaller sized plots.  I use a food plot fence to protect the soybeans until they mature a bit and can handle browse a bit better.

Remember that all forage plants are simply nutrient transfer agents.  That is to say if the nutrients aren't in the soil, the plants can't transfer them to the deer.  That's why one of the most important steps in establishing a food plot is to collect a soil sample and have it analyzed at a reputable lab like Waters Ag.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What to Plant in Food Plots

 

Question
In the recent frost seeding episode (GDTV 68) it was mentioned that only 5% of your food plots are planted in clover.  What is the breakdown of percentages for different plants in your food plots and what is the reasoning behind it?

Thanks

Dan

Dan,

I use prescribed fire, etc., to promote very good native vegetation at The Proving Grounds.  Most native vegetation is at peak production and palatability the same time clover is productive – during the spring green up period.  However, as the spring progresses and the temperatures warm and the amount of soil moisture decreases clover decreases in productivity and quality.  This time of year, soybeans usually provide much more tonnage and quality than clover.  So, I plant about 5% of my food plot acreage in clover and the remainder in soybeans and corn.  I usually plant 2/3rds of this acreage in soybeans and 1/3rd in corn as corn typically produces twice as much grain as soybeans.  This grain is critical to provide quality food during the winter or non-growing season months (again, when clover is unproductive).  Soybeans provide forage during the growing season and grain (their pods) during the non growing season, so they play a larger role in my deer food management program than corn.

Each property will have a different composition of native vegetation, neighboring ag fields, ratio of food plot acreage, etc.  However, the ratio of crops I described above is a good starting point that can be customized on a site-specific basis.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What Critter was Trailing Deer

 

Question
While walking through the woods the other day I noticed “paw” prints inside the deer tracks.  They were inside the deer tracks and every so many feet they took a rest and then proceeded.  What type of animal would track this way?

Thanks,

Greg

 

 

Greg,

That's an interesting observation!  There is no way to positively identify what species made the tracks without seeing an image or very good description of the tracks.  However, based on the limited information, I would guess a bobcat.  Bobcats tend to walk in a very narrow path with each step placed almost exactly in front of the other.  In addition, they often stop frequently.  There are several good web sites that help identify tracks.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Where to Find Sheds

Question
Hey Grant,

In March there is still quite a bit of snow on the ground where I live.  I’ve looked for sheds my whole life but I have never found one.  Do the mice eat them as they fall or am I not looking in the right areas?  We have 250 acres and I look by our creek, under pines, up on ridges, near fence crossings, corn fields, even by rubs.  Do you have any tips to find a big shed?

Joe (Wisconsin)

Joe,

My wife, daughters, and I really enjoy shed hunting!  Through the years, we've learned to spend most of our time looking in areas where deer feed and bed during January through March.  We also search the travel zones between the feeding and bedding areas.  Rodents (squirrels and mice), coyotes and other critters will consume sheds.  However, they usually don't consume the entire shed, especially the larger ones.  These critters tend to chew on the points and less on the main beams.  The biggest factor to finding sheds is the number of sheds in the area.  Therefore, in areas where a higher percentage of bucks from the herd are harvested each year, there will obviously be fewer sheds to find.  If you and your family are actively passing bucks on your land to allow them to mature, you should have a good opportunity to find some sheds!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Learning Curve for Deer

 

Question
Grant,

Last year we planted Eagle Seed soybeans with corn.  The deer browsed heavily on the bean leaves but they are not eating the beans.  The corn has disappeared but we are not sure which animals ate it.  It was probably birds.  Why didn't the deer eat the soybeans?

Thanks,

Martin

 

 

 

Martin,

There are no agricultural row crops (soybeans or corn) in the county where The Proving Grounds (where I live) is located.  The first year I planted soybeans, deer didn't consume the bean forage or pods.  However, some brave deer apparently took a bite the next year and it was obvious when the local herd learned to consume the forage and pods.  I don't know if this is the situation in your area.  I would be surprised if the local herd has been exposed to soybeans and didn't consume them on your property unless they had a strong association with danger and the food plot location.  I would recommend you plant Eagle Seed soybeans again and use a Reconyx trail camera to monitor usage.  Another great tool is a utilization cage.  The cage won't provide data of which deer are using the plot, but will confirm if the soybeans that are growing outside the cage are being consumed versus the beans that are protected from consumption inside the cage.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What food plot varieties work best in Louisiana?

Question
What would be a good seed to plant in the summer that would carry through deer season?  I live in Washington Parish, Louisiana and we have dry and wet summers.  I have found that clay peas work pretty well before the season.

Robbie

Robbie,

Eagle Seed forage soybeans have been shown by several universities to produce more tons of digestible, high quality forage than almost any other crop that deer prefer!  Deer consume the foliage during the summer and the bean pods during the winter.  It can truly be a 10 month per year crop!  However, deer find these soybeans so attractive, that small-sized plots can be over-browsed when the seedlings are young unless protected by an electric food plot fence.

The size of the plot that won't need any protection depends on the number of deer in the area and the availability of other high quality foods.  If your food plot is large enough, I doubt you will find a better crop!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Encouraging Deer to Change Patterns

 

Question
I hunt a powerline out of a box ground blind.  The powerline runs downhill about 150 yards and uphill 450+ yards.  I have two feeders set up 150 and 200 yards from my box stand.  I keep seeing deer at the top of the hill 400+ yards away.  What can I do to get the deer to cross closer to my stand?  Should I put up a metal stand further up the hill?

I took three paper bags and a cup of washing powder and put it around at the top of the hill. The deer still came out at the same place.  The smell of washing powder had no effect.

Rob

 

 

 

Rob,

If you have permission to hunt the hilltop where the deer prefer to travel, I would place a stand within range of that location.  Remember that being able to approach and leave the stand without alerting deer is just as important as the stand's location.

If you don't have permission to hunt the hilltop where the deer prefer to travel, can you determine why deer frequent that hill?  Is there a preferred food source there or nearby?  Is it close to a bedding area?  If so, can you create a better source of food or cover closer to your existing stand?  Deer usually seek out the best habitat features within their home range.  It seems there is something on the hill they frequent that is the most preferred source in their neighborhood.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What is the best hunting strategy for older, wiser, noctornal bucks?

Question
I have an awesome, huge, old, 10 point buck on our property (which has apple groves, a corn field, and food plots).  From the camera pictures he looks to be a 220 class.  His G2 is about 19″ long.  I have several trail cameras pictures where he appears between 11:00 PM and 5:40 AM.  I have strategically placed tree blinds but I don’t see him during shooting hours.  I know this is how he got so old and big but I’d really like to take him this year.  What should I do?

Michelle

Michelle,

That's a huge buck and no doubt very mature.  There is lots of research that has shown some mature bucks rarely move during daylight hours.  This may be the behavior of the giant buck you are hunting.  I would attempt to limit human disturbance as much as possible to the area where you believe he is bedding and feeding.  I would only hunt this buck when conditions are favorable to the hunter (constant wind that favors the hunter, etc.).

Chances are you won't see this buck much, so it's critical that you are well practiced with your weapon of choice and all of your equipment is in perfect working order.  The personality of some bucks make them almost impossible to harvest as they are almost totally nocturnal, etc.  That's okay, as the legendary bucks keep most of us inspired to keep hunting!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Spreading Lime by Hand

 

Question
In your video on frost seeding clover (GDTV 68), you show lime being distributed with a hand seeder.  Brad talks about a generic rate of 2 tons per acre.  How long does it take to spread that much lime using a hand seeder?

Doug

 

Doug,

I only spread lime on small plots (1/8th of an acre or so) by hand.  This still takes some time, but my spreader holds 50 pounds so I open the flow gauge up wide and spread each load quickly.  I think the effort is worth it as mature bucks readily use high quality forage in small plots that don't receive much hunting pressure!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How do you attract deer to a trail camera site?

Question
Dear Grant,

What food should I put out for the deer?  I have a big trophy buck but I can’t get him to the camera.

Thanks,

Shelby

Shelby,

Deer seem to be attracted to whole shelled corn almost everywhere I work.  In fact, corn combined with a Trophy Rock is what I use to attract deer to camera sites when I do a camera survey for deer.  Even in areas where baiting is legal and mature bucks tend to avoid corn during the daytime because of hunting pressure, they visit the bait piles at night (a very good reason not to bait — as most deer rapidly learn to avoid bait during daytime).  If shelled corn doesn't work, I suspect the buck you're attempting to pattern has been conditioned to avoid bait.

I suggest you try a Trophy Rock, if legal in your area, or simply put the camera over scrapes.  During the few days just before the peak of breeding, bucks visit scrapes frequently.  Hence, scrapes can be a great location to capture images of a mature buck!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Maintain Apple Trees

 

Question
Hey Grant,

Our hunting property contains an abundance of apple and crabapple trees.  Over the past few years they have been growing larger and larger and producing fewer apples.  We have also seen a dramatic increase in the growth of pricker bushes and briars.  What is the best thing to do to allow the apples to grow?  Do deer like the prickers?  If not, is there a way to control them?

Dean

 

 

Dean,

Almost all apple trees should be pruned annually (during the dormant season).  They should be pruned significantly – enough that most folks squirm!  The specifics of how and how much to prune is very detailed.  The QDMA web site has some great articles about maintaining fruit trees.

Fruit trees are a crop, and benefit from being fertilized.  The blend and amount of fertilizer depends on the local soils and types of trees.

As I work throughout the whitetails' range, I realize that different species of plants are often referred to by the same name.  So “prickers” could mean blackberries, hawthorns, multi-flora roses, hedge trees, etc.  However, in general deer may consume “prickers” during some portion of the year.  This is usually when the plants are young or have fresh growth during the early spring. The species you are referring to may be consumed by deer, but will not be enough to provide a high quality diet by itself.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How many trail cameras are needed to pattern whitetails?

Question
After watching your video about using cameras to pattern deer (GDTV 66), I am interested in how many acres your facility is and how many cameras you use to track the deer.  I really liked your example of deer movement patterns.  Can I, with a limited budget for cameras, produce the same results with one or two cameras?  Or did you have cameras at all the locations at the same time?

Keep up the good work!

Jeff

Jeff,

I like to use as many Reconyx trail cameras as practical given time and budget constraints.  The Proving Grounds (my place) is 1,500 acres and I try to use one camera per 100 acres when doing an official camera survey and I continue using them to scout with throughout the season.  Using rechargeable batteries has greatly reduced my operating costs!  I have other projects where we “leap frog” cameras as we don't have a camera per 100 acres.  We get usable data, but not as good as using a camera per 100 acres simultaneously.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What is the size of the home range for white-tailed deer?

Question
Do deer stay within a 2 mile radius from where they are born?

I love your show!

Zack

Zack,

Some deer do stay within a few miles of where they were born and others move many miles.  There are several factors that determine if and how far a deer disperses from its place of birth.  Male fawns are usually forced to disperse from their mother's home range.  If the doe dies before it is time for the male fawn to disperse, he tends to remain in the same area where he was born.  This is one advantage of harvesting does!

If the doe is alive and she forces the young male to disperse, the distance he will travel is influenced by the quality of the habitat, the local deer herd density, predator population, and several other factors.  As biologists learn more about deer by using GPS collars and other neat tools, we are discovering that deer are like humans in that each one is a unique individual.  The averages often quoted for home range size, distance of dispersal, etc., rarely closely represent a large percentage of the population due to the individual nature of deer.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What tips do you have on how to pattern mature bucks?

Question
I’ve been hunting this giant 10 point for a few years now on my parent’s property.  Just when I think I know his pattern, he changes things up on me.  Do you have any tips on how to pattern this buck?

David

David,

Mature bucks can be difficult to pattern.  I use Reconyx trail cameras to determine where deer are moving at night, then I use my knowledge of the area to predict where the mature buck will bed during the day.  I call this connecting the dots.  Based on this information, I locate stands in between the dots (travel zones).  Once a pattern is suspected, I limit my disturbance to the area and wait until the wind and other factors are to my advantage before hunting that buck.  I think that successfully patterning a mature buck is as much fun as harvesting one.

Growing (and patterning) Bucks together,

Grant

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Why Turkeys Ingest Grit

 

Question
I harvested a turkey that had iron in the bladder.  What could cause this?

Thank you,

TJ

 

TJ,

Are you referring to the crop – the white sack above the breast?  If so, what shape was the iron?  If small, they were probably picking it up as grit.  Turkeys ingest grit daily and the grit passes to the gizzard and is used to grind up food.  The grit basically serves as their teeth.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Help with Prescribed Fire

 

Question
I want to do a prescribed fire after I spray the weeds/grass. I intend to plant soybeans, clover, etc. for deer and turkey on approximately 30 acres of pasture. Who can I contact to assist me (I have no experience with prescribed fire)?

Thanks,

David (Arkansas)

David,

Prescribed fire is a great tool, but it can also be dangerous and even deadly. I helped combat a wildfire recently that was started by folks attempting to do a prescribed fire that didn't have sufficient training, knowledge, or equipment. You are wise to seek assistance!

Many state and federal agencies provide workshops for prescribed fire planning and implementation. Some states require participants to be certified before they can help with prescribed fire. I'm not sure what the policy is in Arkansas, but a call to your local county or forestry extension office should provide you with the correct information and hopefully an opportunity for training! Don't dare drop a match without help or adequate training!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How do you pattern bucks on public hunting land?

Question
I would like to try to pattern and hunt trophy bucks on federal land in the north Georgia mountains.  How should I go about this?

Owen

Owen,

I lived in north Georgia and South Carolina for several years and hunted the national forest lands in the mountains. It was great turkey hunting but a very difficult place to pattern deer.  The same is true in the Ozark Mountains where I grew up (and currently live).  Without habitat improvement, deer rarely have distinct patterns and certainly rarely use trails in such areas.  This is because food sources and bedding areas are not defined in contrast to the ag production areas of the Midwest.  However, I would spend the bulk of my time scouting, looking for fresh sign and general travel routes.  Within these travel routes I would concentrate on bottlenecks such as steep saddles in the mountains or bluffs that force deer to travel within a specific area.  Once these areas are located, they will provide quality hunting unless the deer sense the danger and change their patterns.

If you can successfully harvest deer regularly in the mountains of Georgia on public land, you can be a successful deer hunter anywhere!

Growing (and hunting) Deer together,

Grant

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Where is the best place to locate hunting stands?

Question
Is it better to set up stands on the edge of a food source or back inside off the plot?  My morning stand is back inside 150 yards but I’m not sure about where to set my evening stand.

Thank you, you are a great help to guys like me,

Kermit

Kermit,

I select stand locations based on how much hunting pressure occurs in the area.  If there are food sources that aren't frequently hunted, then deer may come to them well before dark!  If that's the case, then placing stands overlooking or near the food source is a good option for afternoon hunts.  If the food sources tend to get pressured, deer likely won't approach the field until after dark.  In this situation, it’s best to place the stands between the food and the likely bedding areas.

I almost always opt for stands closer to bedding areas in the morning as the deer will likely be close to the food sources just before daylight and if I attempt to approach that area I will spook the deer.

The bottom line is that I prefer to place stands where I can access them without spooking the deer.  This means I'm approaching and leaving the stand at time when the deer are not close to that location.

Growing (and hunting) Deer together,

Grant

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Improving Bedding Areas

Question
Grant,

Is there anything you can do, planting or building up, to make deer bedding habitats better?

Keep up the fantastic work!

Brett

Brett,

Quality bedding cover for deer is cover that is thick from 0-3′ high and open above 3′.  It needs to be on south facing slopes if it is to be used during the winter.  If it is to be used during the summer it needs to have a partial canopy for shade and be on a north facing slope.  The size of the bedding area is also important.  Deer will use small areas (an acre or two in size) if that's the largest block around, but prefer larger blocks so predators have difficulty isolating them.  I usually create bedding areas that are at least 10 acres or larger.

In addition to creating bedding areas, I make them sanctuaries.  That is I stay out of them except during the spring to shed hunt or to recover a shot deer during season.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Sources of Deer for Restocking

 

Question
What sub species of white-tailed deer is in Reynolds County, Missouri?  When my dad was young he said he talked to a man that was restocking deer out of Wisconsin for the Conservation Department.  What do you know about this?

Matt

 

 

Matt,

There is a good book available through the Quality Deer Management Association about the restocking of white-tailed deer throughout their range.  The authors collected records from most states, including Missouri, to document the sources of deer used to restock and how many were released.  It seems there are gads and gads of stories about the fabulous restocking effort, but the book by the Quality Deer Management Association is the best collection of accurate information on the subject that I'm aware of.  Most of the deer restocked in Missouri were from remnant populations in Missouri.  In fact, they restocked 2,292 deer trapped from within Missouri and 356 from Michigan and Minnesota.  There were most likely some unrecorded events of citizens moving deer as well.

It is interesting that deer in northern Missouri were mainly stocked from existing populations in southern Missouri.  The large difference observed now between body and antler development in northern Missouri compared to southern Missouri is simply the vast difference in land use practices (ag crops in the central and northern counties compared to predominate timber and fescue pasture in the southern counties).  Deer in most counties south of I-44 simply can't express their potential because of the low quality food available in this area.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How Often to Check Trail Cameras

 

Question
Hey Grant,

I just set up a trail camera on a big deer run.  How often should I check it?  I don't want to spook the deer that bed there.

Jonathan

 

Jonathan,

The frequency at which to check a trail camera without spooking the local deer depends on where the trail camera is located.  If it’s in a bedding area one trip is too much!  That’s why I never locate trail cameras in areas where I want to hunt or bedding areas.  Doing so would simply condition deer to avoid the area during daylight.  I prefer to set trail cameras in areas that are relatively open and easy to access (a few steps from a road, trail, etc.).  I get the images/data and then figure out where to hunt.  I rarely place a stand close to a trail camera location as deer are conditioned to avoid that area during daylight hours.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How big of a food plot is needed for soybeans?

Question
Grant,

What size field do you recommend if you don’t wish to have a fence around your soybeans?  I have been watching your videos and saw that some of your fields you listed at .9 or right above an acre did not have a fence around them.  Thanks for the help and I love the videos.

James

James,

The size of the plot necessary to produce soybeans is dependent on the number of deer locally, the productivity of the plot, and alternate food sources such as the quality of native browse in the area.  I do a lot of prescribed fire and have fairly high quality native browse.  The quality of the native browse at The Proving Grounds peaks about the time when the forage soybeans at my place are germinating, there is plenty of food and deer don't decimate the beans during the critical stage of their development.  I have 53 acres of appropriately fertilized food plots and about 500 acres of productive native browse/cover areas in the 1,500 acres of The Proving Grounds. However, the neighboring properties are mainly unmanaged hardwoods and fescue pasture.  There is no row crop ag within counties of me.  So I provide the quality forage for all the deer in the neighborhood.  The ratio of plots to total acreage to produce quality deer will be more or less at different areas depending on the production of each plot and land use practices on the neighboring properties.  If the deer density is high and there are many other quality food sources when the soybeans are germinating, then plots even an acre or more in size would need to be protected with an electric fence to allow them to mature enough to not be damaged by browse pressure.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What effects the timing of buck scrapes and rubs?

Question
Dr. Grant,

While turkey hunting south/central Georgia this weekend I found plenty of fresh scrapes.  Why is that? Also, during the pre-rut we have bucks leaving plenty of scrapes, but just a few rubs.  Then in January after all the breeding is done our bucks go crazy rubbing trees.  Do you find that odd?

Keep up the good work!!

Kevin

Kevin,

Fawns in deer herds with access to good nutrition will reach puberty (approximately 70 pounds) in Georgia before and during the opening of the spring turkey season.  The female fawns that reach their first estrous cycle during that time of year cause the bucks to express rutting behavior.  Rutting behavior rarely occurs this time of year in areas without ag crops or good food plots.

I’m not sure about the timing of rubs on your property.  It could be that bucks are shifting their range a bit and more bucks are present on your property during January.  This could be caused by local farmers harvesting their crops and your food plots are providing the best food in the neighborhood during that time of year.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What is the correct time to plant spring soybeans?

Question
When do you typically plant your beans?

Weston

Weston,

I plant when the soil temperature at two inches deep is 60 degrees at 9:00 AM.  9:00 AM is usually when the soil temperature is the coldest throughout the day.  Soybeans germinate and grow rapidly at this temperature.  They will germinate when it is warmer, however, warmer temperatures result in more soil moisture evaporation and lack of moisture rapidly stresses seedlings.

I plan to plant my Eagle Seed forage soybeans during the next 10 days or so, depending on weather.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What food plot crops do you recommend for Nebraska?

Question
Dr. Grant,

I would like to commend you on the videos you are producing for the web site.  I have watched most of them since the NWTF Convention.  There is a lot of useful information in them for anyone wanting to get started in deer management.

I live in southwestern Nebraska and I have mule deer, white-tailed deer, merriam’s turkeys, rio grand turkeys, and a hybrid of the two turkeys.  I am running my operation on 7,000 acres of private ground.  Other than ag crops, what would you recommend planting for this area?  On the acreage I operate I grow corn and wheat in a rotation crop.  In the winter I plant a winter food plot mix consisting of turnips, winter forage peas and brassicas.  In the spring I plant several plots consisting of spring forage peas, red clover, yellow sweet clover, sudan grass (headless), oats (reeves), cereals, rye, turnips (purple top), and a hybrid brassica mix (grazing).

I am trying to hold deer year around.  It is not working very well as I have only a few resident deer that I see often.  In hunting season I see deer that I don’t see the rest of the year.  My mule deer herd which should be migratory is not and they stay pretty much year around.  I just don’t see them much in the summer months due to heat.  I know I have a coyote problem and I shoot them on site whenever possible.  I have shot about 40 in two years.

I am just starting out on the deer management and have a lot to learn.  I am reading and watching everything I can get my hands on for this topic (any recommendations here would be helpful also).  I do soil samples on every plot, usually from several areas through the plot then blending them together as recommended by our co-op. Our co-op then sends them to an Iowa university to have them tested.  I receive a printout of fertilizer recommendations along with lime and ph numbers.  Any advice you can send my way would be greatly appreciated.  I don’t have a lot of help and I pretty much do everything myself.  The rancher I work for allows me use of his equipment.  I am a whitetail freak, I love growing them, watching them and harvesting them with my bow and rifle.
Thanks for your time and consideration!

Bryan

Bryan,

Thank you for the kind words!  It sounds as if you have a good deer management program started!  You are correct that providing quality food is a good tool for minimizing the home range size of deer.  The biggest change I would suggest to your program would be to plant forage soybeans rather than the warm season blend you described.  Deer may consume some of the varieties you described, but none of them produce as much tonnage of quality forage as forage soybeans.  In addition, soybeans are relatively easy to establish and maintain.

I'm not sure I understood correctly, but it sounds as if you are mixing soil samples from all your plots and then submitting one sample to the lab.  If that's the case, I strongly suggest you watch GDTV #71 about how to collect and label soil samples.  I think it will clearly explain a better system to help you produce better crops and better deer!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What should I do to create the best habitat for deer and turkey hunting?

Question
Hi,

I recently acquired 80 acres from my wife's family.  We have a very high deer population and at least three packs of coyotes that are on or around our little piece of land.  The land was clear-cut about 5 years ago leaving some good hardwoods and some pines.  There are limited access routes at present but I will be changing that soon.  The property joins over 800 acres of land owned by family and it is only hunted by one family member.  Some of the 800 acres is also clear-cut.  I have 3 creeks that come together on my property then one creek runs into a big government lake situated on family land.  I need to try to groom my 80 acres to make it great deer and turkey hunting ground.  Where can I get the information I need to get started?  I grew up on a farm but I don't have any equipment yet and I don't know where to begin.  Please help.

Thanks!!!
David

David,

Congratulations on owning land!  I would start by analyzing what critical elements of deer habitat (food, cover, and water) are the most limited in availability on the surrounding properties.  From your note, it sounds like there is plenty of cover (clear cuts) and water (creeks and lakes) in the surrounding area.  However, you didn't mention any cultivated food?  If there is no food except native browse in the area, then I would start by establishing food plots with high quality forage.  Deer are very selective foragers and will readily use the best forage within their home range.  From what I know about your neighborhood, adding high quality forage may be the best way to make sure the local deer spend a disproportionate amount of time on your property.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Using Hinge Cutting to Create Bedding Areas

Question
Grant,

I hunt a small 40 acre piece of land on the eastern shore of Maryland. The deer bed mainly in the phragmites marsh and travel through the woods (15-17 acres of mature pines and oak/sweet-gums) to the corn and bean fields to feed.  If I were to hinge cut specific identified trees to provide cover would this likely draw them out of bedding in the marsh and transition them to bed closer to the fields?  When hinge cutting and thinking about a prescribed burn, should I burn and then cut or cut and then burn?  Thank you for your time.

Wil

Wil,

Although phragmites is a very invasive weed, it does provide great bedding cover.  Deer prefer to bed in habitat similar to phragmites.  I doubt by hinge cutting some trees, you will change where deer bed in your area.  If the phragmites are controlled (by using specific herbicides), the deer might rapidly adapt to the next most suitable bedding cover.  On the other hand, if closed-canopy forest was the only cover type within the home range of those deer, they would readily adapt to using the hinged cut trees for cover.

If you do opt to hinge cut for the purpose of developing ground-level cover, you should burn first, then hinge cut.  The timing of fire is more important than the timing of hinge-cutting most trees.  Please always use caution when using prescribed fire!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Mineral in Illinois

Question
I really enjoyed your seminar at the NWTF Convention.  My question is about CWD in Illinois.  The DNR is shooting all the deer in areas where CWD has been detected.  There have been a couple of cases in JoDavies County where my farm is.  Should I put out Trophy Rocks?  Would that be dangerous for the herd?

Pat

Pat,

Thank you for the kind words!  I believe it is illegal to place any mineral supplement or bait for deer in Illinois (always check the local regulations).

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Controlling Bamboo

Question
Grant,

We have 230 acres of land with 50 acres in prime hardwood bottom land.  Wild bamboo has started growing in this bottom land and is about 4 feet high.  We want to control about half of this bamboo.  What chemical would you recommend to spray the bamboo to kill it and prevent it from spreading so fast?

Regards,

Tom (west central Georgia)

Tom,

I'm not aware of an effective herbicide for controlling bamboo.  This is especially true for the varieties that spread by runners.  The American Bamboo Society has more detailed information on their web site.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Do Deer Have a Learning Curve

Question
What do you know of the relationship between deer utilization of a food plot planted in a common local ag crop vs. a crop not grown in the area.  Are there observed delays in deer utilizing the foreign crop?  For example, I planted Iron Clay Cowpeas in a three acre plot and got zero utilization. With the exception of winter wheat there are no ag crops anywhere close to me.  I assume that the food source was foreign to the deer and that contributed to the lack of deer browsing.  Have you ever seen a delay in deer utilizing a crop that is not a common food source?  Will deer eventually figure it out after multiple seasons of planting?  Although I plan to plant Eagle Seed beans this year, local seed stores are baffled when I tell them that the deer did not eat the Iron Clay Cowpeas.  Thanks for any insight!

Jamie

Jamie,

I had the same experience when I first planted soybeans at The Proving Grounds!  There are no soybeans within a couple of counties in any direction of me, and during the first two years I planted soybeans I couldn't tell that a single leaf had been removed by deer.  Now they readily consume them.  Deer certainly can and will learn to consume new forage types.  It's up to the landowner to decide if the variety of forage he is planting has enough benefit to weather the duration of the learning process.  I felt (and still do) that Eagle Seed Forage Soybeans were so productive and high in nutritive value that weathering the learning process was well worth the wait!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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The deer are destroying my landscape. What should I do?

Question
My neighborhood is overpopulated with deer.  We live in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  On some afternoons there are 25 deer in my front yard.  Are there any special interest groups that might come and capture the deer to relocate them?  They can be very destructive.  They eat all our plants and flowers, tear up the yard while jumping around and have worn trails in our yard.  Shooting the deer is not well received in our community.  What would you advise?

Viney

Viney,

Unfortunately there are gads of neighborhoods throughout the whitetails' range that are overpopulated.  Residents go from liking to see an occasional deer to some of the residents hating deer.  It is sad when deer are left unmanaged and then become hated.  They are beautiful creatures and deserve respect and to be appropriately managed.  I'm not aware of any group that will move deer.  Deer are owned by the state (unless part of a captive herd) and can only be moved, harvested, etc., by special permit issued by the governing state agency.  Problems similar to yours have been faced for years and the only solution to date is to harvest the excess deer.  There are several major metropolitan areas that accomplish this by hosting archery only hunts.  These hunts are strongly regulated, and often the hunters must qualify by taking a safety and proficiency test.  If you and your neighbors wish to address the problem I'm very confident this is the only route.  You may wish to contact the regional Missouri Department of Conservation office and seek addition counsel since this would be a state/local jurisdiction sanctioned event.

Whatever you do, don't allow the neighborhood to lose respect for a beautiful part of God's creation.  The deer are not at fault.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How do I manage my small property for the best deer hunting?

Question
Hi Dr. Grant,

If you have really small tracts of land, 80 acres to 1 acre, how would you go about managing it?

Shane (central Minnesota)

Shane,

I usually start by identifying if food, water, or cover is the most limiting factor in the neighborhood.  I do this by combining information gathered from using Google Earth and driving around the neighborhood.  If one of these critical habitat elements is limited in availability, I begin by establishing that resource on the property I'm managing.  I also attempt to determine the amount of hunting pressure locally, and how that might impact deer activity in the neighborhood.  I also insure when I hunt the property, my approach to the stand doesn't alert deer to my presence.  That often means approaching using a non-direct route such as walking the border 1/2 way around the property so I can approach with the wind in my face.  Don't forget that the smaller the property, the more critical sanctuaries may be.  Deer need an area where they always feel secure.  By providing this on your land, deer are more likely to spend the days on your property.  Having deer present on your property during daylight hours is a huge advantage!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What are your preferred herbicides for food plots and wildlife?

Question
I have been growing food plots for 28 years the old fashion way, till and broadcast.  I used very little herbicides until generic Roundup became available.  I have just purchased a no-till drill, GPS guidance system and tractor pulled sprayer.  I am leaping into the 21st century of wildlife management.  The vast array of herbicides gets confusing.  Could you break down the products that you prefer, how you use them, and possible alternatives?  Maybe a web tv segment would be the best format.  I look forward to your response and really like your website, it is very informative.

Jim

Jim,

Thank you for the kind words!  It seems there are new herbicides and new combinations of herbicides annually!  A great resource is “A Guide to Successful Wildlife Food Plots” by Dr. Craig Harper that is available at QDMA’s online store.  I primarily use glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) as I plant mainly Roundup Ready soybeans and corn.  If you plant a wider variety of crops, I think Craig's book will be a great resource.

Growing Deer (and learning) together,

Grant

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Mule Deer Hunting Opportunities

Question
I want to take my daughter mule deer hunting.  Do you know of any good walk-in mule deer hunting?

Colin

Colin,

Several states have some great mule deer hunting opportunities, but generally there is a draw process to receive a tag.  Nevada has some exceptional opportunities, but the chance of drawing for a non-resident is very slim.  There are some great mulies in western Kansas, but tags are mainly limited to residents.  Kansas has a great walk-in program on private lands.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Percent of Habitat to Burn Annually

Question
Approximately what percentage of The Proving Grounds do you prescribe burn each year?  Would that number vary in a pine plantation?

Stan

Stan,

I burn approximately a third of The Proving Grounds annually.  The percentage varies based on weather and other factors.  The correct prescribed fire program for a pine plantation would depend on the type of pines, the age of the stands, other management activities such as herbicide and fertilizer, and the management objective.  I would mislead you by offering a simple answer.  Prescribed fire is a great tool when used appropriately, but can be extremely damaging and/or dangerous if misapplied.  If you work with a consulting forester, they may be able to offer you site-specific advice.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Where do Deer Drink during Freezing Conditions

Question
I was watching the most recent episode (GDTV 65) and you were mentioning the use of minerals at The Proving Grounds, even though the pond was frozen and forage was dry with little moisture.  Being from the Southeast, we don't have to worry about long periods of sub-freezing weather and key water sources being frozen.  The view of the frozen pond and dried forage got me wondering.  Where do deer get their water requirements from in the winter months in areas where the water sources may freeze over for longer periods and all the forage is dried out?

Curious, but not envious,

Phil

Phil,

In the areas where I work, there always seems to be a spring, or some source of water that is not frozen.  I'm not sure if all the water sources at a specific location freeze if deer will consume snow, but I suspect they would.  Deer, and other critters, also will break through ice with their paws to get to water.  Once the water source is opened, it would be easier to reopen daily.  With deer surviving in areas of Canada where winter conditions are severe and prolonged, deer obviously can survive in much harsher conditions than what I experience at The Proving Grounds!  At least we have several months where mosquitoes are not a factor!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Separate Buck, Doe, and Fawn Bedding Areas

Question
Hello Grant,

I look forward to watching GrowingDeer.tv every week.  I'm sure it's not easy, you and your team do a great job.

I've heard of people making separate buck bedding areas, doe bedding areas, and fawning areas.  What are they?  How would you make them?  I can't imagine getting a wild deer to bed exactly where you want them to.

Thank you for your time.

Kasey

Kasey,

I've also heard of buck, doe, and fawn bedding areas.  However, I have no idea how to create gender-specific bedding area.  In areas where bucks receive more hunting pressure than does, they tend to bed in areas with thicker cover.  However, in areas where the harvest pressure is even, I've never noticed a difference between the characteristics of a buck or doe bedding area.  Bucks will typically be more solitary than doe/fawn groups.  I've certainly never noticed fawns bedding in different areas than does once the fawn is mobile and able to follow the doe.  I'm skeptical of these claims, but am willing to learn if anyone wishes to share!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What tips do you have for successfully deer hunting on public land?

Question
Grant,

I’m not as fortunate as most hunters on having my own land to hunt.  So I must resort to hunting local game lands.  The local game lands do have some corn food plots on them.  What should I look for so that my 10 year old son and I can be more successful hunters?

Thanks and keep your videos coming,

Tracy

Tracy,

Hunting pressure can be a deterrent to daytime deer activity.  It's a given that many hunters will hunt very near the food plots.  However, it's often worth walking the extra distance to get away from where most hunter activity is located.  In addition, consider when and where the bulk of the hunters will be moving and consider using that disturbance to predict where and when deer will be moving.  There are many great hunting opportunities on public land.  With a little scouting of both deer and fellow hunters, you and your son should be enjoying some successful hunts!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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When to Hunt Deer in South Carolina

Question
I am from the Northeast and am going to hunt in South Carolina.  Do you think the third week of October would be a good time for deer hunting?

Bob

Bob,

Daytime deer activity is strongly influenced by daytime temperatures everywhere, but especially in the South.  I've had some great hunts, and some total bust hunting during mid to late October in South Carolina (I lived there for many years).  I realize this doesn't help you plan vacation days.  However, weather is a huge factor that influences daytime deer activity.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What is the best food plot seed for wet, clay soils?

Question
Hi Grant,

I live in New Jersey and want to start a food plot.  I have clay soil and it’s very wet.  What would be some good things to grow in this soil to attract whitetail deer?

Thanks,

Nolan 

Nolan,

Most forage crops don't do well when their feet are wet.  White or ladino clover is about as tolerant of moist soils as any food plot crop that I'm aware of.  Food plots that are oriented east and west will receive more sun and evaporation than those oriented north and south.  By ensuring the plot receives as much sun as practical each day will help remove some of the excess moisture.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Which Side Sheds First

Question
I have noticed antler sheds earlier than normal on our property.  Most of them are young bucks but what is really strange is the 7 I found were right sides only.  I asked my friend about this and he wasn't sure what it meant but told me to ask you!! Is this something we should be concerned about as we move forward?

Dave

Dave,

I'm not aware of any research that reports which side deer shed first.

From bucks I've watched in captivity, I've never noticed a bias for shedding the left or right antler first.  I strongly suspect your observations are coincidental.  Keep looking and you will probably find the other sheds from those bucks.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Attracting Bucks to Small Acreage Tracts

Question
I have about 10 acres of land and all I see are does.  How do I get the bucks to come out?

Logan

Logan,

Bucks need food, cover, and water.  A great technique is to use one of the free mapping services like Google Earth on the internet and study where sources of food, cover, and water are located in your neighborhood.  If any of these critical habitat components are missing, such as high quality food, then attempt to establish that where you hunt.  Remember that deer would rather survive than eat, sleep, or drink, so be very careful how you approach your hunting location.  Always try to have the wind in your face, even if you have to walk around the border of the property and then enter to your stand from the backside.  Being able to approach a stand without spooking deer is as important as the stand's location.

Growing (and hunting) Deer together,

Grant

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Feeding Corn to Deer During the Late Season

Question
Hi Grant,

I love your show and the way you are not just killing deer, but managing them.

I’ve been hearing a lot about not putting out corn and corn piles for the deer later in the year.  People are saying the deer can’t break it down and they burn more energy then they get.  Is this true?

Thanks for the shows,

Joe

Joe,

Deer don't really digest any foods.  They ingest the food, and then bacteria in their rumen (gut) digest the foods.  These populations of bacteria are somewhat specific to the type of food they breakdown.  For example, if deer haven't had access to corn, the bacteria that digest starching foods will significantly decrease in population.  If a deer ingests a lot of corn while the appropriate bacteria populations are low, the corn can't be digested and the deer will die with a tummy full of corn.

If the deer haven't been consuming corn, then either don't start or start feeding only very small amounts.  The deer will literally have to grow the appropriate bacteria before gaining any benefit from the corn.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Establishing Chicory

 

Question
Dear Grant,

I planted a one acre food plot with BioLogic Maximum last August.  It was the best food plot I have ever planted as far as growing a full lush field that really attracted deer.  My 15 year old son and I both killed very nice 2 1/2 year old bucks off this field with compound bows, one 9 pt. 176 lb. and one 8 pt. 165 lb. buck.  A friend also scored on a 2 1/2 year old 8 pt. in archery season, as well as two relatives killing nice 2 1/2 year old 8 pt. bucks in rifle season.  All of these on just 80 acres in southeast Pennsylvania, 3 of them off this food plot.

It worked so well I was tempted to replant the field again this fall, but decided instead to take advantage of the present conditions of the ground to do a frost seeding, saving time and money on tilling.  I will plow and plant my other food plot with BioLogic Maximum this fall.  I am planning to frost seed a mix of white ladino clover and red clover, a mix that has worked for me in the past.  However, I would love to also establish chicory or alfalfa in addition to the clover mix.  In the past, I had once tried frost seeding both chicory and alfalfa with poor results.  Is it worth trying again, or is there something else you recommend frost seeding?  Based on my results with conventional planting, I would like to establish chicory in with the clovers.  I do not have a no-till planter and must till before spring or fall plantings, which is a lot of work.

I appreciate any advice or recommendations you can give.

Thanks,

Dan

Dan,

Wow – sounds like some great hunting on your farm last season!!  Congratulations!

Clover is easily established using the frost seeding method (GDTV 68).  However, alfalfa rarely can be established as well using that technique.  Alfalfa germinates best when there is a firm seedbed and very good seed to soil contact.  This is rarely the case when frost seeding.

Chicory is a softer seed and often will crack or rot before germinating when planted when frosts are still occurring.  To establish a good stand of either alfalfa or chicory, you will need to either till or use a no-till drill once the soil temperatures warm up a bit.  Many counties rent no-till drills so be sure and check with the local county extension or NRCS office.

As I write this, there is snow covering portions of Pennsylvania.  I've established great stands of clover by spreading it directly into late season snows and letting the seed be placed by the melting snow.

Growing Deer (and crops) together,

Grant

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Eagle Seed Soybeans in Virginia

Question
I want to plant some Eagle Seed Roundup Ready soybeans.  I live in central Virginia.  I understand that Eagle Seed has a number of Roundup Ready varieties including Habitat Haven, Big Fellow, Wildlife Managers Mix, and others.  Which would you recommend for my location?  Do all the mixes have blends for different growing regions (i.e. South, Midwest, etc.)?

Tom

Tom,

I've planted all of those varieties of Eagle Seed forage soybeans at that latitude with great success!!  There is a great description of each variety/blend on their website.  I think you will be amazed at the production of Eagle Seed’s forage soybeans.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Establishing Native Warm Season Grasses

Question
Hello Grant,

I purchased a small farm in southern Iowa last spring.  I had a small field planted in corn but I would like to plant this same field in switchgrass.  It’s a low lying field with a 58 CSR.  What would be the best procedure in accomplishing this?

I enjoy your website.  It is very interesting and educational.

Ty

Ty,

I've had my best results establishing switchgrass following a crop of Roundup Ready soybeans.  The Roundup Ready soybeans add nitrogen to the soil and allow weeds to be controlled.  The following spring, I simply use Roundup to remove any weeds and no-till the switchgrass seed into the weedless field.  Corn uses most of the available nitrogen, and therefore the switchgrass will be slow to become established and allow more weeds to develop.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How should we manage our hunt club food plots in an area that is heavy timber?

Question
Grant,

I’m a member of a hunting club that owns 700 acres of strictly timber ground in northern Pennsylvania.  We have the necessary sanctuaries and we are adding 12 acres of food plots in the center of the property.  What is the most profitable food that will hold deer and increase harvest opportunities?

Also, have you ever tried to no till brassicas in late summer into clover plots?

Keep up the great work!!

John

John,

The 12 acres is only 1.7% of the property in food plots.  If the remainder of the property is closed canopy forest, then clover might be the best option.  Do the existing plots receive a lot of browse pressure?  If so, more palatable crops such as forage soybeans would most likely be over browsed unless they were protected by a food plot fence.

I have used a no-till drill to seed brassicas into an existing clover stand.  This technique works well if the clover is dormant from drought conditions.  The brassicas will struggle if the clover is lush and blocking the sun from reaching the soil.

No matter what you plant, it's critical the crops are as productive as possible given the food plot to timber ratio.  I recommend you do a soil test annually and request the lab base their recommendations on a maximum yield.

Finally, I also recommend using a utilization cage in each plot so production versus utilization can be compared.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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What can I plant in a food plot that is pretty to neighbors and attractive to deer?

Question
Grant,

I own 14 acres in central Missouri.  My land is surrounded by a mixture of mature woods and pastures.  There are no ag crops in the vicinity.  I do have a couple of small food plots on my land, but I'm really trying to figure out the best thing to plant in the 2 or 3 acres of fields I have that are currently fescue.  These fields are really an extension of our yard, so how they look is important (at least to my neighbors!).  Ideally, I'd like it to be something perennial.  I mow these patches two or three times per year.  Would rye grass be a better option than fescue?  What could I plant that would benefit the deer in this situation?  Thanks for your help and the incredible wisdom that you share with deer nuts like me!

Todd

Todd,

I'm not a rye grass fan.  However, heavily fertilized rye grass is more attractive and will provide more nutrition to deer than fescue.  Given that you want something that looks like turf that deer will consume, rye grass is a viable option.  If it was my yard, I'd plant soybeans, make the deer happy and let the neighbors worry about their own yard.  Obviously, I'm more of food plot guy than a yard guy — just ask my wife.

Growing Deer (and relationships) together,

Grant

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Roundup Ready Alfalfa

Question
What are your thoughts on planting Roundup Ready alfalfa for deer?

Brady

Brady,

Roundup Ready alfalfa is not labeled (not legal) to plant for wildlife consumption.  This has nothing to do with Roundup being toxic to wildlife, but rather Monsanto did not pay for research to get the government to label the product for wildlife consumption.

I don’t like alfalfa as a food plot crop.  All varieties of alfalfa require intensive management to be productive.  I like hunting near alfalfa that farmers establish and maintain.  However, it requires more equipment and work than I and most food plot farmers can expend.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Using Slay on Clover

Question
Dr. Woods,

I so enjoy all of your programs and appreciate you publishing them!  I have enjoyed your book as well!  If you have time to respond to one quick question, I thank you.  Can we use Slay on Durana and Ladino clovers?

Hope you're doing well and I send my best to you.

John

John,

You can use Slay on those varieties of clover.  However, you may find very similar chemistry in ag stores that are priced much more reasonably, depending on local supplies.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Average Amount of Antler Growth Expressed by Age Class

Question
Grant,

On average how much does a buck usually gain in antler growth each year?

Greg

Greg,

I’m glad you phrased your question by starting with “on average…”  Each buck is an individual just like humans.  For example, I was the tallest kid in my first grade class.  However, I didn’t even make the freshman basketball team.  Different individuals (human or deer) will express their growth potential at different ages.  However, Mississippi State published the following data years ago that represents the average amount of antler growth potential expressed by several bucks in their research program.

I suspect the trends would apply to free-ranging, wild herds as well.  There is no doubt about it, allowing bucks to mature to at least four years of age will allow most bucks to express more of their antler growth potential.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Row Spacing for Soybeans

Question
Dr. Grant,

First off I want to tell you how much I enjoy the GrowingDeer.tv series.  The series has really been educational for me, not to mention entertaining.  I look forward to your email every Monday, keep up the great work.

My question, what do you use as your row spacing for Eagle Seed beans?  I have heard 30-36″ but I was hoping to use a 7.5″ drill.  The drill on your show looks to be narrower than the 30-36″.  The field I am planning on planting is in north-central Wisconsin.  The field is going to be 3 acres of alfalfa, as it has been for the last 5-6 years.  I have not taken a soil test yet so I don't know the specifics, but I think it should be pretty good.

Any ideas or helpful hints would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Ryan

Ryan,

Thank you for the kind words!  I also plant soybeans with a no-till drill and use a 7.5″ spacing.  This actually gives each bean more room around the plant and allows for better utilization of sun, fertilizer, and soil moisture.  This spacing is not good for a typical combine, but is great for four-legged combines (deer) that I want to harvest the crop!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Type of Forage Soybean

Question
In GDTV 64, Winter Storm Forage, you show and discuss soybeans.  What specific brand and type of beans are those?

I really enjoy your videos!

Thanks,

Danny

Danny,

Thank you for your kind words!  The soybeans in that episode were Eagle Seed forage soybeans — the Large Lad variety.  Eagle Seed is the only soybean breeder that I'm aware of that sells group 7 (live until it frosts) forage soybeans that produce as much tonnage of forage and tremendous pod production as well.  They've literally won forage production tests at several universities.  Simply stated, they are a private company that has been family owned for 40+ years and no other soybean breeder has created such great quality forage soybeans.  Eagle Seed is literally decades ahead in selecting traits that make them the ultimate forage crop!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Aging Deer by the Lower Jaw

 

Question
I have a deer jawbone I saved from my son’s buck a few years ago.  Can I send it to you and have you age it?

Kable

Kable,

Unfortunately, I don't accept jaws to age.  If I did, I would receive literally 1,000's through the mail.  I hope there is a good biologist close to you that can provide an accurate estimate.  There are gads of good illustrations and descriptions about how to age deer using their lower jaw online.  One such source is the University of Missouri Extension.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Identify the tracks

Question
While walking through the woods the other day, I noticed paw prints inside the deer tracks.  They were inside the deer tracks and every so many feet they took a rest and then proceeded.  What type of animal would track this way?

Thanks,

Greg

Greg,

Without clear pictures, I can only assume based on the description provided.  Bobcats typically place their paws very close together and their hunting style often includes stopping frequently.  My best guess would be the critter was a bobcat.  Were the tracks more circular?  If so, that also indicates the critter was a bobcat.  Most other predator tracks are more oblong or even rectangular.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Crabgrass as Deer Forage

Question
Will deer eat red river crabgrass?  I plan to plant a food plot in cowpeas but was thinking about adding the crabgrass also.  Our ranch is about an hour and a half north of Abilene, Texas.

Brad

Brad,

Deer will eat almost anything if they are hungry enough and nothing else is available.  However, there are much better forage options in most areas than any variety of grass.  Deer simply don't have the correct bacteria in their gut to digest grass as efficiently as cattle.  The grass would simply act as a competitor to the cowpeas — competing for water and nutrients that the much more preferred forage could use.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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How does Lablab rate as a food plot crop for whitetails?

Question
Hey Grant,

I’m starting to plan spring planting and I was trying to decide if lablab would be an asset.  I live in mid-Georgia and I have never used lablab or know anyone in the immediate area who has.  I already use beans, chicory, peas, wheat, oats, grain, and sorghum in different combos (usually on a base of clover).  Would lablab benefit overall?

Thanks,

Floyd

Floyd,

Lablab is an annual legume somewhat similar to soybeans.  It usually doesn't produce as much tonnage as Eagle Seed forage soybeans (selected specifically for high quality forage production).  It is also more fickle to establish (soil temperature, etc.) and weed control is tougher because lablab is not Roundup Ready.  For these reasons and more, I prefer forage soybeans as an annual legume for food plots.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Using Genetics to Match Sheds

Question
Hi Grant,

I was just wondering how one would go about having samples taken from sheds to see if a deer is a match from one year to the next.  Also, is this process costly or time consuming?

Thank you and keep up the great work!

Bobby

Bobby,

Most folks that attempt to use genetic testing to match sheds (bones, etc.) remove a small amount (the dust from a drilling a small hole) from the bases.  The most recent cost I was quoted for such research was about $65.00 per sample.  The samples must be collected, labeled, and shipped appropriately so the lab can process them efficiently.

Growing (and researching) Deer together,

Grant

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What advice do you have for students considering a career as a Wildlife Biologist?

Question
I have grown up reading articles of yours in magazines.  I am now a sophomore in college and I want to be a wildlife biologist that focuses on deer management.  You're an expert in this field so I was wondering if you could give me some advice on pursuing this career.

Colin

Colin,

Thank you for the kind words!  I think the key to being successful in any field is to have a passion for the line of work and seek the best information and training to prepare.  To be a wildlife biologist that focuses on deer management, I strongly suggest you find ways through internships, volunteering, etc., to gain experience and make relationships with practicing deer managers.  I consider gaining experience just as important as the coursework associated with obtaining a degree.  One without the other will leave some gaps in your preparation.  I've addressed different aspects of this before and those comments can be found by searching the Ask Grant and blog entries on this site.

I look forward to working with you someday soon!

Grant

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Normal Date for Bucks to Shed

Question
I was out coyote hunting in northern Indiana on March 5th and I saw a nice 12 point buck that had not lost any of his rack yet.  Is this normal?

Thomas

Thomas,

In general the healthier bucks are the longer they will carry their antlers through winter.  I've seen bucks that haven't shed during mid-April.  It sounds like you were blessed to observe a very healthy buck!  Bucks that don't have enough quality food or that have been injured will typically shed much earlier during the winter.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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College Class Work

Question
I am currently going to college to obtain a degree in wildlife biology and conservation.  I am interested in knowing what classes you took and any recommendations or suggestions you'd have for me as I pursue this major.

Thanks,

Ryan

Ryan,

A heavy load of the sciences (biology, botany, forestry and wildlife) are a given.  However, it seems many students that desire to enter the wildlife field don't realize the amount of writing and oral communication necessary to be effective.  I strongly suggest you, through course work or practice, attempt to become a very effective written and oral communicator.  I am very confident communication skills will improve your life no matter the profession you choose.

Growing Deer together

Grant

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Why Bucks Shed

Question
A week ago one of my buddies found a dead buck in his woods that had already lost his antlers. He found one of his sheds a few feet away and another in a brush pile 50 feet away.  The buck was either a two or a three year old.  Is there any reason to why this would be?

Evan

Evan,

Wow, that's a neat observation!  I doubt anyone can explain exactly what happened to that buck. However, in general, bucks shed when their body conditions drops below a certain threshold (release of antlers is caused by a change in hormone levels).  The buck was obviously not in prime condition during late winter.  As to exactly what happened, I doubt we will ever know.  Some theories would include he shed and was coincidentally killed by a predator or was injured which caused him to shed and was trying to find cover in a brush pile and died from his injuries.  Again, these are simply theories!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Cover Crop for Plots in Canada

Question
Hi Grant,

I live Nova Scotia Canada and I’m replanting a 5 year old 1/2 acre clover plot this year.  I’m preparing it for an early August brassica planting for the fall.  I was thinking on planting it in something this spring rather than tilling it in and then replanting with brassica.  What would you recommend to plant right now that would give the deer some feed over the summer but act as a manure for my late season planting?  I was thinking on some fall rye and annual clover.

Thanks,

Bob

Bob,

Cover crops are extremely valuable tools.  In fact, there is a new field of study of cover crops.  Different crops provide different values such as extracting more nutrients from deep in the soil to fracturing hard pans.

Unfortunately, some of the cover crops are not palatable to deer, especially during the summer months.  One that I like to use up north is buckwheat.  Buckwheat is an annual flower forage crop that deer readily consume.  Any portions that are not consumed can be tilled back into the soil as a source of organic matter.  Soybean forage also makes great organic matter.  For this purpose, it is not necessary that the plants produce pods.  This is a great application for rapid growing Eagle Seed forage soybeans.  Their aggressive growth will provide lots of quality organic matter during a short timeframe.  However, they may need to be protected with an electric fence in a plot that is 1/2 acre in size.

Remember that even cover crops need fertilizer to express their growth potential.  This is especially true if the cover crop is to double as a source of forage for deer.  Make sure to have the soil tested at a reputable lab, I use Waters Ag, and apply lime and fertilizer as recommended for the crop.  You can inform the lab that you will be planting buckwheat followed by brassicas for a custom recommendation.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Designing an Experiment

Question
I’m going to college to become a wildlife biologist, do you have any advice? I am also going to run a study on how barometric pressure affects deer, any thoughts?

Neil

Neil,

I've addressed several questions about becoming a wildlife biologist.  You might check out my answer to Getting Involved and use the search feature to find more answers.  I strongly believe that most folks can be successful at any occupation that they are passionate about.  That doesn't mean entering or advancing in that occupation will be easy or profitable.  You should know that passion about hunting is not the same as passion about being a wildlife biologist.  The two certainly complement each other.  However, many wildlife biologists (including myself) spend more time helping other hunters and landowners than we do hunting.  My strongest suggestion for you would be to spend a summer as an intern with a wildlife biologist that works in a specific area of your choosing.  Spending a summer, even on a volunteer basis, is much less expensive in terms of dollars and time, then finding out that being a wildlife biologist was a bad choice.  I believe that internships or similar programs are extremely beneficial to folks deciding which career path to take.  I volunteered a summer through the Student Conservation Organization when I was a junior in college.  I worked for the Bureau of Land Management at the Elko, Nevada District.  I was only paid $25 per week and provided a small trailer for living quarters.  It was a fabulous experience.  My best counsel for you is to do an internship and see what being a wildlife biologist is really like before making a decision for your degree program.

Designing studies that provide meaningful results takes a bit of time.  Please take time to consider the question (hypothesis) you wish to address and be honest about all the variables that may impact the results.  Probably the biggest flaw in most studies is not accounting for all the sources of variability.  Results without understanding the variables often lead to erroneous conclusions.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Past Episodes of GrowingDeer.tv

Question
Hi Grant,

Great job on GrowingDeer.tv, I can't wait until Monday when I get the new video to watch.  I'm wondering if you have the trapping video available from 2010 (GDTV 10)?  I've started trapping raccoons and I remember that you had some great information.

Thanks,

Dan

Dan,

Thank you for the kind words!  All of the past episodes of GrowingDeer.tv are available on the website.  Simply click on the word “videos” on the top navigation bar.  You can find past episodes by topic, or review all the past episodes on this page.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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What food plot variety would you suggest for a small plot designed for hunting turkey and deer?

Question
Grant,

I have a 1 acre ridge top area inside the woods that I want to put a hunting plot in for next hunting season.  I am in northwestern Missouri and am surrounded by corn and beans. Should I plant the 1 acre opening with Eagle Seed soybeans or should I plant half turnips and half wheat?  I’m concerned about 1 acre soybeans making it through without too much deer damage, but I am surrounded by commercial beans.  Just curious what crop you would suggest.  Thought a wheat plot would also double for turkey hunting, but deer would be my main target.

Blessings,

Brandon

Brandon,

Eagle Seed soybeans will remain green and growing much later in the fall than most production beans.  That’s positive for most hunters in most situations because once the local production beans turn brown the deer tend to find the Eagle Seed soybeans very attractive.  However, if the local deer population is high, then the beans could be damaged by excessive browsing in a small plot.  The ultimate design in the situation you described is to use a food plot protection fence and protect the Eagle Seed forage soybeans until you wish to hunt.  Then open the gate and allow deer access to the beans.  If there are any pods left, the plot would be very attractive to turkeys the following spring.

I have the same concern about turnips if the local deer population is high.  Once deer decide turnips are palatable, they can remove the forage and bulbs in just a few days in the situation you described.  The forage varieties of Eagle Seed soybeans have been consistently shown to produce five tons or more of forage per acre in university trials.  That’s not counting the pod production.  So, if a food plot protection fence is used it’s tough to find another forage that will provide that much green forage during the early bow season plus 2,600 pounds (at a production of 40 bushels per acre) of high quality grain during the winter.  For comparison, wheat produces 1,200 to 1,600 pounds of digestible forage per acre.  Given this, it’s easy to see why deer populations are higher and in better health in ag production areas versus non-ag areas.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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The Need to Soil Test

Question
Grant,

While I was watching your March 14th episode (GDTV 68) I saw what I think is a common mistake.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but….

Brad seeded an area and then applied lime in order to neutralize acidity.  He said he was going to wait a week before applying fertilizer.  My understanding is that fertilizer tends to raise acidity.  As a result, applying lime and fertilizer cancels the affects of the two out.  Yes?

Matt

Matt,

Yes, some forms of commercial fertilizer are acidic.  However, nutrients must be in the soil for plants to transfer them to deer.  So fertilizer and enough lime are added to insure nutrients are available in the soil and the soil's pH is balanced at about 6.5.  By adding enough lime, the acidic qualities of the fertilizer are more than neutralized.

This is a perfect example of why soil tests are so important — the results of a soil test provides accurate information of how much fertilizer and lime is necessary to create a healthy environment for the specific crop to be planted.

Adding lime and fertilizer is always a balancing act!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Fuel Mixture for Drip Torch

Question
What mixture of fuel do you use in your drip torch?

I love the show, and have shared it with lots of buddies.  Keep up the great work.

Josh

Josh,

I use 1/3 gas (at max!!) and 2/3 diesel.  Make sure you don't use more than 1/3 gas as it can be extremely explosive!  Also, make sure the drip torch has a backflow control (usually a 360 in the spout).

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Where is the best place to hunt to find a buck’s shed antlers?

Question
Grant,

I don’t know if you remember but I contacted you earlier in bow season about a buck that disappeared on me.  Well, he is smart.  I didn't get any pictures of him from September until the end of muzzle loader season.  I had a few encounters with him and my bow but no luck.  Any tips for finding his sheds?

Paul

Paul,

The trick in finding shed antlers is knowing where he is spending most of his time during antler casting season.  After the breeding season this is in two primary locations – bedding and feeding areas.  Find these locations by looking for fresh scat and tracks, which is easier than ever since nothing is growing.  I also keep my trail cameras out over heavily used food plots so I can see when individual bucks are shedding their antlers, narrowing down when/where I should be searching.  Once these areas are located it’s just a matter of searching and sometimes researching likely areas.

My wife, Tracy, has been training a lab puppy to search for antlers.  The mineral content in antlers is unique among bones.  A dog’s nose is much better than human eyes, so if you get serious about finding sheds, consider training a dog as they will cover much more ground and most folks really enjoy watching a trained dog work.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Protecting Deer Forage from Cattle

Question
Grant,

I have a hunting lease in Oklahoma.  The land has cattle on it, the landowners don’t care what food plots I plant as long as I don’t put up a fence.  What would you plant in that field that the cattle won’t eat first?

Rodney

Rodney,

The quickest and most cost effective method to protect quality forage from being browsed by cattle is to use a Gallagher Electric Fence.  Usually a single or double strand of electric wire or tape powered by a solar charger will easily exclude cattle but allow adult deer to simply jump the fence.  This is different from a food plot protection fence where a single strand is placed three feet in front of a second row of fence with two stands.  Using Gallagher fencing, food plots can be established anywhere within the cattle pasture that provides an advantage to the crop and/or hunter.

This technique has been used and refined in Texas and other states where cattle have access to most of the properties.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Chufa

Question
What about Chufa?  I've searched the web and wanted to get your advice on using Chufa as a food plot.  What are the pros, cons and your personal experience?  Do you use it on The Proving Grounds?

Andrew

Andrew,

The Proving Grounds is simply too rocky for chufa, which does best in loose soil conditions.  Some of my clients that are die-hard turkey managers do use chufa as part of their program.  The National Wild Turkey Federation has some good information about establishing and maintaining chufa.  Check out their website or contact one of their regional biologists.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Can the antler potential of a mature buck be estimated?

Question
Grant,

We found a matched set of sheds from a main frame 6 x 6 (12 pt) with a gross score of 151.5 without a spread measurement.  You can see them on the Missouri blog at Midwest Whitetail.  We know the buck was a 6 year old this year.  He was coming off a hard winter with no acorns, food plots were eaten off by the first of December, and drought conditions last summer yet he was still able to grow that much horn.  This year we had a bumper crop of acorns, food plots were not hit hard until mid January and in our area we haven't had as hard of a winter as last year.  If the worst of winter is behind us and we have average or better rainfall this spring and summer, how many inches could this buck add to his rack?  We are located about 150 miles northeast of The Proving Grounds.  Our farm is about 600 acres, with 100 acres of mixed clover hayfields and 20 acres of food plots (wheat, brassicas, clover, and chicory).  Thanks for your help, hope I didn't kill you with the details!

Ben

Ben,

Deer, like humans, can mature at different rates.  For example, I was the tallest kid in my fifth grade class.  By my freshman year in high school, I wasn't close to being the tallest in my class.  The same trend is true with deer.  Most follow an average growth and maturation rate.  However, some will express more of their antler growth potential early and some will blossom late in life.  On average, wild, free-ranging deer have expressed most of their antler growth potential by the time they reach six years of age.  However, there are many factors such as weather conditions, wounds, etc., that can cause an individual buck to express more or less of his antler growth potential during any given year.  I hope in 2011 this buck will express more of his antler growth potential.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Does Roundup Harm Turkeys?

Question
Grant,

I plan on spraying glyphosate on a pasture to kill fescue and plant NWSG.  A friend of mine is telling me that the glyphosate could poison or have a negative affect on the turkey population. What do you think?

Chris

Chris,

To my knowledge glyphosate hasn’t been a problem with turkeys.  Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, which is used to kill weeds in Roundup Ready crops, like corn and soybeans.  Roundup Ready crops have dominated the agricultural market for the past couple of decades yet turkeys are still thriving.  From personal experience on The Proving Grounds my turkey population has grown tremendously since I began incorporating glyphosate and Roundup Ready crops into my food plot program.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Hunting at The Proving Grounds

Question
Grant,

Are visitors allowed to hunt?

Brooke

Brooke,

Great question!  As a matter of fact, yes.  At least if you call the upcoming shed hunt “hunting.” You are welcome to join us on March 18-20th for the 2nd Annual Shed Hunt to roam The Proving Grounds in search of antlers.

All other “hunting” on The Proving Grounds is reserved for my family and close friends.  Almost everyone in my family enjoys hunting which is a huge blessing but keeps me busy!

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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What can I do to rid my property of wild hogs?

Question
I have enjoyed your recent trapping series.  We have our fair share of raccoons and coyotes, however, the bigger problem we have on our property in Mississippi is hogs.  We have heard for years that land south of us had witnessed pigs on their properties and they were expanding north.  Last year was our first time to see them and a year later they are really beginning to hurt our acorn crop and are rooting-up our fields.  We are scared that if the growth continues at this rate our property and the available nutrition for the deer and turkeys could be greatly impacted.

Do you have any wisdom that could help us control these aggressive pests?

Barry

Barry,

I am sorry to hear that hogs have reached your property.  They can wreak havoc.  The most effective method of reducing hog numbers is trapping.  I strongly recommend you attempt to limit the hogs with a very aggressive plan.  This will be much less expensive than the damage they will cause.  This requires setting up a large trap (fenced in area with a gate) that allows a group to fit within.  There are gads of setups out there.  The second recommendation is to never let any leave alive.  Hogs are highly intelligent animals and quick to learn.

In addition to trapping always take the opportunity to remove any you see while hunting or working on the property.  I’ve worked on properties in that part of the world that removed over 180+ hogs per year and they kept on coming.  So buckle down and be prepared for a long road ahead.  I consider wild hogs extremely damaging to native habitat and critters.  I dispatch each one I can.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Planting Corn and Soybeans Together

Question
Grant,

I am a consulting Forester in Pennsylvania and I work mostly on wildlife habitat projects.  I have a client convinced to plant NWSG as well as Eagle Seed soybeans.  I saw in one of your videos that you recommended against planting corn and beans together, but you have photos of a very good stand of corn and beans.  What has been your experience planting them in the same food plot?

Stephen

Stephen,

Good observation, I have planted corn mixed with soybeans in the past.  However, after digging deep in the available research I have found that rotating corn and soybeans instead of mixing them provides better results.  Two of the primary reasons are parasites and disease.  In particular, whenever a crop, say corn, is planted in a food plot year after year the parasites and disease that accompany corn start to build up to a point that they begin to negatively affect yield.  By doing a rotation and planting soybeans instead of corn on some years the corn specific parasites and disease levels quickly fall off.  After a year or two the corn can then be replanted in the food plot with little loss in yield due to these factors.

At minimum, it’s best to split the field and plant half in corn and the other half in soybeans, then rotate the location of each crop the following year.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Ponds for deer hunting

Question
Grant,

Most of my hunting is done on a relatively small property.  I'm working on a plan to put in some quality food plots to hold more deer in the area.  The habitat seems to be pretty good but one thing I don't have is a water source on the property.  I don't think water is lacking in availability because of two ponds about a quarter of a mile away.  That's not a long walk for a deer.  Do you think that supplying water on my property would be of significant benefit in holding deer closer to my hunting spot?  If so, do you recommend larger earthen ponds or are trough type watering holes okay too?

Jay

Jay,

It sounds like there is currently no water on your property.  I would recommend providing water on your property to lower the need for deer to be traveling across other properties to get a drink, especially if the urge to drink is during the hunting season.  Water sources don’t have to be large.  The goal is to provide water throughout the year.  In most situations, a few thousand gallons is all that is needed.  I typically establish ponds that are three feet deep at the deepest and about 30’ or less in circumference.  These small ponds, when located in areas with good cover, can be fabulous hunting locations!  I use liners to get the ponds to hold water if the soil at the desired site doesn’t have enough clay content.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Best Switchgrass for a Buffer

Question
Grant,

You were most informative recently at the National Wild Turkey Federation convention.

Which switchgrass do you recommend for a buffer?

Thanks,

Wesley

Wesley,

Thank you for the kind words!  I typically plant Cave-in-Rock switchgrass as a buffer around properties because it grows tall and stands up well to winter wind/snow/sleet.  In addition to screening a property from poachers it also serves well as bedding and fawning cover.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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What food plot variety has the highest protein in the summer? Should I put a trail camera by my food plot?

Question
Grant,

What kind of protein should I be giving the deer?  And should I put a trail camera by my food plot?  I live in Louisiana and our food plots are great but the deer use them as a bedding area.

Shelby

Shelby,

One of the best kinds of protein is that produced by forage soybeansForage soybeans produce highly digestible and high protein leafy forage in the summer and grain in the winter.  I can’t think of a better method of providing high quality protein forage for an extending time of the year.

Food plots are great places for trail cameras.  Deer live and die by their gut so putting a camera over a food source is one of the quickest ways of taking their picture.  I leave my cameras out year-round and the vast majority of them are usually overlooking a food source.  The more pictures you can get of a particular deer, the more you can learn about his particular movement patterns around the property.  While you are running those cameras keep in mind to minimize disturbance so as to not unintentionally condition the deer you wish to hunt to avoid the area during daylight hours.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Average Home Range Size

Question
Grant,

What is the normal range, in square miles, of deer?  How often will they traverse most of that area?

Thanks,

Bob

Bob,

My answer is “that depends.”  As in people, deer appear to all have different personalities.  Does typically have a smaller home range than bucks.  Doe home ranges average around 100-600 acres while buck home ranges are 500-1,500 acres (1 square mile = 640 acres).  Even within each sex there can be a lot of variability.  Just like people, some deer are roamers while others are homebodies.  Yearling bucks often disperse from their mother’s home range and often travel quite far to set up a separate home range from where they were birthed.  Recent research also suggests that as a buck matures his home range decreases in size.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Predators as Table Fare

Question
Grant,

Do you eat the animals you trap such as the raccoons, opossum, and foxes?

Alex

Alex,

No, I do not eat most of the predators I trap.  These animals are generally not considered to be table fare.  However, I do tan their hides and use them to educate school children and others interested in wildlife.  They are also used as decorative pieces in my home and as gifts to friends.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Can Salt Harm Deer?

Question
Many people are putting out salt blocks, or in some cases water softener salt, for deer.  I've always been taught that too much sodium can actually harm the digestive process of deer or cause them to drink so much water that it can replace nutrients. Is this true?

Thanks,

Dean

Dean,

I never worry about deer consuming too much salt.  Most critters, including deer, need a lot of salt for their bodies to function properly.  I’m not aware of any cases of free-ranging deer consuming too much salt.  That would be hard to monitor, but with all the salt available from cattle licks, gas and oil drilling, etc., there is a lot of salt available in many areas yet no reports of deer suffering from ingesting too much salt.

I am concerned about some sources of salt that folks make available to deer.  Salt marketed for different purposes often has different additives to make it flow better, bleached to make it a different color, etc.  It is certainly possible that these additives could be detrimental to deer and other wildlife.  Therefore, I only use feed grade salt for wildlife.  I personally use Trophy Rock as it has 60+ trace minerals.  Although deer only need very small quantities of trace minerals to express their full fawn and antler growth potential, without them included in their diet, they simply can’t express their full genetic potential.  Therefore, when supplying salt to deer, attempt to use a product that is food grade quality and has as many different trace minerals as practical.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Soft Mass

Question
Grant,

Are you planting any soft mast, like apples and crabapples, for your wildlife/deer?  Is there a nutritional role for soft mast in your wildlife management plan at The Proving Grounds?

Thanks,

Brian

Brian,

That’s a good question.  Soft mast is an important part of wildlife’s diet during several times of the year.  However I typically don’t go out of my way to plant them because they are very labor intensive for the return on my property.  I do actively promote the growth of soft mast species with periodic burning and timber thinning.  Both of these techniques open up the forest canopy and reduce competition from invasive or exotic plants.  Ripe soft mast during the hunting season can be a dynamite hunting location.  In my neck of the woods persimmon groves are great places to be hunting during early bow season.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Do You Use Bait?

Question
Do you use any bait like apples, corn, beets or carrots?  Do you use minerals?

TJ

TJ,

I have Trophy Rock out year around.  I place corn out during August for three weeks so I can attract deer to a location to do a camera survey.  Other than that, I don’t use any attractants or baits.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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Pasture Grass for Deer?

Question
If a fellow wants to create a horse pasture that is deer friendly what is the best seed mixture to use?

Blessings in abundance,

Wilson

Wilson,

Deer don’t eat orchard grass – or any pasture grass.  They will eat the clover, but the grass will outcompete the clover for nutrients.  Seeing clover grow and deer getting good nutrients from clover are different.  Certainly deer will benefit from the clover more than solid grass.  However, it is like fishing from ski boat versus a bass boat.  It can be done, but not as well.

I would use a Gallagher fence in a portion of the horse pasture.  This will simply (and relatively inexpensively) exclude the horses and quality deer forage can be established and maintained.  Another huge advantage of this is that the owner will know exactly where the deer will feed – not just simply watching an entire horse pasture.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

 

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The Best Food Plot Crop

Question
What is the best food source for a food plot in the St. Louis, Missouri region?

Brehdin

Brehdin,

The best crop to plant for deer depends on several factors including, but not limited to:

  1. The time of year to be planted.
  2. The time of year it's desired to feed deer.
  3. Whether the mission for the plot is primarily to attract or provide nutritious forage or grain for deer.
  4. The size of the food plot, etc.

You might look through Grant's Answer's in the food plots category on GrowingDeer.

Growing Deer together,

Grant

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Keeping Cattle out of Food Plots

Question
Last fall I planted a small plot of white clover (1/4 to 1/2 acre).  It did not germinate as we did not receive any rain before the frost.  Will it come up this spring?

Also, I hunt a 180 acre cattle farm in northwest Tennessee.  I have two small areas that I can keep the cows out of that I plant.  Any advice on managing for deer while working around cattle would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the helpful videos!

Nate

Nate,

If weeds didn't grow in the plot, then the clover seeds may germinate.  However, I'd suggest you deal with any weeds that have germinated and then reseed the plot.

It's relatively easy to keep cows out of a food plot and allow deer to enter