May 04, 2023
By Blake Garlock
One of our favorite times of year here at North American Whitetail is upon us: management season. Getting out and completing our “deer work” is what we look forward to the most this time of year. And to properly manage our land for the herd’s benefit, we need the right gear. If you’re looking for a new tool, food plot seed or piece of equipment to properly prep your deer land, look no further. We’ve compiled 2023’s best habitat management gear into this section. Enjoy!
SEED & FEED
Big Tine’s Foundation Clover mix contains five clover varieties designed to provide year-round forage. Since Foundation can be planted in either the spring or fall, it is a highly versatile mix that can be used to fit your needs. Another great quality of Foundation is that it is a perennial mix, and it can last up to five years. All that, plus a high drought tolerance, means that Foundation is a great choice if you’re looking to add a clover blend to your management plan.
Whitetail Institute’s Conceal is an annual planting and a quick way to provide tall, thick cover for your deer. Conceal can grow 8 feet tall or taller, and it’s designed with different seeds growing at different heights, ensuring thick cover from top to bottom. Conceal can be used to create deer bedding, travel corridors, food plot edges and cover for you to access your hunting locations. For best results, don’t plant Conceal until the soil in your area has reached a constant temperature of at least 65 °F.
Deer hunters are bombarded with claims of “the best” food plot seed, but too often the seeds claiming to be the best don’t live up to the hype. However, the Buck Forage oat does. Now available in a 20-pound bucket on Amazon, Buck Forage oats are perfect for the land manager looking to plant a small kill plot. This bucket plants a 1/4-acre area in drought-tolerant oats with no fillers. Not only are Buck Forage oats Dr. Deer endorsed, but they have been tested in and have survived temperatures as low as -12 degrees!
Covert’s Picture Perfect Apple Mineral is designed to attract whitetails and give them what they need to remain healthy. This 25-pound mineral bag comes loaded with calcium, zinc, phosphorus and more antler growth aiding elements. And the apple scent and flavor add to the whitetail’s appeal. This proprietary blend will pull whitetails in from far distances, keep them in front of your cameras longer and enhance overall herd health.
KE Feeds has captured the attention of whitetail managers with its RACK ELITE deer feed. This high-protein and highly digestible deer nutrition product is made from grains, and the proprietary blend contains unique additives, minerals and vitamins to aid in herd health. RACK ELITE also improves rumen efficiency and promotes rack growth. Coming in pellets or convenient tubs, RACK ELITE is an asset to land managers.
Now available in packs of two, Wildtree’s Dr. Deer Pear tree is designed for fruit production and wildlife attractiveness. Discovered by Dr. James C. Kroll, or “Dr. Deer,” this pear tree is great for providing late-fall fruit when little else is available. Another notable trait of the Dr. Deer Pear is its ability to quickly produce fruit; it can grow golf ball-sized pears that deer love in just three seasons! With all trees descending from one Mother Tree on Dr. Kroll’s Institute for White-tailed Deer Management & Research in Texas, you can expect research-backed results.
Real World Wildlife Products’ Switch Grass is the perfect solution for the land manager looking to improve the cover on their property. In Real World’s own side by side tests, their variety of switch grass stood better than all others tested. Real World switch grass can grow between 7 and 8 feet tall, and it is designed specifically to withstand harsh conditions, such as snow and high winds. Whether you’re looking to create better bedding, screening or access cover, Real World switch grass is a great option.
Accuforage’s Lucky Leaf clover food plot blend provides hunters an opportunity to add a quality food source to their hunting property. This blend of red and white clover has a dash of chicory in it, offering your deer herd diversity to help keep them healthy and growing strong. Accuforage has strategically selected the clover varieties in Lucky Leaf for their high protein content, sustainability and attractiveness. With optimum planting times included, Accuforage makes successful planting easier than ever!
Game Changer Forage Soybeans are glyphosate tolerant beans with good height, great stress tolerance and high protein. This forage is ideal for aiding in antler, body and fawn growth, and it is suitable for a variety of soil types. Even in adverse conditions, Game Changer Forage soybeans keep growing, ensuring you have a successful and clean plot.
If you’re looking to diversify your property’s food sources, Chestnut Hill’s 10-Tree Chestnut Package is the answer. Not only will this package give you 10 high-quality Dunstan Chestnut trees, but it also comes with everything you need to establish the trees on your property. This kit is a great, efficient way for all land managers to add a mast source to their hunting land.
Browning Trail Cameras’ Defender Pro Scout Max Extreme is perfect for keeping an eye on target bucks as they frequent your food plots, supplemental water sources and other habitat improvements. The compact camera has a 0.25-second trigger speed, and it has an impressive feature called Auto-Detect. This means the camera will determine whether AT&T or Verizon gets better signal in your area, and since the camera comes equipped with two SIM cards, the camera can administer this feature itself. This takes the “guess work” out of your life, and it allows you to get the camera up and running quicker than ever.
Strike Force’s Timer Tripod Feeder can hold up to 240 pounds of corn, which means you can spend less time running to the field for refilling. This feeder can be set to feed up to six times each day, and the feeding amount is adjustable. Other notable features are a test mode to check feed distribution, a battery meter to check charge and easy assembly with the Twist-Tight feeder mounting system. With heavy duty legs and a varmint guard, this is the feeder land managers have been waiting for.
A revolutionary innovation in the land management world, Cannon feeders are an efficient and non-intrusive way to regularly feed your deer herd. These feeders run on a 20-watt solar panel and a 12-volt battery, which power compressed air to shoot feed from the feeder up to 50 yards. Cannon feeders are completely varmint proof, and they can easily be refilled from the ground. These feeders can also dispense a variety of feeds and allow you to regulate exactly how much feed is shot out. Three different models hold up to 150, 500 and 1,200 pounds of corn, so there really is a Cannon feeder for every land manager’s needs.
WICKED TREE GEAR
Wicked Tree Gear’s Wicked Beast Hand Saw is a must-carry for land managers. This fixed hand saw sports an 11-inch blade and weighs just 2 pounds, making it compact and durable. The Wicked Beast resists bending and breaking with its high-carbon steel blade, and the yellow handle makes it visible and comfortable to hold. Whether you’re trimming shooting lanes or clearing limbs and brush for a habitat project, the Wicked Beast is a great option.
A big motivation for land management is prepping your property so that when the moment of truth arrives, you can capitalize on the opportunity. And nothing can help you with that more than a well-placed hunting blind. Redneck’s Buck Palace Platinum 360 6x6 blind is the favorite of land managers everywhere. This ultra-comfortable blind keeps your scent detained, allowing you to hunt on almost any wind. This blind can be mounted on Redneck’s steel stand, trailer stand or a blind sled, giving you the perfect option to hunt any habitat improvement.
A standalone trail camera, Cuddeback’s Tracks is built on a compact, ergonomic platform, and its dual external paddle antennas ensure maximum LTE reception in fringe areas where service can be spotty. Advanced IR-cut image sensory eliminates the need for a mechanical filter mover, which results in crisp, clear photos. The camera’s built-in user-interface guarantees easy set up, and you can access images in four different ways: by smartphone app, email, text and via the online web interface. Cuddeback’s Track is a great cellular camera for the whitetail land manager.
Trimming shooting lanes is one of the most important tasks to complete on your property, and Hooyman’s 40V Lithium Pole Saw makes that job as easy and efficient as possible. With an overall weight under 10 pounds, this saw packs a high run time, performance and maximum efficiency into an easy-touse platform. It also extends to a far-reaching 10 feet and packs down to just 4 feet. Charging in only 60 minutes, the Hooyman 40V Lithium Pole Saw will have you in the field working in no time.
The onX Hunt app is the ultimate digital tool for whitetail land stewards everywhere. With property lines, landowner names and the tracking tool, onX will help you better understand your property. Also, with the ability to mark areas and draw lines, you can plan food plots, timber projects and land improvements through your mobile device. With several customizable user plans, onX is a must-have for all land managers.
Trail cameras are essential for conducting herd surveys and understanding how deer react to habitat improvements, and keeping your trail camera gear organized is key to being efficient in the field. Alps’ Motive pack is designed to be the ultimate trail camera pack. With adjustable, padded dividers, the Motive can safely organize up to eight cameras. Another added touch is the SD card slots, which are designed to keep your cards safe and organized in the field.
MICRO FOOD PLOTS
Micro Food Plots’ Cultipacker Master Series is the ultimate all-in-one tilling and seeding implement, preventing you from having to make multiple trips to the barn! The Master Series’ 16-inch pneumatic tires make the implement easy to transport. And with the push of a button, the Linear Lift system retracts the tires electrically when you are ready to work. Whether you have a 1/4-acre food plot or a much larger one, the Master Series will help you get it hunting-season ready.
The Groundhog MAX ATV/UTV disc plow is different from the standard ATV disc plow. The Groundhog MAX is a “one-man” plow, and its plowing speed is fast enough that it works on smaller machines than required for the average ATV plow. Also, since the Groundhog MAX works with 2- or 4-wheel-drive machines with independent or straight axle rear ends, you don’t need a new, expensive ATV to complete your habitat work with it.
Packer Maxx’s Crimper Combo is the first crimper designed for ATVs, UTVs and compact tractors. The Crimper Combo was designed to be affordable and effective for working in small-acreage food plots, making it ideal for the everyday whitetail land manager. The Crimper Combo’s heavy-duty construction makes it durable and capable of handling years of use. And it only takes 15 minutes to have the Crimper Combo easily installed!
The Firminator G3 is one of the most versatile pieces of food plot equipment on the market. Giving habitat stewards the ability to plow, plant and pack with one implement, the G3 simplifies the food plot process for everyone. Heavy, 18-inch, notched 9-gauge steel disks offer a wide range of angle and pitch adjustments for working soil in a variety of situations. If you want a do-all implement, the G3 is one to consider.
If you’re looking for a versatile UTV to help with all your hunting and land management needs, look no further than Intimidator’s Classic series. The Classic comes equipped with a 2-inch rear receiver hitch, allowing you to pull and haul anything you need around your property. Also, for when you’re working on the roughest parts of your property, the Classic has a steel skid plate to protect the underside of the UTV. Coming in four different color schemes and gas, diesel and electric options, there’s truly an Intimidator Classic for everyone.