Deer Food Plots: When, How to Mow Clover

mow plotSome fellows in a hunt club in Michigan wrote and asked:

Mike: How often should we mow our food plots? We generally mow ours down to 8-10" tall, approximately once a month in the summer.

Also, how often should we apply herbicides? We've only applied once a year in the past, but it seems that is not enough to control the grasses and weeds on some of the plots.

I reached out to the land-management experts at Biolgic, and they said:

How often to mow is on a case by case, plot by plot basis. We try and limit our clover fields to around a 25% bloom. In other words, when the bloom is on we mow or clip off the tops. When the plants start the process of going to seed or seed production, they lose forage quality. By mowing your plots, the plants are forced back into forage production.

It may be once, twice or three times a summer that your plots need mowing. It really depends on the rain (or lack thereof) and as much on the deer-browse pressure as anything else. Small plots often don't need mowing where larger ones do.

As for herbicides, multiple applications may be needed to kill all the grasses in a plot. Remember some weeds about to germinate when others are dying so it’s an ongoing battle. But you can stay ahead by evaluating your plots and mowing and applying chemicals smartly. Make sure to read and follow all labels when using herbicides.

NRA Endorses Donald Trump for President


On Friday the NRA endorsed Donald Trump for President. This early endorsement of Trump (in a presidential election year, the NRA typically waits until much later in the fall to endorse a candidate) reveals how important the gun-rights organization feels this election will be.

In a statement, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox said: “The stakes in this year’s presidential election could not be higher for gun owners. If Hillary Clinton gets the opportunity to replace Antonin Scalia with an anti-gun Supreme Court justice, we will lose the individual right to keep a gun in the home for self-defense. …  So the choice for gun owners in this election is clear. And that choice is Donald Trump.”

Moments after accepting the endorsement, Trump spoke to a gathering of NRA members at the organization’s annual meeting in Louisville, KY and said 3 things that you as a gun owner need to remember:

“Crooked Hillary is the most anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment candidate,” he said. “She wants to take your guns away from you, just remember that.”

He took it further, saying, “Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment.”

To all of us Trump said, “I will not let you down.”

It’s no secret that Hillary has been anti-gun for decades, but as the socialist Bernie Sanders continues to drag her further and further left, she has increased up her hateful rhetoric on guns and our gun rights even more.

I began my career working at the NRA 30 years ago. I am a proud life member of the NRA, and have followed the #2A debate closely ever since. To my mind, there is little doubt that for us gun owners this is the most important presidential election in history.

The NRA’s endorsement of Donald Trump is major because gun owners vote and vote in numbers. If you are not an NRA member join now.


Whitetail Fawn Facts

fawns 1 (2)We celebrate these beautiful little creatures!

A fawn weighs 4 to 8 pounds at birth; their weight doubles in 2 weeks.

A fawn has a unique smell that the mother doe recognizes.

A fawn spends its first month in hiding, separate from the doe, except to nurse 2 to 4 times a day.

A healthy fawn can outrun you when it’s only days old.

A fawn has about 300 white spots.

25% of twin fawns have different fathers.

Twin fawns are the norm. In a prime habitat where the soil/feed/cover is outstanding, 20% to 30% of does might drop triplets. In a habitat with poor soils and feed, a doe is lucky to have and raise one fawn.

An individual doe might have 2 buck fawns or 2 doe fawns, but by the end of fawning season things average out to about 50-50 doe and bucks fawns born to a herd.


Can Deer Fawns Have 2 Fathers?

fawnThe cutest animals on Earth have started dropping, and in celebration  we’ll be posting fun and informative fawn facts over the next few weeks.

Question from Dave in Alabama: Mike, I’ve heard that whitetail fawns can have more than one buck as a daddy, is that right?

In the case of twins and triplets, a definite yes. A Texas A&M-Kingsville study found that 16 of 23 sets of twins had 2 different sires, typically one mature buck and another buck 2½ years or younger. Researchers suggest the younger bucks are opportunistic little devils, sneaking in to breed the doe just before or after the mature buck does.

And get this: Scientists at Auburn University reported 3 different buck sires for a set of triplets!

This is a big reason why trying to manage a herd’s genetics is so unpredictable.

Tennessee: New Buck Law for 2016 Deer Season

button buckThe Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission (TFWC) has changed the legal definition of a buck deer for the 2016-17 hunting season.

Previously, a deer with tiny spikes less than 3 inches long was considered “antlerless,” and did not count against a hunter’s annual 2-buck limit.

Under the new rule, any deer with boned antler “protruding above the hairline” is considered a buck and will count toward the hunter’s limit. I believe that button buck fawns, where the hairline is not broken by antler, will still be considered antlerless, but don’t quote me on that.

The new rule has caused a stir with Tennessee hunters. Many people point out that it can be difficult to distinguish a buck with tiny spikes from a doe. I agree. I don’t care how long you’ve been hunting, and how carefully you look at a deer’s head and body characteristics, you can still mistake a buck with nubs for a doe, especially at distance and in low light.

In fact it happens quite a bit. A biologist who has been involved in many deer-reduction hunts (where the goal is to shoot X number of does to help balance the herd) told me one time that it is not uncommon for 10-20% of the “does” they shoot to end up being bucks. These shooters are extremely experienced whitetail managers and hunters.

But Tennessee does give you 2 buck tags, so if you mistakenly shoot a tiny spike like that, tag it and keep hunting for your next buck. Who can argue with that?

Here’s the troubling thing. In the discussion, some Tennessee hunters think many people will shoot what they think is a doe, walk up and see that it’s tiny spike and hide it, without checking the deer. Or, leave the little buck to rot in the woods, so as not to burn a buck tag.

No good, ethical hunter would do either of these crimes. But unfortunately, I can see how it could and probably will happen. I can see rule causing some heartburn for state game wardens.

But many Tennessee hunters support the changes and more restrictive regulations designed to grow more mature and quality bucks in the state.

What you think of this rule? Is it hard for you to distinguish a buck from a doe? What is your state’s rule?