Each year thousands of hunters take to the deer woods to plant their food plots. The options or varieties of seeds to plant are endless. Our food plot goal is to provide attractive forage for deer so they will return to the plot all season long. This makes patterning deer easier. Some varieties of plants tend to attract deer better during specific times of the fall, like corn and clover. To increase the odds of patterning a mature buck we prefer to plant a fall blend called Broadside.
This blend is comprised of four different seed varieties, soybeans, wheat, turnips, and radishes. All of these selected species have a specific roll throughout the fall and winter. As a new, tender sprout soybeans are highly attractive to deer. So the purpose of the soybean is to attract deer during the early season when the soybeans are the most palatable. These soybeans are not intended to produce pods, but to provide a high quality nutritional food source as the rest of the stand establishes itself. Once the soybeans are browsed down, this makes way for the wheat to thrive. Under the right conditions wheat can grow and add serious tonnage to the plots. In our region wheat will continue to grow through much of the winter even when heavily browsed. This makes wheat an important addition to the mixture. As the cooler temperatures begin to set in the turnips and radishes then become highly attractive to deer. Deer will browse the green tops of the turnips while the bulbs and tubers grow in the soil. When old man winter comes to town the explosion of wheat, turnips, and radishes will keep the deer coming back for more.
We plant this blend in our plots each year and deer follow the same cycles each season. The Broadside blend serves as a time released food plot throughout the hunting season. The plot produces an attractive food source throughout the entire fall. It is important to never clean the table and not offer food in your plots. If your plots are barren, then the local deer herd will be seeking an alternative food source. This could be your neighbor’s food plot! Keep your food plots growing and attractive this fall, hopefully you will be feasting on venison and not tag soup!
Hunting during the early season can be tough. It is typically warm and humid, a scent cautious hunter’s worst nightmare. Despite the conditions there are a few techniques that can be used to reduce the amount of scent produced. Follow the tips below during early season for better success in the deer woods.
- Wear a lightweight t-shirt for the walk in.
- Wear a hiking boot instead of rubber boots, they are much cooler.
- Leave early, walk slow, and take breaks if needed to limit perspiration.
- Remove the t-shirt once you’ve arrived at the treestand and store in a scent tight bag.
- Apply field spray and use camp clothes once in the stand.
With hunting season around the corner it’s important to get your hunting gear and equipment ready for action. One of the most important parts of this is removing foreign odors. We want to get the bucks in close without them detecting our scent. Watch to see the process we take to get our gear scent free for deer season. This process has been vital to our past successes when bow hunting and getting the bucks within bow range.
Building the “Hit List” for The Proving Grounds every summer is always one of my favorite projects. Familiar faces begin to show up in front of our Reconyx cameras, as well as new bucks that increase our heart rates. My favorite part of the process is building the story with a buck over the years. If we can capture images of an immature buck, uniquely identify him, and follow him until he reaches maturity, then have the chance at putting a tag on him, that’s our dream!
One buck we have followed over the last three years, Handy, is turning into a great buck! Watch the video to hear more about this great buck!
For Love of the Land,
Are small ponds part of your hunting strategy? Grant shows a problem pond then explains how he plans to make it a hunting hot spot.
Deer hunters are busy across the whitetails’ range preparing for deer season. This week we have been trimming out shooting lanes around our Summit Treestands. Here in timber country we have plenty of limbs to trim, but we also have plenty of acorn producing trees. One of the most important pieces of equipment we carry along with our trimming gear is a pair of Nikon binoculars. During this time of the year acorns are visible. It’s important for us to know where the acorns are located before season opens. Our hunting strategy each season revolves around acorn production.
After covering much of the property, we noticed the majority of acorns were on ridge tops! We suspect a late frost occurred in the bottoms during the late spring. Don’t worry, this is good news. When a large majority of the acorns are located on the ridge tops we can hunt more successfully for a few reasons.
- The food source is more concentrated
- The winds are more consistent on ridge tops
- There are more huntable locations and pinch points on the ridge tops
Hunting terrain with sharp elevation changes has its advantages and disadvantages. The common problem is dealing with thermals. The temperature changes throughout a day in areas with terrain change can alter the wind directions. This causes swirly winds – a hunter’s worst nightmare. On the flip side the elevation changes can strongly influence deer travel patterns when compared to flat properties.
For all these reasons we are excited for deer season! With these conditions it is shaping up to be a productive season here at The Proving Grounds. Have you trimmed or scouted your property yet?
Praising the Creator,
July is an exciting month for deer hunters. Antlers are starting to develop, and we’re busy trying to prepare gear, shoot our bows, and trim shooting lanes. This is also a popular time of the year to monitor deer herds with trail cameras. Our Reconyx cameras are in the field picking up potential his list bucks and observing does with fawns to ensure the population is healthy. It’s important that each trail camera is placed appropriately so images are clear, and days are not wasted in the field. It’s very annoying to waste a week of images because you left without aiming the camera and making sure all objects were clear from the field of view.
Important things to check before leaving the camera site:
- Battery life – Double check that there is enough battery life to run the camera until you return.
- Memory – Make sure a memory card is in the camera and there is plenty of space to save images.
- Date and time – It’s simple to check and will give exact times of when animals moved through the area.
- Turn camera on – It’s a shame how many times we’ve done this, but it’s best to check and double check to see the camera is on.
- Aiming – Watch the video to see exactly how we aim our cameras.
- Clear brush – We use weed eaters to clear brush in front of the camera. This helps ensure clear images of animals with no distractions.
- Attracting the animals – Using an attractant or mineral like Trophy Rock FOUR65 will help lure the animals into view.
Using this check list will help you capture more images as well as higher quality images!
For love of the land and the Glory to God,
July is officially here! This is the time of the year when most hunters are starting to gear up for season! Antlers are really taking shape. At The Proving Grounds hit list bucks are starting to show up on the trail cameras. These bucks are frequently visiting our Trophy Rock mineral stations on the edges of our soybean plots.
Since these bucks are appearing on a regular basis it’s easy to get caught up looking at antlers. Once hit listers have been clearly identified, it’s time to start planning. This is the time when it’s important to begin making connections with these hit-listers. We save and review past images and videos of hit list bucks throughout each season. When we review this information closely, general trends begin to appear in their movement. These trends may reveal preferred feeding and bedding locations throughout a season, location of most daylight activity, and most active scrape used. These preferences are often dependent on the current conditions. The trends found in the data will often suggest the best places to hunt when similar conditions occur this coming fall. Finding these patterns in a buck’s movements before season arrives gives you a huge advantage.
When the weatherman calls for a cold front or even a warming trend, you can now make solid prediction on where to hunt. This simple off season task can be the difference in tagging a mature buck every season. This is valuable information to any hunter! To help look for trends you can search your local historical weather at Weather Underground. Take the time now to review your trail camera images and find these hidden trends. Waiting too late can often result in missed opportunities. Be on the front end of this deer season!