Category Archives: Food Plots

Patriot LWM Outdoor’s Adam Korman Featured in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Check out this cool article featuring Patriot LWM Outdoors Director of Product Sales, Adam Korman, also owner of EDEN Habitat Development, the tri-state provider of habitat improvement services for Patriot. Some misquotations but still an interesting article, enjoy!

Wildlife food plots can improve your chances of shooting a quality buck

Sunday, September 18, 2011
By John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
John Hayes/Post-Gazette

In a 2 1/2-acre corner of a Westmoreland County farm last week, signs of deer were everywhere. Trails led from the surrounding woods into a long plot of turnips, winter wheat and oats, planted for the deer. Prints were scattered among the clover and alfalfa, and 6-foot sorghum stalks were brushed aside where the whitetails had passed.

As we walked the field, agronomist Adam Korman’s cell phone beeped. A motion-detector field camera emailed a photo showing real-time evidence of activity on the property — it was us.

Counter-intuitively, perhaps, Korman’s hunting group uses food plots to nourish and attract deer so they can shoot them, reducing the farm’s deer density.

With at least one neighbor keeping hunters out, the deer population on the 118-acre farm had soared and the owner suffered years of substantial crop damage. Korman, 34, of Westview and a private group of hunters were given an exclusive lease to manage the deer herd. They post the perimeter, chase out poachers, plant and maintain wildlife food plots, cull excess does and scrub bucks, and hunt for mature males with the best racks.

Korman said his group spends $500 a year on lime, fertilizer, soil test, seed and fuel for motor vehicles, and each member’s chance of harvesting a quality deer has increased by 60 percent.

Saturday, Korman dished out the dirt on food plots during a workshop at the Pymatuning Waterfowl and Outdoor Expo in Linesville, Crawford County. His company, Eden Habitat Development (www.edenhd.com), works with landowners, municipalities, hunters and wildlife management groups to nourish wildlife including white-tailed deer, grouse, quail and pheasants.

“We work as consultants and do the dirt work, but we found there is a demand for food plot consultants among people who basically want to do the work themselves,” said Korman. “Maybe they have no idea what to do, or what they’re doing isn’t working. We get them to the next step.”

Whether the food plots are planted as long-term habitat improvements, nourishment outposts or wildlife attractants, the ultimate goal is a better hunt. In most cases in Pennsylvania, luring game animals to baiting stations is illegal. But in the regulatory parlance of the Game Commission, attracting animals to food plots is not considered baiting.

“Food plots are considered a normal habitat improvement and are legal as long as they are planted and left standing in a natural condition and not manipulated,” said PGC spokesman Jerry Feaser. “For example, a landowner could plant a corn field or a sunflower field and leave it standing in a natural condition as a wildlife food source, and that would not be considered baiting. However, if the corn or sunflower was manipulated by mowing or chopping to create an unnatural concentration of grain on the ground, it would be considered baiting and illegal.”

Korman said planting wildlife food plots “isn’t an exact science” and more research is necessary. But much is known about enhancing nourishment for wildlife.

Step 1 in initiating a food-plot program is a deer density survey using trail cameras. Compare the deer population to acreage and other conditions to determine the size of the food plot. Situations vary, but when Korman’s group started work on the Westmoreland County land, it held about 35 deer per acre. Density is going down — Korman said they’re working toward a goal of 20 deer per acre.

“On the properties I consult for, I show them the math,” he said. “Say you have 700 acres. You need 5 to 10 percent of that property to be in some kind of field or forest enhancement program. . . . For a farmer trying to take his deer population down, anything would help, but he really needs at least a couple quarter-acre diversionary food plots to make a difference.”

“Diversionary” plots legally attract deer for hunters. Korman recommends planting a variety of choice plants surrounded by tall sorghum — the cover makes skittish deer more comfortable while feeding.

“Without the cover, the deer get in the habit of feeding nocturnally,” he said. “When the deer get used to eating in daylight hidden by the sorghum, it makes it easier when we go hunting. I get about 40 to 50 percent more daylight feeding activity when the deer feel more protected hidden behind the sorghum.”

What to plant?

• Clover provides good nutritional enhancement for deer. “It grows in wet areas and has a really good coverage rate once it’s established,” Korman said. “It provides a lot of protein for big antlers and body weight.”

• Alfalfa is more finicky and harder to grow, requiring more intense pH manipulation. “It’s more work than most guys are willing to put in, but it has a long tap root and is high on calcium and protein.

• Chickory has a long tap root and is considered a valuable draught-resistant element in a wildlife food plot, providing high calcium for better lactation and antler growth.

• Sorghum, or Egyptian wheat, looks like corn and grows as tall, but produces seeds instead of ears. The deer eat the seeds when they fall, and the tall stalks provide cover.

• Winter wheat can be planted in September. Establish the soil pH at 6.5 to 6.8 and till a half inch. Depending upon the amount of rain, winter wheat will sprout in a couple of weeks and remain green through winter.

• Turnips are a high-protein food source that gets better later into the year. “Once you get two or three frosts the sugar level goes up,” Korman said. “When winter hits, they’ll have a source of carbohydrates when they need it most to put on fat to stay warm.”

There’s one turnip caveat: After three years in the same ground, turnips can turn the soil toxic. It’s important to rotate your food plot crop.

What not to plant?

• Corn. “The Game Commission has done necropsies on deer and found they starved to death with bellies filled with corn,” said Korman. “At certain times of the year, deer don’t have the proteins in their stomachs required to process the nutrition in corn. They’re eating, they feel like they’re full, but if they’re eating mostly corn and not other things they starve to death. Ninety-nine percent of the time it’s because people put out corn for deer at all times of the year. It’s like you’re eating nothing but Frosted Flakes and wonder why you got diabetes.”

• “Rye, timothy and most grasses are the worst thing to plant for deer,” he said. “Deer don’t have the correct enzymes to break down grasses like cattle do. They eat it, but they get no nutritional value from it.”

John Hayes: jhayes@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11261/1175267-358-0.stm#ixzz1YJeBEldr

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PATRIOT LWM ARTICLE IN MAY ISSUE OF WOODS & WATERS

Check out this article about warm season food plots from Patriot LWM Outdoors own Joe Brown as seen in the May 2011 issue of Woods and Waters Magazine.

New Informative Video on The Plotmaster

The Plotmaster Hunter Family

We have had alot of requests from our customers for a little more information about The Plotmaster. Here is a great informative video from Patriot LWM Outdoors director of product sales Adam Korman. Adam is also the owner of Eden Habitat Development, Patriot LWM Outdoors habitat and wildlife improvement division installers for the tristate region. Check out this video to learn more about the great Plotmaster Planting Machine and visit http://www.patriotlwmoutdoors.com or http://www.edenhd.com for more information.

The “Dirt” on Soil: Part 1

There is a lot of hype about seed in the hunting world today. Attached to this hype are a lot of hunting celebrities claiming to use the “best” or “most potent” seed available. Unfortunately, they seem to change their sponsors and types of seed more than most folks change their underwear.

Recent studies have shown that deer prefer to eat crops from fields that are well taken care of. This includes proper amending of soil and weed control. No matter what seed you’ve decided to use, how much money you’ve spent on seed, or who’s telling you they have a superior product, your efforts will always fall short of their potential unless you have a strong foundation. I believe if we have a greater understanding of the soil we place our seed into, the deficiencies in the soil, and how to amend the soil properly, we will begin to meet and even surpass the goals we set as food-plotters, along with cutting overall costs. We will begin to see an increase in crop yield, have better tasting crops with more natural sugars and proteins, see more water and nutrient retention in the soil, as well as regulating the soil PH. This will lead to better transferring of vitamins, minerals, and other needed nutrition to the animals eating our food plots.

Two of the main ingredients that make up our soil are weathered rock and decaying organisms; both play a huge part in its composition and function. Rocks are weathered both physically and chemically. Blowing sand, water, temperature, and pressure are all a part of the physical weathering process, where the rocks are broken down with no molecular change in the minerals. Chemical weathering however, does change the molecular composition of the minerals. The number one enemy to minerals in soil is a process known as hydrolysis, which is a chemical reaction in which a compound reacts with water to produce other compounds. Rain absorbs the carbon dioxide in the air as it falls, resulting in the production of a weak carbonic acid that is then transferred from the rain to the mineral filled soil. In the past, acids only came in contact with soil from the respiration of CO2 from living organisms. Perhaps ancient statues provide a clearer understanding of the effects of hydrolysis. These statues did not show very much degradation until modern industries began producing large amounts of smoke, resulting in sulfuric and nitric acid in precipitation. Hydrolysis is the reason minerals are so depleted from the soil in many parts of the United States.

For this reason I am a strong proponent of mineral sites and using products that help correct the effects of things like hydrolysis. No matter what crops you plant, they are only transfer agents. If the soil does not contain the proper minerals and the ability to create proteins, the animals will never see the full results of your planting. It trophy whitetail growth is what you’re after and you don’t plan on using available products to offer minerals to animals and repair depleted soils, the process will be much longer. If the proper components are not available in the soil, the animal will not get them through the crops it is eating, resulting in things like antler restrictions, and age structure being closer to the top of your management plan. That is, if they aren’t already up there.

There are five factors in soil formation that are very important in making quality food plot decisions.
The first of these factors is parent materials. What major rock (limestone, sand, granite, etc…) eroded to form your soils? This is key information in finding out what your soils already contain and what they lack. Take sand for instance. The soils on our farm are made mostly of sand, which means we will experience more leeching than others. Because of this, we have to try and stay away from plots on grades that will increase leeching. We must also work on restoring the organic materials in the soil profile; this will be a tremendous help in water and nutrient retention.

The second factor is climate. Rainfall and temperature are factors that not only help in soil development, but can also either aid you in your planting, or fight against your efforts. For example, Excessive amounts of rainfall on a farm with sandy soil equals more fertilizer needed later in the year. Also, choosing plants with deep taproots like alfalfa or chicory would be a must.
The third factor is the living organisms in and around the soil. All organisms, plants and animals, large and small are a huge part in soil formation and conservation. They impact soil fertility and both water and nutrient retention, as well as regulation the soils PH. This is often a highly overlooked subject in food plot programs.

Topography is the fourth factor in soil formation. Soil is a natural feature of your landscape. Your landscape dictates how quickly your soils were formed, as well as what materials are in them. Knowing this will help you choose a great food plot location. Take the ever famous creek bottom for instance. Sediment carried from water, as well as more plant life decaying in the soil leads to nutrients. The creek bottom is at the receiving end of sandy soil and hillside run offs, creating a place with more abundant and succulent plant growth.

The fifth and final factor in soil formation is time. How old is your dirt? Over here in the north east, we have some of the oldest mountain ranges and soils in the United States. The longer the soil has been around, the longer the other factors have been influencing soil formation. Younger geological areas have the most abundant, weather able materials that hold and slowly release nutrients to plant life; older areas will be much more depleted and must be amended.

It is important for us to take a closer look at our soil horizon (soil layers) and see what we are dealing with, and along with our soil tests, use this knowledge to manipulate dirt to produce better and longer. My hopes are to help us to understand that our foundation is not the seed or the make of our tractor, but the very dirt we stand and work on. As we gain this knowledge and put it into practice we will see quality results from our food plots that we would not have seen otherwise. This in turn, shows up in body weight, antler growth, and overall health of deer. Think of it as putting your food plots on a well-designed health program.

The Plotmaster Plot Planting Machine

Well ladies and gentlemen, spring is upon us and if you haven’t given a second thought to your spring food plotting needs then not to fear, you are not alone. Every year time seems to slip away from us all and as the snow melt gives way to green shoots of grass making their way through the soil it once again reminds us, “crap, I better get to food plottin’ “. Whether your a part time plotter or a pro, the Plotmaster can save you both valuable time, and even more valuable money.

The Plotmaster is an all-in-one food plot implement designed to bring you all the tools you could need in your wildlife food plot arsenal in one handy implement. The Plotmaster is equipped with a double gang disk set, seed box with patented versa-seeder technology, spring loaded cultipacker and s-tine chissel plows. You can get the unit for behind an ATV, a tractor or both. The Plotmaster has a wide range of attachments including a grain drill, warm season grass kit, one row planter and more! Why make 4 trips to the field when you can make just one. Check out http://www.PatriotlwmOutdoors.com for more info or http://tinyurl.com/patriotplotmaster to purchase. Also check out this promo video below to see the Plotmaster in action.

You Want to Plant What?? Benefits of Diversionary Food Plots in Agriculture

*This blog entry is a repost from the Patriot Land & Wildlife Blog*

When the idea of planting food plots for white-tailed deer rolls across your tongue in front of concerned community members or agricultural professionals fed up with deer damage, the response is often the same. “You want to plant what??? The last thing we need around here is more deer, and feeding them will surely do just that.”

This statement is not far from the truth but the reasoning behind why it’s a good management decision may surprise you. 

The Origin of a Concept:

When Patriot LWM first began management efforts on a 250 acre tract with 132 acres of crop production agriculture and the remainder in timber and other cover types, the deer damage issue was at a breaking point. Hunter harvest practices were the first issue to get a facelift on the property including the increase in the reduction of adult female deer (does) and implementation of other techniques in line with the principles of “Quality Deer Management”. Initial population analysis identified the need for an extremely high number of female deer to be removed from the property, so much so that alternative harvest techniques needed to be considered.

Supplemental Food Plots:

A well rounded wildlife management program incorporates habitat and forage management into its population control measures. So as a wildlife manager I am somewhat partial to the idea of supplemental food plots as a way to create a year round nutritional program for the overall health of my white-tailed populations. Food plots of varying species (such as clover, chicory, cow peas, etc.) with varying maturation times can be installed to supplement existing food sources (row crops, acorns, etc.). They can also fill gaps in the deer’s diet after other food sources are exhausted, such as after crops are harvested or acorns are depleted. Depending on their intended use and location, it is very simple for supplemental food plots to double as a diversionary food plot as well.

Diversionary Food Plots:

My definition of a diversionary food plot is simply a plot installed for the purpose of diverting a deer’s feeding attention off of one source and onto another, such as off of row crops and into a clover mixture. Once again, your species selection along with its location will be the main determinate of the success of that diversion. Planting something deer have no intention of eating until late December will be of no comfort as the corn and soybeans get devoured in late summer.

Patriot LWM installed a mixture of clovers and chicory based on their perennial nature requiring minimum maintenance and also their high tolerance to deer pressure.

For the purposes of our project, Patriot LWM  worked with the farmer and

located a mutually beneficialsite on the property. 15-30 feet of field edge bordering existing tree lines were donated to the “diversionary food plot fund”, another fact which raises eyebrows in an agricultural community hesitant to give up tillable acreage to the wildlife battle.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this technique.

Running the numbers:

Farmer:

  • Low yield in these sacrificed rows already due to deer damage on edges and shading under the “drip line” of trees
  • Reduced expenses on unused acreage
    • Seed
    • Fertilizer
    • Lime
    • Herbicide application
    • Fuel for equipment
    • Wear and tear on equipment striking trees
  • Hunters gladly supplement the cost of food plot installation for own benefit
  • Increased yield in the remaining acreage
  • Increases recreational lease value of the property

Hunter:

  • Supplemental food source for improved health of deer population
  • Increased harvest opportunities
    • Creates harvest location along edges when normal standing crops would hinder harvest
    • Deer can be concentrated to particular areas for increased harvest
    • Brings deer to the “staging areas” near fields earlier allowing for more harvest opportunities before light expires
    • Keeps local deer populations on the property long after crops are harvested allowing hunters chances to increase harvest throughout the course of the regulated hunting season
    • Attracts deer from neighboring properties which may not have effective management programs to allow their harvest during daylight hours instead of them entering onto the property to feed outside huntable hours.
    • Provides space for hunter access to remove harvested deer while crops are up

In later blog entries we will take a closer look into the specific results of this project but initial findings are very positive. Diversionary food plots coupled with educated hunters practicing the principles of “Quality Deer Management” should be an option worth exploring for many landowners and farmers trying to win the war on deer damage. Stay tuned!

“SMALL TRACTS and SMALL PLOTS FOR BIG BUCKS”: Guest Entry by Plotmaster’s Blaine Burley

In the past, we were taught that you needed large tracts of land (over 5,000 acres of contiguous land) to effectively and consistently produce quality whitetails.  However, many of today’s wildlife managers and biologists have realized that you can consistently produce trophy-class bucks on small tracts of land if you manage these tracts properly.  One of the keys to managing small tracts effectively is to provide everything that your deer needs within the boundaries of your property.  This includes having adequate amounts of food (year-round food plots and/or supplemental feeding), water, and cover.  Most small tracts of land lack one or more of these three components.   As a wildlife manager and landowner, you must provide these three key ingredients in order to attract, grow, and keep quality bucks on your property.

Blaine Burley, President of Woods-N-Waters, Inc. and Inventor of the PLOTMASTER™, have been growing and harvesting BIG BUCKS on small plots and small tracts of land for over two decades now.  In November 2007, while filming for “The Bucks of Tecomate” TV Show for VERSUS, Burley harvested one of his largest bucks ever.  This MONSTER 16-point buck (see photo) was harvested on a small 80-acre hunting tract in Central Illinois.  This small hunting tract contained numerous year-round food plots, a small pond, and numerous bedding areas (large downfalls cut to provide cover) which are used to grow and attract big bucks each year.  This past fall (Jan. 2010) Blaine’s son (Brock – age 8 ) harvested his first deer ever (a BIG 10-point buck) on a small ½-acre food plot in Alabama (see photo).

One of the key ingredients for Burley’s success in producing BIG BUCKS over the years is planting small, year-round food plots.  There are many benefits of planting year-round food plots.  Not only can food plots provide a high quality food source for you deer herd, they can also serve as an effective means of concentrating and attracting deer on your hunting property.  Plus, your deer do not have to travel as far to feed which decreases the chances of them being harvested by your neighbors.  This also increases your chances of maintaining a good population of older-age class bucks on your property.

Traditionally, wildlife managers and sportsmen have used farm tractors and farm implements for planting food plots.  However, many sportsmen cannot afford nor have access to farm tractors and/or implements.   In recent years, many sportsmen have discovered a much easier and cost-effective means of planting food plots-using ATVs and ATV implements.  Today’s ATVs are much larger and more powerful than ATVs of the past.  Today’s larger ATVs can pull ATV implements such as the PLOTMASTER™ by Plotmaster Systems, Ltd with ease.  Today’s ATVs are being used for recreation as well as being used to plant food plots and manage recreational properties for wildlife.

Traditionally, food plots have been planted in areas that are easily accessible to tractors and large equipment.  One of the benefits of using ATV implements is that it enables hunters to plant food plots in the isolated, “hard-to-get” places.  This enables sportsmen to plant food plots in the areas that are closer to established bedding areas.  By locating food plots near established bedding areas, deer do not have to travel as far to get to these food sources.  Mature bucks tend to feel more secure and travel more, especially during daylight hours, in these isolated places.  Therefore, hunters have a better chance of harvesting trophy class bucks during legal shooting hours.  In other words, sportsmen can now bring the “food” to the deer using their ATVs and ATV implements leading to more successful and enjoyable hunts.

The PLOTMASTER™ is a multi-use ATV implement designed specifically for planting food plots.  This all-in-one unit comes with an electric system, adjustable disc harrow, plow attachments, cultivator, seeder, cultipacker and drag.  Due to its compact design, the PLOTMASTER™ is ideal for planting food plots in rough, hard-to-get places such as firebreaks and small openings in planted pines, cut-overs, swamps and wooded areas.  The PLOTMASTER™ has a one-point hitch as well as a three-point hitch which allows you to operate the PLOTMASTER™ with your ATV and/or small tractor.  The PLOTMASTER™ is also very economical.  It can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of a tractor and multiple pieces of larger equipment.  Food plots can also be planted in a single pass using a single of equipment rather than making multiple passes using multiple passes using multiple pieces of equipment.  This single pass planting system can save an enormous amount of time, fuel and money.  With today’s high fuel prices, this can be a huge savings in itself.

Many companies such as John Deere and Frontier Equipment have also recognized the value of using ATVs, tractors, and the PLOTMASTER™ to manage recreational properties and to plant food plots for wildlife.  Frontier Equipment currently distributes a full line of Frontier PLOTMASTER™ units for ATVs and tractors through the John Deere dealer network.  Plotmaster Systems, Ltd also distributes a New Hunter line of PLOTMASTER™ products through Independent Territory Distributors.  For more information on the PLOTMASTER™, call 240-687-7228 or visit the www.patriotlwmoutdoors.com.