Thoughts From The Field

Blog posts by the team

Soybeans In Small Plots

Deer love soybeans! They are attracted to them from when they come out of the ground to the last pods available during late winter! Unfortunately, deer can damage and even kill soybeans if they browse them too much when they first start to grow.

Knowing this I often plant soybeans at twice the normal rate in small plots. This allows deer to feed but there are simply too many young soybean plants for all of them to be damaged.

Planting at a higher density doesn’t hurt the beans as the young plants are not competing for water and nutrients like more mature plants. By the time the soybeans mature deer have usually thinned the plant population enough that the remaining stems can mature without too much competition.

If you are planting small plots with soybeans, trying increasing the planting rate if deer are wiping out the crop before hunting season.

Growing Deer together,


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Spring Nesting And Wet Weather

Now that turkey season has wrapped up here in Missouri, it’s time to get back to management projects! As we work to improve the habitat, the next generation of critters is being born and trying to survive and for some it can be very difficult.

We’ve had a very interesting spring so far. April came in dry, went out with a couple rainstorms, then May came in dumping rain. We’ve had a lot of rain, with even more rain coming this weekend. For turkey nests and poults this is troubling. There has been a lot of research studying the connection between hatch success rates with precipitation amounts. The higher amounts of rain we receive in May, the lower hatch rate and ultimately a lower population of turkeys.

The “wet hen theory” suggests that hen turkeys with wet feathers sitting on their nest release a higher amount of scent than a hen with dry feathers. Releasing more scent makes them more susceptible to predators, and even if they survive the predator encounter, there is a good chance the eggs won’t survive.

While planting my Eagle Seed soybeans, I’m happy to see the coming rainfalls, but as a turkey hunter I get a little uneasy knowing the potential harm for the turkeys.

Daydreaming of long beards and long spurs,


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Antlers Are Back

Antlers are growing and the GrowingDeer Team is excited! As Missouri’s turkey season closes, checking our Reconyx cameras keeps a smile on our faces.

Many bucks have started growing antlers and it is thrilling to see who made it through the winter. It is another enjoyable season. Young bucks will be expressing their potential, making our mouths water, hoping they make it to maturity. New bucks (3.5 years old last year) will be added to the “hit list”. The mature bucks we have hunted year after year will again be fun to watch and pattern, but don’t expect the same antlers as last year.

Antlers can change year to year. It is always exciting to see what a new year will bring. Will a mature buck’s antlers begin to decline with age? Will a young buck’s antlers explode, expressing great potential? As you watch antlers develop this summer, enjoy the time getting to know each individual deer. You will begin to learn their habits, tendencies, and preferences. Each antler is unique, as is each deer.

One deer the GrowingDeer Team looks forward to watching is Two Face. Two Face is at least 10 years old and the relationship we have built over time is incredible. Each encounter, whether hunting (watch episode #269 here) or seeing a new picture, is a special moment.

So, grab your Reconyx cameras and a Trophy Rock! You will not want to miss the next few months. Antlers are growing bigger every day. Will you be watching?

Managing whitetails with you,

Daniel Mallette

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Spring Turkey Hunting: A Recipe To Treat Your Mother

If you’ve been blessed with a successful turkey hunt and have a recently harvested turkey in your freezer, you now have a great meal for your mother this Sunday! Treat her to a home cooked meal of the best kind – natural, free-range wild turkey nuggets!

Turkey hunter Raleigh Woods with her gobbler

Raleigh provided a wild turkey for the freezer!

Fried Turkey Nuggets
2.5 lbs. wild turkey breast, cubed into nugget size pieces
Powdered garlic
Dash of paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
Oil, for frying


Fill a fryer or deep pot halfway with oil. Heat to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle the turkey nuggets liberally with salt, pepper, powdered garlic, and basil. Sprinkle the turkey nuggets with a dash of paprika and cayenne pepper. In a gallon size Ziploc© bag combine the flour and the cornmeal. Add the nuggets to the Ziploc© bag, close, then shake to cover the nuggets with the flour mixture. Remove the nuggets from the bag. Using a slotted spoon place the nuggets in the fryer. Deep fry for approximately 8 to 10 minutes until done. Drain on paper towels. Serve with baked potato or corn on the cob and a fresh green salad!


  • Marinate the turkey nuggets in your favorite BBQ sauce for a minimum of 30 minutes before breading (Grant likes a mustard base!).
  • If you like a heavier breading, add 1 egg and ½ cup milk to the flour mixture (it should be roughly the consistency of pancake batter).
  • Use this same batter recipe to cook fish, onion rings, mushrooms, etc. (And since you’ve tagged your turkey, what better reason to enjoy this beautiful spring weather than adding some fish to the menu!)
  • If using it for cooking fish I recommend Old Bay or a cajun seasoning to replace the garlic and basil.

If you haven’t filled your tag yet (and the season is still open in your state) this recipe will give you a good reason (or excuse) to get out in the woods on Saturday. After all – it’s all for you, Mom!

Looking forward to my Mother’s Day meal,


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