This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: This week I’m gonna share some techniques of how we plant clover this time of year and Kable Is on the search for some huge sheds in Indiana.
KABLE: I don’t know if it’s Bernie or not, but I just found a giant up on the side of the hill up there. Oh my gosh. Look at that, folks.
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GRANT: Since we’re in the beginning of March, this snow is most likely going away soon, the days are getting longer, the temperatures getting higher. This clover’s gonna green up and go from dormant, and a desert, to one of the most attractive food sources for deer and turkey on the entire Proving Grounds.
GRANT: Some guys mistake perennial clover as a once and done food plot. They plant it and it’s gonna last for three to five years. That’s not the case at all. To maintain a quality clover food plot, it takes work each year, and throughout the year. Recently, we pulled soil samples out of all our clover food plots and we will apply fertilizer as soon as the ground conditions permit.
GRANT: Clover can be planted in the fall or spring and it really depends upon the conditions on which one will give you a better stand.
GRANT: If there’s ample moisture and time before the first frost, planting clover in the fall can be a good technique, but you’re gambling on a relatively short window to get the seed down and it will germinate with enough growing time before it frosts.
GRANT: Planting clover in the spring usually means planting in the late winter, and that’s because clover seed is very hard and won’t germinate until it gets to a certain temperature, so it will lay there on cold soil, or even in the snow, without germinating, but the advantage of planting this time of year is those cold temperatures, mixed with warmer days, tend to cause frost and heaving of the soil, or freezing and thawing, and that action serves to bury the clover seed the right amount.
GRANT: As soon as we get some warmer days and adequate moisture, we’ll see this clover bolt out of the ground, and once again, it’ll be as tall inside the cage as outside the cage for a week or two, cause clover’s growing so rapidly, even a small plot like this will provide more tonnage than most deer herds can consume.
GRANT: And the recipe for making these small plots so productive is a soil test each year, the adequate amount of lime and fertilizer, or Antler Dirt, and making sure you don’t allow weeds to take over, and one way to do that is frost seed any bare or weak areas, so there’s adequate clover coming up that will out compete the weeds.
GRANT: There’s never a perfect time to plant any crop. You’re always gambling on future moisture, future temperature, how many days before it frosts, and the best we can do is put the past history and the odds in our favor. Without a shadow of a doubt, planting during the late winter has proven very successful for establishing clover.
GRANT: When I’m over seeding a plot of existing clover, I just want to thicken it up, or maybe tighten up a few bare spots, I’m gonna use half the recommended rate, and I’m spreading this by hand, and I’m gonna know from hunting over it the previous fall, where it’s a little thin, and where it’s a little thick. And where it’s a little thick, I’m gonna walk faster. Where it’s a little thinner, I’m gonna slow down and give another crank or two, to make sure there’s plenty of seed. Don’t double or triple because too many seeds result in too much competition and there won’t be enough nutrients, sunshine, or water for each plant to express its full potential.
GRANT: I should share a caution here. If you’re establishing a new stand of clover and the field is anything but bare dirt be careful using the frost, or snow seeding technique. You’re gonna apply the seed over existing weeds, either perennial weeds with a weed base, or a big base of weed seeds, and when the temperatures get right the clover’s gonna try to compete with those existing weeds and it rarely works out well. You either have to be ready to treat the new clover with some herbicide that won’t impact the clover and kill the weeds rapidly, or wait until you’ve killed all the weeds, and then do a spring sowing later on.
GRANT: Clover is usually an all or nothing food plot crop. It’s either growing and putting on lots of pounds per acre or it’s dormant and not providing any new food. That’s exactly why I tend to limit clover to about 10 percent of my total food plot acreage. I just need a little bit of clover to overlap the time between about now, when most the soybean pods are gone, and the new soybeans are growing once the temperatures warm enough to plant soybeans or in the fall, right when soybean leaves turn yellow and deer aren’t hitting the pods yet. Those two times are when clover tends to be the strongest. Lots of moisture, cool temperature and the clover is growing rapidly. And about 10 percent of most food plot programs will provide ample food during those two windows.
GRANT: As we drove by this Eagle Seed food plot, we noticed a lot more deer tracks than we’d seen in any of the clover plots. It’s easy to understand why. There’s still adequate food left here. Now you can tell the beans have been browsed hard, but there’s still some pods left and the pods haven’t shattered. They’re still holding their beans, giving a great quality food source for deer to be using during the late winter. As it warms up, these beans will actually start to maybe germinate, or fall, and won’t be palatable to deer. And by that time, the clover’s green, lush and growing, and we’ve never cleaned the table. I like more acres in beans, a few acres in clover – just because it doesn’t take many acres when it’s growing rapidly, to provide all the food, and that provides a great food source year around for the deer herd.
GRANT: Throughout the southern part of the Midwest, the snow is either melted down where you can get out and scurry around or it’s totally disappeared by now and Kable took advantage of these decreasing snow conditions to get out and look for sheds.
KABLE: It looks like it’s last year’s shed. Yep. It sure is. Daggone. It’s funny, he’s right down here, uh, got a Redneck, Red, Redneck, uh, bale blind right down there – 80 yards from it. Pretty cool. Just, uh, found shed number four for the day. Yeah, it’s not a bad little shed. It’s what we’re looking for. Actually, we’re looking for a Booner, but…you know how that goes.
GRANT: Early on, Kable told us he was looking for a set of sheds from a buck he called Bernie.
KABLE: Just started walking. About 40 yards up the hill here, I see a, I see a antler sticking up, so we’re gonna go up and take a look at it, and see, see exactly what it is. I don’t know. Oh. Well, it’s not that big, but, uh, like I said, you don’t turn down a shed. That’s number 21 for me, for the year. So, maybe we can find the match to it, or maybe we can find a big Booner. That’s, that’s what I’m looking for. Let’s get after him.
GRANT: Big or small, all sheds count to Kable.
KABLE: It counts. Who knows, we might find the match to this, this big one around here somewhere. So, we’ll take a look, keep going. Oh. Little shed. It’s not the ones I’m, I haven’t found anything great, yet. I found a lot of sheds, but, you know, nothing, no real wow factor, yet. I’ve got one set that I’m looking for.
GRANT: Anywhere there’s whitetails, there’s going to be sheds, but in southern Indiana, where Kable is, some of those sheds can be whoppers.
KABLE: I’m standing in an area that, uh, that kind of a special area for me. I found the biggest set of sheds I’ve ever found in my life, about four years ago, right here. Best sheds I’ve ever found. Six trail cameras on 100 acres and never saw the deer. On Veterans Day, a bow hunter, um, arrowed that deer five miles from my house. So, we found one shed one mile that way and he was killed five miles that way. So, never saw it in person, but still have his sheds, so it’s pretty cool.
GRANT: The hunt for Bernie continues, as Kable was dead set on finding his sheds.
KABLE: Folks, I don’t know if it’s Bernie or not, but I just found a giant up on the side of the hill up there. I mean, I can just see it from here and it’s just, it’s nice. I hope it’s Bernie. I, I, it’s, um, I hope it’s him. Gosh, I hope it’s him. It’s right up there. Oh, man. Oh, it’s nice. It’s nice. Look at that joker. Oh. Oh. Without a doubt, it’s Bernie. Oh my gosh. Look at that, folks. What a shed. Oh my gosh, let’s find the other side. Unbelievable.
GRANT: Finding those impressive antlers would add to anybody’s shed collection. But for Kable, it serves a secondary purpose of knowing Bernie made it through the season, and probably will be number one on the 2014 Hit List.
KABLE: Goodness gracious. Surely to gosh that other side’s got to be right here somewhere. It’s got to be right here somewhere. Okay, well, we’re gonna find the other side. You stay with us.
GRANT: Kable tried and couldn’t find the right side of Bernie’s antlers, before nightfall. But Kable doesn’t give up easy, and the next day, well, Kable’s got a story to tell.
KABLE: Well, it’s, uh, March 2nd, and I’m back out looking for the other side of Bernie. I’m out here walking and I, I’m about 50 yards up from where I found uh, the other side yesterday and I’m staring at it right now, about 40 yards in front of me, so I haven’t gone over to it, yet. It’s, uh, sitting there, so we’re gonna walk up on it, and take a look.
KABLE: That looks like Bernie. That’s the other side. Oh my. Lookie there. Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho. Look at that big joker. I mean I couldn’t be any happier. I mean my goal this year shed hunting was to find Bernie. If I didn’t do anything else, if I didn’t find any sheds, I wanted to find, uh, these two sheds, and I’ve got that accomplished, so.
GRANT: Congratulations, Kable. I’m really looking forward to watching you match wits with Bernie, this fall. I hope you have some time to get outside this week and plant some clover, or look for sheds, and enjoy Creation, but most importantly, take some time to be still and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
KABLE: Mother Nature at its best right here. It looks like something had, uh, a good meal – a hawk, or an owl, or something. Something grabbed this bird.