June 2007
Featured Articles

In the Meantime

  Keep your mineral sites maintained. For antler growth and health, aside from the great protein they gain from your food plots, it’s also important to supply them with other important nutrients. Mature deer antlers contain up to 11 different minerals. Two of these, calcium and phosphorus, make up about 33% of total antler weight.
By Todd Amenrud

With spring food plots now in the ground is all your work through until hunting season? Not if you’re serious about the sport and a determined whitetail manager and land steward. In the meantime, there are a number of things you can do to ensure great hunting opportunities this fall and on into the future.

One of the first jobs you have is to make sure your spring plots are growing well. Add fertilizer, if needed, and treat with herbicides. About one month after germination, BioMaxx (Round-Up Ready corn & soybeans) should be sprayed. After the corn reaches about 12 inches you’re safe to spray with Round-Up or BioMaxx Herbicide.

If you have grass problems in Lablab or perennials like Clover Plus, it’s a good idea to treat them with one of the grass-specific herbicides on the market. I prefer the herbicide Poast for this chore. When using Poast, don’t expect your grass to shrivel up and turn brown like it would if you sprayed it with Round-Up. Poast kills it but it’s less obvious. You come back a month later and there’s less grass. Poast can be used over all of BioLogic’s blends that DO NOT contain a grass.

Make sure that you keep your mineral sites maintained. Along with the protein provided by your food plots, it is also important to have "bone growing" minerals available to your herd. I have always used Full Potential Mineral Supplement with great success, but I’m anxious to try BioLogic’s NEW Bio-Rock this year. Either will provide your herd with the necessary ingredients for great antler growth and optimal herd health. Al Cheatham, president of BioLogic, said, "We (BioLogic) searched the globe for a natural source for these ingredients and found the perfect combination in BioRock. BioLogic is the only source for this unique product in the entire country and sales are going to be big."

Minerals play a big role in deer body mass and antler size. Mature deer antlers contain up to 11 different minerals. Two of these, calcium and phosphorus, make up about 33% of total antler weight. Many believe that the amount of phosphorus in a deer’s diet is directly related to its body size. Minerals are vital nutrients for deer health and the lack of such minerals will undoubtedly have adverse effects on your herd’s appearance. Without sufficient amounts of these nutrients you cannot expect your bucks to grow antlers to their full potential.

If you put together a well thought out plan and keep up with property maintenance, the results can be great hunting and recreation for many years to come. Here, Jesse Cole, daughter of BioLogic’s Vice President Bobby Cole, poses with a mature 4x4 - the results of a well-managed, well-maintained property.  
It’s also prime time to do some woods work and habitat enhancement. Food plots are going to decrease the home range size of each animal on your property and in turn increase your property’s carrying capacity. However, if you want to notice a significant increase in the amount and size of the animals on your property, you should combine habitat manipulation, woods work and selective harvest along with planting food plots. If you provide more food but don’t give them more "housing," then your impact probably won’t be what you expect.

One way to help with the lack of cover is to plant new trees. However, it will be years until you see the impact and the benefit to your whitetail hunting from the trees you plant now. Even fast growing trees such as the white pine will take a good 10 to 15 years before you see them reach a stage where they will be thick enough for good bedding cover.

Another way to help out with bedding cover is to plant cover other than trees. I mix a blend of plants that I compare to my "apartments": cheap, fast housing. I mix switchgrass with Japanese millet, sorghum, sunflowers and the cheapest field corn I can find. I don’t care if any of this produces seeds or a cob (often times it does); this is for cover. The switchgrass makes great bedding while the other plants make great cover and will stand up to a wind, rain or snow for several years, usually.

  Keeping your plots clean and weed free is one of the jobs that can keep you busy.
The third way to help with "housing," and probably the best way, is to get busy with the chainsaw. Just remember, a whitetail’s world exists from six feet high to the ground. Quite honestly, unless a canopy tree is producing a mast crop or some type of
fruit, it’s not doing the whitetail any good at all. You don’t want to clear cut your property either. You want plants and trees in all stages of growth. That’s what will give you the edge cover that is so desired by all kinds of game, including whitetail.

Aside from providing great cover, letting the sunlight reach the forest floor will also provide you with more browse, which is
  something a whitetail must have. Whitetail are kind of funny in the sense that even though you might have the best food plots in your state, for some reason they still must have that woody browse. It is low in protein and a very poor quality food, but for some reason they still  have to derive part of their diet from this. That chainsaw work will also help with this.

 If that isn’t enough to  keep you busy, you can start  on your fall planted food plots. Decide what you are going to plant, get your soil tests done and get the plots ready. When it comes to being a land steward and managing whitetail, there’s always something to keep you busy.

Todd Amenrud is the Director of Public Relations, Territory Manager & Habitat Consultant for BioLogic.