Longtime Imperial User Battles Oklahoma Weather To Come Out On Top

By Bart Landsverk

Kevin Wood knows his Oklahoma weather isn’t always perfect for growing lush food plots. In fact, sometimes the hot, dry weather makes it downright tough for food plots to thrive. Wood has learned, though, if you pay attention to details, use quality products and get a little luck from Mother Nature deer can benefit from the nutrition provided by food plots. And now Wood’s deer are growing healthier and larger because of his food plot efforts.

“I’m one of the early guys who started food plotting in 1990, but I was like a lot of guys who didn’t listen. For instance, I didn’t have the correct pH in my soil for a lot of years. I never had it quite right. Now my plots are the correct pH,” Wood explained. “The Alfa-Rack is difficult to grow unless you get that pH to 7.0. Even with the Imperial Clover here in Oklahoma, you’ve got to get the pH correct. Now my plots are fantastic but in the early years they weren’t because I didn’t lime my plots properly.”

Wood manages 300 acres in Oklahoma. He owns 40 acres of the 300.

“I put in all of the food plots for this other family. The unique thing about this land is it borders a federal wildlife refuge. The potential for big bucks is real,” he said. “That’s why I bought the place six years ago. It makes for some very good hunting. It’s heavily wooded with rolling hills and sandy loam-type soil. It’s a very dry soil. The tough thing is you have to deal with extremes in Oklahoma and I will tell you that I’ve done some things wrong. I don’t live in Michigan where it’s easier to get food plots to grow. Perennials can die in a hot, dry summer.

“Last spring my food plots were textbook. I mean they were beautiful. I almost sent pictures of them to the Whitetail Institute because they looked so good. I have fall plantings, spring plantings and I frost seed. This is what I do. I love to watch things grow. Last year was an exceptional year for moisture in the state of Oklahoma and the racks showed it. The Institute really needs to push the new Chicory Plus in a dry state like Oklahoma. That’s why I’ve tried the Alfa-Rack Plus. The Chicory Plus is a product that can survive the droughts we get in Oklahoma and it can really bring in the deer when its dry.”

Woods said that his hard work has paid dividends. The food plots have deer grazing in them and they are providing his deer the nutrition they need to reach their potential.

“All of Whitetail Institute products are wonderful products. They do pull in more deer and the deer do hang around,” he said. “The improved health of the herd is a definite plus as well.”

He suggests hunting off the plots at least 100 yards to catch the big bucks before darkness. Other tips for killing big bucks are to provide year-round quality nutrition, hunt funnels and transition zones to the food plots and make sure you enter and exit the stand without disturbing the food plots.

“I get way back off of my food plots to hunt the big guys,” he said. “They will be here if I keep the does here. I have a high concentration of does. That’s the beauty of the whole thing.”

This tactic worked on Nov. 9 when he shot a 125-inch buck with his Mathews bow. 

“I was hunting 200 yards away from one of my food plots. The buck was working a scrape line. He came in at 12 yards and I got the shot. He weighed 140 pounds field dressed,” Wood explained. “The second deer was an 8-point with a 20-inch inside spread. I shot him at 15 yards with a rifle. He was a textbook deer. He was following a doe in the thick of the woods. These were refuge bucks. They are back in the refuge because there isn’t any pressure. There were 44 bucks on the refuge in one day late last summer. But once  the acorns start dropping and once the rut starts swinging they’re all through here and it’s beautiful. There were eight wallhangers that were seen last year. The rain last year went right to the racks.”

Despite the heat and droughts that can be commonplace in the part of Oklahoma where Wood lives andhunts, he overcomes these problems with persistence and quality products from the Whitetail Institute. He added that food plot managers must follow directions,
be persistent and pay close attention to the fine points.

“The pH is the most important thing to consider. Always pick the plots that have the most moisture for the Imperial Clover,” he said. “And follow the directions. I’m sold on the products. I just wish planting food plots in Oklahoma was easier to deal with because I’m from Michigan, originally. If you’re diligent and you work hard you can still have a lot of success with these products, even in the dry South.”