With a massive acorn crop, two of my treestand setups that I had hung in late August were now in locations where deer movement was minimal. After looking at the weekend forecast, I knew I needed to be hunting in hopes of catching a mature buck up on his feet. Yet, deer movement was more profound in the timber. Unfortunately, I did not have a stand near the area I wanted to hunt.
When trying to make a game plan of where to hunt during the first evening of the weekend, I decided to hunt in a ground blind set up in the timber. A spot in which two steep ridges came together to form a bottleneck shape that was a natural travel route for deer. I predicted the deer would travel out of a river bottom, feeding on the thousands of acorns falling from the trees. I was confident I had chosen a good location.
I settled into my blind around 2:45 p.m. due to the fear of pushing deer out of the area. After 40 minutes, I found myself caught off guard by a mature doe standing at twenty yards. When I first saw the doe, she had already locked her eyes on me in the blind. After a few seconds of an intense stare-down, she blew and headed back into the river bottom. For the next two and a half hours, five different does, all at different times, came into the area, blew, then bolted out of sight.
Numerous times throughout the evening, I used my Hunters Specialties Windicator to determine the wind direction. Each time, the wind hit me in the face. I had no idea the cause of this sudden downturn in events. Only later did I realize I had committed three of the most common mistakes bowhunters make when hunting from a ground blind.
Too Much Movement
When most of the deer that evening came into close range, they were already on high alert because of the unusual movement that they had encountered. Four out of five of the deer that night had seen me long before I spotted them, thus the reason for them being on high alert.
When hunting deer at their eye level, it is essential to keep movement to a minimum and be cautious of every movement while inside the blind. Many hunters think that they can get by with excessive movement because they are inside of a blind even though the hunter can move more than if in the wide open, they must still be aware of head and body movement when scanning for deer. The slightest unusual movement will result in deer leaving the area.
To help minimize movement, the hunter should wear black clothing on the upper body, hands, and head. By wearing black, the hunter blends with the interior of the blind, keeping them more concealed. Another option to stay concealed is using a blind such as the Infinity 2-Person blind from Muddy Outdoors. The Infinity blind is made with an innovative shadow mesh window curtain technology that allows the hunter to see out of the blind, yet wildlife cannot see in. This creates a 360-degree view and eliminates blind spots while keeping the hunter concealed.
I am a true believer in bowhunting from ground blinds. Yet, after my hunt, I wondered why all the deer had spotted me and sensed something was wrong when they got into close range of my blind.
After reassessing my hunt later that night, I realized my blind was in the wrong location. When the deer came out of the river bottom, they first saw my blind eye level with the area they were traveling. If my blind had been down the ridge, forty to fifty yards farther, the deer would have had time to feel safe because the blind not causing an instant red flag.
When sitting up a ground blind, it is vital to brush in around it to help conceal the location. Sitting the blind in a more open area, where deer feel comfortable, is also essential.
A blind should not be used in tight situations like where I was hunting. Instead, I returned to that specific location and hung a hang-on treestand more suitable for the terrain.
Use A Blind Chair
When humans are not comfortable, it is natural to want to move and twist our bodies—sitting inside a ground blind when hunting can wreak havoc on a hunter’s body if they are not sitting in the proper chair. When sitting in an uncomfortable seat, back and leg pain are common. Add constant movement from trying to get into a more comfortable position to the mix, and it does not make for a relaxed hunt. I sat on a small tripod-style seat for four hours on my hunt. It is obvious now that in doing so, I made an excessive amount of unwanted movement that cost me a harvest.
Using a more comfortable chair that is designed to hunt inside of a blind is a must when bowhunting. A blind chair such as the Muddy Swivel-Ease XT Ground Seat is ideal for the hunter to sit comfortably for an extended period. Padded armrests, a large seating area, and 360-degree silent mobility provide the hunter with less movement and the ability to hunt quietly until that monster buck comes into close range.
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/image00002-3.jpeg800533Kevin Kelseyhttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngKevin Kelsey2022-10-11 14:28:012022-10-11 14:29:213 Common Mistakes When Bowhunting Ground Blinds
Hunting from elevated box blinds have changed the outdoor industry over the past few years. Many people are making the investment and adding the blind to their whitetail hunting arsenal. Still, though, many hunters refuse to climb out of their traditional tree stands. Don’t get me wrong. It is hard to beat a rut hunt in the timber out of a tree stand. There is nothing like it, but there are several other things to consider when you are looking for a successful whitetail season. Today, we are going to give you 5 reasons why you should pull the trigger on a Muddy Box Blind today!
Scent Control – How many times have you thought you were hunting a stand where you had a perfect wind and then suddenly, the wind switches? Your hunt is now busted. Hunting out of an enclosed Muddy Box blind will help contain your scent. Do you hunt in big creek bottoms like I do? Swirling winds in creek bottoms are constantly making you second guess your hunting tactics. Sure, scent eliminating sprays and ozone generators don’t hurt, but only an airtight box blind can keep all your scent contained while in the field!
Comfortability – I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent in the tree stand over the years, but I can tell you that not a hunt went by where I wasn’t complaining about my backside getting tired or being too cold to sit any longer. A Muddy Box blind eliminates both issues. You can hunt longer by staying out of the harsh elements a deer season can be whether it is rain or cold temperatures, a blind will help you hunt longer and keep you comfortable as you wait for you encounter with your target buck!
Safety – We all know that a successful hunt means nothing if you don’t make it home safely to your family. This is yet another positive aspect of having a Muddy Box Blind. There is no need to worry bout climbing a tree or ladder stand with a box blind. Muddy offers both a 10- and 5-foot tower platform with stairs and a handrail to assure your safety while entering your blind. Once in the blind you are fully enclosed and surround by walls on every side for a comfortable and safe hunt. With a Muddy box blind, you won’t have to worry about making it home to the family!
Family Ties – One of the greatest things about the outdoors is being able to spend time with your family. If you have a Muddy Box blind you will be able to take your entire family! Hunting from a blind is a great opportunity to introduce young hunters to the outdoors. We have already told you how box blinds can keep scent down, suppress noise and makes each hunt more comfortable. All these things are important when taking new hunters afield. The same goes for older hunters. A box blind helps allow you to hunt for many more years without the worry of climbing into a tree stand.
Versatility – Have you ever had a spot that you were just dying to hunt, but you had no way to hunt it? You couldn’t find the right tree or maybe there weren’t any trees at all? A Muddy Box blind helps you become a more versatile hunter. Once you have a blind you can place it in that spot on your farm you’ve always wanted to hunt but didn’t know how. You can even get creative with your Muddy Box Blind and place it on a trailer for what we like to call a “Mobile Muddy Setup”!
It is simple…. Whether you’re a seasoned whitetail hunter targeting a specific buck or you’re just being introduced into the world of whitetails, the Muddy lineup of box blinds has something for everyone. Check them out today!
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Muddy-Box-Blind-Field-View-scaled.jpg19202560Kevin Kelseyhttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngKevin Kelsey2022-08-23 15:39:202022-08-23 19:06:245 Reasons to Hunt from a Muddy Box Blind
In most places across the United States, the spring turkey season typically commences during March or April. The only states that do not open during this time are the northern states which hunt during May.
Depending on weather conditions for that spring, the earlier portions of spring turkey hunting can be challenging for hunters. The trials during the early season come from the lack of green foliage and cover while walking or trying to call in a gobbler. Another challenge presented during the early season is that turkeys are in the first portion of their breeding season and can be shy to come to specific calls. Below are three tips for early-season success.
Stay Put- Use A Ground Blind
One of my favorite tactics for spring turkey hunting is to get as close to the roost as possible before setting up to call. Unfortunately, during the early season, that isn’t always a possibility. With low temperatures, the leaves have yet to bloom out into total growth. And the leaves on the underbrush are slower to grow as well. Making your way through the timber without being spotted by turkeys is harder when new growth is behind schedule.
When the spring foliage is slow-growing, a hunter should stay patient and use a ground blind such as the Muddy Prevue 3 to help keep concealment. Often, hunters will have their blinds set up before hunting. By having the blind in place before hunting, the hunter can ease into the area before daylight, then begin calling as the day breaks without being seen by nearby turkeys.
One of the most prominent mistakes hunters make during the early portion of the season is trying to make a move to get into a better position to call, only to be caught by the gobblers’ keen eyesight. By spooking a gobbler early, the hunter runs the risk of not being able to call in that specific bird for the rest of the season. The hunter should be patient and use a ground blind as their primary source of concealment to ensure success for the remainder of the season.
Use A Jake Decoy
During the earlier spring portion, male turkeys are in a pecking order to find out who the dominant bird is. If the pecking order has already been established, using a jake decoy like the Avian X HDR Jake Decoy can lure a mature gobbler into shooting range because the dominance is still fresh on the mind. A jake decoy placed near a hen decoy is typically the perfect setup for the early season. When a mature tom encounters a jake decoy, he thinks that jake will breed one of his hens before he does, triggering a desire to fight. The dominant urge to whip up on the jake decoy can bring a mature tom running in from a distance.
As the season progresses, mature gobblers have often been whipped by other gobblers at some point. Using a jake or tom decoy in the latter portion of the season can detour a gobbler from coming closer because of the fear of getting into another exhausting battle with another gobbler. Instead, use the jake decoy during the early season and tag out early.
Use Calls At A Lesser Volume
Another common mistake that turkey hunters make during the early season is calling too loud. Although calling too much or too loud is a mistake hunters can make throughout the entire season, the early season is subject to calling with too much volume because of less foliage on the trees. When there are few leaves on the trees, the sounds of a hunter calling carry for a longer distance.
It is crucial to keep the calling at a lower volume to avoid spooking a gobbler who is nearby. Using calls such as purring, clucks, and soft yelps is ideal when sound travels farther. Often, hunters can use a slate call or a pot-style call to mimic the sounds of a hen softly purring while feeding through the leaves. Purring with an occasional cluck and soft yelps keeps the gobbler curious about where the hen is located, causing him to search, which leads him into closer range.
It is vital to use decoys when calling open areas. When there is less cover throughout the timber during the early season, gobblers will often be cautious about responding to a hunter’s calling. When the gobbler can see for longer distances, he constantly looks ahead to spot the hen making all the calls. If he doesn’t see anything, the gobbler doesn’t feel safe and becomes weary to come any closer. Again, softer calling can also make the gobbler search for the hen. If calling too loud, the gobbler can hang up outside of shooting range until he sees the hen, then respond.
The beginning of the spring turkey season can often create an unexplainable urgency among hunters, inducing a feeling that they must hunt hard until they can make a harvest. The spring turkey season is only a few short weeks, and then it is over. Slow down, be patient and enjoy a successful season.
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Early-Season-Turkey-1.jpeg12541672John Fennellhttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngJohn Fennell2022-03-31 20:05:352022-03-31 20:05:353 Tips For Early Season Turkey Hunting Success
One of the biggest challenges bowhunters face is getting close enough to an animal to shoot accurately. This challenge thrills a bowhunter and drives them to put in hard work each season.
When a hunter is trying to get an animal into a comfortable shooting range, they must devote the time and effort to get a result that ends in their favor. The required efforts include scouting, hanging tree stands, and putting up permanent box blinds. However, many of today’s hunters are hunting from a portable ground blind. When these efforts result in a mature buck on the ground, the hunter feels a rush of excitement that comes from getting an intelligent and respected animal into archery range.
Portable ground blinds have an array of advantages when used to get archery close to deer. Hunters can better stay concealed, resulting in a more versatile hunter that can move wherever the deer movement is the most predictable. Other advantages include having more room to draw a bow, staying out of mother nature’s elements, and the list goes on. The point of the matter is, more bowhunters are using ground blinds than ever before. Below are a few tips and tricks when using a blind on your next archery hunt.
Have The Proper Bow & Setup
One of the common excuses for not using a ground blind is not having enough room to draw a bow correctly and make the shot. Two tips will result in having the proper setup to shoot a bow correctly while in a ground blind. One is making the right choice on the ground blind itself. It is vital to choose a ground blind that has plenty of room horizontally and vertically. The hunter needs to have space to fit a chair, all their gear, and enough room to draw their bow to full draw without hitting or rubbing against the blind. If there is not adequate room, one can spook deer by hitting the blind while trying to draw or, even worse, having interference that may cause a poor shot that could wound an animal or make the hunter miss entirely.
The Muddy Prevue 3 is an excellent choice of ground blind for the bowhunter. The Prevue 3 is rated as a three-person ground blind with a 73” by 73” shooting width, 58” x 58” footprint, and a standing height of 66”. The large area of the Muddy Prevue 3 makes it ideal for the bowhunter to have more than enough room to draw and shoot without any deflections. Another great feature of the Muddy Prevue 3 blind is the two full-width panoramic windows of one-way see-through mesh. The sizeable see-through mesh window allows the hunter a wider field of view of their surroundings, allowing them to know the exact time to draw on a deer when approaching.
The second part of a proper setup is to have the right bow and accessories. Even with a larger area inside, shooting a bow from a blind narrows room for movement. It is vital to use a bow with a smaller axle to axle measurement or a crossbow to ensure there is more than enough room to shoot. I use the Bear Archery Whitetail Legend bow for hunting inside of ground blinds. The Whitetail Legend has excellent maneuverability by featuring a 32” axle-to-axle measurement. With the smaller height bow, I can move around in the blind to get into position for the shot without bumping the blind. Another must-have when hunting inside a blind is a well-illuminated sight, such as the Apex Gear MAGNITUDE series. The MAGNITUDE five-pin sight features the PRO-BRITE pin design that increases brightness without crowding the sight picture. A shooter’s ring design has better peep sight alignment and glow-in-the-dark visibility, perfect for shooting inside of a dark blind.
Placement Of Ground Blind
A ground blind has long been used for sitting in open areas where visibility is more significant. However, when setting up for bow hunting deer, one must be more specific to where the blind is set up. As a rule of thumb, most bowhunters have an accurate shooting range of forty yards or less. Many of today’s bowhunters can shoot accurately at father distances, yet it is forty yards or less on average. To guarantee the blind is in the correct position, use a range finder and place the blind near objects or areas where deer will be. When setting up a ground blind for bowhunting, I find natural areas such as travel, water, and food sources. When I find natural areas, I try to narrow down where deer will travel within forty yards or less when passing by. To narrow down the area, I try to locate where deer enter the food source or what point of a water source deer come to most often. I look for other points of natural interest barriers, such as a log or a fence that narrows down a deer’s travel route.
Another great way to narrow deer within the shooting range of a blind is by using an attractant to draw deer to a specific spot. For example, using deer decoys to help lure deer within range. When setting up a decoy, I use my Halo XL450 rangefinder to range exactly twenty yards from my blind, then place the decoy into position. By having a decoy at twenty yards, I know when a deer gets nearby the decoy, it is well within comfortable shooting range. Another attractant a hunter can use is a deer scent on a wick or in a mock scrape. On many occasions, I have used scents such as Buck Bombs 2 Hot Does liquid that comes with a scent wick to hang on a tree limb or brush nearby the hunting area. Another attractant to draw deer within a specific range is Doe in Estrus, used with a Scent Hammock over a mock scrape. Either scent choice gives a specific location for a deer to come.
The challenge that invokes the drive for bowhunters to put so much work into a blind and bow set up and take the proper steps to ensure they are within bow range is time and effort well spent when it creates the perfect scenario to close the deal on a trophy buck.
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/thumbnail_image2.jpg9601280John Fennellhttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngJohn Fennell2021-11-11 21:00:542021-11-11 21:01:38Tips And Tricks for Bowhunting in A Ground Blind
Deer Blinds 101 | Ground, Bale, Hub, and Box Blinds
Not so long ago, most deer hunters headed out to their favorite hunting spot with a thermos full of coffee or soup, some sort of cushion to sit on, and their trusty firearm slung over their shoulder. This checklist of must-haves might be the same, however, the setup at thatparticular destination looks very different today. Parents and Grandparents across the land tell many hunting tales where they were positioned on the ground up against a mature tree or up on a ridge with a few branches stacked up in front of them to provide some level of concealment. Throughout time, we have enhanced our concealment methods with many different options to try and remain undetected while in the whitetail woods. The first advanced deer blinds began taking shape with strong fabric materials, then we started using wood to construct shooting houses, and eventually we added elevation with towers and platforms. If you walk into any outdoor retailer today, you can become quite overwhelmed with the amount of options you have while shopping for a deer blind. There are countless designs that use a plethora of different materials all while providing the option of permanent, semi-permanent, or mobile setups. Understanding the fundamental differences and the intended use for each style will really help in narrowing down your selection on the optimal choice for your particular hunting location.
The Ground /Hub Blind
The most popular deer blind on the market today is by far the pop-up ground blind. This hub-style tent design has provided hunters means to set up a new blind with 360-degree concealment anywhere they please within just a few minutes time. Being lightweight, packable, and durable, pop-up style blinds create shelter on those foul weather days and expand the number of sits in the field throughout the season. The Muddy line of ground blinds can be packed in using the carrying case and back-pack style straps for easy transport.
One major advantage of using a ground blind is having an alternative in areas where there are a scarce number of mature trees, limiting your options for hanging a treestand. A whitetails preferred bedding habitat is usually thick with young saplings and undergrowth. If you are trying to hunt close to bedded deer, a well brushed in ground blind can really pay off if set up properly. Something you’ll want to keep in mind though is not to get too comfortable with unfavorable wind directions. Even though you are concealed in a thick fabric, your scent will still carry and you still need ensure you are placing your blind down wind of their beds.
Another fantastic location for placing your ground blind is in transition areas. These are popular locations for bucks to stage before exposing themselves in ag fields or open timber. Dry creek beds that run alongside a patch of timber or marshy grass lands that lead into a swamp are a couple other examples of where a ground blind can be a real asset. The Muddy Ravage and VS360 are durable and resistant to harsh weather. Watch them disappear as you brush in the Epic camo covered canvas with surrounding vegetation. If being on the ground just isn’t providing the views that you would like, Muddy’s line of ground blinds can easily be elevated. Both the Ravage and VS360 can be placed on a tower or platform, but Muddy specifically created a soft-sided hub blind to be robust enough to withstand the higher winds that come with a lifted blind. The Soft Side 360 is constructed with a powder coated steel frame and has insulated fabric walls. If you decide to stay grounded or raise yourself to new heights, Muddy’s line of ground blinds has you covered.
The Bale Blind
One of the coolest alternatives for those who hunt farm lands, prairies, or meadows is the creation of the bale blind. The shape and color replicates a bale of hay that deer across the country are used to seeing in open areas. The heavy-duty steel frame is covered with a burlap material that will blend right in just like another piece of farm equipment. How many times have you hunted a field edge and watched deer move into the center well out of your shooting range? The bale blind can place you right in the center of the action and deer won’t have a clue that they are being hunted. I would advise setting out your bale blind prior to the start of the hunting season so the deer have a chance to get use to its presence. Once it’s in a particular location for a short period of time, deer will no longer act cautious and will come in close proximity. Those who have hunted in a bale blind the first day after setting it up have not had the results others have who have waited a couple weeks. If you have a trail camera to place in front of the blind, it wouldn’t hurt to set it up and monitor how the deer are reacting. If you start seeing photos of deer getting closer and closer to the blind without hesitation, you know the blind is no longer considered a foreign object to your herd.
A bale blind is beneficial, because it can be used in early season, pre-rut, rut, post-rut and late season. You can catch that target buck still on his early season feeding patterns before he starts chasing does and changes his routine. Setting a bale blind in a field during peak rutting activity will put you close to bucks who drop their guard to predators. Plus, if you have a reliable food source that deer frequent, such as a late season food plot, bucks will be looking to pack the pounds back on after a hard rut. Having the bale blind established in a field where deer tend to feed can give you a front row seat to “Mr. Big” as he puts on his winter weight. The Muddy bale blinds are very sturdy at 90 lbs. and large enough for some maneuverability inside if you need to reposition yourself for the perfect shot. Hunting from inside one of these unique blinds can be an exciting new way to put yourself closer to that trophy and provide some great footage as well.
The Box Blind
Most of us have that one friend who has a deer blind all decked out with heaters, insulation, carpet, cup holders for his coffee, and basically everything but a television inside. Trying to build one of those blinds is plenty difficult, buttrying to make it durable enough to last through several winters can be a lot of work, time, and money. Besides the initial construction, usually the homemade big box blinds require a new roof every couple years, frequent applications of camo paint or fabric to the outside, and resealing the cracks where insects and critters have crawled in adds up to a pretty expensive hassle. Muddy developed a line of box blinds that accommodate every type of hunter and requires little maintenance year after year. The Gunner, Bull, and Penthouse blinds all are constructed with thermal, scent, and noise control walls creating a stealth mode environment. Installing either one of these box blinds on one of Muddy’s steel tower options will give you that true luxury hunting experience.
The most obvious advantage is being able to hunt in comfort during those frigid snowy late seasons. With the warmth and security of an elevated box blind at your disposal, it takes any weather forecast out of the equation when deciding whether or not to go hunting. No matter your weapon of choice, bow or firearm, the Bull and Penthouse blinds have window options that are configured to adhere to any shot position.
Finding a location for your tower box blind should involve some serious thought and consideration since they are not easily moved. For example, food plots should be built with the box blind position in mind before working the ground. This will avoid any second guessing after a plot is seeded and the blind isn’t as easily accessible for relocation. The prime locations for Muddy’s box blinds are areas with good clear shooting lanes. Ag fields, food plots, watering holes, etc. are all areas with open views in several directions. Hunting in a box blind during the rut is a huge advantage for those who can sit all day long. The comfort and security of the box blind really helps when grinding out several long days in a stand during this time of the year when mature bucks are most active. Pack a few meals, bring your spouse or kids and enjoy the experience without worrying about weather conditions. Established box blinds can make your buddies really jealous, especially when you start having success year after year.
Whitetails have evolved throughout the history of their species and so have we. Our ambush locations have become more sophisticated and advanced as we learn more and more about deer behavior. Deer blinds should be treated like any other piece of hunting equipment, such as your gun, bow, binoculars, etc. Investing in a quality product like Muddy’s ground blinds, bale blinds, or box blinds will result in more successful hunts if used in the proper fashion. Pop-up ground blinds are extremely mobile, yet durable and conceal hunters extremely well. Bale blinds are a new trend that has proven to be successful in open terrain where cover is scarce. Lastly, box blinds can extend your hunts and put you on trophy deer throughout the entire whitetail season. All of these options have their niche and are proven to be fruitful when used appropriately.
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Muddy_DeerBlindApplication_Feature.jpg12281840Muddy Outdoorshttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngMuddy Outdoors2018-11-01 18:18:332018-11-01 19:53:47Deer Blinds | Best Application for Each Type
Establishing a food plot is an investment. It is an investment of your time, your money, and your effort. Most hunters devote to establishing a food plot in order to reap the benefits later in the year with the benefits, of course, being opportunities at a mature white-tailed buck or a long spurred gobbler. There is no question that if you enjoy hunting and harvesting wild game, that establishing and maintaining a food plot can greatly increase your chances for success. With spring arriving, spring food plots started now, can create exactly the opportunities you can expect.
Back to the Basics:
Contrary to popular belief, not all food plots are created equal. To think that you can simply toss some seed on the ground and have it be successful is simply not true. Like anything, the more time and effort you spend planning, installing and maintaining your food plot the better the results will likely be. Before you even break the soil, there are several factors that you’ll need to consider.
Where you decide to place your spring food plot is a critical step in the planning process. You want to ensure that you are creating your food plot in an area where wildlife can easily locate and utilize it, while at the same time ensuring that you are allowing yourself an entrance/exit strategy that works with the area. Establishing a food plot next or near bedding or roosting areas can be advantageous, but it can sometimes be detrimental as well. Most prefer to establish their food plot along clearly defined travel areas, where wildlife may already be frequenting. The other strategy is to simply create a “destination” feeding area where it works for hunting. By creating a food plot that has tremendous pull in attraction and size (a lot of high-quality food), you can make the plot work for your hunting strategy.
The size and shape of a food plot is often something that many who establish them will not really consider, but believe it or not, there is a “better” and a “worse” when it comes to laying out your food plot. When it comes to the shape of your food plot, long and linear will typically prevail over smaller and round any day. The reason for this is rather simple. Wildlife such as white-tailed deer and wild turkeys (among many others) are considered species of edge. They prefer to utilize transitional areas between various cover types as travel and forage areas. This is mainly a defense mechanism that will allow them to flee at the first sign of danger. A long, linear food plot provides a plethora of edge in comparison to a small, round food plot.
Not everyone has access to large farm equipment that can sometimes be required to establish or maintain a food plot. It really doesn’t matter how well you have planned out your food plot if you do not have the means to establish and maintain it. It is critically important to keep these factors in mind when planning your food plot. Being limited to small-scale equipment, such as those that can be utilized by an ATV can significantly play into what species of forage you wish to establish, so be sure to do your homework and plan accordingly.
Food Plot Species | Annual vs. Perennial
When it comes to food plot forages there are two categories to choose from, annuals and perennials. Annuals consist of species like corn, soybean, milo/sorghum and wheat just to name a few. As the name implies, annuals are species that need to be planted every single year. These species are excellent options for wildlife food plots; however, from a cost standpoint they require an investment in time, seed, and effort each year to establish them. Perennials, on the other hand, are species that once planted will germinate year after year. Perennials would consist of species such as clovers, alfalfa, and chicory among many others. These species of food plot forages require an upfront investment of time and money however once established, annual maintenance can generally keep perennial food plots in excellent condition for several seasons. There is no question that in having a diversity of annual and perennial food plots on your property is likely the best case scenario, however, when time and money are limited perennials provides you with a feasible option that can help you grow, hold and harvest more game each and every year.
In terms of species to plant, research goes a long ways. Learning what species are out there for planting is a good way to start. However, you will quickly learn that most “experts” narrow their search and use down to just a handful of great plot species. One of the most common and effective spring food plots is clover. Particularly mixed clover plots (white and red) or straight ladino (white) clover plots work incredibly well. They are browse resistant, can take shade, and are hardy and require little in terms of establishment and maintenance.
The Clover Connection
Among all the species of perennial forages, clover typically ranks at the top of the list. There are multiple species of clovers available for use, however, when it comes to managing for wildlife the most popular variety used is typically Ladino clover.
Also referred to as “white clover”, Ladino clover is a perennial legume that actively grows during the cooler months of the year (spring and fall) and can be established easily and provide an immense wildlife benefit in a short amount of time. Aside from the wildlife benefits, ladino clover is relatively inexpensive and generally doesn’t require much maintenance to keep a stand looking great and providing an excellent source of forage for white-tailed deer and wild turkeys.
Seed Bed Preparation
Regardless of whether you are establishing an annual food plot or a perennial food plot, everything starts with the seed bed. Taking the time to have a soil test conducted in the area you plan to establish your food plot is a critical step that many will simply skip. Ensuring that your soil is up to the task of producing what you are asking it to is important, so take the time to take care of your soil, and your soil will take care of you.
Once your soil test has been completed, it is time to prepare your seed bed. When it comes to seeding clover, having a well-prepared seedbed is important. It doesn’t matter whether you are using a disk, roto-tiller, or plot master to break the ground open when it comes to establishing clovers what matters most of all is how the food plot is finished. Having a smooth seed bed is optimal for establishing a clover plot, so be sure to do your best to remove all of the clods by running a harrow or culti-packer over the site prior to seeding. Once your seed bed is prepared, add any soil amenities as recommended by your soil test and you are set.
Seeding a spring food plot, in particular, is incredibly easy in terms of actually putting the seed on the ground. Clover seed is rather small and can be easily spread by hand or mixed with lime or fertilizer and established with a broadcast seeder attachment on the back of an ATV. Typically, clover species such as Ladino are seeded at a rate of 2 to 3 pure live seed (PLS) pounds per acre. Though the rate is important, what is even more important is ensuring that you have adequately covered your food plot location with seed, so be sure to pay close attention to your coverage area when establishing your food plot. In some instances, thicker seed rate for ladino clover…in the 5 lbs/acre allows for quick germination and ground coverage. This means the food plot is a thick carpet in just a few weeks. It also means that the plot can hold moisture better than a plot broadcasted with 3lbs/acre.
While seed bed preparation is a very important part of establishing a clover food plot, the timing of the seeding is an equally important part of the process. Without question, the best time of year to establish your clover plot is during the early spring or late winter months. Often referred to as “frost seeding”, starting your clover food plot during these months allows the daily freeze/thaw action of the soil to work the seed into the soil. If you are lucky enough to time your efforts in conjunction with a snow event, then you’re are set. Spreading the seed on top of a fresh snow aids in protecting your seed from being foraged upon by birds and small rodents, while also allowing you to more easily see any areas that you may have missed when seeding.
Maintenance and Care
Ladino clover food plots require very little maintenance and care once established. Generally, all that is required to maintain a hearty forage base is a high mowing (if it’s a large plot >1 acre) to control annual broadleaves or at least one or two herbicide sprayings a year to keep the grass and other weeds at bay. While an ATV mower or brush cutter is typically the preferred method, raising the mower deck on your riding mower can be enough to do the trick. If you have a small clover plot meaningless than an acre, a lot of deer browse essentially mows the plot. Keep in mind, mowing drastically decreases the amount of food available to your deer, while at the same time opening gaps in the clover for weeds to sprawl up and moisture to escape.
The biggest competition to maintaining your ladino clover plot is generally grass encroachment. You can resort to a heavier-handed approach by using a grass selective herbicide (Clethodim or Sethoxydim) such as Select to help control the encroachment. A grass specific herbicide will only affect grass species, and will not harm the broadleaves such as clovers and other forbs and legumes you might have in your mix and will keep your clover food plot producing year in and year out.
Bucks, Beards, and Babies
So, aside from the return on investment why would you want to establish a perennial clover plot? The answer is simple; from a wildlife standpoint, these perennial legume plots provide a source of protein and other important nutrients that are important for the health of the white-tailed deer on your farm. From improving lactation in does to helping grow larger antlers in bucks, these plots will be utilized from the spring months all the way through the first frost. In addition to providing a forage base, these areas are also often selected by does as fawning locations and can help increase the fawn survival on your farm as well. Clover fills the gap where late season food sources finally are completely exhausted, and soybeans and other crops have yet to be planted. Essentially clover is the missing species that can provide the food and nutrition when it is likely not available.
There is no question that a clover plot is an excellent place to encounter a gobbler in the spring, and the reason is simple, ladino clover plots provide wild turkeys with an excellent source of forage as well. In addition to the forage that the clover itself provides, these areas also attract a wide range of soft-bodied insects which are an important source of protein for wild turkeys. In addition to adult wild turkeys, these plots provide an excellent brood rearing location for young turkeys as well. Ladino clover plots, not only help you to harvest more wildlife, but they also help you to grow more wildlife!
No matter if you are chasing a big buck or a long beard, ladino clover plots can help you to be successful. Wildlife will utilize these spring food plots all year long, which can really help you to monitor the wildlife on your property throughout the year. A clover plot is an excellent location to maintain a trail camera set throughout the course of the year. These food plots are perfect locations to utilize your trail cameras in conjunction with a ground stake. Have an “in the field perspective” can not only provide your with some excellent information pertain to the health of the wildlife on your property but can also provide you with some amazing trail camera pictures as well. Ground stakes provide you with a way of collecting the exact information you wish to collect and remove the issue of finding the perfect tree or trimming limbs and a clover plot is a perfect place to use it.
There is something about hunting over a ladino clover plot from a ground blind that is special. Ground blinds like a bale blind can often blind right into the surrounding vegetation and are perfect for these types of locations. During the early fall, when there is still ample foliage on the trees and undergrowth, archery hunting from a tree stand can sometimes be challenging, and with ladino clover food plots generally being areas of high use during the early fall, hunting from a ground blind can be an extremely effective approach.
If you are looking for a way to increase the number of white-tailed deer and wild turkeys on your property while at the same time, increasing your opportunities for success then consider establishing a ladino clover food plot, and begin reaping the rewards!
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/spring-food-plots_FEature.jpg640960Muddy Outdoorshttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngMuddy Outdoors2017-03-23 17:03:012017-09-18 19:13:45The Power of Perennials | Spring Food Plots
Bow hunting any game is making a commitment to a challenge in itself. Whether its deer, other big game, or turkeys, taking a bow to the field can be a humbling experience and with time can become the only hunting you take part in. Bow hunting turkeys is one of these challenges. Why some may have mastered turkey hunting, one thing is undeniable, drawing on a turkey is the biggest challenge. Multiple toms, or vigilant hens become major problems for turkey hunters. The most dreaded part is just trying to draw with all of those eyes around, but there are some tips such as using ground blinds that can help you be successful. Here are some tips to make hunting turkeys with a bow a little easier with ground blinds.
Bow Hunting Turkeys With Ground Blinds | Early Season Toms
(Video) Trophy Pursuit staff has some luck with early season gobblers. Several turkeys killed with bows out of Muddy ground blinds.
Ground Blind Selection
Ground blinds make turkey hunting easier. This is an extraordinary advantage when it comes to bow hunting. The biggest problem turkey hunters will run into when hunting out of a ground blind is selecting and hunting out of the wrong type. Face it, some blinds were just not made for bow hunters, they are small, with few windows, and everything seems to be in the way. Some of these blinds also don’t take into consideration what a bow hunter truly needs out of a ground blind for turkeys. What is needed, everything focused on the most important part…the draw.
Space- the biggest thing that bow hunters run into is enough space to draw. A ground blind needs to have enough room to bring up the bow, draw, hold, and swivel on for moving targets and an accurate shot. If your back arm is brushing against the blind, or limbs are touching the roof, or broadhead is catching just beneath the window there is a significant problem. A big blind, enough for multiple people, bow hunters, and even some extra gear like camera equipment would look something like The Bale Blind or VS360 Ground Blind by Muddy. These blinds are wide, tall, and perfect for bow hunting turkeys.
Invisible Draw- A blind that has enough windows to kill a bird out of it, but at the same time can provide a dark, flat black interior to make anything inside disappear, is desirable. Wearing dark clothing and either a black facemask, or black face paint, even a black bow all helps being inside a blind. Drawing inside the blind under the low light makes it near impossible for the keen eyes of a turkey to spot.
Comfort- If you have hunted out of a ground blinds before, especially one not made with requirements for bow hunting, you have been in some uncomfortable situations. With turkey or deer hunting out of ground blinds, finding a seat that is the perfect height to stay hidden but also be able to see out of the blind and draw out of is hard to find. Pair these restraints with the additional requirement for a seat that is completely silent, and you might as well just kneel on the ground. A big comfortable ground blind, with the addition of Muddy’s Swivel-Ease Ground Blind Seat or Folding Tripod Ground Seat
Bow Hunting Turkeys | Turkey Raw Double Muddy
(Video) Raw video footage of bow hunting turkeys. A double with multiple camera angles is caught on film by the trophy pursuit team out of a Muddy ground blind.
Bow Hunting Tips
Getting the right ground blind solves a lot of the problems and challenges of bow hunting turkeys. It conceals your draw, it gives you time to make a great shot, and it allows you to concentrate on every aspect of the hunt. Other than this, take the tips that you just witnessed from the Trophy Pursuit team. Use a quality broadhead, draw when the birds fan is blocking his view, and be sure to take your time with the shot. Bow hunting turkeys can be tough, but the right ground blind can make this challenge not only successful but twice as enjoyable.
https://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Tips-for-bow-hunting-turkeys-out-of-ground-binds-Muddy-Outdoors.jpg714960Muddy Outdoorshttps://www.gomuddy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Muddy_Logo_shadow-Low.pngMuddy Outdoors2016-04-22 18:47:592016-09-28 12:56:00Ground Blinds | Tips for Turkey Hunting With a Bow