Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
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?
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.
After the Eagles game Friday night I knew it was going to be cold the next morning, so I put some extra layers of clothing in my McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag and let that baby roll all night long. In retrospect I was glad that I did because it was pretty chilly out there the next morning?and yes, I smelled like dirt! With the cold weather, all the scrapes, rubs, and rut activity going on, I was excited about going and sitting over one of our fall, Tecomate Seed food plots the next morning.
If you?ve been following any of the Tecomate Seed Food Plot Journey over the course of this past year, then you know that we?ve been working hard putting in food plots in various locations. I went out to the ?power line plot? this past Saturday morning and had a pretty neat hunt. The power line plot has Tecomate?s Max Attract & Ultra Forage in it. It sure is coming along nice by my rookie food plot creator standards.
We?ve got a tower stand placed about 1/3 the way down this plot. We put it here so that we could easily see to the bottom of the food plot. I like this stand because it?s in a good location and it?s provide a spacious setup from which it?s easy to film. Oh, and there just happens to be a nice scrape about 20 yards down from the stand as well.
I arrived very early so that I could get in the stand and give myself time to get situated and ready for the sun to rise. As I walked through our food plot to the stand it was easy to see that the Tecomate Seed Ultra-Forage & Max Attract was growing well. This stuff was higher than my ankles in many places. With the low-levels of rain that we?ve had this year I was pretty pleased with the growth. I opted to walk through the plot versus around it because there were dry leaves all on the side of the plot and I was trying to be quiet. Walking through the plot rather than the edge helped reduce the amount of noise I made entering and I wasn?t worried about spreading a lot of scent in the plot because of McKenzie?s Scent Fan Bag + Atsko?s odor elimination products that we?re using this year.
When I arrived to the tower stand I put out some doe estrus and then left the bottle open at the base of the stand. The power line acts as kind of a ?wind-tunnel? and with all the recent talk and signs of rut I wanted this estrus scent to blow down the plot in hopes of luring a buck into the area. I was hopeful that a buck would come through to eat and then smell the scent and work his way up the plot?at least that was my mental picture of what would be neat to happen and get on film!
I sat there in the dark for a little while and tried to get everything situated. Carrying a camera, tripod, gun, bag, etc makes for a little extra work and requires some extra time to set up. I finally had everything up and was ready to watch the sun rise. I sat for a little while when I noticed a deer enter the food plot at the very bottom left. I could tell the deer had a decent size, but yet wasn?t huge. It was still kind of dark and it made it a little difficult to see?and even more difficult to film (so sorry for the initially dark footage at the beginning of the video below). The whole time I was watching this deer I thought it was a doe. It wasn?t until after reviewing the film that I learned that it was actually a small buck. The raw footage isn?t quite as dark as the footage in the video below?when YouTube encodes the video there is a little bit of quality lost in the encoding. As I sat in the stand thinking this deer was a doe I was pretty pumped because I thought there was a good chance that a buck may be coming behind shortly thereafter.
This first deer stayed in the plot for a little bit and I zoomed in and out trying to get more light in the camera. I even moved the camera once trying to get it closer to me (you?ll see the bump(s) in the video). The deer was just browsing and poking its head up and down. I could see the deer ?winding? as some call it. He was putting his nose up in the air and seemingly inhaling so as to smell what?s in the air. I felt sure that the estrus scent I put out was making its way down the power line. Though, thinking this deer was a doe, I didn?t really care that it smelled the estrus. Either way I was pretty pumped because a deer came in the plot early and that signaled to me that deer were moving in my area.
After seeing this deer my heart was pumping a little so I was very focused looking for anything that might be trailing shortly thereafter. Sure enough about 15 minutes later I saw another deer enter the plot from the same direction?this one had a bigger body. I zoomed in with the camera and got the deer in the video screen. When I saw the rack I knew it was a good deer, but I knew that I wasn?t going to shoot it. I wanted to, as the saying goes; let him go so he could grow. I was sitting there with my rifle in my lap with the barrel leaning against the railing of the stand and with the tripod and video camera just to the right of me. It may not sound like it, but in those few seconds it?s a lot to manage in between operating the video camera, getting the gun up, and paying attention to deer in front of you (without spooking him). I?m trying to learn the art of managing this all at once.
Seeing these deer come through made me realize just how quick I?ve got to be ready to get my gun up if I want to shoot. If the deer don?t stop, eat, or spend any time in the plot, then there are only a few seconds that you have to react. If I would have wanted to, I could have probably got a shot off at this larger deer, but the shot would have been rushed a little and I don?t like taking shots in a hurry if I can help it. He?ll be bigger next year!
Hoot, I did some commentating in this video for ya!
Ultimately, it was a good trip in the woods for me. You don?t always get to see deer, but I was fortunate enough to see some on this hunt. It also felt good to see some bucks in the area and to have them browsing on the food plot that we spent a lot of time installing. Hopefully these two will make it for a couple of years and will hang around to walk in front of the camera again.
As you know, we've been planting some Tecomate Seed Food Plots this fall. To date we've taken the soil samples, prepared the soil by spraying Round-up, plowed the soil up with the GroundHog MAX, came back in and put down fast acting lime and the seed. After that we came back and put down some 13-13-13 fertilizer and just prayed for rain. It was dry for a pretty good while, but then we finally got some rain. Since then the plots have started doing better.
The small plot is growing a little bit slower for some reason. It may be because of the density of the soil, but I'm not really sure. We planted Tecomate's Monster Mix in the small plot and it is growing, but it's not growing at the rate of the power line plot. The small plot currently has some growth and looks like a light green carpet on the surface of the soil. Hopefully we'll get some more rain to help boost the growth in this plot some more. It's coming along, but we'd like to see it "jump" a little bit more.
Power line Plot
The power line plot is growing really well. I think the soil in this location is a little more "sandy" in comparison to the small plot. This may be the reason for the better growth because the two plots are relatively close to each other. Whatever the reason, the power line plot is looking good. Because it's long and narrow (and currently green) it's looking similar to a golf-course. You can see what the plot looks like below.
We've also got a buck that has decided to make a scrape about 20 yards down from the tower stand. He's been regularly checking this scrape because he's frequently cleaning it out. We're trying to get him on film checking his scrape and we're keeping our fingers crossed. Hopefully he'll come out in the day-time before too long.
Here's a shot from the bottom up of the plot
Here's a before/after pic so far from this plot
I made a short video to show some different pics of these plots. You can see it below
This past weekend we were able to get out and do the final work-related step on the food plots. To this point we've taken soil samples, sprayed and disked up the ground, limed and seeded the soil, and now the last step is to put down some fertilizer. It's been really dry in the past few months, but this last week we got some good, much needed, rain. The rain has helped the food plot products (Teomcate's Max Attract, Ultra Forage, and Monster Mix) germinate and start to take root.
We aimed to put the fertilizer down when the forecast called for rain a couple of days after we spread the fertilizer. We did this so that the fertilizer wouldn't sit on top of the ground and burn up the plants that had already started growing, but would rather be broken down by the rain and absorbed into the soil and eventually reach the plant's roots. We also chose Weaver's 13-13-13 for the same precautionary reason of protecting the plants. The plants are growing and we're trying to help them grow rather than killing them! We're taking a lot precaution with the strength of the fertilizer that's why we're putting out 13-13-13 instead of 17-17-17.
The fertilizer we put out on the first remote food plot back in the spring really had a great effect on the growth of the plants. We put it out and I came back about 2 -3 weeks later and the plants had really "jumped" as they call it. The plants drastically increased their size within a matter of weeks. I'm hoping the same will hold true with these plots as well.
In the power line plot we've planted Max Attract with Ultra-Forage and to this point we've got a good, green looking carpet on the plot. The plants are growing and because they're just starting to break the surface they give the plot a green tint on top of the soil. From what I can tell everything is going well with this plot and I think it's going to be just like we want it, time will tell though. There are also a couple of spots in the power line plot where we spilled some seed by hitting bumps when we were driving. This leaves the surface with a dark green spots where more seed is growing.
In the smaller plot we planted Monster Mix and I think it must grow a little slower or something because we could tell that it's growing, but the plants wasn't as high up off the ground yet. You'll see the picture in the video of what it looks like. You can definitely see the plant growing, but you had to look for the bright green dots of the little leaves coming through. I think this one will do well too, but I think it may take a little bit longer than the power line plot. Both areas receive good sunlight so I don't think that will be a factor.
I created a video where you can see the growth of the two plots and also the fertilizer.
Hopefully before too long we'll be posting some pics of the food plot growing taller and with luck, some pics with deer in it.
As mentioned in the summary, this is a guest blog entry written by Jon Charles of of River Oaks Wildlife Management
Fall planting season is here!! I know some of us are a little late on planting certain types of plants, but we all know it?s been hot and dry in parts of the south. It?s time to get started. One of the most frequent questions that I get asked is ?I planted a food plot and the seed did not come up...Why? That seed must not be any good.? There are a few simple reasons it did not come up:
1. Soil Analysis The first step anyone needs to do before planting any type of seed is have a complete soil test done. Not just test for pH but also check levels of micro and macro nutrients. If your soil is void of the right balance of these minerals it can have a negative effect and you will not see the results you?re looking for. Please get this done first and save yourself the headaches, money, time and labor you went through and take $20 to $ 30 dollars and do this first. Missing minerals can be added into your fertilizer for as little as $6.00 per acre. There are also several types of managers you can add into your fertilizer like Nutrisphere N, Avail, and Wolf tracks. These products can save you money and produce higher amounts and higher yields in your field or plot. Use the right type of lime and remember ag lime takes 4 to 6 months to correct the PH in your soil so if you planting in the spring you need to have added lime the previous fall. Another great product we use at River Oaks Wildlife Mgt is a product called Solu-Cal. A 50 lb bag of solu-cal is equal to 300 lbs of lime and starts correcting soil in weeks not months and will last a lot longer. You should check it out.
Next avoid the ?Farmer Brown? syndrome. What is the ?Farmer Brown? syndrome you ask? It?s the guy down the road that is Mr. Know It All. They use outdated methods, the same methods their dad and granddad before them did. All they know is 400 lbs of 10-10-10 per acre and 2,000 lbs of lime and that?s all you need to plant any seed you want. WRONG!!! Farmer Brown will get you in trouble and will cause you a great waste in your time and planting. Stay away from Farmer Brown folks!!! Listen to qualified wildlife mgt consultants or agronomists, not the guy working in the back of local feed store or the farmer down the road that has not evolved or is not practicing modern productive methods of planting. Remember we are planting for wildlife.
2. Time Make sure you read the seed bag and recommended planting times for your zone.
3. Soil Amendment Please after getting your soil test back amend your soil correctly using the right type of fertilizer and add in the correct fertilizer mgrs to assure you positive results.
4. Depth When planting make sure when getting the seed in the ground by either broadcasting, using a plotmaster, or drilling, make sure you plant your seed at the right depth. Small seeds like clovers, alfalfa, and brassicas (like any seed) need good seed to soil contact.
5. Packing Your Soil If you?re broadcasting, drag your seed over lightly and compact your soil lightly. Do not get out and take the truck or tractor and drive over the plot as a lot of times this compacts the soil to tight?especially in clay soils! If you get a rain and the water runs off the top it can crust over and harden up. These small seeds need a lot of energy to push through the soil and reach the surface. With small seeds only cover over lightly or plant about ¼ inch deep. Larger seed like Lab Lab, soy beans, peas should be planted about ½ to 1 inch deep and NO deeper .
6. Herbicide Residue Make sure your soil has had time to deplete itself of chemical agents (Roundup etc.) I have seen guys plant too early after spraying and till in grasses and weeds before a complete burn down only to have the seed get contaminated with herbicide residue and not come up at all. Believe me, I have seen a few properties that were hit with ?Farmer Brown? syndrome or just too anxious to hurry up and get it planted. So, please, if you spray for invasive grass or weeds, give the area time to dry out and burn down. This is usually at least 14 days minimum.
7. Inoculants This is something that most frequently gets overlooked. Please take the time and inoculate your seed with the right type of Rhizobium bacteria. Check your seed labels and see if it was pre inoculated and always plant before the expiration date.
Blow is a list of the different types of Inoculants needed for different seed types.
This should get you going for now. Make sure when inoculating your seed that you follow the directions. It?s a living bacteria and you should keep it in the fridge or in a cool place until it?s time to apply. You can add water and make a slurry and wash your seed in it and then spread your seed out on a tarp to dry, but not in direct sunlight or you can dry mix it in a bucket and coat your seed this way, but please follow the directions.
If you go down the check list above you should eliminate most of your concerns about getting a good food plot started. Remember it all starts with your soil. Your plants act as transfer agents that transfer the nutrients in the soil to the deer that you are trying to reach. Treat your soil right and it will treat your deer right allowing them to get the best nutrition possible.
In the next blog entry, we will discuss the different soil types and talk about supplemental feeding and minerals. Also stay tuned in for The Real Deal On Seed For Wildlife coming next month.
If you have mgt questions or need professional consultation we can be reached at email [email protected] or phone at 919-341-9659.
For question on Solu-cal go to www.solu-cal.com or call 508-295-1533 and ask for Craig Canning at ext 230. Let him know how you heard about the product!
Thanks again folks and remember to use best management practices and introduce a kid to the outdoors any chance you get.
Jon Charles, River Oaks Wildlife Mgt
This past weekend Adam and I got out and did a good day's worth of work on two food plots that we're installing in the fall session of the Food Plot Journey. Boy was it hot too! Up until this point we have taken soil samples for both areas, sprayed, and disked both of these plots. Given the best case scenario we would have preferred to get the lime in the soil a few weeks ahead of the seed, but due to the fact that we're just like you (weekend warriors) we've kind of gotten in a bind with our time and are putting down both the lime and seed on the same day. Again, I don't think this is the best practice method, but it can still work or at least we hope so!
The soil samples we took for these plots returned a pH of 5.2 for both of these plots...which is a little low. We are putting lime in the ground to help bring the pH up to a level that creates a better growing environment for the plants that we are planting. Also, this fall we are using a new type of lime. We?re using "Fact Acting Lime" which (I believe) is a recent development within lime products. Fast acting lime is supposed to do just what it is named "act fast"! Normally it takes several months for lime to start breaking down the acidity in the soil and changing the pH. Though, this fast acting lime is supposed to be able to start changing the pH at an accelerated rate. On the bag of the lime it says that it's 15 times more effective than regular lime. Since we're late putting the lime down due to our schedules, I sure hope it acts fast! We'll be interested to see how it works. The bags are about 30-40lbs a piece and we put 4 bags on the small plot and 8 bags on the larger, power line plot because that was the recommended amount given the size of our plots and the coverage of the lime.
After we made the passes with the lime and spreader, we then hooked up a drag to the ATV because we wanted to drag the lime in. We're doing this to hopefully cover the lime up with dirt and get the lime near the area of the soil where the roots of the plants will be located. If all went well, the lime will be right where it needs to be right when the plant needs it. You'll see in the video where we drug both areas. We used an old drag hare to do this and it seemed to work well and started leveling out some of the small hills as we drug the soil. It was real similar to dragging a baseball field.
After liming and dragging, it was now time to put the seed down. On the small plot we are putting in Tecomate?s Monster Mix. The seeds for Monster Mix are very small and look neon green in color. We only had to make 3 or 4 passes with the spreader because the seed got out so quickly. It didn?t take too long to get all this done on the small plot as it, of course, is smaller in size. Adam also climbed up in the stand to take some pics of the envisioned food plot to demonstrate our perspective on what we will be seeing this coming fall. Hopefully we'll be looking down on something that is green and thriving!
We repeated the same process on both food plots of liming, dragging, and seeding. As mid day approached, it started getting really hot. We worked on the power line plot for a while. We both were soaked and I even went to the store and bought 6 drinks and we drank them all within an hour?but there was still work that needed to be done. Since the power line plot is steep and "hilly", it was a little tougher to manage. The drag would get clumped up, the spreader would bounce and act as if it was about to tip over, etc. The power line plot required a little more time because of all of this mixed with the fact that I was going back and forth from the video camera to the regular camera etc.
With regards to the seed and food plot product for the power line food plot, we're planting Tecomate's Max Attract & Ultra Forage. We mixed these seeds together to offer the deer in the area a smorgasbord of food sources. Optimistically we?ll have a hillside leading to a creek that is covered in green right about when other food sources start to diminish for deer in our area. This will not only get them where we want them to be, but will also help them with their year round nutritional and dietary needs.
Now that the weeds have been sprayed, ground disked, soil limed, and the seeds have been sowed, all we can do is sit back and hope for rain. It has been extremely dry these past few weeks/months. You can see this in the videos we've previously posted where dust is flying everywhere and covering us from head to toe. Without any rain, there's nothing much that can grow so we?re going to be praying for rain in the coming weeks. Hopefully everything will come together. On a positive note, Tecomate's seed is covered with a "Yellow jacket" coating that retains any moisture it comes in contact with. This coating is specifically designed to aid in dry conditions.
The seeds of the Monster Mix were bright green and very small as seen in the image below
Below is an HD video collage of the lime, dragging, and seeding install.
And now...the wait for rain!
If you've been reading along, then you know we are on the second half of our year-long, Tecomate Seed, Food Plot Journey. We learned a lot during the past summer about food plots and even had some food plots that came up pretty well. Though, we did have one weed infested food plot that didn't turn out as well as we hoped, but it served as a good learning experience for us. We've been getting some good game cam pics of deer in the plots (mostly does on camera though) and for the past few weeks we've been working on our fall plots.
We're putting our fall plots in some different locations and we are carrying out the same processes of taking a soil sample, preparing the soil, liming, planting, and adding fertilizer (if needed) in all these locations. The main difference between the summer and fall plots is that we're planting plants that can grow in cold weather for our fall plots. Over time the frost and cold will end up killing what we planted for our summer plots. I will note that so far throughout the process with the fall plots everything has been really dry. I mean every time we do anything there is dust flying everywhere. After riding the GroundHog MAX last weekend for a few hours I was covered in dirt and my eyes were burning. I looked in the mirror and my whole face was covered in orange dust. I say all that to say if we don't get some rain soon, I'm not sure what is going to grow in such dry soil. Again, I'm a web guy and don't claim to know much about farming and/or food plots so I may be surprised, but for now I?m still hoping we get some rain to have some kind of moisture in the soil.
At this point we've taken the soil samples and are now preparing the soil. By preparing the soil I mean we have sprayed the envisioned plot with RoundUp to get the weeds out and gave them time to die. The weeds died and the video will demonstrate this as you can easily see the stark contrast between the dead brown weeds and the dark green weeds on the other side of the hill. I was actually surprised at how well the RoundUp did with only spraying it once. Initially I thought we'd have to spray it a little bit more to get it all to die since there were a ton of weeds, but I was wrong in that assumption. We waited about a week and a half and then came back to get the weeds out by disking up the soil. Thus far, we have been disking up the soil by using the GroundHog MAX, but for this large area we brought in a tractor to assist.
We're trying to put in this particular plot in an area that was an old power line. The power line is long and narrow and we're trying to install the plot at the lower end that leads down to a creek. This place hasn't been touched in about 2 - 3 years so the dirt there is hard and dry. The lower area of the power line has steep hills and rough terrain. These hills, rough terrain, and narrowness of the old power line combine to present a difficult situation for the tractor with regards to plowing. Parts of the power line are more flat and in those areas the tractor did well, but the other areas near the bottom presented more of a challenge for the tractor. So, as you would imagine, we brought in the GroundHog MAX and it got the job done again! The GroundHog MAX greatly helped us out in those hard to plow locations. Ultimately the soil in this plot was plowed by a combination of the tractor and GroundHog MAX with the tractor handling the flatter, upper end and the GroundHog MAX on the more rugged, lower end.
Before/After Pic of the Remote Food Plot on the Powerline
It took a lot of time to get the soil the way we wanted, but in the end I think it looks pretty good given what we started out with. Again, this dirt was very hard and very dry so I think we made some good progress. We'll try to continue to install food plots in these areas year after year and over time we think it will get a little easier if we stay on top of it.
I'm praying for some rain so keep your fingers crossed. Now we'll give the power line food plot a week or two to see if anything germinates, that is we'll wait to see if any more weeds start growing back. In our first go round with our summer plots, we sprayed a field and got a good kill on the weeds then we disked the field up and planted. The field ended up being full of weeds because the plowing covered some of the dormant seeds with dirt and moisture and then they germinated which lead to a mess by the time it was all said and done. So we'll see if any weeds start to come up and if they do, then we'll spray it again to kill them, then we'll wait a little while and put the seed out. We'll probably also put down some lime and fertilizer, but we're still waiting to get the soil samples back before we assess that situation.
I made the below video to show you what the area looked like after the spray and to give you an idea of how we worked both the tractor and the GroundHog MAX together to get the soil the way we wanted it.
And the journey continues...
This past weekend I spent a couple of hours out in the woods with my main objective being to get the soil for the fall, remote food plot disked up and prepared to be seeded. I set out with the GroundHog MAX and a 4-wheeler to get the job done and I had a blast riding this thing around the envisioned food plot.
The area where we are trying to install the fall, remote food plot is back deep in the woods, but it has had crops on it before?though none in recent years. So the soil was not extremely dense, but it wasn?t ready like we wanted it to be. The area had grass and weeds on it and when we came in last weekend we took the soil sample for the area and then sprayed some Roundup as seen in the previous videos. When I returned back to the food plot you could tell that the Roundup was going to work as many of the weeds had started turning darker colors already. This was a good sign as we are trying to get the weeds out!
I got the 4-wheeler off the truck and then had to ?attach the MAX?. To do this, I simply carried a wooden block and drove up on it and locked the brakes once I get on top of the block. The 4-wheeler was then elevated a little off the ground and provided just enough clearance to attach the GroundHog MAX to the ATV. I pulled out the pen, slid the GroundHog MAX into place, put the pen back and then got ready to roll.
Normally we go out in groups working on the land, but on this day I had to soldier up by myself and get it done as my counterparts were unable to assist. So, I did the work and documentation both (which took me a little bit longer than normal). I got the cameras and tripod ready and shot some different angles and videos. By the end, the video camera and tripod were extremely dirty not to mention how dirty I got. I had dirt everywhere on me!
We haven?t had much rain recently so the dirt, especially on one end of the plot, was really dry. This resulted in a lot of dust being thrown up in the air while I was riding. You can easily see it in the video below. When I got through working I went to the truck and saw where my face was covered in orange from the dust of the clay-like soil. I washed my face in some watered-down, diet coke that I had leftover from earlier that morning. It was not the best feeling, but it got the job done and helped me regain sight! My face, shirt, and pants were just as orange as the soil was. Though, it does feel good to get out and work when often times I?m sitting behind a computer, so I didn?t mind it too much.
I rode the 4-wheeler in circles, figure-8?s, diagonally, and in straight lines trying to churn up the dirt in every way possible. It seems that the GroundHog Max churns up the ground a little better when riding in circles or figure-8?s, but then again that could be because the 4-wheeler I was using is a 2 wheel drive ATV. When you have a 4x4 ATV you have the muscle to put the MAX a little bit deeper in the ground, but since the ATV I was using didn?t have the cc?s necessary to pull through deeper dirt, I just made a few more passes and it still worked fine.
I probably rode the GroundHog MAX for around 1.5 to 2 hours and I?d say that I rode it way longer than I really needed to simply because I was having so much fun! After a while I had the top-soil so loosened up that I began sliding around and it felt as if I was playing bumper cars at the beach or something. It was really fun to get out there and ride.
All in all, I got the job done, had a lot of fun, got extremely dirty, and got the soil disked up and ready. We?ll now wait a week or so and go back in to see if any weeds have germinated from being disked under the dirt. If this is the case, we?ll spray again and then we should be ready to plant.
Again, I was very impressed with how the GroundHog MAX performed. The winner of the Big Buck Competition is going to be one happy camper!
See the video of me riding the GroundHog MAX in circles and attempting to talk over music below