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Whitetail Deer Food Plot Recipe Whitetail Deer Food Plot Recipes
the original Griffes/Neil whitetail deer food plot recipe (2001 - worked GREAT!!!)
Rusty's whitetail deer food plot mixture (added in 2004)
See what I've tried since 2001 - and how it has worked out
Various hunting and food plot additions sporadically added
Scroll down near end for latest additions
: 28 January 2011

9 Jan 2011
IMPORTANT SAFETY ALERT for Treesuit users:

"Go afield with a good attitude, with the respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk.
Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person."
--Fred Bear--

May 2001 - Jack Griffes and Tim Neil worked out this recipe and planted it at a location in Ingham County, MI. Right now (late Oct 2001) with corn still standing nearby the deer are routinely visiting the planting. Tim saw 15 deer including 4 bucks one evening. Last Friday we saw 2 bucks and 1 doe. Tim has already harvested a (likely car crash) crippled doe from the planting with bow and arrow. My 12 yr. old son, Jared, has come to full draw on a BIG buck but intervening brush caused him not to shoot. I had two perfect opportunities to take the same big buck but managed to botch it twice (back to back within 5 minutes) due to a combination of 3 archery shooting form errors that threw my arrow SEVERELY to the left of point of aim. To date this is the best $50 we have spent on improving deer hunting.

Whitetail deer food plot mix - Griffes/Neil version

Cat # Description Wt. Cost
SCN900 Rape Seed (Canola) 5.25 lbs $3.50
SCN205 Chicory (high mineral) 1.05 lb $7.60
SCL310 Clover, Crimson 1.05 lb $1.90
SCL320 Clover, Ladino 1.05 lb $3.90
SCL305 Clover, Berseem 1.05 lb $2.30
SCL300 Clover, Alsike 1.05 lb $4.20
SCL370 Clover, Sweet White Annual, raw 1.05 lb $1.70
SCL006 Alfalfa, Winter Dormant, raw 1.05 lb $4.60
SCL200 Birdsfoot Trefoil, Broadleaf 1.05 lb $2.80

Subtotal $35.10
Total shipping wt. is 14.70 lbs
Shipping to MI from CA by UPS Ground cost us $14.59
so our Grand Total was $49.69

(seeds designated as "raw" are NOT coated with the inoculant they require to do their BEST - the others are rhizocoated (inoculant coated)- you can buy inoculant for the raw seed - we did not though it is cheap - we figured we had enough inoculant coated seed to pull us through but it is possible that we don't have the proper inoculant for the raw seed on our coated seed - we should likely look at that aspect more carefully in the future and advise you to now)

remember that this planting was designed to grow in the Midwest - in mid-Michigan - if you live somewhere with a vastly different climate you may need a different recipe

we ordered from
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
PO Box 2209
Grass Valley, CA 95945
toll free ORDER line (888) 784-1722


43,560 square feet = One acre (thinking that maybe if you aren't a farm boy or girl you may not have that tidbit of info permanently etched in your memory)

we planted a 1/4 acre clearing in a mixed hardwoods woodlot (sunlight must reach the ground for the food plot to grow) -- we broadcast planted (with a strap carry broadcast seeder) the seed very thick after bush-hogging, plowing, discing ---- if we had drilled in the seed we probably could easily have planted one acre --- if you broadcast you MUST plant thick

Rape grows fast - is favored as food for whitetail deer and seemed to act as a nurse crop for the legumes as well. When they come eat rape while ripe corn is in the field right next door you KNOW it has draw power.

The various legumes reach peak draw power (their highest palatability) at differing times - to "keep 'em coming" to this high protein feast

Chicory is a high mineral herb. Takes lots of minerals to make a nice set of antlers.

You can use "Roundup" to kill existing weeds, then wait a couple weeks and broadcast (or hydroseed should be better) without tilling if tillage equipment cannot get on site.

So if you are interested in improving your deer hunting prospects now you have our recipe - put it to use. Then please let us know how it works for you by emailing your results to jsgriffes@yahoo.com --- Thanks.

=======4 Nov 2001 ==== TEST IN PROGRESS======We are currently testing Buck Fever Synthetics (was Hawgs Limited when tested)www.buckfeverusa.com - they are synthethic scents that do not break down, thus have an infinite shelf life, and are moisture activated in the field - "lasts months in the woods, not hours." So far we are favorably impressed with the BF Pre/Post Rut version (used in Tink's Scent Bombs and on scrapes when first opened up) and the BF FGland version (used on mock rubs and also licking branches over scrapes). Just now beginning testing on the BF Rut version - bucks are chasing does here now.

Jared and I are also favorably impressed with their version of Scent Eliminator called "Vanishing Hunter" but it seems overpriced and thus we do NOT use it exclusively. We can purchase other quite effective scent eliminators for half the price or less. The most favorable part that keeps us liking "Vanishing Hunter" despite its "priceyness" is the fact you can apply it safely to bare skin according to the label - other products specify NOT applying it to skin.=========

Archery buck taken by Jack Griffes on the evening of 6 Oct 2000 about a half hour before quit time from same Ingham County, MI permanent stand mentioned below. Spotted him on a trail about 70 yards out stopping to trash some saplings. Having forgotten my grunt tube I simply grunted with my mouth via making a pig grunt sound I had practiced as a kid. I saw zero indication he even heard me. I then tried to mentally time out about two minute intervals and grunted just one time after each interval (odds are it was actually more frequent than every two minutes - remember I was NOT clocking myself). He moved into some thick brush and I lost visual contact but kept up single grunting as previously mentioned. Suddenly he came into view up close. He had crossed into the headland of the corn field and walked toward sound source there in the clear. I had just one opportunity to draw and that was when his head passed behind a HUGE triple trunk tree. I came to full draw, he kept walking, I didn't think to grunt to get him to stop but rather put my sight forward of him and as soon as I saw the leading edge of his chest I shot. While the 12 yard shot on the walking buck wasn't perfect placement you could tell he was hit hard because he did NOT completely clear the barb wire fence - he shook the fence pretty hard but made it over. He went for the thick stuff near the creek and expired there. --- The very next morning from the same stand another decent buck came in on the same trail and did exactly the same thing. This time I could see he did hear my vocal grunt. Came to full draw when his head passed behind same huge tree but somehow he picked up on my presence. He stopped and peeked his head around the tree looking right up at me. He then turned and walked away allowing me no further visual contact.

23 Jan 2003
Hunting Season 2002 Report - 4 deer killed in Ingham County woodlot with our plot. 3 out of the four where killed from my permanent stand that overlooks the plot. This year deer came in during morning rather than evening but they did still come in. No deer taken during Archery (all time was spent hunting in evening.) Opening Day of Firearm Season - 3 Antlerless Deer taken - 2 by Tim Neil - 1 by Gerald Neil (his first). Second Day of Firearm Season - 6pt. Buck taken by Tim Neil. I did not hunt in Ingham County but did kill a big doe in Lenawee County on the Second Day of Firearm Season. My oldest son and I planted Dwarf Essex Rape and Alsike Clover in a small plot here at home in Lenawee County. So far we aren't certain the deer are using that plot - possibly planted too late. In Lenawee County during Archery Season my oldest son and I saw 4 different bucks but never got a shot - one was a very high tined 8pt - a Big Boy. We rattled him in but he wouldn't quite come close enough for an archery shot. Rattled in another buck later in season off same stand.

Friday 29 August and Saturday 30 August 2003
Lenawee County, Michigan (Southern part of Lower Peninsula) - started a brand new three quarter acre plot - I mowed down nearly chest high thick grass, a few very small saplings, etc. - Neighbor farmer attempted to plow the thick sod with his JD 4010 pulling a 3 bottom 18" spring reset plow (area not tilled for over a decade - power line right of way) but plow would not stay in ground properly. I removed coulters from his plow and installed new plow shares (points). Neighbor farmer found that his plow stayed in ground better with new points and no coulters but still gained a GREAT appreciation for how hard it was to bust sod on the prairie with a team of oxen or horses - "that was the hardest to plow ground I have ever plowed." I disced the ground 5 times to get a good seedbed ready - with furrow direction twice, across furrow direction, diagonal to furrow direction, then back with with furrow direction at higher speed to get more churning action from disc harrow. Then I used a crank style shoulder carried broadcast seeder and planted Alsike Clover and Dwarf Essex Rape - after which I made one pass over the plot with a Culti-packer to press the seeds into firm contact with the soil. On Sunday and Monday we were blessed with 2 inches of slow, steady, soaking rain. The plot has germinated very well as of 7 Sept 2003. Time will tell if it gets good growth this Fall. At the moment this area gets occasional traffic (not even every other day) from only one doe with two fawns and one other single deer judging by tracks left in it this past week. There are more deer in this area but this is not a current part of their main traffic pattern. Therefore this plot is hoped to test draw power in a way that a plot in a prime travel area cannot do. Check back to find out what happens. Obviously, I may not make that update until deer season is over. Here in Michigan Archery Deer season starts 1 Oct and runs through 1 Jan - with a break 15 Nov through 30 Nov for Firearms Deer season.

Sat. 27 Sept 2003 - Youth Deer Hunt - on way out to South stand in morning (a bit late but doing it my son's way) we spotted two bucks fighting on the new food plot. Figured it was just a momentary sparring match this time of year but they kept after it. When one pushed the other so we had a brush screen we moved to attempt a stalk. By the time we stalked in they were gone. We hung around a while to see if they would come back - then went to the South stand as planned (not on food plot) where my son had me wail out a fawn distress bleat and about one minute later a buck walked in right across two shooting lanes we had cleared at about 25 yards but unfortunately my son's safety belt got hung up and he couldn't get into position to take the shot (that's hunting). That evening my son's plans for his hunt took us to the new food plot. We hunkered down on the ground - had excellent frontal cover from tall grass, overhead we had oak leaf covered branches. A doe came in (VERY wary), my son was getting his borrowed muzzle-loader up on shooting sticks. I watched her back-trail and saw two small fawns following - fawns were apparently born late so not to weaning stage - when I saw them I said "Don't take this one." Then we just watched them. This was an AMAZING morning and evening of hunting. I don't recall ever seeing 3 live bucks in the wild in one day of hunting let alone in one hour PLUS 6 deer in one day is highly unusual to spot during a day's hunting on stand in this area.

2 Oct 2003 - I rattled near new food plot. Thought it worth trying based on buck fight we saw there earlier. Saw nothing.

Tried to keep human pressure off new plot so didn't hunt near it for some time after that. Hoping to get deer into habit of feeding there. Hoping to make this a "frequent visit" spot for local deer.

30 Oct 2003 - Decided it was time to try new food plot again. Rattled in a nice young buck - likely 6 or 8 pt - he hung out of my archery shot comfort zone by 10-20 yards for about 5 minutes in the food plot (he was 35-50 yards out most of the time). About 30 seconds before my wristwatch alarm went off signaling end of shooting time he headed for cover. I was burning (under a specially prepared 5 gallon bucket) smoking deer scents made by DeerQuest - flavors in use were Curiosity and Rutrageous. My bucket was setting in the wide open of the plot and the buck acted like he did not smell the smoke (he was upwind of it when he came into plot) but spotted the bucket and was curious but VERY suspicious of it. He moved across far side of plot to where I suspect he could smell the smoke - about that time he also looked at where I was in the tall weeds - he didn't bolt but may have spotted my bow sticking up above weed tops - may have seen it move tracking him (I spent about 5 minutes at full draw waiting for him to come closer but he never did). I figured the Rut was started because a couple days previous my oldest son spotted a buck chasing a doe from our North stand (not on food plot). The Dwarf Essex Rape is 6-8 inches tall in the best places - barely an inch or two tall in other areas (likely a pH problem) - Alsike clover is coming up very well too but still quite short (as expected) - some areas are heavier in Alsike Clover - others heavier in Dwarf Essex Rape (likely due to moisture and fertility and pH differences).

1 Nov 2003 - I have had a tree picked out for a stand next to our new food plot for over a month BUT it had Poison Ivy vines (the stuff gets HUGE here) growing up it. I severed the vines near the tree base and the stuff is drying but I don't trust it as dry enough to handle to remove the vines just yet. There really isn't another good tree to hang a stand on that is located correctly with reference to prevailing wind, proximity to main trail into/out of cover, etc.. So I finally decided to get serious about a ground blind for now - though a tree stand is so much better. Directly in front of the chosen tree is a bit of brush and I noticed it had a decent sized open grassy spot inside the almost complete circle of brush. I was able to use that area quite handily to make a natural materials ground blind with two shooting windows covering the plot, excellent cover to back and sides, etc.. I rattled from this new blind that same evening. Saw nothing but found it to be GREAT for rattling with cover for your motion (which is important in my opinion). Time will tell but this could become a favored location. We still aren't certain IF the new plot is drawing in more deer to area. Right now I think standing corn (and none of it bordering our hunting area) is pulling deer away. This plot as noted earlier is not in a high traffic area - PERHAPS when the corn is down and deer move about more looking for food more of them may find this plot and allow us to learn IF it will change into a higher traffic area or not. Time will tell.

Aug 2004 - received the following email from a fellow Michigander that has been working on food plots in his area - quoted in its entirety below.

---- begin quoted email - including Rusty's Mixture" ----

"I found your website yesterday when I was searching with Google to find out more about Canola (Rape) seed. I have experimented with several food plots on our hunting property in Alpena County for about 3 or 4 different planting seasons. So far, the plot that has worked best for us was Whitetail Imperial No Plow (the deer ate it right down to the soil) legume mixture. I believe that the key to No Plow's success is the fact that it is a "mixture" of legume types/flavors. At the same time, we planted the regular Imperial Whitetail Clover (basically one clover type) and the deer hardly touched it whereas they whacked the No Plow mixture. Again, I believe that this is back to flavor preference thanks to soil pH. With a mixture your odds are better that there will be at least on flavor that the deer prefer given you unique local pH. I am convinced that soil pH causes each plant type to taste more/less bitter to the deer. And this is why the deer tear up food plots in one locality but completely skip it in another. I know when I eat, I always prefer what tastes best and I'm sure that the deer prefer taste in addition to protein content. Certainly there are other factors too such as soil type (sandy, loamy, wet, dry), overall climate, length of growing season, other local agricultural crops available for browse, etc., etc., that also factor into a particular food plot success too. Experimentation is 100% the key.

My latest experiment is listed out below (dubbed 'Rusty's Mixture'). My goal is to create a 'salad' of different flavors to sample to improve the overall draw of the food plot.

Rusty's Mixture (the following mixture is per acre; amount in parenthesis is for my 4 - 5 acre plot):
4# Rape (20# total)
2# Alsike (10# total)
2# White Clover (10# total)
2# Ladino Clover (10# total)
2# Alfalfa (10# total)
2# Birdsfoot Trefoil (10# total)
2# Imperial No Plow (10# total)
1# Annual Rye (5# total)

Approximately 16# per acre, well worked soil - thanks to the farmer next to our place, multiple 15/15/15 fertilizer feedings, no weeds or grass, broadcast spreader, cultipacked, approximately 5 acres shaped like a giant kidney bean, 85# total.

Thanks for placing your info on the web. I found it very helpful. Especially since I am in Michigan too. I'd appreciate your thought/feedback. If you want, I can keep you apprised of my success.

Regards. Dan Russ

---end of quoted email ---------

2004 Ingham County - I haven't hunted up in Ingham County at all this year. Last time I looked that plot needed to be reseeded. The woods there was logged and the creek that runs through it was scheduled for cleaning as well. Last time that woods was logged the remaining treetops left from logging provided GREAT cover and the deer used it a LOT the following year. Tim Neil insured that the tree tops and openings were placed advantageously for hunting from his two "hunting condos" (lockable, elevated, carpeted, insulated, with inward opening windows - only takes a small propane heater to keep cozy rather than freezing or calling it a day rather than staying on stand during rougher weather).

28 Nov 2004 Lenawee County - 3 antlerless deer killed within 150 yard radius of food plot on Opening Day of Firearm Season (by 3 different hunters - I was one of them). I killed a second antlerless deer within 150 yard radius of food plot two days later --- my youngest daughter came hunting with me that evening, she saw the deer first (I had her looking one way while I looked another way) so she was very excited.

Plans in beginning stages to cooperate with a neighbor and his nephew to add standing corn into the Lenawee County food plot mix. Often the nearest standing corn is three quarters of a mile or further away - standing corn provides a HIGHLY favored food source that is also GREAT cover for deer. Even if the "cooperative" plans don't work out - I plan to plant LATE bearing apple trees in one or two small clearings in my woods (looking at varieties that bear in Late Oct or even in Nov - planning for the future because experience tells me that deer KNOW where the apple trees are in the area) - I also plan to fertilize the oak trees within a 50 yard radius of my stand sites (supposed to improve regularity of acorn crop, as well as increase size of acorns and improve palatability) - and fertilize along and beside all my trails - also plant shade tolerant plants that deer like on the trails. The idea behind the fertilizing campaign is to try and make a "better tasting browse and mast" zone along my trails and near my stand sites - basically to increase deer traffic where I want it to be. Time will tell how well it works.

Saturday 1 October 2005
Nearing the end of the first hour of MI's Opening Day of the 2005 Archery Deer Season I bagged a nice doe (just before 8am Saturday 1 Oct 2005). That is a GREAT way to start deer season when you are a meat hunter - as I most assuredly am. You have thus accomplished getting some meat and a load of meat gathering pressure is relieved - you are on your way to putting in the year's supply of venison.

After hearing what I strongly suspect was a deer scraping for and eating acorns just as the season opened (still too early for squirrels) but not managing to coax it into sight via grunting nor doe bleating using my TrueTalker I switched to using my quite old Burnham Bros. D-4 Long Range Deer Call (no lanyard) and on the second call session with it called two does in by really wailing out a fawn distress call (only seems to work in really early season - if you wail loud be READY - we have had a pair of does RUN up within 3-5 yards of the tree we were in one past season). Today's pair of does came trotting in Southeast of my stand then once they got about 20 yards west of my stand they came North - the dominant doe in the lead by several yards. They gave every indication they were trying hard to find the source of that fawn distress call - they were looking like they intended to circle the area where the sound came from and use eyes, ears, and nose to find "the fawn." I moved to get in position to draw and the goofy call popped out of my shirt pocket, bounced off my stand platform and landed on the ground right at the base of the tree. I am thinking "busted" as the does froze and looked at the place it hit - luckily this was an oak tree and more than likely they thought an acorn fell - which they had been doing. They never looked alarmed and soon started to move again. I drew while they were yet South of my stand using the LARGE oak tree this particular permanent stand is in as very complete cover for my drawing motion. After I was at full draw the doe pair slowed down and came in slower than anticipated and I was VERY glad to be holding back a compound bow because I had to hold a long time (braced against one knee part of the time - even with a compound bow it was a long hold). I tried to get on the dominant doe but she kept stopping with a brush screen between us (wary old gal). The other doe stopped on one of our trails - looked straight at me while I was trying to get on the dominant doe - I suspected I was about to get busted but she did not stamp nor blow - apparently in my full camo including camo head net I stood still enough despite the adrenaline rush making me feel pretty shaky. She seemingly didn't recognize what I was or at least did not interpret me as a predator. Eventually the dominant doe just stood still in the brush where I couldn't see her and a wee bit farther away than I felt comfortable shooting even if she stepped into the clear of the trail she stood near. So I remembered my oldest son's admonition from a few years back ("Dad I just want to have venison to eat") and decided that if I was going to get meat for the freezer this morning I better switch to targeting the smaller doe that was spending more time in the clear and was about 5-10 yards closer and now lagging probably 20-30 yards behind the dominant doe. My new target then moved slowly up into an area with several clear zones and I put my bow sights on the first opening - she stepped through too fast so I swung forward to the next larger clear zone and when the doe walked into my bow sight I tripped the trigger on my release. I heard the arrow sound like it struck and saw the doe react like she was hit hard - spinning and running toward the thick stuff to the West-southwest. With many of the leaves still green and on the trees I could not see for sure if the doe was down but my ears told me she was. The dominant doe surprisingly did not take off when her buddy did - making me think she was oblivious to what had just happened - likely not oblivious (probably heard the sound of the bow) but not alarmed enough to leave. I could hear the dominant doe move occasionally and it sounded like she was continuing to circle the area she thought the fawn distress call came from. She stopped about 50 yards out right in a shooting lane I cut and looked straight at me (too far out and WRONG angle for a good bow shot from a tree stand). She did not stamp nor blow nor run but just moved off after a while. Once she got in the brush again I got out my TrueTalker and did a soft doe bleat, waited a couple minutes, did another doe bleat. After I was pretty certain the dominant doe had moved off out of the area so I wouldn't spook her off I got down to look and see if I could find my arrow - it wasn't where I would have anticipated it to be if I made a complete pass through shot. I tried hard to keep believing what my ears which thought I heard her fall - but I wasn't seeing what I had expected where she had stood. I went up to the house to use the restroom, get both my son's, get some toilet paper (biodegradable blood trail marker with HIGH visibility). As I exited the woods I noticed the heads of several wild turkeys poking up above the soybeans in the field just East of us - I had earlier heard them and caught brief glimpses of a couple getting down out of their roosts. Since I was moving slightly away from them they did not attempt to duck down, etc. but watched me as I walked up through the back horse pasture right out in the open. Once my sons and I got back out to the woods (youngest HAD to get all his camo stuff on) we pretty quickly found the first part of the blood trail (marked the blood with toilet paper) and it didn't take long to find the deer. The arrow did not exit. She was quartering away and the arrow hit textbook perfect - slicing through the liver, one lung and slicing top of heart. She ran between 65-70 yards and was found piled up against a tree. I couldn't see but did hear her fall. The arrow was in her and was not broken - it is now soaking in cold water to get the blood, fat, etc. out of the fletching - then it will go right back in my quiver ready for re-use - gotta love those carbon arrows. The meat from this doe was in our freezer by the end of the same day. A GREAT way to start out the 2005 deer season for this meat hunter. May you likewise be blessed with venison in your freezer.

I still want to take a buck I have rattled in - that remains a goal. I have rattled in several bucks (one with VERY tall tines) in past years but thus far have not got an arrow off at one. The one buck that responded to rattling during one gun season did not every get into a position where I could shoot. So I have gotten 'em to come in but just not gotten off a shot - generally because I either got surprised OR most of the time because they didn't get up within bow range - hang out about 50 yards away.

This year I got a Fall Turkey tag for this area as well. So I am hoping to bag a wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner - while I am bow-hunting for deer (the rules now allow bow hunters to hunt turkey from elevated platform). MI's Fall Wild Turkey season is 3 Oct - 14 Nov 2005.

Happy Hunting,

Country Jack
Onsted, MI

2 Oct 2005 - Lenawee County - My 16 yr. old son and I fertilized the oaks in our woods with 19-19-19 in late Spring. I limed the ground we later planted corn on after doing a pH check. I bought and planted 4 recently grafted apple trees on M-7 rootstock (good for heavy soil) this Spring from our local QDMA chapter and they all died (grafts failed to take properly) - while they were still alive I kept worrying a deer or other critter would nip off the grafted wood (didn't happen though). So that is going to the "lessons learned" file and I will plant only trees on their own roots from now on - no grafts to fail - if they get browsed but live they will still produce the expected fruit. The trick is finding apples that bear late or at least hold their apples into October and November (or beyond). My initial research keeps turning up old varieties that are not readily available - may have to get them shipped in - would prefer to find a local source. Perhaps I will have to visit a local orchard or two and ask them a few questions. My neighbor and I paid my 16 yr. old son to rototill the East and West ends of the Swale food plot. That proved quite a task for Troy-Bilt and son - breaking sod is never easy with a roto-tiller - it took two passes (perpendicular to each other) and left a LOT of trash near surface (we mowed it short before tilling - that saves on lots of unclogging the tiller). My 7 yr. old daughter and I planted the Silver King (Wisconsin # 7) white field corn (open-pollinated) using a one row garden seeder - in the heavy trash that was no picnic - one would pull while the other steered and tried to keep the planter in the ground. Most areas did come up well. The planting was done late - this is a wet area so it gets plantable late - plus I wanted the corn to ripen later. Deer and likely raccoons are seriously trashing the corn plot now - it may never get to dent stage. All the corn planted at normal times is drying down - this corn remains green. We band fertilized the corn partially with just 6-24-24, partially with just 46-0-0, partially with both fertilizers. The grass in the rest of the plot has larger taken over despite mowing certain areas to try to give the clover a chance. I overseeded the mowed areas with Tecomate Monster Mix (white clover & chicory) - also seeded some of my trails to see if either the clover or chicory could/would make a stand in partial to full shade. I am hoping to get more types of palatable plants growing in the short mowed areas. May end up having to Round-Up the short stuff in the Spring then reseed two weeks later OR just live with the grass. I was hoping to hurt it by keeping some of it very short but it is very resilient stuff. I have intentionally left some areas with the tall grass (we call it marsh grass because it grows in the wet so well - don't know what kind it really is) to serve as cover and windbreak areas. Can see a deer trail heading from woods to swale right beat through one mowed area. That is a long standing trail we have opened up more in the woods - made it driveable by our utility tractor so we have access through the woods to take care of the food plot when the crops are up around it.

The poison ivy vines have dried out and started to let go on the tree I picked in 2003 to hold a stand near the Swale food plot. I pulled the vines out of the tree and put up a pair of climbing sticks I made. The tree trunk will serve as cover for deer in the plot - with my archery equipment I can reach the section of the East corn plot that they have mauled so badly. A few day's later (Thursday 29 Sept 2005) my sons came out (the 3 yr. old just came to watch/help) and we cleared shooting lanes and got it set up for use with my Treesuit. Deer can literally come from 360 degrees - so I wanted to use something that gives ability to safely turn and shoot a bow in any direction. You can do that in a Treesuit if you practice a bit. Will let the site sit a while to cleanse all the human scent we left during setup and lane clearing. OR wait until after a good rain perhaps. I was really wanting to sit there yesterday on the Opener but luckily I stuck with my plan to use the stand I did rather than chance using a scent polluted stand site we had just set up two days before (chainsaw and all). This stand will be tried for a rattling setup. We have seen a buck fight in this plot during a previous year.

25 December 2006 - unseasonably warm here just lately - not a white Christmas - but we did have our first snow in mid-October which is early for us

We have had a very wet year. I tilled up a food plot area several times using a former one row Cultivator we removed the depth gauge wheels and row space from. I mixed a LOT of several year old White Blossom Sweet Clover and Alsike Clover seed in with a brand new bag of Shot Plot seed (forage rape and forage turnips). I broadcast seeded it by hand - fan tossing it by hand - so I was glad to have all the clover seed mixed in to make it possible to have a LOT to broadcast. Due to the wetness I planted it too late but decided to plant the rest of the freezer stored Silver King seed from last year - the corn came up fine but never got a chance to set ears. So far I have seen little evidence of deer using the plot much. (note added 13 Sept 2008 - while I hunted on the opposite side of the road since initial scouting showed no serious feeding occurring the plot suddenly hit the palatable stage and EVERY stalk was taken to the ground - EVERY ear stripped off - I missed it but eventually there was a window of time when the plot got hit hard - sometime during an approximately two week period when I failed to check the plot as I focused on another area - did the work - missed the benefit - oops.)

After several years of attempting to rattle a buck in close enough for an archery shot I managed to rattle two into archery range this year (different days - different stands). I have rattled in several bucks in previous years but they would generally hang up about 50 yards out - which is too far with archery gear for me. I got a shot at the first buck I rattled in this year but cleanly missed due to a deflection - the buck jumped about two steps forward into the thicker tangle and stayed there trying to puzzle things out for about 5 minutes - I thought he might give me a second chance but he wisely walked straight away in the tangle until he crossed my shooting lane about 50-60 yards out. The second rattled in buck of 2006 stopped where a LOT of branches prevented me from even attempting a shot. I was at full draw and he just stood there and stood there. I had about a 2 foot shooting window that required him to step only about 3-5 steps forward so I kept waiting and hoping but he just stood still. Eventually my arms were getting fatigued from holding that bow at full draw all that time and I started shaking but kept holding. He kept standing still. Eventually I figured I was shaking so bad that I couldn't hit him if he did step forward so I tried to let down my draw easy. The buck caught my movement and bolted out of there not quite sure what was wrong.

On Opening Morning of the 2006 Firearm Season (15 Nov) I killed a decent 8pt (14-1/4" inside spread)with my scoped shotgun. From that same tree on the second morning of Muzzle-loader Season I took the fattest deer (a mature doe) I have ever taken in 30 years of deer hunting. One shot from my trusty old .50 caliber muzzle-loading double rifle put her down in a heap where she had stood. My son and I measured 1-1/2" of fat atop her back at the tailhead --- a very fat deer even for an agricultural area. These are the first two deer I have taken using my Treesuit. The Treesuit allows me to shoot safely in every direction from an elevated stand with bow or firearm. It also allows me to set up a stand site which nobody else can sit on - unless they happen to bring along their own stand. I just set up a set of climbing sticks leading up to no stand because I pack the Treesuit in with me each time. I have a "cable climber" for using the Treesuit as a climber - it works but takes too long and makes too much noise for my liking BUT I do use it to test out new spots at times.

18 April 2007
It looks like finally now the deer have started eating the turnips in the Shot Plot. I understand it is a major attractor some places but the deer definitely did not use it much, if at all, here until well after hunting season ended - even now they aren't working it over but the sign shows they are now nibbling away at the turnips.

I am planning to plant "Junkyard" Birdsfoot Trefoil this year which I purchased from Hamann Farms in Wisconsin. I am trying the "junkyard" birdsfoot trefoil variety because I am looking for something that can stand flooding since hereabouts my food plot areas tend toward the wet side. I also want to grow something that is well adapted to the area AND HIGHLY palatable for deer but is not commonly grown with the intention that if they want it they have to come get it from my plot(s). (Hamann Farms calls "Junkyard" - "Trefoil Trophy Rack Starter" - adapted for low pH, low fertility, low drainage areas - perfect fit for where I have it planted. As I add this parenthetical note 13 Sept 2008 "Junkyard" birdsfoot trefoil is doing GREAT in 3 small low fertility, low pH, low drainage areas - nice and thick - where other stuff has struggled "Junkyard" birdsfoot trefoil has thrived.)

I may yet order some CanaMaize ClearShot fast maturing "grazing corn" (considered 65 day corn) for one particular plot here - or at least the higher, drier parts of it. Due to the quick maturing ability I can wait out the wet season and plant up until mid-June and have corn ready for deer season (based on what the CanaMaize folks have told me via email). They also tell me that Kester's Wild Game Food Nurseries in Wisconsin now carries CanaMaize. (A friend in Munith, MI planted CanaMaize last year and had LOTS of deer traffic - he was VERY impressed and I beleive he planted it in late July if memory serves me. - parenthetical note added 13 Sept 2008)

I have already been out fertilizing a few chosen oak trees via opening up a slit in the drip line with a shovel - pouring in 12-12-12 fertilizer - covering it over with dirt - moving forward 3-5 feet and repeating the process. On really HUGE old oaks you can put a 50 lb bag of fertilizer around a single tree. Smaller trees will have a smaller dripline circumference and thus tree size will determine amount of fertilizer used. You need to do it early to be most effective. Objective is to increase fertility around specially chosen trees (huntable spots) so that they will bear more plentiful, larger, and more palatable acorns (also more reliable) than the surrounding trees - making them somewhat of a magnet among the many possible oaks dropping acorns in a given area. Hey - be aware that some "lawn and garden center" places are IMO "trying to pull a fast one on consumers" by selling fertilizer in smaller than 50 lb. bags at basically the same price as a 50 lb bag. So when you are comparing prices be sure you are comparing apples to apples as far as size of bag OR figure out price per pound.

Happy Hunting,

Country Jack

28 Oct 2007

As some of you are aware for a number of years I have taken the "eliminate human odor" approach toward having close encounters with whitetail deer. The objective is to be totally undetected (by scent - you still have to not get busted for sight or sound and hardest of all by that "sense of danger" the really wily ones seem to have). To try and accomplish this I use scent free soap and shampoo (and shower just before each time out hunting) - after showering I use scent free antiperspirant and for the past couple seasons I also have used ScentLok clothing (coveralls, head cover, gloves) along with high rubber boots that are totally dedicated to hunting (never allowed even in the house or car to avoid picking up foriegn odors). I recharge my ScentLok (in the drier per manufacturer instructions) about every 20-30 hours of hunting (they claim it will go 40 hrs). And I use a scent killing spray to boot (mainly hydrogen peroxide and baking soda along with a surfactant package). Using that "strive to be scent free" approach I have had some close encounters with whitetail deer (which to me is very enjoyable - having 'em up so close you can see them chewing without any visual aid - whether hunting or not at the time). In calling situations (I love to call deer) I have also been scent detected eventually (despite all my efforts to be scent free as possible) on several occasions as both bucks and does tend to circle the place they figure the sound came from when visually things don't add up - they are apparently trying to scent check the area to see if their nose agrees with what their ears told them but which their eyes can't see - basically trying to make sense of what doesn't make sense visually. Since they are essentially hunting for you at that point I have gotten busted for scent in those type situations IF the deer eventually got into the perfect downwind spot where my very faint plume of human scent was falling to their level (I virtually always hunt from a tree stand or use a Treesuit ).

While doing a search for tree stands on eBay earlier this year I somehow pulled up another hunting related item that was on sale - it was called a "Scent Smoker" which as a beekeeper I immediately recognized as a bee smoker being used for a different purpose (The Mill in Onsted sells a couple of different bee smokers). I read up on what they were doing and essentially they are using the smoker to efficiently cover every bit of clothing and skin and equipment with a layer of hardwood smoke. Smoke has a bunch of small solid particles suspended in a stream of air - so it does have the ability to cling to and stay on surfaces and also overpower many scents that are gas based (and thus volatilize away from the area) as opposed to solid (like the smoke particles.) Lots of folks (including us) in our area burn firewood as a home heating fuel - so the deer hereabouts smell hardwood smoke frequently. And I have read of people either accidentally or intentionally using hardwood smoke to cover human scent in the past - in fact after reading the book Aggressive Whitetail Hunting by Greg Miller a few years ago I have sporadically taken my old camos down by the wood burning furnace and smoked them up on occasion - but never with intent to seriously test out hardwood smoke as a cover/eliminator of human scent. Actually using a bee smoker or ScentSmoker just makes the application of a heavy layer of hardwood smoke right were you want it (everywhere without missing anything)) so much easier and quicker. And to boot I already owned a couple of bee smokers (one on loan to a beginning beekeeper friend) - so I had on hand the equipment to do the experiment - no purchase necessary. (stainless bee smoker or stainless Scent Smoker - either one should last a lifetime - the bellows can be replaced if damaged by accident or neglect - and duct tape can repair the bellows at least temporarily in a pinch)

Here is my report of my initial "close encounter" report using hardwood smoke from a smoker. -----

On Thursday evening 25 Oct 2007 (about 1/2 hour before closing time) - I couldn't have had a doe along with her twin offspring (button buck and young doe) any closer to me UNLESS they started on up my climbing sticks --- and I was using hardwood smoke applied by my bee smoker - I was wearing clothes I had worn all morning the previous day while out hiking all over helping the surveyor find survey markers (to insure I had on stuff that was sweated in to make it a harder test to pass - just the opposite of what I did using ScentLok when I did everything to get as scent free as possible before donning ScentLok) - my under clothing was worn all day today at work (exposed to all sorts of lab, chemical, and manufacturing odors) - and my old camo stuff (not the ScentLok) along with a head net (not my ScentLok head cover) and jersey gloves (not my ScentLok gloves) and my farm work winter hat with ear flaps (worn a LOT while cutting wood and other sweaty smelly things) -- all quite thoroughly smoked up with hardwood bark smoke --- oh and I wore my work boots which I wear doing all sorts of farm and farrier work including stuff involving diesel fuel, pumping gas, cutting firewood, etc. (not my hunting boots that have never been even worn in a car nor even in the house). I was using my Treesuit ) (which I also covered with smoke) with my feet about 12.5-13 ft off the ground (not real high) and the doe came in and stuck her nose right on my raked trail (to cut down on entry and exit noise) yet never got alarmed. She walked right over to the very tree I was in to take a look and a sniff of my climbing sticks (smoked them when I hung them). She even looked right up at me (she looked like she spotted my climbing sticks when she stood on my raked trail which lead to the climbing sticks and came over to see what kind of odd looking tree/vine - it was as if she looked like she was merely following the shape of the climbing sticks up not looking up sensing danger - the button buck did the same thing as his Mom (I did not move at all aside from moving my eyes somewhat trying to keep the deer under observation without too much direct staring at them especially while they were potentially looking my way - though seemingly not recognizing me as a predator). Then they all moved over to the downwind side and yet not one of them every showed the least bit of alarm - not one snort - not one hoof stamp - not one sudden alarm jump - nothing. They got up so close on me so fast (and remarkably quietly considering the crunchy leaves) that I hadn't gotten a hold of my bow let alone gotten my release attached to the string. Finally as they began to move off (all three heads not looking my way in the least) I got the bow up and to full draw but the doe never gave me a shot - and the party of 3 just meandered off seemingly totally unalarmed.

So - while I am NOT totally sure these 3 deer got far enough downwind to hit my main scent plume (though I wasn't very high so they may have) I would certainly think they had every chance to smell anything from my boots on my trail in AND/OR where my gloves and boots had touched my climbing sticks as I climbed up since they were literally right next to it (could have dropped an acorn straight down on them) and at least the doe stuck her nose right up to it to check it out. So my first "close encounter with deer" using hardwood smoke as my "human scent eliminator" did produce the claimed results - the deer stayed calm - didn't perceive the nearby human threat - acted like nothing in the world was wrong - just went about sampling leaves hither and yon. But being a Lab manager let me assure you I realize that one experience does NOT a study make - so I will keep on trying it out and seeing what happens. So far I haven't donned my ScentLok this season (but I have barely started hunting - only been out 4 times) and I have to admit that lighting up my bee smoker and not worrying a pinch about all the scent free stuff is a LOT easier. I have yet to see what happens with a called in deer - one that is actually hunting for the sound I made - that is where I have been repeatedly busted with the "keep as scent free as humanly possible" method. So hardwood smoke still needs to pass that FAR HIGHER level of muster to get my full nod of approval but this first close encounter was amazingly encouraging. Quite frankly I will be surprised if anything can pass that level of muster - but I will let ya know what happens when I eventually see it firsthand.

If you also try out hardwood smoke to cover/eliminate human scent I would be very interested in your report(s) as well. IF you get busted (on scent - not movement or noise) - I want to know that as well (explain conditions).

Happy Hunting,

Country Jack

Country Jack bowhunting in Ingham County, MI using Treesuit

11 Nov 2007

Had another very close encounter yesterday evening - two deer came in shortly after my phone alarm told me shooting time was over. They spent a good deal of time in the area and each came up to within 2 yards of the tree I was in and looked right up at me. NO signs of alarm were given. The deer both acted calm - like nothing was wrong. They both left by a trail downwind of me and they took their jolly time moving out. I think one of them bedded down South of me and I unfortunately bumped it on the way out - after staying on stand for likely an extra half hour to try and avoid bumping any deer coming in or going out.

Happy Hunting,

Country Jack

Mature doe taken with pistol from a tree stand in Lenawee County, MI
--16 Nov 2007 approx. 8am
--Kimber ProCDP2 model 1911 type pistol
--Winchester 45 Auto 230gr JHP Personal Protection ammo
--approx. 10 yards or a titch less
--initially spotted the group of three antlerless deer at over 100 yards North of me (the other two were a button buck and a young doe) making their way South towards my "in woods funnel" stand
--each of them as they got nearer did look up at me but remained unalarmed (until the shot rang off)
--mature doe presented a broadside shot at 50 yards - too far for me with an iron sighted pistol so I just let them keep coming slowly closer sampling leaves and other vegetation as they came
--mature doe presented broadside shot again at 20-30 yards - that is do-able but I was pretty certain they would get closer so I let them keep coming
--allowed the mature doe to get directly downwind (East of me - beside me) before shot was taken - so I had a broadside shot with no brush interference from a defensive pistol distance
--using hardwood bark smoke as a cover scent (bark and bark dust from our firewood storage area) - applied with a bee smoker

Happy Hunting,

"Country Jack" Griffes

12 Sept 2008

We had a very rainy Spring and early Summer this year and the "Junkyard" Birdsfoot Trefoil from Hamann Farms in Wisconsin has thickened up and done just fantastic - made a really nice stand in all 3 spots it is planted. The area is a low area - clay loam - so it stays VERY wet during rainy periods and we had a long rainy period this year. So I am happy that it has done as promised in a "wet feet" area which is where it is supposed to shine. I know it has been visited by deer - I have let it go fully to seed this year rather than mow it - I wanted it to produce seed and drop it on the soil. The wild turkeys seem to like the seed methinks. I moved the ladder stand that overlooks the plot because the ash borer killed the tree it was on (and a bunch of others - which I took down a week or so ago and need to get cut up or drug out of there). It is sickening seeing all these ash trees dieing off. I bet I have cut down 30 plus ash trees so far this month - all killed by emerald ash borer.

I put up my newly purchased Chameleon Bow Blind Wednesday evening. I have a VERY good first impression of it. Saw two bucks inside of bow range right after making final adjustments. The first one I saw only as he moved out of sight behind leaf cover so I didn't get to see his reaction (if any) to the "just appeared" blind over a two man ladder stand that had been there since just after Christmas last year. But I saw the second buck look over that way - and he did not look the least bit alarmed - didn't take a second look - just moseyed on along. And the Chameleon Bow Blind went up easily and pretty quickly even that first time I put it up - which is impressive. It can be used over a tree stand or as a ground level blind against a tree. I like the idea of having a roof over my head when hunting in light rain or snow and will report on how that goes sometime later after doing it.

Next week starts the Michigan Early Firearm Antlerless Deer Season (18-22 Sept 2008). I love calling deer and am a meat hunter so I am looking forward to what I believe will be a red hot doe calling opportunity. I will pack along my scoped 12 gauge Mossberg 500 along with my .45ACP Kimber. My hope is to get a deer or two in the freezer early on and if I get the opportunity to do it cleanly with my pistol that will be icing on the cake (but mind you "meat in the freezer" is the first priority and I won't blow that to take another deer with my pistol.) We have at least one doe again this year that has produced a very fine set of triplets - we had one in this area last year as well - probably the same doe I would guess.

Greg Sesselman of ScentLok has communicated with me several times thinking that I may have gotten a defective set of coveralls. He has generously sent me a variety of ScentLok products to test out while calling deer during the early season this year (2008). Calling gives the perfect opportunity to actually test out scent control because the deer that come to your call(s) ARE actively trying to find the source of the sound. IF a shot opportunity does not immediately occur they tend to circle the area they think the sound came from to scent check it once they don't see what they heard. This tends to eventually place them right in your "scent drop zone" (assuming you are in a elevated stand) and I noted to ScentLok that I was busted multiple times on scent when PROPERLY using ScentLok - so Greg wants me to test all new stuff and see if I get the results he believes are more typical of ScentLok - namely remaining undetected or leaving such a reduced scent plume that the deer think you are much further away - not an immediate danger. I have agreed to give the new ScentLok stuff a try - the new ScentLok clothing arrived a couple days ago. I look forward to giving it a try and hope that the deer cooperate well with calling on multiple occasions so I get a chance to REALLY see if ScentLok works "as claimed" or if (to me) it does not appear to make much (if any) difference. My past experience with ScentLok coveralls, head cover, and gloves - worn with rubber boots that NEVER were worn in the house nor vehicle, etc. has been that if it helps it is at a minor level - you can still get busted on scent even taking all the proper recharge directions, dressing precautions, etc.. So check back for a report - and hopefully deer will come in to my calls well so I have experiences to report on. Thanks Gregg for your generosity and your faith in your product which makes this test possible. I can definitely say that ScentLok supports their product better than any place I have ever dealt with - very, very impressive customer support/service.

Happy Hunting,

"Country Jack" Griffes

Saturday before daybreak 27 Sept 2008

This year for the first time in the thirty plus years I have been hunting deer here in Michigan the DNR instituted a Early Firearm Antlerless Season 18-22 Sept 2008 (Southern Lower Peninsula plus a few Northern Lower Peninsula counties) because they have not been able to reach their harvest quotas. It is amazing how the deer population has changed since I was a teenager and the DNR estimated the statewide herd at approx. a half million with a goal to reach a million. Now the DNR generally estimates the herd at 1.5 - 1.7 million whitetail deer statewide and hunters routinely harvest 400,000+ deer every year which is just not enough to maintain the million deer population they feel we should have. Basically after 30 years of population growth via scientific management using hunting as a management tool we deer hunters now harvest each year pretty nearly what was the entire state population of deer thirty years ago - and after we do that we still have over twice the deer population we had thirty years ago. We see most does with twins and an occasional one with triplets in this area. I have had some people tell me triplets are commonplace in their areas any more.

I arranged with work to have a modified work schedule during this Early Antlerless Season so that I could hunt each morning and each evening hunt and try to get a jump on putting venison in the freezer. My kids have ate so much venison steak and roast over the years that they prefer it to beef - so to keep them happy I pretty much have got to get out and hunt - pretty rough duty but somebody's got to do it. (big grin)

Today I will gather up some mature Milkweed seed pods - so that I can use the "float in the wind" seeds for wind checkers while hunting - to help me keep easier track of where my "scent drop zone" should be at any time - which should help me tell if/when Scent-Lok is helping me "get away with something" as I continue to test the new ScentLok gear Greg Sesselman sent me. My objective is to give the new ScentLok gear a fair test. Out in the woods there are so many variables at play that I believe it is very important to KNOW as closely as possible where your scent should be when testing any scent elimination or scent covering product.

Happy Hunting,

"Country Jack" Griffes

Find below my hunt reports of my ScentLok test hunts during the Early Antlerless Season of 2008.

Hunt Report - Thursday 18 Sept 2008

This morning I got into my Chameleon Bow Blind (over a two-man ladder stand) about 10 minutes before shooting time. I was garbed in the new ScentLok Base Layers, Pants, and Shirt - with high rubber boots long dedicated to hunting only. I keep my phone on "vibrate only" and inside a zip closure plastic sandwich bag with its calendar feature set up to vibrate when opening time arrives and when closing time arrives - so I don't have to watch the clock nor wonder. Approx. one minute after opening time a deer I could not see behind me (to the South) did the alarm snort several times - my suspicion is that it smelled me but it is possible that it had heard me climbing into my stand earlier and come over to investigate already highly suspicious. But quite frankly I did NOT blow any deer out of there on the way in and I had been up and in for ten minutes - so my gut tells me it was a scent detection alarm snort. I could not detect any hint of breeze. I sat and silently listened and observed for about 45 minutes then did one series of fawn distress bleats and nothing came to the call. Later on two bucks - a 6pt and a long narrow forkhorn wandered by to the North completely oblivious to my presence. A while later - while the pair bucks were moseying off and occasionally coming into view about 100 yards to the West a long narrow spike wandered by to the South - he seemed to note my scent - he looked up at me (in the Chameleon blind) several times - he did not react with alarm however and moseyed around eating, licking leaves, etc. and seemingly to keep an eye on but some distance from the pair of bucks that had passed by earlier.

Evening hunt - I got out for only an hour - slipping in quiet I spotted deer when I was about twenty feet from the same stand I hunted in the morning. I could see I had not been noticed so when the time was right I carefully slipped a few feet forward to a tree I could use for cover and to help steady my shot IF a shot presented itself. It was a nice doe with a set of nice big this years offspring. They started slipping South probably 100 yards to the West of me and then suddenly they turned and came back quick seemingly alarmed a bit. They halted at about the area I had first seen them then slipped further North. I listened a while - scanned all around me to insure nothing had slipped in somewhere else whilst I was fixed on these three. I then got up in the Chameleon Bow Blind again. I waited a short while (time being short) and then did a series of loud fawn distress bleats - and briefly from the thick I saw the fleeting rumps of two younglings apparently spooked by the very loud call with them so close but unseen in the thick (likely the three I had seen earlier had been swinging my way quite unbeknownst to me because it was so thick there.) Later on, but not all that long afterward a long narrow Spike (probably the same one) came East to West to the South of me - never noticing my presence.

I did not blow any deer out on trips in or out today. So that is my report for the day.

I am yet pondering on going back to that same stand (obviously I have been seeing deer there so that is a pull) OR going across the road to another in the morning.

Happy Hunting,

Jack Griffes

Friday 19 Sept 2008 - Hunt Report

morning hunt - t-totally skunked - no deer sightings - and I was sitting on "old Faithful" which is generally a great morning stand and perhaps the very best stand for calling either bucks or does - the dew was very heavy so my lower pant legs got wet walking through the field to and from the woods - accordingly I put all the Scent-Lok stuff I have been wearing (Base Layers, Pants, Shirt, Head Cover, Shooter's gloves) in the dryer for a good 20 minutes or so to dry off and get partially recharged while I got ready to go to work

evening hunt - approx 1-1/2 hour from time I started hiking out to hunt until quit time - rather than head to a stand I decided to sit on the ground in a narrow strip of woods bordering a powerline right of way to the North (with a swale after that) and a cornfield to the South - saw a six point buck that came in from the cornfield to eat nuts off the ground - he moseyed around foraging for quite a spell - quite oblivious to me - but eventually as he got about 40 yards away he noticed something that looked different - out of place next to the tree I was sitting next to - he got real curious and slowly came up to about ten yards away from me trying to do a scent check while watching me real close to see if I moved - the only motion I made was breathing and as long as the incident took I surely couldn't hold my breath - the buck stepped behind the tree I was seated beside (still about ten yards away) so that the only thing he could see was my shotgun barrel at that point and I could no longer see any part of him - and suddenly he turned with flag flying and bolted back toward the cornfield - not full tilt but decidedly alarmed - my bet is he finally did hit the right spot and caught my scent

Happy Hunting,

Jack Griffes

Saturday 20 Sept 2008 - hunt report

Between 8 and 8:30am a mature doe with two this year's offspring came in toward my "swamp to swamp trail" stand. As they got up within pistol range I drew my Kimber CDP2 .45ACP and dropped the mature doe right in her tracks (photo below) from what I later paced off as 22 yards. As I was about to stand up after taking off my safety belt so I could go take the doe I suddenly saw another doe with a single this year's offspring coming up my shooting lane from the East and apparently extremely curious about the deer kicking out its last despite the gunfire so recently. So I saw 5 antlerless deer and bagged one which the DNR Check Station at Jerome Country Market believed was a 3-1/2 yr. old doe. ---- None of these five antlerless deer appeared to detect any human odor. I suspect they were all a bit too far North to hit my scent though they were East of me. But obviously you can believe what you want to believe. On all my past hunts this season I only spritzed my rubber "hunting only" boots with Wildlife Research Center Scent Killer (unscented version). This morning I spritzed all the ScentLok as well (based on a suggestion from an earlier email from Greg Sesselman). I do wish these deer had gone a bit further South so I could report whether or not the Scent Killer seemed to make a positive difference.

This morning was the first time I heard any shots fired in this area during the Early Antlerless Season - and this evening I also heard a few. The folks at Jerome Country Market said they had taken in around 100 deer since Thursday when the Early Antlerless season began - with about 50 of them taken in yesterday (Friday).

As a meat hunter it feels good to have a good start on the venison gathering. I will likely spend the early part of Archery Season cutting firewood like crazy - either in prep for a few rattling sessions in early November or maybe with the way the Rutting Moon falls on 13 Nov this year - maybe I will wait and try rattling on Opening Day of Firearm Season. But I doubt I can stand NOT hunting at least a bit during Archery Season - so odds are good I will get in a few morning hunts at least - then get busy cutting wood once my help gets around.

Since calling proved pointless during this Early Antlerless Season all observations ended up being on wander by deer. Greg Sesselman believes wander by deer are the best test of ScentLok but I believe few wander by deer ever get in your scent drop zone IF you choose your stand site well for the wind conditions that day (but I also realize the wind shifts around a lot). Called in deer are a better test of any scent eliminating or scent covering product in my opinion BECAUSE called in deer are actively looking for the source of the sound and when they don't find what they thought they should see they tend to do a scent check to see if it smells like it should based on what they heard. This tends to eventually place them in your scent drop zone IF a shooting opportunity does not occur before then.

So that is my report thus far.

Happy Hunting,

Jack Griffes

Mature doe taken with pistol from a tree stand in Lenawee County, MI
--20 Sept 2008 between 8am & 8:30am EDT
--Kimber ProCDP2 model 1911 type pistol
--Winchester 45 Auto 230gr JHP Personal Protection ammo
--approx. 22 yards
--dropped in her tracks - no tracking involved to recover this one
--wearing ScentLok Base Layers under ScentLok Savanna EXT pants and mock-T
--camo pattern Advantage Max1
--DNR says she was 3.5yrs old - free of TB - free of CWD

Happy Hunting,

"Country Jack" Griffes

belated update for 2009 - added 19 Nov 2010

--Took one mature doe morning of 14 Nov 2009 with my Browning Compound Bow and a carbon arrow tipped with a 100gr. 2-bladed RAGE broadhead
--Took two more mature does evening of 23 Dec 2009 with Mossberg 500 12 gauge shotgun shooting "regular" Winchester rifled slugs (my family and I spent Christmas Eve 2009 skinning and processing)
--hunted a number of stands but all 3 deer taken from same stand as it turned out (fairly near an older swamp which seldom has much standing water, lots of oaks, between two swamps -- the second swamp is a younger swamp with more standing water)
--Took all three deer in 2009 using my Treesuit. The Treesuit allows me to shoot safely in every direction from an elevated stand with bow or firearm. It also allows me to set up a stand site which nobody else can sit on - unless they happen to bring along their own stand. I just set up a set of climbing sticks leading up to no stand because I pack the Treesuit in with me each time.

Haman Farms "Junkyard" Birdsfoot Trefoil still doing GREAT - nice and thick - out competing most things with near zero maintenance. I think I mowed it once in 2010 - perhaps once or twice in 2009.

Happy Hunting,

"Country Jack" Griffes

2010 update --- posted 2 Jan 2011

--Took a mature doe from my Treesuit with Mossberg 500 12 gauge shotgun and "regular" Winchester rifled slug during Early Antlerless Season in September - deer came in from multiple directions to feed on the abundant crop of acorns. With deer behind me to my left and also coming toward my front right I decided to take a mature doe coming toward my front right since I could take her at about 20 yards with minimal movement on my part to get on target. On this hunt I was wearing multiple layers of ScentLok which may somewhat have helped reduce my scent on that hunt though I don't think the deer nearest my scent drop zone (behind me to the left) had come far enough South to hit it - but you can't always tell because slight wind shifts can really spread your scent drop zone out at times. These were all "wander by" deer and none seemed alerted to my presence in the least until that single shotgun blast rang out. As a "meat hunter" it is always nice to get venison in the freezer early - takes pressure off the rest of deer season.
--Took a young doe with 6pt GT Flex crossbow (made by Tenpoint Crossbow Technologies) on Christmas evening with a 100gr. 3-bladed RAGE broadhead tipped carbon bolt/arrow.

As of Christmas evening 2010 I have now taken deer here in Michigan with 5 different weapons in this order:
1st - Kodiak 50 caliber Percussion Muzzleloading blackpowder side by side double rifle (patched round ball, Buffalo Bullet conicals, and Ball-ets) I hunted deer exclusively with this rifle for many years even during regular Firearm Season
2nd - 12 gauge Shotgun (mostly with various full bore slugs, one with 00Buck)
3rd - Compound Bow (Wasp SST Hammer broadheads and RAGE 2-bladed 100gr. broadheads)
4th - 45ACP model 1911 style pistol (Winchester 230gr. JHP Personal Defense ammo)
5th - Crossbow (RAGE 3-bladed 100gr. broadhead)

Haman Farms "Junkyard" Birdsfoot Trefoil still doing GREAT - nice and thick - out competing most things with near zero maintenance. I think I mowed it once in 2010 - perhaps once or twice in 2009.

I have been collecting mainly apple seeds (in the core) but also pear seeds and broadcasting them in some very specific areas of our woodlot where the canopy isn't as thick OR where the ash trees are dying due to the nasty Emerald Ash Borer which is killing 90+% of our Ash trees and thus opening up canopy where Ash trees once dominated. Not having had any luck with transplanted seedling apple tree survival I had pretty much given up on that notion yet still wanted to have more fruit trees in the woods for wildlife food. I recently read an article wherein the author had planted about 20 acres of oak forest via tilling ground to prepare seedbed then broadcasting acorns then discing them in about 2"-3" deep because he like myself had abysmal luck with transplants. The basic concept of planting his oak forest was getting as many acorns buried at about squirrel nut hiding depth as easily as possible. (Squirrels plant LOTS of oak and hickory trees via failing to dig up some of the nuts they bury for food storage.) Growing the trees from seed right where he wanted them garnered him about 25% germination and survival by year two AND a LOT lower cost - never had to water them, etc.. He did practice weed control via spraying to cut competition for light, water, and soil nutrients. That article on growing an oak forest via broadcasting acorns caused the "Johnny Appleseed" lightbulb to click on in my head and I started saving apple and pear cores for the seeds they contain. Generally Nature plants apple seeds atop the ground via fruit drop - so for now I am just broadcasting apple and pear seeds (in the core left after eating the fruit) atop the ground (broadcasting any seed you should expect LOW germination - meaning broadcast several times more seed than you would plant.) An internet search suggested a planting depth of about a half inch for apple seed should I decide to plant rather than continue to broadcast the apple seeds. And of course this is a "long view" type project as it could easily be six years to a decade before any apple tree grown from seed might bear fruit and possibly longer than that in the shady woodlot environment. Currently I have only found one apple tree growing near the North edge of my woodlot. So here's hoping for a few more woodlot fruit trees bearing fruit for wildlife food in about a decade. The idea is that I want to favor trees and plants in my woodlot that provide good wildlife food so that wildlife will be drawn to my part of the woods because there is a variety and abundance of foods they favor.

Happy Hunting,

"Country Jack" Griffes

9 Jan 2011
IMPORTANT SAFETY ALERT for Treesuit users:


Because of the possibility of your straps slipping through the buckles which could cause you to fall we will need you to install a secondary safety buckle.
Please contact us to receive your safety buckles free of charge.

Contact us via email at daac04@aol.com
or call (563)513-1192
or write to
Cox Outdoor Product Inc.
7240 Olde Davenport Rd.
La Motte, IA. 52054

Addendum by "Country Jack" Griffes
A second user installable redundant buckle has been added after each primary buckle and this redundant secondary buckle Safety Enhancement passed a Reliability Test on 8 Jan 2011 involving a 300lb dummy strapped in the Treesuit being dropped two feet to fall arrest 30 times from various angles (nothing budged - no failures) - then with no adjustment 30 three foot drops to fall arrest (1/2 inch of belt slippage - no failures) - then 30 four foot drops to fall arrest (1 inch belt slippage and Dee Ring bent but not broken - no failures). That's right - 90 drops of a 300lb. dummy and the Safety Enhanced Treesuit didn't fail - that's pretty impressive. IF you own the Recliner Strap accessory already it is STRONGLY recommended that RIGHT NOW (before you get new clips from Cox) that you use the two clip/buckles from your recliner strap to install the Safety Enhancement to your Treesuit - place one on your chest/safety strap a short ways after the Primary buckle and thread the running end of the strap through that secondary buckle after threading it through the Primary buckle. Do the same thing with the Seat Strap. This Safety Enhancement adds redundancy to the system and GREATLY enhances safety. I know you likely feel perfectly safe in your Treesuit already but please do install and use this Safety Enhancement immediately so you are protected against the unlikely event of belt slippage through the Primary Buckle which should not even be possible but which did happen to me causing a fall and a cracked right fibula on the evening of 1 Jan 2011. I contacted both the inventor and the current manufacturer and just one week after my fall a Reliability Tested and user installable safety fix is ready for you to implement. I will be using my Safety Enhanced Treesuit this next season - I have taken 80% of the deer I have killed the past two years from my Treesuit with only 50% of my locations being Treesuit locations.

Yours for SAFE and Happy Hunting,

"Country Jack" Griffes

Saturday 15 Jan 2011

One thing I already plan to test while hunting next Fall is a feeding call made by Hunter's Specialties called "The Kruncher." I picked one up on half off closeout clearance for about $5 the week between Christmas 2010 and New Years 2011 but didn't get a chance to test it during that final week of Archery and private land Antlerless Deer hunting here in Lenawee County, Michigan. I was hoping to test it during the late season when the deer are grouped up and very spooky after 3+ months of hunting pressure but the opportunity just didn't come - so I'll test it Fall 2011 instead, God willing. Videos I've watched make it look promising - with a calming, drawing effect on both bucks and does that stimulates them to feed - which they only do when calm. A call that gives a calming effect sounds GREAT to me - as most calls tend to put the deer on high alert when they come in (very actively looking for source of call.) I am looking forward to trying this out and reporting what happens.

I would really like to see some side by side trials of deer food plots - a strip of several competitive food plots right next to each other all on the same soil in the same overall food plot area - just like corn and soybean seed test plots for farmers. Then take and protect a small portion of each different strip of deer food plot with a small circle of moderately tight weave fencing secured to a t-post so the deer can't graze inside that fence protected area and you can thus see how much they have been grazing the rest of the plot. That would be very interesting to me - I may just have to see if I can find some food plot seed companies willing to supply seed, (fertilizer, lime, and weed killer - if required) and rent the ground required to conduct that experiment on some neighboring property. If you are a food plot seed supplier and this interests you - click her to contact me via email.

Happy Hunting,

"Country Jack" Griffes

"Go afield with a good attitude, with the respect for the wildlife you hunt and for the forest and fields in which you walk.
Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person."
--Fred Bear--

: 28 January 2011

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