Tag Archives: growing 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 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!

Drought-Proofing Your Food Plots – Guest Entry from Plotmasters Blaine Burley

No matter what size property you manage, if you want to consistently grow trophy-class bucks on your property, you must provide quality, year-round nutrition to your deer herd. In most cases, foodplots (when properly planted and managed) can be the most cost-effective means of providing this year-round nutrition. Even though deer hunting season is over, don’t forget about your deer during the spring and summer months. This is when your deer herd needs nutrition the most! This is the time of year when bucks are growing their antlers and does are feeding their fawns.
With today’s ever-changing climates and rainfall often in short supply, it is very important for land managers to be prepared for the worst. Certain steps can be taken to effectively maximize the production of your food plots even during drought conditions or periods of limited rainfall during the hot, dry summer months. Limited rainfall and droughts (especially during the summer months) can be very detrimental to your food plots if you are not prepared. Proper soil preparation, planting methods, site and seed selection are the keys to providing year-round forage production during these dry periods.

Plot preparation is one of the first steps in conserving and maximizing your rainfall and soil moisture. For example, it is of the utmost importance to have your soils deep-tilled well in advance of your warm-season plantings. In most cases, you can effectively deep-till your plots with a chisel plow,moldboard plow and/or subsoiler. As a deer farmer, depending on your soil types, you may need one ormore of these implements to effectively break up your soils and maximize your soil moisture. Warm-season food plots should be deep-tilled in the early fall to allow the plots to rest and bank moisture for the upcoming spring/summer plantings. If rain comes during the fall/winter, then it will be capturedin the soil. You want your plots to act as “sponges” this time of year in order to collect rainfall for theupcoming spring/summer months. It is also very important not to allow the encroachment of unwanted plants (grass, weeds, etc) in the food plots during this resting/rainfall collection period because these invaders will steal the moisture and nutrients you are trying to save.

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