We all know the attractiveness of fruit trees for wildlife, but it becomes even more clear when they’re spending the night standing in the yard just to eat fruit! Earlier this week I placed a Reconyx camera next to a couple peach trees I suspected deer to be using. These two trees are bearing a lot of fruit and are a great reminder of the advantages to having tree plots!
- Deer love high quality fruit from a tree plot!
- Pruning is very important in improving the quality and life of a fruit tree.
- Tree plots can create a hunting hot spot.
- Selecting the appropriate species, finding the right location and maintaining the trees are all factors in great tree plots!
For love of the land and Glory to God,
Last week we discussed how the use of prescribed fire in the timber can increase the amount of native vegetation available to the wildlife. This week we dive deeper into what prescribed fire can offer. We use this tool to increase both poult and fawn survival rates. Native vegetation provides a canopy of cover that poults easily walk underneath. This shelters poults from the many predators from above. Removing the duff layer exposes small insects, bugs, and grubs. This allows poults to feed and move safely in these areas. Deer live their lives between ground level and the three foot mark. The vegetation in the burn unit is already several feet tall, making these areas much more attractive to fawns and mature deer. What was an area of limited productivity is now converted into habitat that will benefit many forms of wildlife in multiple ways.
When the conditions allow for a prescribed fire, we burn! During the late winter, we use prescribed fire in our timber areas. These fires burn slow and remove the duff layer on the forest floor. Throughout the spring, the sunlight hits the ground floor and germination of native early successional vegetation begins. This vegetation is ideal, full of nutrition and diversity. Prescribed fire during the right time of the year creates a native food plot in our timber! To get the most out of your land requires maximizing every acre!
First things first, we must understand that it all starts at ground level. Healthy soil contains essential nutrients and minerals. These elements are taken up by plants through their root systems. Plants transfer those nutrients and minerals to deer that consume them. Our Eagle Seed soybeans are transfer agents for those elements contained in the soil. Poor soil will limit the amount of genetic potential a deer can express. This is why we take soil samples each season to continue improving our soil, ultimately growing larger antlers and healthier deer.
Get your summer time archery practice sessions started right! The last thing you want to do is form bad habits. I recommend practicing from a distance you feel very comfortable with. Starting off here will allow you to focus on your pre shot routine, step by step. This type of focus minimizes the chance of bad habits forming. As you continue with this method of practice, you will build muscle memory. Both your brain and your muscle need to go through the motions time and time again to ensure lethal shots are executed during bow season. Starting off early and correctly will train you to become a more successful bow hunter. Remember “Perfect practice makes perfect!”
It’s that time of the year when we are changing gears. Missouri’s turkey season just closed. We are not only getting more sleep at night, but also dreaming of whitetails. Our Reconyx cameras have been capturing photos of great antler development here at The Proving Grounds. This is very exciting! We will enjoy watching bucks develop within the next couple months.
This buck is off to a great start. You can bet we will keep our eye on him this summer!
This is an important time of the year. We take a few additional measures now to better prepare ourselves for hunting season. At this time of the year we move our Reconyx cameras from turkey strut zones to food plots and established Trophy Rock mineral sites. The recently planted Eagle Seed beans will soon attract deer. Positioning cameras on these plots allows us to watch feeding patterns during the summer. Learning these patterns early on can assist as opening day arrives. States with early bow openers like Kentucky, Maryland, or Wyoming have an advantage if summer feeding patterns are identified as season opens.
Mineral sites serve multiple purposes for us. Both bucks and does regularly use mineral locations throughout the summer. These locations are ideal for Reconyx cameras as well. Trophy Rock provides macro and micro trace elements to the local deer herd. As bucks develop their antlers this supply of minerals increases antler growth. This is a stressful time for does as they are dropping fawns and lactating over the next several months. Lactating requires a healthy diet plus additional nutrients to supply to young fawns. Trophy Rock can supply those necessary elements.
Placing cameras over food plots and Trophy Rock locations is a great way to build anticipation. Antler development is occurring while fawns are beginning to drop. Our cameras are in place to capture this all! We are excited to start cataloging bucks! It is a great time of the year for a deer manager.
Soybeans are easy to grow about anywhere and provide great nutrition for deer.
This week has been an important week for us here at GrowingDeer. It’s not only the last week of turkey season, but the Eagle Seed soybeans are going in the dirt! Planting season is here. With that comes an appreciation of the hard work put in months ago.
Last August we planted many of our food plots in the Broadside blend. This is a fall mixture of soybeans, wheat, turnips, and radishes. This variety helped feed the wildlife throughout the winter. The Broadside has now been terminated in preparation for the new soybeans. Even though the Broadside is no longer living that doesn’t mean it does not serve a purpose.
As we are drilling the new soybeans into the Broadside blend it is laying down on top of the soil. This is all part of the plan! With the vegetation covering the soil, critical soil moisture is conserved. The long range forecast of rain is nearly impossible to predict. Rain could be a few days or weeks away. It’s important to take steps to conserve soil moisture. In addition, the vegetation is shading the ground. This helps to fend off weed growth or competition with the newly planted soybeans. Since the Broadside blend has been terminated it will slowly begin to breakdown. As it does this, nutrients will leach back into the soil. When this happens those nutrients are readily available for the new soybeans to uptake and benefit from.
Simply planting a fall blend in your food plots and following this strategy can increase productivity in your next crop. The better the soil the better food plots will grow. When food plots are more productive the quality of the local deer herd will increase. Deer management should start at “ground level”.
Managing deer together,
Many states will see the arrival of spring during a portion of their turkey season. Throughout the season the conditions can change drastically. You may hunt early on when no leaves are present. Then, within two weeks the trees are in full foliage. This is certain to change the hunt, but how should your tactics change?
Visibility in timber will soon be limited! Don't let that keep you from turkey hunting.
First things first, full foliage will drastically affect the way sounds carries. There are many more obstacles in the woods to deflect and absorb sound waves. When you call to a tom, the sound will not carry as far as it would have in the early season. In the same regards, his gobbles may make him sound further away than he actually is. This principle is important to keep in mind when working a bird. Be mindful of the actual distance the bird is from your location. Be natural and do not call too loudly or “sound blast” a gobbler. Calling too loudly when a bird is in close proximity can shut him down. Calling like this is a warning siren to him.
When trees are leafed out, gobblers are forced to search a little more while working through the timber. When underbrush has not leafed out and terrain allows, a longbeard can see further. This may result in birds hanging up out of range. When full foliage occurs, the gobbler is forced to investigate the scene more. His long distance views are now restricted. He is more willing to spend time searching for the hen. This means closing the distance to your setup.
Do not be discouraged by the progression of spring. Gobblers may seem more distant, but calling at the appropriate volumes will increase your success. Even with a limited view, this can work to your advantage. A lonely tom will search for that hen. Take advantage of the hens sitting on nests during the late season. Find a lonely tom, hunt hard and smart.
Chasing longbeards together,