It was around this time last year when we got the green-light and started the Tecomate Seed Food Plot Journey. The first blog entry aired last January and I didn't know what to expect, but I knew I had a lot to learn. Around 25 blog entries and a year later, we've had some successes, some failures, some lessons learned, some memorable hunts, and some really good looking food plots.
I?ve posted some pictures below of the spring/summer and fall/winter food plots.
I'm no guru by far, but even from my little bit of experience over the last year I can tell you that the soil was one of the most important factors in our Food Plot Journey mix. We planted food plots in several different areas and the areas where the soil was best fit for the food plot were the areas where we had the best food plots. Of course rain is crucial, but rainfall is something we can't control. Essentially the soil acts as the "transfer agent" through which your plants will get the nutrients they need to thrive. One of my takeaways will be the quality of the soil. You can get a high quality seed or a low quality seed, but it's all moot if you don't have fertile soil.
If you've been following along then you've seen everything that we've done via video, pictures, and the text in blog entries. I created one last video of some of the before/after shots that happened along the way.
I've had a great time learning, creating, and documenting the food plots in our Food Plot Journey and hopefully I haven?t bored you with it all. A big thanks to Tecomate Seed & the GroundHog MAX for working with us to sponsor the Food Plot Journey.
And if you are on your own "Food Plot Journey" then it won't be long before it's time to start the soil samples again. I know that we're already making plans for the upcoming spring/summer and next fall/winter plots?
Over the course of the Food Plot Journey we?ve been demoing the GroundHog MAX as well as planting a lot of Tecomate Seed. We?ve demonstrated that average Joes (and rookie food plot web people like myself) can even use these products and get a decent food plot to come up. All of the products that we?ve used can be purchased online, but recently a new outdoor store right across the NC line opened up that carries these products and more!
The Springs Wild Game Center is located in Mineral Springs, NC and is run by Bryan McCarver. The Wild Game Center is a sister company to the local Feed and Seed company in Mineral Springs. It takes about 25 minutes to get there from Pageland and is also not a bad ride from Buford or Lancaster. It sits right off of highway 75 just across the train tracks. The store is relatively new and is really nice. From cities like Pageland?s perspective, it beats driving an hour to Rock Hill or to a store in the Greater Charlotte area and it?s a nice ?country? drive along the way (Google Map to Springs Wild Game Center).
The Wild Game Center carries both fishing and hunting products and is also going to carry guns in the near future. As I mentioned, the store hasn?t been open too long and has some plans for some really neat things such as an archery course and even a 3d archery course?so it?s good now and will only get better in time. The Wild Game Center is also one of the few places where you can find another emerging product in ?BuckYum?.
We had some WeHuntSC.com decals up there earlier, but they?re out now. We?re working to get some vinyl decals offered permanently in the store as well. Best of all you can go there and pick up a GroundHog MAX or a McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag and even some TrueTimber camo! You can give it a look and touch/feel it before you buy if you want. Bryan and the guys at the store can also get any flavor of Tecomate Seed that you want.
If you?re on the NC/SC border then you ought to give the Springs Wild Game Center a look at some point. We like to use our site to promote good places and good people and this place definitely meets both of those criteria! If you go, be sure to tell them that you heard about them from WeHuntSC.com! Once the 3d range gets set up I?m going to go back and shoot some video of the place to give you a feel for what it?s like too!
If you've been around long enough (or checked out the Food Plot Journey blog series) then you know that we've been busy for the last year installing, messing up, making, working on, and learning about food plots. I have been the quintessential guinea pig blogging about what we've been doing along the way and we are nearing the end of the journey for this year.
As you have seen, we've been highly documenting the power line food where we put Tecomate's Max Attract and Ultra Forage. We used the GroundHog MAX and a tractor to get the ground ready and the plot has done well. You may have also seen the epic "Hunt of 1,000 What-Ifs" that took place in the power line food plot. When we walk through the plot now the plants are over our ankles and are up to our calves in many locations. Needless to say, this plot has done well.
I will say that early in the season we didn't see a lot of action in the power line food plot. Though as it has gotten colder and the deer's food sources have been lessening, we've been seeing a lot more deer passing through and browsing as they walk. For this reason I think fall food plots can prove crucial to bring deer in front of you as deer hunting season nears its end.
Below are some updated pics from the power line plot to give you visuals for what it looks like at this point in the season.
You can see where we mixed the Max Attract & Ultra Forage in the power line plot
The Ultra Forage is the broad leaves and the Max Attract are the tall skinny blades
Which side of the power line would you go to if you were a deer?
Looks like a deer or two may have laid down in this one!
As you know, we have also been working on other food plots in various locations that we planted a little later on, but have not been reporting as much via the blog because we were just repeating the same processes at each location. The MAX Attract and Ultra Forage are both doing well at all of the different plots that we planted. From what I can tell, the MAX Attract seems to grow a little faster and taller than the Ultra Forage, but the Ultra Forage, when it grows, has very nice, green, broad leaves. Below are some pics from other plots that we planted.
The green in the midst of the brown and grey looks really good!
From the deer we've been seeing in these plots I can tell you that we'll definitely be trying to plant fall food plots again next year! These fall plots give the deer something to eat (and a healthy product at that) when their food sources lessen in nature. Hopefully this will help hold deer in our area and give them the nutrients they need to stay healthy year round.
As turkey season draws to an end, we?re just about ready to put some seed down and it?s not just any seed, its Tecomate Seed?you know, the good stuff! You may think that we?re busy turkey hunting every weekend, but don?t forget that we?re also preparing some food plots for next deer season. Yes it?s that time of year! I encourage you to look at the ?Show Us Your Food Plots? page to see some of the user posted images of food plots on which site visitors around the state are working. Feel free to post yours too! You can even film a YouTube video of yourself and tell us what you?re doing/planting/anticipating. We like to see what?s going on around the state and hope to create a food plot synergy if you will! Though, I know some of you like to keep your ?best kept secrets? and food plots to yourself.
It seems hunting can be a year round task, which is a good thing if you ask me! It kind of reminds me of my football days in college. Many think that you just play during the season and come back next year at about the same time of year and play again, but its oooh so different when you?re inside the system. There was always something to do, film to watch, weights to lift, miles to run, practices to attend, meetings etc. Of course we only did that kind of stuff because we wanted to be successful. So I?ll draw the same analogy to hunting. We work hard in the off season running soil samples, clearing woods, and planting food plots in hopes of being successful. Optimistically we?ll be able to get some good deer walking around these food plots to share with you via photo or video. And as our coach would tell us, what you do in the off-season will directly affect what happens during the regular season.
With that said, what exactly do we need to do to prepare to put seed down? Well, there?s really not that much that needs to take place. We should already have our soil samples analyzed, lime down, and the soil should be ready to be seeded. As you can see in the pictures of this blog, we?ve cut the field again to knock down some of the previous year?s growth mixed with some volunteer plants that have come up. We should be ready to seed.
Just before we plant our seed we will broadcast the recommended rate of fertilizer and light disc & drag it into the soil. In doing so, we will reduce the chance of the fertilizer burning the new seedlings after they germinate. Now we are ready to plant our seed. In the larger areas where we?ll be planting, we?ll use a tractor to broadcast the seed. For the remote food plot area, where we used the GroundHog Max, we?ll spread seed with a spreader and an ATV/4-wheeler.
From my perspective, I?m excited (and a little nervous) to see what?s going to happen with all of this. I don?t think I?ve ever actually planted something like this in my life. We?ve had something similar to a garden at my house before, but for me this is a different adventure. Remember, I?m a web guy and my farming skills are little at best. I?m eager to see what will happen and to see if we can get some deer out of these locations. Even if we don?t harvest any of the deer though, at least I?ll know that the deer are eating something that will help them be healthier and help them reach their potential when they get to be mature bucks.
More to come at the seeding!
As we start the food plot journey I want to prepare you for what you will be reading in the coming year. You will be reading a web developer?s perspective on food plot creation and maintenance. I make no apologies for my elementary level of knowledge of food plots, soil samples, and everything else that goes along with it. The only kind of farms most computer guys get involved with are server farms. My adventure outside the box and into some level of ?farming? (because there will be tractors involved) will hopefully be a unique one for everyone.
Though, my inexperience and low level of understanding (of all things food plot creation) may benefit some younger readers or some of you macho guys out there who won?t admit that you don?t know something! I?ll gladly be your guinea pig and hopefully everyone can learn something from this? even if it is learning what not to do! For all I know, we may not even get the stuff to grow properly and we may post pictures of dirt where the food plot was supposed to grow. Though, with insight from Tecomate Seed?s Mike Lee and some others around town, I think we can get at least some roots to show through. I?ll keep my fingers crossed in the mean time.
Feel free to laugh, joke about my lack of awareness, and take shots at me on the message board or in responses to the blog entries. I?ll probably join you in mocking myself! So now that I?ve raised the bar to a new low, let?s get started with all of this.
We plan to have 3 different food plots in 3 different locations. Each food plot will feature a different Tecomate Seed product. We will monitor each food plot and have game cameras set up to get any images of activity that these food plots receive. Throughout the year we will post blog entries about these food plots and hope to include images along with them. We are also going to try to set up and "exclusion fence" which will keep a small area of the food plot from being touched by the deer so that we can compare and contrast what the plants would look like if the deer weren't eating them.
That is the general gist of it all. When the time comes to actually put the seed down, Mike Lee from Tecomate Seed is going to come to assist us in this process. As we mentioned in the initial blog post, Mike has agreed to host a session on Food Plot creation when he comes to Pageland. We are going to host this seminar and will provide more details as the time draws near. For more info on the seminar and session, contact Adam Smith
Now it's time to stop typing and get to working. More to come...