Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew
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 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
Since we?ve planted the seed, thrown out some Milorganite, and had a little rain, we expect the plants to start growing a lot soon. One of the steps to our journey is putting out some ?exclusion fences?. We went out on Sunday and put up 2 ?exclusion fences? in our Tecomate Seed Remote Food Plot. I had never heard of an exclusion fence or what it was for before we started this ?Food Plot Journey?, but I have come to realize what this means and the purpose behind it. Initially I asked myself why would we want to exclude any deer from our food plot, but it does make sense?even to a web designer posing like I know what I?m writing about!
An exclusion fence is essentially something used to guard a specific section of a food plot to keep the deer from eating it. Ultimately this demonstrates what an untouched/uneaten plant would look like. You use this as a compare and contrast measurement with the other plants (outside the exclusion fence) to see how much of the foliage is being consumed by the deer. It appears that the conceptual idea is that you plant a food plot and, as deer come by, they eat the leaves and vegetation throughout the summer. Though since a small section of the food plot has wire guarding it, then they don?t touch it. At least that?s what we want to happen.
For our exclusion fence we used some old tomato wire and that seemed to do the job. I imagine you could use chicken wire, chain link fencing, or whatever you have available to create an exclusion fence. We merely drove two stakes in the ground, placed the tomato wire on top of them. We then wired the wire to the stakes to anchor it and that was it. It only took us about 20 minutes to get two of these put down.
Since it had been raining previously, we already have some of the Lab Lab Plus plants starting to show up on the surface. There are also some weeds mixed in the middle of our remote food plot, but we?re going to go back and take care of them soon! So it?s actually starting to grow. I hope we continue to get some more rain to help the plants keep on growing. If they keep growing (and the Milorganite wears off) maybe the deer will start eating them. In time and with cooperation of the weather, we should have some plants growing at 2 levels. One level will be with deer eating the plants which would, as I envision it, be lower to the ground with another level being inside the exclusion fence which should be a little taller. I guess only time will tell. I hope to get some pics of the deer in there during the summer. I?ve got to get a game camera up in there soon.
I would also like to note that the Milorganite was definitely activated by the recent rains. We could smell it while we were working. It wasn?t overpowering and unbearable, but you could certainly get a whiff of it every now and then. I?m sure the deer are aware of the smell too because if not, the plants would have already been eaten down to the ground.
And the journey continues (with hopes of more rain)
As you can imagine, a wedding consists of a lot of planning and events which take some time to orchestrate. This minimized my window of available time to put seed in the remote food plot. As you can also imagine, Mother Nature doesn?t wait around on weddings to pass. So, I had to soldier up and get the seed down. I planned on putting the seed out with Mr. J.E. on the morning of my wedding day at 6:30am. Little did I know that I would be up all night and only get 3 hours of sleep before hand. It was rough and if you hear my voice, you can tell I?m struggling on the video. Though, we got the task accomplished.
The remote food plot is located back deep in some woods that we hunt in. The loggers came in and cleared out some rows of pines. To this point, we had cleared out one of the areas where the loggers removed a row of pines. It took some time to clean out, but I think it will be worth it. We then ran a soil sample and put some lime down to try to get the soil pH closer to 7.0. This is the same process that we are doing at our other food plot locations that you are reading about in the other blog entries only this is the remote food plot edition.
Since the ground was recently turned up, we only needed to smooth it back out and then spread the seed. We simply took the 4-wheeler back in the woods with a drag hare and a spreader. We used an old timey drag hare to smooth the soil back out. Mr. J.E. said that the drag was used back in the day behind a mule and you can see the wear and tear on the drag in the video. Though, it did the job and worked well.
After dragging it again, we detached the drag and attached the spreader. A few laps on the 4-wheeler (while I tried to commentate) and that was it. Understand though that we used an extremely large amount of seed for this very small location. The bag will seed one acre and we poured the whole bag over an area about ¼ of an acre. I?m not sure if this will result in an abundance or if it will hurt the food plot. I do know that there is ample amount of seed on the ground though. I guess time will tell on all this.
A week later my dad and I went back to put down some Milorganite in hopes of acting as a fertilizer and keeping the deer off the food plot for a few weeks (as denoted in the previous blog entry). Just a small note to self about this process, it always helps to have the right size pin for the spreader attachment or else you end up pulling the spreader around in circles with your hand! In between 2 Saturdays and a lot of events in between we were able to get the seed and Milorganite down. Since then we?ve had some rain so I hope everything will start to grow. For the next little bit, it?s up to Mother Nature.
(I had a million things running through my mind and I forgot the Flip, so I shot this video with the I-Phone...thus the blurriness)
The WeHuntSC.com team headed back out to do some more work on a remote food plot that we?re installing as part of our Food Plot Journey. It has finally started warming back up in our neck of the woods and I?m glad it has. In between wedding showers, parties, the weekends of honey-do?s + flower/tuxedo/ring/invitation/ selections, birthday celebrations, and all the recent snow, getting a weekend to work has been some slim pickings. With all of the business, it was good to get out and do some work and try to be productive again.
As part of our Food Plot Journey, we are planting several food plots for the upcoming deer season. Most of these food plots are located in fields that tractors can easily access. With this easy tractor access to the food plot areas, it?s not hard to plow the dirt up, spread lime, or get the seed out. Though, with a remote food plot, we specifically place smaller food plots in thicker, denser areas where tractors could never reach. Just to get to these locations is difficult sometimes. For this particular food plot, we had to cross a creek, a few mud holes, and ride through the woods for a good ways just to reach the stand location. As you are probably aware, deer like cover and so placing food plots deep in the woods is just fine by them. In some ways we are taking a food source to them instead of trying to get them to come to our food source.
Taking the food source to the deer incurs a little work on the hunter?s part though. I guess there are some prices to pay in order install a food plot back deep in the woods. Though, the prices you pay mostly come at the expense of your physical labor. Some areas are more open and naturally lend themselves to having a food plot installed in their locations whereas other areas may require a little more work. In our case, this area required some work. We spent a total of three days working on this remote food plot. This area is situated in some planted pines where a lumber crew had previously come in and thinned out the pines a few years back. The part that took the longest was cutting down the volunteer saplings that had taken up where the pines use to be. We cut these down and eventually had to get their root systems out as well because the pointed stubs in the ground are prime suspects for puncturing the tires of a 4-wheeler. Rakes, axes, bush-axes, sheers, clippers, shovels, chainsaws, you name it we used them all. Over the course of working out there I caught poison ivy once, dulled a chainsaw blade twice, and had several blisters on my hands. I think Will may have pulled an ab when he bent over once as well! Though, I guess typing on a computer every day at work doesn?t really prepare my hands for this kind of labor either! All in all, we had to put in some hours of work to get ground ready to be disked and I?m not sure if we could have done it without Sam Mungo in the previous week.
Since we had cleared the ground, it was time for Adam to come in with the GroundHog MAX and throw some dirt around. As we?ve mentioned before, the GroundHog MAX is an attachment (not a pull behind) that attaches directly beneath an ATV. People have asked me ?How well does that thing really work? (with an emphasis on the word ?REALLLY?) and after today, I can confidently tell you that it works very well. You?ll see the video of it in action below.
The area where we are installing this food plot has some thick clay beneath the surface and I was interested to see how the GroundHog MAX would handle the clay land. Another note that I mentioned in the video and will mention here is that Adam?s 4-wheeler is a 2-wheel drive. The GroundHog MAX would probably do even better with a 4-wheel drive, but regardless we were still able to get the job done with the 2-wheel drive ATV. We ran the GroundHog MAX lightly for a good while to get the top-soil broken up some and then later we dropped it down lower to get more traction with the soil. As you?ll see in the below video, we were able to get the dirt turned up well, plenty well enough to get some seed in the ground.
Apologies... for some reason I was shouting into the Flip Video Recorder - I'll try not to shout at you in future videos
With the ground now disked up and soil overturned, we are now ready to come back in and put some lime down. (NOTE: We know the ratio of pounds per acre of lime to put down based off the soil sample result that we previously had returned to us from our local Clemson agricultural extension.) Due to the snow and the aforementioned factors of a busy life, we are probably a little late getting the lime down as the soil sample reports indicated that the lime needs to be in place 3 ? 6 months before planting. Lime needs time to work and in this case of our remote food plot, we?re a little late getting it down. The pH in this specific location is 5.4 and (as previously mentioned in the soil sample blog) we are shooting for a pH of 7. Thus, we need to get some lime down and some fertilizer in hopes of getting the soil as close to 7 as possible. We may not get it to 7 quickly, but as we keep working this food plot the pH will get closer and closer to 7 every time we put down more lime. So, this will be a work in progress and a continued learning experience. Thanks to the guys for coming out and helping get this accomplished.
Next up will be a blog entry about putting some lime down. I continue to learn more about food plot installation, management, and Mother Nature in general. This time I also learned a little more about the GroundHog MAX.
*** Be sure to check out our Hunter?s Night Out that will take place on May 1st, 2010 where the inventor of the GroundHog MAX will be on hand speaking along with representatives from Tecomate Seed & QDMA.