January 2018
Outdoor Life

Creating a Hunting Club

Reap what you sow.

 

Keeping track of what seed you sowed in which fields will serve as a record for the next season. If you notice certain types didn’t take well or actually did very well, you’ll be able to make adjustments the next time around.

 A club is all about the membership, the friendships, and combined dedication and work ethic to produce results benefitting all. There just aren’t many things in this life as rewarding as fruitful work.

As a club, we’re living that reality right now.

When we started back in August and September, we knew we had a mountain to climb, and favorable results would require work and a little bit of luck.

As is typically the case, Alabama was very dry late in the summer. Combined with our limited time, it was obvious some uncontrollable factors would have to fall our way if we were to be successful. We got together with some of the guys at Mossy Oak BioLogic for some advice, and they nailed it.

As I mentioned in the previous chapter, we decided to go with BioLogic’s Winter Grass Plus as the bulk of our forage. Due to our timing and budget, we elected to forgo the lime application this fall – we’ll hopefully get that done next spring and summer. The Winter Grass Plus grows very easily under various conditions and soil types.

With the whole crew on-site, we divided duties and tackled each field in a fraction of the time it would have taken one or two people. We did learn that disking right after mowing was a futile objective. Letting the dead grass sit for a week or so made it easier for the disk to cut through.

We also planted BioLogic Maximum on two of the smaller fields, BioLogic Non-Typical Clover and a few locations with BioLogic Deer Radish.

In an effort to test these different seeds in our dirt, we were advised to not overlap planting – to keep everything separate to clearly determine the effectiveness of each seed in each location … sound advice.

 

The Time Crunch

Available time was in very short supply as it was, but Hurricane Nate was forecast to bring a significant weather system to the Alabama coast – and straight over the club’s food plots – during the weekend of Oct. 7-8. We knew we had a window of time for either eminent success or failure.

We chose success.

As a group, it became an all-hands-on-deck call, and we did everything we could to meet that objective. Not everyone was available at all times, so whatever work we could muster was utilized and appreciated. Many hands make light work.

Friday morning, Gary, my son, and I managed to get three of the plots fully prepped and planted.

Here’s how I kept track of what we planted where:

  • Acquired a large aerial photo of the property (unlaminated)

  • On front, outlined area(s) to be planted and numbered

  • On back, wrote:

    • Planting date ­­_____/_____/_____

    • Field #___________ (for each field)

  • Fertilizer: Concentrate and No. of bags)

  • Seed: (No. of bags) (type)

 

After all the results have been noted for each field, the map can be laminated to help preserve it. This information will prove highly valuable next year as we evaluate how each seed took in each food plot. If changes need to be made to better the outcome, we’ll be able to refer to the previous year’s results … a simple memory enhancement.

My wife’s parents were in town that weekend – all the way from Fargo, North Dakota – and I was able to talk them into an afternoon of seeding. Their time and effort commitments were critical to meeting the deadline set by the impending weather system.

They don’t hunt but were quite interested in the effort required in building a food plot. They eagerly participated and helped plant two fields that have turned from dusty-brown to brilliant-green. Even without a drive to hunt like I have, they were very proud of the seeds sowed that became food. Good family time.

During the second day of planting, most of the guys were on-site to contribute. We managed to finish the final field. As we were pulling out of the club, the rain began to fall. It was literally the perfect storm for our new club.

One of our best-looking fields had BioLogic Maximum sprouted in just days after planting. Talk about a beautiful sight! There will certainly be crimson sprayed on this field at some point.

 

Dirt Into Bright Green

It took only a few days of optimal growing conditions after the saturating rain from Hurricane Nate to have food growing on every field. In fact, we were very impressed with how well things looked after such a short period of time.

Obviously, we’re super jacked about our decision to plant BioLogic and very grateful for the support they provided us in making our seed selections. They were right. We now have food growing for a club established just two months ago – something I’m already very proud of – we all are.

Bow season started in Alabama Oct. 15 and rifle season Nov. 18 and runs through Feb. 10. We are in a good position to enjoy some fantastic hunting this year.

I’m grateful for the chance to partner with such a great group of men to make it happen.

 

Hard work, preparation, patience and dedication had a large part in our club’s success. During the first evening of Alabama’s Youth Firearm Season, Taylor, my young daughter, killed her second deer ever, but her first on our new club property. An achievement we celebrated as a group. But none were as proud as I was.

Early Success

Alabama’s youth deer season was Nov. 10-13. Last year, my then-9-year-old son Tommy killed his first deer and his 7-year-old sister Taylor also shot a deer a week later. Fast forward to this year; I was able to negotiate with my son to let his sister go first.

With an ideal wind, we sat over a lush BioLogic Maximum field that she and her grandparents helped plant just a month earlier. As plans rarely do, ours came together and she made a perfect shot on a big doe – an emotional moment between father and daughter.

The very next evening, my son shot a nice doe as we sat over a BioLogic Winter Grass Plus field.

Two perfect evenings, and more unforgettable moments etched into our memories.

Be sure to watch the videos of both hunts on OutdoorHub.com.

The following evening, Tommy, my son, made good on a great opportunity and killed the club’s second deer of the season – a fine, mature doe. This was his second deer, too.

 

Mission accomplished!

Author’s note: This is the fourth installment in a 12-part, comprehensive series about building a hunting club with buddies from nearly the ground up. I openly share what I learn as I learn it. My hope is that anyone who reads this series can learn from my successes and failures, and apply them to a future, fruitful hunting club. You can find the previous installments at OutdoorHub.com, search "club."

 

 

Thomas Allen holds the senior editor desk for Bassmaster publications and produces freelance hunting content for OutdoorHub.com. Follow Allen on instagram: thomasallen4; Twitter: ThomasAllenIV; and YouTube: search “Thomas Allen Hunting.”