A Whitetailer's Guide to Spring by Ben Rising
Spring is the time of year that we deer hunters fill with mushroom hunting, turkey hunting, fishing, and baseball. But in reality, we never stop thinking about those mature whitetails we want to chase in the fall. As whitetail hunters, there are many things we can do this time of year to help prepare us for the fall to get a shot at that particular deer we've been dreaming about. Here are a few things I do in the spring to prepare for the fall.
Dive into the Sanctuary
Scouting areas you especially don't touch in the fall can be an effective way to put little pieces of the puzzle together. Finding those big buck beds, intersections, exit routes, and scrapes can show important information for the fall. Keeping a mental note or marking icons on your map can help jog your memory when it comes time to hang that Echo or Helo in the fall.
Trim Your Lanes
I like to carry a pole saw or a handsaw while working and scouting in the spring to trim out particular trees or sets to prepare them for hunting season. It may seem simple, but I always run into a set that needs to be cleaned up, so having a saw in the tractor or on my hip always comes in handy and saves me time in the fall.
Spring Food Plot Maintenance
The biggest chore in the spring is plot maintenance. I am a big fan of clover plots because clover is an investment that will be productive for 4 to 6 years if properly taken care of. In the spring, I use products like PlotBoost, Clethodim, and Butyrac on my clover plots. Using chemicals on your plots can be very effective, but make sure you are following guidelines when applying. If you need a good mix to care for clover, here is what I use with my ATV and boom sprayer to care for my plots:
Clover Spray Mix
I apply the following mixture to my clover plots to remove weeds and unwanted grasses. I’m sure there are other methods and chemicals to use, but this is what I have done for years. Pair spring spraying with a couple of mowings throughout the summer, and you’ll have beautiful clover plots to hunt over in the fall.
Butyrac for Broadleaf Weeds
24-32 ounces per acre
Clethodim for Grasses
6-16 ounces per acre
20 Gallon Mixture = 2 Acres of Coverage
When we’re done chasing turkeys and picking up sheds, springtime kicks off the hard work that is the whitetail offseason. These three things are always top of mind for me when working in the tractor or in the timber, and they keep me busy until late summer arrives with more chores that indicate whitetail season is near.