Every deer manager wants to pull those trail cameras mid-summer and see giant velvet antlers. It is important to remember that quality antlers rarely come without hard work and intense habitat management. So where does a deer manager start?
Just like building a house, big antlers start with a solid foundation. In the deer world the “solid foundation” for antler growth is the soil. This is the time of year to take soil samples. Frequently we are asked how often soil samples need to be taken. Soil is of the utmost importance when managing for whitetails, so we take soil samples every year.
Adam and I spent a day earlier this week collecting soil samples from all the food plots at The Proving Grounds. Using a soil probe, we take several samples from one food plot and mix them in a CLEAN bucket. We then put the mixed sample into a pint size zip-lock bag and clearly label which plot it came from. Be very careful not to get your samples mixed up! Once you have collected soil from all the food plots, send it off to a lab for testing. A local university lab can test the samples or they can be sent to a private lab. The Growing Deer Team uses Waters Ag in Kentucky.
With the test results we know exactly what needs to be added to the soil to produce bigger antlers. Taking soil samples is a great way to improve wildlife habitat and an even better way to enjoy a beautiful day that the Lord has made! You might even find a shed or two!
Chasing whitetails together,