By Institute Staff

 Have you ever wished that someone would develop a perennial forage blend that could also deliver the high tonnage of fall/winter annuals? If so, your wish has come true. New Imperial Whitetail Double-Cross is the answer you’ve been looking for.

 By now, most hunters and managers are aware of the critical role perennial forages play in a food-plot system. In most cases, perennial forages can provide the backbone of a food-plot system, since they are designed to last for years and, at least in the case of Imperial perennials, provide high nutritional levels and unmatched attractiveness to deer. The role of annual forages in food plot systems is also well known. Annuals can be used to supplement existing perennial forages, or by themselves to draw deer and hold them. They can also fill targeted needs. For example, Imperial Power Plant is often planted alongside existing perennial plots to provide a massive protein boost for deer right when they need it most – during the spring and summer. Likewise, Imperial Pure Attraction and Winter-Greens are a superb complement to existing perennial plots and provide an additional high-carbohydrate food source for the colder months of the year. You may be asking, “Since the Institute already offers perennials blends and annual blends designed for almost any climate and soil type, what makes new Imperial Double-Cross so unique?”

The answer is simple: Double-Cross provides the multi-year performance of a perennial AND the quick establishment and early and late season tonnage of an annual all in one planting! Like all Whitetail Institute products, Double- Cross is blended with the ideal percentages of all components. The perennial component of Double-Cross consists of Advantage and Insight clovers. These are the very same perennial clovers that are the backbone of the number-one perennial forage product in the world, Imperial Whitetail Clover. These clovers exhibit early plant vigor, excellent heat and cold tolerance, and of course exceptionally high nutrition and attraction for deer. They are the only clover varieties ever developed specifically for deer, and they are only available in Whitetail Institute products.

The annual component of Double-Cross is the Whitetail Institute’s outstanding brassicas. These brassicas have already proven themselves in other Imperial blends, including Winter-Greens and Pure-Attraction. These brassicas include lettuce-type brassicas, which are vastly more attractive to deer than standard brassica varieties. The combination of these perennial and annual varieties in one blend is truly a dream come true for planters who have wanted the performance of Imperial Whitetail Clover and Whitetail Institute annual forage brassicas all in a single planting. Double-Cross establishes very quickly, and it provides more tonnage during its early growth stage. Later in the season when the weather turns cold, Double-Cross will keep performing and providing deer with a high-carbohydrate food source during the winter months. Double-Cross is designed to be planted in the fall. The brassicas establish and grow rapidly to complement the perennial clovers, providing higher early tonnage that is high in protein and in the carbohydrates so critical for deer during the fall and winter.

As the perennial clovers continue to provide nutrition and attraction through the fall and into the winter, the brassicas sweeten with the first hard frost of fall, further boosting the plots attractiveness. When winter arrives, the brassicas can stand tall over the snow, providing deer with highly nutritious forage during one of the most stressful times of the year. As spring arrives, the perennial clovers are ready to help deer recover from winter losses, and also later to provide them with abundant protein for antler development, doe pregnancy and overall herd health. And like Imperial Whitetail Clover, the perennial clovers in Double-Cross are designed to last for 3-5 years or even longer with proper planting, maintenance and Mother Nature’s cooperation. Double-Cross should be planted in soils that are loam, light clay or heavier. One 4-pound bag of Double-Cross will plant up to one-half acre. Like other Imperial blends, new Double-Cross is available in several sizes to meet your needs.

These include a one-half acre bag and a three-acre bag. Larger quantities are also available. Like Imperial Whitetail Clover, Double-Cross is specifically designed for deer. If you have wished for a perennial blend with added benefits of a highly productive fall/winter annual all in the same blend, Double-Cross is your answer. Full planting instructions are available on the Institute’s website,, and on the back of each Double-Cross product bag. Additional information is also available toll-free by calling the Institute’s in-house consultants at (800) 688-3030. 

Turning Dirt Part Five: Seeders – Chapter One

By Mark Trudeau

 In this series of articles, The Whitetail Institute’s agricultural expert, Mark Trudeau, passes along his decades of real-world experience in farming and related matters to our Field Testers. In the first three segments of “Turning Dirt,” Mark provided his insight to help first-time buyers select a foodplot tractor and discussed tractor implements suitable for ground tillage, such as plows, tillers, disks, drags and cultipackers. If you missed the earlier segments or if you would like to review them, they are available on line at under the “Whitetail News” link. In this segment, Mark discusses seeders.

QDM Harvests Not an Exact Science

By Kip Adams

 Quality deer management is a familiar term to many deer hunters today. You can’t pick up a hunting magazine or watch the Outdoor Channel without seeing or hearing about it. Although hunters are more educated than before, many still don’t fully understand QDM or how to practice it most effectively. One of the most common misconceptions is that QDM requires shooting as many does as possible. Read on to find out why that's not true — and how a better understanding of QDM can benefit you as a deer hunter and manager.

Cassie's First Buck

By Brad Rucks, Cassie's father

“Cassie, he’s right there,” I whispered as a giant buck stood downwind trying to figure out where we were. Sometimes, things aren’t meant to happen, and this was definitely one of those cases. We were hunting Wisconsin’s 2007 youth deer season Oct. 6 and 7. The weather was unseasonably hot, and my expectations were fairly low. We had been in the double ladder stand for a couple of hours when I thought I heard antlers hitting brush, but my view was obstructed, so I asked Cassie if she could see the deer. “I see a doe,” she replied. Just minutes later, I turned around to see a beautiful 4-year-old 8-pointer step out only 40 yards behind us — directly downwind. I immediately had Cassie stand up and turn around, and I handed her the gun. After the gun was in her hands. she asked, “Where is he?” “Right by the birch tree,” I whispered.

Kids Say the Darndest Things at Deer Camp

By Judy Bishop Jurek

 Art Linkletter said it best: “Kids say the darndest things.” Youngsters at deer camp are no exception. You never know WHAT they may verbalize. All you have to do is listen, perhaps even eavesdrop a little or prompt an awesome answer with a question or comment. It can be most entertaining to hear remarks that may be silly, interesting, whimsical, curious, downright dumb or incredibly sharp.

Fall Perennial Plantings Yield Big Benefits!

By Jon Cooner

 Spring can be an ideal season for planting Whitetail Institute forages in many parts of North America. But it’s not the only option. In fact, fall planting can yield benefits you may not have considered. Imperial forages are designed to be as heat and drought tolerant as possible. Two of our most drought tolerant perennial blends, Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus and Extreme, can put down roots as deep as three feet into the soil to find moisture. Imperial forages are also specifically engineered to establish and grow quickly. Even so, planting in the fall can provide additional assurance that the roots of your forage plants will have had time to thoroughly mature before they face their first hot, dry summer. This can be a big benefit in years when summer heat and drought arrive unexpectedly early, as they have in many areas of North America over the last few years.

Also consider that forages planted in the fall are at their most tender right when hunting season begins. And when spring rolls back around, the perennials you planted the preceding fall will already be in place, providing a high-protein food source at one of the most critical times of year, before spring green-up when native vegetation has not yet reappeared. As winter starts to give way to spring, Imperial products are some of the first things to green up. Planting Imperial perennials in the fall also helps reduce weed and grass competition.

There are several important steps to getting the most out of your fall perennial planting — not only in the fall but also in the spring when you’ll need your food plot to produce abundant high-protein forage.

The first step is to choose a product designed for planting in the fall. All Imperial forage blends except PowerPlant are designed for fall planting.

The next step is to choose the forage blend designed for your particular application. This selection takes into account such factors as whether or not you will be able to prepare a seedbed by tilling the soil, and the type of soil and slope of your plot.

If you are unable to till your seedbed, the Institute’s No-Plow and Secret Spot annuals are superb choices for fall planting. They can also last past the end of winter to provide a forage source for deer into the following spring or even later. If you can prepare your seedbed, then you have the additional option of Imperial perennial blends. Which one you should select depends on your soil type and drainage.

All Imperial perennial blends will perform well in heavy, bottom-land soils that have good moisture holding properties. A soil with good moisture-holding properties is one that will stay together for a few seconds after you squeeze it into a ball with your hand. Imperial Whitetail Clover and Double-Cross are designed for heavier soils that are relatively flat. Double- Cross, a new Institute forage product introduced this year, provides all the benefits of Imperial Whitetail Clover, plus the additional quick establishment and late-season production of Whitetail Institute forage brassicas all in one planting. Imperial “Chic” Magnet and Chicory Plus are designed for heavier soils that are slightly to moderately drained, and Alfa-Rack Plus should be selected where the plot features heavier soils that are moderately drained to well drained.

If you will be planting in a lighter or sandier soil that is well drained, Extreme is the product to select. It is designed to flourish in such conditions, which would not be optimum for other perennial blends. And Extreme will tolerate as little as 15 inches of annual rainfall, a level roughly half that required for other perennial forages. Extreme will also tolerate soil pH as low as 5.4, a level far below that required for other perennials to flourish. And Extreme is highly attractive, even rivaling the number-one food-plot planting in the world, Imperial Whitetail Clover. That’s why many field testers whose soils are good plant Extreme to give their deer variety.

A special note needs to be made about Imperial Alfa-Rack Plus, which includes the Institute’s proprietary Imperial Whitetail Clover,WINA-100 brand perennial forage chicory and X-9 technology grazing alfalfas. Many alfalfa varieties can turn brown once hard frosts arrive, and in many areas this happens right before hunting season. The X-9 technology grazing alfalfas in Alfa-Rack Plus are more cold tolerant than standard hay-type alfalfas, which is one reason they offer such a huge improvement when used in whitetail food plots. The Institute offers different regional blends of its perennial forages to ensure that customers have the best product possible for their particular situations. And they are extremely economical, lasting up to five years with a single planting. Once you have selected the Imperial perennial designed for your application, be sure to not cut corners when preparing your seedbed. Planting Imperial perennials is easy and only takes a few steps, but each step is critical if you want to get the most for your efforts. Imperial perennial blends should be planted in soil with a pH of 6.5 or higher, or that has been adjusted to that level through the incorporation of lime into the soil.

If possible, any lime required to raise soil pH should be incorporated (disked or tilled) into the soil several months before planting. In northern climates, the ground is often frozen during the months immediately before spring planting dates. By opting for a fall planting, northern planters have the option of incorporating lime during the preceding spring and summer months Prior to planting an Imperial perennial, the seedbed should also be clear of existing vegetation as much as possible, and planting in the fall can offer an additional option to accomplish that.

Once lime has been incorporated into the soil, smooth the seedbed and allow native vegetation to re-sprout and start to grow again. Then, spray the plot with Roundup Weed and Grass Killer. By spraying volunteer vegetation a month or so before planting in the fall, the seedbed can be cleared of existing vegetation. Most native grasses and other weeds are growing vigorously before our fall planting dates, but not in the cold months before our spring planting dates. Since Roundup must be sprayed on an actively growing plant to control it, controlling existing weeds and grasses with Roundup as a seedbed-preparation step is more available to the fall planter. And remember — Imperial perennials are not the only product options that provide the lush, tender new growth of a fall planting. Imperial Winter-Greens and Pure Attraction offer the same benefits, plus even faster forage availability. If you have any questions about spring or fall planting, how to choose the appropriate Imperial forage blend for your specific situation, or anything else related to deer nutrition or the Whitetail Institute, please give the Institute’s in-house consultants a call. Consultants are available any time from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday, at our toll-free number, (800) 688-3030, ext 2. 


By Brad Gaddis, Oklahoma

I received my Whitetail Institute seed around Sept. 1 and planted it around Sept. 15. The food plot was about five acres, and I planted a variety of seed types that included Whitetail Oats Plus, Pure Attraction and Chic Magnet. I was fortunate enough to get some timely rains, and by Oct. 1, the seeds had started to sprout and the deer started to move in. Before long I had two dozen deer using the food plot on a regular basis, including a half dozen bucks.