Posts

Muddy’s Trail Camera Schedule | Setups, Tips, Settings, and More

Trail Camera Tips | Muddy’s Trail Camera Schedule

If you’re like many hunters, your trail cameras are probably in full swing right about this time of the year. Early bow hunting seasons aren’t that far off, and bucks are starting to look pretty enticing when they pose for a portrait. But once the fall hunting season is finished, do you pack your cameras up and quit until next summer? Most people do, and they’re missing out on a lot of critical information about the deer they hunt. Here’s a comprehensive trail camera schedule you can use to keep tabs on the deer herd throughout the entire year.

But first, what can you learn from an annual trail camera schedule? Plenty. In the winter, you can keep tabs on deer to see which bucks made it through the hunting season and help you plan for next year, plus you might even find some shed antlers in the process. Spring means lots of new deer hitting the woods, so you can watch your clover fields as they fill up with pregnant or nursing does and bucks trying to recover from the winter. In the summer, you can watch bucks as they start to grow their antlers and develop a hit list for the current season. And then, of course, you know what fall means – lots of opportunities to learn where deer are bedding and feeding so you can put all of that trail camera work to good use and hopefully arrow a buck.

October Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • Cooler weather, great fall scenes, and lots of deer action all combine to create the most magical time of the year for deer hunters. But there’s a lot happening for deer and their habitats in October. For one, bachelor groups should all be split up as bucks shift ranges and get more competitive and aggressive with one another. The native vegetation should be drying up and most crops are starting to be harvested, which is reducing or changing their food sources to acorns, apples, and waste grain. Leaves fall in autumn, which drastically changes summer bedding areas and movement patterns. On top of it all, there are more hunters out in the woods to pressure deer. When all of these things combine, it’s what many people call the October lull. The best time to hunt the October lull is absolutely during and right after a cold front, which gets the bucks on their feet and moving around again.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • In this magical deer hunting month, the best trail camera setup location is on deer scrapes – either natural or mock scrapes. Bucks and does both start using scrapes heavily in October to communicate breeding statuses, which make them great focal points for trail cameras. If you can find a scrape (or make a mock scrape) downwind of a doe bedding area or within a funnel to a food source, you can be pretty confident you will catch bucks using it. 

Trail Camera Settings 

  • This is when trail camera tactics really matter for hunting purposes. Since your trail cameras will likely be located on scrapes, using photo bursts or videos are a good way to get great shots of the bucks in your area. Videos of bucks rubbing licking branches or making a scrape are exciting to watch! Also, make sure you know how to hide a trail camera – keep them well camouflaged with brush and off to the side of approaching trails so you don’t spook approaching deer. Check your trail cameras often enough to know what deer are there, but not enough to pressure them.

November Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • In most of the Midwest and even parts of the south, November means one thing for deer hunting: the rut. During this time, bucks tend to make mistakes, which means you can have a good chance to shoot one. Many a buck has been led to his doom by following a hot doe. The weather also typically takes a nose dive this time of the year, producing very cold temperatures and maybe even snow. Deer will really key in on high energy (carbohydrate) foods, including any remaining nuts, apples, corn, beans, turnips, and cereal grains.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • Like October, deer scrapes can still produce some great trail camera pictures since bucks are actively seeking does. Food plots can occasionally still catch bucks during the day if your property is very unpressured and secluded since does will still feed and they attract bucks. But if you’re using trail cameras on public land or you have a smaller pressured property, scrapes are the way to go. Funnels between bedding areas and food sources are also good, especially if you take habitat and topography into consideration.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • For November, you really need to know how to set up a trail camera. Bucks are usually hot on the hooves of any estrous doe they find, so the usual trail camera settings may not work well. The pace is fast, and you may miss the action if you don’t take the time to do the right settings. With a 6 photo burst or a 2 minute video, you can be sure that any doe that passes through will trigger the camera, but you will also catch the buck following her. 
  • Additionally, just like October, you should position the camera higher (about 6 feet off the ground) so it is slightly out of a deer’s immediate view. Use a stick behind the top of the camera to position it downward. Also, keep it angled about 45 degrees to trails approaching scrapes so you don’t spook the deer you want pictures of. 
  • As far as how long to leave a trail camera out in November, check them sparingly so you don’t spook deer, but often enough to know where you should be hunting. A good way to do this is to set up cameras near your access trails so you can easily check them while you enter or leave a tree stand location.

 

December Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • This the beginning of the hardest time in a Midwest whitetail’s life: winter. Cold weather, biting winds, snow, and a decrease in high quality food all work against them. In southern areas, there may yet be good food sources available for deer, but there’s definitely a change. In addition, most bow hunting seasons are still open and some late season muzzleloader hunts may also open, which can pressure them. While bucks are weary and worn down from the rut, they will still feed with does and may breed any that come into estrous late, but food becomes the priority for them in December. You may also want to harvest does for meat at this point in the season since it will be your last chance until next year. 

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • Since deer are transitioning to late season food sources (such as standing corn/beans, green cover crops, or turnips), the edges of these fields and trails leading to them are the best spots to hang trail cameras in December.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • For the last calendar month of the year in open field settings, you should switch your trail camera settings back to the time lapse function. You can choose the interval of how often the camera takes pictures and also what time of day it takes them (e.g., 2 hours before dusk, etc.). Hang it higher in a tree so that you can see the whole field, which may mean hanging it 10 feet up in some cases. In the dusk example, remember to aim it northeast so it’s looking directly away from the setting sun. This allows you to see exactly how deer are using the field and moving across it.

January Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • January is a tough time for whitetails. Bucks have been running all over their region chasing does down and fighting other bucks, not to mention dodging natural predators and us. During all that activity, they seldom stop to eat much either, which means they lose a substantial amount of body weight right during the coldest time of the year, when they need it most.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras  

  • In the mid-winter months, food plots and fields with standing agricultural crops (corn, soybeans, etc.) are some of the best places to hang trail cameras. Deer are looking for calories to help fuel them throughout the winter, and these crops will do that. Hanging a trail camera on a trail entering these areas also allows you to see what’s dropping for early shed hunting purposes.

Trail Camera Settings  

  • In winter, you will face two battles with your trail cams. One is the cold – it doesn’t take long for temperatures below zero to drain your battery life. The other is the snow – make sure your cameras are mounted to the tree or post above the snowline (4 to 5 feet is better than the usual 2 to 3 feet). Also, all the snow glare can make your photos turn out badly, so face them north to avoid the low southern sun. 
  • Because of the uphill battle against the cold and snow, you may want to check your cameras pretty regularly (every few weeks) if you want them to consistently take pictures. Otherwise, you may find that you arrive and your camera is buried in snow and has dead batteries. 

February Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • As with January, February is a hard month. In most areas, even standing crops can be picked over by now, forcing deer to rely on natural woody browse as their sole food source. Deer are also battling some of the coldest temperatures of the year, which means they seek thermal cover (e.g., thick spruce plantations, tall grasses, gullies out of the wind, etc.) whenever they’re not feeding.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • If there are still crop food sources available, these are still the best places for trail cameras. If you find that the deer have switched to feeding on browse in a certain area, try putting a trail camera on the trails leading from bedding areas to the browse. The trails are very easy to follow in the snow!

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Again, you will be facing the cold and snow in February, so hang your cameras higher than usual and check them regularly. Also, keep the trail camera placement facing north. 

 March Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • While southern hunters are out enjoying the woods in March, it is more or less the same as the other winter months in much of the Midwest, but it does offer a glimmer of hope. Temperatures start to climb and the snow pack may be melting slowly away. This can be one of the worst times for whitetails because they have browsed most high preference browse by now, but it’s too early for new growth yet. The melting of the snow may also reveal shed antlers for you to find.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • It seems most typical feeding areas are not attractive anymore and bedding areas are not easily accessible without spooking deer regularly. While that doesn’t matter for hunting purposes, you don’t want to stress the deer herd when they’re at their most vulnerable. Plus, if any bucks are still carrying antlers you would like to find, bumping them off of your property won’t help with that effort. Deer trails, especially where they cross a farm lane or hunting property road are fantastic. You can easily sneak in to check your cameras regularly without disturbing them, and keep tabs on when the deer are shedding their antlers.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Since you’ll be using your camera on a deer trail, you need a relatively fast burst of pictures to capture the action as they move through. Alternatively, you could use the video mode too.

April Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • April is the turning point for the Midwest, as spring starts to slowly appear. The deep and shaded parts of the forests still contain very deep snow, but open areas melt fairly quickly. Deer may feed on newly exposed vegetation, but also still browse on whatever they can find.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • Deer trails and small openings are some of the best places for trail cameras this time of year. If you’re located further south, then perennial clover food plots and alfalfa fields will likely be greening up by then, and the deer will definitely be spending time in them. Plus, you have the bonus of scouting turkeys for spring turkey hunting with your trail cameras at the same time.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • In open fields, you shouldn’t have to worry about the snow anymore and there’s no growing vegetation that will interfere with the pictures, so you can resume your trail camera mounting height at about 3 feet off the ground to get a good deer eye level shot.

May Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • May is a very welcomed rest for whitetails because all kinds of natural vegetation starts growing like crazy again, including lush forbs, grasses, and tender new buds and twigs. Providing perennial clover fields on some part of your property is a great way to start feeding deer as soon as the weather warms up. Does are likely to give birth to fawns this month or the next, and bucks start to lump together in bachelor groups for the summer.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras  

  • In the early spring, it’s tough to beat lush green fields and food plots for watching does and fawns on trail cameras. Unless bucks have a distinct marking on them, it will probably be too early to start identifying any prior year bucks until their antlers grow back. Another good spot to hang your cameras in spring is a mineral site. Bucks, does, and fawns will all stop by mineral sites from spring through fall.  
  • One benefit of using trail cameras in the spring, especially along field edges or on mineral sites tucked into the cover, is that you can scout for turkey hunting still, and catch all kinds of other animals on camera, including black bears, foxes, bobcats, grouse, and many others.

Trail Camera Settings  

  • This time of year, you don’t have to necessarily worry about how to program a trail camera. You can really use whatever trail camera setting you want. If you’d like to get some videos of young fawns playing around in the fields, this is a great time to do it. If you’d rather just take pictures, you can set the delays and intervals to whatever you wish. In all likelihood, intel you get this time of year won’t tell you a whole lot about how to hunt next season. But if you’re a trail camera addict like us, you will just enjoy getting all kinds of great pictures.

June Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • When June hits the calendar, it’s time to start thinking about summer trail camera strategies. Deer will start hitting food sources and bedding areas pretty consistently throughout the summer. Bucks continue to build up their bodies and antlers by eating high protein foods and does need calories to keep up their milk supplies to feed their fawns. In highly productive areas, it’s not uncommon for a doe to support twins, so he needs to keep up the food consumption.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • It’s true that deer will reliably hit food sources hard in the summer, but food sources can be very scattered this time of year with all the abundant lush food available. Since there’s a lot of cover and no pressure from us in the summer, deer will often bed short distances from ag fields and food plots, which may be a great spot to hang cameras.  
  • However, better spots that will reliably attract deer include mineral sites and feeder stations. Where legal, these two areas will consistently pull deer in for great trail cam pictures. Corn is probably the best attractant for game cameras in these scenarios. Mounting trail cameras to a post or nearby tree is all you need to do.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Again, you can choose your own preferences this time of year, but start focusing your trail cameras on taking bursts of photos when triggered, so you can be sure you get a few different pictures of a deer when it shows up to a mineral site, feeder, or food plot. Bucks will start to show some antler growth, and velvet pictures are amazing to look at. Try to stay away from your cameras during the summer, checking them only when you need to refresh your mineral site or feeder. While spooking deer this time of year won’t affect hunting, why pressure deer now if you don’t have to?

July Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • July is a similar story to June – deer continue to feed heavily to build up their fat reserves. Bucks keep building antlers and does keep fueling little fawns. The high heat and humidity may encourage deer to seek out water sources more frequently, which is definitely one of the best summer trail camera tips.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • Also like June, food plots, feeder stations, and mineral licks are the best spots to catch most deer (including bachelor groups of bucks) on camera. If you can pair a water hole or natural water feature with a mineral site, deer will stick around even longer for better pictures.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • As far as trail camera height, hang your trail cameras higher (4 to 5 feet) in the summer to avoid vegetation from blocking views, or occasionally visit your cameras to trim the vegetation down. Try to keep your cameras in the shade and pointed north so you don’t have a ton of pictures with glare.

August Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • During the month of August, a lot of native forbs and grasses start to dry out, causing deer to abandon them a little. Fortunately, soft mast trees (e.g., apples, crabapples, plums, cherries, etc.) and hard mast trees (primarily oaks) start ripening and dropping fruit this time of year. Deer will eagerly ignore most native forbs to feed on these highly nutritious and digestible fruits and nuts. Bachelor groups of bucks will usually be pretty visible in open fields as dusk approaches.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • If you have a grove of hard or soft mast trees that start dropping fruit, this could be a great place to hang a trail camera. Alternatively, you could place cameras on an established deer trail within a pinch point or funnel between the mast trees and their primary bedding area.  
  • If you don’t have any mast trees on your property, mineral sites and feeder stations will still attract deer. And placing trail cameras on field edges of large soybean fields this time of year will definitely still produce some good pictures.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Follow much of the same advice for July (i.e., hanging cameras higher, pointing north, clearing vegetation, etc.).

September Trail Camera Schedule

Conditions 

  • Once September hits, most bow seasons open up and it probably feels like Christmas day to you. But for the deer, it’s the start of several months of harassment and pressure from us, not to mention changing conditions. September may have heat waves here and there, but you’ll notice temperatures start to cool down a bit. Bachelor groups start to break up a bit as they start shedding their velvet.

Where to Hang Trail Cameras 

  • For one of the last times of the year, food plots and ag fields are still a good spot to get daylight pictures of bucks. As the hunting season opens, most bucks tend to go nocturnal on many properties. Additionally, trails in between mast trees and bedding can still work well too. Just make sure the camera is pointed slightly towards the bedding area to get good afternoon/evening pictures.

Trail Camera Settings 

  • Keep your trail cameras taking bursts of photos so you don’t miss a buck moving through quickly. Alternatively, use the Muddy Pro-Cam 20 bundle (one of the best trail cameras on the market) to take time-lapse pictures before dusk to get an idea of which deer are using the food plot regularly. If you’re bow hunting, check your cameras enough to inform your hunting locations without putting too much pressure on the deer before October.

Time to Use This Trail Camera Schedule

There’s a lot of information in this article and we hope it hasn’t intimidated you. This trail camera schedule is meant to give you some new ideas on how and when to use trail cameras throughout the year so you can have the best hunting opportunities. Good luck this season!

Tips for Tagging an Early October Buck

Patterning Early Season Whitetails | October Deer Hunting Tips

Hunting seasons all across the country have opened up and hunters are heading to the field in hopes of having an opportunity at a target buck before the rut goes into full swing.  We took a few minutes and asked some reputable hunters in the whitetail world what their keys are to finding success early and tagging an early October buck.

Mark Drury, Drury Outdoors:

Greener pastures.  This is one of my favorite phases. It incorporates September 25- October 12th and is where DeerCast can be an invaluable tool. The key is to catch a cold front and to setup on a green field in the evening, or close to a bedroom on the first morning after a cold front. 

It’s during this time that acorns are beginning to drop, so finding a good white oak flat to hunt can be a killer strategy for a morning sit. Other food sources deer can’t resist during this time are BioLogic’s Clover Plus and Deer Radishes. Use your most recent information (MRI) from your trail cameras to figure out where best to hunt.  In the past we’ve had great luck hunting out of Muddy Box Blinds on green plots as they help contain our scent and we can place them right where they need to be.

Terry Drury, Drury Outdoors:

Early October is all about getting daytime trail camera photos. Create a green food source like BioLogic Clover Plus adjacent to a mast producing stand of white oaks, with water nearby and you’ve got a whitetail haven. While daylight bucks can be difficult to find at this phase of the season, time your hunts with a rising moon in the afternoon or evening that coincides with their normal feeding pattern or a morning when the setting moon is hanging up later and you could catch a monster heading back to bed later than normal.

 

James Edwards, 540 Outdoors Land Management

It may surprise you but October is my favorite time to kill big deer, second to late season and my least favorite being November. I’ve killed over half of the deer on my walls opening week of bow season. For early October its much like late season in that its all about evening hunts over food. Different then late season though is that there is more food available in early October so the deer have many more options then they do in late season when all you really have to do is having standing grain in the right spot, keep pressure out, and wait on the right wind with brutal cold. So for opening week you either have to have a very strategically placed food plot near where they like to bed (which is my favorite way to hunt opening week) or you have to do your homework with scouting to know where they are staging in the evening before dark. My favorite way to kill an opening week buck is to spend a few years getting to know him and letting him grow, then the year I want to kill him, go in and create a brand new fall food plot that he can’t resist that’s near his early October bedding location.

 

Joe Sir, Rizen Media:

I’ve had a decent bit of success the first week of October in years past. A lot comes down to the structure of your farm, what you are able to do food plot wise and how it hunts. For me the keys have been small secluded food plots near bedding where that I can non-intrusively monitor with trail cameras and that deer feel safe entering during daylight hours.  I have a handful of plots I have designed to fit this need. Brassica plot size ranges from 1/4 to 3/4 acres on inside corners of CRP or larger ag fields. Typically, they are planted in a turnip/brassica mix so the appeal is growing towards the beginning of October when Iowa opens. Also, monitoring these plots in a low pressure way is crucial to success. For me, its a matter of conditioning the deer with how and when I check trail cameras. Every camera is checked by the use of UTV. Its less intrusive than entering on foot as it isn’t out of the norm for activity a deer is somewhat accustomed to in the Midwest. I believe that early season can provide one of the best chances to fill a tag. I look at it this way; if I’m sitting on the couch and get hungry, and chips and salsa are on the coffee table within arms reach I’m probably going to grab them.  Good luck!

Bart Stanley, Team Muddy:

A well timed cold front can always get the big mature bucks on their feet earlier and going back to bed later than normal. I think you either have to have an early season food source (evening) or the food source needs to be a good distance away from the bedding area and you have to sneak into the bedroom or into a corridor of a well known bedroom early in morning. I had luck on the morning of October 4th, 2014 when I killed a nice 155” 9 point 20 minutes after first light as he was going back to a bedding area. It was a time where a nice cold front matched up on a weekend where I needed a NW wind to hunt this spot in AM.

 

Blake Lefler, Team Muddy:

This is a feat that really requires the stars to align, however it is one of the best times of the season to hone in on a specific buck and kill him before the craze of the rut. In October, I think using Muddy trail cameras to pattern the bedding and feeding pattern of a buck is critical. The lowest risk option is to get a good fall food source such as brassicas or clover close to the bedding area of a target buck. From there, pick days to hunt where the chances of daylight movement are statistically higher; high pressure, cold fronts specifically. The high risk option would be to identify a specific bedding area that a target buck is using, and attempt to hunt it on a morning; again choosing weather conditions that are favorable for daylight movement. Get into your stand long before grey light to be certain you can get into the area with the best chance that most deer will still be feeding. This tactic can be deadly but can also educate a buck that he is being hunted long before he becomes vulnerable to the rut. Weigh out your options before deciding if this risk is worth the reward.

Chris Dunkin, Muddy Outdoors:

Early October has turned into one of my favorite times of the year to hunt.  Patterning a big buck through the use of Muddy Pro Cams is the first step.  He may be hitting acorns on an oak flat, staging in a certain area before entering a large ag field, or frequenting a small food plot that you’ve planted.  Regardless, the key is to find him through the use of your cameras, get him on a pattern, and then move in when the time is right.  Just because the season opens on October 1st doesn’t mean that you need to hunt if the weather conditions aren’t right.  The element of surprise should be on your side when you slip in to kill him, so hold your cards tight and make a move when it makes the most sense to do so.

Conclusion

Hopefully you can take a few of the tips above and use them to catch up with an Early-October buck.  As the season rolls on, we want to wish you the best of luck. Please share your success stories and photos on our Muddy Outdoors social pages!  We would love to hear about your #MuddyMoments this year, and we want to sincerely thank you for trusting in the Muddy brand.

 

 

4 of the Best Fall Food Plot Setups

4 of the Best Fall Food Plots for Deer Hunting

As most hunters figure out, hunting mature Whitetails is a game of chess.  Hunters are constantly strategizing, analyzing, and scheming to be one step ahead of these sly creatures.  One of the best ways to gain that upper hand is to learn how to be a better hunter; i.e. become a better chess player.  But what if you took it one step further?  What if you could actually create your own chess board?  Essentially, you could then predict their next move and know where that buck is going to be at certain times of the season. Some of the very best fall food plots for deer can do just that…provide a chess board that nearly guarantee’s a win!  

Food plots do a lot more than just providing a healthy source of food for your deer herd.  They also shape travel patterns, create hubs for social activity, and recruit neighboring deer.  These are all great benefits of planting food plots, but what most hunters overlook is how to effectively hunt those plots and maximize the output of that resource.   

How many times have you sat in your tree stand with a proud grin on your face as you’re overlooking the plush green vegetation that you’ve worked endlessly to create during those summer months?  It’s a rewarding feeling, no doubt.  Now imagine seeing your target buck walk out into your plot 15 minutes before dark.  You’ve only seen nighttime trail camera photos of him and thought he was virtually unhuntable.  Now he is broadside at 20 yards and has no idea you are there.  That proud grin just turned into a full ear-to-ear smile.  Give yourself this ultimate advantage by following these top 4 food plot setups to bring in mature bucks.

Food Plot #1  Early Bird Buffet

This is an early season plot that can be a dependable location for that first sit of the year.  It’s purposely designed so that it’s not too invasive and you should try to use the taller grasses and foliage as a screen when accessing your stand in these warmer months.  Play your cards right and you could be first in line at the taxidermist.   

Where:  Ideally you would like to hug tight to a water source such as a creek or pond, but not too far from bedding areas in order to draw in mature bucks from their bed in daylight. 

Seed:  Soybeans and sorghum are rich in protein, green during this time of year, and the deer can’t stay off it. 

Shape:  Wrap this plot around the water source so the deer can’t skirt around when traveling through.  If you can, design a pinch point as the entry into the plot from the nearest bedding area. 

Trail Camera:  Set the Pro-Cam 20 on time-lapse mode to capture those entry and exit points. 

Stand:  Avoid working too hard and getting hot and sweaty when climbing into your early season stand.  The Odyssey XTL ladder stand is reliable, comfortable, and easy to access with minimal effort on big plots like this.

Food Plot #2 – Temptation Island

The Temptation Island plot is a staging kill plot that needs to be planted early to minimize intrusion in the months approaching hunting season.  The goal of this food plot is to position this island plot in a way that bucks do not have far to travel when getting up from their beds to satisfy their famished bellies.  Hunting this close to bedded bucks will result in a higher number of daytime sightings and shooting opportunities. 

Where:  Placed in between buck bedding and communal food sources. 

Seed:  Clover is your best choice since its reliable, browse tolerant for small plots, and low maintenance. 

Shape:  This plot doesn’t have to be large in size.  Just big enough to entice mature bucks to stop for an appetizer on their way to the main course. 

Trail Camera:  Make sure your Pro-Cam 14 or 20 is setup close to your tree stand.  You don’t want to be dropping your scent when pulling cards on the opposite side of the food plot.  Try placing a mock scrape in front of the camera on the edge of the plot, which adds something a buck will have to check if working through the area. 

Stand:  Shifting winds on a small plot can ruin your hunt real fast.  Use a Muddy Vantage Point stand with Aerolite climbing sticks to allow for ample mobility.

Food Plot #3 – The Show Time Plot

This is where all the magic happens.  The purpose of the Show Time plot is to create a stage for rutting activity.  You want to focus on attracting does to this food source, which will lead to bucks cruising through with their noses on the ground looking for a girlfriend.  Love is in the air, so take advantage of those testosterone filled bucks who let their guard down. 

Where:  Best locations are pinch points, funnels, and downwind of doe bedding areas. 

Seed:  Oats and peas, even combined with winter wheat and rye work really well here since they are highly resistant to early season grazing, ensuring your plot won’t be picked clean before the rut begins. 

Shape:  Shapes can vary depending on the landscape, however, you want to create a wide view for yourself so you don’t get surprised by bucks chasing at high speeds.  Multiple fingers like a turkey foot food plot design could work wonders if you’re hunting with a rifle. 

Trail Camera:  Pro-Cams are best placed in front of scrap trees and rub lines where you will typically see a lot of activity in and out of the plot.  If the plot is not designed with multiple fingers like a turkey foot, you can simply set the Pro-Cam high and on time-lapse to gather general daytime feeding intel. 

Stand:  The Nexus XTL provides the height and the large platform to maneuver around for a better position when that rutted up hit list buck comes within range.

 Food Plot #4 – The Binger Plot

As the late season begins, bucks are worn out from the rut and have shed a lot of weight.  In order to survive the winter, they need to pack the pounds back on and indulge on as many sugars and carbs as possible.  This is where you can really take advantage of shooter bucks that typically spend their home range on neighboring properties.  If those surrounding areas do not have a late season option to help sustain those deer populations, you can bet they will travel to your Binger plot to bulk back up.  Bottom line…. If you have food, they will come. 

Where:  Plant this plot in the interior sections of your property.  You will find bucks adjusting their core areas and a main food source will allow you to inhale neighboring deer. 

Seed:  Brassica’s, such as turnips, generate an elevated level of glucose when hit by a cold frost.  This can be combined with a strategy earlier in the year for standing grain, buy planting early maturing soybeans (turn faster for brassica planting).  You can also mix brassicas with winter wheat, rye, and even oats to provide more tonnage and draw deer in before the brassicas become attractive.  Bucks will hammer this type of fall food plot to get energy for recovery, as well as scent check remaining does and fawns feeding in the plot. 

Shape:  Planting in long rows to create shooting lanes for firearms, muzzleloaders, and crossbows can be extremely effective during this time period. 

Trail Camera:  Positioning Pro-Cams on field edges overlooking the food plot will fill up your SD cards with quality intel.  Don’t be surprised if you have a few bucks show up that you have not seen before.  The Muddy Pro-Cam features the hybrid mode, allowing time lapse cameras to also catch any movement, so set the camera up overlooking the field and a potential funnel to tighten your hunting setup. 

Stand:  Investing in a Muddy Bull or Penthouse blind provides different window options depending on your weapon of choice and keeps you nice and warm during these frigid winter months.

Conclusion

Food plots aren’t just a means of generating food on your property.  Besides helping to sustain a balanced and healthy deer herd, food plots can (and should) be used as a tool when planning out your hunting strategies.  Invest your time and energy in the offseason and you will capitalize on your sweat equity if you utilize these food plot setups.  Procrastination only leads to excuses and frustration during the season.  Well procrastination ends now.  Take that next step.  Creating environments that make mature bucks more predictable, placing yourself in those areas during the right time of the year, and investing in quality equipment will ultimately produce consistent opportunities at trophy bucks year over year.

 

5 Ways to Locate & Pattern Your Top Hit List Buck

Muddy Trail Camera Tactics | Trail Camera Tips for Finding Hit List Bucks

By: Aaron Outdoors  

Can you feel it? Yep, that’s right. It’s the anticipation of your next trail camera card pull. It’s like Christmas in August. The food plots have been planted, the stands are being hung, you spend your evenings glassing for your next trophy buck, but the most exciting part of the pre-season is that mid-day card pull. Now is time to take your scouting to the next level with the certain trail camera tips that help develop your buck hit list. Trail cameras are a vital tool to all hunters nowadays and there is no better way to take inventory on your deer herd than top notch trail cameras like the Muddy Pro Cam 14 or 20. For that reason, hunters have to know where to place these cameras. Here are 5 sure fire trail camera locations to locate and pattern your hit list bucks for this fall! 

1. The Edges of Food Plots

This time of year the deer have one thing on their mind… FOOD! There is also no shortage of it. Food plots and agricultural field edges are perfect locations to set up a Muddy Pro Cam. I prefer either a soybean field or clover plot as these are both very popular food sources during late summer for whitetail deer. The Muddy Pro Cam 20 is a perfect tool because it includes a time-lapse feature that allows you to create a custom period for photos in your food plot. My favorite time to use this feature is before dusk, because this is the time I generally spend hunting these types of food sources in the early season. A Pro Cam in the edge of a food plot will help you pattern a shooter buck for opening day!

2. Mineral Sites 

One of my favorite locations to set a Pro Cam up in the preseason is over an established deer mineral site. More than likely, your shooter buck has used an established mineral site several times over his lifespan and he feels comfortable using it. I have found that in many cases, bucks will spend several minutes at a time at one mineral site, providing me with tons of photos that I can use for the current year and years to come. Different types of deer minerals can work for your piece of property. Find one that works for you and set out a Muddy Pro Cam! You won’t be disappointed.

3. Entry & Exit Routes to Known Bedding Areas

This tactic may have actually started with some post season scouting from last season. Many bucks tend to use the same bedding areas each year, if at all possible. Of course, there will be some bucks that change their patterns, but if you can locate where a particular deer is bedding, which way he is entering and exiting the bedding area, then you can find a pattern you can work with. The Muddy Pro Cam’s trigger speed is key to capturing mature bucks entering and exiting his bedding area. This can be a risky tactic at times, you must be sure to not bump a buck out from his bedding area. I recommend leaving this camera location unbothered for several weeks in between card checks to leave as little human scent as possible so the deer feel comfortable. If executed properly, you may just find where your top hit-lister spends most of his time.

4. Deer Scrapes 

Yes, scrapes. I know it’s not mid-October yet and no I am not getting ahead of myself. Over the years our Muddy Pro Cams have shown that particular bucks will use the same scrape year round. Of course, most of the activity comes during the pre-rut period, but don’t count out old scrapes. If you can find a mature buck using a scrape in late summer, you know you’re in his home range and you just may have the ticket to a successful hunt this fall. I prefer the Muddy Pro Cam 20’s Video Mode over these types of scrapes. One you can see which direction the buck approaches the scrape and two, who doesn’t love awesome video of a velvet buck?! Scrapes are another fun and successful way to pattern big bucks!


5. Water Sources for Deer 

Of course I couldn’t leave out one of the most important if not THE most important for deer habitat…WATER. Obviously deer have to have water to survive, and the summers across most of the country tend to be very hot and dry. This makes water sources an essential place to set out trail cameras during this time of the year. A Pro Cam over a watering hole, creek, or stream could be vital in patterning a mature buck. Deer will often leave bedding areas and food plots in search of water, making it a perfect place to hunt late in the evenings of the early season. If your hunting property does not have a water source, make one. Large tubs and even kids swimming pools can be made into a great tool in attracting whitetails to a water source. If you have a large water source such as a creek or river running through your property like I do, you may have better luck setting your camera over well used deer trails leading to the water. This could help pinpoint your top hit-lister.

We all have our favorite tactics in patterning mature whitetails, but of course, all of mine lead back to the Pro Cam series by Muddy. They are small, concealable, and reliable tools for patterning big bucks! Get your Muddy Pro Cams today so you, too, can execute your favorite tactics and have your Muddy Moment this fall!

Spring Turkey Scouting and Trail Camera Tips

Pre-Season Turkey Scouting with Trail Cameras

By: Blake Aaron of Aaron Outdoors 

For those of us not located in the deep south, turkey season remains what feels like centuries away. However, don’t waste your time by wishing the preseason away. There is still a lot of work that can and should be done. Many people do not utilize their tools and time wisely to pattern turkeys for opening day. There are many “sweet” spots on your properties that can be concentrated on. These turkey scouting tips should come in handy so that you can have your #MuddyMoment on opening day!

A great tool to utilize in preseason scouting is a trail camera. Trail cameras are vital to patterning birds. They can provide you with information of where the birds are feeding, strutting, dusting, and even roostingMuddy’s lineup of cameras gives you multiple price point options to choose from as well as tons of features.  Utilizing trail cameras to do the turkey scouting for you not only saves you time, but they keep intrusion low and do the scouting while you’re not there.

Where to Setup Your Trail Cameras for Scouting Turkeys

1. Haul Roads (logging roads/field drives) 

Turkeys love to travel haul roads through farms because, like humans, turkeys tend to travel through the path of least resistance (most of the time). Haul roads make perfect strutting lanes for seasoned gobblers. Many times, the gobblers will fly down off of their roost and on to haul roads to strut which makes them visible to hens that could be roosted close by and easy for the hens to find. Lastly, haul roads are very good for hunting late in the spring season. The foliage and grass has now grown, but the haul roads remain short, making it a prime area for toms to continue to strut.  

2. Mature Cedar Trees/Dusting Areas 

Cedar trees are a perfect place to set up cameras in the preseason because turkeys will use them to stay out of the weather. It also provides them a great place to dust. Turkeys will stay in flocks and dig out holes to dust in under the cedars. Where there are hens, there will be toms. These males frequently check out these dusting areas and use them as strutting zones as well to attract those dusting hens. Turkeys will use dusting areas throughout the season so finding these types of areas could be key to your success this season.  

3. Food Plots 

When hunters think of food plots they think of deer hunting, however, food plots are great places to utilize your trail cameras for preseason scouting. Even after a long winter that has led to lack of food in the plot, turkeys will continue to use the plot as a food source due to the amount of insects and worms in the ground that are easy to find. Also, green plots such as clover or wheat (if not too tall) will be a super hot spot to find a big tom(s). If you have more than one plot to hunt, utilize trail cameras to tell you which plot is being frequented the most by the turkeys as well as what times.  Plot watcher mode, which is a feature on the Pro Cam 20 and Pro Cam 20 bundle, is a great tool to use on large food plots.  Plot watcher mode allows you to custom set the time and amount of photos your camera takes, even if not being triggered by an animal.  For example, you can set your Pro Cam 20 to take photos every minute from 7 am to 10 am and you’ll be able to see if turkeys were in the plot at that time.

These are just a few areas that you can use to do some preseason scouting on your properties with your trail cameras. The more you scout, the better chance you will have at punching your turkey tag this spring! Good luck!

Summer Checklist | Are You Ready For Deer Season?

Summer Deer Hunting Checklist

If you live and breathe the pursuit of hunting whitetails the summer is obviously not a time to relax! For those of us ate up enough with hunting, the understanding is that deer season is a 365 day a year event. Sure our fortunes as deer hunters are made mostly during November, but we spend the other days, weeks, and months daydreaming about and preparing for deer season. In fact so much thought and prepping is put into deer season that it would be astonishing to see the thoughts and the to-do list drawn out on paper. The thoughts, ideas, chores, and what-ifs in your head should now be organized and prioritized into a deer hunting checklist!

Take notes and check off these to-do’s as you complete them. Whether you are just a couple months from deer season or just week if not days away from it, now is the time to ensure you are ready! Some may be a higher priority than others for you depending on your situation and property, but overall this summer deer hunting checklist should help organize what you need to be done!

After looking through the checklist keep reading for more detailed explanations of why these items made the list!

Offseason Deer Hunting Checklist

  • Plant/Manage Food Plots
  • Buy License/Read regulations
  • Utilize Minerals, Supplements, and Bait (or remove bait before season)
  • Check and Run Trail Cameras (full batteries, empty formatted SD cards)
  • Gather an Inventory (trail camera survey)
  • Scout for the Early Season
  • Tree Stand, Tripod Stand, and Box Blind Safety Check
  • Safety Harness and Safe-Line check
  • Sight in/Practice Bow and Firearm
  • Create Detailed and Organized Maps
  • Think Through Your Hunting Pack

Food Plots

Summer is food plot season.  Planting food for your deer not only provides extra protein for growth but forage to sustain your herd in the cold weather of the late fall and winter.  Planting food plots takes several easy steps although it can be time-consuming.

First, test the soil to find the pH or acidity level of the ground you wish to cultivate for your food plot.  Finding the acidity will help you decide the next steps such as liming and seed choice.  Lime is a base which helps bring balance to unbalanced soils.  If your chosen area has had the nutrients washed away on a steep grade or is higher in elevation, then you will want to find the right amount of lime per acre needed to balance the pH to help optimize seed growth. Second, choosing the right seed for the pH is critical.  Typically seed manufacturers will have the information on each seed and what pH the plant will grow in best. Taking into consideration what your goals are for a given location you will want to plant accordingly.  Having a mix of high protein plants with high carbs and sugar –rich plants can help you create a year-round optimized buffet for your whitetails.

In some cases, access to farm equipment is not possible.  Through the power of science, seed manufacturers have been able to develop seed blends perfect for simply throwing on the untilled surface of the earth.  Typically, these are perfect for food plots in the woods where small clearings make for perfect ambush locations.  To create a food plot in the woods it is important to spray the weeds and rake away any debris like leaves, rocks, and sticks. Seeds must hit the open dirt.  Carry a sturdy metal garden rake and have durable work gloves to protect from blisters.  Cut the canopy of the trees back as much as possible to maximize sunlight.  Lack of sunlight is what kills most food plot efforts.

Create/Organize Your Maps

As we review the surroundings it is a bet practice to review first from the sky. Whether you use Google earth or a physical topographical map it is important to mark on map points of interest to scout.  The aerial review provides a fresh perspective and can open new opportunities for stand locations.  By paying close attention to the contours of the land you can find hidden travel corridors which guide deer travel such as saddles and benches, hidden field corners and bottlenecks.  Marking on map points of interest to scout helps organize your efforts and make the best use of your time.  Physical maps like those made from HunTerra Maps are a handy tool to be able to have at home or in the truck

Plan What to Do with Your Trail Cameras

In the interest of time management, it is important to make trail cameras a part of your summer scouting checklist. Ensure each camera is in peak functioning form by checking each before hanging.  Check the connections at the batteries for corrosion.  Moisture can corrode metal coils and render a camera useless. The last thing you want is to set a camera up in a prime location and not capture any photos due to faulty or damaged wires.  Always buy fresh batteries and use cleared and formatted SD cards to optimize performance when scouting for deer in the summer.  Double check the straps on used to hold your camera to a tree are not dry rotted and risk dropping your expensive camera.  When setting up a camera make sure it is facing North to ensure pictures will not be ruined by glare.  Sun glare ruins photos at peak deer activity in the early mornings.  Check to make sure all branches are out of the way of the camera that could trigger the motion sensor as a false alarm! Summer is a critical time for inventory, so make sure you are utilizing them as best as possible. Proven summer strategies for trail cameras include mineral sites, trail camera surveys, time-lapse over food sources, and transition areas between bedding areas and food.

Mineral, Supplements, and Bait

Protein and mineral supplements are a storied part of any spring and summer scouting season.  In the heat of the summer, it is the best way to capture the photos to take inventory of the deer you really want to chase.  Especially in areas where the soil is lacking nutrients, supplemental feeding and mineral sites in states where it is legal may be your best option to help push the growth of your herd during the growing months.  Protein supplements are valuable and research tells us that finding a mix with 16-18% protein is optimal.  Minerals are also important for bucks and does.  During gestation and lactation does have high requirements for calcium and magnesium to supplement their growing fawns. A buck will utilize calcium and phosphorus by storing it in his body to use throughout antler growth.  Growing bucks require tremendous amounts of minerals as they are growing their bodies and their headgear! Be sure to take out these bait sites well before deer season if required by law!

Build Cover

As important as food is to the whitetail so too is cover.  Mature whitetails, both bucks and does, require safety.  Remember, deer are food and they know it all too well. Creating a safe place near food is a recipe for success. The best way to create your own safe place for deer is through the use of a chainsaw and hinge cutting trees. While cutting mature hardwoods is best under the eye of a trained forestry professional, there is plenty one can accomplish with a chainsaw properly cutting small to medium sized trees and scrub brush of little timber value to create a thick jungle of safety for deer. Cut properly, hinge cut trees will still produce browse for deer further increasing the value for deer. When cutting trees and brush it is important to use the following accessories.  First, always wear eye protection.  Wood chips and dirt flying everywhere from being cut can pose a serious threat to your eyes and face. A full face guard is advised. Second, always have a tool kit with the right equipment to deal with chains that may jump the track. A spare sharpened chain is a valuable asset as well.

Stands

Getting your stands ready for the fall is a ritual of the season.  Checking stands for safety is of utmost importance.  Straps in particular that have exposed to weather for any amount of time in the fall and winter ought to be checked for weakness.  A dry rotted strap can easily break putting you into a rather dangerous situation.  Inspect the cables on all stands to look for any weaknesses and check the bolts for rust which can ultimately deteriorate the safety of a tree stand.

Glass

Resist the urge to sit in your stand to scout during the summer.  There is no sense if muddying up your area when you can scout fields from afar.  A lot of hunters have lost the art of simply glassing for bachelor groups. The reliance on trail cameras for the majority of their scouting has left this tactic underappreciated. Glassing summer food sources and travel routes from several hundred yards away can be critical when developing an early season hunting strategy. While basic 10×42 binoculars are plenty efficient, having a spotting scope with real magnification power like 20-60x60mm puts you far enough away from the summer action to not risk spooking deer.

REMEMBER: As always in the hot summer months and even towards the beginning of deer season it is important to always check for ticks!  Illnesses from ticks are an epidemic and hunters are perhaps at the most risk.  Always remember to spray down with deet or pre-wash your clothing in permethrin.  Keep all clothing sealed off to prevent ticks from crawling onto you.  A full body check after you exit the field is necessary and make sure to hang your clothes out after a hunt to let all the ticks crawl off.

The dog days of summer are no time to relax for the committed deer hunter. This is when the homework happens to create success in the fall.  While it is easy to become overwhelmed with all the work that needs to be done, setting a summer deer hunting checklist can help you organize your time efficiently and leave nothing to chance when the weather turns cold!

tree stands

What Style of Hunter are You?

Tree Stand Matching Guide | What Style of Hunter are You? 

There is no doubt that each hunter has a preferred method of hunting and many incorporate a variety of hunting styles that change with the season, terrain, and the weather. Even though it is more typical to stalk hunt in many of the western states and often favorable in some Midwestern states, hunting from elevated stands has steadily grown in popularity across all regions.  The right tree stand can be the difference in being able to sit the hours needed to make a successful harvest of that elusive trophy buck or getting down early and missing the opportunity entirely. There are a variety of elevated stands available regardless of which style of stand hunter you are.

Which Style of Hunter are You?

Each hunter has his/her own style when it comes to hunting. Sometimes the year, weather, or property steers the style of hunting you might go with for the year. However, taking a look in the general sense at your hunting strategies and tactics will allow you to make a conclusion on which style hunter you are, this later down the road can help you make decisions on which gear is right for your style.

The One and Done

The One and Done hunter is often only in the woods opening day and a few following days while the pressure is low and the odds are high for a successful harvest.

The One and Done hunter often is going to spend their time in the stand opening day of gun season or the opener in the early season. Often these hunters are filling the freezer and the lack of pressure of deer early in the season offers high odds of a harvest. Habitually deer are going to be easy to pattern early season if the hunter has had game cameras out or has done any scouting. Deer will use the same corridors, pinch points, staging areas, feeding areas, food plots and mineral licks as they have leading up to opening day and until the pre-rut rituals begin.  The One and Done also would apply to those hunters that only appear in the woods the opener of gun season or perhaps the weekend after.

The Family Man/Soccer Mom

The Family Man or the Soccer Mom hunter is going to be limited to the days and hours hunting because of family obligations.

The Family Man or Soccer Mom are often going to frequent the same stand that was erected preseason for the lack of time in scouting and moving stands, however, this is not always the case. Some of these hunters are skilled with their time and resources and can plan according to the limited time they have available. They make due with what they have, and hit the woods at sporadic times throughout the week and snag any available weekend that may appear.

The Public Land Gypsy

The Public Land Gypsy will be more apt to move around a lot on parcels of public land and wildlife management areas. Often not having the option of leaving a stand on the land overnight.

When hunting public land, using topo maps or maps that the state has issued for public land use, a hunter goes in Nomad mode seeking the perfect spot for the highest odds of game traffic. The diehard public land hunter is not going to stick to the edges where more pressure is put on game from those hunters who fail to wander into the heart of the property.

The Weatherman 

The Weatherman hunter is one who will hunt a variety of stands specifically for what the wind direction or weather is doing.

A Weatherman hunter is going to plan the hunt based on wind direction and what is projected by the weather radar.  Naturally, this style hunter will have several stands to choose from on any given hunt. A “fair-weather” hunter can be placed in this category for the fact that they will choose an enclosed stand for the day’s hunt or forego the hunt altogether. The weatherman can usually hunt often, but can also be limited to hunting days as they often single out cold and high-pressure fronts.   

The Paparazzi

The Paparazzi hunter is going to place their stands depending on what their game camera strategy has proven in the area.

 

The Paparazzi hunter is motivated by what the game cameras have captured, having a “hit-list” of bucks for the season. The paparazzi hunter will strategically place stands in the areas that the hit-list bucks are known to travel proven via trail camera results. The paparazzi hunter will take advantage of a variety of stand types and will hunt long hours any chance they get.

The Food Plot Hugger

The Food Plot Hugger hunts only over food plots or agricultural fields.

Food Plot hunters tend to place stands hugging the edges of green fields, food plots, and agricultural fields or corridors and staging areas leading to the food sources. It is not rare to find that this style of hunter will only hunt during afternoon hours due to the natural instinct for deer to frequent these areas before, or at sundown. If the terrain allows for food plot hunters to access a stand without busting deer off the food source, some hunters will hunt these stands in the morning hours.

The Rut Crazed Hunter

The Rut Crazed hunter spends the majority of their time on the hunt during the prime rut paying attention to rut funnels and high traffic areas.

A Rut Crazed hunter plans long hunts around the captivating buck rut. It is not rare for the rut-crazed hunter to spend all day in the stand for several consecutive days in a row or for an entire week or more during legal hunting hours. During a strong rut, it is not hard for the rut crazed hunter to sit all day due to the anticipated excitement of deer traffic or rut action that could unfold at any given moment.

The Full-Time Sportsman

The Full-Time Sportsman is diehard and will be physically in the woods every waking hour possible during the open season. They have no strict hunting preferences and continuously studies the terrain, moon phases, barometric pressure, and often relate to the Farmer’s Almanac or the old timer’s tales. They are often the most “experience-educated” hunter among all the styles.

The Full-Time Sportsman uses every method available, at one point or another, during the season in pursuit of the elusive trophy buck. Often, but not in all cases, the full-time sportsman is a trophy hunter and reserves tags for “Hit-List” bucks that have been following through game camera photos and chance encounters from previous seasons. This style hunter is going to have a variety of stands, if not every type of stand, available to them for a variety of hunting situations.

Note: It is not uncommon for a hunter to be any combination of the various styles!

 Match a Tree Stand To Your Style of Hunting

With the numerous styles of tree stands available, finding the perfect stand for the hunter’s style of hunting doesn’t take much research. The various type stands are typically hang-on/lock-on stands, climbing stands, single and double ladder stands, tripods, quadpods, and box blinds.

Hang-On Stands

Hang-on stands, also known as lock-on stands are light stands that incorporate a platform and seat for the main unit that is strapped onto a tree by ratchet straps, chains, or wire cable. This type of stand requires a climbing step system, also referred to as climbing sticks, to be affixed to the tree to gain access to the stand. Hang-on stands are often used in conjunction with ladder stands, or other style stands for a cameraman or a second person stand.

 

Muddy Outdoors offers a variety of hang-on stands that fit the purpose of a variety of hunter styles. The lightweight Vantage Point weighing in at a mere 13 pounds offers four adjustment options for the platform with a flip-back footrest and adjustable Triplex foam waterproof seat that flips up and out of the way for standing. The Vantage Point is designed to be packable with the Muddy Outdoors Climbing System (sold separately) and carried backpack style with the straps included.

Hunting Styles Supported: The Weatherman and Public Land Gypsy

 Climbing Stands

Climber Stands are not favorable for all hunters because they are the most challenging to use among the various types of stands. The advantages of being able to use a climber allow the hunter to hunt in areas that may not be accessible to other type stands or can be carried in and used on newly found signs. Muddy Outdoors offers two climber stands, The Stalker Climber and The Woodsman Climber.

The Woodsman Climber offers all-day comfort with a 2” thick foam sling-style seat and backrest with a padded armrests. The non-slip slats on the foot platform and rubber coated foot straps assist in safe climbing and the flex cable Hybrid Mounting System with a spring-loaded pin for quick adjustment. The Woodsman Climber includes an accessory bag and padded back straps for easy carrying in the woods.

Hunting Styles Supported: Climbing stands are ideal for the public land gypsy, the weatherman, the rut-crazed hunter, the full-time sportsman, as well as, the paparazzi; those hunters who will likely frequent various stands depending on deer movement.

Ladder Stands

Ladder stands seem to be the most popular, widely used style of elevated tree stand because of the ease of use by any age or size of hunter. Ladder stands also give the hunter an option of single or double stands. Muddy Outdoors offers several models of both single ladder stands and double ladder stands. The single ladder stand offering is The Boss Hog, The Grandstand, The Huntsman, The Odyssey, and The Skybox.

The Huntsman is the most economical single ladder stand in the Muddy Outdoors single ladder stand series, offering an extremely comfortable flip-back seat, padded armrests and a deep platform, many other features found in more expensive stands. The Grandstand is the Cadillac of the Muddy Outdoors single ladder stand series. The Grandstand offers a spacious, comfortable flip-back seat to allow the hunter to take advantage of the full foot platform. The shooting rail is a stable prop for gun or crossbow hunting and can be flipped up and secured out of the way for archery hunting. The extra wide, angled steps and handrail adds additional security climbing or descending the stand. The 90-pound weight of this stand results in placing it in areas that the stand will most likely sit for a while.

Hunting Styles Supported: Ladder stands are the perfect solution for the rut-crazed hunter, the family man or soccer mom, the food plot hugger, and the full-time sportsman; those hunters that strategically place a stand and spend many hours hunting out of that stand, especially if they are taking another hunter!

Hunting Tripod and Quadpod Stands

Tripods and quadpod stands give hunters an advantage when there isn’t a perfect tree line or a straight tree for stand placement. This type stand can be used on the edges of the field, in the open, or tucked away in the timbers. Muddy Outdoors offers The Liberty that features a center mount 360° swivel Flex-Tek seat and padded shooting rail, and an easy climb and entry ladder. The Liberty has a 16′ height from ground to shooting rail and weighs in at 132 pounds.

The Nomad Tripod is a compact 12-foot high ladder stand that has an easy entry ladder. The comfortable Flex-Tek seat rotates 360° with a padded 36″ high shooting rail and a steel foot rail. The Nomad might be compact in stature, but it has a weight rating of 500 pounds. The Quad is a 12′ high stand featuring two platform-mounted Flex-Tek chairs and a spacious 57″ x 57″ platform.  A wrap around padded shooting rail is at the perfect height of 36″. The stand is rated for 500 pounds and only weighs 110 pounds. The unique feature of The Quad is that Muddy Outdoors offers a camouflage blind with a roof height measuring 84″ tall in the center and completely encloses the platform portion of this stand. This feature allows this blind to be a great mobile blind similar to a box blind.

Hunting Styles Supported: The weatherman, the family man/soccer mom, the one and done,  and the full-time sportsman will all find these stands the perfect solution for their time on the hunt,

Box Stands/Box Blinds

The last type of stand discussed here, the box blinds or box stands, are usually a little more permanent or require more effort to move around a parcel of land. Muddy Outdoors offers the Gunner and The Bull. Both Muddy Outdoors box blinds offer an optional ladder system and platform. The Gunner is made of insulated Therma-Tek panel sides and features a 70″ x 30″ locking door, with 33″ x 13″ windows. Other convenient features are a drink holder, a gear shelf, and a storage box. The blind, without the platform, weighs 250 pounds and is weight rated up to 500 pounds. A 5 foot, 4’x4′ metal platform is available for this stand which offers an easy access ladder and landing platform complete with handrails.

The Bull is the Mac-Daddy blind in the Muddy Outdoors stand line-up and is typically a stand that is placed in an ideal hotspot and left there for several seasons; such as the edge of a greenfield, agriculture field, a vast area, or on a rise overlooking a bluff or valley. The Therma-Tek system offers a weatherproof, noise-free and scent-free blind by layering high-density foam, tempered hardboard, and marine carpet, all encapsulated in exterior grade UV protected PVC.  When used with the 10′ foot Muddy Tower, The Bull includes a ground anchor with cable and turnbuckle and four 24″ stakes for a secured tie-down system. The easy access ladder with handrail adds security when ascending and descending the stand. The 43″ x 20″ deep platform landing offers two handrails for security when entering the full-length, lockable entry door. The window configuration allows this blind to be used for gun or bow hunting.

Hunting Styles Supported: There is no doubt that this blind makes the perfect hunting solution for the food plot hugger, the weatherman, the family man/soccer mom, the one and done, and the full-time sportsman.

Each model of the Muddy Outdoors tree stands includes safety harnesses which should be properly worn every time a hunter uses an elevated stand.  Muddy Outdoors not only offers a variety of great stands in several styles for every type hunter, but also offers an assortment of stand and blind accessories that bring convenience to any style hunter on the hunt.

Which style hunter are you? Do you have the gear and stands to match your style? Would these matchings make hunting a lot easier for you? Write below and give us your feedback! If you are interested in learning more click the blog below!

Best Trail Camera Strategies for Your Summer

Trail Camera Strategies to Start This Summer

If you’re anything like us, you eat, sleep, and dream about deer hunting throughout the year. If there is a winter storm coming through, we’re thinking about the rut. If we’re sweating through a summer heat wave, we’re thinking about how to get ready for opening day. If that describes your lifestyle too, you probably also enjoy watching deer throughout the year by using trail cams. There’s just something special about trail cameras and how you can stealthily keep track of the deer herd on your property without them having a clue. Sure, you could start glassing fields or summer food plots in the evenings, but that takes more time than most of us actually have. Plus, you might not have any fields near you; maybe you hunt deer in a big woods setting where you can’t easily watch wildlife. These are the situations where having a few hunting cameras hung in key spots on your property can make a big difference to your hunting strategies next fall. Here are a few trail camera strategies to get you started this summer.

Top Trail Camera Strategies for This Summer

It’s not quite as simple as just throwing out a few trail cams in the woods and seeing what walks by. Sure, you could try that approach and you might get to see some wildlife eventually. But to get the most pictures, to get high-quality pictures, and to get information that will actually help you next fall, you need to focus on putting your trail camera in a spot that focuses deer traffic. Here are the best trail camera strategies for the summer.

Food Plots/Agricultural Fields

Food plots are great spots for getting pictures of deer for a few reasons. One, does and bucks alike need lots of calories in the spring to bounce back from the stress of winter. Throughout the summer, they need the food tonnage to build up their body weight and grow antlers to prepare for fall. This means high quality, protein rich forage! If you live in a forested area with very little agricultural food available, a single food plot is even more attractive to deer and your results will be better. Since it’s so critical for their survival, it’s probably the best place to hang trail cams on these locations.

For larger agricultural fields (e.g., corn, soybeans, alfalfa, etc.), the best location for game cameras might seem like the middle of the field where you can see the most deer. But since deer are creatures of the edge and will usually have set travel patterns throughout the summer, the best spot is generally along the field edge near a dominant trail. For smaller food plots (e.g., clover, cereal grains, brassicas, etc.), you can place a trail cam on a post in the middle of the plot without any issues. But really it comes down to just finding a spot that concentrates the activity and facing the game camera in the right direction. One thing to keep in mind is that facing cameras any direction but north will inevitably produce some glare in pictures at some time of the day.

Bedding Areas

Another reliable spot to capture deer pictures on your trail cams this summer is around their bedding area. After feeding throughout the night in destination fields or browsing in cutover areas, deer will shift to daytime bedding areas to chew their cud and rest. Often does and fawns will rest near or even within feeding areas, while bachelor groups of bucks will bed further away. Taking a quick scouting stroll from feeding areas and along main trails can lead you to bedding areas. They’re often easy to spot because of the oval depressions in the grass or weeds. If you’ve ever tackled a few habitat projects on your property, hinge cuts are great bedding areas to check out.

If you’ve designated some bedding areas as deer sanctuaries that are strictly off-limits throughout the year, try installing trail cams along trails on the fringe of the sanctuary instead. Be cautious about checking them too much towards the end of the summer when you want to really hold deer in-place. The bugs will likely be bad enough to convince you to only go once or twice the whole summer anyway. More than likely, you’ll find some small bedding areas outside of these sanctuaries too that you can set and forget until the end of the summer.

Travel Corridors

Of course, any main trails and travel corridors between the two areas above are also great spots to intercept deer movement. With a little desktop scouting, you can easily map these areas and find good potential corridors, but you likely have a few tree stands already hung in these areas anyway. Clear out the herbaceous vegetation in a spot along one of these trails so that you can get a clear trail camera picture. These small openings can also make deer pause long enough for a good picture.

When it comes to positioning your trail cams along trails, the common instinct is to place them so that the camera is off to the side facing perpendicular to the trail. Unfortunately, unless deer are really slow-moving, your camera will likely trigger too late and you’ll only get pictures of their rear end – hardly useful from a hunting perspective. Instead, try positioning your camera facing up or down along the direction of deer travel. Granted, you’ll still get pictures of deer moving away from you half the time, but you’ll get pictures of deer facing the camera the other half of the time.

Mineral Sites/Mineral Stations

Throughout the spring and summer, whitetails love to get an extra dose of minerals from the soil and plants around mineral stations. Lactating does need extra minerals to support their fawns, while Bucks need minerals to build their bony antlers. If you keep the station going for a couple years, you can easily train deer to keep coming back to it as a seasonal mineral source since fawns will be raised to use it. Eventually, the stations often become huge craters where deer have eaten the soil away. Luckily, you can easily set up a mineral site by scraping the debris away and exposing the soil in a given spot. Then you can incorporate some crushed mineral into the top inch of soil or simply place a block or rock on top of it. You can even place it on a semi-rotting stump, which will slowly absorb the minerals as well. But that’s about all it takes to set a station up.

If you’re installing one of these sites expressly for pictures, it’s best to locate it in a shaded understory area. Pictures from trail cams along fields and exposed sites often suffer from lots of glare, which greatly reduces the quality of the photos. But pictures within shaded areas can turn out crisp and clear any time of the day since light doesn’t interfere.

Water Sources

The final place that works great for trail cams are water sources, especially when paired with mineral sites. After eating something salty, we all crave a drink of water – deer are no different. Deer crave sodium due to the high amount of water they get in their metabolism during spring and summer. However, as the summer progresses and other waterholes or creeks go dry, a small water hole next to a mineral site will pull deer in. If you have natural wetlands, ponds, or streams on your property, you can easily locate mineral sites near them for the easiest solution. If you don’t have any water sources, you can easily sink a bucket, small rubber tank, or kid’s pool into the dirt to let it fill with rainwater. You can keep it cleaner by simply refilling it once you check cams. During hot summers or in southern, more arid areas, water sources can be the absolute best place for a trail camera setup, since it is such a draw for them.

How to Hang Trail Cameras and When to Check Them

 Once you’ve identified the spots and trail camera strategies you want to install this summer, it’s time to actually get them out. As already mentioned, pay attention to the direction you face your cameras, as south facing cameras will get lots of unusable pictures with a heavy glare. The one time you can get away with south facing trail cams is if you are in a forested or heavily shaded area. One of the best trail camera tips you’ll hear is to check the batteries and then recheck them to make sure they are fresh. You should also generally clear out some of the tall weeds, grasses, and even some brush in the area so you can avoid lots of false triggers. It’s a really deflating experience when you check your camera to find 1,000 pictures and 900 of them are of swaying grass. You can change the sensitivity level on many cameras to reduce this problem, but it still doesn’t hurt to make a small opening in front of the lens. Bring a simple folding saw with you when you enter the woods so you can easily cut any obstacles down.

Depending on where you’re hanging trail cameras, you may want to leave a trail to get back to them. For new deer bedding areas in big woods spots, for example, consider putting out some trail markers or trail marking tacks to help you find them again. This isn’t a good idea on public land, obviously, as would-be thieves could follow your tacks/markers right to the camera. But it’s a nice option for private land.

As far as when or how often to check your trail cams, it’s a tough call. The less you check them, the less invasive it is and more discrete your spying will be. After all, if you set it and forget about it for a few months, you can basically guarantee that you won’t interfere with the natural deer movement on your property. On the other hand, if your camera malfunctions after only a week of being outdoors, you could miss out on an entire summer’s worth of intelligence, which is just a terrible feeling (we’ve probably all had it happen at some point). Besides, we all feel the temptation to check them weekly. It’s kind of like Christmas morning when you get your chip and start to glance through them on the computer. If you have fresh batteries and haven’t had any issues with your camera before, let it sit in the woods for a month or two at a time, if you can bear it. If you’re not sure about your gear or if the opportunity is too great, then you’ve got two options. You can either charge right in making lots of noise (e.g., starting a chainsaw once in a while, driving an ATV, etc.), which will push deer away well before you spook them at close range. Or you can stealthily sneak in with scent-eliminating clothing and rubber boots to be incognito. It’s up to you and how your property is managed.

Good luck with your cameras this summer. With any luck, you’ll get some great pictures of deer to help guide your bow hunting on opening day this fall!

Feeders, Flashes, and Feathers | Simple Turkey Scouting

Tips on Scouting for Turkeys

There is no doubt that spring has officially sprung across much of the lower forty-eight states, and as old man winter begins to loosen his grip it is only a matter of time until the predawn air is filled with the sound of gobbling long beards.  Spring turkey hunting is the favorite past time of many sportsmen and women across the Country, and although the open day of turkey season may still be several weeks away, the time to begin scouting for turkeys is now.

Turkey-ology

As game species, the wild turkey is often underrated by many and is perceived to be a somewhat easy target to pursue.  The term “bird brain” pretty well sums it all up, and with the art of “fanning” beginning to become popular, many hunters are beginning to subscribe to the notion that turkey hunting isn’t as difficult or challenging of an activity as many would make it out to be.

Now, you don’t have to be a veteran at turkey hunting to know that those who subscribe to the philosophy mentioned above are only fooling themselves.  Turkey hunting, aside from often being physically demanding, requires that the hunter uses every tool at their disposal to put themselves in a position to be successful and sometimes that still is not enough to get the job done.

Turkey hunting success can ultimately be tied to one simple thing, and that is scouting.  Scouting turkeys is the name of the game, and mid-march is an excellent time to begin to do just that.  During the early spring months, wild turkeys will often still be in their winter groups with hens and poults from the previous year comprising one group and gobblers and jakes comprising the other.  Both groups will often utilize the same feeding and roosting areas, however, they will not begin to disperse until later in the spring.  Although still in the bachelor groups, gobblers will begin to strut and gobble starting in mid-march, especially during crisp, cold mornings.  This is no doubt that hearing a gobbler screaming on the limb can help make scouting turkeys an exciting and fun activity for anyone, regardless if you are beginning turkey hunter or a veteran.  As the spring continues to progress, groups of gobblers will begin to break up into singles and pairs, with calling and displaying continuing to increase as well.

scouting-for-turkeys-pic1

Larry Ellis: Photo

Scouting Tips & Tactics

Turkey hunting is all about dedication and preparation.  You need to be able to understand the day to day lives of the gobblers that reside within the area that you will be hunting.  Determining where the turkeys on your property roost and feed as well as locating strutting zones are all important pieces of information that you need to have.  In addition, having an understanding of the overall number of turkeys in your area is also an important piece of information to have at your disposal.

While hitting the woods at dawn to listen for a gobbling long beard is an effective turkey scouting technique, it comes with its limitations.  Turkey’s move, and depending upon where you are, can move a great distance over the course of the day.  Just because a turkey roosts on your farm does not mean that he will be there later in the morning.  It is important to do your best to use all the tools at your disposal to help you when it comes to scouting for turkeys.

Believe it or not, a game feeder and a few trail cameras can really help you when it comes to scouting turkeys and getting set for your turkey hunting adventure.  If you use these tools to your advantage, you can begin to develop an idea of not only how many turkeys you have on your property, but what areas they are using and when.

Feeders | Game Feeder use for Turkeys

Wild turkeys love cracked corn.  It is a source of carbohydrates and is easy for wild turkeys to forage on.  Better yet for the hunter, cracked corn is relatively cheap and for the purposes of scouting for turkeys, a little corn can go a long way.  Before using a game feeder and cracked corn as a means for scouting for turkeys, be sure to check the local regulations in the state that you are in to ensure that you are legal; however, if the use of cracked corn is authorized in your state then you are well on your way to gathering some serious intel.

game feeder for the purposes of scouting turkeys is really an easy process.  The first step is to identify an area that you either know turkeys will be passing through or utilizing at some point during the day.  Try to focus in on areas that you feel turkeys may be utilizing later in the spring, during the turkey hunting season.  This will help you to rule out any unintended perception bias from the trail camera photos.  Once you have your location selected, you can set up your game feeder and get to work.  It doesn’t take much corn lying on the ground to get the attention of wild turkeys.  In fact, for the purposes of gathering trail camera photos, less is more as it will deter other wildlife such as white-tailed deer from staking a claim.  Check the game feeder periodically, however, use caution and do your best to avoid bumping any turkeys off the area.

scouting-for-turkeys-pic2

Flashes | Trail Camera Tips for Turkeys

When it comes to turkey hunting, and specifically scouting for turkeys, trail cameras are your friend.  Trail cameras, especially when live video is available, can provide you with some real-time information that will certainly help you to start developing your turkey hunting game plan for the spring.  When it comes to utilizing trail cameras to scouting for turkeys, the philosophy is simple, you want to have as many cameras out in areas that you feel a gobbler may use at any given time and you want to be able to check the cameras as often as needed without bumping birds.

This is, of course, easier said than done, however, your life becomes much easier if you are utilizing trail cameras that are enabled to stream live video to your laptop or mobile device.  Having the ability to check your cameras remotely allows you to avoid running the risk of spooking any of the turkeys on your property while still receiving valuable information.

scouting-for-turkeys_pic3

If you are utilizing cameras that require to manually check the cards, where and when you check your cameras becomes a little more important.  If you are setting your cameras up in areas such as strut zones or roost sites, the mid-day hours are an excellent time to check your cameras.  If you have your cameras set up next to your game feeder, things become a little more challenging as wild turkeys could be using these areas at any given time, so proceed with caution.

Feathers | Turning Scouting into Hunting

Though it is a simple method, using a game feeder and a few trail cameras to your advantage can really help your gain a better perspective on the number of turkeys in your area and help you to begin to pattern their movements. This is critical information to any turkey hunter!

Spring food plots

The Power of Perennials | Spring Food Plots

Perennial Clover |Spring Food Plots

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.

  • spring-food-plots-tips_pic1Location

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.

  • Layout

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.

  • Installation Limitations

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.

  • spring-food-plots-tips_pic2Food 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.

spring-food-plots-tips_pic3

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.

  • spring-food-plots-tips_pic4Seed 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 Options

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.

  • spring-food-plots_pic5Maintenance 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!

Hunting Strategies

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.

spring-food-plots_pic6-(2)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.

christmas-gifts-for-hunters_pic7If 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!