March/April 2013

TSJ Series: Spring into Action

Story by Steve Baxter

And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, "I need a caretaker." So God made a farmer. – Paul Harvey

In the recent Super Bowl awash with screaming goat commercials, overblown halftime shows, power outages and sheer silliness, a national brand truck company put forth a powerful ad lauding the value of the American farmer from a commentary by the venerable late Paul Harvey. Growing up, no lunchtime on the ranch was complete until Paul said, “Good day.” We talk regularly in this column about our role as a gamekeeper, and often, that boils down to farming for wildlife. For most hunters, the subject of planting food plots conjures up fall/winter plots of wheat, oats or other winter grain primarily for the purpose of harvesting a big buck, but true management should include a robust discussion of warm weather plantings that attract and provide nutrition in the “off season” as well.

Boy Scout Approach

“Always be prepared” was ground into me as a young Boy Scout “Tenderfoot,” and it plays a significant role in the success of planting food plots. First, a trip to the local Texas Agricultural Service office to consult with the county extension agent can shorten most any learning curve. Their knowledge of your area and its ability to support certain targeted crops due to soil types, moisture levels, dryland farming techniques, etc. can easily be researched with the many resources available in their office and realm of practical experience.

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